Guard dogs and cuddling companions

Recovery

CHAPTER THREE

This chapter features a short appearance by Cas for HeavensDemonicAngel, and Ozzy looking after Dean after a nightmare for ADarkSummersNight.

It was the middle of the night when Sam felt something jump onto his bed. He jerked in surprise and woke up to see Ozzy standing above him.

"What?"

Ozzy was barking frantically, making Sam frown, and check the time to see it was past 4 o'clock. Only having two hours sleep, Sam was exhausted and his eyelids started to droop against his will.

He was almost asleep when Ozzy started barking again. "Will you be quiet? It's the middle of the night," he complained, glaring at Ozzy, before pulling the covers up.

When he was ignored once again, Ozzy stepped forward to grab a mouthful of Sam's hair and tugged, making him yelp in pain.

"OW! Stop it."

Ozzy looked behind him at the bathroom door, and when Sam didn't get up as fast as he wanted him to, Ozzy dived on him, landing on his chest.

"WHOA! What the hell? Get off," said Sam, who was flattened to the bed, buried under the huge German shepherd. He looked up to see two brown eyes and a wet nose, as he was suddenly struck in the face. 'Great! I'm getting beat up by a German shepherd,' he thought, and then said, "Are you sure you're not the doggy version of Dean?"

Hearing his friend's name, Ozzy's head tilted to the side, and he barked again. He got up and grabbed a mouthful of Sam's t-shirt, and tugged on that instead of his hair.

Now fully awake and bolt upright in the bed, Sam finally realised that Ozzy wasn't trying to annoy him, but he was trying to get his attention. "Dean. What's wrong? Is he alright?" Looking over at Dean's bed, he saw it was empty and the covers were on the floor. "Where is he?"

Ozzy nudged his leg, and jumped from the bed. He looked up at Sam, and barked once more as he took off running into the bathroom.

Sam's blood ran cold as he jumped out of bed and ran after the dog. He skidded to a stop in the doorway when he saw Dean laying motionless on the floor, and his dog licking at his cheek.

"DEAN!" he yelled, rushing over to kneel beside his motionless brother. He placed his hand on Dean's sweaty forehead, and felt that he was still burning up. "Dean? Can you hear me? Come on, wake up."

Ozzy started whining and nudging at Dean's cheek with his nose. When he received no response but the laboured wheezing, he licked at his cheek once again, and turned to look up at Sam.

Sam's expression softened, and he reached over to stroke him. "You did a good job, boy. He's going to be alright." He turned back to Dean, and whispered into his ear, "You better be alright."

Placing his arms under Dean's shoulders and his knees, he lifted him into his arms to carry him back into the main room with Ozzy following faithfully behind.

"I've got you," he whispered, gently laying Dean down in his bed. Sitting beside him, Sam stroked his fingers through the sweat-soaked hair gently. "Can you hear me?"

Sam frowned worriedly, and reached over to grab the cloth that he had placed in the bowl of water a couple of hours earlier, and started wiping it across Dean's cheek.

Ozzy joined them on the bed, and curled closer to Dean's side, whining softly as he tried to wake him up by nudging him again.

Remembering why he was so worried earlier, Sam ran one hand over Dean's body to make sure he didn't hurt himself when he fell.

"S-Sam? If you don't... stop touching me, I'm going to... kick you so hard in the j-jewels... you'll be able to use your balls as earrings."

Hearing Dean's weak, raspy voice, Sam sighed in relief and Ozzy barked twice, his tail wagging in his excitement.

"Sorry. Are you alright? I didn't mean to wake you up."

"Well, stop ge-getting up at the... ass-crack of dawn and f-feeling me up... you frigging perv."

Sam smiled down at his brother when those glazed green eyes looked up at him. "How are you feeling? You scared the hell out of me."

"Wh-What happened?" he asked, his hand reaching up to stroke the soft ball of fur that was currently attacking his face with his tongue, trying to lick it off.

"Ozzy woke me up. At first I thought he was being a pain in the ass, since he's your dog and everything." He grinned when he saw Dean glaring at him. "But I realised that he wanted me to follow him, so I did... and there you were just laying there. God knows how long you would've been laying there if Ozzy wasn't here to wake me up."

Dean grinned weakly, and ruffled his dog's fur. "G-Good... boy."

Ozzy barked and laid against Dean's shoulder, laying as close to him as he could.

"I'm okay, Ozzy," Dean whispered, rubbing his aching chest.

"Why don't you try to get some more sleep? It's still too early to get up."

"'K-Kay."

"Hey, before you go back to sleep, you didn't get hurt, did you?" asked a worried Sam, running the cloth across Dean's flushed clammy cheek.

