Disclaimer: Not mine, just borrowing.
Summary: Not the car... Never the car. Post Abandon All Hope.
This story... Well, it is what it is... hope you enjoy.
Sam pulled the money out of his wallet and quickly counted it to make sure there was enough, then handed it to the young woman behind the grocery store register. His hand brushed hers, and she briefly met his glance, blushing a brilliant rose red, before hurriedly turning away to put the money in the till.
Sam was momentarily frozen, nearly in awe of the reaction. Somehow, he'd forgotten that there was still a world out there where a pretty girl still blushed and got tongue-tied around a good looking guy. Sam's world was all bound up in crushing guilt, desperation, anger, worry, fear... Thanks to his stupidity with Ruby, even sex had become tangled with shame, anger, horror and blood. That didn't really make for much fun on date night.
Then again, date night was a foreign concept in their world as well. Ellen and Jo were dead, the colt didn't work on Lucifer, and they were fresh out of ideas, fresh out of anything. Sam had never known Bobby's house to be so silent. And they'd been through some ugly, ugly times at Bobby's, or at least holed up there afterwards.
"Yes, sir?" Sam turned to look at the man standing a few feet away in some chagrin. The response had been automatic, even though his father had been dead for years now. It wasn't just demons who'd manage to code things into his DNA, or at least browbeat them into him.
The older man was gray headed, wearing bib overalls and a frayed hat that had seen better days. Sam didn't know his name, but he'd seen him around town before. He and Dean had been sent for groceries or to do other errands with more frequency since Bobby's injury. Bobby hated coming into town now that he was in a wheelchair and he used the hassle of getting him in and out of a vehicle as the excuse to just send them.
"Son, you might oughta see to your brother," the man said. He took his hat off to scratch at his thinning hair and shifted on his feet uncomfortably.
It surprised Sam that the man knew he and Dean were brothers, but then again maybe Dean had sent the man in after him. "He making a nuisance of himself?" Sam asked with a tight smile.
Dean had gone into the hardware store next door while Sam was getting the groceries. His brother had been trying to make the house a little more user-friendly for someone with Bobby's disability. None of them had talked about it. Dean had just quietly adjusted things here and there, fixed this and that, bought random items that struck him as being useful.
Sam hadn't asked what his brother was looking for in the hardware store. That would have required admitting that Dean was making Bobby's house handicap accessible, which would have required one of them saying out loud that, likely as not, Bobby was never getting out of that chair.
That and none of them were really talking. Not since they'd lost Ellen and Jo.
"He's not trying to ride the kiddie carousel again, is he?" Sam smiled at the memory.
The man frowned. "Son, you… You need to come outside."
Instantly, the hair on Sam's neck stood on end and his heart began to pound in his chest. He left his groceries where they were on the counter and shoved a stray cart out of his way so he could dash outside.
At first glance he didn't see anything wrong. He didn't see Dean either. The sun was out. It was warm for the time of year. There weren't any clouds looming or black-eyed townspeople watching him.
The man who'd come to get him had followed him back outside and when Sam glanced at him, he gestured with a circling motion toward the car, which was still in the same spot, parked a few spaces down from the door. "Other side."
Sam jogged the few feet to the car and went around to the driver's side. Dean was sitting on the pavement, leaning back against the Impala, his legs stretched out in front of him crossed at the ankle. His shoulders were slumped and either he didn't notice or didn't bother to look up as Sam approached.
"Dean?" Sam asked tentatively.
"Yeah." He still didn't glance up, his eyes squinting against the afternoon sun as he looked out over the small field next to the grocery store.
Dean made a sound, almost like a wounded animal, a cross between a huff and a whimper. "M'fine," he said. "Dandy, even."
Sam crouched next to him and looked him up and down for any sign of injury, but didn't see anything. "You, uhh… You don't exactly sound fine, man."
"What?" That was so far from anything Sam had been expecting, he wasn't even sure how to respond.
"While I was in the hardware store," Dean clarified. "Somebody put a dent in her." He held his hand out and ran it over a spot on the door. Sam leaned around him and now he saw it, too. It looked like someone had opened their door and banged the crap out the Impala.
"I'm sorry, man." Sam wasn't really sure what else to say. Things had finally started to get back to normal between them. Dean was actually talking to him instead of at him or near him, well... before Ellen and Jo. But sometimes Sam still wasn't sure of Dean's reactions or how to respond to them.
"S'ok." Dean shrugged. "Just a dent."
And yet here he was, sitting on the ground beside his dented baby. It looked like Dean had come outside, he'd seen the dent, and then just slid to the ground in defeat.
Unfortunately, defeat seemed to be par for the course lately. Dean had been almost unbearably quiet since losing Ellen and Jo. Just... overwhelmed, with grief, with loss, uncertainty what to do about it, or to do next. It happened sometimes, and Dean's normal tendency to talk non-stop made it all the more noticeable. Sam... since his talk with Lucifer all he could think was, No. It repeated over and over in his head. Just say no, just say no, just say no. He probably should have listened to all of those drug lectures in health class when he was a kid and maybe it would have kept this whole thing from happening. Listen up, Potential Blood Addicts and Vessels, just say no.
"We can take her back to Bobby's. Maybe you can pop it out?" Sam suggested hopefully.
Dean shook his head. "Too deep. Right along her body line. I'll have to take the panel off." Once again he ran his fingers over the wound, as if trying to soothe her pain. "Probably bubble the paint."
"We'll fix it," Sam assured quietly. "You can't keep her down. Never could."
For the first time, Dean actually looked at Sam and the eye contact was jarring. His brother looked beyond crushed. "Somebody did this on purpose," he said under his breath.
"What?" Sam's knees were beginning to hurt so he sat down cross-legged, facing Dean.
