Author's Note: This is my feeble attempt the get into the mind of Dean Winchester. Trust me, much harder than Sammy. Anyway, since this is my first attempt at it please tell me what you think. Any criticism will be greatly appreciated.
EDIT: I can't believe I forgot to mention this, but uber duber super thanks to Sendintheclowns for the fastest and most marvelous beta. Seriously, it wouldn't be half as good without her.
Disclaimer: Don't own, just play with. The song Hallelujah was originally performed by Leonard Cohen, but the version I used (and was inspired by) is sung by Jeff Buckley.
Well I heard there was a secret chord
That David played, and it pleased the Lord
But you don't really care for music, do ya?
Well it goes like this: the fourth, the fifth
The minor fall and the major lift
The baffled king composing hallelujah
Daddy was happy and energetic, not as energetic as Mommy, but ten times more energetic than this man who hadn't moved all day. When Daddy came home he made his presence known, either by chasing Dean around the house with a huge smile on his face, or embracing mommy, eliciting an ewwww from the boy beside her knee.
But this man wasn't Daddy. This man barely talked and always had a bottle in his hand. Not a bottle for Sammy, but a glass bottle. A bottle Dean wasn't allowed to drink out of.
Maybe his Daddy went with Mommy.
Or maybe, maybe, his Daddy was trapped inside his body, and he just needed someone to get him free. Like in that scary movie he watched one night when his Mommy was already asleep.
Dean crawled across the couch, trying his hardest to not make a sound. He didn't want Sammy to wake up before he completed his mission. He stopped for a second, mere millimeters away from his father, looking intently for a sign that the man in front of him was still alive.
Seeing his Daddy, or Daddy-look-alike, take a deep breath, Dean immediately pounced onto his lap, looking up at his father with wide curious eyes.
Blinking out of his alcohol-induced reverie, John looked down at his son and blinked the tears out of his eyes. "What do you want, Dean?" he grunted, still getting used to the extra forty pounds sitting in his lap.
Dean simply poked John in the chest and titled his head curiously. "Are you really Daddy?" he asked as his eyes narrowed, looking far much older than any four-year-old should.
John rubbed a weary hand over his face, barely noticing the rough feel of three-day-old stubble. "What're talkin' about?" he asked, trying to keep the edge out of his voice.
Dean looked down at his hands, as if he was ashamed to tell what he had been thinking. "You're different. Mommy leaves and you change. Are you mad at me?"
His eyes immediately softening, John looked down at his son, his son who lost more than any child should, and placed his hands around the boy. "Dean, look at me." He was instantly met with wide green eyes. "I am not mad at you," he stated looking his son straight in the eye. "It's been a hard week for all of us. Things have changed."
"What can I do to make them better?"
As if on cue, loud screams erupted through the small motel room.
John looked towards the small doorway, leading to the only bedroom. "Well, you can take care of Sammy," he sighed, not wanting to leave his comfortable position on the couch or his thoughts of Mary.
Dean's eyes immediately lit up. Now given a purpose, something to do to help his family, he jumped off his father and ran towards the bedroom.
John had no way of knowing how much his son took his words to heart.
Well your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew you
She tied you to her kitchen chair
She broke your throne and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the hallelujah
Dean glanced at the clock. Two-fifteen A.M. The bars closed fifteen minutes ago. Dean anxiously waited at the kitchen table wishing there was something else he could do.
He already had five-year-old Sammy tucked in and asleep hours ago. By midnight, he had a path cleared to both the couch and the bedroom, he never knew which his father may choose. He had a glass of water and two Tylenol waiting on the kitchen counter for whenever John decided to stagger out of bed the next morning.
There really wasn't much else he could do. He just had to wait for the emotional storm to stumble in and take its hit for the year.
He just prayed his father didn't wake Sammy up like he did the last year. Granted, Sammy was all hyped up from finishing off the Halloween candy he had just received two days before and had been nowhere close to being tired. That was a mistake Dean didn't make this year and hopefully never made again. He really had no desire to explain why Dad was acting all funny...again.
The familiar purr of the Impala echoed through the apartment as his father pulled it into the parking lot. He really wished his father would call a cab. It wasn't like the man didn't know he was going to get drunk. It was what he did every year for the past five years.
Dean waited patiently, listening as his father stumbled to the door and clumsily opened it with his key. The door slowly opened, revealing his father's haggard appearance.
Dean suddenly felt much older than his nine years. Every year he hoped his father would move on a bit, maybe wouldn't need to drink as much, but if anything his father only got worse as time went by.
Maybe time made it harder for his father. It was starting to become harder for Dean. He could no longer remember the way his mother smelled or imagine her without the help of a photograph. And now young Sammy's curiosity was starting to get the better of him. He was beginning to ask why he didn't have a mommy like his other classmates.
Whatever the reason, every year John seemed to out drink his previous year's self and returned only to pass out on the couch.
Dean watched soundlessly as his father staggered towards the ratty couch and toppled onto it, obviously too big for its five foot length. Sighing, he walked towards the chair, grabbed the afghan he had already retrieved from his room, and threw it over his father.
Completely unaware, John melted into the afghan's embrace, a soft whisper of, "Mary…" dying on his lips.
Hearing the man's plea, Dean took one last look at his unconscious father. He supposed this was the most real his father ever got. The other three-hundred and sixty-four days were a façade. But the façade worked. They wouldn't be able to survive with the drunken, realversion of their dad.
Dean just wondered how a man could ever love a woman so much to end up this way.
Well baby I've been here before
I've seen this room and I've walked this floor
I used to live alone before I knew ya
I've seen your flag on the marble arch
Love is not a victory march
It's a cold and it's a broken hallelujah
Twelve hit Sam like a tidal wave, taking Dean with him. One second the kid was his happy, normal self, the next he was stubborn and angry. Dean supposed it was the hormones, but then he thought back to his own puberty and never remembered being so temperamental.
He hoped that maybe…just maybe, since it was Friday, Sam would be in one of his better moods. Of course, Dean was spending the whole evening outside, washing and waxing his newly inherited Chevy Impala, just in case Sam became a tornado of emotions.
He moved around to the hood at the same moment the front door slammed.
Taking a deep breath to clear his mind, Dean turned around to see a lanky, irritable Sam sitting awkwardly on the porch steps. He leaned against the hood, waiting for Sam to sort through his thoughts. He never needed to say anything to his brother, he would open up when he was ready.
Sam stared intently at the cracking concrete in front of him before grumbling, "Dad is making me go on the hunt tomorrow."
That perked Dean's interest. "So?" he asked. It didn't seem like that big of a deal.
Obviously shocked, Sam looked up at Dean like he was some type of traitor. "The auditions are tomorrow. I must have mentioned it a million times," he snapped.
Dean immediately backtracked. "Oh, that's right, the play," he said, not wanting to unleash the wrath that was hormonal Sammy Winchester.
It was strange. Recently, Sammy had taken to school with vigor. Not that he ever disliked school, but lately it seemed like school was the only thing on the boy's mind. He spent all day at the place, and afterwards he would spend hours on his homework and extra credit work. He even smiled when he talked about the crumbled down building at the end of the street. It was almost as though school was a safe haven for Sam. It was unlike anything Dean had ever seen before.
And now Sam was interested in after school programs. Dean could only imagine how well that went over with their father.
"Sammy, the hunt takes priority of your play. You know that." He tried to keep his voice as calm as possible. The last thing he wanted was to sound like Dad and send Sam into a frenzy.
Sam looked up at his brother, his eyes glassy with tears. "The hunt takes priority over everything," his voice awkwardly squeaked, puberty rearing its ugly head.
Dean immediately stood up and took a seat next to Sam on the tiny step. "Yeah, it does. People's lives depend on it."
"What about our lives?" Sam asked, his voice barely above a whisper. His eyes never left Dean's face. "We go through all this trouble. And what do we get? Nothing. We can't stay in one place too long. We have fake IDs and credit cards. We risk our lives on a daily basis. And for what? The occasional 'thank you'. Is it really worth it?"
Something in Dean snapped. Looking back, he could never really place what it was, but he always regretted the outcome. "This isn't about 'worth', Sammy. It isn't about what we can get out of it. This is about people's lives," he spat out, his voice sharp. "What if someone was there to save Mom? Huh?" He tilted his head, so he could look Sam straight in the eye. "Where would we be then? I know one thing. I sure as hell wouldn't be having this conversation with you. You would know the value of a life. Her life."
