Standard Shpeel...No copyright infringement intended. Characters belong to their respective owners, etc, etc.
They wouldn't be home for at least a day or two. The hospital would want to keep her for observation. That would buy him a little time. Time he really didn't have. He couldn't bring himself not to go, though. There were things that had to be dropped off, and just a few things that he wanted to pick up and keep for himself. He might not be able to have the two of them in his life anymore, but at the very least he could have a memory or two. But...was that a good thing? Did he really want to remember the two of them when they didn't even know that he existed anymore? From their very first meeting to that very last moment when he had rushed her to the hospital...down to the look that his surrogate son had on his face, that look of utter disgust and anger...
Well...maybe some things were better to not remember on either end.
Dean sat on the edge of the bed, taking just a moment to look around the darkened room. He couldn't turn on very many lights; the neighbors would realize by now that she was still in the hospital, and if Cas had been a good boy, he had not only wiped Lisa and Ben's memories, but also wiped everyone that ever had ever known that he was ever with Lisa. To see the lights on and a man they "didn't know," wandering around the house would raise an eyebrow or two. Dean almost laughed at the sad irony of that statement. A man they didn't know. If he wasn't fighting hard to keep his heart from breaking, he would have thought that hilarious. The perfect way to disappear, having an angel wipe you from everybody's skulls. He would have joked about it normally:
"Hey I can have a great one-nighter with some chick and she won't know I was there."
"Hey, can I win the lottery, take the money, and then you make em' all forget I did? I could go back and win again. Man... talk about a winning streak."
"Does that mean I can get Sam drunk, dress him up in girls lingerie, and dump him in the street, and tomorrow he wouldn't remember? That'd be hilarious. I could show him pictures and he wouldn't know what the heck had happened. Dude, where's my camera..."
Could have been typical of him. But not this time. And that was what disturbed him. Being this legitimately upset...what did that mean? He cared about Lisa and he admitted that to anyone. But had he ever told her he loved her? Had he ever said that? He had wondered before if they never said it because they truly didn't, or because neither one felt that they needed to voice what they already knew. He tried not to think about it when they were together; the more that he realized how he felt, the more that meant he was normal. He was only acting normal because he had nothing else to be abnormal for. Not without Sam. But now, sitting alone in this room, remembering how all he needed to do was turn his head while lying in the bed that he now sat on, and he would see Lisa still asleep beside him, he began to wonder. Dean truly began to think about the things that maybe, he should have said.
Dean stood, going over to the nightstand and rummaging through. Cas had removed all traces of him from their lives, so nothing of his was in this house anymore. Dean shivered at how well Cas had erased him when he saw pictures of the three of them together, that now only included Lisa and Ben. It was like he had been wiped off of the photo paper with a Magic Eraser. However, he had a few things to put back that he had taken with him, and a few things that he had wanted. The nightstand was a place to start. Reaching into his pocket, Dean took out a knife that he had once gotten Lisa as a little extra house protection, and wiping the handle of his prints with a cloth, he placed it in the open drawer of the nightstand on her side of the bed. He had never gotten to give it to her; he had bought it just days before he had found Sam alive and well. So now was as good a time to give it to her as any. They were safer this way, not having any memory of him. He couldn't be used against them, and vice-versa. But he wasn't stupid; Dean wasn't going to leave them without protection. He had even made sure to leave extra cases of bullets for the gun that Lisa had always kept hidden in the house and carved small Devil's traps in the top of window and door frames to keep anything out. He had even told hunters in the area to keep an eye on the house just to be sure that the two of them stayed safe. No questions were asked; the few hunters that still didn't blame he and Sam for the Apocalypse were more than willing to do a favor for a Winchester.
Dean just wasn't prepared to leave Lisa and Ben behind without making sure that they weren't taken care of.
