?

Log in

No account? Create an account
 
 
12 July 2006 @ 11:36 pm
Supernatural Gen Fanfiction: Unbreakable  
Title: Unbreakable
Author: HalfshellVenus
Pairing: Sam and Dean (Gen)
Rating: PG
Summary: The way Sam sees him is almost nothing like the Dean inside...
Author's Notes: This was taken from the “Stories I Never Wrote You” Meme. The short summary was this: Supernatural, Dean’s POV: This is what he looks like to Sam: Invincible and Imperturbable. He is strong, confident, carelessly sarcastic. There is nothing that can daunt him—nothing that leaves its mark.
Inside, he is nowhere near unbreakable. His brother no longer needs him, and his father couldn’t stand to stay. He is one thin thread away from collapsing from his heartbreak, but he has work to do and their mission never ends. Sam may mock him, but Dean knows he still expects him to soldier on.
The longer first draft of this was written for 60_minute_fics, for the trigger of "Empty Soul."


x-x-x-x-x

In Sam’s eyes, he is invincible. Imperturbable.

Dean appears strong, confident, carelessly sarcastic. There is nothing that can daunt him—nothing that leaves its mark.

It’s not a complete lie, this mask he puts on for the world. Dean is all those things in turn. He is both a fighter and a strategist, skilled and never stupid when the choices mean someone’s life. His confidence has been earned, through experience, through battles… through blood. He is good at what he does, and he has a long line of survivors to show for it.

The humor—and its bite—are for survival. Some part of the laughing little boy Dean once was is still buried inside him now. He still enjoys good times and a good laugh, and a chance to chase the seriousness away. And if he reaches for that panacea at the wrong time, to ward off pessimism or any lingering feelings of doubt, who can blame him? Without gallows humor, no-one keeps their sanity in a job like this.

He's more easygoing than Sam, less bothered about almost everything. He loses no sleep over the Winchester lifestyle, because what they do doesn’t worry him. It’s when they fail that Dean takes it to heart. When that happens, he says very little. He broods publicly and privately, but Sam rarely notices that Dean’s behavior is rooted in something real. To Sam, that silence is just one of Dean’s moods.

But inside, Dean is not quite who Sam thinks he is.

Dean is nowhere near unbreakable.

Dean is full of unvoiced thoughts and late-night agony, and he struggles to keep every emotion he has from showing in his eyes. His insecurities, his pain, are an open book that no-one cares to read. Half of knowing that drives him to hide it, while the other half lives in fear of having it revealed.

His brother no longer needs him, and his father couldn’t stand to stay. So what’s left of him now, with the way things are?

He is what he does, and what he does makes a difference. But most of his success is a secret even from the people he helps.

Dean's looks get him all kinds of attention. He welcomes that and despises it all at once. He’s no good at talking to women—a perpetual stream of bad pickup-lines just tumbles out of his mouth—and yet they latch onto him, take him for a spin. And it’s not that he doesn’t enjoy that, because god-- so totally what he’s after. But they don’t know him, and the only ones who want to know him are lost in a white knight fairytale he can’t stick around to fulfill. He arrives a stranger, leaves a stranger. A lot of it’s his own fault, but the fact that he gets away with it says something both about him and the way those women regard him. He’s an opportunity—and that’s where it ends. There’s nothing more to him than fulfilling someone’s fantasy, regardless of what kind it is.

Dean thinks everyone can see that. Even Sam and Dad treat him like he’s just some guy they joined up with that they’ll keep only as long as it suits them. Dean raised Sam, loved Sam, and he got four years of distance for it in return. When they fight, there’s more to it than just being brothers. Sam’s been on the verge of leaving ever since he came back, and Dean can’t stop pushing at him to force Sam’s rejection up to the surface. It feels inevitable—god, does it ever—and there are days Dean’s just itching to get it over with.

Though he is his father’s son—obedient and committed-- he is rarely entrusted with an opinion of his own. The more John overrides him, the more Dean asks whether his ideas and input just have no value. He is not entirely a man, in the eyes of his father. And it keeps him from being one inside himself.

