Hi! Big fan of your writing, god, your Wincest is perfection. I just wanted your thoughts on something, if you’d like to discuss it with me. I’m curious about the tags on the gifset you reblogged, ‘I truly don’t understand people who thing Dean was happy with Lisa’. I think, the crux of it is that there were moments of happiness for Dean in the time that he spent with Lisa and Ben. It was what he needed. He found comfort and a reason to live, with them. (1/?)
But that doesn’t diminish his grief for Sam. Even though he might of loved Lisa, that doesn’t mean he wasn’t still suffering for Sam. I don’t know if Dean would have survived that year by himself if he kept hunting, if Sam had found him Soulless how that might have gone down. Dean needed to try something different, something safe, to give him distance and a space to mourn his loss. Lisa was patient with him, she tried to give him what he needed, to understand him. (2/?)
I don’t know if Dean was genuinely happy, he wasn’t happy for the entire time of course he wasn’t, but I think that he loved her in his own way. He needed her. You never get over a great big love like what the brothers have for each other. But that doesn’t mean smaller ones can’t happen. What do you think? (3/3)
Well, first, thank you. :)
Second: I think we’re… basically in agreement here, anon. I think that, given the absence of Sam, the year with Lisa and Ben was something that Dean definitely needed–Sam was right about that. If all he’d had was the promise that Sam was gone forever, that he wasn’t allowed to get him back, and he’d just gone straight into hunting alone, I think it would’ve been a matter of weeks before he went down on his knees on some back country road and put a shotgun in his mouth. Keeping the promise he made, going to Lisa despite how everything in him wants to die, or find a way to get Sam back, definitely saved his life.
However, the larger context of the tags was that montage we got at the beginning of season six, the one that contrasts Dean’s domestic life with the Braedens with his hunting life with Sammy. When I watched that I saw nothing but misery, and here’s why: Dean isn’t Dean without Sam. There ain’t no me if there ain’t no you–sure, made explicit two years later, but the truth of it radiates throughout the show. I think that Dean did love Lisa and Ben, definitely. The care he shows for them throughout the rest of s6 is proof enough of that. He had real affection for Lisa, and he was a perfect surrogate dad to Ben, and it did give him a purpose. What I don’t think it gave him was a reason to live, and that’s why I don’t think of that time as ‘happy’–at least, not happy without massive qualifiers.
When I watch the montage, when you watch the rest of that episode and see Dean going through his day, what I see is someone going through the motions. I think he probably would’ve continued to, too, if Sam and the Campbells hadn’t swooped in. He would’ve kept working that job, probably would’ve become a foreman and done good work; he would’ve married Lisa, eventually, if he thought she wanted that; he would’ve gone to Ben’s graduation and tried to figure out how to pay for college. But you notice, he never really smiles, for real, that whole time? Despite being in full color it’s like he’s trapped in some grey half-life–walking and breathing and doing what he needs to, but his heart’s sluggish. The first moment of real emotion we see is when he wakes up out of the djinn-paralysis and sees Sam, and it’s like a goddamn switch gets flipped. We finally get real animation, real feeling–his eyes go wide like he’s seeing light for the first time in a year, like he’s waking out of a coma. Doesn’t matter that this hollowed-out brother can’t return it properly, because Dean is back, snapped back into the world like a bone returning to its socket.
He loved Lisa, he did. But it just… can’t compare. Never. No one’s fault, but it’s not Lisa who’s his soulmate, is it. I really do think that’s the crux of it, and it’s why these ‘smaller’ loves the boys have are never something that looks like actual happiness, to me. Lisa, or Amelia, or the vague hints we got of Jessica–they’re all just… placeholders. You can be content, for a while, but a vital piece is missing from the world and in comparison it’s just… pallid.
The moments of contentment can keep you going, but there won’t ever be actual joy.
You keep going until the real world comes back, or until you realize that it never, ever will–and our boys aren’t prone to suicide, so they’d be left forever in that half-life, until Death, finally, came as a mercy.
A last few comments, in the show’s own words, from 6.01:
DEAN: Do you have any clue what walking away meant for me?
BOBBY: Yeah–a woman and a kid and not getting your guts ripped out at age 30. That’s what it meant.
DEAN: That woman and that kid – I went to them because you asked me to.
DEAN: Good for who? I showed up on their doorstep half out of my head with grief. God knows why they even let me in. I drank too much. I had nightmares. I looked everywhere. I collected hundreds of books, trying to find anything to bust you out.
SAM: You promised you’d leave it alone.
DEAN: Of course I didn’t leave it alone! Sue me! A damn year? You couldn’t put me out of my misery?
Occasionally content, I’ll give you. Happy? Not as such.