Title: Four Words
Characters: Lisa & Ben Braeden, Dean (in spirit) (Gen)
Spoilers: Season 3, The Kids Are Alright
Word Count: 654
Disclaimer: Characters were harmed in the making of this fic. Nothing Supernatural belongs to me, but is the property of hell hellish corporate entities.
Summary: It takes only four words for her son to break Lisa’s heart.
It takes only four words for her son to break Lisa’s heart.
“Is Dean coming back?” Ben asks one ordinary afternoon in midsummer, the words loaded with innocence and longing.
Lisa isn’t ready for this question; even though she’s always known he was going to ask. Somehow it lodges in her chest like stone, like concrete, solid and unbreakable.
“Maybe one day,” she replies with a grimace, letting him down easy, giving him a little of the hope she keeps herself. She hates lying to her son like this.
Ben smiles broadly, oblivious to her subterfuge. “Great! He is so cool!”
She looks up from her laptop and takes a moment to watch her son play. The spreadsheets and the business accounts can wait. If she’s learnt anything from the events of Ben’s last birthday, it’s that she needs to savour these moments. They’re fleeting and precious and they slip away so fast.
And she came so close to losing them all.
A classic black toy car, improvised from a Batmobile, pauses in its road trip along the interstate highway of the dining room table. It’s not the right vintage model or anything like that, but it’s black enough and for a child’s imagination that’s all it needs to be.
“Mom, you should have been there!” Ben beams at the memory as if it was some picture book adventure and not some real life freak show that almost cost him his young life. “It was epic. Dean rules.”
Yep. Dean has certainly made an impression on her son. She’s heard the story a thousand times now; Dean’s all Ben has talked about for months: how Dean was the coolest, how Dean had helped the children escape, how Dean had the most awesome car ever. How Ben wants to grow up just like him.
Lisa hopes not. To her the tale still sounds so ridiculous and strange. If she hadn’t seen the changeling wearing the face of her son for herself, she wouldn’t have believed it; but Ben accepts it all without question, as if the supernatural was supposed to exist and life was meant for adventures.
The little car restarts its journey with a wheel spin, complete with her son supplying the screech of tyres, a 0 to 60 drag race along the tabletop until the road runs out abruptly at a steep cliff at the table edge. A sharp u-turn and the car just escapes certain death on the haunted, sneaker shaped rocks below. GI Joe kills ghosts now, not sci fi monsters or Bond villain heavies.
She sighs and finally snaps the laptop shut. The gym business is important, but not as much her son. For a moment, she regrets the effort it’s taken to make the gym success; that work and the minutiae of single-motherhood have taken so much of her time that relationships are an afterthought she hasn’t tried to indulge. Ben’s nearly nine and he still doesn’t have a proper father. Profit isn’t love or a role model or just someone to play ball with.
She guessed it was inevitable a man that had twice breezed so easily in and out of her life would also turn her son’s world upside down.
Almost without thinking, Lisa’s hand wanders to her cell phone. Her thumb lingers over the call button, tapping it gently, thoughtfully, rhythmically, but not hard enough to activate it and make that call. She’s not going to press it, there’s no doubt about that, but for the first time in a long time she’s tempted. She hates letting Ben down but she already knows Dean won’t be coming back. He isn’t Ben’s father and he said it himself: he doesn’t fit in her life.
But there’s one good thing that’s come out of this. Her son has picked his own hero to worship and that makes her smile with pride.
At least he’s picked a real one.