Flames. The ceiling was on fire, and he couldn't do a damn thing about it. He tried anyway, climbing up on the bed and reaching up, just to watch her body disintegrate and rain down on him in the aftermath. The fire was gone, and he was covered in ashes, with nothing more to do but sink down on the bed and burst into tears. He'd failed.
Dean woke up and instinctively slid his hand under his pillow, relieved when his fingers curled around the handle of the knife he kept there. He wasn't sure why he bothered, these days. It hadn't kept their father safe. Or Jessica. Or his mom. Or his wife. Sam wasn't the only one who could have secrets. The difference was, he hadn't bothered asking Dean what made his eyes bleed months ago. Hadn't stopped to consider what it might mean. Sometimes, Dean had nightmares of his own. Yeah, he had secrets. His lips formed the word, "Sorry." And then he was out of bed, pushing the thoughts aside, getting ready for a new day.
Sam was already awake, pointing to a cup of coffee as he looked through the newspaper.
Dean mumbled something that sounded like gratitude, taking a drink. "Anything?"
Sam shook his head. "Not yet."
Dean nodded at that and sank down on the foot of the bed, trying to give himself time to wake up. If she'd been around, there wouldn't be need for a newspaper. She would just be going to bed, taking off those boots of hers that he tried to talk her out of wearing. Called her a masochist a couple of times. She had just laughed at him, but he knew somehow that she wanted the pain. Thrived on it. Sam would have loved her. Cassie would have hated her. Maybe he's a masochist too, for picking someone so different after she was gone. Trying to love anything that wasn't her. Someday, he'd let Sam psychoanalyze the hell out of his choices. When he got around to telling him.
Sam was rubbing his arm absentmindedly, where Gordon had cut it a couple of weeks earlier. "I think I found a werewolf." He turned his head to look at his brother.
"Nah." Dean shook his head. "It's not a full moon."
Sam stared at him for a couple of seconds, then turned back to the paper. "Okay."
Dean's teeth clenched. This was more of that crap about not dealing with Dad's death, wasn't it? He was sick of it already. Kind of hard to deal with the fact that you're responsible for the deaths of two people you cared about.
"Yeah?" Dean responded, taking another gulp of coffee. He liked the way it burned his throat a little on the way down.
Sam folded the newspaper and set it aside. "I think we should talk about this."
"I'm serious." His brother insisted. "Dad's gone, Dean."
"Lots of people are gone, Sammy." Dean blurted. He took another drink of coffee to hide his annoyance at the way that had slipped out. Fucking vampires. They'd caused all of the memories of her to resurface.
"Like who?" Sam gave him a curious look.
"Like...Mom. And everybody else we couldn't save."
Sam looked down then, at the bandage on his arm. "You ever think we could settle down? Give this up?"
"Weren't you just saying that you wanted to make it up to Dad by keeping this going?" Dean snapped.
"What good are we if we both die without having our own families?" Sam countered.
"You hunting demons or raising cattle?" Dean taunted. "I keep tellin' you to get laid. Maybe if you listened once in awhile, you wouldn't feel like you had to help populate the planet." He'd had his own family. It didn't work out.
"Yeah, because it was such a great idea last time." Sam remarked.
Dean scowled. "You want to quit on me and go back to college?"
"Maybe you should." Dean mused. "Go back to college, call Sarah, have a litter of puppies."
"Not until the demon's gone." Sam looked exhausted. "No point until we get rid of it, or she'd die, like Jess."
Great, so it was his fault that his wife had gotten swept up in one of those little robot vacuum things? "Fuck you, Sam." He blurted.
"What did I say wrong?" Sam frowned.
"Nothing. Find us something to kill, would ya?"
"I thought we were going to take a break for a week or two, after what happened last night."
"You're the one looking for werewolves."
"To see if they're all evil." Sam looked a little embarrassed. "If vampires aren't, maybe other things aren't, and we can..."
"What?" Dean looked almost amused. "Network?" He supposed she would be angry with him for denying ever having known what he did about vampires, because of her. Killing without question. Well, he'd already figured out he was probably going to Hell, if such a place existed. She'd be in Heaven though. She'd already gone once. No reason for them not to take her back.
Sam gave him an expectant look. "Not network. Well, kind of, I guess. Think about how much we could do if we teamed up with the good ones."
Dean glanced at the floor. Been there, done that. If he hadn't been forcing himself to listen to his brother, he would have missed Sam's next statement.
"You miss her, don't you?"
Dean looked up sharply. "Who?"
Sam took a deep breath before answering. "Your wife."