Splashing cold water on his face, Dean tried desperately to look as if he had had at least a modicum of sleep in the last week. He was trying desperately to start his new life, and he was succeeding on basic levels, and on some level he was happy, but his dreams, always reminded him that no matter how much he pretended he was still the same man who started the apocalypse and in an effort to correct his mistake his beloved brother made the ultimate sacrifice, he jumped head long into the abyss that promised eternal suffering and damnation and he was here trying to play boyfriend, father, and construction worker. And his dreams served as a reminder, as a punishment…they disturbed his sleep and exhausted not just his body, but his mind and soul as well.
He blotted his face dry with the hand towel and straightened his shoulders and fixed his game face in place and found Lisa pulling pillows off of their bed. Making a bed wasn't something he had done in his previous life, never really saw the point, and maids did it when they were in motels, and when they squatted in an abandon home, there wasn't ever really a bed to make anyway. However, Lisa was fanatical about it. They got up, she took a shower and then once she was clean and ready for the day that bed was made, didn't matter if they were running late, early, or right on time, that bed was made. It was one of the easier things in his new life to get used to.
"You were up most of the night again." She said simply.
"I slept." Dean hedged. They spread the sheet on the bed, each tucking and pulling their sides trying to make it wrinkle free.
"You had nightmares again."
"You shout in your sleep." Dean licked his lips and reached for the comforter that was at his feet.
"I'll sleep in the guest room tonight."
"That's not what I want."
"You need to sleep. There's no reason you need to be up most of the night because of me."
"You need sleep too." She said and patted the last of the wrinkles out of the comforter. "Why don't you go to the doctor?"
"Lis…I'm not going to some hack job. Please don't make me have this conversation again."
"You may not want to have it, but we need to have it. Dean. You need rest. You can't live like this."
"I've operated on a whole lot less sleep for a whole lot longer."
"You aren't on the front lines anymore. You are allowed to stand down. You are allowed to get sleep. You don't need to live like that anymore."
"We have health insurance, it will cover it."
"That's not it Lisa."
"Then what is it baby? What could it possibly be? You can't live like this. You are so exhausted you can barely stand. I've watched your eyes drift closed while we are talking. Your at the end of your energy. I don't want a phone call that there has been accident on the job because you are so sleepy."
"I've hunted more dangerous things than a power saw with a whole hell of a lot less sleep."
"But then, adrenalin was taking over and helping. Your job doesn't give you that adrenalin rush. Dean. Please. Please. For me. For Ben." She licked her lips debated for a fraction of a second her next words and said quietly, "For Sam." Dean ran a hand down his face.
"Dean, Sam wouldn't want you to be this way. From what you've told me, he would hound you until you did what he wanted."
"But he's not here." Dean said with heat.
"Well I am, and I think you need to go to the doctor get some kind of help sleeping."
"I don't want pills."
"No. You just want enough whisky to drown a normal person. Because that is working so well for you." She had him there. "You would rather be a drunk than actually go to the doctor and get something to help? I don't understand that."
"I don't like doctors."
"You don't understand." Lisa came to his side of the bed and forced him to look her in the eye.
"Then you need to make me understand. Because from this side of the world it just looks like you are being a stubborn dick who is going to refuse to take care of himself, even if it means hurting those he loves."
She knew what made him tick and on some level in infuriated him. He'd been here all of three months and she knew what buttons to push to make him do what she wanted. The remote chance that he could be hurting someone he loved was the right button to get him to do just about anything she wanted. And true to form he caved. "Fine." Just because he went didn't mean that he had to take whatever drug the hack gave him. It just meant that he had to at least pretend to try.
Since Dean hadn't had a regular doctor since he was four years old, Lisa made an appointment with a doctor that she assured Dean, "I trust and is the best in the business. She isn't a pill pusher, and she's a friend."
The woman could have been the doctor to the president and he still would have been in the waiting room afraid. This was the first time he was in a doctor's office and wasn't bleeding profusely, half dead, unconscious, or because Sammy needed him there. He tried to read the magazines that were on the end table next to his chair. However, he couldn't focus. The words jumbled up all over the paper and didn't make any sense. Finally, he tossed the magazine on the table and was just about to get up to leave, because he'd been sitting there all of five minutes and he figured that was long enough. He'd attempted, he'd come, got out of his car, come inside, and waited…he'd fulfilled his promise to Lisa, so he could leave. But just as he had his hand on the door knob a pleasant woman wearing scrubs came out and said, "Dean Singer?" His chin fell to his chest and he sighed.
"Right here." He said softly as he turned to meet the girl with the blue eyes.
"Come on back." She waved him back and he followed, got on the scale, was slightly perplexed at the small gain of weight, silently told himself he needed to work out more, it's amazing how easy it was put weight on when you weren't running for your life on a regular basis. Then he was put into a small room, blood pressure was taken, temperature was taken, and then the kind girl smiled and promised that the doctor would be right with him.
He sat nervously on the white paper and just as his nerves were getting the best of him there was a knock on the door and an older woman entered. "Hello! I'm Dr. Long." She said with a bright smile and a crinkly warmness to her eyes.
"Hi." He said.