"No. J-Just felt... dizzy," Dean told him in a weak voice, wrapping one arm around his new dog, sniffling and moaning miserably.

Sam started plumping Dean's pillows. "It's okay. We'll take care of you."

While Dean slept, Ozzy and Sam watched over him and took care of the sick bed-ridden hunter.

**Two Days Later**

Dean was still sick, but didn't feel quite as bad as he had for the past week and a half.

Sam walked in from taking a shower to see Dean resting against all his pillows with a notebook open, and Sam's laptop on his knees. "Er... Dean? You're not looking at anything... weird, are you?"

Dean looked over at him with a faint smile. "No."

"Okay. Care to give me a clue about what you're looking at?" asked Sam while he dressed. "Please tell me you're not looking for a hunt. You're still sick."

"I'm not looking for... a hu-hunt," whispered Dean, one hand stroking the dog that was still snuggled up to his side.

Sam walked over to sit on Dean's other side to see what he was doing. His eyebrows shot up in surprise when he saw the list he was making and the webpage he was currently looking at. "Dog supplies?"

"Yeah. Can you think of anything else?" asked Dean, rubbing at his chest again.

Sam picked up the notebook and saw dog food, dog brush and flea comb, dog shampoo, grooming supplies, training supplies, black leather spiked collar with leash.

Looking up at the webpage, he saw the leather jackets for dogs, and stared at Dean. "Don't you think you're going a little overboard?"

Dean looked down at the dog and shrugged. "I've never had a d-dog before... I just want to make sure I take care of him properly."

"You're going to be the best dog owner in the world. I mean, if you can pretty much raise me while you were still a kid yourself, a dog is going to be no problem. Ozzy wouldn't have chosen you otherwise."

"Well, I can't be as bad as his... o-other owner."

"Dean, you'll be perfect. I know you'll be great at taking care of him," said Sam, looking at the dog, and seeing the adoration in his brown eyes as he looked up at Dean. "And so does he."

"T-Thanks Sammy."

"Don't mention it," he said, putting the notebook back on the bed. "I'll leave you to it, I need to go and stock up on dog food and get you a new inhaler from the pharmacy, you've nearly run out. Do you need anything else?"

Dean shook his head, and closed his eyes at the dizziness it caused. "I'll b-be fine."

"You better be. Text me if you need me." Sam picked up his wallet and keys, and nodded at the dog. "Look after him. I won't be too long," he said, leaving them alone.

Dean was so busy looking through the page, he didn't even notice a figure suddenly appear in the room until Ozzy growled softly and shifted closer to him.

"W-What's..." Dean trailed off when he looked up to see Castiel standing by the bed, staring down at him. "No. Whatever it is... I'm not doing it. Lucifer's l-locked up... the worlds not ending. No." He frowned when a thought occurred to him. "Wait. How did y-you know where we were?"

"I have my ways," the angel said mysteriously.

"Well, I'm n-not going anywhere with you... It's over."

"I heard you were unwell," said Castiel, looking down at Ozzy as if noticing him for the first time, tilting his head to the side in question.

Ozzy whined and mirrored the action, making Dean laugh.

"There appears to be a canine on the bed."

Dean ruffled the black and golden fur. "T-This is Ozzy."

"He's Australian?" asked a confused angel.

"Ozzy. N-Not Aussie, you freak. He's a German shepherd, not... a k-kangeroo."

"Oh. I am Castiel," he introduced himself to the dog, who came closer to sniff him.

Dean laid back against the pillows and watched the angel pat the dog on the head and say hello.

The dog barked three times, and Cas tilted his head again with a frown. "I am not here to harm him. I am a friend."

"Wait. You understood th-that?"

"Indeed. He is afraid of you coming to any harm. He cares very much about you."

Ozzy barked once more, and walked over to sit close to Dean's side, staring at Castiel.

"It's alright O-Ozz. He..." Dean felt a cough rise in his chest, and covered his mouth with one hand and started coughing violently.

Castiel looked worried and stepped closer to the bed. "Dean? Is there anything I can do?"

Instead of answering, he curled in on himself, burying his face in the pillow and clutching his arms to his chest, choking around whatever his lungs were trying to dislodge. His throat was burning, his chest aching as he tried to gesture at the bedside table.

Ozzy started nudging at his back, and looked over at Castiel, barking frantically.

"I cannot. I do not know the procedure to help somebody who is ill," he said, looking over at the bedside table at what Dean was gesturing at. "Do you need the tissue?"

