Doors to the Heart
Disclaimer: sigh I checked my mailbox, and there wasn't a notice from Kripke that he decided to give the boys to me, so I guess he decided to keep them.
Disclaimerx2: I promise, I'm working on "Be Careful What You Wish For" but this has been niggling at the back of my brain for a couple of months now, and it started screaming to be let out (must be the spring weather).
Disclaimerx3: I am posting this without it being beta'd. All errors are my own.
AN: It's bothersome to me, that Dean can restore the Impala from essentially scrap metal, but he apparently can't find a can of WD-40 for the blasted doors.
"Mommy, when will Daddy be home?" Dean asked looking up at his mother with big, green eyes. He was holding a crayon picture in his hands, his expression expectant.
Mary stopped setting the table and bent down closer to her eldest son. "Soon, Sweetie," Mary replied with a smile, ruffling his hair. If you sit by the window, you'll be able to see him drive up."
Dean wrinkled his freckled nose. "I don't want to sit," he protested tapping his little foot on the ground.
Mary suppressed a small laugh, covering her grin with her hand. Dean was a bundle of energy. She could easily see how the idea of sitting to wait was akin to a penalty box for her active four-year-old. "How about you help me set the table for supper, and the time will go faster," Mary suggested some of her grin entering her tone.
Dean stopped moving, and looked up in contemplation, the serious look on his face over such a decision, was almost more than Mary could bear. She could feel the grin slowly creeping back onto her face. "Okay," Dean replied at last. "But, how will we know when Daddy gets home?"
"Oh, I don't think we'll miss the rumble of his car," Mary replied, handing Dean his 'Dukes of Hazzard' glass. "But, if we do, you can listen for the doors. They always talk to us."
Dean set the glass on the table next to his plate, and gave his mother a puzzled look. "The doors talk to us?"
"They talk to our hearts, honey," Mary replied. "You've never heard them before?"
Dean squinted his eyes, and concentrated on a memory. "I hear them squeak when Daddy opens the door."
"That's them talking," Mary affirmed nodding her head. She handed Dean Sammy's small, plastic, Winnie the Pooh plate and cup. "If you listen closely, you can understand them."
"What do they say, Mommy?" Dean asked, looking over at his mother.
"In the morning, they say, 'Be home soon. I love you,'" Mary explained. She motioned to Dean to set Sammy's dishes down on his high-chair.
"And at night?" Dean asked putting down Sammy's dishes.
"At night, they say, 'I'm home. I missed you,'" Mary replied. She heard the rumble of the Impala, and turned to look out the window. "Dean, your daddy is home. Why don't you go listen to the doors speak right now."
Dean ran over to the screened door, and pressed his face against the metal mesh. When his father stopped the car, and opened the door, Dean heard the door say, 'I'm home.' When his father stood up, and shut the door, Dean heard the door say, 'I missed you.'
Dean looked over at his mother with a look of shocked amazement. "Do they say that every day?" Dean whispered, afraid of breaking the spell.
"Every day, every time," Mary assured him. As if on cue, Sammy chose that moment to wake up from his afternoon nap, and began crying in earnest. "Why don't you go show your daddy your picture, and I'll get Sammy?"
"Okay!" Dean said excitedly, running back to the kitchen table for the picture, and then running out the door. He ran to his father, and collided with him in a Dean power-hug.
"Hey there, tiger," John said enveloping Dean in a bear hug.
"See my picture, Daddy?" Dean asked pulling away slightly. "It's you, and Mommy, and me, and Sammy."
John looked at the crayon picture of yellows, blues and greens that could possibly resemble stick figures or prehistoric fish, he was not sure which. "It's great, son," John replied. "I really like the colors."
Dean nodded. "Sammy's favorite color is blue. That's why I drew him blue, but, I like green."
John smiled and placed his hand on Dean's head. It was not the first time Dean had insisted he knew what Sammy was thinking. The bond between them was something he encouraged, even if he did not fully understand it. "It's very nice, kiddo," John replied honestly.
Dean looked up at John, and the smile disappeared from his face only to be replaced with a look of intensity, out of place on a face so young. "Did you know the Impala's doors talk to us?" Dean asked in a hushed whisper, looking back at the black car.
John laughed and replied, "Your mother told you what they say?"
Dean nodded an affirmative, his eyes wide. "Did you know?"
John squatted down next to his son and replied, "Only after she told me. She said they speak to her heart."
Dean smiled, grabbed his father's hand, and together they headed in to supper.
"Dean, when is daddy coming back?" Sammy whispered.
The boys were snuggled together in one of the motel's full-sized beds. Sammy had pulled the blankets over their heads, and Dean had read 'Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You?' to Sammy three times by flashlight. It was hot, and a little muggy under the blankets now, but Sammy liked the blankets this way, so the blankets stayed pulled up.
"Not sure, but it should be soon. He said three days, and it's been three days," ten-year-old Dean replied. At Sammy's frown, he added, "You'll be able to hear the Impala pull up when I do."
"It's been a long time, I want daddy to come back now," Sammy replied.
"If you go to sleep, time will pass faster," Dean suggested. "I'll wake you up when he gets back."
"I miss him," Sammy replied. He lay down, and snuggled closer to his brother.
"He misses you too, kiddo," Dean replied wrapping one arm around Sammy, and using the other to prop open the blankets a little. A cool, refreshing breeze drifted in, and Dean sighed in relief.
"How do you know?" Sammy asked his hazel eyes nearly brown under the dark cover of night, and two piles of blankets.
"I know," Dean reassured him. He thought for a moment and added, "And so does the Impala."
"The car misses me?" Sammy asked with a giggle.
"No, the Impala knows what is in dad's heart, and it talks to our hearts," Dean replied.
