The little boy has bright green eyes and freckles on his nose. His dark hair consists of massive curls, a messy pile atop his head. He giggles as he runs through a field of grass. It’s carefree. Innocent.
"Daddy!" He runs toward Castiel, arms out. "Daddy, daddy, save me!"
Dean's trailing behind, purposely going slow, making monster noises as he chases the boy around.
Not just a boy.
This is their son.
Castiel smiles as their little boy comes within arms reach. He giggles and squeals, jumping into Castiel's arms. "Run, daddy! The monster'll gets us!"
Mid-laugh, Castiel looks over his shoulder to smile fondly at his husband. But Dean isn’t there anymore.
The grass is gone. The sunny sky. The breeze in his hair.
Castiel looks down at his arms. His son is still there, but he's crying.
"Daddy, I don'ts wanna be da monster."
"Not a monster, son," Castiel clarifies, his voice sounding exactly like his father's once did. "You're a god."
"But he's my-"
"He's nothing. He's not even human. Be a good boy. Make me proud, son."
A steely determination crosses over his son's features, one Castiel recognizes from his own youth. His son turns to look at the non-human in question. The thing is strapped down to a spanking bench, naked, collared, plugged, and gagged.
"Start with the whip," Castiel advises. "Warm its body up before you fuck it."
"Yes, sir." His son reaches for the nastiest whip on the table, grinning as he steps up behind the slave. "Can I take the gag out? I wanna hear it scream."
Castiel's chest fills with pride. "Allow me."
He walks to the front of the slave, hand reaching out for the gag. The slave looks up at him. Its eyes are bright green and oh so familiar. When Castiel looks past the slave at his son, he sees the exact same eyes.
"Wait, son!" he chokes in a panic.
His son looks at him in confusion. "Why?"
"This is - this is your daddy."
"No. You said it was a means to an end. Not even human." His son sneers at Dean before raising his whip. "Now it's my toy."
The whip is raised and Castiel watches as the love of his life deflates against the bench, body going slack and eyes going lifeless. Castiel blinks, and it's him whipping Dean. Him fucking Dean. Raping him. It's their first time again. Back in the black room. He can see the welts from the clothes pins. Can see the tears that have dried on Dean's cheeks.
"Daddy! Daddy stop it!" His son sobs from across the room, watching in horror as Castiel rapes Dean. "Stop it daddy! Daddy stop it! You’re hurtin’ him! You’re hurtin’ my daddy!"
Castiel looks down to find the spanking bench empty. He snaps his head up in confusion, searching the room. There’s movement off in the corner, where a patch of grass is being lit by a beam of sunlight. Dean is standing there now. He has their son in his arms, holding him to his chest so his face is hidden.
So he can't see Castiel.
Dean is still naked. Still bleeding. Cum is leaking down his left leg.
"Daddy, the monster! Don'ts lets the monster gets us, daddy!" their son cries.
"I won't, sweetheart," Dean assures the boy, eyes lifeless as they stare at Castiel from across the room. "I won't ever let the monster touch you."
Castiel jolts awake, a scream - no… no, a sob - caught in his chest. He takes one look at Dean, curled up beside him, sleeping peacefully, and has to launch himself off the bed. He barely makes it to the bathroom, his mouth already full of vomit, his body slick with sweat, his muscles trembling. He hits his knees and empties himself into the toilet.
When his stomach is empty, all that’s left to be released are sobs.
So many sobs.
Dean wakes with a gasp, his heart already pounding as if it’s aware of a situation Dean’s mind hasn’t figured out yet. He reaches out to Castiel’s side of the bed. It’s still warm, but it’s empty. Just as he’s about to call out for him, Dean hears what sounds like a sob coming from their bathroom. He sits still, holding his breath as he listens. When Dean hears it again, he launches off the bed and hurries to the source of the distressed sounds.
“Oh, Cas.” Dean deflates in the doorway of the bathroom, crushed by the sight of the man he loves. Castiel is sitting on the bathroom floor, his back resting against the side of the bathtub. He has his knees drawn up, his elbows resting on them. He’s cradling his face in his hands. Each sob seems to rip its way from his body, making him shudder and moan.
