Chuck considered, looking at what he’d written, and went back to the final part, and after a moment and a drink of his scotch, he started to write again.
While Dean knew what his brother wanted, knew what the others wanted, he couldn’t quite allow himself to do that. Lisa’s house reminded him of the year before he died, of all that he’d done to raise Sam. Everywhere that Dean went, he remembered something. A life of a hunter was one that demanded travel, and Dean had been to all parts of the US.
So for a month, until the money ran out on his last remaining credit card, Dean tried to find a place that didn’t remind him of his father, or his brother, or that screamed of some case he’d done, some woman or man he’d been with, or that didn’t have something that demanded his attention.
Dean’s list of contacts dried up, as he called in the last of old favors just when he saw the news about a missing politician’s kids being found, and a supposed consulting detective who was wanted for questioning. He spent his last $6 just as he saw the bit of news that reported the ‘fake genius’ had committed suicide by jumping off the side of Bart’s, and the news of his partner-hostage trying to get through the mass of reporters, and more news, of an investigation into the Detective Inspector who was now being looked into for letting that ‘fake genius’ solve his crimes.
Dean called Bobby one last time, and asked for only enough money for a one-way plane ticket. Bobby questioned him in a gruff voice—
“Boy,” Bobby said, his voice thick with anger and a bit of alcohol, “the hell are you plannin’ on doin’? You hate flyin’. Call up Cas, he’ll get you there for free.”
“I’m not…” Dean shook his head, banishing the admission that he’d not wanted to call Cas because the last thing the Angel had said was he was going to fix Heaven, and Dean couldn’t call him from that. He’d met the last possibly living Archangel, met more than his fair share of angels and knew how big of dicks they were. He’d been the reason for Cas’ problems in the first place – he wasn’t going to give his friend more problems, more reasons to fail. Before him, Cas could at least…
“He’s not answering,” Dean finally lied, “He’s probably too damned busy, making sure the Angels don’t dick anything else up. Look, I have a friend there, and…Bobby, I can’t stay here, man. I can’t.”
“You can’t stay with Lisa?”
Dean hated that Bobby and Sam’s brilliant idea of giving him a normal life meant ‘don’t talk to us, ever again, unless you’re about to die or something, that way you’ll not be tempted back into hunting ever again ever…it’s for your own good’. He had an idea that it might be how people in AA or whatever avoided alcohol, but seriously? He had little to keep him from doing his own swan dive into oblivion, and he hadn’t lived a normal life since he was four. Not to mention he kept getting kicked out of even the shitter motels for having screaming nightmares.
“Everything here reminds me of him, Bobby,” Dean finally admitted, “please…I’m not going to kill myself, but…it’s about that job we did, a month before the one in Minnesota.”
Right before I started thinking everything could be fine if I gave myself over to Michael. Right before Adam was brought back and tortured into accepting what was supposed to be my role. Right before Cas did that kamikaze thing and only appeared back as a human and somehow didn’t blame me for anything, didn’t blame me for losing his wings or being such an ass he had to or…
Bobby let out a loud sigh. “Alright, fine…tell me where you are and I’ll get you the ticket.”
Chuck considered for a bit before continuing to write, smiling a bit and hoping he’d be able to fix some of this. He’d never meant to cause Dean so much pain, especially not now…and he could at least fix this before he headed home.
Dean made his way to the door he’d found after only a bit of a search. He put his car in storage, and called in one last favor, this one from a minor deity he’d spared when it turned out they didn’t kill people, and gathered only enough clothing and items for maybe a week. He only had that much – everything else was his father’s, or his brother’s, or something that tends to be frowned upon when you try to bring it on a plane.
Bobby had gotten him the ticket, and also sent him enough money that, when converted, would at least last him a month for rent and to set himself up. Dean, being Dean, figured that was the last he’d ever see or speak to Bobby. He’s very wrong, of course, but Dean often needs some things to be spelled out for him, especially when it comes to family and friends.