Deep down, he’s afraid he’s shallow and that everyone knows it. His pain escapes his family’s notice—maybe because it just doesn’t matter that much. His happiness is short-lived. Anything lasting is tied to the security and closeness his family will not give him. If Dean ever says he’s happy, it means he’s as content as he dares to hope for. Transient pleasures are all he has left— permanence isn’t something Sam and John are prepared to give.

Dean and Sam cross the country now, pursuing leads and trouble and danger. They are more coldly efficient than ever, and Dean might be starting to enjoy his work too much. There is no completion in his life that doesn’t involve banishing or killing something. He looks forward to those moments more than he should.

Though Sam rides beside him, his brother remains distant enough to keep from knowing Dean too well. And Dean remembers that it was never like this, this inertia between them. He worries that Sam will never love him like he did when things were simple, that Sam will disappear out of his life all over again.

Inside, there is little of Dean still left. There is duty and darkness, there is the countdown to abandonment. There is the knowledge that Sam and John will leave him, because history repeats itself and no-one stays for Dean.

He is one thin thread away from collapsing from his heartbreak, but he is not allowed feeling or self-pity or time to grieve.

He has work to do and their mission never ends. And Sam may mock him—for being that unfeeling devil-may-care gunslinger—but Dean has never been allowed to be anyone else.

It is all expectations and rarely forgiveness. And Dean knows that even Sam still expects him to soldier on.


------ fin ------


 
 
 
(Deleted comment)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Diner Deanhalfshellvenus on July 13th, 2006 06:05 pm (UTC)
Thank you, Jinx.

Our fandom talks a lot about woobieDean these days, but really-- it's hard to be woobieDean. In his own way, he's every bit as unhappy as Sam, but more conflicted since he thinks he should still be happy even with the way things are. Sam has the benefit of a clearer perspective on what he wants and whether this life can offer it...
Sue: Dean dreamscandygramme on July 13th, 2006 06:28 pm (UTC)
He’s an opportunity—and that’s where it ends. There’s nothing more to him than fulfilling someone’s fantasy, regardless of what kind it is.

So true, and so damned sad. He's really even an opportunity for Dad and Sam - especially Dad.

Poor Dean.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Diner Deanhalfshellvenus on July 13th, 2006 07:22 pm (UTC)
So true, and so damned sad.
And other than Cassie, it's somewhat self-created. Dean's trapped in the cycles of his behaviors: hold back to avoid rejection =>no-one knows you that well=> you think they don't want to because you're not worth knowing => hold back to avoid rejection

He's really even an opportunity for Dad and Sam - especially Dad.
With the way John treats him-- since we don't see much tender, fully-accepting behavior-- Dean is more of a soldier than a son. And god, he's a solider because he's John's son, because it's what's expected of him and what he learned to believe in.

John chose this. Sam rejected it. And Dean had it chosen for him. :(
(no subject) - candygramme on July 13th, 2006 09:38 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - halfshellvenus on July 14th, 2006 05:27 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - kronette on July 14th, 2006 12:41 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - halfshellvenus on July 14th, 2006 05:43 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - kronette on July 14th, 2006 11:30 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - halfshellvenus on July 17th, 2006 04:42 am (UTC) (Expand)
The Grammarian about whom your mother warned you.acostilow on July 13th, 2006 06:42 pm (UTC)
Ack, I'm not first! What's wrong with the world!

*reads*

This is beautiful, absolutely beautiful. But I keep thinking there's something more there. It's like the pain is just another facet, and deep down you're missing the real, real Dean. It's not that I don't believe that Dean's pain is real, just that it's not the real him, am I making any sense at all?
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Diner Deanhalfshellvenus on July 13th, 2006 07:26 pm (UTC)
am I making any sense at all?
You may be thinking of the other one I wrote for 60_minute_fics, which I haven't polished & posted yet. That one is more vivid (and probably better). This one is weary and numb, to better match the "Empty soul" trigger.

It's like most of what's left is pain, and Dean is either feeling it and hiding it, or avoiding feeling anything at all...

In this one, he's already broken. In the other, he's in the process of breaking.

