A/N: Well guys this is the last chapter! Hope it doesn't disappoint. Title is from Skinny Love by Bon Iver - which is one of my favourite songs ever!
It was the next Monday when John finally came back.
The week had been okay so far as Dean was quiet and withdrawn so he had managed not to get himself in any trouble so far. He was sitting in his history lesson wondering why he was being tortured with this nonsense. He could see Miss Dane giving him that pitying look again that only made things worse.
Miss Dane kept almost getting up to talk to Dean and then changing her mind. She wanted to ask what was wrong but realised that it would be an exercise in futility. There was something different about Dean; he wasn't like the other kids. It unnerved her how one day he could be so bright and full of life with a smile that was impossibly infectious and the next he seemed to just become this black hole; dark and empty, sucking the life out of everything around him. For a kid who went out of his way not to be one of the 'popular kids' he seemed to have more influence over the mood of the whole classroom than any one person rightly should.
Something in her gut told her Dean would be gone soon though. She wasn't sure how she knew, but she just knew. Then his phone rang. She was about to tell him off but the look of relief on his face stopped her dead. He looked like a child, like a little boy who had just gotten that Christmas present he had begged for all year. She realised it was the first time he'd really looked like a kid.
"Dad?" he said hopefully.
"Hey son, I'm back," came the familiar deep voice.
"Like 'back for good' back?"
"Yeah, sorry it's been so long. But I've cleaned myself up though."
"Really? Thank God. So can we please get hell outta this stupid town?" Dean said with a laugh.
"Sure," John replied letting out a relieved laugh of his own. His relief was centred on the fact his son didn't hate him like he had been terrified he would.
"I mean can we leave right now? I am so over this place," he said standing and gathering up his stuff before deciding he didn't want any of it and leaving it on the desk. He continued to ignore the looks everyone was giving him.
"Wow, you really hate this place, huh? Won't Sam..."
"Oh trust me Sam will be just as happy to go as I am. Speaking of; I'll go get Sam and we'll meet you at the motel, yeah?"
"Sure, see you soon," John said ending the call.
Dean shoved his phone back in his pocket and walked to the door. Pausing before he left he turned back to Miss Dane, feeling like he ought to apologise for being such an asshole when she was trying to help him before.
"Thanks for being in my corner even if I didn't exactly appreciate it," he said with a smirk before adding seriously, "But that doesn't mean the next kid won't."
"Thanks Dean," Miss Dane replied with a smile of her own hearing the words of encouragement for what they were.
"Well, it's been real," Dean cockily, and with that he strutted away, not looking back. That was just another room of people he'd never see again.
When he got to the room where Sam was he opened the door and went in without bothering to knock. The whole class looked up in shock. Sam fixed him with an expression first of exasperation, then curiosity when he took in the look of glee on his brother's face.
"Sammy, we're leaving," Dean announced happily.
"Dean it's 11 in the morning. We can't just leave..."
"No I mean leaving leaving. As in let's blow this popsicle stand, as in..."
"Yeah, I got it Dean," Sam laughed standing up and packing his bag.
"Sit back down Mr Winchester," came the Sam's teacher's voice now he had gotten over his surprise at the interruption.
"I don't think so," Dean interjected in a friendly tone, "Me and him, we're leaving. You should feel free to continue to bore the rest of your students to death though Mr..."
"Roberts," Sam supplied sounding just as gleeful as Dean
"You two are about to be in so much trouble, you can't even begin to imagine. Stay right where you are Sam. In fact in my opinion I think it would be best if you stayed away from this boy altogether..." Mr Roberts sneered.
"Oh really, well how 'bout you take your opinion and shove it up your..."
"Dean!" Sam interrupted stopping Dean from continuing that sentence. "Let's just leave. Thank God we're finally outta here!"
"Tell me about it!" Dean agreed slinging an arm around his brother as they walked away ignoring Mr Roberts's threats and bluster. They didn't care.
Before they left though, Dean realised he had one last pit stop to make.
He gave Sam his keys and told him to wait in the car. Sam looked a little worried and asked what he should do if a teacher saw him and told him to go back in. Dean totally seriously told him to lock the car door and tell whoever it was to go fuck themselves. Sam wasn't quite sure that was the advice he was looking for but decided it was good enough for him.
Dean ran to the classroom where he knew he'd find Lindsay. Even if they weren't speaking anymore he wanted to say goodbye before he left for good. It was an impulse he hadn't had before but he knew it was the right thing to do.
He tapped on the door this time and motioned for Lindsay to come out. He was a little surprised when she excused herself from the lesson and came out with straight away.
"Dean? What is it?" she asked after shutting the door behind her. She sounded sad.
"Lindsay..." he started but found himself at a loss for words. He hated goodbyes.