Walking slowly as if he’s approaching a wild animal, Dean asks quietly, “Cas, babe, what’s going on?”
Castiel takes one look at him and starts crying harder. He shakes his head and shifts away when Dean kneels down beside him, but when Dean wraps him up in a tight hug, Castiel stops fighting. He just falls into Dean’s grasp and clings to him, fingers digging deep into Dean’s back as if he might try to leave.
“I’m so sorry,” Castiel sobs. “I’m so fucking sorry.”
“For what, Cas?” Dean asks incredulously.
Castiel buries his face in Dean’s neck, just crying harder. Understanding that Castiel probably won’t be talking any time soon, Dean just continues holding onto him, rocking them back and forth as he rubs small circles between Castiel’s shoulder blades.
“You’re okay, baby,” he coos to Castiel, trying to sound confident. Usually it’s Castiel doing this to Dean, not the other way around. Castiel is the expert at handling breakdowns. Dean feels clumsy and useless right now. He knows this is what Castiel would be doing, though - holding him and promising him that everything’s okay. So, that’s what Dean keeps doing. “I’ve got you. You’re okay, Cas. I’m right here.”
“You shouldn’t be,” Castiel says in a thick voice, the cries fading into nothing but hitched breaths. “God, Dean, why the fuck are you here?”
Dean tries not to feel like he’s been slapped but it’s hard. That… hurt. “I’m here because I wanna be with you… don’t - don’t you wanna be with me? You said-”
“Of course I want to be with you!” he says in exasperation, clinging to Dean tighter as if he’s not the one trying to convince Dean to leave. “But you shouldn’t be with me! I’m - fuck, Dean. The - the things - the things I’ve done - done to you - I - fuck, I’m a - I’m a - I’m a fucking monster! I-”
“Stop,” Dean growls. “Just - god, Cas, stop. Stop it.”
“I’ll hurt you again.”
To anyone who doesn’t know Castiel, that would sound like a threat. It’s not, though. Dean can see that as clear as day.
“You won’t hurt me, Cas.” Dean tries to pull back from Castiel, having to fight him a little first because of his tight grip. When Castiel realizes he’s not trying to leave, just trying to move away enough to look him in the eye, Castiel loosens his hold on him. Dean carefully wipes away each tear on Castiel’s face, whispering assurances as he goes.
It takes a long time for Castiel to calm down. Even then, he’s not his usual self. He seems empty. Lost. Every time he tries to look at Dean, his eyes quickly skate off to the side right after.
“What happened?” Dean finally asks.
Castiel scrubs a hand down his face before pausing with it covering his eyes. He laughs softly, the sound void of any humor. “Fucking nightmare.”
“You have nightmares?”
“Mmm. Yeah.” Castiel laughs again. “I’ve had ‘em for a while now. Few years.”
“Since me,” Dean says quietly.
“Since you. Yes.” Castiel runs a finger along Dean’s cheek. “My therapist wants you to come to a session.”
This catches Dean by surprise, his muscles tensing. “What? Why?”
“I had one the day before you moved here and he suggested it. Said it could be sort of like couples therapy? I dunno. It’s stupid.”
Dean watches Castiel awkwardly pick at something on his knee that doesn’t see to actually exist, his fingers trembling as they move. He can tell Castiel didn’t think it was stupid. It’s clear that Castiel wants to try it. “Make an appointment, then. We’ll go.”
Castiel’s head snaps up, his eyes widening. “Are you sure? He - he knows everything. He’ll want to talk about our past.”
“I’m sure.” Dean shrugs, trying to hide his nerves. “I think it’d be good for us.”
“Yeah. Me too.”
“Then it’s settled.” Dean takes Castiel’s hand in his and starts to tug. “Let’s get some rest, okay? You can call your therapist in the morning.”
Looking exhausted but happy, Castiel smiles and nods. He lets Dean guide him to the bed before taking back the control, wrapping Dean up in his arms and holding him close. They fall asleep within seconds, both of them sleeping the rest of the night nightmare free.