Dean tried to say yes, but it sounded more like he was choking than talking. He tried once more, but talking made it worse, leaving him feeling as though thousands of razor blades were digging into the inside of his throat. Unable to talk, he nodded instead.

"Very well." The angel disappeared from where he was standing, only to reappear on the other side of the bed closest to the bedside table to pick up the tissue. "Here."

Dean took it with a trembling hand, and brought it up to his mouth. He coughed once more, spitting the yellowish, greenish glob of goo into the tissue. With a groan, he crumpled it up and dropped it into the bin by the bed.

Ozzy jumped over his sick friend's body, and landed on the other side of the bed where Dean was facing. He was whining, and trying to lick his clammy flushed cheek, but Dean was hiding his face in the crook of one arm.

When Dean recovered from his coughing fit, he grabbed the inhaler, and pushed the plunger twice, before laying back against the pillows exhausted. He picked the laptop up from the bed where it landed, and placed it on the bedside table.

"How are you-" Cas broke off, looking worried as he looked towards the ceiling. "I have to go. I am not supposed to be here. I hope you recover very soon, Dean," he said, before suddenly disappearing.

Ozzy was whining softly, and curled himself into Dean's side, tucking his head under his chin.

"I-I'm alright, Ozzy," Dean soothed in a weak voice, running his fingers through the soft fur.

By the time Sam came back, both Dean and the dog were sleeping peacefully, the only noise in the room was Dean's snuffling as he breathed.

**That Night**

Dean woke from a terrible nightmare, and shot up in the bed, breathing heavily, and wheezing slightly. He looked around the room, and he sighed in relief when he saw he was in the motel room and not back in hell.

Ozzy made a whimpering noise, and lifted his head from the mattress where he landed after being flung to the bed after Dean's violent awakening.

Trying to catch his breath, Dean stroked the dog to sooth him, even though he was freaked out from the nightmare, which was the first he had in a long time. When Ozzy settled down, Dean grabbed the blanket and climbed out of bed, and walked out of the motel room quietly, so he didn't wake his dog or Sam.

Struggling against tears, he stumbled over to his beloved car, and climbed into the front seat of the one place he always felt safe. He grabbed the bottle from his hiding place, and took a few sips.

He reached over to put some music on, since that was another thing that calmed him down. As Ozzy Osbourne played through the Impala, Dean smiled when 'Dreamer' came on.

He hummed along to the song, trying to get his heart to stop racing. Shivering slightly, he pulled the blanket tighter around himself, and laid back against the drivers seat, softly singing along.

When the mixed 'Ozzy' tape switched to the next song, he listened with tear-filled eyes.

"...All the things I put me through, I wouldn't wish my hell on you. You'll never know what's going on inside. Just another lonely broken hero, picking up the pieces of my mind. Running out of faith and hope and reason..."

A sob ripped from his throat, and he brought the bottle up to his trembling lips to take another sip. He relaxed against the leather seat, staring up at the ceiling.

"...Trouble always seems to find a way to live inside my mind, my haunted head and me remain alone. Underneath my masquerade, a simple man who's so afraid. I try to find a light to guide me home..."

Dean wrapped his arms around himself, and whispered, "I'm al-already home." He clenched his teeth and his eyes tightly together, trying to block everything out especially the nightmares he still had but pretended he didn't.

Something suddenly jumped up at the window making him jerk in surprise and he looked over to see Ozzy at the window. With a frown, he leaned over and opened the door to let his dog jump into the car.

"How the h-hell... did you get out?"

Ozzy sat by Dean's side, snuggling up against him to comfort him in his own way.

Dean swallowed the lump in his throat. "You're an aw-awesome dog, Ozz," he whispered, his free hand clenched tightly into the fur. He gestured around the car with the hand holding the bottle, and said, "This i-is my baby... Home."

Ozzy nudged Dean's cheek and barked as if trying to tell him this was his home too.

He continued to drink as he listened to the song, until the next song came on, which was 'Crazy train'. "L-Love this... one."

Ozzy was looking around the car for the singing noise he could hear, with an almost human expression of confusion.

"It's on tape. T-This is Ozzy Osbourne. He's awesome... crazy, but awesome. T-That's why you're Ozzy too."

The German shepherd licked his flushed clammy cheek, sitting so close, he was almost on Dean's knee.

A sad expression crossed Dean's face as he looked down at the amazing dog by his side. "I don't know why you... chose me. You deserve so much b-better than me. I'm worthless. Sooner or later... everybody a-always leaves me. Everyone except... my baby," he whispered, one tear slipping down his cheek. "I-It's only a matter of time... before you think the same... and leave me too."

Ozzy whined, his large puppy dog eyes looking up at him as he laid his head against Dean's shoulder.

