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Title: Harbor Lights 3a/? Author:  chartruscan Characters/Pairings: Dean/Castiel, Sam, Victor Warnings: Abuse of reality, WIP Rating: PG-13 Wordcount: ~2200 Summary: The Winchester brothers are a team to be feared by the criminals of their waterfront city. Or, the one where Castiel is an asexual doctor who attracts insane stalkers amorous suitors and Dean pretends to be his boyfriend to scare them all away.  Also, they fight crime.

***

Drifting towards something resembling wakefulness, Dean first became distantly aware of the hum of the air conditioner.   He lay there with his eyes closed, slowly noticing footsteps outside the room he was in, indistinct voices beyond the walls.  It all felt so disconnected; even his own body seemed far away.  He supposed that was a good thing, because there was an ache in his throat, and in his stomach that seemed to radiate to his chest and hips, but it was also vaguely frightening --out of control.  He tried to flex his fingers into the sheets, hoping to anchor himself to something solid, but couldn’t tell if he had succeeded or was just imagining the texture of the fabric, willing something to be there that wasn’t. Dean opened his eyes, taking in the whole room at once without being able to focus on anything.  But it felt better than floating in the dark behind his eyelids.   The room was dim, daylight filtering through drawn blinds, with a dark shadow in the middle of it.  He let his eyes rest there for a minute before his brain unscrambled itself enough to understand that there was a man there, leaning back with his hands hooked on the windowsill, elbows jutting out to the sides, shoulders slightly hunched. As his eyes adjusted, the figure resolved itself into Sam’s friend Castiel, standing so still in the darkness, lines of daylight laddering down his silhouette like in some pulpy noir detective story. Dean could feel the sheets gripped in his hands, and closed his eyes.

***

Two days later Dean was moved to a private room.  When he woke up, the door was ajar and out in the hallway stood a policeman. “What’s,” Dean coughed.  “W’s with the cub scout out there?”   Chief of Police Bobby Singer, out of uniform, lifted off his ball cap and rubbed his head.  He cracked a smile of relief.  “Damn, kid, had us all scared there for a few days.”  He laid a hand on Dean’s shoulder, almost warm, before he coughed and stepped back, tucking back into his usual gruff demeanor. “Chief?” Bobby sighed.  “Listen, Dean, it’s probably nothing, but I’m not taking any chances here.”   “Bobby?” Bobby let out another sigh of resignation, “We’re waiting on ballistics, but there’s a chance that you getting shot wasn’t an accident.”  He’d gotten Sam’s concerned call, but the truth was that he’d already put in motion the paperwork to get a uniform on the Winchester’s as a precautionary measure. Dean shook his head, insisting tiredly, eyes closed, “Was a ricchochet.” “Maybe so, but we don’t want to take any chances, especially now.” “Ask Victor, h'was there.”  Dean just wanted to let it all go, keep his eyes closed and sink back into the welcoming embrace of whatever drugs were being pumped into him, let Victor handle whatever needed handling, but something about the chief nagged at his gut.  Dean opened his eyes and saw something dark in his chief’s face, and he suddenly worried a bit more, less gut instinct and more concrete.  Dean hadn’t seen Victor since he got into the ambulance with the panicky longshoreman he’d shot.   Had Victor also been shot, and Dean hadn’t noticed like he hadn't noticed himself getting shot?  “Bobby?  Where’s Victor?” Ripping the bandage off, Bobby bluntly told him, “IAD came in squawking about the possibility that Vic’s a dirty cop and he used the opportunity to sting you in the back.” “Bobby.”  Dean’s voice was flat, firm, pushing back against the drugs and exhaustion pulling at him.  “It was a ricochet.” The chief looked away. Dean was more insistent, “Bobby, where’s Victor?” “Christ, boy,” he relented.  “They suspended him, alright?  Took his gun and badge, pending further investigation.   He’s not allowed to see you, direct orders from the division commander.” Dean deflated, closing his eyes tiredly, murmuring, “Damnit, Bobby.”

