Sam leaves him for Ruby and Dean is left with a sudden and inexplicable sense of desolation, an almost-physical heaviness that settles upon him and makes him twitch with a need he cannot put into words.
The bar doesn't work. Getting rat-arsed on beer doesn't seem to be cutting it and Dean growls with a nameless frustration; fingers curling fists at his sides and he feels the itching that preludes a want to fight. But it's late. And everyone is either too drunk to look at him straight or gone home to catch a few hours shut-eye before the start of another working day.
The motel room is too quiet. And there is nothing on the TV. He tries to sleep but he's too wired and the itch beneath his skin is building, growing, he wants- needs- but he isn't sure what. In frustration he punches at the wall- knuckles scraped bloody and he hisses with the hurt.
He's grabbed his keys and taken off in the Impala before he has the chance to talk him self out of his actions. It isn't the answer, but it is the solution, and it'll do just fine. It has to. He needs it to.
The Chief is unsurprised to see him back and Dean isn't sure if it's an act or if he's been expected. He swallows back the bitter taste of bile creeping up the back of his throat and nods his head just slightly- an agreement which the Chief returns without a word. He lays his money on the table. The Chief does not count it.
"Safeword?" Is all he asks and Dean swallows again, his mind blank with the fear of what he is about to do. The crack of a whip against his jean-clad thigh has him gasping, looking up at the Chief with shock and then anger in his eyes. He tries to bite back the latter but the Chief has seen and flicks out with the whip once again, daring him.
"I asked you a question." The Chief says. He takes a hold of Dean with rough hands and Dean clenches his jaw as he struggles with his instinct to fight back against cold leather and metal; his wrists soon locked into a set of handcuffs dangling from the ceiling, stretching his arms high up above his head.
"Safeword." The Chief commands again with another flick of the whip and Dean whimpers just slightly at the lick of pain it causes. He closes his eyes and unclenches his jaw and he isn't sure why he says it- but it is the first and only thing that comes immediately to mind- but the name that slips from his lips makes his freeze, eyes wide and teeth catching at his lips in a bite of sudden worry.
"Castiel." He said. The Chief gives him an intent look before nodding once in acknowledgement. Then he begins.
Dean never uses his safeword. He's too terrified that in calling out the angel's name, Castiel will actually come for him. He takes every flick of the whip- every bruise and abrasion and cut of skin; he reveals in the pain and the penance and the itch that settles just under the skin. But with every strike, he thinks of the angel. And with every burn of pain, he bites his lips and tongue and tastes the blood and bile and tries not to think of Hell. And with every grunt of pain and whimper of self-denied pleasure, he remembers not to call for Castiel to save him once again. He won't. He won't. He can't. He has to do this for himself now. He has to save himself.
The next day, Dean refuses to move from the motel room. Sammy wants to know what's wrong. Dean tells him nothing’s wrong. He lies on his back though, and grins through the flashes of pain that shoot along freshly wounded skin. Castiel, he breathes in the quiet recesses of his mind where he knows the angel will not come. Castiel.