verdantgt: (Buffy Dean couple)
[personal profile] verdantgt
Very first try at Buffy/Dean fic. :) It's for the Art is the Weapon Challenge and my prompt was an image by [livejournal.com profile] ladymanson.


Title: Way Down Deep
Author: [livejournal.com profile] verdant_gt
Prompt: Her Image
Rated: PG-13
Word Count: 2,273 (not counting quote from episode)

Note: Spoilers from Season 7 Episode 4 and Buffy Comic Season 9



I don't decide anything. I just weigh the guilt that's already there. This is solely about how Dean feels, way down deep.


There was nothing remarkable about this particular hotel room. It was the same as the thousands that Dean and Sam had stayed in over the course of their lives. If you didn't look too closely, you wouldn't notice the small stains on the carpet or the stale aroma that couldn't quite get out of the air no matter how much air freshener the staff used when cleaning. The only thing that distinguished this one from the thousands of others, was the location and the timing. Dean and Sam had headed west after their encounter with Osiris. If anyone had asked Dean, it was just a direction away from all their troubles. Except it wasn't. Dean wasn't heading away, he was subconsciously heading toward something.

He hadn’t missed the looks from Sam, pretending that he didn’t keeping looking over from his laptop. Dean had had years of practice of ignoring things, especially things he didn’t want to talk or think about. He knew that Sam was like a dog with a bone and would worry at it until eventually Dean was worn down and would tell him whatever it was he wasn’t telling. So to put that off for as long as possible, Dean had latched on to the one thing guaranteed to shut Sam the hell up. Buffy. He’d told him that he thought Buffy was who Osiris was bringing next. It wasn’t, but it was enough for Sam to stop worrying that particular bone.

Unfortunately for Dean, it also brought up all the pain, memories and guilt. He’d thought he’d buried it deep but obviously his subconscious had other ideas. The rapid movement of his eyes under the lids and the sheets half on and half off the bed from the twitch of muscle spoke differently. Flashes of memories were melting and mixing until he couldn’t tell where the memories ended and the dreamscape began.

~*~

He’d first met her as Anne when he and his family had gone through a town in California when they’d both been in high school. It had been a harmless flirtation with a pretty waitress, both looking for a way to shove the pain away.

When a high school’s demolish in a small town outside of Los Angeles hit the news, Dean didn’t give it much thought at all. It was just white noise in the background while he’d sat at a hotel room table cleaning his gun.

Their paths crossed again after Cassie in a way he never expected. After being honest with Cassie, and having it come back to bite him on the ass, he never thought that he’d meet anyone that understood the darkness out there. At least anyone that wasn’t another hunter. He had been both right and wrong when he learned that ‘Anne’, or as he found out later, Buffy, wasn’t really a hunter but a Slayer. The irony wasn't lost on him when she told him about her life, he’d been skeptical at first. A Hellmouth? A Slayer? And vampires weren't real, every hunter knew that. It wasn’t until Bobby and Pastor Jim had told his dad that there were sightings of some kind of ninja monks all over the West coast and demons all over the US were asking about some key that Dean used his connection to the "Slayer" to find out what Buffy knew.

That was when their relationship had begun. As with most things in Dean’s life, it had started out as something mindless where he didn't have to think or feel, but this had turned into something unexpected and something he wasn't sure he'd wanted. They'd begun to bond over the loss of a parent, the next demon or big bad that wanted their head and the need to lose yourself in anything that made you feel alive when you felt dead inside. Even though Dean knew that Buffy could take care of herself, he felt a need to help her protect her sister and stop the Hellbitch. She'd insisted that he and his family were a better help to her as the first line of defense if Glorificus did open the portal and it was something that he would forever regret and feel guilty about, listening to her. He should have been there. In his mind if he'd been there she wouldn't have died. It didn't matter that she had the others with her who were capable of helping Buffy. It hadn't been him.

When he'd got the call from Willow about her dying, something that had always been a possibility in what they did, it sent him further into a destructive downward spiral. To anyone asking, including family, he was fine. To anyone that knew him, they knew that he wasn't. Dean learned a long time ago that you buried the pain deep, you found distractions and you moved on, trying to drown out the memory in the bottom of a bottle of Jack.

In different Hunter bars in different parts of the States when he'd hear Sunnydale mentioned, Dean would order another drink and try to forget the smile that seemed to light up a room or the deep understanding that he'd seen in her eyes without having to say a word. Dean thought that Buffy was out of his life forever except for the memories, until rumors of Potential Slayers and an entity known as the First started surfacing in the Hunter Network.

It was then that he learned of Buffy's return and the self destructive behavior following it. Ironically, their lives had mirrored each others once again, only his behavior had been on her death rather than her return. Their lives had gone in different directions since then, Sam had left to go to college and he didn't want to leave his dad. Buffy understood the 'mission' the Winchesters had found themselves on since his mom's death and they both had their jobs to do, saving the world in their own way. Dean had relegated Buffy into a memory in his past, a might have been, if their lives hadn't taken them in different ways.

The memories were also what sustained him while he was in hell. Dean had never told Sam or Bobby about his time there. When Alistair had tortured him, he would think of his brother some of the time. However, most of the time Dean would think of Buffy. He would picture her face, envision a time when they'd spent together and concentrate on that when the hooks slid through the tendons of his shoulders day after day. Her smile was Dean's personal 'cave', where he'd mentally go during each of Alistair's torture sessions. In the decades that followed, Buffy had been what sustained him and kept him sane. Slowly the memories began to fade, turning them more from reality to a dream, until it had disappeared completely.

