Still don't own anything related to Supernatural no matter how much my dreams tell me differently. So for now, all I have is my imagination and my stories.
Alright guys, here it is. Took a while to decide on the best outcome, but once I figured it out it took no time at all to pound it out. Just hope you all enjoy. Thanks so much for sticking with the story. I love you all!
The open road stretched endlessly before them, hypnotizing white lines flashing steadily through Sam's field of vision as he drove the lonely span of mid-western highway in search of a new destination. The where was not important, and neither was the when. The only point of importance was the fact itself; that they were leaving behind the pain and difficulties of the last several months. They were starting fresh. Beside him, Dean slept, his face contorted enough to tell Sam in sleep what he was unable to tell him in consciousness. Dean was still in pain.
He writhed unknowingly in his sleep, body shifting anxiously, hesitantly, as he attempted to find a more comfortable position that might serve to ease the stabbing pain that still consumed his body a week and a half after literally being shredded by the Pathuma. A small groan escaped Dean's lips, attesting to the fact that the pain was truly more than he could handle, and Sam winced in sympathy for the older man. He was only hurt so badly because he'd sacrificed himself for the younger hunter, and Sam was only too aware of that fact.
The sign up ahead caught Sam's eye and he slowed his speed just a little to read it, sighing gratefully as he determined it to be just what he needed. Eyes still on the road, Sam reached his right hand behind him and dug through the duffle, rifling for several seconds before his hand closed around the bottle of industrial strength pain killers that Dean had adamantly been refusing to take for the past three days, declaring himself fit and them unnecessary. The bottle found itself 'hidden in plain sight' in the dash console, just within Dean's sight, but where he might not realize they'd been planted.
Sam pulled the car off the road and parked with a jarring stop by the single pump of the old gas station, relying on the motion alone to wake his brother. He climbed from the car, no longer needing his canes but still unsteady on his slowly recovering legs, and eased himself around to the pump. His back remained purposefully turned, eyes scanning the wavering lines of the horizon that were skewed by the intense heat of the desert, awed at how far the earth seemed to stretch when there were no buildings to obscure the view.
Several minutes passed and the tank was nearly filled with gas before Sam heard the faint creak of the passenger door being opened and Dean stepped painfully from the car, alternating between stretching his stiff limbs and curling in on himself to protect the healing wounds.
"Sleeping beauty awakens," Sam announced flatly, more an observation than a jab.
But Dean didn't seem to notice the words in either context, instead stalking boorishly to the outhouse sitting kitty corner to the small convenience store, entering and slamming the door behind him.
Sam laughed to himself, oddly comforted by the fact that Dean seemed to have returned to his normal crabby self. He'd actually found himself a little unnerved the first few days following Dean's revelation of his journey. The man hadn't been himself; far too clingy, too needy. He'd practically epitomized the chick-flick moments that he usually worked so hard to avoid. And despite Sam's frequent thoughts to the contrary, he really didn't enjoy girly Dean. In fact, he was outright scared of him.
After paying for the gas and taking his own turn in the outhouse, Sam returned to the car, finding Dean already half asleep again. His eyes quickly shot to the console where he'd left the pills, relief filling him at the observation that the bottle had moved. An appraising look at Dean gave him the additional reassurance he required as he noted the elder was resting much more comfortably, breathing more deeply. The painkillers had been taken, and they were doing their job.
They were actually doing far beyond their job. No sooner had Dean returned to the car before his entire body seemed to triple in weight and a thick haze enveloped his head. But there was more than that, something far beyond the normal detachment that came with unnatural means of sleep. Dean felt a tug, a pull, grasping onto his mind and taking it far away from the present. He felt himself flying, soaring through a fast moving inter-dimensional chasm. It was pitch dark, save for the interspersed flashes of bright white light every now and then as he made his way through the swirling vortex until he found himself jolt to a stop, still hovering high in the air, but now barely moving. Dean looked around him, a vague thought that he should be terrified at the fact that he was literally floating several feet in the air, looking down at the horrific sight of a mangled silver Ford Mustang resting on its roof twenty feet down the embankment from where it had sliced through the guardrail just minutes before. A feeling of dread settled inside Dean as he realized what he was witnessing, but he was locked deep in his drug-induced slumber and there was no escaping the walk down faux memory lane.