The address he was going to is going to be famous, but not because Dean is going to live there. The people in the house have their own stories, their own reasons for being loved and cared for and watched by fans and critics alike. They met Dean and Sam shortly before the Apocalypse began to wear down Dean, and are about as interesting as the two brothers, and watched over by Angels as equally.
The one Dean is visiting is named John Watson. He’s a fighter, like Dean, and hasn’t been seen as important, also like Dean. Both have problems with their self-esteem, yet both are great at their jobs. And both have just lost someone important, someone who will make them important later on.
Dean managed to crash on the couch – Sherlock’s room had become a storage area for his things, when John managed to move it in – and John worried about him a bit. The younger man was obviously hurting, and just as obviously had deal with what had happened. John had to deal with it as well, but wasn’t sure if he could. He’d only ever gone out to visit Sherlock’s grave or to go to his psychologist’s, but that had not helped, and he was now avoiding her, hoping to not talk about Sherlock again, not talk about what everyone had been speaking about for a month or any of the mixed emotions he’d been having.
He had finally given up denying the fact that he and Sherlock were ‘together’. He was pretty sure everyone thought it was just him saving his strength for something else (like punching officials in front of the police that—no, he wouldn’t think of that night, of what happened), but in truth, he’d gotten to the point where he accepted that he did like Sherlock. Bisexuality could be a good thing, but the truth was he had enjoyed being with women mostly, up until Sherlock. With Sherlock…he wanted to be with him, wanted a life with this mad man, and that had all ended a month ago. Now, John was back to floundering, back to trying to figure out what to do with his life. He couldn’t ask for work, not with the few papers still looking for a story about the ‘fake detective’ and with news from Scotland Yard about the inquiry into the cases Sherlock had helped Lestrade and a few others solve meaning they were under investigation. Not when he knew Mycroft Holmes would be watching him and pretending to care.
Not when the world thought Sherlock was a liar, and instead he was brilliant.
It was about four in the morning when Dean woke John from his own start of nightmares with his, the two ending up in the kitchen with Dean complaining of needing a drink and John, not wanting to follow his sister into the bottle, offering tea instead.
“Want to talk about it?”
“It would take an explanation.”
John nodded as he put the cup down. “So will mine.”
Dean glanced at him, than nodded. “Ok. This was about four years ago…”
John sent an e-mail to Ella with a question about Dean that was worded well enough she thought he was the one having these ‘delusions’. He realized that yes, she was a crummy psychologist, and sat back with a sigh. He had money, enough for perhaps another month in Baker Street before he’d have to leave. Mrs. Hudson was acting as if that was the worst idea in the world, and would’ve blamed Dean for it had he not fixed her oven, started repairing 221c, and managed to get a few things from a high shelf from her.
John was also pretty sure the fact that he flirted shamelessly with her and recounted the one time his brother had been someone’s ‘date’ to a high-class outing also helped gain the American some trust with Mrs. Hudson.
It was only after Dean opened the refrigerator for a second time and said, “So, our choices are cheese and suspect ham…and we’re running out of tea,” that John decided to finally go outside and to the shop. Dean, apparently also feeling cooped up after a week of getting used to the time difference and their early-morning talks, followed to help. They stopped in to check on Mrs. Hudson, who waved them off before the duo headed to the Tesco’s.
Dean mostly went after the meats and such, though he also looked over some of the desserts and frowning at some of the names. John chuckled, the two quickly counting up what they had and what they had for food before heading over to the pin machine, John frowning at the paper with his photo on it before Dean snagged it, reading the front cover as John began to check out, then opening it up to read a bit inside and shaking his head. He ended up buying the rag when John had finished and was leaving, helping him with the groceries and looking at the mild glare.
“I don’t know the other side of the story,” Dean pointed out, “and as someone who’s been on the receiving end of this, I can say that it’s fulla holes.”
John manages a weak smile and retreats to put things away as Dean reads the article, the two quiet right before noises start outside. John tries to ignore it, knowing exactly what it is.
Dean doesn’t, and looks outside, then to John before walking out the door and downstairs.
