Hi! Me again. My brain farted, and this came out, so I thought I'd share it lol.
I did this one a little different than the others. Let me know what you think!
Jack is getting used to the nightmares.
Sometimes they're very specific—the angels coming for him, their voices piercing the inside of his head like a burning spike, or Dean storming toward him swinging a long poker. (Only after it happened did he learn that it wasn't Dean, but he still remembers it that way.)
Other times, all he experiences are feelings: the hopeless feeling of looking for someone he can never find, the ominous feeling of being pursued by something evil, the horror of his real father murdering his chosen father.
Jack has never met Castiel or Lucifer, only felt them. Before he was born, in the safety of his mother, he can recall the peace and security that washed through her when she was with Castiel. He remembers Castiel's gentle presence, his sincere care for both Jack and his mother. He misses it.
Likewise, he recalls another presence, one with eyes that could bore through Jack's serenity, leaving him unsettled and, quite frankly, scared.
He hasn't felt that foreboding presence since he was born—but he remembers in his dreams.
When he wakes frightened from a nightmare, his first thought now is to scan his room. Not for monsters—to make sure his fear hasn't caused anything to happen. The possibility of that happening while he sleeps is almost more alarming than what he sees while he sleeps.
He's tried several times to stay awake through the night, to keep the dreams away, but sleep always comes. And so do the dreams.
One night he wakes from a particularly intense scene of Castiel being ripped from him by a figure with eerie, glowing eyes and a chilling smile, who demands that Jack call him "father." When Jack comes to, his pillow is damp and his breathing ragged. His throat is so dry he doubts he could call out for Sam, even if he wanted to.
Sam has been kind and receptive each time Jack has come to him after a nightmare. Last time, he even opened up about Castiel, or Cas, as he called him, letting Jack finally hear about their dead friend. He and Dean don't talk much about him otherwise.
But Jack doesn't want to bother Sam tonight. Doesn't want to risk alienating the person who's shown him the most care in his short life. Sam, at thirty-four years old, still has nightmares, but he doesn't struggle after every one.
Jack's a big kid. He can handle this. (For the record, he can't fathom how long thirty-four years takes to pass. Each day, each hour even, seems like an eternity, especially when the time is so...empty.)
Despite being a big kid, he can't help but be grateful that the lights in the bunker hallways are always on, even during the night. Walking to the kitchen for some water is much easier that way.
What's not easy is seeing who's already in the kitchen. Hunched over a laptop, munching on a sandwich, a beer bottle on the table next to him.
Jack freezes in the doorway at the sight of Dean. Although Sam's big brother doesn't seem to be quite as hostile toward him now as when he was first born, his presence still makes Jack uneasy. (In his mind, the fire poker swings toward his head again.)
While Jack is debating whether or not to retreat to his room without getting any water, Dean lifts his gaze from the computer screen, catching sight of Jack. He blinks once, his mouth tightening, keeping his expression decidedly neutral.
Jack stiffens, waiting for a curt order, or an angry remark. Unlike with Sam, he's come to expect less-than-gentle words from Dean. It doesn't mean he enjoys hearing them.
Instead, Dean returns his focus to his computer, mumbling only, "What're you doing up?"
Jack doesn't know how to respond. The words tumble out of his mouth, choppy and hesitant. "I...bad dream." He turns and heads toward the sink, his posture and movements rigid. With Dean, it feels like he's always bracing for an attack, some barrage of venom.
It's not until he has filled a cup with water that Dean speaks again. "What about?" His tone is level, even. Nonthreatening.
Again, Jack scrambles to answer his question. For once, Dean does not seem angry or bitter—just tired.
"Lucifer." Jack squeezes his lips together, swallowing the lump in his throat. He won't cry in front of Dean. He won't.
Dean doesn't act surprised at the mention of Lucifer's name. He nods slightly, like he expected the answer. "Yeah, he's a tough customer." He looks up from the laptop again, eyes meeting Jack's. The look in them, it's almost...sympathetic.
Jack gathers his courage. With small, faltering steps, he makes his way over to the table, standing opposite Dean. "He...he killed Castiel, didn't he? Lucifer did."
Dean's jaw clenches at the mention of Castiel. His expression darkens, and Jack is afraid he's crossed a line.
For Sam, remembering their friend Castiel is something sad. But for Dean, thinking of him is something to be angry about. It's like every negative emotion Dean feels comes out as anger.
But this time, Dean forces himself to remain calm. He exhales sharply, taking a swig out of his beer bottle before replying. "Yeah," he says tersely.
Jack perches tentatively on the seat across from Dean. He wants to say this to Dean, when he's in a relatively good mood, when he's less likely to snap back at Jack. "I'm sorry."
Dean's brow pinches together minutely, a delicate expression of confusion.
"I know you think it's my fault. That I'm the reason he's—he's dead." Jack stutters, rushing through his apology. "I just want to say I'm sorry."
No matter how much Sam tells Jack he's not responsible, Jack knows Dean doesn't agree. To an extent, he himself doesn't believe he's free of blame.
Dean is quiet, staring past Jack. The silence hangs heavy between them.
"S-sorry," Jack repeats, more faintly this time. "I—I'll go."
"Kid." Dean deliberately closes his laptop. His vacant expression softens almost imperceptibly. He takes a deep breath, steeling himself to speak. "Listen, I...I don't think it's your fault. I mean, I try to convince myself it is, but I know it's not."
His eyes meet Jack's, truly, for the first time in the conversation. And, for the first time, Jack can see how weary, how filled with pain they are. It's the first time Dean has let him see.
Jack stands rapt, listening.
"You know, I thought...I thought Cas was wrong about you. I thought you were gonna be the one to hurt him. But...turns out he was right—and he got killed all the same. I guess that's the worst part."
Did Dean just say what Jack thinks he said?
Dean looks away, taking another swig of beer. "Cas...he wanted to take care of you, to make sure you turned out okay."
Jack can barely breathe.
"I guess the least we can do is...try not to let him down."
A warm, tingly feeling rushes through Jack, sparking a match of hope. Like when he got to see his mom, have her hold him just once. Like when Sam hugged him—and told him he was like Castiel.
A small, joyous smile creeps over Jack's lips as he blurts out, "Thank you."
Muttering a barely audible "Mm-hmm," Dean opens his laptop again and picks up his sandwich, clearly finished with the exchange.
It's not much, but Jack will take it—gladly.
The water he came for is all but forgotten. He almost leaves it behind on the counter as he heads back toward his room.
The nightmare, though it still looms in the recesses of Jack's mind, has softened some.
And he doesn't think he'll have that dream with the fire poker again.
And there ya have it!
I finally included Dean in these, because heaven knows he could use some bonding right now. I still love him, always will!
Hope you enjoyed, leave a review!
Thank you for reading Kyler M.