Dean wiped a trembling hand over his face and rested his cheek against Ozzy's fluffy head.

Back in the motel room, Sam was standing at the window, watching the heartbreaking scene in the car. He knew why Dean was out there, that he had another nightmare again, something that he always denied when Sam asked him about it. Knowing Dean would try to act normal around him, he sent Dean's new dog out instead, not wanting him to be out there alone while he was sick.

Sam had noticed a change in Dean in the past couple of days since he found Ozzy. He had smiled and laughed more than he had in the months since coming back from hell. And if the dog could make Dean happy, then Sam was glad they had found each other.

In the Impala, the hunter rocked from side to side, Ozzy in his arms as they listened to the music.

"Even after everything I d-did in hell, I would n-never raise a hand to you," Dean whispered a few songs later. "You know that... r-right?"

Ozzy surprised Dean by climbing into his lap and jumping up so that his paws landed on Dean's shoulders. He licked his face and nuzzled against his cheek.

Dean wrapped his arms around the dog's body, his hands clenched into the fur. The two fell to the side, still holding each other, making Dean laugh. "S-See? Crazy."

After squirming and wiggling, the tall young man and his dog settled against the leather with the blanket wrapped around them both. So he fit along the seat, Dean adjusted himself so his feet were still on the floor, and his body was snuggled into the leather seat.

While he tried to get comfortable, he suddenly launched into another coughing fit that had him doubling over, curling further into the dog, who was making whimpering noises.

Dean finally stopped coughing a minute later, leaving him feeling tired and drained. He smiled slightly when 'So tired' came on next, and he closed his eyes, falling back to sleep with the warm body beside him seconds later. After making sure Dean was asleep, Ozzy licked away his tears, then laid his head on Dean's shoulder.

Sam walked out of the room and over to the car to cover them both up with a thicker blanket and turn the music off. "Sweet dreams, big brother."

He picked up the bottle, and stood watching them both sleep for several minutes, before closing the door as gently as he could, locking them in the Impala to keep them safe.

Dean had no more nightmares, and slept peacefully in his beloved car with his dog for the rest of the night.

**A Week Later**

The motel door opened and out came a recovered Dean with Sam, followed by a healthier looking Ozzy.

The German shepherd was now wearing a black leather spiked collar with three protective charms attached to it, and a dogs black leather jacket. He looked like a proud member of the Winchester family.

They were halfway across the parking lot when they heard an angry yell, which caused Ozzy to yelp and walk closer to Dean's side.

"Where the hell have you been, you mangy little fleabag mutt?" he yelled angrily, storming over to the Winchesters.

Hearing the voice, and feeling Ozzy trembling by his side, Dean froze in his tracks and slowly turned towards the angry man, his green eyes cold, his expression deadly. "You're his old owner?"

He ignored him, and reached out to grab the dog, but he was cowering behind Dean, shaking like a leaf. "Get here you little bastard."

"You don't talk to my dog like that," said Dean in a threatening tone.

"This is my dog. I've had him for over a year... his whole pathetic life," he told Dean, before turning his attention to the terrified German shepherd. "You better get back to our motel room before I go and get the baseball bat and beat you to death with it."

Dean clenched his jaw, and grabbed the guy's outstretched arm. "Try it."

He pulled his arm out of Dean's grasp, and said, "I'm not afraid of a little bitch like you," grabbing hold of Dean's shirt and pulling him closer.

"Get the hell off me, you sonofabitch," said Dean, shoving him back, and curling his hands into fists.

The Winchesters looked down in surprise when they heard a growling behind them to see a furious Ozzy, his teeth bared, snarling and growling savagely as he came out of his hiding place, and advanced on the guy.

Dean raised his eyebrows, impressed. Even though Ozzy was scared to death of his old owner, he wouldn't let him hurt Dean, and was willing to protect him.

Instead of being intimidated by the furious dog, the guy grabbed hold of his new collar and dragged him towards him. "Wait until I get you home, I'll beat the living daylights out of you."

Ozzy struggled and fought back, biting the guy on the hand, making him bleed. When the guy gasped in surprise and let him go, Ozzy took his chance, and broke free. He was barking frantically as he ran back to the brothers and hid behind Dean, who was beyond furious right now.

Dean looked behind him at his car, and an idea came to him. He grinned evilly as he grabbed the guy's wrist. "Let's talk about this," he said, and led him to the waiting Impala.

The guy must have been as stupid as he looked because he followed after Dean, and didn't try to break free from the vice-like grip on his wrist.