John doesn’t have the heart to stop him, listening instead as the door opens and he hears Mrs. Hudson enter.
“Hey,” he hears Dean shout, voice commanding and loud. The voice of someone used to rallying people who only believe him because something had just tried to kill them and they don’t know what, the voice of someone who’s been to Hell and back, who was chosen through genetics and Fate to be the Vessel for an Archangel. “I’m curious, who’s in charge of this…well, this?”
That got a few chuckles and for some to quiet down, the damned woman reporter coming up. John tries to drown her out as Dean listens, waiting.
“So you decided it would be incredibly rude and wonderfully attention-getting to stage some sort of protest outside of the house of a guy who’s best friend just died.” Silence. “On top of harassing the nice elderly old lady who rents out the place and who also is grieving.” John sat in his chair, trying to not listen but Dean’s voice was carrying and somehow, John felt he needed that. “Yeah, lady. You’re going for the truth. How about this? If you guys are in front of our house and obstructing the way we can get in, those fine, upstanding young uniforms who aren’t doing jack can come arrest you. Because I live here too, and I’m going to take offense to the noise, the fact that I can’t get out of my own house to get needed food, or the fact that you’re a damned vulture.” The reporter started to protest as Dean finally said, “Seriously, police? She’s being obstructive and unless she’s got you here to make sure she has the right to this little protest, I’m filing charges, and I’m reporting you two.”
John waited as the noise died down and Dean closed the door, John looking up from where he’d been looking at Sherlock’s empty chair. “Thanks.”
“You do realize that if anyone recognizes me from the American newspapers or FBI’s most wanted, I’m blaming her?”
It started a bit of a laugh out of John, right before he found himself crying. Dean let him, holding him when needed and not commenting on it afterwards, instead letting out a breath and saying, “I know Mrs. Hudson needs us here…but…”
John let out a sigh. “I already talked to her. Sherlock’s rent is paid, but mine isn’t. She says she could overlook it, or at least make sure that it counts as mine, but I can’t do that. And…it’s getting harder to stay here.”
Dean had been here a month, and his own money was running out, John knew that much. This conversations had turned fiscal once John realized he was back to living off his pension.
“There’s only so many places we can live,” John said, “and…no offense, but most of them are the slums.”
Dean smiled a bit at him, like he should’ve expected that. “I only lived in the suburbs once, and that was for a case. The rest of the time, it was cheap motels and abandoned homes. Trust me, I think I can take your slums.”
The next day, after talking to Mrs. Hudson and finding a place that would be good for them both, even if Dean took one look and declared to be the ‘best-looking slum he’d ever been in’, they returned to pack and found Mycroft Holmes sitting in the living room.
John was not going to deal with Mycroft. He’d not spoken to him since the Incident, and was not about to speak to him now. He instead went upstairs, Mycroft calling after him about being ‘rude to a guest’. John left Dean to deal with the elder Holmes, and wished him luck. The man had managed to deal with Sherlock during the Baskerville case, and John knew that underneath his hard exterior, Dean was at least as smart as John was, but also good at other things. John could and often did get to the point or ask the right questions, which was good for a doctor or a surgeon when dealing with patients. He was good with a gun and had a moral compass that was gray, though not as gray as Sherlock’s had been, but it was one that had helped direct Sherlock away from Moriarty, and John would count that as a plus.
John was not sure, but he suspected that if he’d ever made a deal with a crossroads demon, he’d be the second Righteous Man to shed blood in Hell. And that would only be if he got a go at Moriarty.
“Ah, Dean Winchester,” Mycroft said, looking over at the man. Dean Winchester was not as tall as Sherlock or Mycroft, but he had bulk and confidence that made up for it. His eyes were curious and guarded as he walked in, wearing combat boots and an outfit that was more fit for his last job as a traveling serial killer then for being in London, caring for John Watson.
“Hey,” Dean said, moving to take Sherlock’s seat and stretching out with a bit of a groan, “you must be that older brother of Sherlock’s he mentioned.”
