Disclaimer: Supernatural belongs to people who are not me. Yet. Muahahaha

Warning: Spoilers up to AHBL2.

There's no escape

For a year, John Winchester has been in hell. The worst kind of hell. This is his story.

For a year, an entire year, John's been living in the worst kind of hell. A life of 'what ifs' and mistakes fixed. A life where he got to regret every choice he had made ever since Mary had died.

After giving the gun to the yellow eyed Demon, he was sent to hell. But it was not what he had expected. No brimstone and fire and screams.

It was worse.

It was Lawrence, Kansas.

It wasn't their old house, but it wasn't too far from it, either. And there wasn't a day that had passed that he didn't wish for fire and brimstone, because this – this two story house with the white picket fence and the swing set out back, this was so much worse.

This was the life he and his boys would have lived had he just pulled it together. Had he just grieved and got over Mary.

He was married here. Remarried. She wasn't as beautiful as Mary; a little plump, with brown curly hair, but her laugh made something in his gut twist with longing. She was kind and loving. She had helped raise his sons, she was a compassionate companion, and she had given him a daughter.

And his boys… He could barely recognize them.

Sam was studying law at Stanford, engaged to Jessica, and this time, John got to know everything – about the class schedule and the classes and the internships and apartment hunting. About meeting Jess, and her parents, and going ring shopping. He got to be in the bachelor party Dean threw for Sam. He was welcomed in his son's life, got to see his baby boy truly happy, surrounded by friends, on his way to make a family of his own.

Dean still lived in Lawrence, but that was going to change soon. He was a paramedic, married plus one – John's first grandchild, a grandson.

Dean was making a name for himself as a paramedic, already decorated, and he was reconsidering those acceptance letters from med school he had passed out on years ago, thinking of giving it another go.

He was so different here John couldn't recognize him. Looking so much younger, carefree. The sort of person that would never hold a gun, let alone sleep with one under his pillow. Successful. A model citizen. And happy. Truly happy.

Both his boys called at least twice a week, kept in touch with each other, the whole family meeting as often as possible.

And his daughter – she was just like Dean. Adored the ground her big brother walked on.

An eighteen year old hottie with guys standing in line to date her, but her big brothers made sure only the good ones actually got in the door (or window). She was graduating with honors, just like both her brothers before her, thinking of med school, joking with Dean about going together, pushing him to achieve his goals the way John never had.

His grandson was perfect in every way. They babysat a lot, and even though John had no idea what to do with the baby, Kate, his wife, sure did. And he learned. All the things he'd missed, John learned now.

And it was hell.

Because it could have been this way.

They could have live that life, if only he had let go of Mary.

Of the love of his life.

He loved Kate, he really did. It surprised him how much he did love her. Not the way he had loved Mary, but Kate had won his heart and the heart of his sons.

And the boys benefited so much from having a mom around, judging by the looks of them. Benefited from the stability of family and friends and familiarity. Oblivious to what was out there in the dark.



He had never seen them this way, will never get the chance to see them this way.

He remembered everything about his old life as he lived this one. Couldn't help make comparisons, regret all the choices he'd made.

And just when he had thought things couldn't possibly get worse, Meg was back to taunt him. Howdy, John. Take a good look at your son, Johnny, 'cause I'm going to kill him. I'll send him to his own hell, Johnny. You think yours is bad? You have no idea how many regrets Dean has.

She had laughed then, laughed at his son's wasted life. And he wanted to kill her, he truly did, but he was a civilian here. No weapons, no charms, no latin chants. No backup.

The gates of hell sprung open. How, he didn't know, but there was fire and heat and screams and a chance to get out, so he did. He got out. Got the chance to save his boys' life yet again, to do one last good thing for them.

And then he was gone. And then he learnt the truth. And heaven with Mary still felt like hell.


Please review.