Dean, Sam and John WinchesterSpoilers:
"In My Time of Dying" (obviously)Notes:
I usually try not to write notes, but I feel the need to explain this fic. I know it goes without saying that writing an AU doesn't necessarily mean that I'm dissatisfied with canon, but I'm going to say it anyway. I really like what's happened so far in Season 2. As much as I love John Winchester (and the actor who portrays him) I think his death was necessary for the growth of his sons and for the growth of the show. So. This AU isn't a protest or anything. Just an idea I had that wouldn't go away until I wrote it down.
Also, the title won't make sense unless I write more. I hope I'll write more, but just in case I don't (which often happens) just ignore the title and pretend it's a oneshot. Er. Twoshot. Whatever.
Okay, okay. One last thing. I cleaned the language up a bit so I could post here. Wasn't sure if I could just use asterisks or what. When ff.net is working for me, I'll post an uncensored ^ _ ^ version there. I just really think Dean has a much bigger potty mouth than network television allows. BLACK DOGHey. Take care of that car. Or I swear, I'll haunt your ass.
My grandma always said, "When life gives you crap..."
What? Make crap-ade?
-Penny-ArcadeChapter 1: When Life Gives You Crap...
"And you're about to become one. The same thing you hunt."
Dean stared at the reaper and tried to find the words to deny her. They didn't come. She had just reached into his soul, pulled out his fear, and showed it to him. It was creepy enough being temporarily stuck outside of his body; if it became a permanent condition he probably would
go insane. Become what he hunted. Crap.
He took a shaky breath and tried not to think about the fact that he wasn't really breathing. Instead, he focused his thoughts on the problem at hand. He couldn't afford to ignore the possibility that the reaper had raised. But could he trust everything the spirit said?
"You don't know that," he answered finally. "Besides. Sam would never let that happen."
He turned from the reaper's deceptively pretty face so violently that he stopped following flesh-and-blood rules for a second. He moved without thinking, without crossing the space in between where he'd been and where he wanted to be. The experience took his nonexistent breath away, and he realized that he was already leaving behind the conventions of mortality. How long would it take him to forget what it had been like to be human?
He could practically feel the reaper's smirk against his substanceless shoulders.
"Shut up," he snapped without turning around.
"I didn't say anything," came the placid reply.
"You were thinkin' it."
"I'm only telling you the truth, Dean. I'm only telling you what you already know."
"Yeah, like I'm going to take advice from you. Hell, you probably work on commission. If there is a way out of this, you're sure as hell not gonna tell me."
"I'm not going to tell you because there is no way out. You have to accept-"
"I don't have to accept crap," he replied angrily.
"What are you going to do, Dean?"
He turned back to the beautiful lie of a spirit, stared her in the made-up face. He cast about desperately for some way out, for something he could use to forge a third option out of the two crappy ones he had been offered. He had no idea what he was going to say until he said it.
"I'm going to haunt my freakin' car is what I'm going to do."
Once the decision was made, there was no going back. The reaper disappeared and the hospital dissolved into a single thought. Violent emotion poured through him, the maelstrom of fear and grief and anger and love and hate that gives rise to spirits. He'd spent a lifetime controlling his rage when it counted, channeling it into a protective barrier between his family and the world. Now he unleashed every violent thought, every unhesitating, cold, deliberate emotion.
His transitional spirit-body was gone, replaced by a vague but far-reaching consciousness. He couldn't exactly see his brother, but he knew Sam was sitting by his bedside when his heart stopped. He knew Sam was calling his name and he wanted to reassure him, but there was something else that demanded his attention. Something going down in the basement of the hospital.
He didn't have to move. He simply thought and he was there, staring at the dark design chalked on the concrete floor, watching in horror as his father tried to trade his own life for his son's.
"So we have a deal?"
"No, John. Not yet. You still have to sweeten the pot."NO.
When Dean's dying soul screamed, John Winchester heard it - and so did the demon. The Colt rose in John's hands of its own accord until the long barrel was lined up with the forehead of the poor jerk the demon had possessed. John's finger slid inexorably towards the trigger, despite his struggle to control his own movements.
"Looks like you're too late," the demon said. Yellow eyes flashed once with what might have been amusement or frustration, and then it was gone, leaving behind only a frightened janitor.