"Is this like the time you told me about the monster in the toilet that would get me if I didn't flush?" Sammy asked skeptically.
Dean laughed. "No, this is true. Mom told me."
"Oh," Sammy replied, knowing then it was the truth. Dean never told him anything about their mom that was not true. "What does the Impala say?"
"When Dad leaves on a hunt, the doors say, 'Be back soon. I love you,'" Dean said. "And when he gets back, they say, 'I'm home. I missed you.'"
"Really?" Sammy asked.
"Really," Dean reassured him. "When dad gets back, you listen to the doors squeaking, and they'll tell you."
Sammy smiled and snuggled down into the bed. In moments he was asleep. Dean stayed awake for several minutes, and then allowed himself to drift into a light sleep.
The rumble of the Impala's engine awoke Dean several hours later. "Sammy, wake up. Dad's back," Dean said shaking his little brother.
"G'way," Sammy protested swatting lightly at Dean.
"Sammy, dad's back," Dean said a little louder.
Sammy sat up so quickly, Dean narrowly avoided getting clocked in the nose by Sammy's rapidly ascending head. "Daddy's back?"
"Yeah, Sammy," Dean replied. "Listen for the car doors."
Sammy ran over to their father's bed, and knelt down on the bed beside the window. He watched as their father slowly exited the car, and swayed slightly for several seconds before shutting the door. Sammy's face lit up, and he looked over at Dean. "They do talk," Sammy whispered in an incredulous tone, running to the door. "They really do."
"I told you they did," Dean replied. He jumped off the bed, and pulled Sammy away from the door before their dad appeared in the doorway.
John was disheveled, bloody, and weary. His every movement seemed painful and stiff. "Boys," he said by way of greeting. He stumbled to a chair by the small motel table.
"I'll get the med-kit," Dean stated scurrying off to the bathroom.
Sammy stood by his father, one hand on his knee, the other patting him gently on the arm. "Don't worry, Daddy," Sammy said in a cooing voice. "Dean can fix you up real good. He fixed my elbows." Sammy held up his arms, showing John his elbows. Both elbows were red, and patched with three bandages each. "The sidewalk tripped me," Sammy insisted. John smiled a smile that did not quite reach his face.
Dean returned with the med-kit and helped his father out of his jacket. "Where are you hurt?" Dean asked.
"Right shoulder," John replied succinctly.
"Daddy," John's talkative youngest son continued. "Dean told me about the Impala's doors. Did you know they talk?"
Dean gave Sammy a reproachful look that he did not quite understand. Sammy had not mastered the fine art of non-verbal communication, but he was learning quickly. He shot Dean a puzzled look of his own, and then looked up at his father. His father was a strange combination of smiling mouth and sad eyes. "Daddy?" Sammy asked, patting his father's arm again.
John looked at his sons. He was proud of Dean, and felt a swelling of love for them both, but he could not form words past the lump in his throat. He swallowed convulsively several times. "Yeah, Sammy?" he managed finally.
"Are you okay?" Sammy asked. Maybe his father was hurt worse than he thought.
"I'm okay," John replied gruffly, more gruffly than he had intended. "I'm just tired." He grunted as Dean irrigated the wound on his shoulder.
"Doesn't look like you need stitches," Dean observed not looking up from his task. "I'll just put on some steri-strips, and you should be good to go." John nodded in reply.
"Daddy, did you know the Impala's doors talked?" Sammy asked persistently.
John looked down at his youngest son who was gazing up at him with soulful eyes. "Yes, your mom told me," he replied tiredly. As Dean finished bandaging his shoulder, John stood up and without another word staggered over to the bed and collapsed. Within moments he was asleep.
Dean wrapped his arm around his little brother, and ushered him into bed. Pulling the covers up over the both of them, Dean said, "G'night, Sammy."
"G'night, Dean," Sammy replied with a small smile.
Sam paced the small motel room waiting for Dean. He should not have tried running away. It had not worked when he had run to Stanford. It had not worked when he had run away from Dean in Indiana to search for their dad in California. That was the night he had met Meg. He had left Dean with the crazy town people, and the pagan god guarding the apple orchard. It had not worked when he had run away from Dean again, this time back to Indiana in search of the others like him.
He paced a tight circle in restlessness. Sam did not know when running away had become a coping mechanism for him, but it had. It was a strange contradiction to his usual stand and fight stance. Sam tried to remind himself that Dean had not sounded angry on the phone, he had sounded worried, almost frantic. A part of Sam was pissed at himself for choosing flight over fight yet again, and he would have been strangely relieved if Dean had yelled at him instead of reassuring him.
Sam wrapped his arms around his chest, hugging himself. He missed Dean. He missed his comforting, strong presence that somehow could make everything alright, simply by being there. He missed the shared looks, the easy banter, and so help him, even the light snoring when Dean was tired after a hunt.
Sam needed the reassurance that Dean still cared, still loved him. He needed the sense of safety Dean provided, but most of all he needed Dean to know he loved him in return. Sam needed Dean to understand that knowing Dean was his brother was sometimes the only thing that kept him going.
Sam heard the rumble of the Impala's engine, and opened the motel door. Dean pulled the Impala to a stop and opened the door. Sam heard the door say, 'I'm home,' as Dean pulled himself out of the Impala and looked over at Sam.
Sam swallowed hard, and gave Dean a small wave. Dean nodded his head in acknowledgement and waited for Sam to join him. Sam grabbed his duffel bag from beside the door, and walked over to the Impala. He slid into the passenger seat, and shut the door.
Dean sat down behind the wheel and shut the driver's side door. Sam heard the door say, 'I missed you.' Sam smiled at Dean and whispered, "I missed you too." Dean turned his weary head towards Sam and offered him a lop-sided grin before starting the car, and pulling out of the motel parking lot.