Not exactly hot off the press and not anything new or revealing, but whatcha gonna do? I thought the muse had packed it in and I would just be relaxing for a while and then that last damn scene in CSPWDT just kept creeping into my mind forcing me to replay that one scene over and over again. This started out as a one-shot, quickly evolved into a two-shot and ultimately finished out as a three-shot. Three POVs, guess you can figure out what the next two chapters will be.

Correction: Bobby joined the family, in my mind, in AHBL2 so there is now a fourth chapter concerning Dean's deal. Bobby's POV

This is for Swan who inspired me to see the beauty and depth of that last scene and get past the shock that the writers would address such a profound issue with a tag at the end of an episode with no real resolution.

Waiting

Chapter One – Dean

Dean Winchester never really lived, not in the sense of truly embracing life and all the joys it could offer. He had seen too much over the rocky course of his life to expect a happily ever after. Rather, he spent his life waiting: for the next bad omen, for everyone to leave him, for his loved ones to die…, to finally be left all alone.

He perfected his smartass attitude and cocky bravado to hide the terror he felt every morning when he opened his eyes to another possible pain, another impending loss. The most he could hope for was to delay the inevitable; he knew it was coming as sure as he knew evil existed in this world. It was only a matter of time.

He knew pain; it was his constant companion, his only friend; not a comfort, but at least a known quantity. His pain was not the pain of injuries or of living on the outskirts of civilization, of never having friends or feeling he belonged. His pain was more primal: the terror of knowing every good feeling or event would be matched and then exceeded by a more devastating anguish. The knowledge that he was doomed and evil would enact its revenge sooner or later. So he waited…

As time passed he found refuge behind his flippant remarks and strong facade, proving to the world and himself that he was a brave, confident man, a man who knew how to handle danger and prevail. His one salvation as he waited for the fates to inflict their final wrath was his job. He could get lost in his work, the one place he felt in control. He knew his job, how to analyze and track and vanquish evil when it dared raise its snarling head.

He could handle the job, his life, well… that was beyond all control, intricately woven into the tapestry of good vs. evil, the picture obscured by fate and destiny, the end result known only by some unseen force, a puppet master playing with his toys.

He had always prided himself on his strength and determination; refusing to ever ask for help, depending only upon his own inherent fortitude to see him through whenever danger presented itself. Everything changed once the Demon possessed his dad and pinned him and his brother to the wall. In a flash of searing pain and excruciating agony he saw the end of his family, starting with his own death and he reached deep within himself and finally the words came, pleading, begging for a means to save his family.

"Dad don't you let it kill me. Dad, please."

He had waited his entire life to ask for something and when he did, he initially received nothing for his efforts, nothing except the pain, always the pain.

"Dad please." Eyes pleading with more desperate, harrowing emotion than words could ever convey. Please Dad, save your family. Show us your love. Save us. Please.

And Dean waited for his dad to save him, to save his family. John was paralyzed within his own meat suit and couldn't break free at first, couldn't respond in time. Rivers of blood cascaded down Dean's chest as he heaved for breath, gasping for life as his dad watched and waited in horror. John stood immobilized, trapped in his own flesh prison, watching his older son die.

Weeks after his miraculous cure Dean knew his dad had ultimately answered his pleas, but he never asked for this, never meant for this. How could Dad think he'd want this? Not like this Dad, not like this.

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Weeks passed and as he rebuilt the Impala he focused all attention on the car, something concrete he could touch with his hands and shape to his will, nothing like the pain and guilt that lay heavy in his gut rendering him helpless to control his destiny, to reverse his fate. Once the car was finished he searched out another outlet to focus his energy on, another escape to take him away from the reminders of how tragic and fucked up his life had become.

He was at last roaring down the highway again, his beloved Impala fully restored, a new case with a couple of decapitated heads and a pile of dead cows, and his brother by his side, at least for now, so he acted the happy man. Mr. Sunshine.