Shutting the drawer, he moved to the closet, opening the door and looking at the long string of clothes that hung there. His side of the closet had long since been emptied; now her clothes lay spread out across the bar, more room than needed to space her clothing out. An unfamiliar pain stabbed through his chest, and he winced quietly, suddenly growing angry. No time to process anything. No time to think about how he felt or talk to her about it. No time to say he was sorry. Nothing. They wouldn't even know how to respond to a stranger coming up to them and begging for forgiveness, telling them that he would miss them. They wouldn't care about an apology from a stranger. But he would. He had asked Cas not to wipe his memory. The angel had looked at him with a blank expression as always, but his head cocked sideways slightly, idle curiosity brewing behind his blank stare. Dean knew that Cas was curious about why, but he never asked and Dean never told. Truthfully, Dean had wanted to keep that pain, wanted to keep their faces in his mind. He still wasn't truly sure that he knew why.
Shoving the clothes aside, he found the closet safe that hid in the back. Dean had mostly stored all of his weapons and useful "materials" under the bed in case of any paranormal eventualities. The safe was mostly where Lisa kept her favorite photographs, important documents, things like that. It was the photographs that Dean was looking for. As mean as it might be, there were some that he wanted to take. Maybe it was selfish, maybe it wasn't. He just didn't want to completely let go. So he entered in the combination that he knew by heart, hearing the gratifying click of the lock disengaging. Opening the door, Dean pulled out several manila envelopes. Lisa was horrible at organizing; she had everything just thrown into these in any order. Dean was never much better so he never said a word. If anything, it endeared her to him more. A woman after his own heart. At least he wasn't the only one that left his underwear on the bathroom floor at the end of the day. Opening the envelopes, Dean sat down on the bedroom floor with a flashlight. Clicking it on, he held it between clenched teeth as he dumped the contents of both envelopes on the floor, sifting through papers, receipts, photos, you name it. Picking up one picture after another, Dean couldn't help but smile, nearly losing the flashlight from his mouth. Ben's last birthday party...they were covered in cake from when Dean had snuck up on Lisa and just rammed a full piece of white icing covered cake on her head. She retaliated, and the next thing you know they were cleaning up crusted cake and icing from the walls and in little crevices in the floor up to a week later. Now, the only people in the picture were Lisa and Ben on either side of the photo, apparently throwing cake at each other. No one would ever know that they were really throwing pieces at Dean, who was right in the middle of the photo, eyes closed and waiting for the inevitable. A picture of Lisa in a rather... interesting... piece of lingerie. He had bought that for her. He was the one that took that picture during one of their more wild and crazy nights one night while Ben was away for the weekend with friends on a camping trip. But for all she knew now, it would have been an old boyfriend from before she swore off men. And then there was the picture of Ben holding up a wrench and waving to the camera outside of their garage. Man, that kid had loved Dean's car. He payed attention when they worked on it together. Ben wanted to learn everything about it; how to drive it, how to fix it, how to clean it. Both of them just liked the time together that it gave them, but they neither one would voice that out loud. It wasn't a "guy" thing to do, you know. But looking at these photographs, Dean realized what the most painful part of it all was.
Ben was going to remember not to run through the house, because Dean was always the one that told him not to. Ben was going to remember not to set off the fireworks until he got outside, because Dean caught him lighting a roman candle once in the kitchen. Ben was going to laugh over the way that he killed a zombie in a video game, because Dean mocked it once and said it was a piece of crap lie. But Ben wouldn't remember why he laughed at that joke. He wouldn't remember who taught him these things. He wouldn't remember the person that had helped raise him for over a year of his life. Dean had never considered himself to be much of a father figure; he figured out what a dysfunctional one was like and he never wanted history to repeat itself. But sitting in the bedroom floor, seeing Ben's door just down the hall from where he sat, a horrid truth slapped him so hard that he held his breath to keep from reacting.
