Disclaimer: I still don't own Supernatural. I do own some really good muffins, in case Kripke wants a trade…
Warning: John is nice in this one, so beware…
All Over Again
Dean's been quiet for days now. That's never a good sign. Dean is never quiet. Oh, he doesn't really say much, but he's never quiet. I would have thought him incapable of being quiet or standing still, but I have seen him on a hunt, so I know for a fact that my eldest is capable of such unordinary things.
The thing is, lately, he doesn't do much, either. That is to say, he goes to school and completes all his chores in uncharacteristic quietness, but other than that, he just sits there in his and Sammy's bedroom, more often than not by himself. He's not even watching TV or annoying his little brother, and that's not only unusual, but highly suspicious, too.
I think maybe it's that age thing, teenager stuff and whatnot, but Dean's never been that quiet for this long, and I'm starting to think he might be hiding something. I don't like it, I don't like him hiding things from me. I know I'm no father of the year, but I hate it when he hides things from me. I'm going to find out, I always do. Hunting is a skill every father of a teenager needs.
Dean is sixteen now, and usually, I can't get him to shut up. His favorite topics these days seem to be girls, cars, girls, my Impala, hunting, and girls. This could be a problem, because Dean is not a little boy anymore. I honestly can't remember the last time he had been just that, just a little boy. And I know he does more than just talk about girls. That was one awkward talk.
I think maybe there's a girl he likes and these are only hormones. Well, I hope that's all this is. But it's Saturday night, and Dean isn't going out. He just sits there in his room, reading a book. Yes, it's research, but still, not something my boy would normally volunteer to do. Well, not this boy, anyway.
Just seeing him like that… I worry about him, I really do. What if he's sick? What if he's hurt and he's trying to cover it up again? I'll just have to consult with the best information database I know. Whoever thinks the internet is the best place to get information obviously never had a younger brother.
Now, Sammy is a tough one. He can be quiet on occasion. Unfortunately, it usually takes me raising my voice to create that occasion. And Heaven help me, he started talking about girls, too. I wish Mary was here, she always handled those things better.
I ask Sam, very carefully so he won't digress from the subject, about how his brother is doing at school. I ask if Dean had been getting in fights lately, if there's a girl he seems interested in, and all sorts of things that might upset my eldest. But Sam doesn't know, either, and all I get for my efforts are three hours of Sam talking non-stop until I finally send him out to spar with Dean. I could really use an aspirin now…
I tried the talking thing, too. The direct, one on one approach. See, I'm not very good at these things. Never have been, not like my Mary used to be. But I don't understand this change in my son, and I don't like it. Dean being quiet like this, it can't be good. It's sort of like the calm before the storm rips your house apart, and I can't afford for my house to get ripped apart. Not again. So I do the best I can. I make sure Dean knows that, when he's ready, I'm here for him. That I will listen. That he can come to me. He gave me a funny look when I said that, I wonder why.
I really hope I'll actually be there when the time comes, because there's this hunt I have to go on, and then another, and soon we're moving again.
Things get a little better though, Dean get a little better, but every now and then he gets in these moods, tosses Sam out of their room, slams the door and just sits there by himself, listening to his music. Where he got his taste in music is beyond me. And I am not too old, that stuff's loud!
It takes a few more months before Dean breaks and comes to me. It's January, nearly two weeks before his seventeenth birthday, when I notice I am being watched. Someone is watching me while I'm in my study doing some research for one of my friends. It takes me a heartbeat to switch into Hunter Mode, and I quickly grab my handgun and turn, my gun pointed at my teenage son. Dean gasps, startling for a second, and then just says 'never mind' and stalks away, back to his room. I cursed under my breath. That boy knows better than to sneak up on me when I'm working. But that's not really why I got angry. I got angry because I should have switch into Dad Mode, and not Hunter Mode, but it's too late now.
Only Dean gets moodier and moodier the closer it gets to his birthday, and I finally had enough. So, one night, after a suspiciously quiet dinner, I just toss Sam out to the living room, ordering him to either watch TV or clean up the place, and I go into the boys' room, closing the door behind me, sitting down on Sammy's bed.
"What's wrong, kiddo?" I ask for the millionth time, only this time, Dean is actually there when I ask it. He wouldn't look at me. You don't have to be a hunter to figure out there's something there when your teenage kid won't look at you.
"Nothing." He shrugs, getting up from his bed and walking over to his desk. I snort. That gets me a little glance. I don't snort very often. Or ever. But Dean quickly looks away. I sighed inwardly, trying to remind myself that now is not the time to yell at the boys for leaving their knives out in the open. And is Sammy's knife getting a little dull? Oh, right, Dean. Now is the time to have a talk with Dean.
"Yeah, right." I say, watching as my oldest does his best to avoid me, and it hurts. It hurts that it's so damn difficult to get Dean to tell me what's wrong, because there is something wrong, I can tell. "Come on, sport, you know you can talk to me, right?" I try again, but Dean still wouldn't look at me. I exhale loudly, getting up from Sammy's bed and over to my son, putting a hand on Dean's shoulder, squeezing it lightly.
I don't say anything, just wait for Dean to talk. That's all I can do, really. I've never been good at this kind of thing. And then I can feel Dean's shoulders sag, and he turns away from me again. "Dean?" I try again. A blind man could see there's something wrong by now, and the longer it takes for Dean to talk, the more worried I get.
"I don't remember." Dean finally says, though he says it in such a small voice that I almost don't catch that. I frown.
"What?" I ask him. Dean swallows, and then finally looks at me, and there is this look in his eyes, this little boy look that I can't remember seeing on Dean's face ever since… Well, ever since Dean was seven, I think. Dean's jaws are clenched, he's trying to look strong, but his lower lip trembled and his hazel eyes are gleaming with wetness.
"I don't remember her anymore." Dean admits in a whisper and lowers his eyes, and this time, I am the one who swallows hard. I have to sit back down, my legs just refuse to support my weight. "I've been trying, and I can't remember her anymore." Dean continues, looking, sounding so much like the small four year old that kept asking me when Mommy was coming back or what he had done wrong to make her go away. My heart is breaking. I take a deep breath, trying to control my emotions, but Dean – looking at me with those big hazel eyes – it's not helping.
"Sammy, he… He keeps asking me all those questions, and I don't know what to tell him, because I can't remember her anymore!" Dean admits, tears pooling in his eyes. He was doing everything he could to not let them fall down his cheeks, and every word that comes out of his mouth breaks my heart a little bit more. But I can't afford to break. Not now. Not in front of Dean. I'll break later, alone. Because right now, my son needs me. I push myself up from Sam's bed again and go over to Dean. And that's when he loses the fight, when the tears start falling down his cheeks.
"I don't remember what she used to cook or what it tasted like. I don't remember what her perfume smelt like. I don't remember the songs she used to sing to me, or any special games we used to play… I can barely remember what she looked like!" Dean cries, and I can barely hold my own tears at bay. I pull my boy into my arms, crushing him to my chest. "I don't remember her, dad. I'm losing mom all over again, and I can't make it stop!"
The End (?)
A/N: I do have another chapter in mind, but it's totally up to you. I'm okay with it being a oneshot.