Title: Year After Year

Author: DancerInTheDark101

Summary: "Every year I fix the car, but it still fixes nothing..." AU after Devil's Trap

Author's Note: this was inspired by a scene with Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith in the film, The Karate Kid.

Author's Note 2: I know it has been a long time since I have written/updated anything, but I have reason. My laptop crashed and I lost everything and then when I did get it somewhat working again, it wouldn't let me on the internet and I lost all enthusiasm to write. I just wanna thank everyone who has helped me throughout the past year. You all rock. This is dedicated to you.

Warnings: Angst, character death.

Disclaimer: I don't own Supernatural, the band Kansas or the line from the film Karate Kid


John Winchester stared at his son, eyes moist and saddened. Sam was sitting in the driver's seat of the Impala, tears dripping down his cheeks as he rested his head against the steering wheel. Broken glass littered the front seats and the floor around the muscle car, the overhead light glittering in the reflection of the shards.

The rest of the car wasn't much better than the front window. Dents covered the hood, doors, side panels and even the roof had caved in a little. The weapon of choice lay discarded on the floor a little distance from the drivers' side door – a crowbar.

Slowly making his way over to his son, the eldest hunter knelt beside the destroyed door and looked up at Sam.

"Son?" he whispered.

There was no response, just the sounds of his son sobbing into the wheel. His knuckles were bloody, cuts dusted across his hands from where glass must have sliced into the flesh. John tried again, this time saying his son's name. But there was still no response.

Cautiously, he got up from his kneeling position and walked around the Impala and slid into the passenger seat. He brushed some of the glass off the leather and sat down, his left hand reaching over and resting on Sam's shoulder.

"Sam, please. Tell me what's wrong..."

It was then that Sam looked up at him and John felt his heart sink. Sam had never gotten over the death of his brother, and probably never would.

"Dad..." Sam's voice was hoarse and weak; tears still staining his tanned cheeks. His son lifted a bloodied hand and wiped his face, taking in a shuddering breath as the tears were wiped away.

"Dad, every year I fix the car. But it still fixes nothing... Dean's still gone..."

That was when John's heart shattered.

It had been a long and tiring few years since his eldest child had died. After he had been possessed by the Yellow-Eyed-Demon and hurt both his children, and after Sam had shot him in the leg; Sam had bundled his small family into the Impala and was racing to the hospital when a Semi had rammed into the side of the car , destroying the car and any chance they had of making it to the hospital quickly.

It wasn't until John had woken from a week-long induced coma stemming from wounds sustained in the crash, that he found out that Dean had been declared dead on arrival. His son had perished in the back seat of his beloved car.

Nothing had ever been the same since.

After he and Sam had been released from the hospital – via AMA – they had salted and burned Dean's body and buried the ashes with his mother. It was only a few months later that John tracked down the Colt again and a year after that, that he finally out a bullet in the demon that had destroyed his family.

Blinking out of his memories, John gripped his only remaining son's shoulder. "Sam, please. I know it's hard. Dean meant a lot to all of us, but this..." he gestured to the broken car, "this isn't healthy." From what John had figured out, his son rebuilt the Impala every year, only to destroy it on the anniversary of Dean's death. And then he started all over again.

When Sam said nothing, he carried on.

"Sammy... You're married now and have a little boy that needs his Daddy and another one on the way. It's going to be hard, but you need to let go of the past. Matthew is always asking about the uncle he's never met, but you won't say a word about him. Your family deserves to know, Sammy."

"What?" Sam's head shot up and John saw the barely contained self-loathing and hate in those hazel depths. "They deserve to know that I'm a murderer? That I killed my own brother?"

"Sam... You know that's not true. It wasn't your fault!" John could feel himself getting riled up as the age-old argument began to start again.

"Wasn't my fault?" Sam countered. "Dad, I was driving the car when it was hit! How is that not my fault? I killed Dean!"

"You didn't kill him, Sam!" John growled, his voice low. "A demon possessed that truck driver. If you need to blame someone, blame that sonofabitch Azazel! He's the one who possessed me, who killed your mother and your girlfriend, and who was also behind the death of your brother! But arguing about this isn't going to change a thing, Sam. You need to let go of the past..."

"Daddy?"

John turned in the seat, eyes wide as he saw his grandson standing in the doorway to the garage, his green eyes wide with fear at what he was seeing.

"Daddy? Why is that car broken?"

