Spoilers: No direct spoilers, but this was written after bubbles83 and fledmusic brainstormed about 5x13.
Disclaimer: I own nothing except a copy of the S4 DVDs.
Summary: Dean, his mother, and pie.
Author's Note: bubbles83 and fledmusic know they are to blame for this. It's probably not as fluffy as it should have been; sorry 'bout that, ha. Also, we don't know when John taught Dean to run credit card scams, do we? Because I ended up assuming that money was tight sometimes. Lame title is lame, I know. Self beta-ed, too, heaven forbid. :D
Dean is eight years old and this October has been sweltering, August heat stretching far too long into fall no matter which motel or town they run to. They stop for lunch at a diner near the highway with an air conditioner that rattles louder than the Impala when something is loose in the engine. All he wants is ice cream, but Dad says that he and Sammy have to share and Sam wants pie. The heat makes him frown more than he normally would at that, and though he agrees to the dessert, he can't convince himself that he's happy about it. The waitress presents them a piece of apple pie with a scoop of ice cream on it and says, "Ala mode."
Vanilla is exactly what Dean wanted, and it's cold even after he swallows, leaving chills that shiver down his spine. Sammy is happy with only a few bites of the apple filling, but Dean knows better than to leave food on the plate. Finding jobs hasn't been all that hard, though he knows they don't have enough money to waste on half eaten desserts.
When he takes a bite, seeing the way Dad nods his approval, it's just pie. The apples aren't quite cooked enough, there's too much cinnamon in the taste and smell, and the crust is slightly burnt; okay is the best Dean can call it.
Dad pays the waitress with a wrinkled twenty and in less than forty minutes total they're all bundled back in the car, off to see Pastor Jim.
It’s weird, but Dean feels full. Not quite happy, but close enough that he can pretend.
His dreams that night are filled with images of his mother, and for the first time in years there are no flames licking at his back and Sammy isn't clutched against his chest, like if he lets go-
-Dean doesn't let go.
He also doesn't learn about coping mechanisms for a few years and then it's hard to admit that he's substituting pie for his dead mother, so he skips class for a few days and buys candy when he wants something sweet.
By the time Dad is back to drag them to the next hick town, Dean's eating pie and remembering the way his mom laughed when he got flour all over his hands and left white prints on his clothes, the way she let him chew on an apple slice while she cut the rest into smaller chunks and set a thin layer of pie crust over them.