A/N To be honest, I hated "Swan Song", but oddly enough the only thing I liked (besides the phenomenal acting making the most out of what I thought was a lousy script) was that Dean went to Lisa in the end. I may be in the minority, but I've always liked Lisa.
Anyway, this story I started a few months ago and I decided to get it all down now. It's unbetaed so I apologize for any mistakes or if it's redundant or rushed. It's also probably unoriginal too. I've avoided all fics based off of "Swan Song" because of how profoundly the episode disappointed me, but I'm sure there's tons of stories like this one out there so, yeah, don't go expecting originality.
Anyway, I'm not caught up on season 6 yet at all so I don't know if this contradicts anything so forgive me if it does and please don't spoil me.
"Supernatural" is not mine, if it were Dean and Sam would've kicked Lucifer's ass Winchester style without either of them saying "yes".
Happy Thanksgiving to all my fellow Canadians!
Without further ado, enjoy!
Lay Your Weary Head to Rest
He doesn't tell her what happened and Lisa doesn't pressure him, though she wonders, and millions of scenarios play through her head about what it was that made him look so…lost. Instead she wraps her arms around him and holds him close, whispering empty promises that everything will be all right. But really, what does she know? Not nearly enough to know whether her words ring true.
But as she holds him, and his body begins to shake she realizes lost isn't the right word. More like, shattered. Ever since she opened the door, she could see in the depths of his bright green eyes a quiet sadness, a loneliness, an emptiness, but that sadness has turned into complete despair as the tears begin to spill from his eyes and he begins to weep, softly at first and her whispers turn to soft kisses on his cheek, her embrace turning into a gentle, comforting caress.
A deep, broken sob tears from his throat, weakening him, bringing him to his knees. Lisa goes down with him, hitting the floor, feeling her own eyes well up. His agony is so raw and so complete that radiates from him, a contagious force and she can't help but weep with him, for him, because of him and she doesn't even have the slightest inkling as to what happened to put him in such a state.
The voice cuts through the moment, giving her clarity and she adjusts her hold on the weeping man, sheltering him from her son's curious eyes. Dean doesn't seem to notice.
"Ben," she says, "Why don't you go to your room? Do some homework or something, OK?" She winces when she hears her voice break, but she keeps her eyes steady as she meets her son's worried gaze.
"What's wrong with Dean?" Ben asks, "Dean? What's the matter?"
Lisa gives Ben a glare that's both a warning and a plea and he gets the message, retreating to his room. Turning her attention back to the man who was once her lover and once her saviour, she realizes that he doesn't even seem to have been aware of the exchange between her and Ben, and she's struck by how wrong it is to see him so broken.
He weeps, and weeps, his body shakes and trembles in her embrace and a raw guttural cry erupts from his throat and he forcibly pulls away from her hold, shuffling to lean by the door, burying his face in his hands. She watches him. He's coming around now, no longer drowning so deeply in his mournful stupor and she watches as he tries to catch his breath.
"I…I'm sorry," he chokes out finally, his fingers blindly brushing against the wall as he tries to climb back to his feet, "I shouldn't have come here. I… I should go."
"No, no," Lisa exclaims, her hand hovering over his shoulder. Her instincts told her to go to him, hold him again but now she's unsure of whether Dean would welcome her touch this time. She watches him struggle to put himself back together and then looks away, feeling like she's intruding. "I'm glad you came, Dean. I was so worried about you and…you're welcome to stay. If you want."
She rises to her feet and disappears into the kitchen, returning with a box of Kleenex. Dean wipes his face haphazardly with his sleeve and blindly accepts the tissue. He doesn't look at her, he doesn't move except for the rise and fall of his chest. His eyes are red and puffy making the green in his eyes bright like emeralds in contrast and Lisa is taken aback by their depths. There is grief in his haunted eyes, loneliness, guilt and yet there is also a strange sense of relief, like a weight had been lifted.
He sits in silence for a while, catching his breath, releasing the last of his tears before wiping them away. He blinks long and slow, and he breathes a sigh before finally Dean's lips curl into a sad, empty smile, "So, how about that beer?"
Lisa nods, "Sure."
She helps him to his feet and her hand rests on his shoulder where she squeezes gently, "Kitchen's this way," she says softly, guiding him inside.
