Wow. The final chapter. The moment we've all been waiting for. The ending of an era. Trsut me, this ios the end that you guys didn't see coming :)
Now, keep an eye open for the sequel, "Closing Doors," up here soon. I've been told it's crazy, but nowhere near as confusing as this one (of course, one other person has read it, so...)
Thanks again to everyone who read and (especially) reviewed. I've said it before and I'll say it agaon, reviews keep me writing. So, I'll see you next time.
The group of four, two adults and two children, stood in front of the gallows exhibit, staring at the plaque. They weren't even sure the wormhole was still open, just knew that they should say their good-byes and hope for the best.
The youngest member of the group, a small boy with shaggy hair, was content with staring at the exhibit as the everyone mustered the courage to say their farewells. The next oldest was jumpy, nervous, tense, his stomach in knots as he waited for the time when he would run. The next oldest just wanted to get back, wanted to see his girlfriend, need to smell her perfume, to feel her touch.
Dean was the first to say good-bye. His brother was waiting, and he never kept Sam waiting long. His life had been all about making the younger man happy, and he knew that going back to a life with a girlfriend was what he wanted most.
The oldest member of the group had stayed up the whole night, thinking over his plan. He knew that sending two kids on a journey like the one he'd proposed could be dangerous. He also knew that his brother wouldn't like growing up on the run just as much as he'd hated hunting. So, Dean had devised a plan. It was a good one, and he hadn't even told himself about it. He wanted to see the look on the kid's face, knowing it would surpass the one of joy that had come from seeing the basketball.
"Come on, Man," Sam urged, "I want to see what happened. I want to see Jess."
"You go ahead," Dean smirked, not leaving his spot by the kids, "I'll catch up in about 17 years."
"What?" Sam asked.
"You heard me," Dean said, "I'm not going back. I want to stay here."
Sam's mouth dropped open as he stood beside the plaque. "You're kidding."
Dean shook his head, aware of both of the children staring up at him with wide, joyful eyes. "Really?" the oldest asked, "you want to stay with us?"
The hunter looked down, finding the expression he'd been hoping for. Unbridled joy. It was a look he'd never seen on his face before, in any time period. "Yeah," he smiled, "I'm really gonna stay here. You guys need a guardian."
"You can't," Sam argued, "It'll screw up the timeline."
"Look," Dean sighed, turning to his brother, "it's over, Sam. The demon's gone. It's not coming back. Remember what you asked me in Chicago, about what I wanted when this thing was finally over? Well, this is it. I want us to be a family, Sam, a real family."
Sam shook his head. "You can't do it, Dean. You can't mess up my life. I won't let you."
"Mess up your life? You really think I'd do that? Sam, I just want to keep our family together. This is the only way I can do that now. If I do this, we all go home happy. We'll have what we've always wanted. We'll have a normal family."
"Please," the freckle-faced kid pleaded, "don't make him go. I want this."
"Me, too," the youngest kid smiled, "don't take him away."
Sam just stared at them. "You really want to put him in charge of your wellbeing? All right. I just hope you know what you're in for, Dean, because raising kids isn't easy."
"I know," his brother replied, "I raised you, didn't I?"
"I mean it. One day we're gonna grow up and we're gonna get lives of our own. You'll have to let us go some day."
"I realize that," Dean nodded, "but that day's a long way off. Now, you should probably be getting to your bright future before that wormhole closes, huh?"
Dean smirked, putting one hand on each boy's shoulder. "Yeah. I'm serious. Now go. I'll see you on the other side."
Slowly, Sam nodded. He took one last look at his big brother before jumping into the wormhole, where he was met by cool air and an uncomfortable twist of his stomach muscles. He felt himself falling for maybe half a second before he hit the ground hard.
Sam sat up, moaning deep in his throat and rubbing his head. He looked around. He was back in the courthouse, sitting beside the gallows exhibit, and a large lump was forming on then back of his head.
"Sammy! You all right man? You trip?"
Sam looked up at his brother as the man held out a hand to help him up. "Dean?" he asked, rubbing at his head again, "how? I thought you stayed behind?"
"At the church?" Dean asked, "why would I do that? Dad told me to bring you out here."
"Dad?" Sam asked, beginning to wonder about his brother's sanity and the fact that Dean's hair had grown a few inches, "dad's dead."
"Um, John's dead," Dean offered, "dad's back at the church with everyone else. Why he sent us out here, I'll never know, but, uh, we should probably be heading back. Wouldn't want to miss your own rehearsal dinner, would we?"
"Rehearsal dinner?" Sam asked.
"All right," Dean sighed, "you hit your head. You have amnesia. That's great, man, and the week of your wedding, too. If Jess finds out I let this happen, she'll have my head, I swear. Dad'll probably take the rest of me. Come on, let's get you to the truck, back to the church. Maybe dad can help."
"Dean, dad's dead. And what about a truck? What happened to the Impala?"
Dean smirked. "Yeah, right. Like dad's gonna let me anywhere near that car. You really hit your head hard, didn't you?"
Dean led Sam out of the courthouse and to a shining white pick-up. Sam just sat back and let the scenery fly by as his brother drove him in an unfamiliar car through Topeka Kansas.
"Please fill me in," Sam begged his brother as Dean practically pulled him up the cement path that led to the chapel where the wedding party was apparently meeting.
"Don't worry," Dean assured, "I'm sure that seeing your beautiful bride-to-be will be enough to jog those memories back into place. And, if that doesn't do it, I'm sure dad can help."
"Dean, dad's dead. Who am I marrying? Why are we here? When did your hair get so long?"
