Rating: Teen (some swearing)
Word count: 2300
Spoilers: For second season, up to and including Hunted
Disclaimer: Own nothing, not being paid
A/N: Huge huge thank you to lunardreamed, celticsky and in particular starrylizard for betaing. Written for the prompt of 'five endings' from ladyscribe.
Summary: At five points in the show, how Dean, Sam and John think it will end…or don't want it to end.
After four years, it was hard to be back here. Travelling in the Impala, Dean's mullet rock on loud, wondering where the hell Dad was this time and hoping it didn't involve alcohol. As much as he'd made disparaging remarks to Jess about his dad, alcohol wasn't a problem most of the time, but it was almost November. As the anniversary of their mother's death drew near, it became much more likely that this whole wild goose chase of theirs could be a result of drinking. If their father had gone on a hunt drunk, well, odds were things had ended badly. Sam wouldn't want to be John Winchester when Dean got a hold of him. Dean would toe the party line, but not when it came to the combination of their father, alcohol and hunting. Dean could be downright scary then, but their father didn't usually remember it, he'd be that drunk.
He looked covertly at Dean. He hadn't changed much in the two years that Sam hadn't seen him. Filled out a little more, cut his hair much shorter – which would have made their dad happy – gotten rid of the blue contacts, and he probably had a half dozen more scars.
Sam didn't want to know about the scars. He'd studiously spent the last two years trying not to think about the many ways that his brother and father could be dead - a poltergeist might throw a knife through his dad's chest or Dean might fall over the edge of a ravine chasing a werewolf – and how he might never find out. He'd replaced it with fantasies of marrying Jess, having three kids – all girls – becoming a lawyer and trying important criminal cases. But always, there was the fear of a knock at the door, a phone call: I'm sorry to tell you...
How could it be that Dean didn't want more than this life, when it was obviously going to get him killed? Were they that different?
Dean was a smart hunter. He fully intended to live to seventy, or eighty even. He'd give young hunters advice, give the nurses hell, and play Sudoku while Sammy's progeny visited their favourite uncle. You just had to hunt smart and not rely too much on luck. Rely too much on luck and you'd be dead fast. His dad, Bobby, Jim, they'd all hunted smart, and it showed in the fact that they were still around to tell the tale.
But, for the first time, Dean was neither lucky nor smart. And it probably would be his last mistake.
It was the not being smart that stung. Water plus electricity equals bad. He'd known that at age six. Unfortunately, his brain did not manage to make that observation until after he'd fired the tazer.
He'd thought his life would flash before his eyes, but instead he'd had one brief second to think 'God, that was stupid' before the pain slammed into him and there was nothing.
Dean had spent his time awake planning his own funeral. Of course, there was the slight snag that he was already legally dead, but that was a minor detail.
His dad and Sam would both be there, and there would be manly tears and manly hugs, and they'd go back on the road together. Sam would accuse their father of not understanding him and their father would yell back, and they'd probably come close to killing each other within a few weeks. Then, Sam would go back to Stanford and their father would continue hunting alone, until he was dead in some hick-town.
And that was not going to happen, not if Dean had any say in it. A couple of hours later he was knocking on the motel room door, trying to convince his body that yes, he was standing, and it could do so for a few minutes more, until Sam answered the door.
Then he could rest for a while.
It was not supposed to end like this.
Not with Dean dying.
If Sam had shot him in the heart back at that cabin, had the balls to shoot his dad like he'd told him to, this wouldn't have happened. Dean wouldn't just be lying there doing nothing, looking like he was already gone.
He knows that it isn't true, that this would have happened anyway, because Dean needed the hospital. Sam and Dean would still have been in the car - except, maybe, Dean would have been in the front passenger seat - and that truck'd still have hit them. Just because the yellow-eyed demon would be dead, it didn't mean that the others would just disappear and leave his boys alone. Revenge means something to demons, too.
If Dean was in the front, he might have been killed. It's the head injury that's the problem, and the head injury may have been impending since Dean was thrown against that car, or since he was thrown against the shelves during the exorcism with Meg. Sam has been playing the blame game since they found out about the coma, citing the number of head injuries Dean has had as a contributing factor. So many of them John didn't know about, but he should have known.
But John knows who's really to blame and it isn't the demon, even though he tells his sons it is. It's his fault for never acting like a father, at least in recent years. He's sacrificed and sacrificed and sacrificed his sons' lives for a safer world, for a chance to kill the demon, a chance to save Sam's future.
Well, no more. This is how far it goes. He's not willing to give Dean's life to save the world, or for the last chance to kill the yellow-eyed demon, or even for the possibility of a chance to save Sam.
The world isn't worth as much to him as his son. It's the one thing he's never understood about God – he should have sacrificed himself.
And for John, his son means more than everything he's fought for over the past twenty-three years.
It's not going to end like this.
It's not a joke. Dean sure as hell acts like it is, like he has all his life, but it's not.
They have to be careful, now. But the problem is that they can't be, or at least Dean probably won't let them be.