What more could a man ask for? He knew he could never ask for more, he already had his answer and he certainly didn't need to be reminded. His destiny had been written eons before on an ancient tablet with the dire warning, be thankful for the time you have with them, Dad and Sam, cause it won't last. You know it won't, they'll only leave you, sooner or later. One down, one to go.

Destiny. Fate.

So you work the job. You take whatever pride and sense of worth you can in defeating evil one more time. Sam looks at you like you're losing it and he's probably right. Hell, you know he's right. If you get lost in your job then maybe you can forget how much you really stand to lose, and how much you've already watched slip away.

You take whatever pleasure you can in killing something, anything. If it's supernatural you kill it. It's what you do, the only thing that eases your pain. Hell, you'd told Sam that way back in the day.

"I'll tell you what else helps. Killing as many evil sons of bitches as I possibly can."

Problem now is it's no longer helping. You felt the adrenaline surge, your fervor burning hot like molten lava through your body, as you decapitated that fang with the industrial saw, blood splattering across your face, one red streak running down the side of your nose like the tracks of your tears. Your vacant, dead eyes glanced for just a moment at the look of horror on your brother's face…, appalled at your actions and terrified…, afraid of you and for you, and then you felt nothing. Not even a release, nothing but the hole growing larger, taunting you, mocking you, reminding you you can't hide from your destiny.

You never believed in fate or destiny before, a man makes his own fate, controls his own destiny, but now…everything is jacked, nothing makes sense anymore, not since….

"Oh man, I've been itching for a hunt." You'd confessed to Gordon.

"Dean, it's not a crime to need your job."

Gordon and you, the same, born to do this, not like Sammy. No, Sammy's different, not wrong, just different and you wish you could be different, cause the problem is the hunt isn't doing it for you anymore. It just isn't the same and you know it never will be again.

You need that rush; the adrenaline of the hunt coursing through your veins to tell you you're still alive and not dead like your mind says you should be. A distant voice echoes in your head whispering you were dead. The dead should stay dead. You repeat that mantra over and over, knowing the truth of it, knowing the truth of Dad. Knowing you can't face Sam cause he was his dad too. And you're sorry, sorry for everything. You feel yourself buckling under the pressure of this guilt on top of all the pain that's already consuming you.

Maybe you're like the zombie, what came back isn't quite right, isn't really you. You're lost without Dad and the hole just keeps growing and you don't think you'll ever be right again.

Twice now you've cheated the reaper; twice now innocent men have died in your place. Why do you deserve to live more than them? More than Layla? You feel cursed, not blessed, the weight more than you can bear. The dead should stay dead.

And the hollow empty feeling just keeps expanding, dark and ominous. You thought you could fill it with revenge or justice or what the hell, anything, but it just keeps pressing on your heart and soul and growing. You wasted the vampire, you impaled the zombie back into her grave and it doesn't help, nothing helps, the hole just grows deeper, a black abyss more overpowering than ever and you feel yourself disappearing into the darkness.

Every good deed deserves….Hell, you know what you deserve, what you've always been given: your worst fears realized. Yeah, that's it, that's all there is. You've spent your life waiting and hoping it won't happen and here it is. Dad's dead and it's all your fault. Man, it doesn't get any worse than that.

"I always thought nothing could get my dad. My dad's indestructible, he'll always be around. Nothing can kill my dad and just like that….he's gone." A snap of the fingers and the haunting look in your eyes betrays your pain.

Evil couldn't best your dad, only love could kill him. The taste is bitter in your mouth, the knowledge repugnant and you just want to howl at the wind and curse the gods, so you beat the Impala with a crow bar until your hands are numb from the impacts and the bar slips away, clanking loudly to the ground. You are heaving so hard you wish your heart would just burst and release all the pain held inside, but it can't, you won't let it, and the anguish is eating you up inside and devouring you. You are exhausted from your fury, but still it doesn't solve anything, it doesn't ease your pain. Nothing does.

Sam keeps baiting you, trying to get you to share and care, but you know it's only a matter of time until he'll leave you too, so you push him away. You keep your distance cause it will hurt less, you can't let him see inside your soul cause then you know you couldn't take it when he leaves, and you know he'll leave, sooner or later. You can't tell him what's the matter, you can't open that door cause the fucking bull behind it will trample you both to death. So you barricade the door with silence and denial and wait.

