Shout Out to Reader: Shinyredapples! Thanks for humoring my FanArt request!
'Castiel Raises Dean From Perdition'
(Which is not a scene in this story, just a soul-crushing need I had...) -^o^-
I made a PodFic! (An audio-recording of the story) Click the link below if you'd like to be guided through the story by my *slightly robotic* voice.
Dean's day could only have gotten worse if the car he was currently working on had slipped off the jack and pinned him underneath.
He cast a hateful glare towards the device propping the silver Audi up, as if daring the Fates to make their move. He kept his intense focus on the jack as he lay on his back in his filthy coveralls.
After several seconds he released a bitter hiss and pulled his gaze back to the work above him.
His arms were tired. His back was sore. He had shallow cuts on his hands that were bathing in oil and dirt as he worked on the bent axel.
All of that was fine.
On any other day, Dean would have embraced the physical strain on his body. He would have been completely focused on the task, and on doing his best to provide the kind of quality work that he was known throughout Lawrence, Kansas for doing. He may have even been humming along to Don't Fear the Reaper as it blasted out of the speaker system nearby.
But not today...
Today Sam had made Dean an incredible breakfast.
Dean had woken up to the mouth-watering scent of bacon, eggs, toast, and Optimism for the Future.
He knew immediately that something must be up if his younger brother, Sammy, had made him breakfast. It was like the harbinger of bad news in their family.
The last time had been been two months ago when Sam had been in a minor collision in his Tacoma, and had tried to hide it from Dean. After Dean had made sure Sammy was okay, he had spent the entire evening yelling about being careful and keeping secrets.
The next morning there had been pancakes, sausage, and eggs waiting for him. Turns out, Sammy couldn't afford the repairs...
Before that, Sam had got in a tight spot with money because he was severly in debt from his student loans. He had made a huge breakfast, let Dean get half-way into it, then asked for a two thousand dollar loan for a new laptop.
Then, of course, there were the Apology Breakfasts.
'Sorry I locked you out of the house last night so I could hook-up with 'what's her name'. Here's some French toast...?'
'Sorry I borrowed the Impala without asking, forgot to fill the tank, and left you and your date stranded on the highway at ten p.m. at night. Twelve-egg omelete...?'
'I SWEAR I didn't know that you were hitting on that chick, too. Sorry she ended up leaving with me. Biscuits and gravy...?'
There was a wide range of reasons that Sammy would have made Dean breakfast, and not a damn one of them was good.
This morning wasn't likely to be an exception.
After filling up a plate and sitting down, Dean steeled himself for the worst and demanded, "Alright, Sammy. Give it to me straight."
Sam turned his big brown eyes up from where he had been studiously keeping them trained on the plate in front of him. He shrugged and turned intently back to his food, shoveling in as much as he could manage.
"C'mon. Stop fucking around. I know you have something to say. Just get it over with."
Sam's eyes returned nervously to Dean's and he looked like he would have given anything in the world delay the topic just a few more minutes. Dean swallowed thickly and sat his fork down on the table beside him, waiting.
In his mind, terrible scenarios were playing out. One of their friends was injured, or possibly dead. Sam got a chick pregnant. The auto shop Dean worked at had been destroyed in a fire. Scene after horrible scene was flashing through Dean's panicked mind as Sam slowly swallowed his food and cleared his throat.
"Jo, uh... Jo says Lisa's engaged," he finally muttered, holding Dean's eyes.
Dean felt like his heart slammed to a stop in his chest.
He could hear the buzz of the kitchen lights overhead.
A dog barking outside in the street.
The chair creaking under Sam as he shifted uncomfortably, holding eye contact.
Lisa was engaged.
HIS Lisa...the same woman who he had proposed to not even five months ago...? The same person who had told him 'no' and walked out of his life...?
Forcing his emotions down, Dean had moved numbly through all the motions. He insisted to Sam that he was fine. That he wasn't angry or planning to do something stupid. Thanking him for the huge breakfast and assuring him that it wasn't necessary.
His smiles had felt thin, and he tried to look at anything to avoid meeting Sammy's eyes. Sam had the decency to try and change the subject, make it seem as if it weren't a huge deal. Like Dean's life wasn't completely turned ass-up. But Dean barely heard any of it.
"Ellen says the gig sold out," Sam was rambling.
-I thought she would just take a break and come back to me-
"Ash had two more NASA recruiters camping outside his trailer waiting to try and talk him into a job again." Sam laughed, and Dean quickly laughed, too, but wasn't paying attention to a word of it.
-She was the only one who stayed with me so long. God- no one else could put up with me like she did-
"I think my Criminology Professor is trying to hook up with me by leaving risque notes on my returned essays. She's at least fifty years old!"
Barely listening, Dean hummed something along the lines of, "Well, if it'll get you an 'A'..."
He knew Sam wasn't fooled by his noncommittal answers, but he was damn-sure grateful that his little brother had the tact not to try and pry into his feelings like usual.
After the remaining food was cleared off the table, Sam began to race out the door heading to campus. He had stopped for just a few moments in the front door as if he was considering putting his blazer and keys down and coming back inside. Of course he was. Sam was more emotionally intimate than prepubescent girl. He probably wanted to HUG Dean or cry together over a tub of ice cream...
Dean shot his brother a hard look. A warning.
Sam held the glare, eyes determined for several seconds. When Dean hadn't budged, he had finally broke eye-contact and muttered, "Call me if you need anything...jerk."
"Have fun at school, bitch." Dean had replied easily.
