They finished a hunt less than twelve hours ago, John took point and took the children they had saved home to their scared and worried parents, and Dean stayed back in the abandoned building and took care of the monster mess. And a mess this thing had made. Burning the corpse took longer than he wanted, and cleaning the bloody footprints he and his father left took more effort than he was used to. Without Sammy around anymore, it took more effort to move, to do the little things, to live, to breathe. He missed Sam so much that sometimes it felt like someone had punched him square in the lungs and rendered him incapable of taking the most basic breath.
The sun was just coming over the horizon, turning the sky baby blues and rosy pinks as Dean got into the Impala and started off towards the motel in which they were staying. Ohio seemed to be the place that they spent a lot of time in lately, and Dean couldn't complain. The state was beautiful and Dean thought once or twice that if this whole hunting thing ever ended he would like to live in one of the little no name towns in the state.
As he drove, he listened to the local radio and the announcer said that there would be a Cincinnati Reds game not far from where they were and Dean smiled. Maybe he and his father could go to that, maybe it would take John's mind off of the youngest Winchester who had unceremoniously ditched them, and lift his father from the funk that had captured him.
He drove a little faster with a smile on his lips and anticipation in his heart. Dean was incredibly pleased to see his father's truck in the parking lot of the motel when he got there. He threw the Impala into a parking space and hurried into the motel room.
"Dad?!" He yelled.
"Dean. Quiet down. My head is pounding." Came John's reply.
"What is so important that you had to come barreling in here screaming?"
"I just heard that there is a baseball game tonight. I was wondering if we could go."
"We could get hotdogs, sit in the stands, have a beer…"
"And how would we pay for this little slice of normal Dean?"
Dean shrugged his shoulders. "I hustled the other night and got quite a bit."
"And then what exactly do you propose we use to fill up the car? To eat? To sleep?"
"We have the cards."
"Dean. We don't use fake credit cards so we can go sit at a Reds game. We don't take from people just so we can have a little fun."
"Then I'll hustle a little more this week." Dean said with a shrug.
"I thought you were different Dean."
"I thought you understood what we were doing here."
"I don't understand."
John stood up and loomed over his eldest son. "I expected this crap from your brother. Sam who wants normal at any cost, who doesn't remember your mother and doesn't' understand our mission, but you…you…I thought you understood what we were doing. I thought you were with me. Knew that we aren't like other people, that we don't get to sit back and go to baseball games or concerts or whatever else. I thought you knew that."
"It's just a game dad." He said with a smirk
"And there are lives out there that need to be saved." Dean's smirk faded and his face fell.
"It's just one evening." His voice came out thin and weak, he wasn't so sure anymore.
"One evening could cost lives, lives that have families that would be devastated, like ours was, while we are sitting at some stupid game where people hit a ball with a bat. Come on Dean. I thought you were a better hunter than that, a more dedicated hunter." John turned away from his eldest. "There is a hunt in Iowa that I want you to check out. The paperwork is on the table."
"Me?" he asked with a swallow.
"Yes." John said as he went and started to put his things in his duffel.
"Where are you going?"
"There is a hunt up in Wisconsin that I need to take care of. You need to start taking on more cases on your own. You're a grown man now Dean. Can't be on my tail forever."
Blinking rapidly, trying to process the meaning behind those words, Dean said "Okay."
"Move Dean. Hustle." Dean hustled, burring the disappointment and sadness tucking his heart a little deeper into his chest.
That evening, Dean was sitting on the hood of the Impala, newly purchased baseball hat, firmly on his head, 711 hotdog in one hand, and a beer in the other, starring across a river and listening to the baseball game on the radio. It wasn't the same when you were alone, it wasn't as much fun when you were by yourself. He threw the hotdog into the bag as well as the beer bottle and threw the hat so hard into the backseat that had it been glass it would have shattered into a thousand little bits. He shoved himself into the car and slammed the door and took off for the hunt in Iowa, blasting Metllica so as not to hear his own thoughts.
Sam and Adam were talking, about something, who knew, and Dean kept reliving that experience over and over again. John went to Wisconsin, and he took that kid to a baseball game. Adam didn't have to worry about hunting or lives that could be lost, it wasn't his responsibility to protect the lives of others, and now, Sam was over there making it his business.
Dean wanted that baseball game, wanted it desperately had been jealous when he saw the picture, furious that he hadn't been afforded that slice of normal. But here watching this boy lose every shread of innocence he possessed, hurt him more, made him realize, that this Adam kid was one of those families that John wanted to protect. Just because he couldn't have it, just because he had been turned into a soldier so young he didn't remember what it was like to not be one, didn't mean that this kid at 19 had to give up everything he ever knew, so he could hunt down fugly bastards that would want to eat him just because he was a Winchester. He didn't want Adam to die at the hands of a demon, like he had, like Sam had, like his father had. He didn't want his youngest brother to partake in the family tradition.
"Hey Sam. We need to talk." He finally said. Dean would try to stop this destruction of innocence. Dean hadn't been able to go to baseball games with his dad, but this kid had, and if he was dead, there was no way for Dean to ever find out what it was like. This hunt wasn't worth another brother being destroyed. He looked Sam dead in the eyes, saw their father in them, the obsession, the drive, the determination, the willingness to sacrifice everything just to destroy one demon, and cringed.