Dean looks around awkwardly as they walk, taking in the sight of her home. It feels like a home. He likes this place better than the last one, it's smaller, cosier. He clears his throat, "Uh, nice place."
"Thanks," Lisa replies quietly.
More awkward silence.
"Where's… where's the washroom?"
"Just around the corner," Lisa points and Dean nods and disappears through the door. She listens for a moment and then grabs the beers, sitting at the table. She holds herself, feeling herself tremble with inexplicable grief. She swipes at her eyes, refusing to succumb to the sorrow that Dean radiates. She could only guess at what brought him such pain, and curiosity was eating away at her ever since he stood on her doorstep a few weeks ago, muttering about crazy shit that she couldn't even begin to understand. Shit that led her to believe he was planning to do something crazy, suicidal even. But as curious as she is, she won't pry, a part of her doesn't want to know the details anyway, but she promises that no matter what, she'd be there for him. After all, if it weren't for him, she and Ben wouldn't be alive.
She waits for him for a long time before her worry for him grows and she begins to fear the worst. Whatever you're thinking of doing? Don't do it. She knocks on the door, "Dean? Are you…are you all right in there?"
There's a long pause before she hears his voice, shaky and hoarse yet strong, "Yeah…" she listens as he clears his throat. "Yeah, I'll uh, I'll be out in a minute."
"Beer's getting warm," Lisa adds good naturedly, chuckling slightly and then grimaces at how stupid she's sounding.
Dean opens the door and their eyes meet and Lisa can't help but release a small gasp as his haunted eyes pull her into their depths and she grabs hold of the wall, feeling as though she could drown in his sorrow. He lowers his gaze to look away and bites his lip, his cheeks flushing from embarrassment. Lisa's not surprised by that. She's only encountered him a few times in her life, but they shared a deep intimacy she never felt with any of her other partners back in her wild child days. She bore her soul to him, and he… he was always a little guarded, always a little haunted, but never before did he look so raw and exposed, like he had been stripped bare. Sometimes in the past she'd catch glimpses, like when he expressed his disappointment in finding out Ben wasn't his. And earlier, during their brief time together, when he got a call from his father, the call that took him away from her.
"Feel better?" Lisa ventures, feeling stupid for asking.
"Yeah, I…I'm OK," he replies. And with one blink his guarded walls are back up, his eyes no longer baring his soul, though there were cracks in his armour that told Lisa that things were far from OK. He chuckles, running his hand down his face, but says nothing. But really, what is there to say?
They sit in silence, Dean's eyes are distant and unreadable. Eventually, Lisa tries to lighten the atmosphere, tries to distract him from whatever trauma put that haunted look in his eyes. She talks about little things, about how she's going back to school in the fall to study physiotherapy, how Ben's doing well in baseball, but she stops after a few minutes as Dean's eyes shift to his untouched beer, and she realizes that small talk is the last thing he needs and suddenly it's quiet again.
She rests her hand on his knee, giving it a squeeze and offers him a reassuring smile that says, I'm here for you, know that. Know that I'm here, I care. Dean lifts his gaze to meet hers and returns the smile, a tired, lonely, sad smile and then finally takes a long swig of his beer.
When he finishes his beer he takes a deep, shaky breath, his lips trembling. He pulls in his lower lip and shakes his head, "I…I should go," he mutters, his voice weary and raw, "I'm sorry to have…uh, bothered you like this without…without…"
"Stay," Lisa's hand brushes his arm and she leans forward, her eyes almost pleading. She's afraid of what might happen, what he might do if he leaves in this state and…she owes him her life.
"I can't," he whispers, his voice breaking. "This…this was a mistake."
"No," Lisa shakes her head in disagreement, "no, it wasn't." Because clearly the last thing you need is to be alone right now. "Look there's a hide-a-bed in the basement, you can sleep there, you look…" lost, empty, broken "…tired."
He barks a mournful laugh and nods, "Yeah, yeah you can say that again."
"So will you stay then? At least… at least until… at least for the night," Lisa murmurs. "But as long as you'd like…as long as you need."
Dean's head turns towards the door and he looks at it for a long moment, and she can see an internal debate running through his head, but then his body makes the decision for him and he sways in his seat, grasping the table for support. He clears his throat, "OK, but… just for tonight," he looks at her for a moment, his eyes remind her of a child who just lost his puppy. "Uh, thanks."
