Let Your Geek Flag Fly
After a particularly gnarly hunt that had been rife with complications, Dean was more than ready to climb in behind the wheel of his Baby and get the hell out of Dodge. Sam, equally 1000% done, folded himself into the car and proceeded to sink down as far as the confines of the front seat would let him. The brothers were both aching, bruised, and generally exhausted, wanting nothing more than to just get home as soon as possible. 'Home' was a word the Winchesters never really thought would find a place in their vocabulary and both men visibly relaxed once inside the car, knowing exactly where they would be in about four hours. Nearly 30 years of grungy hotel rooms, questionable diner food, and a lack of personal space had taken their toll on the brothers, but they had pretty much resigned themselves to that life with the assumption that there was little they could do about it.
Coming upon the abandoned Men of Letters bunker had felt like winning the lottery and neither man had realized up to that point just how much they needed a home base. Dean was so excited to have come across this jewel, he couldn't help but give it his own nickname, as he did all things and people that he loved. Thus it became The Batcave. The bunker was made all the better by the sense of entitlement the brothers felt at being there, knowing that they had every right to make it theirs, somewhere they belonged. It felt like Christmas when Dean discovered an old bathrobe in one of the rooms and immediately claimed it for himself, ready to enjoy the perks of a somewhat domestic life. Of course Sam had to point out with a disapproving look that the robe had belonged to someone long dead now, but Dean didn't care…it was comfortable and that was good enough for him. The Batcave was perfect- secure, private, tasteful, and a perfect example of form following function. Pleasingly blank, it was an open space to sprawl their scant possessions and themselves as they saw fit, just waiting to be occupied and personalized. Having an impressive library, the place held the scent of old books, a smell that Dean came to find comforting over time. It didn't take long for the Winchesters to contribute their own unique scent to it as well, as all homeowners do- the foods they ate, laundry detergent, and the overall essence of them. Dean was particularly sensitive to it all, knowing that it was, in a way, territory marked.
The four hour drive passed relatively quickly, and both men were ready to just get inside and settle in for the night. Sam called dibs on the shower before they even pulled up, feeling like he was going to crawl out of his skin if he didn't get clean and wash the grime of the day away. He bee lined for the bathroom immediately upon entering the threshold. Dean gathered their things from the trunk and walked into the Batcave, feeling a little badass that he was entering their lair. They have a freakin' lair! Ah, and there was the smell. Dean took the opportunity while waiting to pour a glass of scotch and flop down into a plush recliner they had recently bought with the winnings of a small pool tournament.
Thankfully, Sam didn't waste time in the shower that night, just wanting to get on with it so he could get in bed and pass out. With a quick 'goodnight', the taller man disappeared into his room and fell asleep within moments of crawling under the covers. Dean was grateful that there would be plenty of hot water left to soothe his muscles and made his way to the bathroom. The room was still full of steam as he stripped down and he could already feel himself relaxing as his breathing came easier. The pressure and the heat of the water beating down his back felt glorious and Dean knew he was getting spoiled on having little creature comforts like this, but couldn't bring himself to do anything but enjoy it.
All his life, Dean had always asked for so little, just grateful to get what he could- control over the music in his car, pie when available, and the occasional magic fingers mattress. He decided that he'd saved the world enough times to deserve something as simple as his own room and a shower with good pressure. Over the course of Dean's friendship with Cas, the angel had slowly convinced the hunter that he deserved whatever good things came his way and just as slowly, Dean had begun to accept that sometimes a little selfishness was a good thing. Cas had wanted Dean to see his own value and that he didn't have to make every single thing that went wrong in the world out to be his own fault.
As much as it bothered him, Dean knew that he was one to love deeply and tried time and time again to distance himself from this trait that he felt was a flaw. With their lifestyle, it seemed inevitable that love would equal heartbreak, having lost so many people he cared about. It was easier to play it gruff and hope that no one but Sam noticed how much he needed that love returned. Although Dean didn't often want to talk about his feelings, his emotionally-attuned younger brother made it clear that sometimes it was necessary to at least ponder your own emotions and understand them, even if they weren't shared aloud. With age, Dean had come to accept that his brother was on to something. He became more introspective, recognizing that as part of his duty to find his own value, he had to quit evading the idea that his happiness was necessary to living the moral life he desired. He also knew that part of learning to be happy was stowing his insecurities and being more open (at least with himself) about the things and people that made him happy.
The hunter ruminated on these thoughts while the steam from the shower was helping him to think clearly and he only came back to his surroundings when the water started to run cold. Shutting the water off before it had the chance to become frigid, he stepped out of the shower and toweled off quickly, ready to get into his comfy pants and sink into the luxury of having a robe. Stepping out into the cool of the hallway, Dean was reminded of his exhaustion and made his way to his room, ready to collapse into the comfort of his bed.
