He let out a breath unevenly. Something stung on his insides that he didn't know he had. There were stabs of pain from his forehead near his eye where his skin always split open further than it should after the semi accident. When he arched his back to ease the stitch in his left side, gravity pressed on the permanent recoil bruise in his shoulder. His head was pounding. His left arm held onto his guts and his right arm held onto the wheel.
"You know, you're really not supposed to drive after you take that, Dean."
He blinked heavily to cover the rolling of his eyes and turned his head to stare blankly into the empty seat beside him.
The pavement was uneven.
The phantom pains came and went with the miles, echoes of one way streets and dead end turns, places his body had found the u-turn but the rest of him hadn't. The road was his bloodstream, the accelerator his heartbeat; it cleansed his wounds and healed the cuts and bruises.
"Look at you, man. You should pull over."
He leaned his head back and rolled his neck and looked into the lights. The road could never get deep enough for him now. There were too many potholes.
There was a new windshield and new upholstery in the back and new carpet in the trunk where there were no weapons and no spare tire and no body to bury or burn or pray over, only the one in the front seat driving like a dead man to a dead town full of dead people where he wouldn't have to look anyone in the eye and tell them how he'd failed.
"Dude, you promised me."
He took a breath, throttle deep, and held it. Blood came out his nose and out his eyes and he blinked and it was only the dry dust of the air vent striking him in the temple, scars open and seeping down into his chest. He coughed.
He turned around.
"Dean... Thank God."
Dad had always known when to go out and face his demons, and he'd always known when it was enough; when it was time to come home.