A/N: Hello all! I'm not quite sure where the idea for this came along, but it hit me after I came back from one of my classes this morning. I wrote it in a big chunk, though I did get interrupted a couple of times by one of my friends. Anyway, the basic concept is this: one setting, one OC who isn't really important, one scenario, two parallel universes. This is a two-shot and nothing more--I don't really have any clue how to expand it--and is angst-driven as well as a deathfic, so be warned if you hate angst or cry every time the boys die! This takes place at the end of the war, when the boys have won but as drastic costs to themselves. In the first chapter Sam faces a world without Dean; in the second one it is the reverse, Dean without Sam. Enjoy, and drop me a review if you like it!
Disclaimer: I don't own anything except the OC, and she's not really important, so I pretty much own nothing. Sucks, doesn't it?
He limps into the diner, the bell on the door clanging cheerfully over his head. He slides into the nearest booth, his head down, his shaggy-hair falling limply against his forehead.
The waitress glides over. "Hello, sir. I'm Lydia and I'll be your server." She's used to strange folks coming in at all times of the night; it's what they get for keeping the diner open twenty-four-seven. Her eyes skim over that shaggy-hair, note the purple bruise on the side of his face, the long cut on his arm. She doesn't say anything about it, because it's not her business. "Would you like to hear our specials? Or would you like to look at the menu for a few minutes first?"
"I'll have coffee, thank you." He says, his voice pleasant to listen to but filled with something that she can't describe or understand. "And that's it."
"Right away." She says, still smiling even though he isn't looking at her. She walks away to get the coffee, leaving him staring at the checkered-print of the table. He traces the pattern with one long finger, silent, his head still down. When she returns he is still in that same position, finger trailing across the table, his head down, his shoulders slumped. She thinks that he would be tall if he didn't slump; instead he seems as though the world is pressing down on him.
She places the white mug in front of him and pours the hot, dark liquid. "Do you need anything else, sir?"
"No, thank you." His voice is so quiet that she has to lean forward to hear it. For a moment she stands there, looking at him, feeling as though there is something she should do, something she should say. In the end she turns and walks away.
He holds the mug between his hands, feeling the heat in a numb sort of way. He feels the heat, but it doesn't touch him, doesn't reach through the ice that he is in. His hand reaches to the side for a packet of sugar, the movement trained from years of sitting in diners just like this, of drinking cups of coffee exactly like this one. His hand stills, white sugar packet caught between two fingers, and he is hit so suddenly that his breath just rushes out of him.
He drops the sugar packet and lifts the mug to his lips; the strong, bitter coffee races down his throat and he closes his eyes. He takes his coffee with lots of sugar and lots of cream, trying to turn the coffee into something else. But Dean always took it straight, black, just the way it was. He didn't try to change it.
The bitter taste in his mouth deepens and the mug tumbles from his hands. It hits the checkered-table, cracks, and its contents spill across the black-and-white plain, an endless flood of brown.
He stares, hands trembling.
"It's okay, sir. I've got it." The waitress says, sweeping a napkin across the spill, soaking it up. She looks at him, smiling in a way that she hopes is comforting.
His head moves up and his eyes catch hers and the smile freezes on her lips.
Those eyes should be beautiful, she thinks. They are hazel, largely gold flecked with green, a beautiful color. But they are cold. No, not so much cold as lifeless, abandoned. As if he is nothing more than a shell with no soul left inside. His eyes are completely devoid of hope.
She has never seen eyes like that, and they scare her.
"Sorry." He says. "I'm sorry."
She knows that he isn't talking about the coffee.
"Are you okay, sir?" She says, trying to hide her shaking voice.
"No." He shakes his head and sucks in a breath. His eyes move away from her, turn to stare out the window. "It's amazing, you know."
She doesn't say anything, just watches him the way she would watch a rabid animal, afraid that he might suddenly turn and attack.
"It's amazing how you can fight so long, and so hard. You can win. You can save everyone except for the person who means the most. You can save the world, but you lose your part of it. Everyone else gets to live, but you suffer because it is your fault." His voice is so heavy, so bitter, like the coffee still lingering on his tongue.
He looks at her, shakes his head. "I'm sorry." He seems to crumble, seems to disintegrate right in front of her. He bends in half, forehead pressing to the table's surface. He is motionless, except for the rise and fall of his chest, except for the movement of his lips as he mouths words that she doesn't understand.
She takes a step back, putting distance between them. She doesn't know and she doesn't understand and she can't deal with the broken form of a person in front of her.
"I tried." He whispers. "I tried to bring him back. Just like last time. No one would deal. Nothing worked. He's gone." The last words are nothing more than a hiss of air that means the world to him and means nothing to her.
From outside there is ferocious barking, that makes the hair on her arms quiver and stand upright, raising goose-bumps all over her body. A change comes over the man; he straightens, lifting his head slowly. When he turns to look at her his eyes are dark, not golden and green but almost, almost, black. There is a strange kind of grin on his lips, the grin of a man who knows his death is on the wind.
"Are you the only one here?"
"N-No." She cannot help but shake; the look in his eyes is madness without hope. "The cook too."
"Both of you need to leave." He orders. In his voice there is unshakable authority, a sense of force that cannot be denied. "Now." He turns his head away from her and faces the window. "They're coming for me."
She backs away.
"We stopped them." He says. "And this is their final petty revenge. We stopped them. And now they send their hounds to drag me down." She catches a glimpse of his reflection in the dark window; his bruised, tired, broken expression has been transformed into a visage of fiendish delight, of grim certainty.
"Run. Take the cook, get in your car, and drive away. Don't look back."
The barking is louder, fierce and vicious snarling that sounds as though it is right outside. But she peers out the window and sees nothing out of the ordinary sees nothing but an old black car with a shattered windshield and dented bumper parked outside.
The man's eyes are on her and she shudders, turns away, runs for the back. He hears arguing from the kitchen and then the sound of a door slamming. A car engine starts and there is the peal of tires against the asphalt.
He sits alone in the diner, hands on the checkered table-top, facing the darkness outside.
He closes his eyes. The barking is loud. He can hear the snarling, the click of fangs. He can smell the hot, rancid breath of the hellhounds. He hears the glass shatter, feels their teeth rip into him as they toss him around like a rag doll, as they feast.
He doesn't fight.
He's lost everything worth fighting for.