"Oh God, I knew it. You're leaving," she said with tears in her eyes. "Damn, I told myself I wouldn't get upset."
"I'm sorry, Linds."
"No, it's okay; I'm the one who's sorry. I know you were only trying to protect me before. It was my stupid fault for wasting all this time I could have had with you. So how about this, we hug each other goodbye and know that we both forgave each other. No hard feelings?" she finished with a watery smile.
Dean smiled back and they hugged tightly. Dean surprised Lindsay then by kissing her deeply.
"Bye Linds," he said before walking away. Just another girl he'd never see again he told himself, trying to ignore the hollow pain in his chest.
Lindsay just watched him walk away, unable to speak; silenced by her sorrow.
That evening after they had had a good, family meal at a pretty decent diner they went back to the motel to pack up their stuff. It was then that Dean finally got to have a proper talk with his father; this conversation could not be had in Sam's presence, so with him finishing up packing this was their last chance for a while.
"So..." Dean began awkwardly.
"Yeah?" John replied knowing what silent the question was but forcing his son to ask it anyway.
"Are you sober now? For good?"
"Yeah, well there might be a beer here a there but no more letting it get so out of control."
"Can you handle that?" Dean asked a little uneasy but glad his father was being honest about it.
"I'm sorry I let things go on for as long as I did. I knew you were in trouble but I didn't do anything..."
"Don't apologise, this is on me not you. It ain't your responsibility to police me. And I know you tried to help me. What I did, I'm so sorry Dean..."
"I know," Dean responded looking away. In the awkward silence that followed he found his mind drifting to all the people who had tried to help him. And then he thought about how he had rejected their help just like his father had rejected his for so long, he thought there was probably some irony in that somewhere. He looked at his father again sensing the man had more to say.
"Dean, I realised something while I was away... how much you give for this family... and how I've just been taking it for granted..."
"Dad, its fine..." Dean protested.
"No, no it isn't. It's not fine and I want you to know that. Just like what I did wasn't okay," John stopped trying to gather his thoughts, to figure out how to put what he wanted to say into words. "That hunt I was on, there was this little boy... his father had been possessed for God knows how long. And this kid... when I looked at him... he seemed so familiar and I couldn't work out why..."
John stopped taking a shaky breath. The way he was talking, so halting and unsure; Dean didn't think he'd ever seen his father like that before. John thoughts were jumbled and he knew he was rambling, he wasn't sure if he was making sense.
"The kid... he had been with his father most of the time he had been possessed, he'd seen what he'd done. Anyway... I... well... every time I looked at the little boy I kept thinking maybe I knew him from somewhere... he was so... familiar. It wasn't until I had exercised the father and had brought him back home to his kid that I realised why... it was the expression on his face whenever he looked at him. I knew that look. It's how you look at me when I'm drinking. Like I'm a monster..." John said his voice breaking.
"Dad, I don't think you're a monster..." Dean whispered, his throat feeling tight and his eyes watering.
"Yeah, I am. What I did to you, it's unforgivable... You're my son. Anyway, I spent the last week with a friend. Just getting my head on straight, y'know? I talked some stuff through with him, about why I did it. I don't think I can talk about it with you yet... but one day Dean, I will. And you know, I promise, I mean really promise I won't hurt you again. I won't let you down," John said with as much conviction as a person could put into words.
Dean guessed he should know better than to believe his promises. But he loved his father; he was a hero. So he let him have this lie.
His father was a hero.
Maybe if he told himself enough times that his father wouldn't hurt him again, he would start to believe it. He would believe it.
His father was a hero.
His father never had hurt him on purpose; he knew that. So now the drinking was under control he was safe. They were all safe.
John was staring at Dean, waiting for some sign of acceptance. And so Dean nodded silently and nothing more was said until Sam arrived and they were ready to set off.
"So, where are we off to now?" Sam asked uncharacteristically upbeat about the move.
"I don't know," John said thoughtfully the serious air broken by Sam's happiness, "How do you boys feel about Florida?"
"Girls in bikinis? What the hell are we doing here, let's go!" Dean said enthusiastically shoving John toward his truck and Sam toward the Impala. Sam and John just laughed.
Climbing into his truck and taking the lead John switched on the engine. As he pulled out of just another crappy motel he wondered if he had made the right decision coming back.
A/N: Done! I hope you guys enjoyed the story. I hope it doesn't feel too unresolved with Dean but I think that this is how he would deal with it; he would forgive his father. I think Dean could justify anything because he hero-worshipped his father almost as a coping method for the shit he had to deal with.
Sam wouldn't be so forgiving though and I am thinking about a sequel where he finds out but I am not sure yet. Good idea, bad idea?