Reality of a One Night Stand

Chapter Three - Forgiveness

Dean lay there in that motel bed for another twenty minutes, his mind replaying the previous day and night. His body tired and not willing to rise to face another day of emptiness and despair. If he rose and dressed his only option was to return to Dad and his brother, and he wasn't sure if he was up to facing Sam again. The previous day's words still stung and ached in his soul, worse than any physical pain he had ever suffered in their hunts.

Sam had really hurt him and he didn't want to admit that to himself, let alone let anyone else see his pain. In Sam's eyes he had proven his point with absolute clarity when he left with his pickup, just like Sam had predicted. Damn him and his superior attitude.

Dad had never said a word about his one night stands, other than to use good judgment and protect himself from disease. Dad understood. Hell, Sam probably thinks Dad's lived as a priest since Mom died. Dean paused, truth was he didn't really know what his dad did, he just always assumed he found comfort somewhere, anyway he hoped he did. Just like he had hoped Sam would find comfort with Sarah.

After all, men have needs and what the hell are you supposed to do when you never stay in one place longer then the job dictates? What did Sam expect him to do? Live like a monk? That sure as hell wasn't gonna happen.

He glanced at the clock and forced himself to rise and head to the bathroom for a shower. Check-out would be coming and he needed to get his act together, no sense postponing the inevitable.

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Sam awoke to find John already dressed and packed to leave. He grunted a low 'morning' before heading to the shower. His mind was still processing his dad's blunt admissions from last night; he could hardly believe the man he had known all his life had been so forthcoming. He secretly wondered if Dad would ever be so straightforward with Dean, if his brother knew how he understood and defended him.

He exited the bathroom to find his dad still sitting at the small table writing in his new journal.

"You heard from Dean?"

"No, he'll be along shortly. He knows we need to check out." John replied without looking up.

Sam wondered for a second if he regretted his candor from the night before. Were his writings in his journal so important, or were they an excuse to ignore his younger son's scrutiny?

A knock at the door interrupted his thoughts and he walked quietly across the room. He opened the door to find his brother standing there with a fast-food tray with three hot coffees.

"Someone order coffee?" Dean asked with a too chipper morning voice.

"Just what the doctor ordered." John replied with a smile as he took a cup of joe.

"Thanks, coffee sounds good." Sam quietly added.

Dean plopped down on one of the beds, flicked off the lid of his cup and intently drank his coffee.

"So Dad. Where we headed?" He casually inquired.

John looked up from his journal, his eyes studying his older son, "Maybe we should take a short vacation. Take some time off."

"What are you smokin' Dad? You don't take vacations or time off. What's going on?" Dean asked, suspicion brewing in his mind, nervously aware of the concern radiating off of his brother and dad, feeling their attentive gaze upon him.

"I just feel tired and need a rest. I think we could all use a rest. Maybe we should go to the shore, see the ocean."

Anger flashed in Dean's eyes, "What the hell is going on? What did Sam say to you?"

"Dean, I'm sorry for what I said yesterday. I was just mad, you know? I didn't mean any of it." Sam apologized.

Dean leaped from the bed facing off against his brother, exploding with pent-up fury, his cup of coffee spilling over his hand before dropping to the floor to soak into the dingy carpet.

"Stow it Sam. You meant every damn word. Don't back off now. You've always thought I was a slut and guess what? Maybe I am! Maybe you're right after all. But what the hell, Sam. Why the hell do you care what I am or what I do?"

"Dean, don't. Don't put yourself down like that." John quietly interjected as he stepped between his sons.

Dean turned his back to his family, so mad he couldn't see straight, or maybe it was the tears welling in his eyes, he couldn't tell right now. He couldn't think. He collapsed on the bed again, his hands cradling his face, the tension in his temples not responding to his fingers as he rubbed. His mind was now on overload and he wasn't about to back down or let them crush him with their concern. It was too late for that.

The looks on their faces were more than he could bear. Damn them both. He jumped up from the bed and headed for the door, he needed to get out of here, out of here now. He and his girl driving down the highway; AC/DC blasting through the speakers was all he needed to get his mind back on track.

He almost made it to the door before John blocked his way, standing defiantly in front of the motel door with his hand outstretched in a motion to stop his older son's exit.

Sam grabbed his arm from behind and the tense situation took on a life of its own as his hand tightened into a fist and he swung around with all his anger focused into a punch that sent his little brother sprawling to the ground.

Sam lay on the floor holding his jaw as blood slowly dripped from his nose, just staring at his brother in disbelief. Dean shook from the emotions still ebbing through his body, shocked himself at the brutality of his attack. He glanced at his prone brother and back to his dad, resigned and silent.

