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Better Now

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Sometimes I think I miss it. That I might miss who he use to be, the feirce warrior, protector, hunter. The perfect weapon.

The Dean Winchester I met all those years ago was anything but inexperienced, yet somehow also such. He had spent nearly 30 years training and learning and following orders. Fighting for his brother, the world, himself. Over the course of 7 short years he became even more a master of fight. Honing skills he picked up along the way, things he’d learned in hell.

Then there was the mark. It turned him into a monster. Made him deadly. Even after we rid him of it, we could both tell there were lingering effects. His movements at times more fluid, less controlled and even more terrifying. And now, years later I can still see the bloodlust in his eyes after an unsatisfactory kill. Anything too easy and he stays agitated.

He often uses that as an excuse to spar with me even though at times I think there’s something else, another reason he’s not telling me. He quips that he just likes beating me up but rarely do we ever do more than pin and grapple. We have gotten better at openly communicating but I think there are some things that he just isn’t ready to speak about.

It’s still confusing at times because he’s still Dean, but he’s not the Dean I remember. After Michael he was the same for a while and then one day he wasn’t. That was a memorable morning. It started out in rage and ended with his head on my shoulder. Sam had been so relieved claiming that his brotherse outburst had been a long time coming.

After that day he’s been quiet. He still speaks, just not as often or as loud. He laughs more. Not the full body, head thrown back laugh I’ve whitenesd before, but a quiet ginuine chuckle. They’re mostly directed at me, but there are a lot spared for Jack and Sam. He’s not as mean or sarcastic. He still teases me and Sam at every chance but his jabs are accompanied by a soft smile or a nudge of the shoulder.

He’s more affectionate than he use to be also. I’m often roused from my thoughts or stopped mid sentence by his hand on my back, or a small “side hug” when he enters a room. When we have down time he likes to sit with me and watch TV. More than once Sam has come home and caught us shoulder to shoulder engrossed in our own world. He’s not into the all same shows he was before either. Now we watch Top Chef and HGTV. I don’t mind though, I was never as big a fan of cowboys as he was anyway.

For a while I wonder if he’d been injured or traumatized by Michael’s presence. Especially when he started eating healthier and lost interest in the bar scene. I gathered my courage and asked him about it one day. His eyes glossed over and in a rare moment of vulnerability he grabbed my hand and said, “Cas, sometimes people just learn to appreciate the things and people they’ve been given.” We didn’t speak of it again but what he said has stuck with me.

We were so worried he’d never heal and it took more time to realize than it should that he’s not broken. He made that decision as a scared, lethal, dangerous man. He came back seeming as if he’d lost a part of himself, and It’s true that he is different now. He says he’s just ‘going soft in his old age’ although he’s not yet 45. But, I still think back on the first words I heard him speak when he expelled my brother from his 'true vessel’. I had caught him when he fell holding his body limp in my arms, praying he was ok when a pair of bright emerald eyes looked into mine….

“Dean, are you alright?” He coughed then smiled

“I’m better now.”