Destiny can't be changed...
Stop it, or we will... The words reverberated through his skull painfully, the menace unmistakably there. Angels obviously were nothing like those fluffy, pudgy things he had seen in many books, paintings or movies. They were fierce. Dangerous. Warriors. Intimidating. Dean was struggling against the revelation that there was a God after all. Fought against it, unwilling to accept the fact that angels existed. Even after Lawrence. After learning the truth. Where had those so-called messengers of the Lord been all those times he had hoped for heavenly intervention? Where had they been through all his fucked-up life?
Where had God been when little Dean had cried silently in his bed after his Mommy had gone away? When the little boy had been incapable of grasping the concept of “Your mother is dead, kiddo. She ain't coming back.” Even though his Daddy had explained, Dean hadn't understood how his Mommy would just leave her son alone.
Where had the angels been when he had witnessed the change in his Daddy. When he had seen him shrink away from Dean's plea for a hug. Shrink away from the all too familiar eyes looking up at him with love and admiration. Mary's eyes. Dean hadn't understood then, so he had just felt rejected, like his Daddy wouldn't love him anymore. The four-year-old had thought that maybe Daddy blamed him for Mommy's death. So, he had relished the little hints of care John had offered and concluded that he deserved to be loved less, now. The small boy inside the hunter Dean Winchester still felt that way. Still hurt because of the neglect and the guilt piled on his innocent soul. And it lowered his defenses, left cracks in the brick walls surrounding his inner feelings, allowed other memories to seep through the crevices and come flooding back to him.
Like that one night, when he had woken from a really bad nightmare about flames and yellow eyes following him where ever he had turned. Dean had stumbled, slumberous and full of despair over to his father's bed on his short, pudgy legs, looking for comfort, to find John awake with a faraway look in his eyes. Not noticing the needy child in front of him, staring into the distance, John had mumbled Mommy's name through tears. The sight had destroyed the boy beyond recovery. That hadn't been his Daddy. That had been a completely different person. That single moment had changed everything. Not the death of his mother but the loss of his father on top of it had rearranged the small child's view of the world. It had laid the cornerstone to the grown man's character.
And yet, little Dean had prayed with all his heart. Prayed for the angels his Mommy had told him about to come and hold him. To make him wake up from this nightmare. To come and bring back his real Daddy and take away that man lying in the bed next to him. To bring back his Mommy. But they had never come. Hadn't answered to any of his desperate cries for help.
His Mommy had been lying to him. The angels hadn't been watching over him, his Daddy, Sammy or his Mommy. This revelation had scared and hurt Dean even more than the fact that he had lost both parents. It had shaken his belief. Destroyed his faith, his trust in the Good so profoundly that it tore his heart in two. His Mommy had lied to him. And he had been all alone. Little Dean had - very consciously- concluded that there was no such thing as angels and no God watching over little children and their families. There was no-one other than him, his baby-brother and Daddy. No-one else to trust. No-one else willing to help.
The second he had come to this conclusion, Dean had stopped crying whenever laying eyes on his mother's picture. Or waking from a nightmare. Or when he found his Dad walking on unsteady legs back from the car, smelling like that old homeless man he had once met while shopping with Mommy. There would be no use in crying if there was nobody to comfort and hold him. Bad things happened to good people. For no reason at all. It was as simple as that...
And now he was supposed to change his mind in the blink of an eye about all those terrible things he had witnessed and lived through? According to Castiel they had been unavoidable. That it was his destiny. Like his mom dying? Or dad? Or even Sam? Dean felt like the little boy again. His whole understanding of life was being torn apart once more. His rules didn't apply anymore. Bad things happened to good people. Only now, he was led to believe that they did happen for a reason? That there was a greater power at work? That there was indeed a God? That the Devil did exist?
Well, one thing's for sure. There is a Hell. Been there. Done that. Shivers crept along his spine like cold, gnarled fingers of trepidation as he fought against the ensuing, blood-red onslaught of pictures quickly flooding his mind. Allowing glimpses of sheer desperation.
