So I figured I'd show the same scene from the epilogue as it's made clearer in the first chapter of the fic. in the hope to whet appetites for the sequel ;-)
Dean knew he could fool Sam, hell, while he was doing it, he could even fool himself for a few moments. Let himself believe that he was fine, but the moment Bobby had him alone, it became impossible to keep up the pretense.
And he’d fall down in place, shivering in the cold of the morning, flinching away from his father’s hands and welcoming warmth because he knew, just knew, that he didn’t deserve it.
He’d almost killed a girl, just for daring to stand up to him and the others. If Cody hadn’t been there to stop him, he had no idea what he might have done. Bobby could tell him that it wasn’t his fault, but Dean knew better. He’d heard those kids heartbeats racing under their skins, he’d smelled the terror in their sweat. And he’d still attacked, making things only worse, instead of letting Cody handle things.
He left the room before Bobby could stop him, he didn’t run, he just walked around, and around in a circle, spreading his scent further into the compound until he finally stopped, and stared at the only locked door in the compound.
Nobody was guarding the basement, even though everyone was. There was a lock on the door, but it wasn’t meant to keep anyone out. The key to it hung right next to the door. And even though every Skinwalker within the next few rooms would have been able to hear him opening the lock, not one of them seemed to care when he did. Why should they, it was nobody’s business why he wanted to see the Hunter. Most of the others could too, if they’d wanted to, Cody didn’t hide the human from them. It’s just that most of the Pack avoided the door and the lock as if both were formed out of pure silver.
The room was damp and cold, Dean could smell the mold in the walls, in what was left of the old flowery wallpaper that someone had once put up trying to make the room seem more … homey, and that was now too tainted by water damage to make out what design it was supposed to have had once upon a time.
Winchester was laid out on the bunk bed, his wrists chained together, as were his feet. Dean could hear the iron rattle as the man sat up at the sound of Dean’s boots on the wet stairs. Winchester tried to get up, but he couldn’t get up his feet because of the chain tying his neck to the wall, forcing him to at most sit or crouch on the floor if he wanted to get off the bed.
Not that the man seemed to have any intentions to run. There was something broken about him, he felt off, nothing like the strong silent man that Dean had met at the Roadhouse. The anger that had filled the man then was gone, no not gone, aimed elsewhere. And when he saw Dean, he pulled back, sat down and stared up at Dean until he reached bottom.
Dean knelt down on the floor, staring up at the man. He was breathing slowly, taking in every trace of Winchester’s scent that had spread out, from the man to the bed to the walls. The room stank of unwashed flesh and there was a trace of gunpowder that seemed as faded as the man’s pride. It took Winchester some time before he lifted his head and confronted his visitor.
“Dean.” The man whispered, his hand reaching out for a second before he placed it back on the bed.
Was this man really his father? There was this black hole in his life, one he’d never dared to cross, the time before Bobby, but seeing Winchester now made him realize that not only was there the time before Bobby and After Bobby, but there was the time before he’d been taken and after as well.
Dean didn’t know what to say to the Hunter. He stared at his hands, at the blood caked under his nails, between his fingers, on his palms and the stains that hadn’t come out right away. Even now his hair still clung with blood, the deer’s, the girls, he licked his lips, tasting human on his skin.
It had taken a week before he managed to find the courage to confront this man, this memory. Dean could feel the fear rising in the man’s scent, just a moment’s spike, before it was gone. But Dean knew he was scared, Dean knew why, and he couldn’t blame him.
Dean felt tears drop from his eyes, before his breath hoarsened and he could hear and feel himself sobbing before he even fully realized he was doing it.
Dean had to look away from Winchester, away from seeing this man as a person, as someone he should care about, rather than fear.
“Help me?” Dean whispered.
John sat up, the chains rattled as they stopped him from getting closer, Dean could have made it easier on him, but he didn’t, he stayed put, his knees on the cold wet tiles of the floor.
“What’s wrong, Dean?”