Sirens wailed loudly as they neared the accident scene, invading Dean's hearing just as he realized this wasn't entirely a fake memory no more than it was a real one. It was simply an alternative memory, or rather alternative insight. He'd gotten so close to the other Dean's world, so close to the other family and friends, and the question of their fates had gnawed at him for so long that he was finally making a connection. Somehow, through his dream, Dean was being shown the alter Dean's outcome.
Watching anxiously, helplessly, Dean watched as the rescue crew pulled the five boys, his own double included, from the tangled mass of car. The scene was replayed in front of him exactly as the other Sam had described it, and Dean felt the hitch in his throat as he realized what was to come. Somewhere, somehow, he'd expected that his returning to the other world would right everything bad that had happened in both worlds. But it didn't, and if he knew about Sam's wish he would know why. Because this world was just as real as his own, and it was always meant to be. If their mother had lived, and they'd stayed in Lawrence; if their lives had taken a different path, this was exactly where Dean would have ended up.
Time sped up, covering days, weeks, months in a matter of minutes and Dean was able to see everything that his alter experienced. He watched in nervous anticipation as his family and friends all huddled anxiously at the bedside of alter Dean for the six and a half weeks that he remained comatose. He shared the fear as they wondered when, or even if he would wake up, despite the fact that Dean knew the outcome to that particular chapter. He watched happily, eagerly even, as his double slowly returned to consciousness, wondering if it had taken his own body so long to stir. It was three days of opening and closing eyes and barely squeezing fingers before alter Dean finally was awake enough to comprehend his surroundings.
He cried when he heard the news. Not Dean Dean, but alter Dean. But it was enough to make the observing Dean cringe, mentally slapping his alter for being such a baby. And it was only after he reminded himself of the hardened upbringing he'd had that he realized alter Dean was reacting normally. His own nonchalant reaction to the situation was what had truly been suspect, and he wondered why that in itself hadn't tipped the rest of the family off to an other worldly situation.
Alter Dean spent another two weeks in the hospital under doctor's orders, and in that time he got to know Laura. Watching over them, Dean cheered them on, although silently berating his double for how slow he seemed to be moving. But she was his nurse, and alter Dean followed the rules. He waited patiently, making it to the day he was released before slipping Laura a note with his phone number on it and asking her to call him while he was in rehab.
The rehab hospital kept alter Dean for an additional three months, teaching him everything he would need to know to face his new life, preparing him to live on his own. In that time, he continued to see Laura. It started off slow, a visit here and a phone call there, but by the time he was released to go home they had made their relationship official. A stab of jealously hit Dean square in the heart as he realized how, even under the most stressful of situations, alter Dean had managed more semblance of normality than he, himself, had ever managed. Friends and family had marched like ants into and out of alter Dean's room at the rehab hospital at all hours of the day and evening. Dean could count on one hand the number of people who cared enough about him to visit him if he ever ended up stuck in some hospital, but alter Dean had so many visitors Dean had lost count.
Less than a week out of rehab and Sam, Laura, and the rest of Dean's friends had completely taken control of his life. Every day was a new adventure; basketball games, bars, movies, even board games. There was never a dull moment; never a private moment. Alter Dean's parents continued to be as supportive and Cleaver-esque as they had been to Dean himself, and another pang of jealousy hit him.
One day Sam and their father surprised alter Dean with the adaptation of his precious Chevy Impala, giving it hand controls so he could get behind the wheel again. And he did. Immediately. Dean could almost feel the wind whipping through his hair as alter Dean took the car out on his first expedition in months, expertly cornering the car as though they had never been separated. The two were a part of each other.
Alter Dean proposed to Laura as they enjoyed a picnic lunch on a warm summer day less than a year after the accident and she said yes. They were married the next year with Sam standing up as the best man and five of alter Dean's friends serving as groomsmen. And nine months later, Laura gave birth to a baby boy.
