Legs and arms tangled as he tries to escape the blackness that twists around him.
Pinning him down as he tries to choke out another cry but his throat is too dry and he can't breathe; his lungs are collapsing, unable to draw a full breath as he thrashes wildly,
throwing himself to the ground.
Hands touch his head, pressing against his temple and pure survival instinct takes over, eclipsing the panic as adrenaline floods his brain.
His feet somehow meet solid flesh and someone grunts, the hands on his temples pressing closer and he throws his whole body up,
smacking his head against the attacker's and the grip on his temples finally loosens enough that he can scramble away.
And then something clouts him across the head and he tumbles back into the darkness.
When Dean wakes, he's tucked into a bed that isn't his. A massive fluffy blanket has been gently turned up around his chin, completely engulfing everything but his head.
He blinks at the wooden beams that slant across the ceiling.
A Cabin? Seriously?
He definitely went to sleep in the seedy motel room of the week.
Tilting his head, he can make out the ridges of snow-covered peaks through the thin white curtains that obscure wide windows.
The room is painted an off-white colour and a gigantic grey throw rug covers most of the wooden floor.
His gun is on the table.
At least he isn't a prisoner, then.
Grunting, Dean sits up and shoves the blanket off. He's dressed in a soft charcoal t-shirt and a pair of loose sweatpants that he definitely didn't fall asleep in.
"What the fuck." He mutters, swinging his legs out of bed and rubbing a hand across his eyes as if that would make everything go away.
He sighs and blinks, rising to his feet and stretching. Strangely, he feels genuinely well rested for the first time in, well, for the first time in a damn long time.
And something about the place feels safe.
Not that he could place what that feeling is, exactly, he think to himself as he picks up his gun, cracking the barrel open and discovering that it's loaded.
"Huh." Shrugging, he sets the gun down again, frowning at the view. He closes one eye, then the other, and then sticks his head through the curtains.
A wide terrace is spread out below him, and below that is the rolling green slope of a mountain valley, complete with the picturesque flocks of sheep.
"Son of a bitch." He mutters, absolutely baffled.
"You're awake." A gentle voice says from behind him and Dean whirls, glaring at the angel standing behind him.
Even here Cas is wearing the same trenchcoat-suit combo as always, but somehow he doesn't look out of place. Then again, he never seems to look out of place no matter where he is.
'The hell, Cas. Where am I?"
"You are dreaming."
"Well it ain't my dream, buddy, so care to enlighten me?"
"It is mine."
"Oh so Angels dream now?" Dean snarks, grumpy that Cas is trampling all over his dreams again. Not that he ever really minds.
"No." Cas replies, "We don't."
"So what the hell, man." Dean picks up the nearest fiddly object, which just so happens to be an old-fashioned pipe, "And what the hell's this doing here?"
"It's a pipe. You use it to smoke."
"Yeah no shit." Dean mutters to himself, gesturing with it, "The dream business?"
"You were having a nightmare."
"Who, me?" Dean snorts, pointing jokingly at himself. He's not fooling either of them. Plenty of his nights have been spent thrashing and moaning, waking in a cold sweat.
Too many of those nights have been assuaged by his Angel.
Cas gives him a look which says exactly so and Dean sighs, "All right fine. But this whole Swiss cabin dreamland thing, what's up with that?"
"I could not get you to wake up. Not completely."
"Your mind would not return to a waking state."
"So you put me in dream paradise that way I'd calm down? Bang up job, so far, Cas."
"Yes. Your heart rate has dropped and your blood pressure has stabilized."
"Fine." Dean grunted, knowing well enough when to concede the point.
Instead he flops down into onto a squashy, suede loveseat.
The fuck was a loveseat doing in Cas's dreamland?
"What." Cas hasn't budged, just turned with Dean as he's strolled across the room.
"You gonna let me out of here or what?"
"No. Not until I am certain that you will wake fully."
"Right, so I gotta pass some test or something then or what?"
Cas sighs, his blue eyes exasperated in an amused sort of way. The sun lights against his messy hair almost like a halo and Dean feels the wind go out of him at the sheer beauty of the image.
He doesn't let it show.
Cas steps across the room, sitting primly right next too Dean. Closer than necessary, certainly, but the Angel never has been very good at distance.
"Personal space, Cas." Dean grumps, glaring at the Angel.
Instead Cas turns his head slowly, blue eyes fastening onto Dean's gaze, "No."
And then he pillows Dean head against his shoulder.
A sudden feeling of desolation wipes Dean's mind blank, destroying any thought of surprise or sarcasm.
He curls up against Cas, pulling his sock feet up onto the little couch. Cas smiles at him with those beautiful blue eyes and Dean melts a bit.
Cas adjusts them so that Dean is practically in his lap, the both of them sprawled the length of a couch not designed for this particular type of lounging.
Fear, brilliant and bright thrills through Dean as he listens to the slow, languid heartbeat below him, but the small child that craves the touch wins over him and he stays put.
One of Cas's hands strokes through his hair.
Damn, he didn't realize he needed this until right this second.
"Cas." He mutters.
"Yes?" His voice is soft and warm and utterly comforting.
Dean blinks, stoically ignoring the tears that are suddenly welling in his eyes, "Never-mind."
"It's ok." Cas says instead, the rich tambre of his voice vibrating in his chest.
Damn Cas and his soul reading bullshit.
"Fuck you." Dean grunts through tears.
Fingers stroke his scalp in strong, reassuring motions and Cas's other arm is wrapped around his torso, the weight heavy against Dean's ribs as he pulls in a shaky breath.
Fuck if he'll ever admit it to anyone, but he's sick of being the strong one.
Sam needs him to be strong, because if Dean breaks, then his little brother just fucking collapses but Christ it's hard.
How Cas knows exactly what he needs just then, Dean doesn't bother asking, but the relief almost hurts.
"It's ok." Cas murmurs again, his voice washing over Dean who wants to punch the Angel and hug him at the same time.
But he lets himself curls tighter into Cas's touch and finally, finally feels himself relax.