A/N: This one–shot honestly came out of nowhere.
Disclaimer: SPN ain't mine.
Summary: Tag to 7x04. Dean reflects on everything he's lost along the way.
Rain lashed against the windows in icy sheets, the wind screaming and howling in the storm. An occasional car would pass by, lights blinding him through the glass, piercing hazel and tired eyes just when he thought sleep might finally take him. But he could never close his eyes again, never risk the chance of catching a minute of rest. Not really. Because, even asleep, escaping the pain of the past was impossible, and Dean Winchester knew as much from his own experience.
Dead loved ones haunted you in your most vulnerable state. Even the few still living turned on you in nightmares. He couldn't really call them dreams anymore, because weren't dreams supposed to be good, happy? An escape from the real world?
However much he denied it, he knew. He'd known for a long time that he was ninety percent crap. No one ever had to tell him that much. Dean had witnessed and remembered everything that had ever happened to him, and the bad outweighed the good by a long shot. So it made sense that the things he'd done had followed suit.
Everyone who had ever died because of him were long gone. He did that, and no one else. Bobby, Jo, Ellen, Ash, Cas. . . . The list truly was endless. And so he had killed them, gotten them blown up, or, in most cases, worse. Guilt plagued him morning, noon, and night, lapped at his heart, twisted his gut into painful knots—a cycle that, if he was cursed to live a long life, would never end.
Selfish as the thought proved to be, Dean wish he could have died alongside Jo. Or Bobby. Or any one of them. Of course, he couldn't afford to let Sam know that, but he suspected his little brother already knew, deep down. Sometimes, he thought he saw a flicker of unmistakable knowing in Sam's eyes.
But he knew Sam wouldn't dare breathe a word about it. Ever. Because that would mean acknowledging there was no cure for Dean's suffering. But it didn't matter; they both knew.
If anything, he didn't deserve to die. He didn't deserve the serenity of Heaven or the darkest corners of Hell. He deserved exactly what he forced himself to do every damn day—live with it. Live with the pain of knowing he helped rig the explosion that killed Ellen and Jo, watched the light leave Bobby's eyes after practically using the older hunter as Leviathan bait, watched Castiel change into a monster and not lift one finger to stop it.
He drowned himself in beer every chance he got, trying to forget. But he'd only been kidding himself all this time. The blame rested solely on his shoulders, no matter what he told himself, or what anybody else said. Lies, guilt, and pain—the only things that kept him company anymore.
And, yeah, he'd seen Sam freak the hell out about not knowing where Dean was, even for a moment. A worried Sam. A Sam that dealt far better with loss than he ever had.
Even in Jo's dead eyes that night, Dean saw the disappointment. She saw that he'd changed into this warped version of what he used to be: self–pitying, barely keeping his head above the surface, only to strap an anchor to his feet and sink to the lowest point possible to the point where he couldn't—and didn't want to—breathe.
Who knew? Maybe he'd broken some sort of record for that.
The worst part about their deaths was that they were never coming back. Sure, demons could always use them for torture, but they'd be sent back to wherever they had gone. Dean hoped for their sake it was Heaven, but he knew not all of them could've made the trip. More than anything, he wanted them to have made it. Every last one.
Dean would have jumped into the water after Castiel and saved the bastard if he thought for one second it might have worked. He would have strapped himself in beside Ellen and Jo, even pressed the button himself, the one that would've sent them sky high. He would have taken fifty bullets to the brain if it meant Bobby could live in his place. He would have done anything and everything to save them.
But he didn't. Because, inside, he'd already been dead for a long time—nothing could bring him back to life. And probably never would.