Sometimes anger was hot and red, burned in a flash and extinguished just as quickly.
Dean dropped the crowbar to the ground. It landed with a thud as dull as his insides, and it pushed up a puff of dust. He stared toward Bobby's house, to where Sam had gone, but his eyes were unseeing. Anything more than indistinct shapes would have been unbearable. The energy that had fueled him depleted, and left him feeling shaky. He no longer had any desire to work on the car. He no longer had the desire to do anything at the moment. He moved slowly and slouched into a seated position, leaning his back against the rear driver's side tire. He rested his forearms on bent knees. The sun beat against his skin, so searing it gave him goose bumps.
Footsteps approached. Dean fixed his eyes on the shattered glass on the ground, studying the pattern they'd made when the window cracked into tiny bits. The last thing he wanted was another fucking broken heart-to-broken heart conversation with Sam. He clenched his jaw and prepared to block out as much of Sam's alarming, gentle voice as he could. It was never easy. A bottle of beer floated in front of his face. He reached for it without thinking, shifted his gaze to the feet standing next to him. The boots were too small to be Sam's, and he was filled with an inordinate amount of relief. That was something, at least.
"You know you just made a helluva lot more work for yourself, right?" Bobby said.
Dean took a swig of the beer. He didn't answer the question. Figured it was rhetorical. He took another swallow. The beer suddenly tasted like ash, like the smoke from a funeral pyre. Dean gagged slightly and set the bottle down on the ground. Bobby shuffled around until he stood amid the minuscule chunks of auto glass, then simply shuffled. It took Dean a minute to realize the guy was sweeping up with his feet, arranging the wreckage into a neat, small pile. If only everything were that simple
"You know the trunk was just about the only intact piece of the vehicle."
Dean hated the Impala.
He didn't know why Bobby was harping on him about it. It was Dean's car, his responsibility. If he wanted to demolish the fucking thing and put it out of its misery, then that was his call. No one else's. Right now blowing the remaining shell of the car into a million fragments sounded like some kind of perverse justice. Maybe a little like fate. He didn't care that he'd already put so many hours into fixing the car, he still had an urge to smash up more than the trunk. It terrified him, too, to have these sorts of brutal thoughts about something he usually cared so much about.
"You also know you're freaking your brother out."
At that, Dean had to snort. His brother was a freak without his help. Always had been. There was a difference between being a freak and freaking out, and he knew what Bobby meant. He also couldn't help but know Sam was freaking out now; every time he turned around Sam was in his face about it. Part of him felt like a jerk for making Sam fret, but mostly he just didn't give a shit. Some things simply weren't about Sam, even though Sam always tried his hardest to make them be. Their mom's death, Jess's death...now their dad's - Sam wanted all these things to be on his shoulders for some reason. "Don't be scared, Dean," his dad had said.
And then again some things were more about Sam than he could possibly know. Dean knew.
Dean hated his brother, too.
"I'll just get back to work. I'll be back to give you a hand later."
"Thanks for the beer," Dean said at last. He had the voice of a stranger, from swallowing all that ash and smoke. "But I don't really need a hand."
"Okay," Bobby said easily. Dean knew if he glanced up he'd see another version of that pity-filled expression everyone wore around him lately. He hated it without even seeing it, so he kept his gaze where it was and clenched his jaw so tightly it hurt his teeth. "You know where I am if you change your mind."
Dean nodded, though Bobby had already walked away. He looked at the beer bottle, tipped it over and watched the beer flow from it into a foamy puddle. It started as a steady stream, and then slowed to a leak. Even fatal wounds stopped bleeding after time. He shoved the bottle through the yeasty mud. Some of the mess splattered on him as the bottle rolled sluggishly away. It left a sporadic dark trail on the dusty ground. He stared at the bottle for a while, as it lay in the sun wasted and empty. Garbage. He couldn't get the taste of not-beer out of his mouth.
He tipped his head back against the car. The sun heated the skin of his face. It no longer gave him an incongruent chill, but it didn't exactly make him warm either. He should get off his ass and get working again. Bobby was right; he'd created more to do. He still didn't have any desire to reconstruct what might always have been meant to be the tattered remains of something good. Nothing good ever lasted anyway, and nothing as broken as the Impala was would ever be restored to its same quality. Why even try? It didn't seem worth the effort sometimes.
Dean let his left leg sprawl out, foot tilting. Nothing was worth the effort right now, it seemed. Dean understood the irony of his apathy and Sam's impetus more than Sam probably gave him credit for. There was not a damned thing he could do to ever make things right or okay. He wasn't even sure he wanted right or okay. Those were words he didn't understand. "Don't be scared, Dean." More words he didn't understand, and that alarming, gentle voice he still heard echoing in his memories made them all the more confusing and frightening. They sounded, in hindsight, like the words of a man who'd given up.
He stood up so abruptly he lost his equilibrium and had to lean on the tattered trunk for support. Once the world stopped shimmying, he gave the crowbar a fleeting look. It was tempting, so tempting to pick it up again and tear a bigger hole in the car. He looked back over at the house. Dean had a feeling in the pit of his stomach, the same one he always had around Sam lately, and knew his brother was either watching him or thinking about watching him. He walked to the passenger side of the Impala, stared dispassionately at the gaping maw where the doors used to be.
His father should probably have been killed in the accident, judging from what Bobby said the Impala's condition had been in. Hell, they all should have. In some ways, Dean thought that would have been easier. Then he would have something concrete to blame. An accident. The demon. Sam. "I want you to look out for Sammy." Then blame wouldn't have been his own. "Don't be scared, Dean."
He knew his father better than anybody. He had known something bad was going to happen, and he just watched his dad walk out of his room, too stunned and speechless to act. He should have known what his father's uncharacteristic behavior meant. Dean took a measured breath, got down and rolled himself back under the car. He couldn't bring his father back, but he could do this. He had to do this. He couldn't fix anything to be the way it was, to the way he now knew it should have stayed, but he couldn't not try. Never again.
Dean hated himself the most.
Sometimes anger was low and blue, burned steadily and perpetually lit deep inside.