Disclaimer: Supernatural doesn't belong to me, nor does Dean, Sam, or the other characters you recognise. I am making no money so please don't come looking for me.
Warning: some references and implied violence as the story progresses
Spoilers - post-end of Series 1 Devil's Trap so some passing mention of events in Season episodes such as Faith, Home, Devil's Trap etc.
Author's Note: Depending which episode I have watched most recently, my feelings about John Winchester vary. If you are a fan of JW - don't read and flame - this story for reasons best known to itself was not kind to him - if that is going to upset you, please don't read on.
Author's Note (2): Thanks Rae for your continued support.
Author's Note (3) - this story is a sequel to 'There's a Way Through to the Other Side' and 'Moving On'. Events in this story will make more sense if you have read those stories (I Hope!).
Chapter 1 - An Unexpected Visitor
It's good to be out of the classroom. Not that I'm not enjoying it, but on days like today, I can't get used to being stuck indoors for hours at a time. Just to sit for a few minutes and bask in the sunshine makes it worth savouring the moment. I ought to call Bobby and let him know I'm out for the day, in case he's waiting for me.
I open the phone and flick to his number. He picks up almost immediately. "Yep, it's me... that's right, finished for the day... uh-huh, do you want me to go do some shopping?...No...Okay... Okay, I'll see you in 15 here... No it's fine, I'll just enjoy the sun. See you then."
I sit down on the wall outside the education centre to wait.
"Dean! I thought it was you as I drove past. No surprise to find you still round here. I see your phone does work. You changed the number?"
I go cold at the sound of the voice. All this time, when I have worried about him and now Dad's stood here and I have frozen in front of him. "Um, yes, no, new phone and new number. That's right."
"New phone, new number, they look like new clothes. What's going on, Dean? Feeling flush? Been hustling?
"Er.. no sir, no hustling."
"So where'd the money come from then?"
"Working, I guess."
"Right, what about hunting? Have you even bothered?"
"It's not like that, I still..."
"You're still sitting around on your ass. What was the matter with the old phone? I've been trying to get in touch with you."
"It broke in the accident. Sam got me a new one. I guess, I never thought about letting you know, I just didn't think..."
"No, you don't think, do you soldier?"
"I guess, I figured you'd call Sam if you needed us."
"Right, because your brother is so good at answering when I call. So what are you doing sitting here then?"
"I'm waiting for a lift."
"Bobby. I'm staying out with him." I know it's the wrong thing to say but I just can't think of a lie to replace it with.
"It's one thing about you Dean. You're predictable when you're weak. It's time you'd pulled yourself together and got back to hunting. That is where your priority should be. Anyway, I'm guessing Bobby is going to be here soon and I don't want to speak to him so I'm going. I have a question for you first though Dean. Do you still know what's important? Does family still count to you?"
"Yes, of course it does."
"Family should be a strong unit, Dean. You didn't keep ours strong. You let ours break. You helped Sam go and look what happened. You want it back? You want me back?"
"We'll meet again then. When? Where?"
"Friday, here, same time."
"It better be worth my while, a longer time to chat, Dean. Oh yeah, if you want me to stick around long enough to rebuild the family, don't tell Bobby. The choice is yours."
"You'd better think about being ready to get back in the hunt as well. Time is a wasting Dean. You have obligations to fulfill." With that parting shot, he stalks off.
I have wanted Dad to come back and join us since the accident, his continued absence has ached inside but now he's here and... it doesn't feel good or right and I can't help feeling I've made a mistake in agreeing to meet him on Friday.
"Dean, you coming?" I look up into Bobby's face. He's smiling and his eyes are warm. It's such a contrast to Dad's reaction. I climb in the truck and he pulls away.
I stare out of the window as Bobby drives and think. I need to be ready for Friday. I need to know what I want before I meet with Dad. I know what he's going to want. If I do what he want, I'm giving all of this up. I can't expect Bobby to take me back in again if it all goes to hell and there is no one else. I'll be throwing in school as well and I'm even nearer to graduating this time. But he is my Dad, I owe him. I owe it to Mom to look out for him.
"Geez, boy! Where are you? I've been talking to you for the last ten minutes without a reaction. I was beginning to think you'd died on me."
"Sorry, just thinking, miles away."
"Dean, you don't look so good. You not feeling well?"
"I'm fine, don't worry."
"Maybe you should take it easy this afternoon. One afternoon off won't do any harm. No point knocking yourself when you've got so much coming up at school. An afternoon's rest will refresh you, you'll be ready to start again tomorrow."
"Okay, you're fine, but I don't want you to do anything for me this afternoon."
"In fact, I think we'll both take the afternoon off and I think Sam's home early today isn't he?"
"Your brother, Sam, finishing early today?"
"Is he? Umm, I guess."
"You're not with it at all. Has something happened?"
"No, nothing, nothing important. It's fine. I'm fine."
"Okay. How about I make lunch. You rest and when Sam gets home, the two of you go for a walk?"
"A walk where?"
"Out, fresh air, just time away, remember that?"
"I suppose I could do that, if Sam wants to."
"Talk him into it Dean, persuade him. The sun is shining, take advantage, the weather will change again soon enough."
I'm glad he's given up talking as I just can't keep track of the conversation. My mind keeps flitting back to Dad, how severe he looked, pissed he sounded. Do I want to go back to that life? To him? What would Mom want me to do?