Mycroft frowned. He knew Sherlock had spoken to Dean and Sam Winchester, along with the man who had been missing and presumed dead, Jimmy Novak, while at Grimpen on that case. He also knew they’d uncovered a great deal of misuse of funds while at Baskerville, but Mycroft had taken care of that. What unnerved him a bit was the knowledge that Dean knew anything about him – Dean Winchester was notorious for being able to get to places he shouldn’t be able to, and part of a larger group of people the FBI wanted to get their hands on, and often had little success keeping in prison. Dean had broken out of at least one maximum security state prison, as well as managed to convince a group of people to let him go and even report him as dead.
“Ok, you got a look that says that’s a bad thing and you’re here to give me the whole ‘if you hurt John Watson, no one will ever find the body’ speech.”
Mycroft frowned and schooled his features. He’d forgotten how to deal with people like this – Sherlock’s death and all that followed was not helping either. “I doubt you need it.”
Dean chuckled a bit. “Well, we’re both older brothers, so we can cut the bullshit, right?” Mycroft frowned at the curse but nodded.
“Very well. My brother tasked me with watching out for John Watson, after an…incident, following the first real confrontation between himself and Moriarty. I have done what I could, but unluckily I…failed to save my brother.”
Three snipers, and none of them were pointed at Mycroft. They had been pointed at Lestrade, who was under heavy scrutiny now and dealing with too much publicity for Mycroft to make it quietly go away; at Mrs. Hudson, who had always offered him tea despite his yelling at her, who had treated Sherlock as a son in a way their parents never had; and at Doctor John Watson, the enigma of a man that neither Holmes had figured out, who invited a serial killer into his home and let him sleep on the couch, and who now sat across from Mycroft, waiting but with a look that said he understood.
“You know what my dad told me, last thing before he died?”
Mycroft frowned at that, wondering where this was going, and shook his head. He knew little of John Winchester, save what the FBI file had told him, and he wondered what type of a son Dean was.
“He told me that I had to watch Sam…because if he did the wrong thing, I had to be the one to kill him.” Mycroft felt his grip tighten on his umbrella, amazed at the confession. “When I was four, he told me to take care of my brother, to run out of a burning house while he went to get mom.” Dean paused, breathing in and looked back at Mycroft. “You didn’t fail your brother. You crucified him and took your thirty pieces, and now you’re coming over here in the hopes we have some nice rope so you can crawl into a corner and hang yourself.” Mycroft watched the man stand, ready to call for backup if needed, Dean finally saying, “Your brother did something he shouldn’t have done because you got too damned cocky. I read about that whole magic trick the bastard criminal pulled off. You know what I woulda done to get you to believe there was some code or whatever? I would’ve paid off a few guys really, really well…guys who needed it and who no one else knew about or could easily find out about. Made a debt go away, or get them better play-dates with their kids. That sort of thing. But no. The man’s a damned genius, it has to be a code, doesn’t it?”
Mycroft knew that now. He’d figured it out when the killers had been saving Sherlock…after Sherlock had jumped. The footage was not pleasant.
“And you came here in the hopes I would try something, or that John would. You wanted us to tell you off.” Dean let out a short, barking laugh. “Get the hell out.”
Mycroft slowly stood, then said, “As one older brother to another…where is Sam?”
Dean froze, and Mycroft said, very quietly, “There are schools of thought which said Judas was Jesus’ most beloved disciple, and confidant. That he knew what would happen, as Jesus was the profit, and took the silver because Jesus told him what would happen. He took the role of villain in order to ensure Jesus would be the Savior.”
Dean sighed. “Yeah. And Lucifer is a misunderstood guy, not at all a spoiled brat who wishes Dad hadn’t brought home the new baby.” Mycroft looked at Dean when he said that, getting Dean to shake his head. “My brother Sam committed suicide. My half-brother, Adam, went with him after being tortured to the point that even Stockholm Syndrome wouldn’t have explained what was going on. I spent a month trying to adjust before I came here to make sure John was ok. He’s not. You’re not helping. Now,” Dean stepped up closer to him. He was shorter then Mycroft but physically stronger, and his hand had moved closer to the umbrella, one of Mycroft’s few good weapons (for all it was just an umbrella) and his eyes were dark and, frankly, far scarier then Moriarty’s had been, “get out before I throw you out.”