When he'd returned to life thanks to Castiel, it took a while, but Dean's memories prior to his time in hell, slowly resurfaced. They didn't replace the others, nothing could do that, but it did help to ground him when the nightmares became too much, that even a bottle of Jack couldn't soften. The first memory that surfaced to help give him a decent night's sleep, was Buffy's face which hadn't really surprised him. There were times when he'd reached for his cell to call her but like when she hadn't called him on her return, it was easier to use it as a deserved punishment for what he'd done in hell than to bring her back into his life like some kind of reward. Then his life got really complicated, and he knew it was better not to bring his own personal hell into her life.

~*~

The stale aroma of the room slowly penetrated Dean's senses as he was pulled from his memories and he ran a hand over his face. Thanks to Osiris, the memories that he'd buried deep were uncovered as well as the reason they were not that far from San Francisco. Buffy. A part of him wanted to turn the Impala around and indulge in his life long habit of denying and ignoring. But a greater part of Dean wanted to wake Sam up and push him out the door in a hurry to get there. He ignored both parts and went in search of drinkable coffee and donuts until Sam woke up.

"Hey, Sleeping Beauty. Get your ass out of bed." Dean greeted Sam when he returned to the hotel room to find him still asleep. "We've got a job in San Francisco. Found something in the paper."

He tossed it at Sam, not caring that the paper smacked his brother in the middle of his chest. "People appearing that have been reported missing for decades and not aging any. It's like Close Encounters except without the aliens."

Sam eyed his brother and pushed up off the bed, his sleepy brain trying to process what Dean said. "What? Like Amelia Earhart suddenly appearing?"

"Yeah just like." Dean rolled his eyes. Trust Sam to go historical rather than pop culture. "Except they're dead. Come on, get dressed." He didn't mention that he'd found out that Buffy was in San Francisco and working as a waitress. It seemed that their life had come full circle.

Dean dropped Sam off at the morgue when they hit the city to get more information while he hit the newspaper. At least that was what he'd told his brother he was doing. Instead, the Impala pulled up in front of the coffee shop and he just sat there looking into the large window not getting out of the car. It had been years since he'd seen her face in person, and he wanted to be prepared for the sight. Dean watched as she moved around the customers with a flirting smile. It brought back every memory he had when they first met and when his eyes flicked to the rear view mirror, his reflection held a smile.

There was an internal battle between putting the car in reverse and going inside when the decision was taken out of his hands. Dean knew the minute that Buffy had seen him. There was a look of shock and the tray that she'd been holding began to tumble to the ground. He smirked as he watched her quickly recover with her Slayer instincts and catch it easily before it crashed while the customers looked on with open mouths.

The creak of the Impala car door accompanied the muffled sounds emanating from the coffee shop as he stepped outside. He ignored the hostess who tried to get his attention when he entered, all of his focus was on Buffy, just as all of hers was on him.

"I'm taking a break."

Dean's lips quirked upward at Buffy's carelessly tossed comment over her shoulder. He realized as he watched her approach that all of his memories paled in comparison to the reality of her.

“Hey.”

“Hey yourself. I thought I was the only one that could pull that Lazarus trick.”

Buffy’s gaze locked on Dean’s and he felt an uncomfortable sensation that she could see everything that he’d done in hell and afterward. On the one hand it was nice to have someone understand without saying a word, a little like Sam. On the other hand, for someone that didn’t like to admit shit, it made him prickly

“Well you know how much I love a challenge. Couldn’t let you be the only one. It’d be a blow to my ego.” Dean’s lips quirked and he jerked his chin toward the exit. “Feel like getting out of here?”

“Yeah, come on, I know a place that serves good coffee.” She grinned at Dean and led the way out of the coffee shop.

Once they were outside, Dean found himself being pulled into the alley and he smirked. “Can’t keep your hands off me huh?” Though he knew from her expression it wasn’t for a quickie against the brick wall.

“Talk, Mister.” Buffy folded her arms over her chest. “I get not coming to me, I so get that, but something is up. I recognize that look.”

“Nothing’s up. Sam and I are here for a job. Found the article about dead bodies popping up in San Francisco and I thought I’d say hi.” He knew that wasn’t going to fly anymore than it would have with Sam.

“Uh, huh. Just in the neighborhood. Try again. Don’t forget I can beat your ass.”

Dean chuckled even though it was more a weary sound than humorous. “Promises, promises.” He ran a hand over his jaw. “This needs beer not coffee.”

“Fine, we’ll pick some up. Lead on.” Buffy uncrossed her arms then impulsively pulled him into a hug. “Hey, I’m really glad to see you again but that won’t stop my nagging until you tell me what’s up.”

Dean closed his eyes and held her tighter than he’d meant to when his arms automatically came around her. It felt good, almost too good, to have her in his arms again.

“Yeah, yeah Slayer strength, Buffy stubborn.”

“I’m thinking of getting a t-shirt that says that.” Buffy had a smile in her voice as she continued to hold him.

Dean reluctantly stepped out of the hug and shoved his hands in his pockets so he wouldn’t feel the temptation of wrapping his arm around her as they walked back to the Impala. “Come on. First six pack is on me.” It was his way of telling her, he’d tell her without admitting that she’d won.

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Manda

November 2011

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