***

He was discharged two days later, with two weeks of bed rest and a bag of medications substantial enough to take down a horse.  Sam shuffled him into the elevator of their apartment, where Dean finally let himself lean against his little brother’s shoulder, exhausted by the walk from the sidewalk.  Sam took a week off of work to fuss over him and make sure he didn’t strain himself or forget to take his meds.  On the third day home together twenty-four-seven, they pissed each other off enough that Sam left Dean sitting on the closed lid of the toilet with his pants pulled halfway up his shins.   Sam geared up, grabbed his helmet, and headed down the service elevator for a night of patrol. It took Dean twenty minutes to finished getting dressed, another fifteen to get to his car.  It only took him five minutes to get to the bar --even if it took him another ten to actually get inside it.

***

Dean whirled the ice cubes in his glass, his second one, elbows on the sticky bartop.  Someone took the stool next to him, but Dean didn’t bother to look up. “You supposed to be drinking?” “I was shot in the kidney, not the liver.”  Dean made a point of not looking over at Victor.  Just two guys getting a quiet drink in a dive halfway between the city and the ungentrified suburbs. “You keep drinking like that, it will be.  Especially if you’re taking the painkillers I’m assuming you’re on.”  The bartender came over.  “Whiskey, straight, please.  Make it a double.” Victor’s hands were on the bar, and all his movements had been slow and deliberate.  Dean huffed a laugh.   “Dude, I know you didn’t shoot me, quit acting like I’m about to go fully-automatic on you.”  Dean ducked his head down, eyes on his elbow.  “You’re an asshole half the time . . . but if it comes to it, I’ll take the stand for you, man.  ‘m not letting them take you down over a fucking ricochet.” Victor allowed one hand to curl around the fresh whiskey, and the other dropped down into his lap, and Victor quietly said, “Thanks.”  He stared at his drink for a moment before taking a sip.  “How are you doing?  They came down on me so fast I never got to see you after you got out of surgery.” “Fucking peachy, Vic,” Dean breathed. “ I’m supposed to be on bedrest for another week and a half, and then I’ll be on desk duty for who knows how the fuck long.  Bobby’s got a car at my apartment, had to sneak out the back.” Victor inhaled, like he was steeling himself.  “Dean, I appreciate you coming here, but you need to stay safe, and that means not ditching any protection you’ve got.” Dean was starting to chafe over being treated like a helpless victim.   “We were getting close on this case, so fucking close," Victor continued.  "Just because there wasn’t a second shooter in that alley doesn’t mean that they won’t come gunning for either of us one of these days, if they aren't already.   Take care of yourself, I don’t need to break in a new partner when this shitshow is over.” Dean didn’t respond to Victor, simply knocked back the rest of his drink with a grimace and peeled off a few bills from his wallet to cover both their drinks.  “I’ll see you soon.” When he pushed off his stool, his legs nearly gave out beneath him and he caught himself on the bar, face pinched and white. Fuck. Victor steadied him, shaking his head at the worried bartender.  Dean slid back into his seat and panted as Victor pulled open his phone. “I’m calling your brother,” Victor explained, although it came off as more of a scolding. “Christ . . . no,” Dean gritted, arm wrapped around his stomach and head almost touching the counter.  “Don’t -- fuck-- don’t call Sammy.” Victor closed his phone wordlessly and reached into Dean’s pocket, scrolling down through the contacts and thumbing the call button.  There was only one other person that he trusted to not report seeing him with Dean. A moment later he said into the phone, “It’s Detective Hendrickson. Dean’s with me, we’re at O’Malley’s on fifth.”  He didn’t even have to explain any further.  Even Dean could hear Castiel’s slurs against his intelligence from where he sat.  