John let his gaze wander to his son, wondering whether his words got through to him. After a moment of silence, Sam slid out of the driver's seat and ambled over to where his four-year-old was standing and wrapped his arms around him in a hug.

"I'm so sorry, Matthew..." John could hear his son apologizing. "I'm so sorry..."

"What for Daddy?" came the innocent reply. "What did you do wrong?" And then the young boy put his hand on his dad's shoulder and John couldn't help the tears that began to roll down his face. His grandson reminded him so much of his eldest child... of when he was that young and innocent.

"I'm sorry for a lot of things, kiddo. But I promise, I'll make up for it. I promise..."

Sam stood up and picked up his four-year-old son; the young child wrapping his arms around his neck in an awkward attempt at a hug. Sam turned around before heading out the door. "Dad? You coming?"

"Nah," he replied. "I'm gonna stay here for a bit. You go in and have some time with your family. Get yourself cleaned up."

"Okay, Dad." Sam looked apprehensive, "if you're sure..."

"I'm sure..."

And then he was left alone with his thoughts and the car that had brought so much happiness and tragedy to the small Winchester family. John closed his eyes and leaned back into the seat, sighing deeply as he relaxed somewhat.

"Thanks Dad..."

John shot upright, breathing hard and eyes wide as he heard Dean's voice echo in the car. He looked into the back seat and almost broke down then and there.

"Thanks for fixing Sammy for me. God knows I tried so many times... but he wouldn't listen..."

There, in the exact spot where he had died was a shimmering, transparent image of his dead son. There was blood coating his face and chest, but he was smiling, his green eyes sparkling even in death.

"Dean..."

"It's okay, Dad. I know. I miss you too. Take care of Sammy for me and please tell him not to break my car anymore, okay? Oh, and tell him that it wasn't his fault."

"Oh god... Dean."

"I love you, Dad. Bye..."

And then he was gone.

"I love you too, Dean..."

Later on that night, John was in the living room with his son, pregnant daughter-in-law and his grandson looking through old photos of Dean that Sam had finally gotten the courage to bring out, when he felt a hand rest on his shoulder. He quickly turned around, but nothing was there.

"Everything's going to be okay, Dad. Just you see."

And everything was.

Three months later, Sam's daughter Mary was brought safely into the world with no complications. The Impala had been fixed and it was now the transport of choice for the small family, especially young Mary who loved to ride in the big vehicle.

John ended up renting a small flat nearby so that he could be close to the last of his family and got casual job at the local mechanics; the casual hours still giving him enough time to hunt when he needed to.

But sometimes, he just took a break from everything. Drove somewhere in his truck and holed up in a motel for a week, just to get away from everything.

It was on one of these trips that he found himself at the cemetery where Mary and Dean were buried. As he stood in front of their combined grave, he couldn't help the single tear that rolled down his cheek as he thought of his beautiful girl and son whom he would never lay eyes on again. It had been it almost thirty years since his beloved Mary had been murdered by Azazel, but not even five had passed since the death of Dean. He missed both of them so much; there was a gaping wound in his heart that would never be filled.

Year after year, it never got any easier.

"You're wrong Dean. Everything may have turned out alright, but everything isn't alright. It never will be. Because you're not here..."

"You're wrong, Dad. Like I said, just wait and see."

John turned around at his son's voice, a frown on his face, but couldn't see anything.

It wasn't until some years later that John realised what his dead son had said. He was fixing a minor hiccup with the Impala (it was getting on in years, you know) and his grandson, Matthew, had wandered out asking to help.

As he started to show the young boy how the engine worked and all the particular parts, he noticed an eerily familiar smirk decorate the boy's features – it was exactly the same as what his namesake would have done.

"Dean?"

Matthew Dean Winchester frowned up at his grandfather. "What? No, my name is Matthew, Grandpa. You must be getting forgetful in your old age," he said with a laugh.

John blinked as he heard Matthew laughing and finally realised what Dean had been on about all those years ago.

Year after year, his son never stopped amazing him.

Dean Matthew Winchester

January 1979 – May 2006

Carry on my wayward son,

For there'll be peace when you are done

Lay your weary head to rest

Now don't you cry no more.

END


Author's End Note: Well, that's it – my first piece of writing for 2011 and it's slightly depressing with a (I hope) happy-ish ending. Hope you all liked it and please leave some feedback so I know what I can improve on etc etc. It's been a while since I have written anything so I hope it's not too bad :)

Thanks for reading!

Rach