Crawling under the covers and squishing the pillow up was one of Dean's favorite parts of his day and he was glad to be experiencing it in his own bed, hoping for a deep dreamless sleep. After a few minutes he felt his body relax and took a deep breath as he prepared for sleep to overtake him. Maybe he was overly aware of his need for sleep or mentally still on the hunt, because he laid there for what felt like an eternity. He turned to look at the clock. Two o'clock. The hunter's mind started to wander back to his day and he realized that sleep was going to evade him for a bit longer, so he decided that lying in the bed would only serve to aggravate and vacated the bed. Going for old trusty, Dean walked over to his desk and poured himself a drink to settle the whirlwind in his head and opened up his laptop, not even bothering to turn on a light.
Dean was still irritated with how the hunt had gone. It was supposed to have been a simple job, routine even, but due to a simple miscommunication with some other hunters, the whole thing had gone to hell in a handbasket in record time. The brothers' profession was nothing but one big bag of risks, but in perspective, miscommunication shouldn't have to be much of one. The fiasco had felt like when you accidentally start to get in someone else's car because it's the same as your own. You look around and hope no one saw what you did, but inevitably there is a witness laughing their ass off at you and your jackassery. As a hunter it's necessary to take stock of your strengths periodically and be realistic about which skills could stand to be honed a little more. Dean was nowhere near incapable of doing research, whether by book or by internet, but he had always preferred hands-on tasks, leaving Sam to do the nerdy work. Dean had thought it was hilarious when he made that pun a couple days ago, but Sam just rolled his eyes in amusement and chuckled softly in disbelief at what a dork his brother was turning into. Or rather, how he was becoming so outward about it.
Being a man of action, Dean decided it was time to try a new channel for communication, in order to avoid more mishaps like they'd experienced earlier that day. Being in the privacy of his room, Dean decided to do this while he could, without being given the 'what the hell are you doing?' face from his brother. Wounding his pride a little, Dean opened the browser and typed in the URL he'd been avoiding for over a year.
Twitter. Ugh. After hastily setting up an account with one of his aliases and using a picture of his Baby as his icon, he started searching for other hunters, assuming he would come up dry. Much to Dean's surprise, there were several people he knew on the site. Of course most of them had signed on under their favorite aliases too, but knowing what to look for made them easy enough to find. Huh. Apparently, several of the Winchesters' colleagues had been utilizing this resource for some time because it appeared that almost everyone was following each other. It took a minute of poking around for Dean to familiarize himself with the layout and the terminology, but he got the hang of it quickly. It came as no surprise to him to see Garth on there with about a zillion followers and his stupid sock puppet icon. He even had "Party on, idjits" in his bio section. Dean felt odd when he realized that he read that line in Garth's voice. Of course he's on here. He's the 'new Bobby'. Hunters have to get their information somehow though, and no one else had attempted to pick up the reins, so Dean couldn't really spite him for it. In fact, the guy was actually kind of endearing and truthfully, Dean was just irritated that Bobby had to be replaced at all and missed his surrogate father. After following several hunters, contacts, and news agencies, Dean decided to just scroll through his feed and creep for a minute. It really was only a minute though, before he received his first direct message. How in the hell did she find me so fast? Dean was aware that Charlie was possibly the nerdiest nerd to ever nerd, but he hadn't expected her to find him within minutes of setting up an account.
"Hey Dean, follow me back."
Dean followed her back and they started chit-chatting back and forth. He didn't realize how much he had wanted someone to talk to about things other than hunting. Charlie was the only person Dean knew besides his brother to see him openly get his dork on and he felt comfortable with her. She also had an uncanny ability to bring out his lighter side and Dean knew that he needed to find lightness when he could or he'd drown in himself. After a few minutes of banter, Dean realized his eyes were getting blurry with sleepiness combined with looking at the bright of the computer screen in the dark. He really wanted to talk to her, but knew that he was reaching his expiration date quickly and decided to wrap things up. Finishing his scotch in one swift gulp, Dean said his goodnight and closed the laptop.
On the way home from the hunt that night, Sam had suggested that they take a few days and do nothing but loaf around the house and research. Dean was completely fine with that, glad to give his brother some much needed rest after seeing the toll the trials were taking on him. Dean was glad that he could sleep as late as he wanted the next day and padded over to his bed. This time when he laid down, Dean felt more at peace and drifted off to sleep soon after punching his pillow into a perfect cradle for his weary head. He was even lucky enough to have the deep, mostly-dreamless sleep that he so desperately needed.