Something snapped inside Sam too, but his was much more devastating. He looked up at his brother, his eyes bright with tears, and stormed off into the house.
Shit. Dean's anger vanished as quickly as it came. He had no idea what possessed him to go off like that. He wasn't even sure he believed half the stuff he said.
Of course, he must have at least thought them in order to have said him.
Standing up, he chased after Sammy, barging through the bedroom door before his brother had a chance to lock it. "Sammy…" he whispered at the sight of his lanky brother stretched out on the bed, hugging a pillow.
He wasn't quite sure what to say. Anything that spewed out of his mouth seemed to do more harm than good. He just walked to the bed and sat down next to his brother's head.
"I…I didn't mean…" Sammy stammered, blinking back tears.
Seeing his brother fall apart at the seams, Dean instantly grabbed his brother and pulled him towards him, enveloping him in a hug. "It's okay," he whispered into Sam's thick hair.
"I'm s…sorry," Sam replied between his tears into Dean's warm chest.
"Don't be. I didn't mean it like that," he said with obvious strength behind his words. Maybe the strength would get Sam to believe him.
As he softly rubbed his brother's back, Dean looked up at the ceiling. And in that moment, he missed his mother more than he ever thought he could.
Well there was a time when you let me know
What's really going on below
But now you never show that to me do you?
And remember when I moved in you?
And the holy dove was moving too
And every breath we drew was hallelujah
It hurt to move. And not even in the good monster-almost-got-my-ass way. It was the crappy I-can't-believe-I-got-taken-down-by-the-flu way. Pathetic. Just absolutely pathetic.
And worst of all his brother and father were out on a hunt, leaving his achy, snotty ass behind. Nothing was worse than getting left behind. Of course, he came to that revelation five hours ago when they left for the hunt. But now Dean was alone and distraught, with nothing left to think about besides why the hell it was taking them so long.
They said it would only take two hours, three max. Sure it was a poltergeist, but nothing too serious. Nothing that could take five hours without something going drastically wrong.
He tried calling his father's cell phone for the twentieth time. Straight to voicemail. That meant that they were still on the hunt.
Something must have happened to one of them.
Without another thought, Dean rolled to the side of the bed and practically slid to the floor, his hand on the nightstand for support. He blinked against the nasty wave of vertigo, encouraging himself not to throw up…for the third time. Finally feeling stable enough to move, Dean carefully approached the dresser and slipped on a pair of sweatpants and sneakers.
He carefully avoided a glance at the mirror on the wall. He could live without knowing what he looked like as a three day old corpse. Grabbing the car keys on the dresser, he made his way to the front door, his hand never leaving the wall for support.
It took longer than he would care to admit, but he eventually made it to the front seat of the Impala and put the key in the ignition. Ready to save his family from whatever that bitch of a poltergeist did to them, he turned the key.
Evidently, the car had other plans. As if somehow tied to Dean and his illness, it sputtered for a moment, making an awful grinding noise, before dying completely.
"C'mon baby," Dean soothed as he turned the key once again, only to be rewarded with silence.
Dean's head fell against the steering wheel, dealing with the unusual feeling of hopelessness. "Shit," he whispered as he stepped out of the car and into the night to check under the hood.
The moment he opened the hood up, two headlights beamed at him as the familiar sound of his father's truck drifted up the driveway.
He shielded his eyes from the blinding light as the car traveled closer and came to a stop. "Nice of them to finally show up," he grumbled under his breath.
A tired, uncoordinated Sam stumbled out of the car and took one look at Dean. "What the hell are you doing out here?" he asked in the middle of a yawn.
Dean stood for a moment, his eyes scanning his brother's body for any noticeable injury. Relief washed over him as he realized his brother seemed to be in one piece. "I was coming to save your scrawny ass," he remarked, his throat rough and grating.
Sam took one look at Dean's haggard appearance and replied, "It looks like you're the one that needs to be saved."
Dean simply rolled his eyes and grumbled, "Shut up," too tired and weary to keep up with the banter. "So you and Dad okay?" His fevered eyes reflected his true concern.
"Never better," Sam shrugged.
