Author: Kat Lee
Challenge/Prompt: 1_million_words August Rush: Day 17:
Word Count: 832
Date Written: 29 August 2017
Disclaimer: All characters within belong to Kripke, not the author, and are used without permission.
There are times when he thinks he made the wrong decision. There are times when he’s wrapped in so much pain that it’s almost hard to think of anything else at all. These are the times when he thinks of Dean the most, the times when he pulls the small piece of fabric out of his pants pocket and stares at it, fondles it through his rough fingers, lifts it to his nose and inhales the boy’s scent.
There are times when he thinks he made the wrong decision, and then there are times when he knows he did, when he wakes from a stupor rather than actual sleep (sleep is one of many things he learned to do without centuries ago), panting hard, screaming Dean’s name . . . In those times, he’d give anything he still owns, which isn’t much other than his own skin, to be with the boy again. But then there are times, too, when he knows he made the right decision, like those weeks he spends fighting one vicious battle after another.
This isn’t the life he’d choose for Dean, but it is the life he has, the life that follows him. If he had stayed, Dean never would have had a chance at a normal life, or even normal as it passes for a hunter. If he had stayed, the monsters never would have stopped coming. They would have kept coming long after Dean and that cherished, little brother of his were dead. He couldn’t do that to the boy, wouldn’t do it.
Benny throws his head back and stares at the blood-soaked sky. This place is where monsters belong. It’s where he belongs and things like him, but it’s not where Dean belonged and certainly not where little Sammy belonged. They deserved better than him. Dean deserved better than him. Now he can have it. Now he can be free.
He can choose the life he wants to live without Benny there to always get in the way. He can choose to fight, or to escape the fight, to live or to die, and he can always put his brother first now without guilt. He doesn’t have to have any effect on the boy now.
Even if the boy still affects him every moment of his afterlife. The only times there isn’t a part of his mind thinking about Dean and missing that connection they’d somehow managed to form so swiftly in this place are the parts that are scrabbling like mad just to survive. When he’s surrounded by the enemy, with no one at his back to help him, when it seems like they’re going to rip him to shreds and he’s trying like mad to claw his way out between them, those are the times he thinks about Dean the least -- but also the times, more than any other, when he knows he made the right call.
Dean never would have been freed of him if he’d gone back with Sammy, but now he is. NOw he’s free to live his life as he chooses. Now he’s free, but as long as Benny had been with him, he would have still been caged. Benny’s caged. He can’t escape this place. There is no longer any better for him, but then he knew for a long time before making the decision that trapped him here that the only way Dean would be free again is if something happened to him.
He made his mark, made his decision, shut his trap with himself inside of it, but now Dean’s free. He doesn’t have to lie, doesn’t have to make up excuses for him, doesn’t have to choose him above his brother and risk losing the only family he’s got left. Benny wouldn’t have had anybody if it wasn’t for the boy. He’d already lost everything when he found him, and a part of him even then had known that the woman he’d loved, the first love of his life for whom he’d been trapped here, was long dead.
Now he’s trapped again, this time for the second love of his life, something he’d never thought would have happened. He had learned to love again. He had learned to feel . . . almost human again. His heart had been given back to him, and although it hadn’t beat, he’d felt more alive than he had since long before he’d been trapped in Purgatory.
Dean, he knows, he saw had that effect on people. The Angel loved him so much he was willing to sacrifice his own soul for him. Sammy loved him so much he would stop at nothing to protect him. And Benny . . . Benny loved him enough that he gave up his new life for him. He gave up everything and let himself be trapped again, but it wasn’t a mistake. Dean is free, and that’s all that still matters to Benny as he fights for his own survival, and the right to remember Dean, every day.