"Dean Singer, it's a pleasure to meet you." She held out her hand and he tentatively shook it. "Lisa tells me that you are having trouble sleeping."
"Yeah. No big deal really. You can just give me a pill and I'll be out of your hair." Dean started to get up. She gently encouraged him to stay still.
"Dean. What's going on?"
"What do you mean?"
"What is going on when you sleep?"
"I don't understand."
"Are you just not sleeping, or are you waking up and unable to go back to sleep?"
Her demeanor was that of a grandmother and Dean always fell for the motherly/grandmotherly type. They always penetrated his thick skin, and if they told him to jump he'd simply ask how high and for how long. Odds were pretty good that Lisa knew that too and was using this weakness of his against him. Sometimes he wondered if he was just that transparent.
"I go to sleep. I just wake up a lot."
"Can you go back to sleep after that?"
"I don't want to go back to sleep."
"What do you mean?" she asked concerned.
"Dreams." His voice came out husky and he cleared his throat. "I have dreams."
"Is it blood guts and gore?" she asked with a smile.
"No." Dean gave a brief chuckle. "Blood guts and gore I can handle. It's not that."
"Ummmm….monsters?" Dean looked up at her and almost burst out laughing.
"Oh hell no. Those would be welcome."
"Then what is it?"
"This is a no lie zone Dean. I need to know what is going on, if I'm going to help you."
Her eyes were sincere and he licked his lips trying to form the words. "I keep…" he couldn't say it.
"You keep what?" He looked up, down, at the walls, at his shoes, at the counter, at the chair, everywhere but the doctor. "It's okay Dean. There will be no judgments on my end here."
"I keep seeing my brother's death." He finally said.
"Okay." She waited for him to catch his breath. His anxiety level was through the roof and you didn't need to have a medical license to see it. "What happens in this dream Dean?"
"The same thing that happened in real life. I watched him die."
"You were there when it happened?"
"Yeah. I was there when my brother jumped to his death."
"Suicide?" Dean's eyes filled with tears.
"Of sorts. He thought that he could help others with his death." A tear slid down his face and he quickly wiped it away.
"Were you two close?" she asked.
"I raised him." Dean said huskily. "It's all my fault, you know. If it hadn't been for me, and my stupid mistakes, he wouldn't have died."
"What was he like?" She asked. Dean looked at her suddenly.
"Why do you want to know?"
"Just tell me about him."
"He was my baby brother."
"How much younger?"
"You aren't really that much older than him."
"No. He was too young to die. Too nice of a person." Dean picked at his finger for a moment. "He wouldn't hurt a fly. Always wanted to find some humane way of getting it out of the car or the house, or the apartment or the motel room. Loved people. Treated them with kindness, loyalty, compassion, and empathy."
"You raised him well it sounds."
"It had nothing to do with me, it was just who my little brother was."
"It has a lot to do with the fact that he was loved, only someone who is deeply loved can have those traits."
"I loved him. I gave up everything for him."
"And he paid you back with suicide."
"No!" Dean snapped. Tears in a free flow down his face. "No! My brother didn't kill himself because of me." Dean said and realized that he had fell into a verbal trap.
"Ahh. You said earlier that it was because of you."
"No….my choices made him die, my choices were the ones that made him jump. Because I wouldn't…because….because…" Dean couldn't' find the words that were always there to blame himself, to turn anyone's action back on himself and give them an out at his expense. "He died to protect me."
Dr. Long didn't understand what he was talking about or how exactly what he was saying could be possible, but Lisa had said when they spoke that everything in Dean's life had been complicated, and it was best for her not to question him about things that didn't make sense to the rest of the world. "Then he was a special man."
"Yeah, he was."
"And you relive his death every night?"
"Must be stressful."
"I'd rather not sleep."
"How do you cope?"
"What do you do to get through the day?"
"I drink." He said honestly.
"How's that working for you?"
"It's taking almost two bottles of whiskey before I'm numb enough to sleep."
"Does it stop the nightmare?"
"Then you aren't coping."
"I guess not."
"Dean, you aren't responsible for your brother's death. He chose to jump. He chose to leave this life. You aren't at fault."
"You don't know what you are talking about doc." He said clearly and without hesitation. She knew she'd lost any privilege of talking to him that she had earned in this brief encounter.
"You need to sleep."
"Yes, I do. I need to keep from waking up Lisa and Ben. It's not fair to them." He licked his lips. "Got a pill?"
She hesitated. He needed to talk. He needed a good psychiatrist, but she knew without even saying a word that there was no way in hell that this boy would do anything of the sort. She pulled her prescription pad out of her coat pocket and wrote quickly.
"Take this. This should knock you out and keep the dreams at bay." He took it quickly and got off of the table. "Thanks doc."
He was almost out the door when she called, "Dean. You need to talk to someone about this."
"Thanks Doc." He said after a moment's pause, and was gone in a matter of minutes. There would be no more talking. He would control his dreams the same way he controlled everything else about himself. He threw the prescription in the trash on the way out. His punishment for starting the apocalypse was just. Reliving Sam's death was what he deserved, and he wouldn't take medication to alleviate the suffering, because his suffering was the only real thing left of his little brother.