So Season Six has just started on British TV and there's a big part of me that wishes that Dean could have his happy ever after with Lisa...
As Close to Happy
She'd heard him crying in the night.
Of course, she hadn't breathed a word about it, the quite little sobs that may or may not have been in his sleep. She'd wanted nothing more than to wrap her arms around him, stroke his hair, kiss away the pain, but she'd done none of those things. Instead, Lisa had pretended to be asleep, letting Dean hold onto as much dignity as she could.
It was hard for him. She knew Dean Winchester wasn't made for suburbia, but he was trying and it made her love him all the more. Every day he forced himself to get out of bed, to talk to Ben over his bowl of Froot Loops, to go to work at the construction site – things that were as alien to Dean as the world of ghosts and Demons was to her.
He'd told her once that this wasn't his life, and she knew deep down just how true that was - but all they could do was give it their best. It didn't have to be perfect, very few things in life were, but she was surprised by just how much she wanted this to work.
She hadn't know Dean for that long – just a few months in total when she really thought about it, but she'd had no hesitation in letting him back into her life. She hadn't been looking for a relationship – after a handful of disastrous attempts at getting back on the dating scene, she had pretty much resigned herself to being a single Mom forever and she was okay with that. She had her house, a job she loved and a son who was the whole world to her, and that had been enough – and then Dean had appeared out of nowhere.
It should have felt like there was a stranger in her house, but somehow, it never had. It felt like he belonged there with her, with them. Like Dean being with them was somehow meant to be. And even though it was hard sometimes, she would never regret letting him in that night.
Some days were better than others, but each good day was better than the last and for that, Lisa was thankful. It hadn't always been that easy having him around, at least not to start with. When Dean had first shown up on her doorstep, he'd been a mere shell of the man she'd once known. He'd barely spoken, barely eaten or slept - all he'd wanted to do was drown himself in a bottle, anything to numb the stinging grief that rolled off him in waves so strong Lisa could almost feel it herself, but she'd been patient. She hadn't known exactly what had brought Dean to her doorstep that night, other than the fact that his brother was gone, but she could see quite clearly that whatever had happened had just about ripped his heart out. It had been weeks before Dean had been able to give her the slightest idea of what had gone down in that cemetery in Kansas, and when Dean had finally managed to tell her the whole sorry tale, he'd clutched his whisky glass so hard that it cracked in his hand, spilling liquor and blood over her white bedroom rug.
Sam was gone – forever, and sometimes it seemed like a big, bloody, hacked-off chunk of Dean had gone with him into the pit.
She knew she couldn't heal a wound like that, but she could be a band-aid, a salve, something to keep the edges together and sooth the pain, and in time, she hoped the wound would start to heal on its own.
Dean worried all the time. Worried that he shouldn't be there, that he was messing with her life, with Ben's life, that he was going to put them in danger. At night sometimes, tongue loosened by whiskey, he told her stories of when he and Sam were young – how they'd moved around from craphole apartment to craphole motel, how he and Sam had been dragged from one school to another, never getting a chance to make friends, never getting to lay down any roots, and his constant childhood fear that one night his Dad might leave for a job and not come home at all. And as he spoke, voice low and roughened by regret in the safe, dark, cocoon of their bed, she thought of her own son's innocence and how she would rather die that put Ben through anything near what Dean had gone through as a kid.
He was just doing his best to keep us safe – I get that now. If anything ever happened to you or Ben... I-I don't know... I don't know what I'd do.
She had tried to reassure him – tell him that nothing would happen, that they were safe, that he was safe, but how could she? Dean knew what things laid wait in the darkness better than anyone did, he'd witness pure evil, lived through pure suffering – she knew this without him saying a word because she could see it in his eyes. He looked sad, most of the time. Sad and lost, but sometimes it was fear she saw – fear that they would be taken away from him, that something bad would happen to her and Ben. Fear that they one day they would be gone just like his Mom, like his Dad – Gone like Sam.
A few times she had found Dean in the garage just sitting on the toolbox looking the big old car that had been covered up under a tarp since he'd got there. She knew from old how much Dean loved that car – he'd taken her out in it on their first date, they'd fooled around on the back seat on their second, and he'd told her how it had been the only real constant in his life. His only real home. But she guessed it was like the old saying went – Dean could never go home again. From being the most important thing in his life, other than his brother, it seemed now he could barely bring himself to touch it, let along drive the thing. She hadn't been that surprised when one night he'd come home with a new truck.