Does that make sense, or am I just rationalizing and rambling? (and yes, I will post that other one up at somepoing. Amnesia chapterFic is stealing my brain!)
(no subject) - acostilow on July 13th, 2006 07:33 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Steffi: Supernatural - Dean & Sam DITWlegoline on July 13th, 2006 06:55 pm (UTC)
This is wonderful, and deserves 120 reviews. At least. It's hurtful but true and one of the best characterisations of Dean I've read so far, completely spot on.

And these lines broke me:

Dean thinks everyone can see that. Even Sam and Dad treat him like he’s just some guy they joined up with that they’ll keep only as long as it suits them. Dean raised Sam, loved Sam, and he got four years of distance for it in return.


Inside, there is little of Dean still left. There is duty and darkness, there is the countdown to abandonment. There is the knowledge that Sam and John will leave him, because history repeats itself and no-one stays for Dean.


And Sam may mock him—for being that unfeeling devil-may-care gunslinger—but Dean has never been allowed to be anyone else.

It is all expectations and rarely forgiveness. And Dean knows that even Sam still expects him to soldier on.

The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Diner Deanhalfshellvenus on July 13th, 2006 07:41 pm (UTC)
It's hurtful but true
Like almost every aspect of the hidden Dean. Watching the shift in that character from the Pilot (assy!) to the finale (broken), there is so much going on under the bravado and the jokes, and it looks nothing like what's happening on the surface. It's one of the greatest contrasts I've seen yet in a television/movie character, and not because the characterization is wrong. Quite the opposite!

Oh, you picked some of the most painful, hopeless lines out of the story here. They all have that feeling of inevitability, loneliness and despair.

Thank you so much for your comment. I appreciate it very much!
(no subject) - legoline on July 13th, 2006 09:10 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - kronette on July 14th, 2006 12:47 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - halfshellvenus on July 14th, 2006 05:48 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - kronette on July 14th, 2006 11:37 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Entendre? Make mine a double.: SN beauty deandeirdre_c on July 13th, 2006 07:02 pm (UTC)
Oh my. Ouch. So painful and insightful.

Sam’s been on the verge of leaving ever since he came back, and Dean can’t stop pushing at him to force Sam’s rejection up to the surface. It feels inevitable—god, does it ever—and there are days Dean’s just itching to get it over with.

And nothing Sam does will convince Dean otherwise.

Wonderful job, hon. *goes off to be emo over Dean*
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Genhalfshellvenus on July 13th, 2006 07:44 pm (UTC)
And nothing Sam does will convince Dean otherwise.
And isn't that just the most frustrating part? Dean's so trapped in this mindset that he's stopped even listening to what Sam is actually showing or saying to him.

It brings back that old psychology adage, that a message repeated enough times will repeat itself inside the person's head-- all evidence to the contrary. :(

Thank you, deirdre! Enjoy your emo-fest. ;)
Rhiannerhianne on July 13th, 2006 07:15 pm (UTC)
*sobs* Oh, god, poor Dean! This is exactly how I see him in the series - it's heartbreaking, but it's perfect...
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Diner Deanhalfshellvenus on July 13th, 2006 07:45 pm (UTC)
Oh, god, poor Dean! This is exactly how I see him in the series
We see him so clearly now, that we wonder why Sam and John don't.

It's all there-- he shows it even when he doesn't want to. But how it hurts that no-one's really looking. :(

Thank you, rhianne!
I'm for wine and the embrace of questionable womenmissyjack on July 13th, 2006 09:51 pm (UTC)
Wonderful insight into Dean and how he sees himself. The sense of despair and resignation is palpable. Impressed with how you've managed to convey the complexity of his self-image without reducing it to the oft seen woobie!dean cliches.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Diner Deanhalfshellvenus on July 14th, 2006 05:50 am (UTC)
The sense of despair and resignation is palpable.
This one is just really, really weary. The short version wasn't quite so much, but that "Empty Soul" prompt really drove the tone that way more sharply.

without reducing it to the oft seen woobie!dean cliches.
Oh goodness, let's hope so. Cliches generally have their truths, but I'm hoping not to repeat everything we've already seen.

