Disclaimer: These fics are based on real episodes from Supernatural. The characters and plots belong to the creator and writers for the show.
Exile on Main Street
Dean was so torn inside he could hardly stand it. He looked around at his neighbors while they socialized, laughing it up over beers and hamburgers. The guys from work always kept him laughing, and Kayla practically bent over backwards making sure he had everything he wanted. Well, everything she could give him anyway. Being in an environment where people actually gave a shit made him feel good, like he had a real life, which is what was so hard. He had no right to be this happy. Not with what his brother was going through. Sam was in hell while he was hanging out in suburbia. He looked over at Kayla.
"I can't believe he's walking already." She stated, that clear tone of adoration and awe was in her voice as it always was when she talked about him. Alex toddled with wobbly legs around Shannon's backyard, weaving in and out of the other barbeque guests like he was on a mission, without a single care in the world.
"I know!" Shannon agreed. "Katie was just a couple weeks shy of a year. He's what, nine months?"
"Almost ten." Kayla responded.
"He's got places to go." Dean came up behind them and handed Kayla a soda. She'd kind of waned off the beer for awhile now, honestly he thought it was because he drank quite enough for the both of them. "He can't wait around to be old enough to get there." He saw him getting close to the grill and scooped him up, as he lifted him high into the air Alex broke into a fit of giggles. No matter what it took to get to this point, that kid was the only thing he'd never feel guilty about. There was nothing about him he didn't love. He brought him over to Kayla. "You about ready?"
"Yeah." She answered, a little surprised. He wasn't even drunk yet and usually these weekly get-togethers were a highlight for him. It helped him relax. "You want to go home?"
"It's about nap time isn't it?" He murmured quietly, then leaned in to kiss her neck. Torn or not, he'd never let it get in between them.
"Oh God would you two get a room?" Shannon rolled her eyes with a chuckle, but she had that kind of sad look to her eyes. She joked about being a desperate housewife with her husband in the military, but Kayla always thought she may be a little envious of how close they seemed to be.
Kayla laughed quietly. "I think that's what he's trying to do."
"Alright, alright. Leave." She shooed them towards the gate and unlatched the lock. "I'll see you tomorrow."
As they walked across the yard, Alex squirmed in her arms. He wasn't one to be carried, at least, not since he became mobile. Ever since he could crawl he wanted to move on his own, he seemed to crave independence and that was terrifying to her. Still, she set him in the grass and they slowed their pace to let him walk back towards the house. It was best not to restrain a Winchester. Her eyes went to Dean, watching the concentration on his face. That's what they were doing here in this home town place; restraining him. "You okay?"
"Fine." He answered, an automatic response he'd had to give hundreds of times over the last year. It wasn't supposed to come off so monotone, but he didn't see a point in over explaining anything. She knew why he was the way he was. "I guess, I don't know."
She sighed quietly; she had been a little over-concerned with him lately. After months of tranquility, his nightmares began to surface again. Of course they paled in comparison to the way they were: the violent outbursts at all hours of the night, waking the dead, but they still had an impact on him. "You're restless."
"Maybe." He wasn't sure restless was the word for it. Alex got distracted with a flower in the grass and stopped to look at it. "Hey dude, you want me to carry you?"
Alex turned to look at him with a furrowed brow and gave him a look of irritation that could have been an exact replica of Dean's. The resemblance was uncanny.
"Ooo." Kayla hissed with a laugh. "Look at that face. God he's like a little clone of you." She reached down and ruffled his dark hair, producing an even more severe look of irritation from the boy. He didn't like to be babied, unless he asked for it of course. They spent a lot of time trying to figure out exactly what he wanted at any given moment.
He held his hands up in defense, holding back the proud smirk that spread across his face. "My bad man, I'll leave you alone." Just like that he went back to what he was doing.
Are you still going for drinks tonight with Sid?"
"Yeah, wouldn't want to hurt his feelings." He shrugged indifferently; he'd been having drinks once a week with this guy for months. Sid was alright, he supposed, it was just hard making conversation when you have to cover up your whole life. He had to lie his ass off just to make it seem like he wasn't hiding anything.
"Well that'll be good, right? A little downtime to yourself."
She always thought that, it was always the first thing she suggested when he got like this. "I don't need downtime from you, or from him." He motioned to Alex. "You know that's not it."
"I know." She admitted. Unfortunately she couldn't give him 'it'. The one thing he needed in his life right now was peace of mind and it wasn't in her ability to give it to him. He needed to know his whole family was safe and secure and it just wasn't true. "I'm sorry."
He shrugged again, signaling the end of the conversation. There wasn't a need to get into it again, not now. "Not your fault." Alex stopped again, this time at a patch of clovers and Dean gave up the treck back to the house. He sat next to him in the grass. "You're kind of easily distracted."
Kayla raised an eyebrow, looking between the two of them. "Wonder where he got that from."
He smirked, relieved that she was following him away from the path of concern. She was always worried about something. "Definitely you."
"Right, that's totally where I was going with that." She sat down beside him, leaning on his shoulder to watch Alex pull absently at random blades of grass.
There was no sense in trying to pull Dean out of prolonged grieving, he was justified and honestly she felt the same way. In a normal family, a loss in the family was due to an illness or an accident or worst case a horrible crime. Sam hadn't just died. He'd jumped willingly into hell, saving the world, and in return got to spend eternity being tortured. There would be no comforting regards about a better place or his soul being at peace. He would have no peace, no rest, no salvation where he was.