"No problem," Lisa replies gently. She glances in the direction of Ben's room, and then to Dean. His eyes are no longer puffy and red from weeping, he's still looks oddly vulnerable but he's more in control than he was when he first walked through her door. At first it felt wrong for her son to see Dean like this, but he seemed better now. He wasn't, he was far from OK, but for all intents and purposes he was better. "Ben!" she called, "Ben honey can you come here a minute?"
Ben skulks into the room, looking a little sheepish and very concerned. Lisa can tell that he's been watching them.
"Honey you remember Dean," Lisa introduces, knowing full well that he remembers him. She knows they had occasionally kept in touch until about a year after Dean saved their lives when Dean's phone got disconnected and they no longer knew how to get a hold of him.
"Hey," Ben says casually, shifting his eyes to the side awkwardly, like he doesn't know how to react.
Though she addresses Ben, Lisa looks into Dean's eyes as she explains, "Dean's going to be crashing here for a little while," she raises her brow in a question and Dean nods, "could you get the hide-a-bed set up for him?"
Ben nods and disappears a moment running up the stairs only to come back with some sheets and a blanket. He peers into the kitchen for a moment before heading down into the basement.
"You need anything else?" she asks, not tearing her eyes away from his, silently communicating that she'll do anything to help him get through this, whatever this is, and hopes that he's received the message.
Dean's eyes glisten and he breaks away from her gaze by looking to the floor at his feet. "No, you…you've done so much for me already. I… I don't want to be a bother."
"You're not," she says sharply, yet kindly, leaving no room for argument. She rises to her feet and rests her hand on his shoulder. "Well, make yourself at home," she tells him, flashing him a concerned glance as his breath hitches at the word 'home', "and let us know if you need anything."
"Sure," he says quietly, reluctantly, his voice rough. He clears his throat, "Listen Lisa…thanks for everything." He offers, swaying dizzily as he rises to his feet. He clutches the back of the chair for support, glancing towards the front door as though he's considering changing his mind. Ben peeks out from the door to the basement.
"Dean?" he calls waving him over.
Dean glances briefly in her direction, flashing her a weak smile, eyes still full of grief. He grabs the wall for support as he goes to follow Ben. Lisa pauses to watch them but jumps to Dean's side when he stumbles slightly. Really though, he looks so spent, exhausted like hasn't slept in days, so Lisa figures it's amazing that he hasn't passed out yet, though he is on the brink. Resting her hand gently on his back she follows them down the stairs.
"Bathroom's over there," Ben points, "and you can watch TV if you want. We got lots of channels and movies…I've got a Wii too with lots of games. You can use it too whenever you feel like it." He gestures to the entertainment center along the far wall of the semi-finished basement where the couch faces. The hide-a-bed is pulled out and made somewhat messily, but Dean hardly seems to notice or care as he sits down and grins wearily up at him.
"Thanks man," he says with a weary smile, "but maybe later, I'm…kinda tired." He's trying to be cheerful, for Ben's sake, but the mask he wears is transparent. Judging by the concern in her son's eyes, she's not the only one who can see right through it. After all, Dean is Ben's hero, and not just because he saved their lives and Lisa knows that it's hurting her sensitive son to see his hero in such pain.
In his own attempt at lightening the mood Ben chuckles, "That's an understatement! When was the last time you slept? Last year?"
"Ben!" Lisa scolds, but instantly softens when she catches Dean's amused reaction.
Dean grins at Ben and this time, it's not forced. He huffs a small laugh, "Something like that." Lisa narrows her eyes slightly, catching something in his eyes, she's always been drawn to his eyes, and she sees more truth to that statement than seems possible. His shoulders slump in exhaustion and she's filled with a silly notion that maybe it's been much longer than that.
Still, it's clear he's run himself into the ground and whatever he's been through, whatever he's been fighting, it ended badly.
"Good night, Dean," Lisa says, "Let us know if you need anything, anything at all."
"Thanks but uh…I already caused enough trouble for one night."
"Dean." Lisa chides softly, seriously, "It's no trouble."
