Rating: PG - Gen
Disclaimers: SPN & characters are owned by their various creators.
Summary: Dean falls asleep in the passenger seat under a map.
"I think I shoulda taken that left back in that town an hour ago."
Dean heard the words through his deep doze. The content of the phrase filling him with more dread than just about anything else his brother could have possibly said. He quickly surfaced out from underneath the road map he'd draped over himself to block out the blazing mid-day sun.
The sun was almost down now, settled and sitting bloated red on the horizon.
"Who the hell builds a dead end almost twenty miles long anyway?"
Dean blinked at the round gray circle of an empty cul-de-sac surrounded on all sides by sage brush and the desert as far as the eye could see.
"I know, I know, I shoulda taken that left way back in Jackson City."
"You have the freakin' sense of direction of… of... " Dean flipped his map blanket aside into Sam's face and kicked his door open. "...of something with no sense of freakin' direction."
There was one long stretch of road, gray and never ending, cutting through the wavering beige of the craggy ground on either side of it. Not even some low barbed wire to keep cattle in. Not even a dust scoured road sign.
Looking around, Dean figured he knew what exactly had happened here. He'd seen them before, places where whole communities complete with street patterns had been planned and ready to rise. The asphalt was always laid down first for the construction to come in and do their stuff. But sometimes the money ran out before the first bull dozer could plow down the first saguaro cactus. Without even cement foundations left behind, all that remained were these abandoned roads that went for miles and miles to absolutely no where.
His dad used to say that roads like these gave him the creeps. They were like secrets way out here, just out of sight of the freeways. No one around, no state cops watching for you to creep a couple over the limit, just you and--
The car door slamming distracted him.
Despite the choppy desert wind, Sam was trying to use the roof to take a closer look at the map Dean had left behind. It was getting cooler. A few stars were starting to show themselves, faint with their tinny white light against the darkening sky.
Dean liked the idea of these of places but he sure as hell wasn’t going to tell his brother that now. Not when he could give him shit instead.
"According to this," Sam cleared his throat. "We should be right on the Gulf of Mexico."
Dean nodded and rested his hands on his hips to admire the view.
"Who knew it would be so beautiful."
"I know, I know, I shoulda taken--"
"--that left back in Jackson. Gotcha."
Dean walked to the side of the road and unzipped.
"Watch out for snakes." Sam advised from behind him.
Aiming for a small stunted and dried out cactus, he wondered what exactly he was supposed to do with that warning. On the off chance he would happen upon one while he was standing here with his junk hanging out he wasn't going to do much more than wave it along. He could think of a few much more rude lines of defense given the circumstances. The thought was amusing but vaguely offensive. It was after all, the snake's turf.
Unconcerned about being assaulted by the wildlife, he studied the landscape instead.
It was kind of pretty in a ‘devoid of life’ sort of way. He'd spent all his growing up in most of the big sky country and he never really got tired of this time of day. It was nice when the sun just went under for the last time and left it all dimmed down into something dream like. Turning everything in just about every color you'd never thought of.
Zipping up, he was for some reason happy Sam was here too, to see the sky and feel the wind. Present to witness something that couldn’t really ever be explained just seen. Never discussed, just remembered.
For just a second Dean wondered what it would be like to be out here really alone. Standing here with his shadow cast long out behind him to an empty silent car. Then he wondered what it would be like to watch that sun go away with a woman by his side, someone that he could later reach out to in the dark and sigh into her hair.
He blinked, a little surprised at his own train of thought.
Looking down back into the dirt, he wondered not for the first time why that woman had found his father and even his brother, but she had never found him.
He was almost glad most of the time. The two people he thought he knew for certain deserved that hand over theirs ended up not being able to hold on to it. If that was the way the universe worked, then he knew for sure that he’d lose her too. He wasn’t even sure who she was or if she was even on her way, but he was fairly certain he wouldn’t handle the absence quite as well as the rest of his family had. But what did he know? Loss and pain was something like a badly kept secret among the men he knew.
Like these roads. Hidden in plain sight.
Dean walked back to the car and leaned his hands down on the heat of the hood.
His brother was still looking at the map. “Maybe I should have taken a right—Hey, how old is this thing anyway?”
Dean took a look at his map blanket and felt his smile come back. That thing was about as outdated as a Poison live in concert beta tape. And just about as entertaining as it was useful.
“Just gimme the keys.” He suggested. “Unless you drove us to the edge of nowhere with no gas, in which case, you can start your nature snake hike and I’m gonna go back to sleep—“
“There’s half a tank.” Sam cut him off curtly.
Dean slipped behind the wheel with a sigh.