Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Despite what he'd tell anyone who asked, it wasn't Lisa's hotness that pulled him in (though she's gorgeous, he'll tell anyone that).

Despite what he'd tell anyone who asked, it wasn't Lisa's being the most flexible yoga instructor in the tri-state area that pulled him in (though it made the sex amazing, he'll tell anyone that).

Despite what he'd tell anyone who asked, it wasn't Lisa's ability match him beer for beer, shot for shot, without turning into a tipsy, vomiting mess that pulled him in (though it was nice to have someone equally as hungover to commiserate with the morning after, he'll tell anyone that).

Despite what he'd tell anyone who asked, it wasn't even Lisa's knowing that their whirlwind relationship couldn't go beyond one weekend that pulled him in (though he had wanted it to, he'll tell only her that).

Despite what he'd tell anyone who asked, it wasn't Lisa's drunken, secret admission that her father was dead, she didn't speak to her mother, and her sister was a call girl on Mercer Street that pulled him in (though he'd tell no one that, because she wouldn't, didn't, tell anyone that his family was pretty broken, too).

To this day, he doesn't know what initially drew him in. A mix of a lot of things, probably. But as he spends day after day in her house, he becomes aware of the things that keep him staying.

That she allowed him sanctuary even though it would be months until he could choke out his reason for being there—that his baby brother had agreed to become Lucifer's vessel and jump into Hell (with his youngest brother, too, as if Sam gone weren't enough punishment) to save the world, and that there was nothing Dean could do to save him.

That she sat up with him night after night, held him while he recovered from countless nightmares, even though she had to wake ten minutes earlier than usual so she could cover up the resultant dark circles under her eyes in order to not look like a zombie.

That even after a full day of teaching fourth graders and putting up with their antics, she made the time to make dinner and ease Ben through his math homework.

That even though he had multiple glasses of scotch a night, she continued to allow him to, knowing he needed it. (Besides, it wasn't like he was an angry drunk, so there wasn't any harm.)

That she got him a job at the local mechanic's, established him as a respectable, veritable member of the community, even though it took a lot of finessing to get people to believe it.

That, though he didn't find out until years and years later, she'd secretly used her vacation time to try and find Sam, to try and bring him back. That she'd talked to a dozen hunters, even managed to trap a Crossroads Demon to see if they knew of a way to return Sam besides making a deal.

That when Sam knocked on her door a year after his brother did the same, she gaped for only a few seconds before inviting him in without question, instead simply handing him a beer and saying, It's been awhile. You should come to Ben's baseball game this weekend—they're up for the championship title. Dean's at work right now, but—here, we've got a guest bedroom that you're going to sleep in until he gets home, because you look like shit. Oh, and Sam? Welcome back. We missed you.

That when Sam confessed he'd actually been back for a year and the reason he really knocked was because he had a case he needed Dean's help on and Dean said, He's m'brother, Lis. I have to go, she looked into his eyes and nodded without complaint, her only contingency being, Be careful. I love you, Dean, I do. I need you to come back. You, too, Sam.

That when he and Sam finally got out of hunting for good—something no one, certainly not Sam or Dean, thought would ever happen—Dean stood in front of her, blood caked in his hair, his lip busted, his arm broken, Sam in a similar state of disarray, and asked her to marry him, she'd said yes. And then promptly said he was a shithead for letting himself get beaten up, and that I'm going back to bed, Dean. You know where the first aid kit is. And throw those clothes away; no amount of bleach is going to get…whatever that is, out.

That instead of inviting all her friends to the wedding, instead of squealing to her girlfriends about which church would be grandest, instead of asking him which color would look better for the bridesmaids' gowns, eggplant or aubergine, she'd picked an understated but striking dress and booked the ceremony—no reception—for on the beach, the only ones present being she, he, Sam, Ben, her sister, and the priest, even though she'd had to fend off call after call from her friends asking why she didn't want any of them there.

