A/N: It's been a long, long time since I posted, but alas, I have finally gathered up a few minutes and got this chapter up. I'm quite proud of it. It's really tying Everything together. Technically, this is the ending. However, there is an epilouge chapter, and then that's it. It's been a real tough topic for me to write about, but I hope that this does a little more than just entertain and maybe educate some people too.
SI is serious and should be handled accordingly. I never gave into my urges to cut, but I do know people who have. This is for them, so that they always know I'm thinking of them, and love them tons. No matter what.
He thought about entering the kitchen, knowing that the second that they saw him they would be silenced...
By: chocolate rules
They were finally, FINALLY, letting him go out by himself. Granted, he had to be back at a certain time, it was still great to have some breathing room.
It started out with either Sam or John driving him to the last few meetings with Doc. The lady had really been a blessing that evening that his family had gone in with him.
Granted, John hadn't been too thrilled to find out that some of the time spent with his son was spent watching football. That is, until she started bad mouthing his Chiefs.
At the end, Doc got it through their heads that they needed to let Dean out some.
Some. She even stressed the word.
Sam had downright refused, might have even hinted that she was crazy for thinking so. But, John had just looked his son over and read his reactions.
Dean hadn't seemed on edge or needy. He hadn't harbored any sign of 'need' like he had at the beginning. The first few weeks had really given John a painful insight on his eldest. Dr. Grey had warned him about certain withdrawals symptoms. But, it was nothing like the real thing.
For one, Dean had always been the type to keep emotions and pain to himself. John had always thought that was Dean hardening himself, becoming the soldier that John had trained him to be.
It had damn near killed him to learn that it had all been because Dean had found his own resolve to the pain.
Cutting, Self mutilation. John had never really given those types of things much thought. Sure, he'd heard about it before; it wasn't like he lived beneath a rock. But, he had never thought that one of his sons, one of Mary's babies, would do something like that to themselves.
So, it had been hard for him to see the pain actually pass through his boy.
And then the thought of letting him go it alone…well, it damn near terrified him.
But, looking at his first born son, John entrusted what little faith he had left to Mary and had nodded at Doc's request. He had even volunteered to keep Sammy at bay.
So, Dean being out on his lonesome had been hard, limited to only an hour at that, but they had let him be.
It had been a week since they had started letting him go. He didn't even have anywhere to go, but he would still get into the Impala and drive away, returning within the agreed upon hour.
Sam had been his normal mother-hen. He had tried asking Dean where he was going, what he'd be doing, when he would be back, and if he was certain that he wanted to go alone.
Lucky for Dean, John had actually been the reasonable one and hadn't forced any of these questions on him. So, Sammy remained furyied and worried until the unmistakable sound of the Impala's killer engine was zooming up the road and pulling into the driveway.
John would silently retain his worry, teasing his youngest about how much he had hated the same inquiry when he had been a teenager. The only thing that this had accomplished was Sam to glare at him.
Everything was going great. Each member of the Winchester household was fine and getting back to their own crazy, obsessed state of normal. Each member had started to regain comfort in their respective roles both within the family and as a person. The Winchesters were known to be strong and quick to bounce back for any setback. This had been a little different. None of them had seen this coming, not even Dean since he hadn't wanted to be discovered.
But, the truth of the matter was that it did happen, Dean had been caught and steps had been taken to help him.
Everything was starting to pull together.
That was to say until this day.
Dean had managed to get away before either his father or brother had awoken, figuring that he'd be able to grab an extra hour out. He hadn't felt like his old self in weeks, and he felt that he deserved a reward if you will.
So he headed over to a bar. He found himself a girl and well, he took an extra hour to get home.
Everything was going great.
He'd stop and grabbed them all breakfast before heading back to the house that his father had rented a few months back.
He had thought about calling ahead, assuring them both that he was alright, but he figured that they may still be sleeping and he could just sneak back in and everything would be just fine...
Entering the house, he tried to be as quiet as possible.
Oh, that's real rich! Did you come up with that just now?
Dean sighed, hating the hard tones that he was hearing. He shut the door behind him, half way pleased with himself that he had made it back unnoticed, apparently, but more than a little upset at what he got back to.
Cool it, Sam! You're not exactly a model citizen yourself, you know.
Yeah? And whose fault is that?!
