Disclaimer: I do not own Supernatural or its characters. :sniff:
Author's Note: A tiny piece of light angst that wouldn't leave me alone after notcing Dean's birthday in "The Benders." Alludes to "Salvation" at the end.
It was February 10th today.
The road stretched in front of him as that thought slithered through his brain.
He didn't notice anymore. Hours, days, months— they all slid by in a haze.
It had been three months already… three months ago his life had turned to dust. His world—everything he'd been and everything he'd been going to be nothing more than dust in the wind.
Time had stopped existing. Everything blurring and shifting into one thought, one purpose— kill it.
He hadn't meant for this to happen, hadn't even noticed.
His eyes flickered to the rearview mirror.
It was February goddammit.
There would have been a party; a big one. Balloons, banners, streamers, party-favors-- the whole nine yards. Presents galore, of course, and kids-- a lot of kids. Kids from school and kids from little league. Joe from the garage, his kids and Sally from the bakery, her kids-- they would have been invited too. A big cake, probably in the shape of a baseball, with his name written in big, loopy, creamy icing letters. Games too… inside, outside, everywhere… all day. There would have been happiness and fun and laughter-- so much laughter…
… so much lost…
Goddammit, the bastard had to pay. It had to pay in spades for what it had done to them…
Again his eyes flickered to the backseat… there was no point in waiting he supposed.
Solemn, hazel eyes met his in the mirror-- no laughter. There were days when he wondered if his son would ever laugh again. Days when the answer hurt more than the wonder. Days when he knew that even if, when, his son did laugh again—it would be different. His boy would never laugh the same again.
He realized suddenly that he'd gotten the most response he was going to get. He was still getting used to it, to this quiet Dean.
With his eyes on the road again he spoke, "It's February." He told the boy simply. Knowing, even as he said the words that the statement would mean nothing to his son.
It had almost meant nothing to him. He'd been half asleep as he stared at the newspaper earlier. Knowing that the date meant something, but unable to grasp what it was. It had been the little boy in the booth across from them asking if there would be cake that had done it.
Had made him realize that January 24th was long gone.
"You're five now." He stated bluntly into the quiet car.
He chanced another look into the backseat. Dean sat very still, one had on Sammy's stomach as the baby napped in his car seat.
"You had a birthday." He continued.
Dean frowned a little, seemed about to speak and then didn't.
John turned his gaze back to the empty road. A tiny part of him relieved, thankful for his son's silence because he wasn't sure how much he could take on this subject.
"You understand, Dean? You're five now." He repeated. It was hard with this quiet Dean to know when the boy understood or not. And John was conscious that in his son's mind the word "birthday" had to be associated with nothing but laughter and fun and the absolute indulgence that Mary had bestowed on him on that day.
When his son remained silent John looked into the mirror again. The hazel eyes he found were wide and for a moment he swore his wife was looking out at him, before the eyes dropped and a quiet, "Okay, Daddy," was murmured.
John swallowed hard, blinking, quickly trying to erase the look from his mind. Ignoring the jolt of Mary that flowed through him. The jolt that said celebrate him! Buy him a cake! Put him back in school! In little league! Stop driving him nowhere! Take him home! Give him a home!
"I know we didn't have a party or anything…" he found himself saying. The need to explain, to justify himself suddenly overwhelming, "… but it's just… you know things have been so… difficult lately…" that was the understatement of the millennia.
He lifted his gave to the mirror again slowing the car. Dean was staring out the window his hand still on Sammy's stomach. "I know things have been different son." John said more firmly, "… but it'll be back to normal soon," he offered. Or as normal as John could manage without Mary... more normal than this though, that was sure. He wouldn't be driving his son's around forever, that was sure... just until he found that thing...
Dean's gaze lifted to his and it was there again-- that feeling.
And for the first time in months he saw his little boy. His little boy who needed a hair cut and was so pale, whose eyes were so wide and lost and sad, and who was so far from home…
Mary's face flashed in his mind again, take him home, she cried. But there was no home, no laughter…
It had taken it all. It had turned his world to ash and It would pay.
So he looked away from his little boy and kept driving.
"You'll see," he continued to Dean, "Soon things'll be normal again," he repeated more to himself than to his son.
As soon as he killed the bastard that had stolen his world.
"We'll have a party next year," he added, looking up again and meeting his son's gaze.
"Okay Daddy," came the quiet reply and then Dean shifted to once again stare out the window; his little hand still firmly resting on Sammy.
As soon as he killed this bastard he would stop. John drew in a deep breath. He would give Dean a home, he told himself-- he told Mary-- as soon as It was dead, as soon as It paid for all it had taken.
Then he'd give Dean a home and things would be okay.