He'd loved that kid. He'd loved being a Dad. He loved feeling like he mattered. And as much as he knew that he couldn't stay, he loved Ben begging him to, telling him that he was walking out on his "family." He would never see him again, and Dean knew that. But despite blood, despite anything, he had a son. He had raised a son, and the kid was turning into one awesome man.
Of all people in the world, Dean Winchester had had a hand in that.
Blinking fiercely to keep tears back, Dean pocketed the photographs and started putting items back in the envelopes where they belonged. One by one he placed items back as carefully as he could, trying not to damage anything. He paused, however, at a document that he had never seen before. A lab document. The series of pages were stapled together, but the top page held the letterhead label of a medical arts building, paternity test department. Dean instantly knew what this was, and his mind traveled back, a million different moments in his past playing like a record through his head:" Seriously... I mean, you're a hundred percent sure that he is not mine, right?"
"You're off the hook. I did a blood test when he was a baby. There was this guy -- some bar back in a biker joint. What? I had a type. Leather jacket, couple of scars, no mailing address? I was there. Guess I was a little wild back then. Before I became a mom. So yeah. You can relax."
"I... I swear you look disappointed."
"Yeah, I don't know. It's weird, you know your life... I mean, this house and a kid... it's not my life. Never will be. Some stuff happened to me recently, and, uh... anyway,a guy in my situation -- you start to think, you know. I'm gonna be gone one day, and what am I leaving behind besides a car? I don't know...."
"I was just gonna tell him that you’re his real daddy. Just kidding. Who knows who your real dad is, kid."
And then his own words to Sam echoed in his ears as he sat there, staring at the document:"Demons lie."
Dean swallowed hard. He had the truth of in his hands. He could flip the page, just one page, and find out if Lisa had told him the truth or not. Reaching out a shaky hand, he started to do just that. But he paused. Why would Lisa have lied to him? To keep him from staying when she knew that he couldn't, maybe. But he came back. Why not tell him then? Maybe she was afraid that he would leave again. Just like he did. But she told him that he needed to, that his life was on the road with Sam. She didn't want him to leave, but she knew he had to. Which was all the more reason to never tell him if he was Ben's...
"Grr...this is stupid." Talking to no one in particular. Not the weirdest thing that Dean had ever done. Yet, staring down at the document on in his hands, he realized just how close he was to learning the truth. How close he was to knowing. And it was in that moment of clarity that Dean tossed the pages to the ground and stood up, closing his eyes and shaking his head in aggravation. Damn his conscious when it actually worked. It was right there in black and white, and he couldn't look. He couldn't bring himself to. It wasn't that he felt he was questioning Lisa. It wasn't that he didn't trust her word. It was that to him, it didn't matter. If that document said negative, that the biker wasn't Ben's, it would only leave Dean and he knew that. But regardless of what a piece of paper said, Dean knew what he felt. Blood or no blood, Ben was his son. He was a father, and he had raised one hell of a man. He did something that his father never managed, despite how much he had loved Dean and Sam. He managed to be there in the ways that counted. He didn't teach Ben a thing about hunting. He wanted that boy to have a normal life. He raised him under the hood of the Impala, sitting in the living room while Lisa fixed dinner singing AC/DC songs with Ben at the top of their lungs, going to baseball games, helping him learn how to talk to girls like he had done with Sam when he was younger. He had done everything right.
Even if Ben never remembered him, he would be doing the things in his life that he did because he had, for however brief a time period, a father that loved him like crazy. No piece of paper would change that.
Sighing, Dean looked down at the paper on the floor. Without a second thought, he reached down and grabbed it, shoving it back into the envelope, tossing the envelopes back into the safe, and locking it. Giving the bedroom he stood in once last look over, Dean closed his eyes, fighting back the sadness, and turned to walk out of the room.
He got in the car without a word.
He never looked back.
He never thought again about the safe in the closet.
He never saw the "NEGATIVE" in the results field that rested plainly at the bottom of the back page of the paper he had ignored.
But then again, he had never needed to.