And I've finally gotten to "Faith." Actually, I've gotten to "Route 666", but this is about "Faith."
No, this is about Dean. And it's entirely possible I'm thinking too much about this, but I do that.
Even before "All Hell Breaks Loose" (and possible "What Is and Never Should Be"), there seems to be a sort of consensus that Dean doesn't really hold his life dearly. Everyone else, including his father and his brother, and, you know, random strangers, yes. But his? Not so much. He's NOT suicidal and it's not exactly self-sacrifice. It's more that he doesn't think he's worth it. (Pause to say, "Oh, Dean.") The season finale pretty much confirmed this.
And, well, I accepted this. You get a feeling about what's fanon and what's canon fairly quickly, and this struck me as canon right away.
Today I saw "Faith", and this is where it started, isn't it? This is where everyone saw what was going on in Dean's head. Because if I'd seen this episode cold, I'm not sure what I would have thought. Dean is told he's going to die in a couple of weeks, and he's joking about evil fabric softener bears (which, btw, it *is*) and haunting Sam if he doesn't take care of the car. And, yes, this is bravado, and this is laughing in the face of death, and that's all perfectly in character. But it was slightly chilling because I got no sense at all that Dean was putting it on. He really had gone straight to acceptance. Which is damned scary for a guy in his twenties, even one who'd had his sort of life. He really wasn't scared. He wasn't even lobbying for a heart transplant (which? Healthy guy in his twenties? Prime candidate. I'm surprised Sam wasn't lobbying for that, either.)
He checked out early because why stay in the hospital? It's uncomfortable and unpleasant and they'll just prolong things. Who needs that?
But here's the faith healer and Dean has to be pushed to be healed. And then he finds out that someone else died. And he even comes up with the idea that Layla would have been healed instead of him (and that? Not so much - Layla's mother was being milked dry, and if it *were* the case, Layla would have been been healed right after Dean instead, not the old man.) But Dean has the idea in his head that his life cost two people theirs. And instead of thinking that he has to honor them by staying alive as long as possible, he just feels guilty that he's alive.
And that guilt is not going to go away. He knows he's on stolen time. So his life is, if anything, worth less than it was before. And then his father sacrifices his own life for Dean's. And that just makes it worse. No wonder he was capable of bargaining away his own. Sammy is worth everything. He's not.