They should get rid of the car, or at least change its plates. Sam hasn't even bothered suggesting it; he knows what the response will be.
Why haven't they ever fucking-well worn gloves? Sure, it's more money, and maybe they could track who bought large quantities of gloves, but it wouldn't have been hard and they've both seen enough CSI to know not to be that stupid. Sure, sometimes they'd wipe down their fingerprints when the body hadn't been found yet, but they'd never done the one incredibly obvious thing.
They're on the run now, and it scares Sam more than the demon sometimes.
Dean can never have a normal life now. He can never be Dean Winchester, not unless he wants to spend the rest of his life looking at the same cramped four walls.
And Sam's just starting to realise that he can't go back either. He goes back and the FBI will come knocking down his door looking for Dean, and maybe him as well. He couldn't have anything to do with his brother and that's not acceptable any more.
His and Dean's lives can never be the same and it scares him to hell.
And it scares him to hell that Dean realised that twenty-three years ago.
Dean hopes to hell that his dad was still possessed by the demon when he whispered into his ear at the hospital. He thinks that he could deal with the idea that the man didn't love or care about him as much as he did about Sam and he could deal with the idea that his dad wasn't proud of him. If only his father had still been possessed when he told him all those things, then Dean thinks he could be happy about it, because then it was the demon talking. And that is infinitely preferable to the idea that he might one day have to kill his brother.
How the hell is he meant to deal with this? Every night in his dreams Sam becomes what they hunt and Dean kills him. He wakes with his knife out, ready to kill Sam. He'd go without sleep, but he has to save Sam, and that means being in a good physical condition, being awake when he is, not letting it happen, whatever it is.
He wants to hate his father, but he can't. How long had he known? How long had his father had to carry this burden - a burden that is so fucking heavy that he doesn't think he'll ever be able to get up again? How could he go through every day knowing that something so bad may happen that he'll have to kill his own son? That it will be his only choice?
Every day he wakes up and the voice in his head says that he has to save Sam. He's falling apart, and he knows it. How can somebody who is in so many pieces, needs putting back together, save someone else?
At first, he couldn't even think the words. He can't deal with the thought, the idea. He can't kill his own brother, his only family. He has to save him; it's his only choice.
And then he met Gordon. Gordon is a hunter. Gordon killed his own sister because she became a monster. All Dean can hear is his dad saying he'll have to kill Sammy and he knows that Gordon felt it, as much as he says otherwise. Killing his sister, that's what broke Gordon.
Dean thinks that he doesn't have to kill Sam to be broken, because he may already be broken beyond repair.
Every day, the words get a little easier to think. They shout in his head, louder and louder. He still doesn't think he could do it – he has to save Sam – but he hadn't thought he could kill a man until he'd had to. Sammy wouldn't want to be responsible for people dying. Could he let his brother kill innocent people, or would he stop him, even if it meant he had to kill him? Dean doesn't know – and it scares him – and he hopes to god, a god he doesn't believe in, that he never has to find out.
He has to save Sammy. If Sam hadn't listened to him, had shot their father in the heart, he wouldn't need to. Their father had died anyway, sacrificing himself for a son who was already half broken, giving away their one chance of beating this thing. He hates him for it, for dumping this burden on him. He should have let Dean die. He had one bullet left; he should have made it count – saved Sam – instead of trading everything that he'd ever worked for.
Then he'd found out he could have him back. Ten years and, maybe together, they could save Sam.
Maybe his father would kill him and Dean won't have to.
Dean knows his father. He knows that, as pissed as he is that his father made the deal to save him, his father will be a thousand times more pissed if he throws that sacrifice away. Dean has to save Sam; it's the only important thing now, more important than their father living in hell. As much as he loves his father and needs him – can't survive without him here – he can't have him back, not at that price.
He wonders how long his father had known. Was that why he fought so hard with Sam, could he see what he'd become and it disgusted him? Was that why he fought so hard to stop Sam going to college, or why he gave Sam the push to go – get him away from this life and maybe, maybe things will be okay.
So many times he opens his mouth to tell Sam, but he can't. Not because he promised Dad he wouldn't, but because he knows – just like him – Sam is only holding on by his fingernails. Sam thinks that he'll be driven to kill. That's what all the evidence is telling him. All the other psychics they've met have killed, even Andy. Add in the fact that their dad thought that he needed to be saved, thought that he might need to be killed, and Sam would go over the edge, dragging Dean down with him.
But it's all academic now, anyway.
Sam's been infected with a demon virus and he's going to start trying to kill people. He'll try to infect Dean, and maybe Dean will let him. He won't let Sam hurt anyone else and he's so damn tired that just stopping would be a relief. No more worrying, no more wondering, everything black and white again.
They're both going to die here. Sam wants him to get out, leave and save himself.
But he can't.
Because he's so damn tired of this burden, of being the one to carry their family. He's tired of being the strong one.
Because he doesn't know who he is, what he is, without his family - without this life.
Because he has to save Sam and, if he can't, he has to kill him.
As much as he hopes otherwise, Dean and Sam Winchester are going to die today.
And he almost doesn't care anymore.