Sam looked over at Dean, startled, as his brother woke up with a strangled gasp. It was obvious the elder hunter had been dreaming for the last hour, the persistent body shifts and mumbled words here and there tipping Sam off. But Dean hadn't seemed like he was in distress, so it surprised Sam when he came to with such alarming speed and panicked gasp.
It took Dean several minutes to catch his breath, several minutes to recover from the whirlwind picture show that he'd just been privy to. His connection to alter Dean's world was so great he'd been able to get a glimpse into how his double's life would go and he had no idea whether or not to be happy for alter Dean's happiness or feel sadness for what he was missing out on. He'd never been honest with himself or Sam, never told his brother just how much he wished their lives had taken a different path.
And then it struck him. The realization hit Dean like a ton of bricks, slapping him out of the remorse he felt for leaving behind what he desired most. He wanted his world; every lonely night, every frightening hunt, every single time he wished for his mother to be alive. He wanted it all - because it was his. This was his Sam. His Impala. His terrifying nightmare of a life. But it was all his. And despite the vast differences separating the two lives, Dean also realized they were inexplicably linked as well. Astronomically linked, some might say. The similarities, the important parts, the parts that made both worlds normal and abnormal all at the same time. They were all there if he just looked deep enough.
Both Dean's had handicaps. Alter Dean's physical handicap was just easier to see. Dean's handicap was emotional; he wore the burden of the hunt like a shield around his heart, locking out anything that tried to enter and weaken it. But Laura, both Laura's, had seen past the handicaps and loved the Dean's anyway. Laura didn't care about the burden Dean carried. She just cared about Dean.
And that fact led him to another realization. There was more than one way to have a normal life. More than one way to have a family. Sometimes you just had to skew the lines a little bit; you just had to squint to see the possibilities. Sam was family. He'd long ago taken on the task of giving enough love to equate father, mother, and brother, just as Dean had done for him, and he'd succeeded. But there was still room for more. There was room for Laura.
"You alright there?" Sam asked, glancing sideways at Dean. His brother had yet to fully wake up although his eyes were wide open, staring blankly ahead. His expression was unreadable; an odd combination of nervousness, remorse, and euphoria.
Dean blinked as Sam's voice broke through his trance, and he shook his head vigorously, an attempt at clearing the final cobwebs clinging to the edges of his mind. "Yeah," he replied hesitantly. And then more firmly, "Yeah. I'm fine. I really am."
His grin was genuine, directly complimenting the firmness in his voice. And then Dean slapped the console as he broke out in a deep, throaty laugh. "I'm fucking awesome," he added.
Sam couldn't hide his own skepticism as he watched Dean practically bouncing off the walls of the car. It totally threw him, messed with his own mind, and he looked around for some sign of the oddity that was making Dean...happy. His brother was actually happy. He'd seen Dean smile before, heard him laugh and make jokes, but there had always been some underlying strain to them, as though he was covering something up. This was true emotion, true happiness, and Sam had never seen that in his brother before.
"What's got you so wired?" came the tentative question.
Dean smiled again and he reached across the seat, his fingers settling in Sam's tangled mess of hair, tousling it like he used to when they were kids. "We have to turn around, Sammy," Dean announced matter-of-factly. "We've got to go back."
The car pulled off to the side of the road, and it sat, idling for several seconds as Sam contemplated whether or not to ask why. But somehow he knew that Dean would tell him soon, but in his own time.
They hadn't passed another vehicle in almost an hour, so Sam barely looked as he swung the car around, heading back the way they had come. Without asking he knew where 'back' was, but his suspicions were confirmed as Dean fished out his cell phone.
Four rings sounded before the other phone switched into voicemail mode, and Dean bounced anxiously as he waited, beginning to speak almost before the beep sounded on the other end. "Laura, baby, it's Dean. I just want you to know we're coming back. I'm coming back for you."
OK, so that's officially the end. I hope it meets with your approval and I really hope it gives you the answers and outcomes you wanted. It took me a while to decide how to sum it all up, but then it hit me and that was that. Thanks so much for reading, and please don't forget the final reviews. You guys rock.