That when Sam was supposed to be in hospital lockdown on the fifth of March one year for an appendectomy, she sprung him because she'd discovered that he'd spent every fifth of March since 2006 with a bouquet of flowers staring at a gravestone reading Jessica Lee Moore because that's when their anniversary had been, and she didn't want to have some crackpot doctor stop him from going. (Even though Sam did have to spend an extra two days after the breakout because he'd torn his stitches.)

That when he and his brother learned that Bobby died, she and Ben went with them for support but stayed back and stayed silent while the boys paid their respects. She'd been surprised at the salting and burning that makes up a hunter's funeral, but didn't say anything about it. She rarely hesitated in asking Dean when she'd get curious about the hunting life, but she knew there were some things that just need to go without inquiry or explanation.

That when Ben turned sixteen and Dean got him a car—a '69 Bel Air—she smiled and let them take it out for a spin, even though Ben didn't have his license and she hadn't intended on letting him have a car until he got a job and paid for it himself.

That when Sam happened upon Sarah as she was finishing up what he eventually convinced her to make her last hunt and they decided to pick up where they left off years ago, she talked Dean down from installing a tracking device on Sam's car. Dean, come on, she'd said. You can't hover over him forever. Plus, I think Sarah's good for him; you don't? He'd grumbled, but ultimately agreed, even though when Sam and Sarah got married two years down the line, he still refused to acknowledge Lisa's Told you so expression.

That because it was Sam's birthday and he was utterly happy, she didn't tell him that she'd just found out she was sick—and not just a cold sick—but instead grinned and said she loves him, then gave Sam a hug.

That when she was ghostly pale with fever-bright eyes and shallow breath decades before she should, she'd told him not to worry, that she'd taken care of everything. Because she didn't want to inflict hardship or unwanted responsibility upon Dean, she'd talked to her sister, who'd since cleaned herself up and agreed to take in Ben. She'd already contacted the crematorium, said everything was arranged. She'd told Sarah and Sam to make sure Dean didn't do anything stupid—Sam knew all too well what that could imply—and that she wished the two of them the best.

That the will was prepared neatly in a blue folder, signatures from her sister, her lawyer, and her neatly decorating each page. She'd pointed to the last page, held out a pen to him. I just need your signature, Dean. Spousal agreement or something.

There was just one problem.

With one motion, the entire will was split neatly in two, Dean's hands clenched into fists.

With one determined, frantic stare, he said, You forgot one thing, Lis. You're not going to die, not on my watch. So this legal shit? Useless.

With one miracle that Dean swears up and down he had no part in, her body heals itself. Sarah cries in relief, Sam runs his hands through hair that is already almost comically mussed from repetition, Ben spends the next week sleeping next to her in the bed, and Dean.

Dean merely smiles, takes her hand one night and they sit on the hood of the Impala, gazing up at the moonless sky.

How'd you know? she asks, her breath misting in the air.

Dean looks over at her, honestly having a hard time fathoming that after everything, he'd ended up here. I knew, he answers cryptically. Then he puts a palm to his chest and adds, In here, I knew.

She stares at him for a moment, then breaks into laughter. You're such a dork, she replies, kissing him firmly on the lips. He shrugs shamelessly, and she shakes her head, looking up at the sky once more.

Maybe he is a dork, Dean thinks, but maybe that Dorothy chick from the movie he'd watched a long time ago (which, admittedly, had been synced up with Dark Side of the Moon, and he'd been pretty trashed at the time, but still he got the gist) was wrong. Maybe it doesn't take dreaming, singing, and a wimpy dog to get a happy ending. It's hard, it's gritty, it's draining, it's emotional warfare, it has no guarantees, and it comes with a hell of a lot of What ifs.

But then, Dean never has been one for cookie cutter endings. And honestly, as he takes in Lisa's placid face, thinks of Ben crashed on the couch, of Sam and Sarah's identical, bordering on annoying love and concern, he thinks he's got it pretty good.

Rainbows and bluebirds or no.