She motions to Ben who wishes him good night and heads up the stairs. Lisa stays behind a moment and then leans down and kisses Dean gently on the cheek and then pulls him into a warm embrace. She feels Dean's breath hitch and senses that he's about to lose it again to grief and she rubs his back a couple of times as he begins to sob, "It's OK, Dean. I'm here for you, OK? I'm here." She feels him nod against her shoulder and he pulls back, wiping his eyes. She kisses him again on the forehead. "Rest now."
Reluctantly, she lets him go and watches Dean fight to regain his composure. She grabs a Kleenex box from the end table and hands it to him and with an awkward smile and heads back upstairs, closing the door behind her.
Behind the closed door she listens a moment as he sobs quietly and she wipes a stray tear of sympathy from her own eyes and is suddenly compelled to wrap her arms around her son.
Dean sleeps more or less for two days straight.
Lisa checks on him periodically. He had fallen asleep still fully clothed on top of the blankets and doesn't stir when she tugs them out from under him to drape over his sleeping form. Sometime during the first night he had taken off his jeans and she finds him later tangled in the blankets in his boxers and t-shirt. Again, he doesn't stir when she tucks the blankets smoothly around him.
All morning during the first day he sleeps soundly as though he were dead, the rise and fall of his chest the only indication that he's still alive and breathing. Truth be told, Lisa has worried more than once that Dean might've tried to off himself, maybe by taking pills or something because considering how deep his grief is, and considering the last time he showed up on her doorstep, talking crazy as though it were the end of the world, as though he was planning to throw himself off a cliff… Lisa figures that it can't hurt to put him on a suicide watch—just until she's sure.
By late afternoon of the first day Lisa tries to coax him to wake and worries when he stubbornly remains sleeping, his slumber so deep that he's completely unresponsive. She feels his face, feels that his cheeks were hot with a mild fever, but Lisa's not surprised. She doesn't know the details of what he'd gone through, but she knows it was taxing and such grief and exhaustion are hard on the immune system.
Later that evening as Lisa helps Ben with his homework they hear a cry coming from the basement. Alarmed, Lisa motions to Ben silently telling him to stay where he is and she runs downstairs to find Dean thrashing violently in his sleep, crying out in grief and horror.
"Dean!" she calls out to him, "Wake up, you're having a nightmare! Wake up, it's just a dream."
She quickly learns then not to touch him in the midst of such nightmare when she puts her hand on his shoulder and he suddenly lashes out violently, knocking her to the floor. She's startled, but not hurt other a bruise on her arm and a mild carpet burn on her knee, but she knows now not to try it again. Instead she opts to sit on the floor beside the hide-a-bed sofa and whispers sweet nothings to him until he finally calms down.
When the nightmare finally seems to abate she risks touching him again, gently rubbing his shoulder and caressing his warm, sweaty forehead until the lines of pain and terror on his face are smoothed out and he drifts back into a deep, dreamless sleep.
On the morning of the second day Lisa finds Dean shirtless, tangled in his sheets bathed in sweat. His eyes are crusted with dry tears and he's mumbling in his sleep, head rocking back and forth, eyes moving rapidly under his lids. She presses her hand to his forehead and is alarmed by the heat.
"Dean," she nudges him, "Come on, wake up. Please." Her eyes scan his bare torso, noticing with curiosity the tattoo on his chest and a strange scar on his shoulder, a burn shaped like a hand. She frowns at that, eyes darting back to his face. She strokes his forehead and then gets up, returning with a cool wet washcloth that she washes over his face, chest and arms. He shivers, stirring just enough to take a Tylenol, but not enough to fully wake and he falls back into a deep sleep. She covers him back up with the blanket and kisses him on the cheek.
Later that afternoon she checks on him again. He's restless but as she cups her palm to his cheeks, relieved to feel the fever has broken, he relaxes into her touch, whimpering softly. She tries to cajole him into waking but while his eyes flutter he does not stir. She wets the cloth again and gently washes the sweat from his body, the motion clearly a great comfort as he seems to sink into the mattress, completely relaxed.
That evening Lisa convinces Ben to sleepover at his friend's house. Normally Ben would be excited to spend the weekend with his best friend Jason, but it's a clear testament to how concerned Ben is for Dean that he doesn't want to leave. It was bad enough arguing with him about going to school because he had wanted to stay, he wanted to help. He had heard some of Dean's nightmares, he knows Dean's in pain, but Lisa wants to protect Ben from the worst of it, and not just Ben but Dean too. She may not know Dean as much as she'd like to, but she knows how much Dean hates to be vulnerable and exposed. He wouldn't want Ben to see him like this just as much as Ben wouldn't like seeing his hero so vulnerable.