“I nearly killed someone.”, is what Dean wanted to say. Because even if John Winchester really were the man who’d sired him, he was still a Hunter, still someone who’d understand that monsters needed to be stopped, monsters like Dean, who’d kill innocent girls who’s biggest mistake was to try and defend herself against a pack of wild dogs. But he couldn’t get the words out. Couldn’t condemn himself into the man’s eyes, without remembering.
“Take Sammy and run”, running down the stairs with the most precious bundle in the world in his hands. Feeling strong arms picking him up and carrying him and Sam outside, away from the fire and into the cold and dark.
“What was my mother like?” Was what he did say.
John fell back on his bed, his legs pulled close as if needing strength.
“She was amazing. She was beautiful and kind. She loved you, and Sam. When you were sick, she’d sing you songs. She didn’t have the greatest voice in the world, but I could listen all day as she sang ‘hey Jude’ to you or your brother. She couldn’t cook, but she kept trying to make this tomato rice soup that her mother had taught her to make, whenever any of us got sick. She was like an angel, desperately trying to adapt to mundane life and loving every second of it.”
“What happened to her?” Dean whispered, his hands forming circles in the dust on the floor.
“She died. She died, and I couldn’t save her.” And that said enough for all time. “I’m so sorry, Dean.”
Dean looked up, curious now, because he wasn’t the one that Winchester should be apologizing to.
“I was lost after she died.” And the big man let his head sink on his hands as he slouched down, unable to look Dean in the eye. It made Dean want to run away, because men like John Winchester weren’t supposed to cry, it went in against all the rules. “I didn’t think, I didn’t. I want to blame the booze, the grief, but all I can remember is me telling you to go play outside, and I let them take you, I lost you and it was all my fault.”
Dean didn’t want to remember, didn’t want to go back to that night, to the man grabbing him, to the men aiding him as they brought him to the Dog, to the Skinwalker, as he got trained, got sold…
“They told me, you died. They brought me your clothes and I … I was stupid, lost, I thought she killed you, that she took you from me, and I should have looked for you. Should have found you before, before they could hurt you.”
Dean couldn’t move, trapped in memories, feeling filthy hands touching him everywhere, the collar stinging whenever he was human, which happened whenever his master wanted him in his bed. Feeling the pain as he tried to talk, the way the master made him play happy puppy whenever the kids came over in the weekends. Lying with the other dogs, scared of their scars, lying close to them.
“I’m so sorry.” Winchester was still repeating the words, but Dean barely even heard them anymore.
“I almost killed someone.” Dean finally managed to whisper the words, it stopped John’s litany.
“The blood?” he asked.
“Most of it was a deer’s, we went hunting.” Dean continued. “But there were these campers. One of them pulled a gun on Cody, on the Alpha and I … I jumped her, attacked her. I could have killed her if Cody hadn’t stopped me.“
John sat there, not saying a word, staring at his hands, at the chains holding him back. “Dean.”
Dean crawled closer, still on his knees and pulled out a package he’d carefully covered in linen before bringing it along. He opened it on the floor in front of John. It was a dagger, one made of silver.
“Bobby won’t ever do it. And neither will Cody.” Dean didn’t cry, he wasn’t a baby, he didn’t cry. So what was that wetness near his eyes, he had no idea. “Please, help me. I can’t hurt Bobby like that. I can’t become a monster.”
John stared at him, his eyes wide in pain as if Dean had just gutted him with the dagger. John pulled up the knife, stared at it, held it in his hand. Then before Dean could say another word, the knife was thrown to the other side of the basement, hitting the wall with a clang and sliding a few inches before it finally stopped as it hit the ground.
“No.” was all John said.
“You kill Skinwalkers.” Dean tried one last time, unable to get up and simply pick up the knife and hand it over again.
“No.” John answered. “I lost you once, Dean. I can’t. I won’t. Not like this.”
Dean shifted, out of his shoes, held back by his clothes, he still ran up the stairs.
What was he supposed to do now?