Consciously making an effort to change his mind's direction, he cleared his throat audibly and massaged his stiffening left shoulder, accidentally brushing against the new scar on his upper arm. Touched by an angel. Oh, hell. He still couldn't wrap his mind around the “gripped you tight and raised you from perdition” bit. The idea of being singled out by the man upstairs made him uneasy, even a little self-conscious. Why do I get to be saved from hell? Why me? Freakin' angels!
And why, the hell, don't I remember? As soon as he appeared to be able to grab one snatch of information, it slipped through his grasp. Like a dream sequence that evaporated if the dreamer concentrated too hard on it. Hell hadn't been a dream though. Dean had spent four months in the pit and all he recalled were short glimpses tinged in red and a sick feeling of foreboding. It left him weary and – to his disgust- trembling. Certainly, there must have been some immense pain and suffering but, for the life of him, he couldn't remember. Only those blood red flashes and distorted echoes of desperate screams crossed his mind. What the hell had happened in Hell?
He scowled and noticed - almost too late - that the car was heading for the grassy ditch to the right. Berating himself, he steered the Impala back on track and breathed deeply. In. Out. When had he last done that? A long rejuvenating breath. When? His life was rapidly spiraling uncontrollably towards a literally apocalyptic end. Tilting on its axis, his world whirled around like a hurricane, ripping everything apart along its way, leaving behind a path of destruction beyond repair. Dead. Silent. Devoid of reason.
He wiped a sweaty palm over his weary face, feeling the stubble on his jaws. Could do with a shave. And he smirked sarcastically at the normality of that thought.
A truck closed in from behind, headlights bathing the cabin in a glaring light. Almost like a beacon sent from above. Dean pushed down hard on the gas pedal realizing he had slowed down to a near halt. Escaping the seemingly heavenly spotlight, the Impala obeyed with an audible increase of its sonorous rumble and the drained hunter felt his tightened muscles relax. No place like home.
The truth. He had never asked for the truth. Not this kind of truth, anyway. He had a job to do, and that's that. Protect Sam, no matter what. Save people from the unprecedented evil slashing through their normal lives. Kill evil sons of bitches. Period.
Now, with all this apocalyptic crap, his job, his path weren't as clear anymore. It was all messed up. One giant dung heap of uncertainties, vague beliefs and assumptions. The whole Back to the Future experience had only added more sucky issues to it.
Surreal. Watching how his parents had met in a diner. Learning about his mom being a hunter. Seeing freaking yellow-eyes possess his grandfather. Warning his mom about the night she died and hearing her say those words. How she wouldn't want her kids to suffer the lives of hunters. Knowing she would die nevertheless as soon as he had seen her seal the deal. Failing at preventing it all from happening again. Failing his mom, his dad and Sam again. Screwing up. Letting down the people he loved. Dean swallowed hard against the lump in his too dry throat and blinked away the unwanted moisture in the corners of his eyes. Straightening up in the smooth leather seat and rolling his shoulders, he glanced over to the empty seat next to him.
So. Now, his job was to stop Sam. Sam had always been his responsibility, Dean's job being to save his baby brother not matter what the cost. And now, he was supposed to stop Sam? How? Why? Doing what (demonic blood)? It was a different way to save him. Dean was on a heavenly mission. Oh, for crying out loud! Him. On a mission from God. Hilarious. But hey! It was (demonic) Sammy. He could do it for Sam. For Sam he could do anything. And I won't fail him again. I can't. This is what I've come back for. Back from hell and from the past. Sammy, what the hell are you up to?
He shook his head in disbelief. Dean hadn't even noticed that Sam wasn't in his bed until Castiel had silently pointed out that blunt fact. And Dean hadn't even heard Sam leave the room. What the hell kind of big brother am I?
Sighing deeply disgusted with himself, he turned right into the next street narrowly avoiding an early jogger crossing the road with earphones plugged in her ears. He followed her with her with an appreciative emerald stare, visibly caressing her well-formed curves, smacking his lips at the idea of taking her back to his motel room. Room's empty and it's been a while... No. Bigger things at stake here.
