Chapter 15 - Looking to the Future
Sometimes I figure I should know better and sometimes I just really want to knock their heads together. You see I lulled myself into a false sense of security, Sam's fine at work and Dean is doing well at the education centre and here. In fact, he's seemed more like Dean than at any point since the accident but then put the two of them together and you create some sort of firework or bomb that sits there sparking for days before suddenly exploding. To be fair, this one has been on the cards since I helped Dean start studying and encouraged him to make his own decision, which ended up with him deciding not to tell Sam even now four weeks in. It wasn't quite the decision I had in mind for him to make admittedly.
Dean has been pushing himself. He's still doing everything round the house, he does a couple of hours work for me. I won't let him do anything too strenuous yet; I know his chest hasn't healed properly. Dean has written an apology to Missouri but is adamant that he won't speak to her directly until she guarantees she won't read him. In the meantime, the openness of the wound on his chest continues to heal but the pain doesn't go. It's adding to his weariness. He worked late last night to finish an assignment for today and when I brought him back it was all he could do to stay awake. We had lunch and he gave in and went to bed. He slept until Sam came back, at which point he got up and started to make something to eat and that is where the argument started.
Sam in his wisdom had decided that Dean had picked today to be worn out deliberately, that he had elected not to have food prepared before Sam got home with some sort of malicious intent. His problem is that he is due to meet Rosie again to go and see a movie. They've been out a few times since Dean first suggested it. Instead of calling her and changing the arrangements or on this one occasion making do with a sandwich or something quick, Sam decides to lay into Dean for laziness.
Dean has apologised, more profusely than the situation warrants. He has almost finished cooking but Sam's criticisms haven't stopped. When he had to sort his own clothes from the clean laundry pile he started again and my breaking point was reached. I presume Dean' s to be long past as he has stopped apologising and is working, grimly silent.
"Dean?" He looks over to me and shakes his head in denial. He serves the food and the three of us sit in silence at the table.
"Sam. I am sorry. I was tired and I went for a bit of a lie down. I really didn't realise what the time was. I'm sorry."
"Sure, Dean. It's not like you do anything all day. You know, Bobby and I both work, all you have to do is a few bits around the house. Maybe it's time you mad a bit more effort around here."
"Sam, I'm sorry. You're right."
"Dean! No! Sam, stop it! You don't know what you're talking about." I'm angry at them both now, Sam for his refusal to see even without the studying how much Dean does, round the house and for me, Dean for sitting back and letting Sam criticise. There is too much of John Winchester's influence showing on their characters.
"Bobby, you're letting him give up. He needs to make an effort or he's not going to get any better. If he can turn down help from Missouri, the least he can do is a few jobs around the house. Jobs he was doing weeks ago with less problem." Sam sounds completely unforgiving.
"Sam, it won't happen again, okay. I was... I fell asleep, okay. I won't let it happen again." I just wish that Dean would stand up for himself against Sam. I know he can't against his father but since the accident he has increasingly allowed Sam to take on that role. He'd always led when it came to hunting and out of the game, he sits back and follows Sam's wishes.
"Dean's done plenty, Sam. Just knock it off. It wouldn't do you any harm to do something round the house now and again, instead of just expecting it to be done by Dean. The same goes for me. We're both just assuming everything will be done and that ain't fair."
"Course he is." The sarcasm in Sam's voice is pure John at that instant and I'm surprised when that draws a more defiant response from Dean.
"Sam, stop it. Your problem is with me, not Bobby. I'm sorry I didn't get everything done. I was doing something else. I've been studying I guess and it's not so easy at my age."
"Studying? Studying what? Tell me you're not researching a hunt."
"No, I'm not. I'm going to school."
"School? You? Right. What are you studying, Dean? You never even finished school."
"I'm finishing school now." Unlike Sam, Dean's answers are calm and quiet.
"Why? Why now?"
"Because you said you wanted us to stop hunting. You wanted us to settle down. You wanted us to have proper jobs. You remember that Sam? Do you think I'm a prize catch? What can I do? Who would want to employ me? I'm 27, I've no job, no job history, no qualifications, no address, no references. I can't even prove I can read and write to an end of school standard. They'd laugh me out of any interview."
"Dean, there's loads of stuff you could do," Sam sounds shocked at Dean's claim, but the thing is they're both right. Dean could do almost anything he put his mind to but he needs to be able to prove it to an employer and to himself.
"Sam, it doesn't matter what you or I think I can do. I need to be able to prove it to get a job."
"So you're going to school?"
"Yeah. Now you ought to finish getting ready before you're late."
"I'll call Rosie, we need to finish this."
"Sam, we'll talk later. We haven't gone through all this for you to not get there."
"You're not getting out of this, Dean. We are going to talk."
"I know. Later right? Now shift your ass and let Bobby and I have some peace."
And it's over, just like that. They amaze me, all that fire and then quiet support.
As Sam leaves, Dean goes out to wave him off. The future is looking better right now. It's odd, after years of living alone, content to be so, at this moment I don't want to think about the boys moving on. I've grown to like having the company. I'm happy for them to stay indefinitely, maybe use this as a base even when they're ready to move on. I'd like to offer them the support they should be getting from their father but wonder if they'd accept it. I look at them and think of my son who died with my wife so many years ago. I wonder what he'd have been like at 23, 27 and 30. Would his heart have been as sincere as theirs? Could he have been as selfless as Dean? As intense as Sam? As determined as either?
Author's Note - That is the end of this story, however, there is a sequel coming as soon as I can get it typed up entitled 'Choices'. To all who have stuck with me this far - you probably deserve some sort of medal - accept my thanks in its place.