As much as Dean had missed his father, he had also hated having his ghost there. It wasn't something he planned on telling anyone - least of all Sam - and he felt horrible even thinking about it, but he was relieved when the spirit disappeared. It wasn't that he didn't want his father there - he did, he wished he and Mom were both not-dead, that they both could come back, for real - but in a form that wasn't a ghost, and in a form that wasn't tied to him 24/7.
It was difficult living a normal life with his father there, ever-present, making remarks on every little thing he did that John Winchester would have done differently. From the way he took care of Ben ("Why hasn't that boy learned to use a shotgun yet, Dean? For Chrissake, he's more than big enough to hold one - you could shoot before you were his age. What happens if something comes after him? What if you're not around?") to the way he drove ("Dean, what the hell is that rattling in the engine? When'd you last give this thing a tune-up? I thought you'd take better care of her than that, or I wouldn't've given her to you.") - even the time he spent with Juliet was called into question (evidently Dad didn't think dating during the apocalypse was a good idea, called it a "distraction" and "stupid" - he did like Jules, at least, even if he thought Dean's timing was bad).
It wasn't like Dad was horrible. He just... had the tendency to be a little more controlling than Dean had realized. When he was in Lawrence - alive - it hadn't been like that, had it? Dean didn't think so. From what he'd heard from Sam, his version of Dad's ghost wasn't all that nice to Sam, either. Then again, they always did butt heads; why this should surprise him, he wasn't sure.
But in all, as much as he missed his father, and as much as the loss of the ghost was upsetting, it wasn't crushing. It was bittersweet, and yeah, okay, there was some weird ache in his chest, and maybe his eyes had burned while Dad was saying good-bye, because, hell, he still loved the man, even if he was kind of overbearing as a ghost. He'd briefly considered the flask stuffed in one of his hunting bags, but dismissed the idea without too much effort - he was getting better about this whole drinking mess, most of the time - and instead worried about making sure Ben was okay (kid was tough, but his ghost had been his grandmother, so he was probably not going to be all that happy with her gone again), spending a little extra time talking to him before he went to bed.
Once Ben was asleep, he'd gone looking for Jules - she'd seemed quieter at dinner; quieter all day, really, and now that they were alone he figured he'd try to cheer her up, or at least make sure she was okay. Her back was to him as he entered the kitchen, and he paused in the doorway to lean against the counter and watch her for a second. It was still sort of surprising that this was his life - if by 'sort of' one meant 'really friggin'', because there was hardly a day that passed that Dean didn't have to take a second to remember this was real, to choke back the creeping panic that it would all be gone if he closed his eyes.
Jules was baking. His ridiculously hot girlfriend who was also a cop, who put up with his shit on a regular basis and actually loved him even though he was kind of a moron a lot of the time - was making pie in his kitchen tonight. Seriously, how did he end up this lucky? After everything he'd done..?
"In case there was any doubt, I've decided I'm keeping you," he offered as a greeting, tone light and playful, as he crossed the room to wrap his arms around her. "You're awesome."