Disclaimer: I don't own them because if I did y'all know that never would'a happened...I'm cruel but I'm not that cruel.
Summary: 2x01 In My Time of Dying tag. Dean's already unraveling at the seams when he remembers more than he should.
Spoilers for 2x01 In My Time Of Dying.
John's so close that Dean can feel his father's breath on the back of his neck; can feel the bristles of stubble against his own cheek that made him giggle when he was a child. The same stubble that made his mother roll her eyes and insist on a wash and a clean shave.
The same stubble that made Daddy look so much older and all the more tired.
Dean can feel his own heart thumping against his chest. Hard and erratic as the fear builds. He's scared, he's terrified.
"Don't be scared, Dean."
He's waiting for a reason not to be and he'll never get it.
He can hear his father's heart beat too. Just as loud. John, it seems, is scared too.
I made a deal, son. I had to, Dean, I had to. I love you. I did it for you kiddo.
Dean stares, and feels it again. The pit in his stomach growing. He was right. Something is wrong. So very wrong.
Dean stands with Sammy.
No, Dean leans on Sammy, and the little brother gladly shoulders the older son's weight.
The machines whirr and bleep and scream and the remaining Winchesters left standing stare on in wonder. They watch their father with a keen and trained eye. They watch as soldiers too close to their commander. They watch as lost little boys, orphaned yet again.
They watch in fear and in pain.
"No, no, that's our dad." Dean tells the nurse. "That's our dad!"
Don't die, don't die, don't die...
"Okay, that's it everybody." The doctor announces. "I'll call it."
Don't you dare...
"Time of death, 10:41am."
Dean doesn't say a word when Sam pays for the room. He waits until they've been in the room for ten minutes with nothing more than an awkward as hell silence before he leaves with a slam of the door and the weight of the world right back on his shoulders.
Sam grabs his jacket and follows his brother.
He sits down next to him in the bar and lets Dean get drunk enough that he's numb.
There's no way either of them are sleeping tonight, and no amount of alcohol is gonna change that.
They're fighting again, and neither one of them know how it started, but this is how it ends.
With blame. With John.
"It's my job to protect you, to protect Dad—"
"Dean you're just a guy, okay, you're not—"
"Special?" Dean cuts him off. "Not psychic? Well in case you'd forgotten you were an Average Joe a year ago too, Sam." There's a touch of a sneer at the end of each word and it takes all of Sam's reserve not to raise his voice.
"What? Nothing about our lives was average, ever."
"We had a family." Dean tells him, his teeth bared, his jaw clenched, and his palms sweaty. "We had—" He swallows the lump in his throat. "We were okay, we were alive and we were helping people, and we were okay."
"Dean..." Sam begins. He hears the catch in his brother's speech. Hears the emotion and sees the burning tears threatening to fall.
"Just because I can't make shit move with my mind doesn't mean I'm useless, it doesn't just—it doesn't."
"I didn't mean it like that." And you know it.
"The hell you didn't, Sam."
"You won't even let me finish, you're just shouting because it's easier. It's easier to scream, it's easier to pretend! I know it hurts, okay? I know!"
Dean storms off for the third time that day.
Sam's hurting too. He could live to be one hundred years old and he'll never forget those days. He'll never forget the sirens. The wailing machines while his brother fought for his life. He'll never forget the foreboding in his father's voice when he begged that they not fight. Not now.
He'll never forget seeing his father on the floor.
He'll never forget running to his side, holding him, cradling him in his arms and screaming. Screaming.
He could live forever and he'd never forget.
Dean ignores Sam. He either ignores him, or he screams at him. Conversations escalate into shouting matches about who is the better son, who was the better son. Twice now they've lead to actual fighting. Fists flying, legs kicking and all the while they're hurting more than before.
Dean doesn't want to hurt his little brother. He promised he'd look after him, look out for him and protect him...
But he wants to hurt something and he doesn't care what. He wants to punch a hole in the wall until his knuckles bleed and his skin tears. He wants to scream until his throat is hoarse and his voice is lost.
He wants to wake up from this hell.
He wants to be four years old again.
He wants his mother to make it better, but most of all, he wants his father to tell him he's okay. He wants to be the one with all the answers. He wants to be shouted at, he wants to be told what to do.
He needs orders, he needs something, but all he can do is fight.
Dean's hands fidget at his sides. He's clenching them and opening them. Spreading his fingers wide, before bringing them in again. He's putting them in his pockets, taking them out. Putting them in with determination as though the answer was inside.
He's pacing like a madman, muttering too.
"Dean, he's gone." Sam tells his brother, because for nearly ten minutes Dean's started a sentence with that. He starts with a story that trails away into denial, into fear and hopelessness, before the cycle begins once more.
He tells Dean in a tone so final that he hates himself for it, because he wants his father back too.
"We can bring him back." Dean tries, but Sam knows better.
"Are you kidding me?" he asks, incredulous. "You know what happens when you mess with that kind of magic, Dean. It's wrong, you can't be serious."
"You did it!" Dean cries and Sam wonders if they've made any progress since Nebraska at all. The more time that passes without their father walking through the door, the more time Dean feels himself unraveling at the seams.
