Title: Moments Of Silence

Summary: Sometimes what haunts you the most are not the things you have said, but the things you didn't say when you had the chance. Vignette. John POV.

Spoilers: There are mentions of events from the Pilot, Something Wicked, and Devil's Trap. Some of it does take place post DT, but I haven't read any of the spoilers for season two, so this is just from my imagination. :)

Disclaimer: Mine, mine, all mine! Lol, just kidding. I don't own Supernatural, I am just borrowing the characters. Don't worry, I promise I'll return them… (has fingers crossed behind her back ;) )

A/N: For everyone who may be reading my Star Wars story, "Falling From the Light," I promise to update soon. :) The last couple months have not been easy, and I just haven't had the time or inspiration to write. But I am working on "Falling," and I am planning on getting at least a chapter or two ahead so that I will be able to update regularly again. :) But while working on "Falling," Supernatural started haunting me. It wouldn't leave me alone until I wrote this, lol. :)

This is the first Supernatural fic I have written, and I hope that you enjoy it. :)


Moments Of Silence

Silence. Silence, for most people, was something simple and uncomplicated; the absence of sound, an awkward pause, the lack of anything to say, a petty weapon to be used during a petty argument. But not for Dean. John Winchester knew that for his oldest son, silence was something else entirely. Silence was what Dean used to convey his deepest emotions, the feelings he could not express, the pain he had no words for. His silence spoke volumes.

True silence however, was something rare for Dean; it was usually pushed aside by a sarcastic comment, a clever quip, or in his angrier moments, a biting retort. But the few moments Dean had been completely and utterly silent, when nothing had been able to rouse his eldest to speak, those were the moments forever burned into John's mind.

The first time Dean had been silent had been after his mother's death. That silence had told John more than words ever could have about the pain his son was in. It had been such a change from the little boy John had known before, the boy with the bright smile and contagious laugh; the boy who had been so curious about anything and everything, constantly telling his dad about the many things he wanted to do when he grew up. But all that had changed after that terrible night.

Sammy was too young see the difference, but John had often thought that part of himself had died with Mary, that a piece of his soul would be missing until the day he was reunited with her in death. But what made it worse, was that part of Dean had died that night, too. After the fire, when John looked at his son, he no longer saw the little boy he had known. Instead, he had seen intense, solemn hazel eyes staring back at him…eyes that had aged a lifetime overnight.

As Dean had grown older, that haunted expression had remained, and when he smiled, it was a grin or a smirk, but never the genuine smile that had once come so easily to him. John was extremely proud of his son, and marveled at his strength; yet he grieved for him too, for the little boy he had once been, the childhood he had lost, and the man he could have become.

The second time Dean had been silent, had been after the Shtriga had nearly taken Sam. John had rushed the boys to Pastor Jim's that night, and Dean hadn't spoken a word during the drive. John himself had been too angry and too shaken by what had happened to talk about it. He'd always meant to bring it up again, to set things right, but once the Shtriga had vanished and John's boiling emotions had cooled, he just hadn't known what to say.

His reaction had been unfair to Dean, he knew. As much of an adult as Dean had seemed at times, he had really only been a child, a child who had made a mistake. He hadn't meant to put Sam in so much danger, and John had known that Dean would never do it again; he had heard him clearly in the guilt-ridden and regret-filled silence.

The third time Dean had been silent, had been right before his high school graduation. Sam had been busy in his room doing homework, and Dean had been moving some of his own things from the front room of the apartment they had been renting. He had gone to retrieve his backpack when he had dropped one of his books.

John had bent to pick it up for him, but when he had reached for it, two envelops had fallen from between the pages. One had been the results of his SATs; the other, a brochure for a university, a prestigious university at that, and a chance for a scholarship. His oldest son had frozen as he opened the letters, but John had ceased being aware of anything else as he had read Dean's test scores.

The scores were well above average, even higher than John had expected. He'd always known that Dean was smart - much smarter than he pretended to be - but he had always let Sammy take the spotlight when it came to academics, never really seeming to care much for school himself. He had always put the hunt first, choosing to help John instead of using the time to study.