So once Ben is gone Lisa checks on Dean again. He's still out like a light, but he's starting to get restless, on the brink of another nightmare but not so deep into it that he's dangerous. She's learned over the last two days what to do, when it's safe to touch him and what seems to bring him the most comfort. She's worried that he hasn't really woken up in two days, but reminds herself that he's beyond exhaustion, that his body's shut down so that he can recover.
His mind however is another story. Lisa doesn't know what happened, but she knows that it's going to take a while to mentally recover from whatever trauma he's suffered through.
She gently cups her palm to his cheek, but instead of relaxing like he had before he jerks away from her touch. His eyes flutter, opening slightly before he thrashes violently, his eyes squeezing shut again. His body thrashes and jerks in his sleep.
"No!" he cries out, startling Lisa so much she backs up. He thrashes again, head rocking back and forth with so much force she's afraid his neck might snap and finally he jackknifes into a sitting position, screaming. "SAM!"
Lisa quickly ducks out of sight when Dean gasps for breath, eyes open, glancing around the room in a frantic panic. He doesn't see her watching. When he seems to register where he is he cries out a low, desperate, mournful, moan and Lisa shrinks back again. He pulls his knees to his chest, burying his face in his hands as he breaks down into deep, guttural sobs.
"No, no, no," she hears him cry mournfully, "Sammy…." He gasps, his body shuddering as he rocks and shakes, weeping, wailing in pure, raw, agony.
Wiping a few tears from her eyes she quickly, quietly rushes upstairs, leaving him to his private grief. Quietly closing the door behind her she sits at the table and she too begins to weep.
It's late when Dean finally emerges, clean and dressed. He seems to be more like himself, but his eyes, his beautiful, soulful, green eyes are empty, spent.
"Hey sleepyhead," Lisa tries to be cheery, tries not to give him any indication of what they'd been through during his two day slumber. Tries not to let on that she'd been there when he woke up, crying his brother's name. "It's about time you woke up."
"How long was I out," he asks, his voice hoarse and raw.
His eyes widen in surprise and he grins sheepishly, "Wow. Jeez, I'm sorry."
"Don't be," Lisa smiles gently, "you needed it." Still do, she thinks as she stands up and approaches him, placing her hand on his cheek, smiling as he closes his eyes and leans into it. He's still a little warm, she notices, and barely keeping it together. "Can I get you anything?"
"No thanks," he murmurs distantly, stepping back, away from her touch, "no uh…I should probably get going…where's Ben?"
"At a friend's house—he's sleeping over there tonight," Lisa replies.
"Listen," Lisa frowns, "you don't have to take off so soon. You can stay you know."
"I've been enough of a burden," Dean shakes his head, "I shouldn't have bothered you like this, promising Sa—coming here without even asking if you'd want m-…"
"Shh," Lisa shushes him and looks him in the eyes, confronting the sadness shining in them head on, "Dean, listen to me. You are not a burden Dean so stop talking like that. I don't know what happened, I don't know why you came here of all places but I'm glad you did. I'm glad I can help, OK? Clearly you've been through the ringer and I… you're welcome to stay as long as you need to, do you hear me?"
Dean nods, but looks like he's ready to run.
"Dean, look at me," Lisa scolds, "I want you to stay."
"Yes. I don't know what you've been through, but I want to help you get through it. OK? You saved my life once, you saved Ben and Ben… he idolizes you, did you know that? So please, for me. Stay? At least until you're recovered. You may have slept two days straight but you're still dead on your feet so…"
"OK," Dean nods, smiling slightly. "OK sure. I'll… I'll give this a try."
Lisa's not sure why, but she senses a deeper meaning to that statement and that feeling is confirmed when she notices his eyes cloud over and he glances away and blinks, "I promise," he whispers, barely audible, those words not meant for Lisa's ears but she hears them anyway.
There's a long, awkward silence before Lisa finally breaks it, "So, would you like some coffee or something?"
"Coffee would be great, thanks," Dean replies.
Well, good or bad, please let me know what you think! Reviews are golden.