Title: No Words To Share
Disclaimer: there's a hiatus so mineminemineminemine mwahaha
Summary: Post 2x08 Crossroad Blues. Dean's nightmares make him more distant.
2x08 Crossroad Blues coda missing scene...thing. Tag?
Beta'd by Pixel who rocks oh-SO-much
"Take your best shot."
Maybe that's what gives it away, Dean will think later on when he's pacing at the crossroads, running his hands through his hair—fighting the urge to scream.
"No," she breathes, "I don't think so. I'm not gonna put you out of your misery."
"Yeah, why not?" There's a definite tremble as he speaks.
"Your misery's the whole point. It's too much to watch. Knowing how your daddy died for you. How he sold his soul. I mean, that's gotta hurt."
"He's all you ever think about. You wake up, and your first through is, 'I can't do this anymore.' You're all lit up with pain. I mean, you loved him so much." She's mocking him. Patronising. Over-exaggerating feigned kindness before twisting the blade—sharpened with her malice. "It's all your fault."
"How could he do it?"
"He did it for you," Sam tells him quietly.
"Exactly. How am I supposed to live with that?" Live "You know the thought of it, wherever he is right now...he spent his whole life chasing that yellow-eyed son of a bitch. He should have gone out fighting. That was supposed to be his legacy, you know? Not bargaining with the damn thing. Not this."
"How many people do you think Dad saved?"
"That's not the point, Sam."
"Evan Hudson is safe because of what Dad taught us. That's his legacy, Dean. We're still here, man, so we gotta keep going. For him."
I can't do this anymore.
"Hey Dean, you know when you were trapping that demon, you weren't...I mean it was all a trick, right? You never considered actually making that deal, right?"
He lets the music answer for him.
It starts with a dream. No. A nightmare.
"Can you see him, Dean?" she whispers behind him. "Can you?"
He isn't a ghost. He isn't pretend. He isn't a hallucination brought on by lack of sleep. He isn't possessed. He isn't the workings of blood loss and drugs. He isn't there just because Dean's tears are stopping him from seeing the truth, and above all he isn't dead.
Or maybe he is, maybe he's all of the above, and Dean just doesn't care.
It's childish to his own ears, and Dean berates himself time and time again for letting it slip. For letting tears fall when he should be stoic. When he should stand tall and greet his father. Scream even in these tiny moments he's been given. No, that have been forced upon him.
He should let the anger guide him, but all Dean can do is stare.
He swallows, How could you? with its bitter companions, What the hell were you thinking? and, Why?
He blinks as the salty drops slip past his guarding eyelashes and glide down his cheek.
It's in these moments that Dean cannot speak.
It's been so many months since the flat line echoed through empty hallways, and Dean fell back from the doorway while Sam ran in...Months since he felt himself slide down to the ground, since he watched Sam clutch at their father's body and scream...Months since the doctors saw him there, on the floor, pale and shaking, crying and whispering, "No, no," and lifted him up, led him to back to bed.
It's been weeks since he first made the connection. It took him longer than it should have, but after so many nights lying awake and just...thinking, he knew.
It had taken him even longer to utter the words aloud. To Sam. He'd taken away their father. Orphaned them for god sakes. He should have fought harder, he shouldn't have taunted the damn demon...he should have done something.
Yeah, stopped a great big semi from hitting them.
He should have done something. Sam said he'd made contact with a damn ouija board for god sakes—if he could do that, why the hell couldn't he beat a damn reaper without his father's help? Without the demon...
He should have taken the shot the first time. He should have let Sam take it.
It's in these moments that Dean cannot move. His father is in front of him. He isn't talking, he isn't moving. He's breathing, he's blinking, and if Dean hopes, there's a hint of a smile there.
The same sad, resigned smile that said, "I am so proud of you."
It's in these moments that Dean sees the future he wants. The future he craves. The three of them, just as the demon said. A family, fighting side by side. For ten whole years his father's voice would be more than just a voicemail phoned in the early hours of the morning when desperation clings at every part of his being.
