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pancakes & sausage

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It’s 6am in Battle Creek, Michigan and Dean’s been awake since yesterday. There’s a gun on the kitchen table that he’s been cleaning and taking apart and putting back together for the last few hours, coffee brewing over by the stove, and an alarm clock going off upstairs. It’s been so long since he’s done this - months, no, years - ever since he’d shown up on Lisa’s doorstep the night after the apocalypse. The alarm clicks off moments later and there’s the distinct creak of his bedroom door opening followed by the shower sputtering on. Lisa’s awake, Ben will be up in half an hour, and Dean hasn’t figured out what he’s going to tell her when she asks why he didn’t come to bed last night. Even now, he can feel his nerves on edge, the dread settling deep in his gut as he stands to grab another cup of coffee. The water shuts off upstairs and Dean tucks his gun away in his work bag.

 

He starts on breakfast: toast, bacon, some sausage, and hell, it’s a special day, so he grabs the bisquick down from the cabinets above the stove and starts mixing up some pancake batter. It keeps his hands busy, keeps his mind from wandering too far off, and helps his heart stop pounding so loud in his ears. Food has always been comforting for him, from the times when he was young and his mom would make him his favorite mac and cheese to cooking up soup for Sammy when he was sick. It’s useful, it makes him feel useful, and the look on someone’s face when they eat a good home cooked meal is heartwarming.

 

The pancakes are halfway done when he hears footsteps on the stairs. He tenses for a half-second, gut reaction waning when he hears Lisa yawn from the other side of the room. She wraps her arms around him, hands slipping into his jean pockets as she pulls him back into her chest.

 

“Rough night?” Her chin’s resting on his shoulder, watching him flip the pancakes and stack them off to the side of the stove, and the dread in his gut is still there, but it’s easing away. He hums in affirmation and moves to shut the oven off, shovelling the last pancake onto the serving plate and bringing it to the table. There’s a comfortable silence between them as Lisa helps him set the table, lingering touches as they pass each other, and quiet kisses when they’re done. She runs her hands through his hair and all he can do is smile down at her - warmth with a tinge of pride filling his chest as Ben’s alarm goes off upstairs.

 

“First day of high school’s always rough.” She grins, grabbing the orange juice from the fridge, “Usually only for the kids though.”  Lisa chuckles and ruffles his hair, and Dean laughs with her, worries fading as his adopted son flies down the stairs.