It was undeniable that Sam was hiding something. Dean didn't have to ask what when his father stepped out of the car, obviously nursing his right shoulder. "Dad, what happened?"
John's head shot up, surprised to see his eldest standing in the driveway. "It's nothing. My shoulder was dislocated, but Sam popped it back in," he grumbled, his exhaustion and discomfort clear in his voice. He walked straight for the door, not offering any more information.
"Dean, you okay?" Sam asked as he approached his older brother. "You really shouldn't be outside like this."
"I'm fine," Dean grumbled, too lost in his thoughts to put up more of a protest.
Sam followed John to the door, leaving Dean a bit dumbfounded. He expected something a bit more than that. He wasn't sure what. Maybe something to explain the lost three hours than just a dislocated shoulder. Granted, it would have set them behind, but Dean still knew the hunt was probably much harder than any of them expected.
"Dean, let's hit the sack," Sam's called out from the doorway.
That was when he realized there was something worse than getting left behind.
Not being needed at all.
Well maybe there's a God above
But all I've ever learned from love
Was how to shoot somebody who out drew ya
And it's not a cry that you hear at night
It's not somebody who's seen the light
It's a cold and it's a broken hallelujah
Sammy left. Just picked up and left like the first eighteen years of his life never mattered. Walked out the door without so much as a goodbye. Granted, his father made it impossible for any type of farewell, but that didn't make it hurt any less.
Dean waited in the crappy motel room for five hours, hoping…praying that it was some type of stand-off. His father and brother were just waiting to see who would last the longest. It wasn't until his father stood up and went to bed without a sound that Dean realized there was no competition. No one was giving in. Game over. Everybody lost.
He waited another thirty minutes, not quite sure what to do with himself, before his father's loud snores drove him out of the motel and into the Impala.
Originally, he wasn't planning on going anywhere, he just wanted the familiarity of the cushions and the nice sound of Metallica to ease his nerves. Before he knew what he was doing, he placed his keys in the ignition and drove.
He didn't know where. Anywhere but the hellish nightmare he was in would suffice.
He never turned, never needed to. Just went straight out of town until there were only corn stalks surrounding him.
It was almost serene. The endless road with the continuous, mundane scenery. Part of him hoped it would just go on forever, no need to pull over, no use going back home. This was his home. Him and his car. That was all he needed.
If only he could convince himself that was true.
Eighteen years may not have mattered to Sam, but they sure as hell mattered to Dean. Eighteen years of changing diapers and cleaning up messes. Countless lost Friday nights because he had to watch his brother. Endless bantering and bickering over the stupidest things.
Years of playing mediator between the two people he loved the most. Between the two people he ever got the chance to know at all.
And the saddest thing of all, if he could do it all over again, he would.
He would do it in a heartbeat. He didn't care about the travel or the lack of friends. The sleepless nights at crappy motels, waking up and not knowing what state he was in. All he cared about was his family.
Evidently, he was the only one who felt that way.
But now it was gone. Everything he knew was pulled out from under him, and he never got to say one word about it. With an eternity of words between his brother and father, he got left behind.
Left to pick up the pieces of what their lives once were.
He shouldn't have been that surprised. He did it once before, and at the time he was only four.
But he also didn't know any better. He didn't know what he could've had….what he should've had. Now, at twenty-two, he was back where he was eighteen years ago, without the strength to do it again.
He was worn down, tired, and, most of all, angry. Angry at his stubborn father. Angry at his selfish brother. Angry at the world for leaving nothing to fall back on.
There was so much he had to learn to live without, that he grew to depend on the two things he needed most. Now with one of them gone he wasn't sure how he was going to survive.
And no one seemed to notice his world was crashing around him. Living with two people so self-absorbed in their own world, it was impossible to get them to notice his struggles. Or maybe they noticed, but they just didn't care.
That thought alone made his frustration and anger brew to a fury. Jerking the car to the side of the road, he threw it into park, never bothering to take the keys out of the ignition.
He sprinted into the night, his face and arms beating against the tall cornstalks, as he closed his eyes at the tears threatening to fall.
Of course they didn't care. How could they? He never really mattered. He was just there to help them in their own selfish causes.
Now, Sammy was gone. And there was nothing left for him to hold onto.
He slid to his knees, his face glaring at the heavens, and screamed.