"She's made for hunting." He'd told her quite simply, as if that explained everything, and that's the only conversation they'd had about the Impala.
Getting a job – the first regular, paying job that he'd ever had - had seemed to help things a little. Dean had orders to follow once more, a sense of purpose, something to take his mind off what had happened, and the hard, physical work seemed to bring him closer to the land of the living once again. He was tired when he came home, which meant that he actually got some sleep rather than laying awake letting his thoughts torture him all night long. He became more talkative, he chatted to Ben about his day, helped with his schoolwork – he started to help out around the house and even began cooking meals when Lisa had a late class to teach. Life with Dean around began to get pretty close to good.
He still drank too much for her liking, but not to the point of unconsciousness any more – it looked like his liver might hold out for another few years yet. He was still massively overprotective to the point that she wondered if he actually had some sort of OCD. Every night he went through the ritual of checking the locks and window latches, laying down lines of salt, making sure the weird patterns that he had painted on the floorboards by the front and back doors was still intact. But it was nice to have someone to come home to, nice to have a guy around – especially one who didn't mind getting a spider out of the bath or taking out the trash. But the best thing about having Dean around was how Ben looked up to him.
Her son had never really had a father figure other than his grandfather, but her Dad had passed away from cancer almost five years ago. It had surprised her how quickly Ben had bonded with Dean the first time they had met – okay, so Dean had saved his life, but it was more than that. She hadn't realised how much Ben must have been longing for a guy to look up to, how much he was missing out on – how much he must have wanted a Dad.
Dean was so good with him, and in return, Ben really seemed to bring him out of his shell, and even though she'd done that DNA test all those years ago, there was a tiny part of her that couldn't help but wonder what if?...
Dean had started to teach him about cars – the Impala staying firmly shut away in the garage, but at the weekend she would find both of them under the hood of the truck, wrenches in hand and up to their elbows in grease. Dean endlessly patient with his eager student. He had taught Ben how to fix his own bike, how to change the tyres and check the brakes. Ben on the other hand had introduced Dean to the joys of Guitar Hero and many a Sunday afternoon had been spent battling to be the hardest rocking gamer that ever lived.
She'd wondered at first how Dean had got to be so good with kids - he was a hunter after all, a guy who'd lived his who life on the road, hunting monsters and killing things most people didn't even want to think about, doing whatever he needed to do to get the job done. It had slowly dawned on her that Dean had practically been a parent all his life. He'd been more than just a big brother to Sam, he'd been there for him when their father hadn't, he'd virtually raised him and had literally gone to Hell and back for him. The more she learned about Dean's past, the more sense everything made – Dean had been half out of his head with grief when he'd turned up that night. She'd never seem anyone look so lost, so utterly broken, and now she understood why.
Dean had spent the first few weeks in her guest bedroom. She might have let him straight into her bed when she was twenty, but she was not that girl anymore. A lot had changed and it wouldn't have felt right, for either of them. They'd never really been a couple, a wild weekend a million years ago didn't count as a relationship, but one night, long after Ben had gone to sleep she'd taken the drink from Dean's hand and lead him up to her room.
When they were in bed sometimes she would trace the faint line of a faded scar on his belly, or a silvery patch of skin on his shoulder and ask how he got it, and he would tell her. Most of the time she'd wished she'd never asked – the stories mostly seemed to end with Dean being stitched up in some crummy motel by his concussed brother. There were less scars than she remembered from before though, they hadn't faded, most of Dean's more memorable scars had flat out disappeared, and one night she'd plucked up the courage to ask him how that had happened.
"I... Umm. I got...I was rehymenated", was Dean's somewhat bizarre reply and she didn't press the matter any further. Dean sometimes reminded her of her Great Aunt Rose's ancient merchant's chest – some drawers were wedged open, contents spilling out, some needed a gentle tug to open up, but some of the bigger drawers, the ones right at the bottom, were stuck fast, varnished over, keys lost forever.
Trying to open those drawers would have damaged the chest beyond all repair and Lisa knew that when it came to Dean Winchester, some things were just better left alone.
She knew it wouldn't last.
Lisa wasn't naive. Something or someone would come along one day and Dean would be gone, and any love they felt for each other was just not going to be enough to make him stay.
Some people were just not made for a regular apple-pie life.
But it was okay – she would never resent him for who he was and no matter what, she wanted him to be a part of her life, of Ben's. All she could do was make the most of what they had now – he was here, they were together and it was as close to happy as they had both ever been.