John was…doing alright. He guessed he was. They had moved in to the harsher, trashy area and now they had to find something to sustain them. Dean had been working on a derelict car that no one claimed and that, apparently, most of the local hooligans thought he couldn’t fix. But right now, they were moved in, and John had no job, and no prospects. He was back to where he’d been right before Sherlock had shown up and been brilliant and a whirlwind that had pulled John in even before they both realized it.
Dean grabbed the glass of booze from his hand, looking at John as the older man frowned at him. He’d forgotten how bad liquor was for him sometimes, or that he’d disapproved of it because family history meant he was more prone to addictive tendencies.
And you lived with a former drug addict who could tell everything about you and who stole your things and gave you no privacy and who said in his letter that he was a fraud when he wasn’t, he was brilliant and wonderful and--
“I’d say you’re about as bad as your sister, but she’s trying to kill her liver,” Dean muttered, downing the glass that John had made for himself before making a face. “Ok, time for bed.”
“I was his note, you know that?”
“Yeah, you mentioned it. I also mentioned Sam’s stupid-ass idea.”
John chuckled a bit, leaning against Dean. He’d never realized how warm Dean was. “Yeah. It was stupid. None of them kept to it, either.”
“Bed, John. You’re done.”
John did something stupid instead. He managed to move around and kiss Dean. He knew it was stupid – Dean was too macho, too full of bravado, too much the type that obviously had only taken women to bed.
He was surprised when Dean held him and kissed him back, before moving apart and looking at him. John blinked, confused.
“You call me Sherlock,” Dean breathed out, “and I’m decking you.”
“Trust me, if you say--.”
Dean kissed him breathless, and not for the first time, some part of John wondered why he didn’t want to say the name of that Angel that had been with him, of the one that had saved him from Hell. John knew thinking the name didn’t work well, and he was sure Dean had thought enough about him that if the angel’s ears weren’t burning, then obviously he was ignoring him for all the wrong reasons.
“Deal,” Dean breathed out when they broke apart for air before kissing him again. John was happy for his hold on him, for the fact they were almost to the bedroom, and for the warmth when he’d never said anything, when he’d wanted to and never did.
He should’ve. He should’ve said it, with the few minutes he’d had before Sherlock jumped. Maybe that would’ve stopped him. Maybe that would’ve kept him here.
John turned his drunken mind back to Dean, and feeling, and so much skin and heat and---
Dean had been called a hedonist before. He’s been called a masochist as well, but Hell had not left him with a taste for punishment either. Nope, that was all his own damned psyche…Hell just gave him an excuse.
The point was, Dean liked certain things and tried to get as much of them as he could. He liked being around people – while he did Hunt on his own, it was never something he enjoyed doing. He hated silence and would fill it with Magic Fingers from cheap hotel beds, or Dr. Sexy, MD on television, or Metallica on the radio, or whatever else. Hunting had given him something to focus on, and while he had told people like Gordon that he’d known it was his calling at sixteen, that had been both true and false.
He knew he was going to be a Hunter at sixteen not because he’d been killing a werewolf and not thinking about girls or prom or anything, but because when he got home, he realized that he couldn’t. He wasn’t allowed to think about that because they lived in a motel and he was taking care of Sammy and his dad. He was a Hunter until his dad and Sam left, then he would find someone else and Hunt with them. It was a simple equation that no one, save Sam, had bothered to try and mess with. Dad only said ‘when we get the guy’ but never finished it with ‘we’ll be fine, normal, finally out of it’.
