Trying To Breathe Again (Spoilers for Season 7)
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The weight was crushing. Unbearable. Both lungs seemed to have collapsed, refusing to pull in air. But that was okay. Because Dean didn't want to breathe anymore. Couldn't bring himself to care enough to try. Couldn't hold up the overwhelming grief that ensnared him. And so he let it consume him instead. For the first time since the hospital, Sam wasn't around to see, so when his knees buckled beneath him, Dean finally let himself sink to the ground, his back resting against the broad body of his Chevy Impala.
Dean finally found his lungs again, then wished he hadn't. His breath came out in sharp, shallow gasps, tearing through his stomach until he retched, acid burning his tongue. Too much. It was too much.
Bobby was gone.
Bobby was gone and Dean was lost, so lost.
He struggled for control but couldn't find it, gave up. Dean had always wondered what his breaking point would be. Always wondered when the immense weight on his shoulders would become too much to carry. When the grief and the loss would finally overtake him, and he would sink into oblivion.
This was it.
And so he embraced it, letting the despair crumple his carefully laid defenses, letting it beat down the arduously constructed walls surrounding his heart.
Time passed, it could've been hours, but Dean stayed slumped against the car that had once again become his only home, tears spilling noiselessly onto his shirt and soaking the ground. His chest heaved painfully with each breath as he struggled to find some kind of relief, and his head pounded furiously, unrelenting. Dean closed his eyes tight, digging his fingers into the dirt and hoping that Sam was too preoccupied with his own grieving to start worrying about how long his older brother had been gone.
Thinking of Sam, Dean slowly began to come back to himself. Sam could not find him like this. The hunter forced his head back sluggishly, wiping furiously at the last of the tears, and focused on finding his breath. He rolled his shoulders back, shifting his now numb legs underneath him and leaning wearily against the Impala before gaining his feet. One more deep breath, one more exhale that came out more like a sigh, and Dean was making his way back to the house, guided by the dim light emanating from the familiar comfort of Bobby's porch. The sight gave Dean no comfort this time, however, but as he got closer, he saw the outline of a tall figure illuminated in its glow, waiting for him.
Dean blew out another deep breath, working to place a painstakingly neutral expression on his face as he reached for the door. Once inside, he turned to look at his brother, expecting to find himself faced with either a heartfelt "sharing and caring" session or a lecture on the importance of keeping tabs on each other at all times. He got neither. Sam seemed to deflate slightly at the sight of his brother, his stance relaxing slightly. He shut the door behind Dean and then paused to make eye contact, his dark brown eyes burning intently into Dean's bottomless green. Dean stared back, waiting for the onslaught. But Sam must have been satisfied with whatever he found in the elder hunter's gaze, because after a moment, he simply gave Dean a short nod, turning to sit at the chair he had spent most of the day in. Dean blinked in surprise, returning his brother's nod a beat too late and moving to the fridge to search for a beer. After a moment, he closed the fridge again, empty-handed.
Sam watched, somewhat guardedly as Dean moved to the opposite end of Bobby's kitchen, bending to open the whiskey cabinet instead and rummaging through the clinking bottles until he found the one he wanted. Dean made his way over to the table, plopping himself down opposite from where his brother sat. He opened the bottle wordlessly and poured two shots of Bobby's favorite whiskey, sliding one of them to Sam.
A small smile tugged at the corners of Sam's mouth as he read the label, and he brought his glass up to meet Dean's with a resounding clink.
There were no words spoken aloud, but the intent behind the toast was clear. It was a salute, paying homage to a man who had been like a father to them. But it was also a promise. A promise to keep searching for a way to wipe the Leviathans off the map. A promise to bring down Dick Roman. A promise to stick together, to keep going.
The Winchesters were not giving up.