Find Yourself Here

Summary: Lisa tries to get Dean interested in life beyond hunting. What fills his free time other than Baby and drinking? They try a number of what Dean considers suburban hobbies without success. Interlude S5-S6 Vignette. COMPLETE.

A normal, apple pie life. That's Dean's life now.

Put away the salt. Put away the guns and the oil and the cleaning rags.

On his bedside table – the bed Dean shares with Lisa, whenever the night terrors don't have him up pacing the floorboards – he keeps the journal, and stashes the demon knife under his pillow. He knows Lisa knows it's there. Loves her all the more for understanding why he keeps a blood-flecked weapon in their bed.

Get a job. Mow the lawn. Fill the hours, until – Dean isn't sure what.

Until there's a death in the neighborhood, or an article in the paper that starts that old itch. This is just an interlude. Only it's not. Because Sam is dead, and Dean is done hunting.

An apple pie kinda life. What do people fill their time with, when they live in a nice neighborhood, in a quiet part of the world, and there's food in the fridge and calm on the streets? What do you do when tomorrow is the same as today?

You need a hobby, Lisa says. Something you enjoy. Go out and find yourself.

Find myself, Dean thinks. Beyond the blood and the loss and the darkness, where does Dean Winchester exist? He's never been the existential type.

What the hell. Everybody needs a hobby.

Yoga, no thank you. He's awkward at sports, always hated them in school. He plays too rough, and nearly puts another player in the hospital. Playing video games is just exchanging fighting monsters in real life for fighting them in virtual reality. Music – that's something that sparks Dean's interest. He's got natural talent. But there is something vulnerable about it, something inside which tears every time Dean picks up the guitar. Like all his sorrow – torture in Hell, his dad, Sam – is going to slip out between the notes. Music, it turns out, is best left alone.

He gives hunting – regular dude hunting – a try. He can hardly bring himself to pull the trigger. And Dean's so grateful he's alone, because he weeps like a baby over the dying creature. He's spent so much of his life trying to prevent death, causing it is in opposition to everything that is Dean.

The only things he seems to collect are flannel shirts and bruises. Though for a time, Dean collects the bottle caps off his beers, thinking he'll try his hand at art, until the sight of the now overflowing bin of caps only serves to further his depression.

Despite the family history, journaling isn't really Dean's thing – he's never been good with words. Carpentry holds some appeal, but if he's going to use his hands to repair things, he'd rather work on cars, and that brings him back to Baby, and doesn't that road lead right back to Sam.

Cooking with Lisa and Ben is a soothing balm, and the closest to normal family life Dean's ever experienced. And he loves every moment of it. But he's not the kinda guy to pursue food magazines for recipes or go out shopping for spices or anything.

Dean hates the grunts at the gym, the intense isolation he feels at board game nights, the pretentiousness of gastropubs, the forced machoism around the poker table.

Lisa finally drags him to a line dancing event. Line dancing? With country music? Dean laughs, willing to try anything for her. It seems silly, a bunch of people standing in parallel lines, all hopping about like that. But he takes his place in the line, and he tries his best. Dean blocks out the grating lyrics, listening to the beat, watching the feet around him move. Slowly, he finds the rhythm, matches the steps. And suddenly, Dean's dancing.

He's got it! He's dancing! And everyone is laughing and happy for him, and Dean is happy. He's stupidly proud of himself, in fact. He's ok, suddenly. Just a man, out with his girlfriend on a Friday night.

He buys himself a pair of dusky red cowboy boots, smelling of fresh leather and not a scuff on them. When's the last time he's owned something new? Before every dance, Dean shines them up, slips them on, is happy for a night. They all dance apart, but they're dancing together.

Then Sam comes back. And Dean quietly closes the boots in the closest he shared with Lisa. And when he leaves, the boots and everything else, all the half-hearted attempts at normal and those bright, impossible Friday nights, are left in the dust of family and destiny and the hollow dismissal of the Impala's taillights.

Thank you for reading. Both the final chapter in Scene From An Alt!Dimension and the next chapter in the One Of The Boys series are works in progress.

Reviews are much appreciated!