Title: That Which Has Been Our Delight
By: Emily Brunson
Pairing: Dean/John
Rating: Nc-17
Warning: incest
Note: Thought if I wrote anything ep-related it would be some form of Retaliation!Fic, but instead this came out. Trust me: I didn't expect it, either. In any case, unbetaed, unanythinged, so blame my own fucked-up psyche for it, I guess. Warnings for ten incest. This has spoilers for "Dead Man's Blood", so if you haven't seen it, well. Caveat etc. Dark as hell. Hope you enjoy.
Summary: Funny, how it’s all so familiar but it’s not, at the same time. The game’s different now.

Never does know what wakes him up. Wind, maybe, or the cold. It’s fucking freezing up here, wouldn’t know it was April already, feels like November and looks like January.

Gives him a weird deja-vu feeling to look over at Sam, just a lump under the covers, two double beds, the way it had been practically as long as Dean could remember. Same night, different room, same life, he guesses. Just like it used to be.

Gets up, because ain’t no way he’s going back to sleep this cold, just lie there and shiver, and he’s thinking maybe put on some socks and the thermals he hasn’t planned on wearing again for a few months. Stand by the clanking wall furnace and thaw out, and so he walks over to where he’s stashed the bag by the window and looks out and sees a dark shape a few feet away. Knows who that is, and Dean’s throat feels tight, not sure if it’s dread or hope, or maybe just wishing for things the way they used to be, back when it wasn’t so hard, when things weren’t so fucking complicated and he hadn’t known that the old saying was true, be careful what you wish for you just might get it.

Tired, he needs to sleep, what he does not need, totally doesn’t need is to put on his jeans and boots and go outside where the cold’s so much worse. But he shivers and then makes himself not shiver, nodding once and walking over to where his dad stands, looking like a smoker who isn’t allowing himself a cig, only it’s a beer Dad’s holding, and he doesn’t look cold at all.

“Something wrong?” Dean asks, low voice because they’re right by the window and Sam hasn’t been sleeping worth crap, but right now he’s out and Dean plans for him to stay that way as long as possible.

Dad doesn’t say anything, doesn’t look around, just sips his beer and keeps on watching the parking lot.

Funny, how it’s all so familiar but it’s not, at the same time. The game’s different now. Knowing they’re right on the thing’s tail, according to Dad, they got the gun, the gun Dean’s never even heard of after twenty-seven damn years of following this guy everyfuckingwhere he went, just about. Didn’t used to be that Dad kept all these theories and bits of info from him. From Sam, maybe, but not from Dean. Dean’s always been the one who could handle it, who could be trusted.

It’s an aching minute of silence, and Dean can’t take it, so he says, “You pissed?”

Finally Dad does look around, but it’s not much help. No reading that face, nothing but distance in those eyes. “At what?” Dad’s voice sounds hoarse, kinda tired, and he just waits, so Dean shrugs.

“At me.”

“No reason. Is there?”

It’s not a challenge, but it is, sort of. Dean shakes his head. “Of course not.”

Dad nods slowly. “You were right,” he says, same detached phoning-it-in voice he’s used the past week, the one Dean finds deeply creepy for some reason. Like Dad’s here but he’s not here, either. “And you were right to say what you said.”

“I guess.”

They stand silently, and Dean watches the twin plumes of their breath in the frosty air until Dad drains the beer and says, “Want one?”


Dad’s room is silent and cold and smells like machine oil. The gun lies on the table, oiled and shining, deadly pretty. Dean yearns to use it. Knows he never will. “Thanks,” he says when Dad hands him a cold bottle.

Sitting at the table, both of them not looking at the gun, should be companionable or comfortable or something other than what it is, and Dean regrets it, regrets coming out of his warm room, wishes he’d just stayed in bed never mind the cold and sucked it up, because he remembers, yeah. Of course he does. Makes him tired, makes him feel the burden all over again, don’t ask don’t tell, fucking stupid saying since when have Winchesters ever told anyone anything? Least of all each other.

Can feel Dad’s eyes on him, knows if he looks up he’ll still see that funny distance there, that unfocused look that scared him so much a week ago, the one that said Dad isn’t gonna come back from this hunt, you know it, Deano, make your peace with it because no way around it. John Winchester’s Last Stand, doing his best Custer imitation doncha know, and when it all goes down how you gonna deal? Take it like a man? Isn’t that what it’s all about, ultimately?

Sometimes he wonders why Sam never asked. Just the whole He let you work alone thing, and that was it. Dean has never had to lie about a thing. Never had to because Sammy never asked. Didn’t want to know didn’t need to know already knew, who can say, fuck it.