"A dent this deep?" Dean once again looked out over the empty field. "Somebody had to purposely hit her. This wasn't an oops-I-opened-my-door-into-your-car."
Sam leaned out again to look at the dent and saw what Dean meant. It was deep, the buckled area around it larger than Sam's outspread hand. More disturbing, however, than the thought that someone had done this on purpose was the lack of response on Dean's part. In times past, Dean would have been prowling around the parking lot swearing to cut off vital parts of someone's anatomy for daring to so much as look at his car, let alone touch her.
"She's a tank, Sammy. It takes a lot more than a love tap."
Dean fell silent. He drew his knees up and rested his elbows on them. His head fell forward and he clasped his hands behind his neck.
"It's fine, Sam." Dean's voice was muffled. "S'just a dent."
Sam stood up, his feet scraping against the asphalt. Yeah, it was just a dent, but Sam knew what this was. Dean's armor had taken yet another blow. Sam just didn't know at what point it would simply give under the strain. This blow had been intentional, malicious, inflicted by some human nobody that liked damaging what someone else clearly treasured.
All of the anger that Dean wasn't showing began to bubble up inside Sam. If Dean was feeling defeated, Sam was pure wrath ready to rain down vengeance on whoever had done this. He wondered if the grocery store had a camera aimed at the parking lot and if he could get his hands on the footage. Once he had it, he could track them down. He could...
You keep fanning that fire in your belly... All that pent up rage... I'm gonna need it.
Sam took a deep breath and let it out slowly. That kind of thinking was what had gotten them where they were. His anger, his need for vengeance... He had to control them. He had to control himself. He couldn't let what others did control him. Not people, not demons, not angels, not the blood. He may have set Lucifer free, but Sam couldn't let him win. Just say no.
"Come on, man." Sam put a hand on Dean's arm. "We gotta get back. Bobby's gonna get worried."
Dean nodded and let his hands fall away from behind his head, then let Sam help him up. "Ice cream's gonna melt. Bobby'll be pissed."
"He'll be pissed about the dent," Sam said, and he would be. To hurt the Impala was to hurt Dean. And hurting Dean didn't make anybody a friend to Bobby. It made them an enemy to Sam. Maybe he still could get his hands on that video footage.
The girl at the cash register had put all of their bags in a cart and brought them outside. She stood several feet away, unsure what to do with them. She blushed once again as Sam gave her a grateful smile and pulled the cart closer to the back door. "Thank you."
The young woman nodded, apparently still tongue-tied, and hurried back into the store, her face fire-engine red.
"Her name's Clara," Dean said. "She's a nice girl."
Sam nodded, a twinge of regret in his heart. He didn't know if his brother meant it as encouragement or a warning.
Dean drove back toward Bobby's grateful that Sam didn't seem to feel like talking anymore than he did. What was there to talk about really? Ellen, Jo, the colt… Now he couldn't even go to the hardware store without somebody putting a dent the size of Texas in his door. Not only were angels and demons on their trail, now the little punk down the road had it in for them.
Dean was supposed to save the world, keep Sam from saying yes. Who was he kidding? He couldn't even keep his car safe.
Cas kept telling him that his Father was real. He seemed absolutely certain and although Dean wouldn't admit it, he'd caught himself talking to the Man Upstairs more than once. Because, honestly, what other options did he have?
It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God.
A preacher had quoted that once, or more like screamed it at him. At the time, he'd thought Dean was evil and should be punished for digging up Aunt Beulah. Since the preacher couldn't punish him, Dean had been armed after all, he'd been assured God would do the job and the implication was that it wouldn't be pretty.
That had been years ago, but with everything going on, something had jarred it loose in his memory and now he couldn't quit thinking about it.
God would punish the wicked. That was pretty standard. But everything he and Sam had been going through lately… They were supposed to be the good guys. If God was real and He had a plan that was bigger than the angels' Let's-Destroy-the-World-Extravaganza, then the good guys were getting their butts handed to them. Cas said to have faith in his Father. He refused to give up on Him. But… God's plan, and if there was one the Big Guy was playing it really close to the vest… Right now it felt kind of like if times got any harder, God's plan was going to have to go ahead without him, because Dean was going to be a basket case. And if that was part of His plan? It was a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God. Being part of the plan was a real kick in the head.
Then again… He and Sam had certainly earned their places in the Wicked Hall of Fame. Breaking seals, torturing souls, drinking blood, beating the crap out of each other, abandoning each other. They'd managed to screw the pooch in so many ways it was amazing they could even think of themselves as the good guys.
And yet… Here they were. The Good Guys.
Which meant the snot-nosed little bastard that dented his car was the Bad Guy.
"Since we're on God's side of the fence and all," Dean cleared his throat because that sounded retarded even to him, "you think He'll smite the guy for us who dented the car?"
Sam just looked at him for a second in disbelief at the out of the blue remark, then his mouth quirked up on one side in a small smile. "Maybe so."
Dean nodded. There were a lot of things he couldn't do anything about. He couldn't fix what happened to Ellen and Jo. He couldn't make the colt work on Lucifer. He couldn't get Bobby walking again. He couldn't see that there was a plan to this at all, other than a family even more dysfunctional than theirs trying to destroy the world. It was all just a mishmash of disaster after disaster and things getting worse and worse.
If God was all-knowing, then surely He knew that Sam and Dean were going to refuse to say yes no matter what. Which meant He would have factored that into the plan. Which meant... Dean didn't know what, but he just couldn't see his way past that.
And maybe that was part of The Plan.
And if not… Then they were going to just keep doing what they'd been doing. They were going to keep on keeping on.
Because that was the only plan there was.
Hiatus is almost over! Wooohoo! Thanks for reading!