Yellow-eyes' endgame. What's Sammy got to do with that? Could Castiel be trusted on that? Could Castiel be trusted, period? It all came down to that. What was the angel's agenda? Dean hated to be left in the dark about the whole scheme. He smirked in spite himself. Hadn't he just raged at the angel for showing him the truth about his parents? Careful what you wish for, Winchester. His minds flew back to the jinn incident. Good things happening to him had made him nervous since then. Had, in truth, made him edgy all his life. Because there were no such things as fairness and simple happiness in the life of a Winchester. Never would be.
However, Sammy being part of a greater plan, that he could relate to. He had always been sure Sam was destined for some higher purpose. That he was special. Not just the psychic (demonic) abilities made Sam stand out from a crowd of average people.
Thinking back to his childhood, Sam had been Dean's single joy in the toxic wasteland of his life. Sammy had given him a purpose, a reason to carry on; and Sam had rewarded him with the unconditional love of a younger sibling looking up to his hero. Like a father to a son, Dean felt proud of the man Sam had become and that alone made Sam special (demonic) in Dean's mind.
There were more reasons for Sam to be special. Dean was painfully reminded of John's expression whenever he had looked at his younger son. Before they quarreled. Before they fought. How John's strained features softened and his usually hard, commanding, brown eyes were once again those of his formerly caring father, soft and full of love and pride. The father the angels had never brought back. Yet, Sammy had been able to return that facet of his father to Dean. Even if Dean had never been on the receiving end of one of those gazes after Mary's death. No, that's not true. He looked at me like that. Sometimes. In the cemetery. And the day he died. God. Major chick-flick moment! His trembling hand unconsciously wiped away the tears clinging to his long, soft lashes.
Sam is on a dangerous path? How? What's he up to and why? Hell. Is this how Sam feels all the time? Brooding, musing, doubting? No. Sam didn't doubt. No doubt about that. Sam believed in God, angels and his big brother.
Or at least he had done so before Dean had died. Dean couldn't quite quite shake feeling that Sam had indeed changed massively over these last horrendous four months they had spent apart. Turned into another (demonic) version of himself. Dean was painfully reminded of the young John he had met only a few hours ago. John's gentleness and trust in happy endings was so like Sam. That John had vanished once Mary had died, snuffed out like a candle, leaving behind a shell of a man with only one purpose in life. Revenge. And Sam seemed to have undergone a similar metamorphosis. It had started with Jess. And it had culminated in Dean's untimely yet inevitable death and Sam's inability to save his hero of a brother from the horrible torture in hell. I'm not sure I like this new Sam.
He paled visibly and guilt rose from the pit of his stomach like bitter bile, hating himself for this thought. What was Sam supposed to have done differently after Dean's death? Give up? Go back to college, never wasting another thought about Dean tortured and suffering at the hands of demons? Sam couldn't have done that. I'm responsible for Sam's change. It's my fault Sam is different -demonic!-. And I'm gonna do what's necessary to stop it. Whatever it is.
Dean shook his head again to clear it from those grave thoughts and sensed a rush of adrenaline flush his system, hardening his determination. He needed a sober and sharp mind now, needed to concentrate on the task at hand.
The Chevy was brought to a halt in front of an average house, in an average neighborhood, in an average town. Dean snatched up his jacket lying on the passenger seat and set out to stop his oh-so-special and unusual (demonic) kid brother from whatever stupidity he had planned in that ginormous and supposedly intelligent head of his.
To stop him or they will. Shivers of foreboding crawled over his skin as he made his way up to the front door, gun raised, hunter senses picking up on the tiniest unusual sound or smell or sight. His back slightly bent, feet silently touching the gravel beneath his boots. This time he would stop it. The past can't be changed. But the present can.
And only then the angel's voice trickled almost inaudibly through his vow to save his sibling. Castiel's explanation about Destiny. And he suddenly saw them in a different light.
Dean bit down hard on his bottom lip to stop the ensuing sob of despair and defeat building up in his throat, so hard his teeth left bloody crescents behind.
“NO! I will stop him!” he mentally bellowed at the echo of Castiel's words tearing at his soul, eating at his will to succeed.
His silent cry was laced with determination and yet it seemed like his last defiant, desperate struggle against Destiny. Against fate. Castiel's ominous and fatal words had managed to shake Dean to his foundations. What if the angel was right? What if... Destiny can't be changed?
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
Chapter end notes:
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