I’ll Leave the Light On
Dean still didn’t feel good about taking money for hunting jobs. He tried to do some every once in a while for free but the credit card scamming was getting harder to do these days and the bunker wasn’t cheap to run.
But today had been a decent hunting day, a small nest of vampires was gone and the man who hired him had given him some extra money as a thank you. So he’d taking that extra money and went straight to the bar for some well deserved R&R.
“I haven’t seen you in a while,” the woman behind the counter says.
Dean shrugs at her with a half-smile. “Guess part of growing up is spending money on the bills instead of blowing it on booze.”
“Something you used to do a lot?”
“You could say that,” he says and takes a sip of his whiskey.
“Same,” she says smiling. “Now I’m lucky if the water bill is under a hundred.”
“Baths?” Dean asks and she laughs.
“And a large garden. What’s your vice?”
Her question immediately speeds up Dean’s heart and for a moment he doesn’t answer. “Electric bill.”
She laughs and raises an eyebrow. “I don’t know what I was expecting but that wasn’t it.”
He ignores the thundering in his chest and forces a laugh before draining the rest of his whiskey. “My brother is living with me and my husband right now and neither of them knows how to turn off a frickin light.”
Thinking of Cas as his husband makes his chest squeeze tight with something painful he can’t name, but talking about him to the bartender also makes Dean giddy. It’s an odd mix of feelings. He doesn’t want to stop but he feels like if he keeps going he’ll end up passed out in the alley and he promised Cas a while back that he wouldn’t drink like that anymore.
She’s grinning at him wildly. “What?” He asks with a nervous chuckle.
“Your face lit up when you said ‘my husband’ and then you just started grinning so I couldn’t help but smile back.”
Her words hit him like a semi truck but he manages to clear his throat and laugh to mask the real emotion.
“Do you have a picture?”
She puts another drink in front of him as he fishes out his wallet. The picture was taken after they’d brought everyone back from apocalypse world and were celebrating in the bunker. The two of them were were just standing side by side casually but whoever had taken it had caught a certain look between them that was hard to miss. It was actually the photo that forced them to come clean with everyone about the true nature of their relationship.
He holds it up to her and her mouth drops open. Dean genuinely laughs as she takes the photo to get a closer look. He was used to this reaction when it came to people looking at Cas’ questioning scowl and piercing blue eyes.
“THAT’S your husband?” She laughs and shakes her head, not willing to give up the picture just yet.
Dean sips on his drink slowly and tries to control the shake in his hands as he sets the glass back down on the bar. There’s almost no one else around but he’s worried that someone will see what’s hiding behind his eyes.
She hands the picture back to him while shaking her head. “That should be illegal.”
Dean puts the picture back with more than a little pride. “He has such bad insomnia so he’ll wander around the house and leave all the lights on along the way.”
She smiles and asks “Where is he tonight?”
Dean’s chest constricts painfully and he downs the rest of his drink to try and quench his suddenly dry throat. His heart is beating hard but slow and he can barely give her a smile. “Home, and I should actually get back.”
Her eyebrows go up in surprise but she quickly schools her feature and takes the cash he hands her. When she turns to the computer to get his receipt he bolts for the door.
Dean parks Baby in the bunker’s garage and leaves the lights on as he makes his way up the stairs to the main floor. When he emerges in the front room he has to squint against the brightness; even the transparent map-table is turned on.
He can practically see Sam’s feet up on the library table in the next room with open volumes of old books stacked around him. Usually Sam fell asleep reading lore and Dean would put sticky notes on his back or pour hard liquor in his beer bottle so he’d take a huge swig upon waking.
Dean can feel the energy leaving him as he walks into the library and the table is free of books. All the chairs are pushed in and there’s no beer bottles around to fill with hard A.
Walking toward the kitchen he can practically hear Cas fiddling with the coffee maker and cursing under his breath, “I led angelic armies into battle for eons yet this cheap, plastic contraption continues to elude me.”
His heart feels like a stone in the bottom of his chest when he walks into the fully lit kitchen and nothing but dirty dishes sits on the counters. He hasn’t been able to bring himself to make coffee since.
The deafening silence of the bunker hurts his ears and all he wants to do is scream and smash things so that there’s some kind of noise within all this quiet brightness.
But the whiskey has done its job and he’s too tired to scream and too tired to tear the bunker apart.
As he turns to leave the kitchen his hand automatically goes to turn off the light but he stops as his hand touches the switch. He stands there for a moment and tells himself that it’s perfectly normal to turn off the lights when going to bed.
After a few seconds he leaves the kitchen without turning off the light and makes his way through the brights halls to his room. He’d turn off the lights, he really would, but if someone, anyone came back he just didn’t want them to come home in the dark.