John's arms, under his control once again, fell weakly to his sides. His right protested painfully, but he barely felt it through his horror.
His son's name left his lips in a strangled whisper, a plea, a protest. The silence, the emptiness in the boiler room was oppressive, and pregnant with unpleasant implications. Ignoring the wide-eyed stare of the man the demon had possessed, John began walking slowly out of the basement, knowing what he would find in the hospital above and dreading it more than death itself.Chapter 2: Fire and Salt
For the second time that day, Sam watched a team of doctors fight for his brother's heartbeat. He waited for the rhythm to start again like it did before, but seconds stretched into minutes and then someone was calling a time of death.
It felt like one of those nightmares where a memory gets distorted, where something that turned out okay goes terribly wrong. He waited to wake up, to break the spell of sleep and find out that he was just having a bad dream about the time his brother almost died. He waited to find out that what he'd just seen never happened, that it was just his mind's projection of its fears.
But it wasn't a dream and he couldn't wake up. It was reality. And reality just didn't make sense anymore.
The funny thing was that he didn't see Dean as he was, too-still and already cooling. And he didn't see Dean as he had been a few moments ago, painfully vulnerable, but still vibrantly alive. He didn't even see him as he'd been on their last hunt, full of strength and vitality.
All he could see was his brother's bloodied face in the rearview mirror, his silent, empty, uncomplaining eyes."No, sir. Not before everything."
* * *
John Winchester couldn't breathe.
A passing nurse started to approach him, but blanched when he got a good look at his face. Whatever he saw in those dark eyes made him decide that the haggard, frightening-looking man leaning against the wall was Someone Else's Problem.
John Winchester didn't notice.
There was time, between the hospital staff leading Sammy back to the waiting area and the orderlies coming in to take the body - to take Dean
- down to the morgue. There was time for John to be alone with his oldest son.
He'd known in the basement. The knowledge had weighted his steps, made a journey of five floors take a lifetime. He felt like he'd known all his life that Dean was dead, so why was is so hard to see him there, so still and pale that he didn't look like himself? Each second seemed like a year, but it didn't make it any easier to bear.
The tenuous sanity he'd crawled to after Mary's death eluded him now. His world had been built on his boys, on preparing them, making them strong. Dean had been so strong. Stronger than John himself, maybe.It's okay, Dad.
For John Winchester, the world ended the night his son died. He fled the hospital and didn't look back.
* * *
Sam tried to be angry when he found his dad's room empty, but he didn't have the strength for it. He no longer cared where John Winchester's priorities were. He just wanted him there. He wanted his father to stand with him, to grieve with him. He wanted someone to share the burden of burning - God
- of burning Dean's body. He wanted to not be alone. He would have taken back every angry word if it could have brought his father to him.
As time passed and the room remained empty, Sam shook with the pain of it, but he didn't leave. When faint shafts of light began sifting through the blinds and he knew that John wasn't coming back, he stayed where he was, curled on top of the tousled sheets that were the only traces of his father's fading presence. Finally, mercifully, sleep claimed him before the aching loneliness could.They're driving. Always driving. The Impala is roaring, a mixture of diesel growl and headbanging bass. Dean has the music turned up again, but he isn't saying anything for once. He just moves with the beat of the song, his eyes on the vanishing highway. Sam doesn't feel much like talking either, but it bothers him that he can't remember where they're going or why. He's not going to do this forever, he reminds himself, and is bothered that he needs reminding. When did the interstate start looking like home?
Dean is turning to him like he wants to say something, but there are no words. Just the sadness dimming the fire in his green eyes. Sam wants to tell him that it's okay, except he's not sure what's wrong. Why is Dean looking at him like that?
Sam's behind the wheel and the scenery on either side has halted. Dean is standing by the side of the road, boots digging into the gravel of the berm. He has a sawed-off shotgun in one hand. His amulet shines dully with the light of the setting sun. He's smiling, and it's a smile filled with music and passion and hunting, but there's sorrow too, and grief and guilt.
Sam is asking with his eyes, searching his brother's face for an answer. The Impala is idling impatiently, but he won't leave without Dean. He won't.
Dean shakes his head and looks like there's so much he wants to say. A faint whisper is all that reaches Sam, as if the single lane of asphalt is a yawning canyon of empty distance. Faint, but clear.
"Don't burn my bones, Sam."THE END...MAYBE?