sequel to: With a Bang and The Aftershocks and Not a Whimper
Rating: SPN/DA Crossover - PG - Gen – AU in the year 2020
Spoilers: General (for all aired episodes)
Disclaimers: SPN & DA characters are owned by their various creators.
Summary: Dean POV. Post-Traumatic-Stress-Disorder for EVERYBODY. (even the cat)
Dean didn't like to advertise, but lately he hadn't been feeling that great.
For a while he'd figured he was just more tired than usual.
And it wasn’t that good worn out feeling at the end of a long month either. He was yawning all day and having fucked up dreams all night. But pausing at Sam’s closed door, he felt a certain amount of pride for his family’s mercenary ability for self neglect. He personally liked to skip the middle man completely by buying meds from a cash only hack who didn’t bother asking about symptoms. Illegally prescribed narcotics and a contingent of bed rest, and Dean Winchester just needed an alarm clock to notify him when it was time to get over it.
Hadn’t quite worked out that well this round though.
He was about to tap a knuckle on the door, but instead of knocking he went ahead and opened it. Experience had taught him the difference between real sleep and when his brother wanted to disappear for a while. Looked like these days Sammy was doing a lot of both. Shutting the door quietly, Dean thought that grabbing some down time in the middle of the day maybe wasn’t such a bad idea.
But his own bedroom wasn’t as unoccupied as Sam’s.
“Give me some Yiddish,” Alec didn’t look up from his book. “I need all forms of the verbs ‘to run’, ‘to expect’ and ‘to devise‘.”
“But you have all this stuff in your room written in the Hebrew alphabet.”
“I’m in it for the pictures.”
"How about an easy one?" Alec tried. "To be? To have? To want?"
Shoving a stack of books off the bed, Dean wedged himself between the other piles and tried to get comfortable. “We got a perfectly good floor,” he said into the pillow. “And it’s great for storage.”
He felt Alec give a shrug beside him, the slight movement making the old mattress creak on its springs. The kid had started sleeping up in the attic again, but he was living downstairs. A warm breeze wafted in through the open window, pushing the curtains across Dean’s face and making him open his eyes. He was just in time to see the cat get ready to fling itself across the gap of the sill to the bed, launching with all paws outstretched like one of those freaky squirrels that could fly.
Dean shut his eyes again so he wouldn’t have to witness the tragic wipe out. But to his surprise, the dumb bastard made it. Just barely.
“Damn it,” Alec muttered as a heap of books hit the floor. “I just bookmarked all those.”
Lifting his arm, Dean rolled over a little so the tiny animal could burrow its way into his T-shirt via sleeve opening. It was itchy as all hell, but if he didn’t grant access he got a ruthless pair of claws instead.
“Haven’t you read all this shit already?” Dean asked. “Thrice?”
“So much stuff gets lost because its on paper,” Alec sighed in frustration. “It makes me wonder how much crap vanished after the Pulse because it wasn’t saved anywhere. I think I‘m gonna start scanning some of these. You know, just in case.”
Dean rubbed at his eyes and adjusted the alien-like pouch of cat now bulging on his chest. “Don’t worry about it so much. Think about all those guys with the temples down in Mexico.”
“Yeah, all they left behind was some piles of rock and a ball game.”
“But they left something.”
It was hard not to think about everything he wanted.
Dean did his best to keep it low like an unwanted radio station in the car. All of his noise was nudged up just high enough so that only he could hear it. There was a flare of worry that thinking about not thinking would somehow call more attention to himself. He glanced over at Alec but the kid was still busy flipping through page after crumbling page.
For some reason the oblivious look on his face made Dean’s jaw clench.
“Now the Romans,” Alec said absently. “They left behind something.”
“Toilets and dog fighting?
“Philosophy. Government. Morality.”
Dean was under the impression every culture came with those whether or not they wore a toga.
“Look Dean, all I’m just saying is that when you aren’t the conquer, your knowledge gets obliterated by the guys who win. And if everyone keeps insisting on printing…books… all we’ll have after the next world war is something to keep the fires lit.”
“Something bothering you?” Dean guessed.
“I’m being serious.”
“If that’s what you wanna call it.”
“I know you think about it sometimes too,” Alec opened another book. “Everybody does.”
