Disclaimer: I own nothing Supernatural.
Author's Note: Ten years does seem like a pretty good deal for a guy who should already be dead. I wonder if Dean thought so too. By the by, reviews are always greatly appreciated. Just so you know.
In ten years time an entire life can be forged. Lived and lost. Forgotten and remembered. Created, pulled from the still hot ash of an old burned thing.
To everything there is a season.
He met her on a cold November day. Bloomington, blustery with the not yet winter winds, snow and ice quick on their trail. She served him coffee with a smile, just starting her shift, flecks of sleet and snow clinging to her dark hair, brushed aside by white numb hands.
She apologized to the other waitress, who was busy hurrying into her coat, rushing out the door, already late, and came bustling over to refill his mug, the only one in her station.
"Amy," she had said, a sly crooked grin spreading on her face, when he asked for her name.
"Dean," he offered, along with a hand to shake, though the room just next door was registered to a man with an entirely different name.
He stayed through her entire shift, as the weather outside changed from bad to worse, sleet to snow to white out winds. And they talked and talked, covering the plate glass window by the booth in a thick coat of steam, blocking the outside world with only their breath.
When the diner closed he walked her to her car, held tightly to her arm as they both slid and slipped across the icy lot. Her door was frozen shut. The snow seeped through their pants, into their shoes, chilling and curdling toes. Tiny pings of sleet bounced of their faces. And she turned to him, wrinkled her newly red nose in a look he would come to know so well. A loss for words. A 'should I or shouldn't I' moment of confusion, shining through her open face like that of a little girl.
"Maybe you shouldn't drive in this," he said, avoiding her gleaming, glistening eyes. "Could be dangerous," he finished, knowing full well the alternative might be worse.
And once they'd managed, so late into the night it had inadvertently become morning, clouds and stars readying themselves to give way to dawn, to give into their bodies and let way for sleep, he was surprised to find himself perfectly willing to curl up on the floor, giving her space in the warm bed above. More surprising than that, though, was his reluctance to shut his eyes, or she to close hers, lest upon waking they might find that one or the other had disappeared, leaving only the memory of that one night lingering among their still echoing words.
But even when it came to that, an abandonment, a disappearance. When she woke, this time in her own bed, in her own apartment, weeks later, to find him gone, nothing but a quickly scribbled note where his warm body should have been. Even then, they both knew that he'd be back.
He'd always come back.
Sam was married in mid-April, outdoors, upstate, with the entire world looking green and lush and alive. Dean wore a tux and gave a toast, awkward and heartfelt. He drank champagne and danced with the bride, whom he hadn't seen but once since their ordeal with that haunted painting years before. But he knew her regardless, knew her and loved her and trusted her. With Sam's heart.
And by extension, his life.
She and Amy got along, talked and laughed about whatever it was that girls always talked and laughed about. They came from entirely separate worlds, different starts and different struggles. But both ended up in the same place. A lavish and expensive, yet small and charming, celebration.
There was a moment, as he sat so near his brother he could actually feel the soft rumble of his voice ride along the breeze, when he looked across the table and saw the two women almost as one. Dark hair and light eyes, wide smiles and ever moving hands, mingled together and blurred, distorted so that they seemed the same, seemed to mesh.
As family often does.
He was 36 when she was born, late into a grueling hot August. He was at an age at which most others had already settled and stilled. Grown up. But he was not that man, the one to stay in one place with one job and one home. He was restless and adventurous, and always waiting, wondering, what might come next.
Amy understood and merely laughed about taming the wild beast, never actually attempting to do so. Because he was Dean, and she loved Dean. And more than that, she knew that Dean loved her. With or without a ring on her finger, or his name on their junk mail.
He left, and returned, each time his face looking more sly and sweet, voice sounding more mellow and charming than before. So that every few weeks or months, for all the years they'd been together, they could fall in love all over again.
But Sam told him to stay, make a home, have a family. Since having one was inevitable anyway. Sam thought they should be a real family, always the promoter of normalcy. "Marry that poor girl," he'd said, enthusiasm dripping through the phone line, bringing the smile that only Sammy's voice could bring.
And Dean had laughed, because he knew he would.
Sam told him to stay by her side and experience it all. Every doctor's appointment and odd craving and midnight kick. "Treasure your time alone. It's limited." He told him there were times, just after the births of his two children, when he had forgotten what Sarah's 'grown up' voice sounded like, hearing only soft hums and coos. He had forgotten the gentle way her body curved and fit into his during a lingering hug, a longed for, stolen kiss.
He told him to be with her as much as he could while it was still just her.
But longing and loving seemed to go hand in hand for Dean. And sometimes things only felt real and true and wanted once he had left them behind. So when another case came and the open road called, he answered with a short wave back at Amy and a deep, quick gunning of the engine.
Then she came. In the middle of the night, only hours after he'd returned from a particularly arduous hunt that left him, as so many did, tired and bruised, battle weary. She came out fast and strong, howling at the world, howling in his face as he held her tiny wrapped body in his seemingly too large hands.
They named her Jane, and she was small and pink and wrinkled. And though, yes, as her father, he could honestly say she was beautiful, dark tufts of hair and wide almond eyes, a part of him was saddened to find that even when the baby's yours, it somehow does manage to look just like all the rest.
It wasn't until two days later when they were all at home, the little house that Dean helped pay for and fix up, yet barely did more than linger in, that he watched her nurse, face smooth and placid, angry pink replaced with a complexion as pale as his. And he saw her eyes, large and green, looking up, locked onto Amy's, each holding the other's gaze in an utterly natural and silent way.
It wasn't until that point that he felt an odd sort of click and shift in his chest. His heart settled and stilled.
And he knew he was home.
In ten years time he'd traveled to more places than he could even recall. Through every state, all over the nation. Coming and going. Stopping and staying. He'd hunted all sorts of evil, while searching endlessly for the ultimate good.
He'd saved lives, too many to count.
Given life, to a sweet natured farm girl with understanding eyes and a high, raucous laugh.
Taken life, when offered to him, pressed into him, with rounded fingertips and deeply bowed lips.
Created life, his Plain Jane, who already was truly anything but.
In ten years time he'd fit more living into his life that his father ever managed, ever tried to do.
So how could he ever regret the choice he had made? The choice his father had made for him.
To live for decades more.