Thank you, missyjack! And your ball of Sam angst (love those chibis). :)
Flamesword: dean - bring it ontahm on July 13th, 2006 10:41 pm (UTC)
Your Dean just breaks my heart into little, tiny splinters, which I think was the point. oh. Dean. *sighs* I love him so much.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Diner Deanhalfshellvenus on July 14th, 2006 05:53 am (UTC)
Your Dean just breaks my heart into little, tiny splinters, which I think was the point.
I wanted the reader to see into him, into the truth underlying the image. The difference between what he projects and what he is is just huge and suprisingly.

He's not buying enough of what he's selling, and he's harder on himself than he should be. :(

"Oh, Dean" is right. Thank you, tahm.
(no subject) - tahm on July 14th, 2006 06:15 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - halfshellvenus on July 14th, 2006 03:41 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - tahm on July 14th, 2006 03:42 pm (UTC) (Expand)
iamstealthyoneiamstealthyone on July 13th, 2006 11:35 pm (UTC)
This was a good, introspective piece. Poor, broken Dean. *hugs Dean*

Favorite lines:

He is what he does, and what he does makes a difference. But most of his success is a secret even from the people he helps.

Love those lines, not just because they’re so true, but because they pack such a good emotional punch. He’s so defined by the job, and yet he never really gets the kind of recognition he deserves.

When they fight, there’s more to it than just being brothers. Sam’s been on the verge of leaving ever since he came back, and Dean can’t stop pushing at him to force Sam’s rejection up to the surface. It feels inevitable—god, does it ever—and there are days Dean’s just itching to get it over with.

Ouch. Yeah, I can see this, that Dean would feel this way. He’s the kind of guy that wants the band-aid ripped off in one piece instead of painstakingly eased loose.

Inside, there is little of Dean still left. There is duty and darkness, there is the countdown to abandonment.

*winces* My poor baby … *snuggles Dean*

Thanks for a good read.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Diner Deanhalfshellvenus on July 17th, 2006 05:54 am (UTC)
He’s so defined by the job, and yet he never really gets the kind of recognition he deserves.
And moreso than most people-- the nature of the job is that usually, they can't/don't tell people what they're really up to. They typically have to lie to or misdirect the people they're helping. That just doesn't leave you with a deep feeling of satisfaction, unfortunately.

He’s the kind of guy that wants the band-aid ripped off in one piece instead of painstakingly eased loose.
Ooh, yes-- perfect description. If he feels it's coming, and will practically kill him, well-- get it over with. The waiting is even harder to cope with.

Thanks for a good read.
You're welcome. Thanks for such insightful comments! :)
Alainacrazyforjensen on July 14th, 2006 02:42 am (UTC)
This was amazing, I loved it! I'm glad somebody finally wrote something like this! This is an amazing insight into Dean and it is so true. It's just so sad! My poor baby! Dean needs some TLC and a family that appreciates him more! I loved this it was an amazing fic! Your writing skills are amazing! I hope to see more stories like this from you!
~Alaina~
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Diner Deanhalfshellvenus on July 17th, 2006 05:55 am (UTC)
Thank you so much, Alaina! I'm glad you enjoyed this-- and that it hit home to you. :)
bluesister on July 14th, 2006 03:45 am (UTC)
His insecurities, his pain, are an open book that no-one cares to read.

So painful/good.

I think a lot of the success of what we see on the show is JA's acting. You don't often see an actor successfully radiate pain. Gale Harold once did it on QAF(US) without even moving. A few of JA's scenes have reminded me of that.

And, yeah, the vicious cycle of being closed off for fear of rejection and therefore no one able to get close. Rich territory and so much more interesting in fic than real life.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Diner Deanhalfshellvenus on July 17th, 2006 06:01 am (UTC)
I think a lot of the success of what we see on the show is JA's acting.
I agree-- that and, probably, Kripke's direction.

JA usually is not VOICING Dean's pain-- it's just coming off of him while he says something usually entirely different. That scene in Scarecrow, where he's near tears on the phone with Sam, and is telling Sam what he think Sam needs to hear-- so very opposite of what he wants himself-- is really striking. That is so Dean. Taken at face value, those words mean what they sound like. Combined with the visual presentation-- the red, watery eyes, the rough voice-- there is a completely different message coming across (one which Sam cannot see).