Dad takes the bottle out of his hand, and Dean swallows and listens to his father say, “It’ll be over soon.”

I know, Dean thinks. I know.

He stands and nods, and the distance is gone from Dad’s eyes, just two wells of regret and pain and love Dean has tried for three years to pretend he never saw.

“I should have stayed away,” Dad says in that ground-glass rough voice, and Dean nods, because yeah. Shoulda coulda woulda. Always knew it would come down to this. Dad’s fingers touching his jaw, and Dean sighs and nods right up to when Dad leans forward and kisses the corner of his mouth.

Dean plants his hand in the center of Dad’s chest and says, “Didn’t want you to go at all,” tears burning like acid in his eyes, you left me too, you fucking LEFT ME YOU FUCKER, hate you so much, hate you love you, all mixed up and now it’s nearly over.

Dad smiles a little, thumb stroking Dean’s cheek, and this time he kisses Dean’s mouth squarely.

“Don’t die,” Dean tries to say, smells Dad’s shirt and thinks about that first night, and all that heat, no cold that night but soggy July in Austin, and that apartment with the clanking AC that did absolutely nothing but make noise, no cool at all. Knowing it was just them, feeling the no Sammy like a phantom limb dragging around behind them, Dad twisted up and pissed and grieving and sucking up all the feeling from the rooms until there was nothing left for Dean but numbness. Heat and vodka straight from the freezer, brain-freeze headaches and the clink of ice cubes melting before his eyes, and Dad’s sweaty skin under his fingers, that first angry kiss. I’m sorry I’m not him Dean thinking and sorry sorry, doesn’t matter and the feel of a limp cotton sheet under his back and Dad’s thick grunt when he came.

Never asked me, Sammy. Never asked me why he left me, too.

Cold like this, the next morning. Sweating in the cold. It didn’t happen, stiff formal voice like the one he’s heard all this week, understand me? Of course, yes sir, whatever you say sir, don’t even know what you’re talking about sir.

Shivers and wraps his arms around Dad’s waist, anything you want, goddamnit, gave you this and will keep giving it if you just won’t leave again. Promise you’ll stay. He won’t, Sammy won’t, but never thought you’d leave me. Never thought I’d be the reason you went.

The bed is cold, no humid heat now, but Dean takes what he can get.

“Let me help,” he says on his back, Dad’s face a blur in the dimness, not even sure it’s him anymore, not ever sure anymore of anything, if he ever was.

“You can’t,” and it is Dad, that’s his taste, his body bearing Dean down, heavy, such a burden sometimes, not always but every time he’s thought it, walk away dude, just do it, worked for Sammy could work for you but it never did, never got far, nearest bar and thinking and what if he NEEDS me, what if something happens what if this is IT, and always brought him back. Wonders if Dad knows how many times. If Sam knows. Never dream it, either of them, not him not Dean. Sam I never WANTED to go, not really, and what takes the courage, going or staying, anyway? Which is the bigger risk? You came back.

It hurts, there is always pain, there is pain in everything they do, like the silences the leaving the pain is a constant fucking companion. Can’t remember a time without pain

Daddy think he’s old enough to toss a football not yet say good night Sammy

and knows Dad can’t either.

Arms around Dad’s shoulders, feeling the ropy scars, slipping in sweat, Dad’s breath hot in his ear, Dean oh Jesus Dean I’m sorry so sorry missed you love you so much, and Dean stares into the darkness and holds on and doesn’t think.

Never asked. Never asked me. What would I do. Can’t lose you too.

And Dad’s sitting up, wipes sweat off his forehead and Dean touches his side and Dad flinches away, gets up and takes the bottle left on the table and drinks, and says, “You should get back. Early start this morning.”

Dean puts on his jeans, sticks his feet back in his boots. Says, “Dad,” and sees that hand come up, don’t say it don’t fucking SAY IT.

“Got a long way to go,” in that colorless phoned-in voice. Back turned, naked and beautiful and light-years between them, distance increasing with every fast beat of Dean’s heart.

At the door he pauses. Mouth is dry, he swallows and says, “Don’t die.”

Dad sips beer and doesn’t move. Frozen, outlined in moonlight.

“I hate you,” Dean whispers, wipes the acid from his eyes.

Dad shrugs. “I hate me, too,” teeth glinting.

His room is so much warmer. Sam shifts and sighs when the bed creaks, gives a complaining mutter when Dean crawls under the covers.

“Where’d you go?”

“Go to sleep, Sammy,” Dean says.


Puts his hand on Sam’s head, feels soft hair while Sam sighs again and shoves his face against the pillow.