"No, I saved you I didn't bring you back from the dead, I brought you back from the brink. It's different."
"No it isn't."
Dean knows he sounds like a child, but he wants that innocence. He wants someone to make it alright because he's tried of being that someone.
"Dad would kill us if he knew you were even considering it."
"We have to do something. There's...there's always something."
"No, Dean. There isn't. There isn't always something, there's not a solution for everything. It just is."
Victory hangs in the balance, but they're wrong; the battle goes on without them.
"What? What did you just say?" Dean asked his brother suddenly, eliciting a frown from the younger brother.
"I said there's no easy answer—"
"No, after that."
"I didn't say anything Dean." Sam replied, his tone reflecting his concern.
There's no such thing as an honourable death. My corpse is gonna rot in the ground and my family is gonna die.
Dean span around, the voice is as clear as day but Sam's lips aren't moving. Sam isn't the one talking. Dean feels woozy all of a sudden. The ground shifts, but he doesn't fall. He just sees.
He sees his father. He sees lies and Sam walking away. He sees a woman on the stairs, and a mother weeps over her daughter's bed. He hears barely audible voices. If not when. Sandbox and inevitable.
"I've given everything I've ever had, now you're just gonna sit there and watch me die? What the hell kind of father are you?"
No answer. There never is.
White corridors and green ghosts.
"Still no pulse."
A jolt, a shock, a jump and fall.
"What is it?" Dean asks once Sam's left.
What is it? What's wrong? Let me help.
"You know when you were a kid, I'd come home from a hunt and after what I'd seen I'd be, I'd be wrecked and you—you come up to me and you put your hand on my shoulder and you look me in the eye and you—you'd say 'It's okay, Dad.'"
"I know my father better than anyone, and you ain't him."
Its okay, Dad. It's okay.
"Dean, I'm sorry."
"You shouldn't have had to say that to me, I should have been saying that to you."
"Fine. You're both so sure? Go ahead. Kill me."
"You know I put too much on your shoulders, I made you grow up too fast. You took care of Sammy, you took care of me. You did that, and you didn't complain, not once. I just want you to know that I am so proud of you."
"He wouldn't be proud of me. He'd tear me a new one."
"Is this really you talking?" Dean asks, forcing the hint of humour into his voice even if he can't feel it himself.
"Yeah it's really me." He smiles, but it's the saddest thing Dean's ever seen.
"Why are you saying this stuff?" Dean asks with worry and John—being his usual self skirts around the question.
"I want you to watch out for Sammy okay?"
"He's clearly John's favorite. Even when they fight. It's more concern than he's ever shown you."
"Yeah dad you know I will."
"You shoot me; you shoot me in the heart son!"
"You're scaring me."
"Don't be scared, Dean." John comforts his first born, in the way he wishes he had done since 1983.
Its okay, Dean. Everything's gonna be fine, you're alive and that's what matters.
"Dean?" the older brother hears, but it's further than the unknown voice in his head. Sam's far away, but she's closer. She's there; she's walking towards him clad in black.
Sam watches his brother as his eyelids flutter and he's backing further away.
"Dean?" He tries again, but to no avail. "Dean?"
Disembodied, scared and over the decades it will probably drive you mad. Maybe even violent. How do you think angry spirits are born? They can't let go and they can't move on, and you're about to become one. The same thing you hunt.
"Leave me alone." Dean whispers so quietly, so softly, but all Sam can hear is the fear.
His brother is shaking, shivering in the warmth of the worn down motel room. He's rocking himself back against the wall, and his eyes are shut tight, his teeth digging into his bottom lip and his hands balled into fists, grabbing at his hair.
He's crouched on his knees, head in his hands, and Sam's desperately screaming his name.
Time to put the pain behind you.
Can't let go, can't move on.
There's nothing they can do.
Death is nothing to fear. It's your time to go, Dean, and you're living on borrowed time already.
Let go. Move on.
His hands are shaking more and more but every time Sam tries to grab them—to stop the tiny tremors that grow and grow—Dean flinches. He flinches and moves further back. Falling further and deeper to where he can't hear his brother and Sam can't reach him.
"Today's your lucky day kid."
The comfort is gone, the decision is void with no choice left to make. The eyes are yellow and sickly green, they're cruel and malicious with not an ounce of remorse. No comfort. Just glee.
Searing pain, blinding him. Explosions of light and dark, right and wrong, and a voice telling him he'll regret it all.
A hand on his head and a tube down his throat.
No, no, no, no.
His eyes are open, but all he sees is then. The eyes. His father on the bed. His father not breathing. The demon grinning, and the pain the unimaginable pain of loss, of grief, of confusion and fear.
"Dean? Dean it's me, it's Sam." His voice is stern and he's desperate for his brother to just hear him. To listen and tell him what's wrong.
Is all Dean can say, mutter, whisper.
He falls forward into Sam's arms and buries his face into his brother's shoulder with the forgotten images engraved on his mind, a bitter taste in his mouth and his father's last words ringing in his ears.
I did it for you, kiddo.