Sunday, October 9
The thing is, in the 22 years since they moved to the bunker, Dean’s never known dad to be late for anything, so for the first day he actually thinks he’s misreading the calendar. Dad said he’d call in on the 8th, he hasn’t called in yet, therefore it can’t be the 9th. That’s sound logic, until Dean starts compiling the shopping list for Monday, counts the cans of soup left, and realizes it’s Sunday, not Saturday. And even then he does the arithmetic five times until he has the bright idea to turn on the computer and check there.
It takes ten minutes for the thing to boot up, but then he’s stuck with the undeniable proof that his dad was supposed to call yesterday, and hadn’t.
No matter, he tells himself, with a deep breath to help calm his pulse. The man is, after all, only human. Maybe he’s staying somewhere without a phone. Maybe he’s neck-deep in research and lost track of the time, just as Dean had.
Seems unlikely, but it’s enough to let him go to bed that night and only stare at the ceiling for an hour or two before sleep slyly slides his eyelids shut.
Meals: Next to last bowl of cereal with orange juice, BLT with pickles and onions, meatballs with tomato sauce
Exercise: Sunday, n/a
Monday, October 10
He doesn’t go to town, obviously. Instead, he spends the day camped out in the library, pretending to read the copy of The Maltese Falcon Mr. Davis (“call me Archie”) had slipped to him fifteen years ago, just before leaving for his new posting. As a distraction it doesn’t work very well, his eyes slipping too easily over the familiar text for his mind to properly engage with the story, but at least he’s not just sitting and staring at the phone.
Meals: Last bowl of cereal with last orange juice, end of loaf as tuna melts, (wilted) tossed salad with remainder of can of tuna
Exercise: 100 sit ups, 50 push ups, a lot of fidgeting
Tuesday, October 11
Using up the last of the flour to bake a couple loaves of bread probably isn’t the best idea--one of dad’s rules is always replace it before you run out, but there’s a phone in the kitchen and punching the dough helps a little bit. Gives him something to do with his hands.
Meals: Last two eggs, can of vegetable soup, one piece fresh bread with butter
Exercise: Making bread doesn’t count, but he pretends it does. That was a lot of punching.
Wednesday, October 12
Okay, by now he’s maybe starting to get worried. Just a little bit. Not that dad can’t protect himself, but the outside world is dangerous, and Dean’s never liked that dad doesn’t have someone with him to guard his back.
Just, you know, in case one of those archivists got a little stabby over fingerprints or something.
(Oh god, it’s probably demons. Dad probably got too close and--)
It’s been a couple of days since he last went running, but he can’t bear to be out of earshot of the phone, so he compromises by looping through the kitchen and around the joint of the hallways, over and over and over until he almost collapses. It doesn’t help much with not thinking about the possibility of demons.
Meals: Another can of vegetable soup. He’s not really hungry
Exercise: Running for almost two hours
Thursday, October 13
He’d planned on waiting to do the next tattoo until the one across his chest had finished healing, but he can’t stop thinking of all the ways demons can screw you up, and he needs something to keep himself occupied, so he starts digging through the demonology texts, looking for some kind of protection he could wear on his skin.
It helps a little, kind of--he fries himself most of a loaf of bread because he’s kind of lost track of meals, and then feels sick after eating it all, but at least that’s because he overate. That’s a safe reason to feel sick.
Meals: Fried bread
Friday, October 14
In the end the design he goes with is pretty simple, but everything he’s read says it should work, and there’s no fine lines so it’s okay if his hands shake just a little. He’s still feeling kind of sick from yesterday’s bread, anyway. Given the location of the tattoo and the amount of inking-in needed, he’d kind of expected it to hurt more, but it goes on almost easy, like it’s meant to be there.
He’d been sleeping--trying to sleep--in bed up until now, but the fresh tattoo gives him the excuse to prop himself up in one of the more comfortable chairs, so he won’t rub the raw wound accidentally during the night.
Meals: Half a can of chicken noodle soup, but it tastes kind of funny so he dumps the rest of it.
Saturday, October 15
Despite half-expecting to spend the night watching infomercials with the sound turned all the way down, he wakes horrified from a dream that Sam had carved him open and cut out his heart for John to eat--but only one of them had the black eyes of a demon, and he spends the rest of the day trying to remember who.
Meals: Last can of vegetable soup. Also tastes kind of funny, but Dean eats it anyway, just because he knows he needs to.
After that he kind of gives up, and starts just camping next to phone. He cleans the raw tattoo over the kitchen sink, only eats when his stomach claws hard enough to get his attention, and pretty nearly gives up sleeping altogether, just dozing with his head down on the table next to the phone in the war room. He completely disassembles and restocks the go bag his dad helped him assemble when he was twelve, during the stretch of time John had been effectively grounded by the supervisory team. The second half of the week he keeps an email draft open to contact Sam, reworking the message over and over until desperation finally has him push “send”.
He’s probably actually a bit crazy from lack of real sleep and insufficient food, but he packs (and repacks) a suitcase borrowed from stores, researches and runs the spell to confirm Sam’s location; tries and fails to run the same spell for John. Forces himself to take a proper shower and shave and everything after two weeks of neglecting pretty nearly everything except the tattoo, which is just about fully healed.
Sam never emails back.
Friday night finds him sitting in the Impala, grip on the steering wheel white-knuckled, back and shoulders rigid against the seat back. Takes nearly five minutes to talk himself into actually exiting the bunker’s garage; takes most of five hours of driving before he stops considering simply turning around at the next exit.
From time to time he catches a glimpse of himself in the rearview mirror, lit briefly by the lights of a passing car. The man there has only shadows for eyes, and lips so raw they nearly bleed.
But the road hums steadily beneath the wheels of his car, and the car purrs as she eats up the miles between Lebanon and Boston, and soon he’ll be one of two instead of all alone. Homeward bound, he sings along with the tape deck, and even though Lebanon is many miles behind him by now, the words are no less true. Wish I was--
He nudges the speedometer a little closer to the speed limit and thinks of nothing but Sam.