Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
This story follows my pre-series story 'Staying at Pastor Jim's'. Although the two stories are independent of each other, they share both characters and setting and the friendships here are adult versions of those first formed in childhood. This story is set in early Season 2 so it does reference events at the end of Season 1 and beginning of Season 2 (if you get my drift for spoilers and what happens to certain characters - this sticks by canon in that respect!)
Prompt 15 – Stars
Everything's Falling Apart (part one)
Dean knew it was too late, days and weeks and months too late, didn't know if there wasn't someone else in the house already. Not like he could come straight out and ask Bobby . . . not without admitting where he was going . . . why . . .
He drove through the town, looking at the long-familiar buildings, contemplating how little had changed and how much. He stopped at the lights, wondering if he'd known then what he knew now would he have done anything differently. It was years down the line and his life was still a freaking mess, worse now than ever with Pastor Jim gone, Caleb and now Dad.
Dean sighed and pulled away, crossing the intersection and heading out of the center.
It was the sound that had him looking up. It couldn't be . . . not after all these years . . . there would be no reason now . . .
Eliot had stayed in touch with the Thompsons throughout his life, the gaps had been unpredictable but the one thing he always held onto was the fact that Ava would always accept him, always want to see him, whatever state he arrived in.
He'd contacted them when he was returning from his time overseas in the military. They'd been there, driven for miles to be there, his family still despite everything. Ava . . . he tried so hard never to bring it here with him, to leave all the shit behind him, but she knew, she could always see it in his eyes, in his body, even when he waited for the bruises to fade and the injuries to heal before visiting. He came here for the knowledge that somebody cared for him, somebody wanted just him, not the things he could do, the things he could retrieve or the people he could beat to a bloody pulp.
She'd sent him a message when Pastor Jim had died and he'd just about made it home for the funeral, surprised when Dean and Sam weren't there. He'd seen Jordan, seen the tired bags around his eyes, a man at the end of his hope. He'd asked after the Winchesters and received a shrug, further pushing and Eliot had extracted enough information to realize that things had been bad for them for a while and that at that time Jordan had no idea where they were. It was a worry, they both knew that Dean would want to be here, would want to say goodbye.
He hadn't stayed for long. There had been 'things' going on, 'things' he couldn't ignore for long, but that was dealt with now and so he had come back to see Ava, to spend some time with her and Phil, to let them know that he really was okay.
So the last thing he'd expected was the rumble of an Impala past him in the street. His head had snapped round in its direction, stunned to see a solitary figure in the driver's seat, reminiscent of the man Dean had been the last time he'd seen him. It was an Impala in a far worse state of repair than Eliot had ever seen it before but still running. He watched as it turned through the intersection and out towards the Pastor's old house.
He knew from Ava that the house was still empty, the Pastor's 'brother' had emptied his belongings from it but that the Pastor's replacement at the church had decided he preferred to live closer to the town centre. As far as Eliot knew the church had the house still on the market waiting for a buyer.
He looked down at his watch, realized he was supposed to be meeting Ava in a few minutes and so headed off quickly.
Ava hadn't minded when he'd ducked out of eating with her. Well, she hadn't minded when he'd told her why and instead had packed him off telling him to hurry and to bring the 'poor boy' back to her home. It was dusk when he got to the Pastor's old house, the first stars just visible in the sky. There in front of the house sat the Impala and on the porch was Dean.
The younger man looked up and with tears in his eyes, he said, "Everything's gone to shit, Eliot."