Dean liked food. He knew the importance of calories and food and ate as much of it as he could because sometimes Dad didn’t get back in time, sometimes there wasn’t enough money, and every last bit of it went to Sam. Sam would not go hungry. Of course, Sam noticed that when he was ten and started eating salads and demanding healthy food. It was cheaper, and left some stuff for Dean…Dad complained, but Dean could see what Sam was doing. The fact that Dad wouldn’t indulge his son with pie every meal, but Sam would, had only made things easier when Dean had seen them all together. He loved his father, he really did, but Dean and Sam worked better together. Yeah, Sam had his issues with Hunting or with what Dean wanted to do or acted, but after Ruby and the months apart, Sam and he had managed to talk. Sam still ate salads and healthy, and frowned at the burgers Dean ate, but he always allowed Dean his pie or dessert.
When Dean had discovered sex, it had been something he’d had to look into on his own. Dad was not around enough and his rule seemed to be no girlfriends, and definitely no boyfriends. Of course, Dean had also grown up without Dad around and knowing he had to watch the news. He and Sam had Clinton to thank for a lot, and the internet to thank for more.
Dean had taken to sex like he’d taken to learning about demons and witches and ghouls – he read up, he learned, and he spoke to others. If he didn’t know something about a demon, he’d find someone who did. So, for sex, he’d found a list of the “popular sluts” and, instead of just sexing them up like everyone else, had spoken to them. He’d gained a reputation, mostly because, again, research meant you spoke. You learned about women and studied every inch of them until they were screaming so loudly the next door neighbors were pounding on the side of the wall.
A young dude in class, in a school they’d only been in a week and that was the last of them for Dean, had talked Dean up as well, after he’d gotten some bullies to back off the “fag”. He’d offered something and, like with women, Dean asked first.
So, in that way, Dean learned. He learned what men liked, what women liked, and what he liked. He learned he was, in Sam’s words, an “equal opportunity slut”, but that he preferred women. Not because he was that macho, but mostly because explaining he was bisexual to anyone who thought that was code for ‘I’m really gay but pretend I’m not’ to ‘I’m easy’ was not one of those things you advertise.
Dean was a bit surprised to find out John was about as bisexual and, even when drunk, about as talented. The guy looked like he was five steps away from being cuddled half the time, you tended to forget he was a beast with a gun, a damned fine doctor, and a guy who apparently knew his way around…well, everything.
John woke up with a hangover from last night’s drink and sighed when Dean handed him a glass of water, then a cup of tea. “Not as good as yours,” Dean admitted, “but I’m a coffee guy myself.”
John nodded, then sighed as he sat down at their somewhat used table. “So…are we…um…”
“Not before you’re headache’s gone,” Dean said, moving to make some light breakfast for the doctor, “trust me, tea first.”
John slowly nodded, downing the water and sipping on the tea before he walked over to where Dean was making the breakfast. “I wasn’t thinking about him.”
Dean sighed, looking over at him from where he was cooking up scrambled eggs. “I know. But it’s not like I was thinking of mine either.”
John gave him a look before he asked, “Why won’t you say his name, Dean? I know we’re both…being incredibly cliché, wishing for the ones that…well, that…”
Dean turned off the stove, trying not to get angry. John didn’t know the whole story, despite the talks, and Dean knew that there were things about John and Sherlock’s relationship he didn’t know about either. John talked around the first incident with Moriarty…Dean was tired of dancing around why he couldn’t say Cas’ name, or even think about the angel.
“Your guy didn’t give up his whole family for you,” he pointed out, glad the eggs were done, even if he’d lost his appetite, “and your guy was…at least he didn’t have to use someone else’s body, have to go and walk around in some poor guy from Illinois who had a wife and kid to go back to. The hell type of person would I be, to ask for something like that?” he wouldn’t think about Hell, or what happened to him there. “I’ve done a lot of bad things in my life, John. I know where I’m going. But I’m not adding in rape to that list. Nothing justified me wanting the body of a married guy who had only agreed ‘cause he thought there was a God.”
John frowned at him, confused and worried. “Dean…”
“Here,” he pushed the plate of scrambled eggs at him, “I need to work on that car.”