Damn that bull, he's a tough motherfucker. He's not gonna stay buried in the basement for long, you can feel him ramming the door, and you know it's only a matter of time 'til it breaks down…, 'til you break down. That door never was that sturdy, you always meant to reinforce it but instead damnit, Sam's been picking at the lock for the last year. Almost got it open, didn't he?

And then you face the cold hard truth, no longer able to pretend any different. Dad's dead and it's all your fault. You can't hide from the pain any longer. The pain is all you have and you know you can't bear it alone, but you can't share this with Sammy, it would only make him leave you sooner. Or pity you. And you can't take that, never could.

"I can't talk about this to Sammy. No, I got to keep my game face on, but the truth is, I'm not handling it very well." So you choose to confide in Gordon…, in Gordon? Like you really have anyone else? Anyone but Sammy will have to do…, cause you can't let Sammy see you broken and scared… vulnerable.

Hell, the pain is here and the waiting is over. All the anguish of anticipation hasn't dulled this pain at all. It is stronger and more vociferous than you could have ever imagined. And the one person who might be able to shield you and take on some of the responsibility is gone.

Dad, where are you when I need you?

I can't do this alone. I'm not that strong, I never was. Sam looks so lost now, like a fragile little boy, his heart breaking over the pain of losing you. He keeps asking me to share, asking me to open that door and I can't…. I won't. I can't be weak in front of Sammy; I have to be strong now.

And then you had to burden me with that damn secret on top of everything else and I feel like I'm going to just snap in two. Damn it Dad, it's too much. I don't know how to do this; I don't know how to make this better… I don't know how to fill this hole in my gut. But I know you're depending on me so I've got to get my shit together, I've got to be strong.

You told me, "I want you to watch out for Sammy, OK?"

"Yeah Dad, you know I will." My last promise to you Dad, damn I can't break that promise. I won't.

"When someone's gone, they should stay gone. You don't mess with that kind of stuff."

Why Dad, why? You know the rules. What's dead should stay dead.

Then Sammy's banging on that damn door again, begging you to stop the tailspin, to pull out of your nosedive and let him help you.

"Dean, it's killing you, please. We've already lost Dad. We lost Mom. I've lost Jessica and now I'm going to lose you too?"

And then you see the fear and desperation in his eyes, the windows to his soul flung open revealing his own unbearable pain, and it's like looking in a mirror and you realize you're not alone. He's waiting too, to lose everyone he's ever loved and suddenly you know you have to unlock that door.

Your heart is beating so hard you think it's going to burst. Your palms are sweating on the leather grip of the steering wheel and your mind is racing and you can't slow it down as you pull the car off the road and step out into the mountain air. You are more terrified of voicing your dark secret than facing the demon, but less afraid of that than disappointing Sammy any longer. You can feel his pain, you know his anguish and you know he needs to be allowed to help you, still…. you don't believe there's anything he can say.

You tell him everything you've been mulling over the last few weeks, all the suspicions and concerns, the bitter truth of it all. He'd said he wanted to know what you were feeling. Beware of what you wish for Sammy. You rip open your heart and expose your very soul to him as you turn with tears in your eyes.

"But Dad's dead because of me and that much I do know. I never should have come back Sam; it wasn't natural and now look what's come of it. I was dead and I should have stayed dead."

A lone tear breaks free and runs down your cheek, hanging on as you catch a glimpse of your brother. No attempt to mask your pain now, sliced open for all to see.

"You wanted to know how I was feeling. Well, that's it. So tell me, what could you possibly say to make that all right?"

There. You said it. You revealed your darkest, deepest pain and Sam is speechless. You wait for him to say something, anything. The truth doesn't change the harsh reality…, the guilt, the pain is still consuming you. The only difference is now Sam knows your pain and is there by your side.

Silently you wait.

At least now you're waiting together.

TBC