This very little story just kind of came to me; it sprung from my head fully formed (like Athena from Zeus' head). It contains character death, which is something I don't do very often.

Ecce Homo: Dean Winchester

Dean Winchester is a man of many secrets.

There are things that he tells no one; things like how he used to roam the country in a Chevy Impala fighting evil or how he still knows how to repel a ghost or send a demon back to hell. These are the kinds of things he shares with no one. Not his colleagues at the law firm where he puts in billable hour after billable hour, not the neighbors with whom he barbeques with on the weekends, not even his wife Amanda, with whom he has had the most beautiful little girl in the world.

Dean Winchester is a man of many lies.

When people ask him about his mother, he does not tell them that she was slashed and burned to death on a ceiling when he was four or that her ghost spoke to him when he was twenty-six. He tells them that she died when he was very young. Cancer.

When they ask about his father, he does not tell them that he is in a mental institution in Kansas where the doctors expect that he will never recover. He tells them that his father died when he was a teenager. Car accident.

No one ever asks about his brother, because no one knows that he ever had a brother. He has never even told his wife. Not even when they were picking out names for girls after the ultrasound and he had insisted on Samantha to the exclusion of everything else.

Dean Winchester is a man of many deceptions.

Once a year, every year, Dean goes away for a few days. He tells his wife that he is going on a fishing trip with his buddies from high school. She encourages him to go, says that it's sweet that they all still keep in touch.

He takes his Honda SUV and drives to Lawrence, Kansas. Then he sits in his car across the street from his old house and stares at it.

And thinks of Sam.

He would rather be standing in front of his grave, but there wasn't enough of Sam left to bury so he settles for this.

He thinks of Sammy and of how much he had wanted a normal life. The very same life that Dean is living now. He finds it ironic that he had forced himself to live this life as a way to atone for the unforgivable sin of letting Sam die. He had thought that he would hate it. He had thought that he would suffer.

But what he hates is the fact that he doesn't hate it.

He likes working as a lawyer. He likes his house in the suburbs. He likes his neighbors and his friends. And he loves his wife. And he loves his little girl. He loves Samantha more than anything in the entire world.

He never stays too long at the house, always leaving before anyone becomes suspicious of him and decides to call the cops. Then he drives to the edge of town, where dirt road meets dirt road, parks the car, and cries.

He cries so much and so hard that he feels as if he will vomit out his insides. Sometimes, it feels like he is dying and it frightens him that the thought does not frighten him.

Eventually he reaches a point where there are no more tears to shed and he feels stripped-out, hollow inside. Then he drives to the nearest motel and drinks until he passes out.

The next day he heads back home.

Every year it is the same ritual. Every year the same and exorcism of pain.

By the time he reaches his house, he has buried any remnant of that pain into a tiny compartment in the back of his soul.

He likes to think that wherever Sam is right now that he is happy for him. He likes to think that Sam understands that all of this was for him.

And then he re-enters his life, his own living memorial to his brother, and kisses his wife and holds his daughter in his arms.

Then he breathes in the scent of his daughter's blonde hair and whispers, "Daddy's home, Samantha."