***

Castiel showed up five minutes later, explaining that he’d been in the area, his lips tight, but he didn’t yell at Dean, for which Dean was entirely grateful.   “Don’t curl up, it’ll only make the pain worse,” he told Dean, helping him to stand straight, one hand against the bare skin of his arm just below his shirt-sleeve.  Victor gave him a nod of appreciation, and Castiel nodded back.  The pain Dean had tensed against receded to a bearable throb, and he took a shuddery breath before letting Castiel lead him out to the impala. Folding into the passenger seat had Dean panting again, eyes squeezed tight.  His last dose of pain meds had been well over eleven hours ago, and he was feeling it.  Castiel took the turns slowly and eased carefully over the potholes, street lights slipping by in a hypnotic pattern.   It took Castiel twenty minutes of careful driving to get them back to Sam and Dean’s apartment.  As he helped Dean out of the car, Castiel briefly considered putting him to sleep and simply slipping into the apartment.  But he didn’t know if Sam was home, and Castiel was still angry with Dean and wanted him to feel every moment of his foolishness.  They walked. The police officer in the car parked across the street looked at them in surprise.

***

Sam wasn’t home when they got inside, so Castiel got Dean undressed and into his bed, counted the pills in the bathroom and discovered that either Dean was skipping doses, or else only taking half each time. He stalked back into the bedroom and shook the orange bottle accusingly at Dean, who was scowling through his pain, as if being mad at it would counteract the small whimper he let out when Castiel forced him to sit up.   Castiel growled, “Taking these does not mean that you are weak, Dean.”    They glared at each other, both stubbornly refusing to back down.   Dean broke first as another bolt of pain washed through him.  
Castiel made him take one and half doses, and Dean didn’t even fight him on it.

***

It was almost two a.m. when Sam came home, and Castiel woke up from his drowse on the couch.   Sam came to a stop as he saw his guest, helmet dangling from his hand. “I didn’t know you had a motorcycle,” Castiel remarked, perhaps a bit stung that his friend had kept something so trivial from him. “Um, I--” Sam stammered. Castiel cut him off so he wouldn’t have to hear the lie. “Dean went out tonight, and he’s been skipping his medication.”  He stood up.  “It’s probably not a good idea to go joyriding at this stage of his recovery.” Sam flushed and hung his head.  “Cas, I swear I wasn’t--” “I’m tired, Sam, I haven’t slept, and I have to be at work in five hours.”  The anger seemed to bleed out of Castiel, and he said more gently, “We’ll talk later.” Sam nodded guiltily and watched as Castiel let himself out of the apartment before going to check on Dean.

***

Castiel didn’t go home.  He went as far as the elevator, stepping inside and checked for security cameras.  Certain his was safe, he slipped out of sight.   He didn’t know how it worked, he’d never had a mentor to explain why he could do the things he could, or how they worked.  It had been a lonely and sometimes dangerous process of trial and error over the years, especially with his gift for healing.  He’d done a complete healing on a car accident victim when he was an intern, and wound up in a coma for a week because of it, the kid’s injuries too severe to have tackled all at once.  He’d switched hospitals and cities to avoid the questions.   When the press followed him, he switched names as well. The telekinesis, along with what he he called flying, or slipping, --because he refused to call it teleportation-- were helpful in making two moves across the country in as many months.   Castiel slipped back down the hallway, and with a thought, he was back inside the Winchester brother’s fifth floor apartment.  Sam was emerging from Dean’s room, still dressed in his leathers.  Castiel followed him, watching curiously as he undressed.  There was nothing suspicious as he changed.  Castiel didn’t know why he thought there’d be, except how strange it was to see Sam, of the perpetual business suits with his Harbor Shuttle season pass, constantly bumming rides from Dean, dressed like a Hell’s Angel.  He slipped away, reappearing in Dean’s room, wondering if Dean knew why Sam had been out, and what he’d been doing. Dean was curled on his side, his broad shoulders looking vulnerable in the white undershirt.  Castiel lingered another minute before he wondered just what he was doing, spying on his friend and his friend’s brother. Then he flew home.

***

TBC
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