Ways Dean Winchester Says ‘I love you’
Summary: Exactly what it sounds like
Rating: Gen. This focuses on the bond between Sam and Dean and Dean’s canon relationships.
It’s something he says in the witching hour, that long silent stretch of night when it feels like morning will never come.
He first said it to Sam, the brother he’d snatched out of his father’s arms and carried from a burning house; the brother that had (in not so many words) become his reason for existence. Sam had crawled into bed with his older brother, his skinny little body occasionally wracked with shivers. It was January of 1992, about a month after Dean had admitted what exactly John did; about month after Sam heard for sure that monsters were real.
“What if Dad doesn’t come home?” Sam had whispered into the warm skin of his older brother, twitching as the wind rattled the cheap windows of their motel room.
“Dad’ll come back,” Dean had rasped, one hand rubbing slowly up and down his little brother’s back. “He always comes back, he’s the best hunter out there.”
“How do you know?”
Sam was always asking that. “How do you know?” “Why?” “But how does it work?” He always wanted more information, wanted proof.
“Because the other hunters say so, even Bobby and Pastor Jim. They all want to work with Dad, but Dad works by himself.”
Pride tinged Dean’s voice, pride in the father that had been away for almost three weeks.
“But what if he doesn’t come home.” Sam was stubborn. “What if he doesn’t? People will try to take us to foster care like Dad always said, and they’ll separate us and-“
“I’m not going to let anything happen to you, Sam. I’ll take care of you. You don’t have to worry about it, though, Dad’s coming home.”
“Okay, Dean,” Sam had mumbled tiredly. His body slackened, his breathing evened out, and he was asleep, secure in the warmth of his brother’s love.
Dean had said the same thing to Lisa one night, a few weeks after the field and the devil and Sam’s jump into hell. She’d already gone to bed- she had the early shift at the hospital in the morning- but Dean had been restless and had stayed downstairs a little longer. At some point when the house was quiet and there were no more late talk shows to be watched, Dean headed up to bed.
He’d stopped at the first door on the right, opened it a crack, and peered inside.
Ben was sprawled on his bed, belly to the mattress, face turned to the left. For a second Dean was so strongly reminded of Sam at that age that his knees went week; that he had to grip the edge of the doorframe and remind himself that he was here now; here with Lisa and Ben and a world free of Lucifer.
He quietly closed Ben’s door, eased his way into the master bedroom, and undressed down to his briefs in the dark. He shuffled his way over the bed, tugged back the covers, and slipped into bed beside Lisa.
She stirred, mumbling a muffled, sleepy something as she rolled into Dean’s body, draping one arm across his chest, nuzzling her face into the hollow of his shoulder.