There'll Be Peace

~~~

Tomorrow, Dean knows, he will be sent on a solo hunt. First thing in the morning he'll wake, find himself either alone in the motel room with a note saying 'meet me in the restaurant' or Dad will be sitting at the table, coffee and a sack breakfast already half-eaten. He'll have an article that he'll push towards Dean; he might mention something interesting that's caught his eye or maybe he'll just leave it for Dean to discover.

Dean might even find himself completely alone, with just a note from Dad saying where he's gone to next and where they'll meet up after they're both done with their jobs.

Conversation, not normally heavy by a long shot, will be almost nonexistent until they part ways. Phone calls will be rare, then in two or three or four weeks they'll meet up again in some other part of the country and hunt together for awhile.

It won't take long before Dean will see how his dad's mood begins to change. Distracted by the victims or intense about the things they're hunting, at first the jobs will be enough. But when the anger and the obsession begins to tear at his dad, when Dean finds that first empty bottle of whiskey on the motel room floor, he'll know.

He'll wait, and watch, and soon his dad will be so close that it's this or break.

Dean's sure his dad thinks this is breaking. Dean knows better, but he doesn't push it, doesn't want to risk Dad leaving on a hunt and not coming back -- not letting Dean get near him, not letting Dean fix him again for awhile.

Like tonight, when Dean finally steps up behind him and rests a hand on his dad's arm and turns him around -- unresisting, always, if Dean waits long enough. His dad makes no moves on his own but lets Dean guide him and direct him and ease him down onto the bed, and by now even the whispers of we shouldn't and you mustn't and please have vanished from his dad's throat.

When he first turns around, Dean can see how much his dad hates himself for this. But Dean will persist, slowly and gently, and when his dad is curling up to fall asleep and one arm is slung across Dean's back, there is a look on his dad's face that Dean has never seen outside these moments.

His dad is at peace.