Disclaimer: I do not own Supernatural


They'd burned the body.

They'd given fire yet one more chunk of their lives.

He'd watched the flames dance and flicker. It had always seemed particularly ironic to him that such a monstrous creation had the power to be so enchanting. Fire could hypnotize, it could warm, give life; it was the sign of civilization, it gave light...

Fire could be beautiful.

He'd known he should feel something. He'd watched, with the most curious sense of detachment, the body - his father - burn, watched until ashes was all that remained. He'd watched until the dancing flames had turned into glowing embers. He'd watched until Sam's sobs had penetrated; until it reached some far off part of his consciousness that his little brother was no longer standing at his side, that he was on the ground, that he was sobbing; until an automatic response emblazed in his soul - to protect, to comfort, to be there - kicked in and he reached out to Sam.

He'd helped his brother into Bobby's truck. He'd let Sam lay his head on his shoulder. He'd let Sam talk, because he knew... Sammy always needed to talk. And then he'd listened to his baby brother's deep breathing and wondered if he'd ever sleep like that again.

He'd let Sam talk before too. He'd let Sam pour out all the reasons why this was wrong and couldn't be right, let his little brother cry and scream because it was Sammy and Sammy always had to cry and scream...

He'd let Sam tell him that they needed to talk, that he needed to talk, that he needed to tell Sam what he was feeling, that he needed to grieve, that holding it in wasn't healthy.

But there was nothing to say, nothing to express; there was nothing.

He didn't know how to tell Sammy that. He didn't know how to tell his brother that when he tried to... feel, to understand... there was nothing.

No grief, no anger-- nothing, but a chilling numbness. A chill that had been with him from the moment he'd sat up in bed; that had spread when Sam had told him

The numbing chill had enveloped him. Even now, in the sun, walking with Sam and Bobby, even now that chill wouldn't leave him. It made it hard to hear voices, hard to think, hard to care...

He could feel Sam's gaze on him. Sam had been looking at him a lot lately. Studying him, waiting for something, something Dean couldn't really give him...

Dad was gone.

Just like that--

After everything--

Gone.

His mind rejected that word. Rejected everything it had heard and seen since the doctor had said: time of death 10:41 AM.

Nothing made sense after that. Nothing could ever make sense.

It took him a moment to realize they'd stopped moving-- his body attuned to Sam's even from amid the chill.

It took him another moment to realize that the destruction in front of him was his baby.

The Impala.

Or what was left of her.

His baby was broken. As broken as everything else...

God...

The Impala...

He felt Sam move next to him and almost followed-- but didn't-- couldn't...

She was naked out here; stripped of all her glory and fire. She looked vulnerable and alone... she looked abandoned... orphaned...

He was moving before he'd realized he wanted to get closer, before he realized that he needed to be there... to touch her...

The steel felt cold in his hand.

God.

It was such a mess.

The Impala.

Everything.

He couldn't do this... he couldn't process this... how could he understand something like this? How could he feel something like this? It was too big...

He lowered his head, suddenly it was just too heavy to hold up. It wasn't right... this wasn't right... such a mess...

This was...

Dad's car.

And it was supposed to be big and aggressive and roar when you turned the key...

It wasn't supposed to sit here in silence, naked, torn open, all the parts scattered...

This was Dad's car...

Dad.

It happened then. Just a prickling, but it happened-- the numbness parted and he felt the wrongness of this... of a world without Dad...

"Dean."

God, Sammy...

A world without Dad... how could that exist? How was he expected to just... go on... without Dad... without the hope of ever... seeing him...

It washed over him then. An agony so deep he couldn't breathe, only gasp. A sound of surprise, of realization... of terror...

"We... we can fix it..."

No. His mind screamed. We can't.

A world without Dad...

He'd failed... god, he'd... failed. He'd tried so hard... he'd promised himself... no matter what... this wouldn't end them... this quest wouldn't end them... but, christ... Dad was gone... and how... how...?

"Dean."

Sam was saying his name, Sam wanted something... but he couldn't move. He couldn't think...

The wreckage of the Impala was under his hands... the wreckage of their lives surrounded him. A lifetime seeking revenge and just like that... it was over.

Dad was dead.

Gone.

It was his now-- the quest.

He had to finish it, because Dad had started it-- it had to be finished. He moved, leaned more of his weight on the wreckage, lowered his head a little more as the swell of grief rose higher...

His Dad had asked him to.

Finish it, son

His Dad had said other things too... god, his Dad had said too much, handed over a burden that was too heavy... he didn't know how...

Sam was there suddenly, his shoulder touching Dean's; his warmth spreading through Dean's chilled body, trying valiantly to chase the numbness away...

Sammy.

They'd all been together... on the same page, for the first time maybe ever... for the first time Dad had made them a team, not a unit. They'd all been truly together... and now...

Now...

They'd given up so much already... not Dad... they shouldn't... god, it wasn't fair...

He wasn't ready. He couldn't carry this weight... he couldn't finish it... not without Dad...

A sob rose up in his chest and he realized suddenly that his face was wet, that his eyes were burning, and that his grip on the Impala was probably going to leaving indentations.

But he couldn't let go... he couldn't let go of the breath - sob - and he couldn't let go of the Impala... he couldn't move at all. All he could do was stand there as tears flowed down his face and the warmth Sam's shoulder had offered spread...

It thawed the chill but underneath the chill there was so much pain he almost wanted it back...

Almost.

Finish it, son

His Dad had trusted him, relied on him...

He couldn't fail again. No.

The tears slowed after that. A decision had been made. The numbness had dissipated.

It was the weight of the decision, the pain of it, that held him in place now.

He would finish it; for his Dad, he would finish it. There was no other choice. It had been his Dad's last order and Dean had always followed orders...

He released a slow breath and then shifted a little.

"We'll fix her."

Sammy sounded hoarse-- like he'd been crying too. He listened for a moment; examining his brother's breathing... waiting for a hitch or anything else that denoted crying.

Nothing came though.

A moment later he lifted his head and studied Sam.

His little brother was watching him with wide eyes; scared and hesitant and ready... ready for whatever Dean wanted...

We'll fix her...

Oh, Sammy.

"No."

He said the word without meaning to, but once it had escaped the others followed. The car would never be the same again-- nothing would ever be the same again.

He told Sam that, as best he could-- the words were halting, but he tried...

"Okay... but she'll... run, right?" his little brother whispered and Dean's heart clenched.

God-- they had to move forward... they had to run and when they did...

Dad... wouldn't be there... wouldn't be an option...

Dad was gone and all he'd left was the quest...

"She's been... through so much... this... it looks bad... it looks... impossible... but..." Sammy continued, with that earnestness and that determination that was so essentially him, "... we can do it..." he told Dean and when Sam said, when Sam looked at him like that, he almost believed him, "... we can... she'll-- she'll run again..."

The weight of his brother's hand on his shoulder was a surprise; it felt steady, as steady as the eyes watching him with earnest determination.

Dad was gone...

A tear slipped down Sam's face.

Dean shifted his gaze to the Impala-- Dad's car...

His car.

It was only his now.

Dad was gone.

Sam's hand was still on his shoulder-- waiting, steady, there...

Dad was gone... but there was more than the quest... there was Sam...

He pulled away slowly, dropping his arms to his side, straightening as he lifted his gaze to Sam's.

Dad was gone, but they were left-- they were together.

He felt a tear slip down his cheek, "Yeah, Sammy," he murmured, "... she'll run again..."


Author's Note: Thank you for reading!