Groaning to himself, Dean made his way to the stairs, hoping to just walk away from the argument and avoid all the loud voices.
He hated when his brother and father fought.
I did what I HAD to do! I did what needed to be done to keep this family together!
Dean looked at the door that led to the kitchen. He could hear someone rattling around in there, probably making breakfast. He wondered what had caused the two to start off on each other again. As far as he could see, they were trying really hard to keep everything calm around him. He hated that they felt that he needed to be cared for in that way, but it was kind of nice not having to hear them go off at each other for every little thing.
And then this.
He heard Sam snort and John sigh heavily. Apparently they had been at it for a while.
Dean thought about entering the kitchen, knowing that the second that they saw him they would be silenced.
But, then the second they were alone again, they would be at it.
Dean leaned against the railing. He hated to think that they would be fighting at all. He wondered if it would be better to just let them yell it out.
Well, you did a great job at that, Dad, thanks. Dean nearly offed himself –
And you ran away! So, you don't get to complain at what's been done since you weren't any help!
Dean tensed all over. They were fighting about him! Of all the things for them to argue about, why did they choose him?
Clenching his hands into fist, he made to move back to the front door, drive off until they went to look for him or called him back. He didn't want to hear them anymore, and he shouldn't have had to.
A foot away from the door, Dean stilled.
This was the moment that he had been dreading. He was about to reach his wits end, wondering why the hell his family couldn't just get along. Wondering why, with their lifestyle practically counting their days, why they couldn't just enjoy being together.
It was this feeling that a few lines, a little pain, would usually take care of. And he was all alone.
Dean turned around, half surprised to see his brother standing at the kitchen's doorway.
"Where'd you head off to so early?"
Dean turned away from his brother and looked back at the front door. Well, they had stopped yelling, no reason to avoid them, he figured.
Sam rolled his eyes.
"Sure bro, love to hear you tell that to Dad."
Dean scoffed, hating how his brother was all self-righteous about their father when it wasn't him how had to answer to the man.
Dean turned away from the door and headed over to his brother.
"Dad's got breakfast almost done."
Dean nodded. He looked up to meet his little brother's eyes, wondering if he should tell him that he heard them arguing.
The way he figured it, Sam would either deny it or apologize. But that wouldn't help much. Sam and their father would just find another thing to fight about.
"You okay? You're kinda quiet there."
Dean rolled his eyes.
"I'm fine, Sam. No need to mother me."
"You're not the quiet type, Dean," Sam said.
"It happens," Dean said with a shrug.
John exited the kitchen, carrying the meal plates to the table. That was another thing that they were doing, par Sam's request, in order to reinstate themselves into a happier family environment. Or something to that bull that the kid had read somewhere.
Sam went to get the rest of the meal as Dean took of his coat and tossed it over the backend of the couch. Maybe he'd be able to slip away again today. A few extra hours alone wouldn't hurt anyone.
He headed back over to the table just as Sam was reentering with the salad bowl.
"Where did you go this morning?" John asked him as he sat down.
"Nowhere. Just, drove around," Dean replied simply, trying hard not to shrug.
It was the truth. He hadn't gone anywhere and he hadn't done anything. Sure, he stopped at that novelty store for a second, but he was sure that that wasn't what his father had meant to know about.
"So, you left real early to go and do nothing? I ain't buying it."
Dean sighed, not wanting to get into anything. He hadn't done anything. He'd just needed to get away from the constant mothering, from both of his family. But saying that would sound just awful.
He looked over, startled to see that amongst the fighting the two had actually managed to prepare a hefty meal. Together.
Sam set out the plates, placing a pile of four pancakes and six strips of crispy bacon besides it. Just to get them all started.
Dean looked up to his father, knowing that it was in the man's nature not to let things slide, especially when it came to his sons. Even more so lately.
"I really did just drive around, Dad," Dean said calmly. He shrugged, accepting the plate that Sam handed him. "I guess I just wanted to see if I could."
John accepted his plate from Sam. Dean watched him, hoping to sense if his father was going to drop the situation or not.
He noted that Sam was being unusually quiet, but he decided to tackle ne problem at a time.
"See if you could what?" his Dad asked. The hint of worry evident in his voice.
Dean smirked down to his plate.
"I didn't do anything. I promise. I just –
"Needed to breath?"
