Too Late for Goodbyes

written for the rockin_the_80s challenge at livejournal

Disclaimer: Neither the song nor the Winchesters belong to me.

Summary: Dean wonders if his family will ever realize what's really important.


Ever since you've been leaving me
I've been wanting to cry
Now I know how it feels for you
I've been wanting to die
But it's much too late for goodbyes
Yes it's much too late for goodbyes

Dean sat at the table, the guns spread out on the cloth before him along with everything he needed to clean and service them. Methodically he worked through them, not skimping on any stage, purposeful. He dismantled the gun in front of him, cleaned and oiled and reassembled it before putting it to the side and pulling the next to him.

He could do it without thinking; without even needing to think, almost without needing to look, although he wasn't stupid enough to actually try that. It wasn't worth the risk, not worth missing anything. Lives depended on it . . . his family's lives, his father, himself. The thought petered out before he could say, Sammy's life or even not Sammy's life anymore. Sam had gone. He knew it was coming, knew it was going to hurt but fuck if it didn't more than just hurt and he could swear it wouldn't hurt anymore than it already did if he actually cut his goddamned heart out and threw it in with the garbage. Fat lot of fucking good it was doing him stuck inside his chest reminding him of everything he'd lost.

Sam hadn't even been gone forty-eight hours yet and Dean wanted to get in the Impala and drive to fetch him and haul his lanky ass back home. It was too late for that though, same as it was too late to change what happened.

Dean paused in his labors and his head dropped forward as the thought occurred to him to consider whether he'd feel this way if things had been different between his Dad and Sam. If things hadn't been so final, so brutal between them would Dean hurt like he did right then. He knew there was no answer to it, no point in even debating it.

Time has gone since I've been with you
We've been starting to lie
Now it seems you don't care for me
I don't understand why
But it's much too late for goodbyes
Yes it's much too late for goodbyes

He heard the sound of Dad's truck pulling up outside as he pulled another gun across the table to him, but he forced the noise to just fade into the background. He definitely didn't want to have any part of the upcoming conversation. He didn't want to be the one responsible for telling Dad or even just pointing him in the direction of the note Sam left. He didn't want any of it to be true and happening to him, and if all this thinking, all this wasting time on what ifs and I wishes wasn't fucked up, he didn't know what was.

He worked on, focused in on his task, drowning out all external information in a blur of white noise and the repetition of the task before him. Unload, dismantle, clean, oil, reassemble, reload. They didn't keep everything loaded, just a few bare essentials. Dean admired the sleek, oiled lines of the gun he'd just finished.

Distantly he knew the front door had banged open and then his dad had entered. He pulled another gun towards him and started work again. "Where's your brother?" Dean heard a voice behind him, but it was lost in the white noise he'd managed to build up in his own head.

Ever since you've been far away
I've been wanting to fly
Now I know what you meant to me
I'm the one who should cry
And it's much too late for goodbyes
Yes it's much too late for goodbyes

There comes a point, always a point at which Dean's white noise is never enough to drown out his father and brother. That point had been reached and combined with a fist pounding on the table right next to him and a kick to his chair as he reached out for the next gun. Dean jerked his attention back to his immediate surroundings. "Hey, Dad. You're home!" He should have known better than that he realized a moment or two later.

"I said Where's your brother?"

Dean wondered if was worth trying to sugar coat the response, before deciding not to bother even trying. What could ever make it look good or even acceptable? "Gone to Stanford," Dean answered in the end, blunt in the extreme, but he's hurting he says in his own mind.

"Why didn't you stop him?"

Dean laughed at that one. "How the hell was I supposed to do that? He told you he was going, and you pissed off to god only knows where and somehow I'm supposed to stop him going?"

"He's your brother, your responsibility. You should have told him to stay, not helped pack his bag and just said goodbye."

"At least I did that! You're the one who fucked off and didn't even face up to him saying he was going! You're the one who didn't even say goodbye! You are the one who drove him away so now he won't even come back!" Dean knew where the anger had come from, but the outburst took even him by surprise, he'd never shouted at his father like that. "He's left and it's for good and that's your fault and you know what, it's too late to even say goodbye now, Dad. It's too late even for that."

The anger left him, empty but for a sense of defeat. He slumped back into his chair and pulled the next gun towards him. Unload, dismantle, clean, oil, reassemble, reload, repeat. Life sucked, Dean reflected, and it wasn't about to change in that respect any time soon.

Ever since you've been leaving me
I've been wanting to cry
Now I know how it feels for you
I've been wanting to die
But it's much too late for goodbyes
Yes it's much too late for goodbyes