When they reached the car, Dean opened the door and shoved him forwards. "You're going to pay for hurting my dog," he warned, grabbing his hands and placing them into the open doorway.

Finally, the guy realised that Dean didn't really want to talk, and tried to struggle, but the younger man was a lot stronger than he was, and he couldn't get free in time.

Dean's eyes blazed angrily, his jaw clenched tightly, as he slammed the door. Two loud cracks and a pain-filled scream echoed around the otherwise deserted parking lot, followed by the deep laughter of the older Winchester.

Sam gasped, and was about to step forward, but he felt the dog trembling behind him, and stopped, feeling no sympathy for the guy who used to beat a loving, defenceless dog for no reason. He looked around to make sure nobody had turned into the parking lot to look for a place to stay. Luckily the lot was still empty, so he left him to it.

The guy was whimpering, and holding his shattered hands close to his chest, looking up into the furious eyes of the hunter. He moaned in pain when Dean grabbed his shirt and pulled him close, so they were nose to nose.

"You even think of hurting my dog again, it'll be your damn neck I'll be breaking. Do you understand me?" he asked in a low menacing voice. "I've got a sledgehammer in the trunk, and I'm not afraid to use it."

The guy was now crying in pain, looking up at Dean fearfully, eyes wide in his sweaty pale face as he nodded frantically.

"Good." Dean smirked, and threw his head forward, breaking the guy's nose instantly.

He screamed in pain, trying to hold his bloodied nose, but his hands wouldn't cooperate. The only thing that was stopping the barely conscious man from collapsing onto the pavement was the grip that Dean had on his shirt.

"Stay away from my dog, or you'll be sorry," said Dean, punching him in the throat, before letting go of his shirt and watching him drop to the floor as if he was a puppet whose strings had been cut.

Dean's face was expressionless as he stared down at the whimpering broken man at his feet as he choked and coughed up blood, holding his shattered hands to his throat. He brought one leg up, and stamped down on the guy's ribs twice, breaking three of them, and making him gasp and try to curl in on himself, crying out in agony.

"If I ever see you again, I'll be introducing you to that sledgehammer," he warned, and kicked him in the mouth, knocking out his two front teeth. He nodded to his family. "Let's go Sammy. Come on Ozzy."

Sam shook himself out of his shock, and followed after Dean. None of them saw Ozzy cautiously step forward and in-front of the man who used to beat him.

Dean opened the trunk and put his bag inside, but he stopped when he realised Ozzy wasn't beside him, and turned to see him sniffing at the heap on the ground. "Come on boy."

When the guy weakly reached out to the dog, he growled savagely, and lashed out with one paw across his face, leaving long, deep, bloody scratches down one cheek.

"Whoa. Go Ozz," whispered Dean with a proud smile. Ozzy had scars of his own at the hands of this man, now he returned the favour.

To add insult to injury, Ozzy cocked one leg in the air, and peed all over him, making Dean burst out laughing. "Did you..." He trailed off, grabbing Sam's shoulder as he doubled over in hysterics.

"Dude. That was frigging classic. We make an awesome team. Up high," said Dean, leaning forward and holding one hand up. He was trying to teach his dog that a raised hand was nothing to be scared of, by giving high-fives instead.

Ozzy walked over to him head held high, his tail wagging in excitement at the praise coming from his new master. When he reached Dean, he sat down, and held his paw up.

After the high-five, Dean ruffled the soft fur, and opened the back door so Ozzy could jump into his car. "Come on, let's get out of here before somebody comes."

Sliding into the drivers seat, Dean ran his hand over the steering wheel lovingly. "Sorry baby. I didn't mean to hurt you."

Sam raised his eyebrows, and stared at him. Dean had just beaten the crap out of someone, and it was his car he apologised to for using her door to break someones hands. His brother was weird.

"Can we get out of here before the cops come or something?"

"Oh yeah. Sorry." Dean grinned at the new member of his family, and turned back to start his car, and drove out of the parking lot and to Bobby's to spend a bit of time with their second dad.

When 'Ramble on' came on, Dean turned the volume up and sang along. The dog made the two laugh when he threw his head back and started howling along to the song.

As Dean drove, he kept looking back at Ozzy in the rearview mirror, the smile never leaving his face.

Sam smiled at his happy brother, his heart warming in his chest. Before the two had found each other, Dean had been struggling, and was so broken that he had almost given up since his return from hell, so it was nice to see him smiling like this. It had been too long since Dean had something to be happy about.

Dean and Ozzy both carried scars, had been through their own hells and survived. Now Dean and the newly christened Ozzy John Harley could help each other heal through their own pain and trauma, and take care of each other to recover together, because that's what family did.

*The End*

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