Dean scoffed before nodded down to his plate. He missed the looks that his brother and father shared, but he felt the tension that he hadn't known was present start to subside.
"You sure that's it?"
Dean nodded at his father, having stuffed half of the bacon strips into his mouth.
" 'es 'ir"
Sam hid a laugh as he drowned his pancakes in syrup.
Dean watched his father look them both over. He tried to seem as relaxed and confident as ever.
John picked up his fork and knife, cutting the pancakes into quarters. He reached over nabbing the syrup bottle from Sam's hands before the sticky liquid started to flow off the plate.
"Hey," Sam whined.
John ignored him, eyeing Dean seriously.
"Next time, you wake me up or leave a note. Understood?"
"Yes sir," Dean said. He picked up one of his pancakes, tossing it onto of Sam's mountain of syrup before picking it up again and starting to cut it up.
Sam glared at him, but that went ignored as well.
And the rest of breakfast went on just as calmly.
Sam watched as his brother rested on the couch. They were watching some TV show, neither was really sure what it was about, but the main characters had a great car and some really neat guns. Their father had headed out to get something, telling them both not to kill each other.
Dean looked relaxed. Like nothing had happened.
Maybe it hadn't. Because he really hoped it hadn't.
Sam startled glanced back to the TV screen.
He hadn't being caught like that.
They watched in silence for another five minutes while the show continued on. Then on commercials, Sam tried to pretend that he wasn't being watched.
"What is it?" Dean asked him a few seconds later.
"What?" he replied refusing to look away from the appetizing commercials, except things never seem to look the same when you actually order them.
He felt his brother's movement before he felt the sharp pain on the back of his head.
"Dude, quit wasting my time. I ain't getting any younger."
"Talk before the show's back, or I ain't listening."
Sam bit his lip before twisting over to face his brother.
"This morning, when I came out of the kitchen. You, well, you had that look on your face."
Sam glanced back at the TV before replying.
"I don't know. Like a guilty look."
Dean looked at him skeptically.
"What'd I need to be looking guilty for?"
"Is that your sadly pathetic attempt at asking if there's something I should be guilty about?"
Dean leaned further down into the couch, resting his head on Sam's shoulder.
"I heard you and Dad arguing."
Sam tensed. He had figured that Dean ahd heard. Though Dean was right by the door when Sam saw him, he had a slight feeling that Dean had been there a bit longer.
"I can explain…"
Dean shook his head.
"I was mad. And, well, I did think about it."
"Dean!" Sam cried out, looking down at his brother.
Dean cringed, but he didn't apologize.
"I just thought about it. I didn't do anything."
Sam snaked his arm around his brother, hugging him closer to him.
"Would you have? Had I not said anything?"
Dean didn't move from the embrace. He figured that his big brother needed the comfort as much as he did.
"I rather not think about it like that, kiddo."
Sam sniffed, nodding against Dean's hair.
"But, it wasn't really all there. I can fight it. That better for you?"
Sam hugged him tighter.
"Tell me next time, okay?"
Dean nodded. He patted at Sam's bony knee before glancing back up to him.
"You going to tell Dad?"
He bit at his lip again. He knew that Dad would lecture Dean, probably take away his 'free hour' for a few days. But, on the upside, Sam hated the thought that Dad would keep something like this from him.
"I think I better."
Dean groaned, dropping his head against Sam's chest.
"Unless you want to? I don't think we should make anymore dents in this family. We need to stick together."
Dean sighed, but after a second he nodded.
Sam patted his head. He tried not to let his thoughts wonder to what would have happened if he hadn't insisted that he heard Dean that morning.
"Okay. But, I'm telling him tomorrow. On the phone. After I leave for an hour."
"Dude, you want him to beat your ass this far in life? I thought Doc cleared you from the let's kill Dean thoughts."
Dean straightened up, punching his little brother playfully at the stomach.
"Ouff," Sam groaned.
Dean grinned that cocky grin of his. Sam tried to stick out at him, but Dean just caught his arm and tugged him towards him.
"You're an asshole, you little bitch," retorted Dean as he hugged his kid brother to him.
Sam smiled to himself. It had been a lot simpler for them all to communicate since Dean got better. Heck, even their father had insisted that they talk some things through.
Please review! There's still one more to post and then this little fic is over.