Devil Knows Where

John/Dean. R. ~300 words.
He finds his father where they left him with only Jack and reruns for company.

Dean’s seventeen and headstrong. He knows the bitter taste of beer, the sweet warmth between a girl’s thighs. He’s got a veteran’s scars, a crumpled wad of smoke-stained cash crammed under his mattress. He loves his family and the life his father’s given them.

Across the tiny room, beneath the mounded blankets, Sam lies rigid. Dean thinks of all the things he could say (It’s okay, Sammy. It’s gonna be okay), but none of his words are good enough for Sam anymore. It used to be so simple; a hand ruffling Sammy’s curls, a shared popsicle and a promise. He used to know his brother.

Dean stands up, still in a tee and shorts though he never made it to bed. Outside is too-early quiet, dark, chill. He follows the television’s flickering light down the hall, finds his father where they left him with only Jack and reruns for company.

“Dad?”

John turns, eyes tired and sad. Sam doesn’t know this side of him anymore (Daddy’s gonna be okay, right, Dean?) because Sam’s learned how to see with his eyes closed.

“Go on back to bed, son.”

Dean shakes his head, reaching for the volume knob on the old set. John doesn’t say a word as the sound creeps higher.

He takes the bottle from lax fingers, slides himself in its place on his father’s lap. Warm, strong hands settle lightly on his bare thighs. The deep breath he pulls in feels of home and right and everything’s okay again.

He might not be what Sam needs (wants) anymore, but he can still be this.

End

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