Dean Winchester’s wings were clipped at a young age.
“It’s okay, mom,” he would tell Mary everytime he found her sighing in the kitchen after John had left them for a little while. “Dad still loves you. I love you, too,” he would say, hugging Mary as tightly as he could, wishing he could take away all the sadness.
He was around four when John decided to start putting little weights on his shoulders.
They were tiny pebbles at first. Feed Sammy while John was gone, don’t let anyone else but John in, make sure to lock the doors and recheck again. He could handle them.
Then the pebbles became little stones. Take care of Sammy, try making his own shotgun today, practice shooting with uncle Bobby, shoot first, ask questions later. He faltered a little, but he could still carry the weights. It wasn’t too much trouble, and if he couldn’t handle this much weight, he might as well be considered useless. He needed to stay strong for John and Sammy.
The little stones became rocks, slowly crushing his already-clipped wings and tying him down. He swallowed and chucked down his food with hot, burning tears streaming down his face as he listened to John, drunk and retching in the washroom. Sam had left them for Stanford, and he had to stay strong for John. He knew they were all John had left after Mary’s death, and now that John’s lost Sam, he couldn’t let John see him be weak. John needed the support more than ever.
He stared blankly out the motel window and saw a double rainbow shining in the sky after the storm, with John passed out on the bed. He let out a hollow laugh. It was like the world was trying to cheer him up, telling him things will get better. He thought for a second to tell John about it, but thought against it.
The next day, John, drunk again and crying in front of Dean, so vulnerable and fragile, mumbled out, “Don’t you leave me too, Dean. You’re all I have left now. You’re the only reason why I can still keep going.”
Dean was sure John didn’t remember anything the next day, but he remembered everything to the last detail.
It was the day his death sentence was announced, after all.
Instead of holding on in turn for Dean, John died for him instead. Dean found himself standing in Bobby’s yard in front of the Impala. He pressed his palms against the crowbar, feeling the metal warm in his hand. He swung it as hard as he could, smashed the window of his baby and beat at the hood, the anger blinding him. John had died for him. He was suffocating. He couldn’t breathe.
How could John do this to him? Someone had died because they loved him. John sacrificed himself for him, and how could he face Sammy now? How could he face himself now?
How was he supposed to carry all this weight?
Someone save me.
A year later, the clock ticked on as they stood in the living room, waiting for Lilith. Sam cried. Dean assured him that it was okay. After all, what was my life worth other than to save you? His wings were torn up and honestly, he was tired. He didn’t regret it. It was almost a relief to die, to get away from all of the responsibilities.
But he was still scared of death.
He wondered if he would’ve been granted a chance to fly with fully grown wings in another life.
After forty years, something tore him away from the torture, from the fire, from the nightmares, burning through him as the words echoed through all the existing planes as something flew with him in its grip against the suffocating pungent air of Hell.
“Dean Winchester is saved.”