The pressures in Dean's life had been building unattended for a long time, stagnating like fumes in a fuel tank just waiting for the fuse to ignite the explosion. When the blast inevitably came he was ill-prepared to deal with the aftermath.

A huge gulp left his mouth as the reality set in. He stumbled to the bed and sat down with his head buried in his hands, breathing in and out in frantic, ragged gasps. His head was spinning and he felt himself losing that last remnant of control. His hand throbbed, but the pain in his knuckles dimmed next to the pain his heart and soul were drowning in.

John approached and sat next to his son, placing his hand on Dean's shoulder for a moment. Dean tensed from the invasion into his personal space.

"Dean, it's all right. I understand." John spoke quietly, reassuringly.

"Dad, don't…. Don't." Dean gasped.

"Son, I know you've been under a lot of pressure and I'm sorry for my part in that."

Dean felt the cracks growing and knew he was on the verge of shattering. He so didn't want to do this, not now, not like this. He needed time to get his act together, to fortify his protective wall and again bury his pain; he couldn't show how fucked up he truly was, he wouldn't.

"Dad. Please…. Don't." He begged once more, praying they would all just back off and leave him alone. Let him crawl off into a corner and lick his wounds, just give him the time to sort this out and put his mask back on.

For once his dad didn't turn away and leave him alone. John was the last person, next to Dean, that ever wanted to confront painful memories and deal with emotional issues, but for once he didn't back down and he wouldn't let his son run away. Not this time.

"Dean, you're a good man. Believe it." John whispered, putting his arm around Dean's shoulders in a firm embrace, his son's body still shaking from the aftershocks of his emotional release.

Sam rose from the floor and gazed on the amazing scene unfolding before him.

"Dean, forgive me? Please? I didn't mean what I said. It was stupid and cruel."

Dean took another deep breath and looked up into the caring eyes of his little brother, seeing the boy he had always protected with an unwavering love and devotion. The memory forcing a nervous, hesitant smile.

"Sam, I just decked you for no reason and you're asking me for forgiveness?"

"You had your reasons. I was being a bitch. I deserved worse."

"No, Sammy. You always deserve the best. I'm sorry; I don't know what came over me. I just…. I just…., I couldn't think. Sorry, man."

"Dean, it's all right… you're my hero.., my protector. I know that. You'll always be my hero. You're not a slut. I know why you do it. I understand now…. Dad explained some things to me last night. He made me realize what I was too blind to see. Dean…. you're the best man I know." Sam came and sat on the bed on the other side of him placing his arm around his brother's shoulders, and grasping his dad's arm in a unified hug of Dean.

I understand now. The words Dean had longed to hear from his brother. Simple, plain words that carried the utmost weight and importance. All he needed to release him from this despair, his brother's understanding and acceptance. Before he could totally process those words his dad blindsided him with that proverbial last straw.

"Dean, I'm sorry you never had your chance with Cassie. I'm sorry I took you away from her." John whispered.

Dean shuddered; he looked into the pained eyes of his dad, seeing the hurt and regret there for the first time, and he could no longer hold back the tidal wave of his emotions. Tears overflowed as his resolve broke down. He sobbed as deep, painful spasms racked his body.

His dad and brother held him, gently rocking him, murmuring words of comfort until he could finally manage to speak, in a soft, broken whisper.

"Damn, it hurts…., you know?"

"I know son. Let it out. We're here."

His family held him until his spasms finally eased. The pain of this last hurt unleashing buried memories of the traumas in his life. The emotions he had held onto for so long finally released in a cathartic exorcism. A serene tranquility replaced the tension they had all been enveloped within.

A new emptiness possessed him, the hurt and pain that had filled him up now dissipating, leaving room at long last for the love that had always wanted in.

They sat there in their embrace for a long time, each rewinding their past hurts and regrets and filing them away, replacing them with the memory of this moment. Holding on to the love they always shared, but could never so freely display. Each of their eyes moist with fresh tears, tears of regret and pain now replaced with tears of love and forgiveness.

For the first time in a long time, Dean felt the comfort of his family next to him, holding him and protecting him. He looked at his brother and dad and a slightly embarrassed smile crossed his face, starting in the corners of his mouth and spreading until his eyes shone, glistening from his tears, years of anguish momentarily pushed aside by a peaceful calm.

"Sam, what did I say about chick flick moments?" Dean asked to lighten the mood, finally allowing himself to relax and breathe normally again.

"I believe you said real men have no problem showing affection to the people they love." Sam replied with a grin.

The End

Reviews would be lovely, if you are so inclined. Thanks for reading!!

bjxmas July 2006

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