AN: Here I go again. I read an interview with Jensen and he said something that got me thinking and here is the result. Me thinks I need to quit reading his interviews. Heheh.

"Dean," Dean looked up from the box he was unpacking and into the face of a middle aged man, wearing what might have once been a well fitting suit, with a name tag that said "General Store Manager: Ryan Finch" on it.

"Yes, Mr. Finch?" Dean asked as he wiped his brow.

"You forgot to clock out when you took a break earlier, I fixed it, but next time I'll have to write you up," Ryan Finch said in a condescending tone. Dean bit his tongue. He wanted to shoot his mouth off. He wanted to tell Ryan Finch that he could go to hell, literally, Dean would have loved to have this guy on his table while he was doing his tour of duty down under.

"Yes sir, sorry sir, I just forgot."

"Well, your forgetfulness costs the company money, and in case you haven't noticed, the economy isn't exactly stellar."

"I'm sorry sir." Dean said again hoping that the rotund man would just leave him to his work, his demeaning, menial, repetitive task of stocking the shelves at the large chain supermarket.

"Sorry doesn't pay the bills. Remember that." No. I have paid your bill times over, I'm the one who saved your ass from hell on earth, I'm the one who sacrificed his brother so you could worry about stupid stuff like how many cans of tomatoes are on the shelf and which way they are facing. Dean thought angrily as he watched Ryan walk away, pants so tight that they were wedged in places that were unbecoming to someone who was supposed to command respect from the people under his command.


Dean's age had always been just a number. A number that didn't amount to much, especially when you figured your life expectancy wasn't going to go higher than 39. But now that he was a "normal" guy, 31 seemed old; his body hurt in places that he didn't even know he had. His knees ached from sitting on them for great lengths of time while stocking the lower shelves, and his back twinged from standing for hours, and his arms burned with the strain of picking up boxes that weighed more than some coffins did. He remembered his time being in his 80s, but even then he hadn't felt that old, he hadn't felt the oppressive weight of life and age on his back. Normal had aged Dean, if not in ways that he could see in the mirror, it was reflected in his spirit. And what got Dean most, was that he had only been practicing this "normal" life for a couple of months. He worried what he would be like when he had been practicing normal for years.

He got into his car after working a double shift, working clear through the evening and night, and he felt lost, like he did so many days when he got into the car to go "home". He felt like he had no purpose, no reason for carrying on. Sure, he was growing fond of Lisa, and he was happy with her to a degree, and he enjoyed spending quality time with Ben, but he felt more like a general without an army or a battle to be fought than he did a boyfriend, father figure, and supermarket stock boy. When he pictured himself happy with Lisa and Ben, he had never once thought that life would be like this. He never thought that he would be so empty, so disoriented, so not himself when he was with them.

When he got back home he found the house empty, Lisa at work and Ben at school, when the house was empty the silence was oppressive. He turned on the radio to the local classic rock station trying to ease the oppression, sat down at the kitchen table, and began to leaf through the newspapers he began buying once a week when he got his job at the supermarket, three months back, and began doing the only thing that felt natural to him: finding a hunt.

He never went on any of the hunts he found, and he never told Lisa or Ben that he looked for them. But, he did it every chance he got, it was the only thing that made him feel important, made him feel real, made him feel normal. And once he found something suspicious he would research it within an inch of its life and he would make a file, just like Sam always did, and put it in a manila envelope and send it to Bobby. Bobby could take care of it, he could hunt the things in the dark, Dean couldn't. He was bound by promises made to a brother who had sacrificed himself for the world. That was a promise he had to keep. No matter how hard it was, no matter how insignificant he felt in this life, no matter how unnatural this normal was, he would keep his promise. And his only solace was looking for the things that went bump in the night.

He stopped looking through the paper and sighed, rubbed his eyes, and ran a hand through his hair. He had watched a documentary the night before about veterans of war coming home, not knowing how to fall in line with normal civilian life. Dean realized sadly, that was him, and what was worse, he wasn't just a foot soldier in the war to save humanity, he had been a general. He had no one to command. No one to save. No bad guy to chase. He had nothing that defined him. He had nothing that made this existence real. He was no one without hunting, no one without his brother.