Dean turned to look at him as the doors leading into the church opened and a lovely blonde woman wearing jeans and a blue t-shirt walked out. "There you are," she smiled, walking up to Sam and kissing him on the cheek, "we've been waiting forever. You guys need to play mediators. Your dad and Jim are at each other's throats again."
"Jessica?" Sam asked, staring at her, "is that really you?"
"Who else would it be?" she asked, glancing nervously at Dean.
"Sammy tripped and hit his head," the elder explained, "I think he forgot some pretty important stuff. Like, that dad's alive and you're his fiancée. I was thinking maybe dad could tell us if we need to postpone the wedding or-"
"No," Sam interrupted, still staring at his future wife, "I want to go through with the wedding. I still remember how much I love her."
Jess sighed and wrapped her arms around Sam as Dean made a gagging noise. "Come on, dude," the shorter brother practically begged, tugging on Sam's arm, "there won't be a wedding if dad bites Pastor Jim's head off."
"Pastor Jim?" Sam asked, "he's alive, too?"
"Why wouldn't he be?' Jessica questioned as she followed the boys into the church. Sam didn't get a chance to answer as his brother ran down the aisle toward two men who were deep in conversation.
"Dad!" he yelled, "Sam fell and hit his head. I think he has amnesia or something. He said you, Jim, and Jess were all dead. Weird, huh?"
Slowly, the form that Dean had run to turned around to face the soon-to-be-newlyweds. Sam gasped. He recognized the man in the leather jacket, whose hands were shoved in his pockets. It was his brother, though older than he should have been. A network of shallow lines had wormed its way across the man's face, and his hair had started to go gray. His eyes, apparently, weren't what they had been, as a pair of glasses rested upon his thin nose. But it was Dean. That smirk was unmistakable.
No sooner had the man turned and Sam registered who it was, then a crippling headache struck the youngest Winchester. Images began flashing before his eyes, memories of a life that he hadn't known he could have. An apartment, a dog, a brother who had gone to college, a father who couldn't be prouder, a sister-in-law, a girlfriend, a niece and nephew. He'd been happy. They all had. The money had been tight, the life had been hard, but they were together and happy.
The headache passed and Sam found himself staring into concerned hazel eyes. "Hey, Future Boy," Dean whispered, the wrinkles by his eyes deepening as he smiled, "glad to have you back."
"How?" Sam asked as soon as they'd left the church behind them under the pretense that he was stressed about his coming nuptials and needed some air, "how'd you pull it off without anyone finding out?"
"Don't you remember?" Dean asked as they walked across the parking lot to where the Impala had been parked.
"A little," Sam admitted, "fragments. Not enough, though. How'd you even get to keep us?"
Dean smirked. "Why, Samuel, are you telling me that you don't even recognize your own uncle Dean? Your mother's long-lost brother who happened to show up right after your crazy father shot himself? I'm surprised."
"Ok, you lied about who you were, but someone had to have called it, Dean."
The older man shrugged. "No one questioned it. Sure, it was lucky for you guys, pulling a relative out of nowhere like that, and it took a while to convince people that your father had really left you in my care in his will, but no one asked."
"But, the apartment, how'd you afford it? Taking care of us, paying for food and school supplies, how'd you do it?"
"I got a job," he grinned, "an honest job. It's shocking, I know, but true. I, uh, spent my days working in a Day Care center. It paid the bills, with a little help from some of dad's old friends."
"So you did tell people who you were."
"Just Jim. He wanted to make sure you boys were safe. Dad had helped a lot of people, saved some lives, and they owed him, so when his brother-in-law called asking for a little child support, they sent it."
"And we both went to college?"
"You to Stanford and Dean to the University of Missouri. That's where he met his wife, Cassie. They've got two kids, Jonathan and Elaine. They're six and four. And you're about to get married, my friend."
"Why here?" Sam asked, "you knew I'd be coming back, didn't you?"
Dean smiled. "Of course I knew. Besides, it's a beautiful place to have a wedding."
For a while they stood beside the old car, letting the slight breeze blow around them. Sam stared at the man that had raised him, marveling at how well he had aged. "So," he began, "did all of that future knowledge of yours come in handy?"
"Well," Dean smirked, "I made a killing betting on who would win 'American Idol' and 'Survivor,' was nice enough to warn your first girlfriend about the gay NSyncer, made a couple of anonymous phone calls in early September a few years back that nobody listened to, and gave away the ending of every M. Night Shyamalan movie to date. Yeah, it's had its advantages."
"And there wasn't anything or anyone you missed?"
"Actually, there was. You. The grown-up you, anyway."
"Wow," Sam marveled, "that's uncharacteristically sentimental of you, Dean."
"Yeah, well," the older man replied, smirking, "it would have been a little easier to raise those kids with you around. They really could have used a mother's touch."
"Yeah?" Sam countered, "well you're old."
"Don't sass me," Dean warned, "you're not too old for me to bend over my knee and spank, sonny. I'll do it in front of your girlfriend, too."
Grinning, they walked back toward the church, side-by-side. "Seventeen years," Sam marveled, "and you really raised us?'
"Best I could," Dean replied, opening the door and ushering his son in, "and I think I did all right. I mean, it's not like you're sporting a pink Mohawk or anything. And you don't hate me, either. You both picked up on calling me dad right away."
"That might take some getting used to," Sam grinned as he and his father joined the rest of the wedding party. The younger Winchester brother sighed, looking around at his perfect life, his happy ending, and knew that his brother had been right to stay behind and change things. The man had opened doors for his sons that Sam had never thought he'd even see. Finally, his life was exactly what he'd always wanted it to be.
Told you you wouldn't see it coming! Now, how's this gonna work out for Sam? What changes have been made? How's everyone changed? And... did I say Sammy had a neice and nephew! Can't wait to start posting the sequel!