"He's waiting," she says and Dean's mind pulls itself away from the image of his father, remembering that the demon stands with them. "Just say the word, and he's yours for ten whole years. You don't have to worry about Sam anymore, when you die, your father will still be alive."
She's back to bargaining for the simple reason that this is one deal she can't pass up.
She may have left him by the side of the road. It may have left the body behind to escape a second exorcism—but she's not above following potential customers into their sleep. The thought of it made her essence tingle.
The oldest Winchester left—one of two hated hunters among her kind. She'd be a legacy, granting herself the fame she had given countless others on these crossroads. With Dean gone, the younger brother was an easy target. Though not helpless, the grief from a lost brother would cripple him enough to make him vulnerable.
She could go in for the kill and reap whatever benefits it would provide. All three Winchesters gone. The ruthless hunter brought down to his knees.
She's watching Dean carefully. Amused even. This is nothing; this image of a murdered parent is just a final imprint of a lost soul left on the world. Her powers merely access it; the real trick is in changing it. Using Dean's imagination against him and propelling the flames of his broken childhood into his most recent of nightmares where she's in control.
The weeds behind John Winchester grow so rapidly, so suddenly. They cling together and in a burst of sparks, they're all alight. Sulphur fills the air as cinders rise and fall with each breath of heat that seems to keep igniting the dead plants around Dean's father.
Dean runs forward, but with a click of her fingers he's stuck.
"Uh, uh, uh," she tuts, not moving from behind him. "You have to watch."
He's shaking, tiny droplets of sweat above his brow from the sheer exertion used as he tries desperately to just move. To save his father from the flames that have taken away everything from. He can't let them win. But the flames consume. They tear at flesh and rip at bone, bloody muscle shines through searing skin, and Dean's throat is hoarse from screaming because his father can't.
"You're doing this to him," she whispers once more. "You can stop it."
His father did it to him. Dean can't return the favour, he won't do that to another. The guilt is his own to deal with as he must.
"Go to hell," he whispers, sobs sneaking through any bravado he's managing to scramble together. "Or I swear I'll—"
The ear piercing shriek that's all too familiar pierces the night sky, filling it with the horrid black smog of a demon's earth-bound form. The rising black reminds him of fires he's run from. Fires he's seen. Brought Sam out of, held Sam back from. Fires that burn his father for making deals with the devil.
When he blinks awake, Sam's on his feet. His eyes are wide, and he's staring at Dean with a fearful gaze.
Dean recognized the scream, because it was his own, breaking through his subconscious before he began to claw toward awareness in the waking world of despair.
Dean convinces his brother to go back to his own bed, pushing him away literally and feigning sleep before grabbing his jeans and braving the great freezing out doors.
The rain that's beginning to fall is completely invisible, save for the drizzle beneath the far off street lamp. Dean stands there in the loose tee and jeans—barefoot. The droplets burn his skin and leave a trembling line of water in their wake. It snakes down his cheek, and he pretends with all his might that it's rain. Nothing more.
"What the hell is your problem?" Sam shouts as Dean grudgingly enters the room. Apparently neither of them was telling the truth about sleeping, then.
Dean's shoulders are hunched, his skin dripping wet and in his hands is the equally sodden, leather-bound journal.
Sam feels his heart constrict when he sees a droplet of black ink escape the soaking pages and hit the ground like Dean's blood in an abandoned cabin when he was too weak to beg any longer.
Dean's only reply is to slam the bathroom door shut as though he expects to be left alone.
He doesn't come out till morning, but Sam gives him his space while he dries out every exorcism and heartfelt diary entry their father ever wrote.
Careful, lest the pages burn.
"I don't wanna talk about it," Dean growls when Sam won't stop staring across their breakfast in the tiny diner at ten-thirty a.m.
"Fine," Sam mutters, but continues to stare when he thinks Dean isn't looking. Trying not to think of the reckless hunter in front of him that's a far cry from his sturdy older brother. Eleven minutes later Dean catches a glance at the ticking hands of the clock on the wall and leaves without saying a word.
It's now that Dean remembers more so than before. It's now that he can't hide it, can't pretend. He sleeps, and his father burns but when Dean's awake, he feels like he's holding the matches, just waiting.
