Too Dark to See
Sometimes, the most tragic thing about a crime scene isn’t the dead body.
The dead guy was probably nice; he looks nice, if a little dead, with his neat haircut and neat clothes and the general softness to his face, the softness that Dean recognizes means the person’s good inside. Was good inside. Probably donated to charity, tipped his waitress, especially if she was having a bad day, liked puppies. And dick, though that doesn’t contribute one way or the other to whether or to he was nice; it’s just the other observation Dean’s made about the guy, since there’s another guy cradling his head in his lap and sobbing.
Sam and Dean share looks, and the smell of burning metal fills the room from the trashcan where they managed to recover and burn the locket that belonged to this guy’s murdered cousin. Apparently if he’d only answered his phone, she wouldn’t have gotten raped and killed. The ghost’s gone now, after taking out three other people in this town who felt responsible for shit, but Dean doesn’t feel good about it. They were one person too late.
“Hey,” Sam tries gently, and he passes the shotgun in his hand to Dean before he tentatively reaches out to touch the (living) guy’s shoulder.
The contact seems to snap something in him. He jerks, first away from Sam, and then upright, and he ducks his head away from them. His sobs taper off, aren’t quite so loud, but the tears are still coming; Dean can see that from here. He reaches up a hand to wipe at his face and catches sight of the blood, and his chest hitches again before he remembers himself, seems to suck it all in, and he wipes at his face with his sleeve before he stills, breathing heavily, turned away from the guy on the floor.
“Hey,” Sam tries again, and his hand is accepted this time, resting against the guy’s shoulder. “Come on, let’s get you out of here. What’s your name?” He helps the guy to his feet, and he goes willingly, without any protest.
“Jason. What are we going to tell the police?” he asks weakly, not looking at any of them.
“We’ll worry about that.” Sam leads him to the living room, and he looks back at Dean, jerking his head at the door.
Sam’s sympathetic, but he isn’t stupid. They can’t hang around for police.
They ease Jason on the couch and Sam squeezes his shoulders.
“We’ll call the police now,” Sam says, with a steadying smile, and he starts to step away when Jason puts his head in his hands, his fingers scrubbing back in his hair.
“Oh, God,” he says quietly. “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.”
It’s pretty obvious he’s not talking to either of them, and Dean’s about to turn around and leave him be when he sees the wedding ring on his finger. Dean’s not real observant about these things, not normally, but he sees that ring glint dully in the light, and he glances at the hallway to the bedroom.
Until now, Dean’s been letting Sam run the show, but Sam’s on the phone now, and he’s going around the house recovering their equipment, so Dean sits next to Jason, leaning his arms on his legs.
“You were close, huh?” he says in a hushed tone, and he watches as Jason hitches back another sob and shakes his head, looking away.
“Friends,” he says, his voice strained, and Dean presses his lips together.
“Yeah.” He nods, voice thick, and he looks down at his hands. “Yeah. I had a friend like that once.” His mind touches on Castiel and jerks away again just a quickly, just as violently; that was different. That was betrayal. Castiel left him long before he disappeared in that lake.
But Dean still cried, later, when he was alone.
Jason turns his head slowly, open fear in his face, but shit, Dean’s probably looks pretty similar.
“You got a wife?” Dean asks, and he lifts a finger to point at the guy’s hand.
Jason nods, swallowing down something. “Molly,” he says softly.
He hesitates, freezes, and then he nods again, slowly. “Jay and Melissa.”
Dean winces, stares down at his shoes, and he tugs his lip between his teeth, chewing at it. “This going to look bad for you?”
Jason makes a small noise like a groan and puts his face in his hands again, his eyes squeezing shut. “Fuck,” he says softly, and then again, “fuck. It’s my fault. I shouldn’t—it’s punishment.” He lifts his head again, his voice firm now. “It’s God’s punishment.”
At that Dean snorts—really, legitimately snorts—and he has to choke back a laugh, enough that Jason glares at him.
“Sorry, man,” Dean says, recovering, “sorry. It’s just that—well, my friend? Was an angel.”
Jason’s eyes go wide, then narrow. “Don’t fucking make fun of me,” he says with a fierceness that Dean didn’t expect.
He holds a hand up, channeling sincerity into his face. “I’m serious. This is my life,” he says, and he gestures to the house, to the overturned table and the scratch marks on the wall. “And I had a… an angel friend.”
“What happened to him?” Jason asks after a moment to absorb this, his eyes still disbelieving.
Dean shuts off at that, reaching a hand up to his neck as he turns away. “He turned into a fucking idiot. Here’s something—maybe it’ll give you some perspective on your sins.” Turning back around, he lifts his eyebrows. “He became God.”
Jason’s eyebrows shoot up, and then he scowls again, turning away from Dean. “Fuck off. Fuck you.”
“I’m just saying.” Dean rises to his feet. “Punishment doesn’t work like this. Angels, God,” he says with a scoff, a roll of his eyes that keeps them from tearing up, “they don’t give a rat’s ass about what you want, about what you do with the shit hand you’ve been dealt. Punishing yourself, though.” He pauses, and the guy looks up at him, dark clouds in his eyes. “It looks an awful lot like this.” But Dean’s looking at Jason, at his wedding ring, and not at the bedroom down the hall. “Trust me.”
Jason doesn’t say anything else, and Sam reenters, his face expectant. “You ready?”
Dean nods and steps away, and Sam starts to talk to Jason, but Dean holds up a hand to silence him. They make their way to the Impala together and drive away, the sirens only just beginning in the distance.
Dean’s glad it’s dark out, for once; it’s always better to drive in the dark when life’s shit, because when it’s sunny, there are birds and flowers and kids on swing sets, reminding him of what he doesn’t have, of the world he doesn’t belong to but he still has to save, every damn day. And every damn day, a little bit more of him just wants out, just wants it all to be over, just wants the darkness to take him over once and for all. It’s been his home for long enough. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, and all that shit.