Fatherhood by Phone
Chapter Two-The Benders
Dean really, really hurt. He didn't care what those websites said and if anyone asked, Sammy was the one who surfed the web for BDSM porn. Getting branded hurt like a mother! He could barely feel his shoulder, though he knew that he'd gotten the better end of the bargain. Better to be injured and know what you were facing than to be stuck in a cage for days and have no idea what was going on. Sammy would be all right. He was always all right. He just needed some time.
Dean settled into another diner booth in another town. This was getting to be a habit, and he had to say that he didn't hate it. He still went after girl sometimes, the ones that looked at him a little long, with that extra-special gleam in their eyes, but it just wasn't the same. Sex was still good, but he wanted more than that now, had ever since he'd laid eyes on Andrea and Lucas, and now he was driving himself up the wall with worry over nothing.
See, Sammy? This is what your normal life gets you. A whole lot of worry and a shitload of responsibility. Cause Dean knew that he had to be there for Lucas, even if he was on the other side of the country, and even when he was risking his life every day. Lucas needed him.
And he needed Lucas and Andrea and whatever stability they could provide to his life. He sighed and smiled wearily at the waitress. She was in her fifties and looked just as exhausted as he felt.
"Do you mind if I call my family while I eat?" he asked her, waving the cell phone. "I want to make sure they're doing okay."
She smiled at him, "Sure thing. What can I get you?"
He ordered, something filling and unhealthy, so that he could dream of high cholesterol and heart failure, instead of monsters and demons. Maybe he'd get pie too.
He picked up the cell phone and stared at it a moment. He'd programmed the number in after last time, but he'd had to give it a code so that Sammy wouldn't just call it when looking for someone else. They lived in each other's pockets, it stood to reason they would use each other's phones. So, here he was, calling a four year old and his mother, and he had to call the contact, TRISHAXXXBJ. He felt dirty.
The line picked up just as the waitress (her nametag called her Doreen) brought him some coffee.
"Hey Andrea," he said, exhaling and thanking Doreen silently. She smiled again and shuffled away from his booth. He liked diners more than restaurants. They were much more relaxed, and the people always liked hearing your story.
"Oh, god, Dean! I wasn't expecting to hear from you so soon!"
He chuckled. He hadn't really expected to be alive to call, so this was both of them being surprised. "To be fair," he said, "I wasn't really planning on calling again so soon either. I just--" Here he paused, unsure how much to tell her about the Benders and what he and Sam had been up to since they'd last seen her. He didn't want to give her nightmares, but he wanted to be able to share this with her. He wanted to be honest, for once.
"Is Sam okay?" she said, sensing something wrong in his hesitation. The question caught him off guard and he laughed.
"Big lug is sleeping it off in the motel room. I just wanted to make sure you two are okay." He got it out all in a rush, wanting to say it, but not wanting it to linger between them. "We ran into some bad stuff out here. Human. I know it's crazy, but I really wanted to check and make sure you're holding out all right."
She sighed, soft and sweet, and god he wished he were right there so he could wipe the tension from her small face. "We're fine," she said. "Well, maybe fine is an overstatement. Lucas doesn't know, but I've been having some trouble paying the bills and I just hate feeling so, god, grownup all the time."
"I know how that is. Course," he said, lowering his voice in case Doreen was near. He really didn't need her to think ill of him when he'd already played on her sympathy. "I tend more to credit card scams and hustling pool. But I get what you're saying. When Sammy was little, you know, before he became gigantor," he waits and here's her huff a little laugh at that, "dad would have us stick in one spot for a while, and I'd get a job and stay with Sammy while he went off and hunted. So, yeah, I get what you mean."
Wow. He didn't mean to do that. He never told people about his childhood if he can help it, not even Sammy, and he was there.
Andrea's quiet on the other end of the line and he thought for a few wild moments that he may have finally scared her off.