Sam smiles at the concerned waitress and sips his coffee, all the while pretending the smell of scolding caffeine doesn't make his stomach twist and turn as he's reminded of kneeling next to his father and screaming for, Help, somebody, help!
He watches his brother cross the road without looking from the diner to the motel. He sees Dean stop by the car and press his hands against the trunk.
"It fits, doesn't it? I'm alive, Dad's dead. Yellow-eyed demon was involved. What if he did? What if he struck a deal? My life for his soul…"
Dean drinks alone, because Sam makes him feel guilty. He doesn't say anything, he doesn't blame him. He just sits there and that's more than enough.
Dean feels like he's letting his brother down—corrupting him when months ago, years he would have gladly tried to do the same. Trying to get rid of the lightweight nature to Sam's drinking.
Now he's too busy on drowning his own freaking sorrows.
"Two rooms please," Dean says with his usual smirk. It's only Sam that can see the melancholy hidden beneath. The bags under his eyes seem deeper
They've been driving all day. Morning, noon and night just to get to another truck stop motel for the night. Well...day. They're wandering aimlessly because they don't want a job. They want all the things they can never have instead.
Dean had played every damn tape in his collection and had barely spoken a word to his brother that wasn't forced small talk with a too-cheery face.
The dreary—well it is five a.m.—woman nods at the request, but pauses at Sam's close to stricken expression. They haven't had separate rooms since...since Sam had gone to college, and they'd had no choice.
"We have a two-bed room, if you'd prefer?" she asks, but Dean shakes his head.
"Two rooms please," he repeats.
Once the keys are in the door and he's stepped in, the first thing Dean does is open a window. Curtains fly in the steady breeze, and Dean welcomes the shivers the cold brings.
Because when he can't stand it anymore he can close the window. He can control it.
It doesn't matter what season it is or what state they're in. He strides across the carpet, past the bed, past the desk and straight to the latch. Every time.
Sam follows him in without a word. Dean growls angrily but otherwise says nothing. He wasn't sure he ever expected Sam to leave him be and now he's pretty certain he never wanted Sam to.
It ends with just this.
"You can't do this to him, Dean," John whispers as the sun begins to rise outside of the window. Sam's still asleep on the single bed. Both of them had stayed up to watch every damn informercial in the world—but it was Sam who had given in first. Dean can see the rapid eye movement beneath his brother's lids, but unless it's a vision, Sam keeps it to himself. It's now that Dean understands the need for privacy.
For solace in a controlled silence.
He's not a dream this time. He's nothing. He's early morning dust shining through cracks of light through the window's glass. He's dusk. He's the night sky falling back and leading way unto morning.
Dean is perched on the edge of the bed and has been sitting stock still ever since the temperature dropped, and the shivers down his spine refused to cease.
John repeats the words, but Dean doesn't acknowledge them, and John sighs, wondering if he can even be heard. He can't stay long, but he wants his words to count.
"You can't let this destroy you, Dean. You need each other."
Nothing, not even a flinch, or a nod of agreement. Dean's eyes are fastened on the diminishing dusk and slow beginnings of an orange, yellow and red morning. The open window lets the breeze fly through, blowing the curtains ever so slightly in the draft.
"Talk to him," John says sadly.
A flock of black birds cross the horizon, making the branches from which they left sway. Leaves fall to the ground in a sudden flurry of movement, and John reaches out to his oldest son's arm.
He feels the tingling warmth beneath freckled skin. Feels the blood that means his son is among the living. He sees the hairs stand on end on Dean's forearm, and frowning, John looks up at his boy's face.
Dean's eyes are closed, and his breathing's deeper, faster.
John realises then.
"Its okay, it's okay," he reassures him, but Dean remains as he is: still and unresponsive.
"Dean," John says sternly. He doesn't expect to be staring deep into the hazel orbs, nor does he steel himself for the unshed tears that lay there above his long lashes.
The birds squawk, the sun shines brighter, and John holds his son tightly. Between the cries of, You should have told me and you should be here, John hears, I'm sorry.
When Sam wakes up, he's just glad to see Dean asleep for once.