But those scores…that brochure…they had caused Mary's voice to echo in his mind: "Dean is so smart, John, I know he'll do something great one day, I can feel it."

John had felt pride rise within him for his son, but he had also felt something else: if Dean left, what would he do? Dean meant so much to their family, and John knew that to Sam, Dean was his big brother, best friend, mom, and sometimes even dad. That last thought had caused a terrible stab of pain in John's heart, but he hadn't been able to deny it, even to himself. Dean was his second in command, the one he had always counted on to get things done, to give to Sam the things he couldn't. What would they do without him?

John had carefully read through the letters again, then looked back to his son with questioning eyes. Dean had met his father's gaze with his own, his expression serious and determined, his silence telling John everything he had needed to know.

Dean had already decided to stay. He had willingly given up the dreams he might have had so that he could be there to protect his family. John had looked at his son, hoping that Dean would understand his own silent gratitude and respect, and then had carefully folded the letters, and placed them back in the book. John knew that Dean had never opened them again.

The fourth time Dean had been silent, was when Sam had left for college, but John had been too angry to truly hear it. He and Sam had fought long and hard that night, harder than ever before, screaming at the top of their lungs, releasing every ounce of frustration, anger, and resentment they'd possessed. Dean had intervened, making sure the only wounds they'd have were those inflicted by words.

But by putting himself in that position, Dean had been caught in the middle, and with their tempers running high, both father and son had turned their anger towards the one who had tried to stop them. "Stay out of this, Dean!" John remembered himself screaming, "You have no right to tell me how to raise my son!"

He hadn't meant to say it that way, hadn't realized at the time how it must have sounded to Dean's ears. He had never noticed the way Dean had flinched as if it had been a physical blow, nor the way Dean's mask had slipped. He hadn't seen the way that for an instant, the little boy John once knew had returned, staring at him with wide, hurt-filled eyes.

Instead, John had issued an ultimatum to Sam, and his youngest had finished packing his things. Dean had just sat there quietly, watching. If his father and brother had bothered to listen, John thought now, maybe they would have both realized that they had demanded Dean make an impossible choice between them. They might have understood that he had felt like he was being ripped in two, that they had caused him so much pain. But his silence had been overcome by shouting, lost within their angry voices.

John felt the familiar weight of deep regret fall upon his shoulders. It was another mistake he could never fix, another apology he could never give, another wrong he could never right… It haunted him, and would always haunt him, like a ghost he could never put to rest; because now, now Dean had fallen silent once again. Only this silence would never end, and it was the loudest of all.

Dean lay in his hospital bed, pale and utterly still, the only sound that of the numerous monitors surrounding him and the rush of air from the ventilator. Doctors and nurses would come in often to check the equipment and make notations on Dean's chart, but John had long ago stopped noticing their presence.

Dean had been this way since the semi had struck them, and they had been pulled from the twisted wreckage of the Impala.

Sam blamed himself. He was the one the demon wanted, and thought that if it weren't for him, Dean wouldn't be in a coma. But, John knew the truth. It was his fault, and his fault alone, that Dean had been so badly hurt. He was the one who hadn't fought hard enough, he was the one who hadn't been able to stop the demon from tearing into his son's chest.

Even now he could still hear Dean's cries of agony…there had been so much blood…

John felt unbearable pain rise within him, and as his heart clenched, bitter tears filled his eyes. A small part of him felt grateful for the pain though, because he deserved it. He had failed his son, failed in his promise to Mary to keep both boys safe, and he deserved every torment he could suffer.

And he would willingly suffer anything if it meant that he and Sam could have Dean back, if it meant he could see Dean smile again, see the intensity reflected in his green eyes, or hear his voice.

He would give everything he had if his oldest son could hear him say, "I'm so sorry… You deserved so much more… I never told you how proud I am of you… There are so many things I would change if I only had the chance…"

But it was too late.

All that remained was the deafening silence.

Fin


Thank you so much for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it. :) Please review, and let me know what you think. I would be very grateful. (does her best impression of Sam's puppy dog eyes)

I will answer any reviews I get as long as I have some way to contact you. :)

Take care and God bless!

Ani-maniac494