"Thank you," she said, finally, when the silence had almost become too much, and Dean was about to make a lewd joke and ask her to hand the phone to Lucas, because he just couldn't take feeling this open. His food had arrived, and he'd started eating, but it wasn't even really registering. "Thank you," she said again, "for sharing that with me. Sometimes it feels like you know everything about us, and we know nothing about you."
It was true, and Dean knew it. He didn't even bother trying to deny. Instead, he gathered as much of himself as he can up inside and said, "What do you want to know?"
He could hear her hesitation through the phone lines. "Everything," she said, "but I'll start small. What did you want to be when you grew up?"
He was grateful that she was starting little like this, and he could tell that she knew how hard this was for him, but he wanted it. If he was going to be a good role model for Lucas, he had to learn to be honest, and Andrea was a good place to start.
"I wanted to be a fireman," he said, mouth full of fries and burger, so that hopefully she'd miss the message slightly, and maybe be too embarrassed to ask again. Sadly, Dean'd never had that sort of luck.
"A fireman?" she squealed. "You would have been so cute in the uniform!"
He groaned. "Trying really hard to maintain some dignity, thank you very much."
"You always wanted to save people," she said then, all of the girlishness gone from her voice.
"Yes," he said.
The new silence wasn't really uncomfortable, but it was strange, a sort of recognition, so Dean only gave it a few moments before he started eating again. The food was decent enough, and he had to eat to live, so he might as well have at it. He could tell she heard when he started digging in again, cause she asked her next question.
"Why did you call us last time? Real answer. You didn't have to talk to us, I know you have ways of checking up that don't have anything to do with actually talking to us."
Dean did not want to answer this question, but he had sworn to be honest with Andrea and Lucas, so he was going to bite the bullet. "I was dying," he said, and waited for the explosion. He didn't have long.
"You were going to die?" she yelled into the receiver, "And you didn't think of mentioning it?"
"I didn't want you to worry," he said back, realizing how trite it sounded and wishing he could make it better, but she had asked. He swiped his plate clean with an errant fry.
"Christ, Dean, this is whole new levels of crazy."
He grunted into the phone. He couldn't really argue with that one.
"I take it you got better?"
"Yeah," he said, and hadn't that been a trip. Sam had found a healer for him, but at what cost? "Sam found someone to fix me."
"What was wrong?" He could hear it in her voice, she couldn't let it go. She really needed to know.
"Heart failure. I only had three weeks."
"Wait--" she said. "And you just got better?"
"Welcome to the wacky world of the supernatural."
She laughed a little, but it wasn't a nice laugh, it was more of a "find me a chair before I fall over" laugh.
"I did ask, didn't I?" she said. "I'm starting to think this was a bad plan."
Dean didn't want her to ever think that letting him talk to her son was a bad idea, even if it probably was, and there were thousands, millions, of men better qualified to be a father figure than him. "If it helps," he said, "I'm not telling Lucas. It's up to you if you want to tell him or not. Ever."
She took some deep breaths. "I think that's good. That helps. Of course, now I have to ask it. Why are you calling tonight?"
He'd known the question was coming ever since she asked about last time, but he still wasn't ready.
"Sammy got kidnapped," he said, scowling at the table. "By humans."
"Oh god," she said, and he could picture her hands flying up to her mouth.
"Guess I just forget sometimes," he said, looking adamantly at the tabletop, "that the monsters aren't just out there."
"Is he all right?"
"Yeah, he's fine," Dean laughed then. "Idiot barely had a scratch on him. Hell I got more banged up than he did."
There was a pause, and then, "Are you all right?"
"Yeah, I'm fine." Default answer.
"Okay," he said, caving to what he was pretty sure was the mom voice, even if he barely remembered it. "I'm mostly good. Just some bits banged up here and there. Nothing to worry about."
"Says the man who won't even tell us he's dying!"
"I deserved that."
"Look, Dean, I just want you to be safe."
"Thank you for that," he said, almost no louder than a whisper.
"Worrying. It's been years since anyone cared enough to really worry. So thank you."
Dean knew that right now she was probably wiping her eyes or something, so he did the only thing he could do.
"Is Lucas there?"