Five Reasons Dean Ran Without Looking Back
…Because Dad told him to. When Dean was four his father shoved his baby brother into his arms and yelled for him to run. “Now, Dean!” He vividly remembers the smoke and the flames and the fear in his dad’s voice. He doesn’t remember getting down the stairs, only the slap of cooler air when he finally got the front door open, his lungs still burning with sulfur and ash. By the time they got outside Sammy was screaming his head off. Then the memory becomes a blur of red and blue lights, sirens and fire trucks and faceless men in sooty yellow suits. Of course Sam remembered none of it. He didn’t remember their mother because he was too young and they never saw her alive again. But Dean remembers her. At least he tells himself he does.
…Because those damned hornets were fast. Just after his sixth birthday Dean discovered, not quite by accident, that a swinging stick and a hornets’ nest make for a bad combination. He couldn’t have run faster if the devil himself had been on his heels. He flew down the dusty road to the lake and recklessly dove off the pier head first. Even if he almost drowned he got out of the ordeal with only a few painful welts and a newfound respect for angry insects.
A couple years later he passed this hard earned information on to Sammy. Unfortunately it was during one of Sam’s stubborn phases. There wasn’t a large body of water handy and Sam’s extra weight slowed Dean down considerably. Dean might have smirked as he helped with the Calamine later but since Sam minded a little better, for a while anyway, it was worth it. For a few days they looked like they had a normal childhood disease. They didn’t tell Dad any different. As far as he knew, his kids had chicken pox twice.
…Because Sammy needed him. At twelve Dean trailed his father into a dark cornfield to find Sam who had taken off on his own to track a spectral light. One pain filled cry split the night and sent Dean running in the opposite direction, never heeding his father’s shouted warning. He found Sam where he’d fallen; luckily his ankle was only sprained. They both got the strap later for not following orders, a rare but memorable event, but Dean knew even then he would never respond any differently if Sam was in trouble.
…Because the rabbit died. When he was almost seventeen Dean spotted a tearful Katie McAllister waddling up the sidewalk with her rifle-toting daddy. A cool May of oversized sweatshirts had given way to a June of record highs and a belly too round to hide under a tank top. Speculation turned with the calendar into rampant gossip and finger pointing, some of it in Dean’s direction. And at that moment, Daddy looked like he believed those fingers. What Papa McAllister didn’t look was ready to listen to Dean’s declaration of innocence, which oddly enough, he was. He’d never even made it to first base with Katie, not for lack of trying. Dean chalked that failure up to the rumor of a super-secret college boyfriend. He supposed Katie would have done anything to protect the guy even if it meant putting Dean in the hot seat.
He took off out the back door and headed to the treeline yelling to Sam to lock the door and stay inside until Dad got home. Predictably, McAllister chased after him but Dean was younger, quicker, and had way more experience running through the dark woods without killing himself. But the old man was persistent and Dean ran until he no longer heard the thrashing footfalls behind him or the occasional potshot into the top of the trees. When Dean finally got home it was after midnight and the Impala was packed and ready to roll.
Dad was sitting behind the wheel studying a map with a flashlight, thrumming with the buzz of a new hunt. He started the car and spared a moment to give Dean the “I’m very disappointed in you” look. Dean slumped into the back seat and accepted the jug of water a wide-eyed Sam passed over the seat to him. While leaving town in the middle of the night was nothing new for them, it certainly made Dean look responsible for Katie’s delicate condition. It hurt that Dad didn’t ask for the truth before they raced off to save the day in another town. Dean still wonders if his name appears on some poor kid’s birth certificate.
…Because he wasn’t that trusting. Sam was in college and Dad hadn’t quite turned Dean loose to hunt on his own. But sometimes he did leave his eldest son to his own devices. Dean was twenty-three, she was… somewhere in her mid-to-upper thirties, but man, she looked good. He was ramped up and ready to go until she slid the leather hood over his head, then something in him snapped. She only left the room for a minute but that was all it took. She probably had to replace the whole bedpost. Dean kept the cuffs.
(And the one reason he always will look back, even when he has to run)
…Because on occasion he can still outrun his long- legged brother. Not that Dean is ever afraid or anything, but in their line of work sometimes a rapid retreat means coming back to fight another day. Sometimes they have to haul ass. But as long as Sam is in front, Dean never looks back.