Dean had waited a few seconds, until he heard the sound of Sam getting into his truck in the driveway, before leaning his full body weight against the hallway wall and sliding ungracefully down it, into a heap.
The phone ringing sometime later had been the cue to Dean that he was still zoned out on the hall floor in nothing but his pajama pants.
It had been Bobby calling to see why Dean wasn't at work yet. The fact that the older man wasn't cussing a storm and threatening to fire Dean was a big clue that Sam or Jo had already put in a call to let the Auto Shop know about Lisa.
Dean tried not to dwell on it as he dressed sluggishly, the beginnings of a headache forming.
Lisa had lasted the longest of all his girlfriends. Hell- they'd been friends since fucking grade school. Dated for the last two years.
Dean had recognized that he wasn't 'the best boyfriend', but she had always laughed him off. She joked that he was just her 'eye-candy', and that she understood that he was afraid of commitment. She had ignored all the gossips, her friends, her mother- everyone- when they warned her that he just didn't seem as in love with her as she was with him.
He had needed that. Someone to keep assuring him that he wasn't broken. That he wasn't destined to end up alone. That there wasn't something seriously fucked-up with him that prevented him from getting close to people and letting his defenses down.
Dean had believed in Lisa. He had believed that she was the one. She understood his emotional distance, his joking about serious matters, his need for them to have separate lives and personal space.
He felt that if there ever was going to be a clue that he had found 'The One', than that was it.
No choir of angels-
No clouds parting as a ray of golden sunlight shone straight down upon her-
Just great sex and loads of patience.
In retrospect, proposing on that basis was an obvious mistake...
She had walked out on him, still bent on one knee, in the middle of the Road House, their favorite bar, with his friends and family shuffling uncomfortably nearby. She had left Lawrence before the end of the week to go live with her sister across the state.
That had been five months ago. Dean had been striking out with his few one-night-stands since then, looking for that same patience she had showed him immediately. All he'd managed to find was horny college chicks and cougars.
And now Lisa, the only woman he had finally let himself get close to, was engaged...
After a solid four hours of nothing but his miserable thoughts and the filthy bent axel above him, Dean finally rolled himself out from underneath the Audi. It was nearly noon and he still in a foul mood, but he was sure that he had left the impression with everyone at the shop that he was completely over Lisa, and unaffected by her engagement.
Bobby had been respectful, in his own gruff kind of way, by only telling Dean to 'Hurry the Hell up' a few times. Dean bit back heated retorts each time the older man fussed at him.
He chose instead to hide his foul mood behind humor. In one instance, after a particularly aggravating comment from the old man, Dean had flashed him a bright smile from under the car and joked, "You know Bobby, you could come on down here and help me, but we would need a second jack to get your old ass back up."
He had earned several laughs from his coworkers, Ash and Benny, and at least one light kick from the geezer himself throughout the course of the day.
Now, sitting alone in the back break room of the Auto Shop at lunch time, Dean ruefully checked the imaginary box as 'successfully completed'.
He was confident that the 'manly-men' he worked with would dash excitedly back to the rest of their mutual friends to assure everyone that he was fine. He wasn't going to shut himself up in the house again.
He was still probably going to be the main topic of whispered conversations at the Road House tonight. Hell, he didn't even want to go there and hang out this evening, but he knew it would look bad if he didn't. Fucking 'caring' friends, and all...
Dean sighed to himself, weighing the benefit of having close, caring friends versus locking himself in his and Sam's house, and letting Netflix be the only friend in his life. It was close. He DID really like 'The Walking Dead'...
Dean's thoughts were suddenly interrupted by Ash bursting through the break room door and scaring the fuck out of him.
"SO..." Ash began, practically skipping over to him, "the owner of your Audi is here to pick it up." The way Ash was smirking irked Dean in his foul mood, but he forced the irritation down and shrugged lazily.
"Hmm. That was quick. I was wondering why Bobby made that car a priority today," Dean said with little actual interest as he feigned reading the magazine sitting on the old coffee table in front of him.
"The reason," Ash continued excitedly, "is because that car is the company car for-drumroll!- the President of the ADA Office!" Ash finished by throwing his hands high in the air, as if gesturing that the information was the most awesome thing he had heard in his life. Like- EVER.
Dean eyed him cynically for several moments, eye brow raised.
Ash maintained his upraised arm stance, waiting with a look of absolute patience.
The standoff lasted nearly thirty seconds before Dean accidentally snorted- his first genuine laugh after hearing about Lisa that morning.
"Alright, alright, I'll bite. So, is Mr. Moneybags himself gracing our lowly little shop with his presence, or did he send his 'chauffeur'?" Dean asked mockingly, mouth curving up in a small smile.
He, Ash and Benny made a pastime out of knocking on the rich smucks who deigned to receive service from the small garage. It was common knowledge within a hundred mile radius that Bobby's Auto and Salvage was the best car repair shop around.
But, the ADA company was WAY out of the main stream from their normal jobs.
And the President's personal company car? That was unheard of.
The company employed people from all over the state to work in Lawrence. It was huge. Way too upscale to bother with a local auto shop, no matter how good.
Ash was leaning against the rickety table, a gleam in his eyes as he met Dean's. "Well, I'm not sure WHO this guy is, but he's dressed way too nice to be a chauffeur..."
An opportunity to harass a stuck up rich guy was EXACTLY what Dean needed to get his mind off Lisa. Maybe the Fates were looking out for him, after all.
With matching grins, he and Ash both lunged for the door, shoving each other excitedly to get through it and out to the open bay garage.