And, yeah, the vicious cycle of being closed off for fear of rejection and therefore no one able to get close. Rich territory and so much more interesting in fic than real life.
In real life, you may just want to shake the person and say "Wake up already!" In fiction, some people still feel that way (someone on my f-list is fed up with Dean, because she feels he creates his own trouble. I think he isn't self-aware enough to know he's doing it, which is different).

The line between tragedy and melodrama is sometimes very thin. For me, Dean falls on the tragic side (thus far), which makes his character (and the show) all the more interesting.
wilwarin1wilwarin1 on July 14th, 2006 07:18 am (UTC)
First read of the day and man, what a read it is.

This is Dean down to his toenails. The bravado on the outside and the hurt and fear on the inside. And nobody will ever see this.

I too feel amazed by the quality of acting from Jensen and the evolution of Dean throughout the first season. Let's hope that this continues in the second series. Oh, man, is it September yet?

WOnderful fic! Thank you!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Diner Deanhalfshellvenus on July 17th, 2006 06:06 am (UTC)
The bravado on the outside and the hurt and fear on the inside. And nobody will ever see this.
And this hurts so much for the viewer-- because we are allowed to see under that mask, and at the same time also see how hard Dean works to keep Sam and John from doing so. He mistrusts their love, and doesn't let them see how much he needs it. Thereby fooling them into thinking he does NOT need those reassurances or that understanding (and avoiding all those moments when they try anyway). Sometimes, a person does want to smack Dean a little.

I too feel amazed by the quality of acting from Jensen and the evolution of Dean throughout the first season.
SUCH a change. In those first 2-3 episodes, I really didn't like Dean at all (except that I thought he was funny). The more his mask slipped, and the more substantial a character he became, the more I liked him. The amount of pain he showed near the end of Season 1 makes me SO wonder what he was like before Sam left for college. Was he fairly confident for real until then? Or was there always fear and doubt, right from the night he lost his mother? So many interesting possibilities there.

WOnderful fic! Thank you!
Thank you, wilwarin! I very much appreciated your comments. :)
Pix: Trees w/rainbow reflectionpixel_0 on July 17th, 2006 01:00 am (UTC)
Oh. Yes.

I know it's been said before, but this is it. This is Dean right here. He's such an impossibly hard character to capture, but you've done it marvelously. I like how you capture each aspect of his life--family, work, and women. I've seen fics where the writer tends to focus on one part of that and while it works, it's not complete. This, though, is complete and is so utterly true.

I really cannot say enough good things about this. This is my Best Dean fic, and that's all there is to it. Splendid.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Diner Deanhalfshellvenus on July 17th, 2006 06:14 am (UTC)
This, though, is complete and is so utterly true.
I hope it feels more complete and less like a laundry list. Those are the areas where I always have doubts. Every facet of him, though, is dual-sided with the surface view and then the underlying, negative perspective that his own mind provides. And always, always he prevents anyone (namely Sam and John) from being able to reassure him. It's frustrating and sad all at once.

This is my Best Dean fic, and that's all there is to it.
Wow. Thank you. That alone makes it worth having rescued it from its original rough-draft form. It's really less of a story and more of a vignette, and it's really hard to know how that will strike people.

Well, I am overjoyed with how much you liked it! That makes my otherwise pine-needle-laden weekend perfect! ♥

(no subject) - pixel_0 on July 19th, 2006 04:05 am (UTC) (Expand)
(Deleted comment)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Diner Deanhalfshellvenus on July 17th, 2006 07:39 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much, staranis! The truth of Dean is nothing like as happy as we wish he was. :(
(Deleted comment)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Diner Deanhalfshellvenus on July 20th, 2006 08:08 pm (UTC)
He breaks my heart in so many ways.
Yes-- all of us. The genius of the show is that WE see the core of Dean, even though Sam and John do not. And it's a very wounded place in there.

in many ways, he's the strongest of them all. But only because he picks himself up, and dusts himself off, and goes on.
I love this point you make. I completely agree with it.

I like to tell my children, being brave isn't about not being afraid. It's about doing something anyway in SPITE of your fears. The person who is broken and keeps going is arguably strong than the one who moves forward without such a challenge.

Thanks so much for your comments. Sorry for the late reply!