Dean had an uneasy moment when he realized he didn’t know if Alec actually knew that for a fact or not. With a sickening lurch in his gut, he wondered exactly how little it would take for any of his family to pick through whenever they wanted in his head. The idea made him feel reckless, willing to shout just to see if anyone could hear it.
He allowed random memories to surface. Scents. Sounds.
What immediately came to mind was a little strange.
The first beheaded body he’d ever seen had been lying in a green field filled with sunflowers. In his memory the bobbing black eyes of the flowers had seemed more grotesque than the mutilation itself. With no effort at all, he conjured a night years later when he‘d first had to dismantle a human body himself. His thoughts wandered backwards to the more happy memory of the curve of bare shoulders in the glow of a bonfire on a dark beach. The glitter of wrecks on the highway. A sunset smoldering out over in the desert. He could think up a million other more mediocre and hideous things to fill the spaces in between.
But it was easier just to feel angry instead, the raw and simple emotion coming in loud and clear.
“Dean?“ Alec suddenly asked. “Where’d you get that?”
He was braced for a question, but the kid was looking down in distraction at Dean’s arm. Feeling the arc of the scar that wound down his bicep, he had to think for a second before he could recall when and how it’d happened.
“What about that one?”
Dean checked his other arm. The marks whiter as the summer darkened his skin. “Knife.”
“How about the one on your neck?”
“I got a few bullet holes too,” Dean assured him. “And some bite marks--” He stopped talking when Alec’s hand unexpectedly slid over his and held it. He could feel a charge, something passing under his skin and running through them both like an electric current. Looked like Alec had picked up on something after all.
“Stop,” Dean went cold. “Let me go.”
Alec’s brow slowly creased in confusion.
“You’re mad at Sam.”
“I-I said let go of me,” Dean yanked at his hand again, fighting the anger that had shifted into nauseating panic. “Right now.”
“Yeah,” Alec said it soft and sad, like he was answering a question Dean hadn‘t asked. “I’m mad at him too.”
Sitting up awkwardly with his trapped hand between them, Dean heard books tumbling to the floor and his heart thudding in his ears. He could remember perfectly what had happened the last time he had been backed up against this wall. He remembered his brother wouldn’t let him go either. And Sam was telling him everything was going to be fine. Sam was talking about trust while he gently held Dean’s face and started ripping pieces of his mind away--
The painful grip pressing into Dean’s palm was gone.
“I don’t think Sam ever wanted us to feel like this,” Alec said. “At least I know that makes me feel better about… you know, feeling bad.”
“Can I show you something?”
Dean tensed, looking at the open door and wishing he wasn’t so relieved that there was an open window right behind him too.
“Please don‘t?” Alec’s voice abruptly sounded timid. “Please don’t be scared of me.”
The honest fear in the kid’s eyes washed his anger away like a shock of clean and icy water. “I’m not,” Dean said. “I’m not, Alec. I’m just, I’m--”
Alec held out his hand for Dean to take if he wanted.
“What is it?” Dean felt stupid for asking, but he knew there was something unknown waiting in the touch.
“It’s easier. Easier than saying it I guess.”
Alec’s hand was shaking in his.
Dean could almost feel his own pupils dilate as it soaked in, Alec’s own grief large and gray, a weight that made him squeeze his eyes shut as they got hot and burned tears down his face. He could see all the rage hanging like a flimsy front to the simple childlike indignity of being hurt. Crushed. Disillusioned. Let down. Dean nodded once before he put Alec’s hand back down on the bed.
“I’m glad you told me that,” Alec said. “I felt kinda weird sometimes. You know, like I wasn’t allowed to be pissed off or something.”
Dean didn’t bother to remind him that he hadn’t said a thing. But the kid had an interesting point about the whole being glad part. Because truth be told, he was breathing a little easier already. “We should go into town,” he watched the cat roll on the floor and gnaw on an Aramaic dictionary. “I think the library has an old scanner. I bet you could fix it up and start savin’ these books before certain doom befalls the human race.”
“That sounds tedious,” Alec said hopefully. “And time consuming.”
“It sure does.”
“Can I drive?”
He found the keys on the dresser and a pistol in the top drawer. It was time to get up and start moving again.
Maybe even take the scenic route.