Wayward Son

Carry on my wayward son.

There'll be peace when you are done.

Ringing out through the cool morning air, the sound of the gunshot lingered on long after the bullet had ripped its way through Dean's chest.

What could have been no more than a minute ago, just sixty seconds, he'd turned away from the trunk of his car to find a gun pointed at his chest. The man holding it was young and obviously terrified about what he was doing. Dean should have been able to talk him down. Should have been able to offer him the seventy-three dollars in his wallet and sent him on his way. But he failed. Coursing with nerves and adrenaline, the long-haired man squeezed the gun's trigger.

Hitting its target, the tiny bullet ravaged its way through flesh, bone, and muscle tearing up anything in its path. He didn't yell out for his little brother or gasp in pain. Shock had silenced his normally sharp tongue as he fell to the ground. It wasn't supposed to end this way.

It wasn't supposed to end this way.

Dean Winchester's childhood had ended with his mother's death when he was four-years old. Since then his father had been training and preparing him for what was out there. He'd faced demons, vampires, and everything in between. And truth be told, he should have died a few times along the way already. Never once in all that time did he think he'd be taken out by a petty thief. Especially one who looked as if he'd never pointed a gun before. It was a twisted irony that, if he weren't dying, he could have easily made some crack about. But now, with the blood soaking through his shirt, he didn't care. All he knew was that it was too soon.

For the past year, Dean had been embracing his coming death while his stubborn little brother tried to find some way out of it. He'd welcomed his fate with all of the bacon cheeseburgers and morally loose women that came his way.

But his baby brother had stubbornly refused to give up hope and continually sought a way to get Dean out of his deal with the crossroads demon. Despite all of his attempts to get Sam to stop, he couldn't. And with the end of his year drawing near, he'd been shown a vision of what he would become. Of the thing that his soul would be twisted into.

The sight of himself with those tell tale black eyes did what Sammy hadn't been able to manage. And now, as It's a Wonderful Life as it sounded, he wanted to live. Unfortunately, time was almost up, and his soul still belonged to the things he'd dedicated his life to hunting.

Sam was about to be alone sooner then they'd expected, and that fact hurt more that the gaping wound in his chest ever could. It tore at his soul in a way that a bullet could never damage flesh and bone. As his life continued to slip from his body, all he could think of was Sammy and their joke of a life. Deep down, they both knew that neither could live without the other, and it was that bond that put them in this hell.

Lying on the rain-drenched cement of the hotel parking lot, Dean could just make out the slapping of frantic steps on wet pavement and his brother's heartbroken screams. With each pleading 'no, no, not today,' he could feel himself slip further and further away. He tried to pull himself back, to cling to his body, but the harder he tried to hold on, the quicker death seemed to drag him away.

Lay your weary head to rest.

Don't you cry no more.

As the chill that came with excessive blood loss engulfed his body, he knew he'd never been ready to give up his life. The deal had been made to save Sammy's life, and he'd have made it again in a heartbeat, but now… Now he understood what it really meant. Sam would be alive, but he would also be alone. Alone to hunt and fight. To try and survive to see tomorrow.

He thought he was being honorable in accepting his fate. He was giving his brother a second chance, not so he could carry on their work, but so Sam could have what he'd always wanted.

A life.

He knew that Sammy was by his side pulling him into his arms. Dean also knew that his little brother had his arms wrapped around his chest and shoulders. He just couldn't feel it.

A long time ago he told Sam he was tired of hunting and that he was ready to quit and finally settle down. He thought that when that time finally came he'd be able to rest. But there would always be another demon, and there would never be any rest for the Winchester boys. Dean had been a fool to think he'd ever get out of this "job" alive.

And now he was dying at the hands of nothing more evil than a common thief.

Sam's pleading protestations slipped away with the last speck of consciousness he had left. Sam had seen him die over one hundred deaths on the same amount of Tuesdays. Today, however, it was Wednesday. There were no demons to bargain with or tricksters to turn back the time.

He'd been on the edge of death before, and the feelings, the few he had left, were frighteningly familiar. This time, however, as the last breath slipped from his burning lungs, there was nothing to pull him back.

Squeeka Cuomo's Chart

- I was very moved by the episode "Mystery Spot" and from that, this was born.

- The lyrics and title are from the song "Carry on My Wayward Son" by Kansas.

- Katie, thank you for your never-ending enthusiasm and encouragement. It's your kind words that keep me out of my cave half the time. :duck: