Characters: Sam, Dean.
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Summary: Post 0201 - In My Time Of Dying, spoilers. Sam and Dean deal in their own way.
It hits them at the oddest times.
They’re driving in the car and listening to music, same as always. A normally innocuous line from the song sticks in Sam's head and suddenly he can't breathe and his throat hurts and his jaw is heavy and no matter how hard or fast his hands swipes he just can't stop the tears.
Dean says nothing.
At a Village Inn in Oklahoma the special on the board is chicken-fried steak, Dad's favorite.
They waste $28.35 on food they can't choke down and Dean washes his hands for fifteen minutes while Sam tries not to hyperventilate in a stall.
In Idaho their phones turn off.
A six hundred dollar bill sits in Dad's P.O. Box in Kentucky.
They pay for three phones.
Sometimes, at night, Sam clutches his father's wedding ring so tight he thinks he might break it.
Dean spends hours looking at his father's journal. Not reading, just looking; running his fingers over spattered blood and yellowed pages.
Dean turns on Full Metal Jacket one night in Michigan.
Sam screams at him until he turns it off. He remembers staying up late with Dad one night to watch it when he was ten.
In Arizona one of Dad's contacts asks how he's doing.
Sam likens that feeling right there to chest surgery without anesthesia.
Dean almost breaks in Ohio.
Sam's in a hospital after a hunt gone bad.
Dean hears the voicemail before he realizes what he's done.
Its six days and four states before Dean looks like himself again.
Dean buries a handful of ashes from the pyre shallow on Mom's grave.
Dean sleeps for three days afterwards. Sam worries for him.
On the fourth day Dean drags himself out of bed, makes Sammy eat something, forces him to sleep and hits the road again.
They're in Maine and Dean falls right instead of left, catches the business end of a bowie knife.
In New York Dad’s medic friend, Michael, asks about him, like they always do.
Sam tells him Dad’s doing good, that he’s off on a job.
Sam checks their P.O. Boxes in Nevada.
There's a letter from Dad in both Sam and Dean's.
They sleep in the truck that night, even though they have money for a room.
Dean works every waking second on The Impala in West Virginia for a month and a week until he gets her fixed.
She’s the last thing his Mom ever rode in, and now the last thing his Dad ever did too.
Sam helps him wash her everyday.
They walk into a Satanic Church in Alaska and enter the Bellecy-Acker manor in Georgia.
Kimmy tells them how necromancy, back before it was tainted and made wrong, was originally created to help loved ones deal with sudden deaths or deaths of children.
They don't ask anything and Kimmy offers nothing.
In Colorado Sam wakes up crying.
Dean doesn’t know what to do; he pats his back awkwardly and tries not to cringe when Sam tells him about his nightmare.
Because it has to be a nightmare. Sammy doesn't have visions of the past and even if he did Dad couldn't, he wouldn't--
Dean drinks himself into a bad case of alcohol poisoning while they're in New Mexico.
He says he didn't mean to.
Sam can't believe him, not now.
In Arkansas Sam makes Dean pull off the road and then launches himself at Dean and squeezes him so tight that Dean can’t even pull in enough air to mock him.
He begs Dean not to die too, not to kill himself and leave him alone.
Dean stays still and silent until Sam starts to sob.
It's in Missouri that it finally happens, sometime around two in the morning on the way out of state.
Johnny Cash comes on the radio, the one time Dean's not listening to a tape, singing about God cutting down the wicked and Dean loses control.
He stomps the breaks and curls over the steering wheel.
His chest hurts and his jaw is heavy, his throat is sore and his stomach churns. He gasps and sobs and beats at the wheel, he screams and rages and doesn't bother trying to stop the tears.
Sam says nothing.