Character: Dean (Gen, Angst)
Summary: Dean’s unspoken questions are far deeper than anyone thinks.
Spoilers: Minor, all Season 1 up through Asylum
Author’s Notes: For lovely maygra, on her birthday.
In the dark, beneath his airplane bedspread, Dean wonders if the new baby will know his name. He has a stuffed bunny ready for it, and he’ll share his tricycle and his building blocks. He will never, ever hit it like stupid Bobby Joe did to his baby next door. Dean knows he’ll be a good brother, because he’s been waiting to be one as long as he can remember.
In the light, his Mommy goes to earth forever, and Dean wonders if the sun will miss her smile. He’s sure she’ll be lonely down there with no-one to talk to. He’s tried to tell Daddy since yesterday, but Daddy just doesn’t understand.
In the dark, Dean sees ghosts haunting the families Daddy helps. The ghosts are dangerous sometimes, and sometimes caught between worlds. Daddy says not all of them are bad. Dean wonders why his mother hasn’t come back to see him.
In the light, Sam spins under the red balloon Dad brought from the grocery store. He runs through the house with it like a kite, shrieking and giggling, and Dean wonders when you get too old to have that much fun.
In the dark, Dad is shaking with a fever. Dean has cleaned his wounds, patched him up, but it hasn’t settled out the way it should. Dean is too young to drive, but he has paid attention for years. He wonders how much longer he should wait before it’s okay to disobey Dad’s orders and haul him off to the hospital.
In the light, Sammy’s grown tall while Dean and Dad were all-too-focused on their mission. Sam no longer listens to Dad, and barely to him, and Dean wonders how they lost him and when it happened.
In the dark, Dean stirs and shifts to the radiator’s symphony as it heats their rent-by-week room. He wonders if Sam is tired of college yet… and then he wonders if Sam was just tired of them.
In the light, Dean saves a boy from drowning. His bursting lungs remind him of all the breaths he held in and didn’t let go while he waited for his mother to finally come out of that burning house.
In the dark, Sam becomes restful under Dean’s touch. The nightmare returns to the shadows, never banished but waiting for a second chance. Sam slept on through the whole of this one, soothed by the same presence that healed his pain and worries in childhood. By morning he’ll accuse Dean of being a girl if Dean doesn’t stay awake and get back in his own bed. Dean wonders if this is the only part of tending to Sam that he’s still good at.
In the light, they visit an Open House barbecue in a doomed suburb, and are mistaken for a couple—twice. Dean finds that so mind-boggling that he teases Sam with it in front of half the neighborhood. How could anyone think they’re that close when Sam has one foot out the door almost every day? Dean wonders if it’s his own neediness that gives off that impression. He tries to muscle it down, because pressure spooks Sam more than anything, but he’s still afraid that if he turns around he’ll find Sam isn’t there.
In the dark, Dean twists under his rock-salt-starburst broken-burning chest, and wonders what he ever did that was so wrong. He taught Sam everything he knew, forgave him everything he could, and Sam resents him and thinks of him as pathetic. Dad clearly checks his voicemail, but he won’t tell Dean what’s going on—like he can’t be bothered with him now that he’s moved on to his own thing.
Dean’s chest aches, inside and out, and his throat is tight under the weight of unanswered questions. He’s been a good brother and a good soldier, and what the hell kind of difference did any of that make?
After twenty-two years, he can’t please either one of them. Why doesn’t it even matter that he tries?
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