I was a Doctor Who fan well before Supernatural and have written several DW fics (that I now look back and laugh at)...but then I did a deal with a demon and SPN stole my soul, the poor Doctor never even had a chance after that.
I've never pictured these two fandoms intertwining but several recent things sparked this idea. First I discovered and read several crossovers that just made me think about it all, y'know, really think. Then I found this amazing vid on the 'tube with the Doctor and Dean and it just made me go all emo thinking about how completely similar and tragic their lives are. And finally, rewatching NuWho a few weeks back, I went, huh, you know...Ten and Castiel look really similar...
Thus an idea was born. I wrote most of this before 4x20 but after that episode, inspired in part by the quote below, I threw a bucket load more angst into it, got Dean off his face pissed and...voila! So just to confirm, spoilers for 4x20.
NuWho is the brain child of Russell T Davies and was not created by me, thus I do not own it. Ditto with SPN, instead a evil mastermind named Kripke has that lucky, lucky pleasure. One word: Jealous. Oh, and poem excerpt is from 'The Hollow Men' by T.S Eliot.
Big love and pie and little personalized cupcakes go to Veritas Found who Beta'd this for me. She is legend, I heart her.
"I'm just tired, man. I'm done. I'm just done."
Dean Winchester – "The Rapture"
Dean Winchester was on his seventh beer.
He'd bolted from Bobby's with a desperate yearning to get off-his-face pissed and had promptly done so. Beer one had been consumed while driving – screw it. Beer two had been gulped down while staring blankly out the windshield of his parked vehicle, while beverages three through to seven had been drunk while sitting stretched across the hood of the Impala, gazing up at a star-strewn night – a position he had stubbornly positioned himself in, decidedly not budging an inch for the last hour. Fresh bottles sat to his left, nooked between the windshield and the hood while the ever-increasing amount of empty bottles went to lie helter-skelter to his right. At some point, empty beer bottle number four had accidentally rolled down off the Impala hood, but Dean had just watched it go in what was seemingly slow motion, detached-like, a grin on his face. It wasn't particularly amusing. But the grin stretched anyways. He was finding everything fricking hilarious these days. Humor less tha natural, more sarcastic and black and hysterical. He supposed if he was sober enough to suppose, or stupid enough to think, he would call it a coping mechanism; something to get him through...everything. That, coupled with getting oblivious in the only way a guy like himself knew how. He was a pro at it - drinking himself into a stupor - had done it plenty of times during those Standford years, but never before had he undertaken the task with such a zealous yearning.
But, hey, he reckoned he was entitled.
He'd just left Sam, his brother, his own flesh and blood, locked in a panic room, screaming with agony, whimpering with hallucinations as he detoxed on, of all things, demon blood.
How fucked was that?
Really, what the effing hell? Ha – what the Hell, indeed.
Oh, 'cause, yeah: on top of that, the world was ending, too. Apocalypse and all. Fun for everyone. Laughs abound.
What with all this, quite understandably, Dean was trying – pretty much successfully, too – not to give a flying fuck anymore. About anything.
This is the way the world ends.
This is the way the world ends.
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a...
...an odd, whining drone, sounding strangely like a dying elephant wheezing its last breath.
It took several alcohol-fuddled seconds for Dean's brain to catch up with his ears, only just beginning to compute the surprisingly out-of-place sound when a large blue box flickered out of nowhere right in front of him. A large wooden box, similar in size to an old payphone. But wooden and blue. Blue and wooden.
That was it, just...huh. Because, to be honest, this rather theatrical appearance was far more warning than he usually had with Castiel. And remember: he was drunk, so a giant box appearing out of nowhere didn't really register as anything worth caring about within his obtuse state.
So, once he'd noted its initial apparition, he simply frowned, took another swig of beer, then made an effort to ignore the 'Police Public Call Box'.
The stars looked very pretty tonight. And then the moon – give it a few days and it would be full – it's glow cascading down upon the...blue monstrosity which stood a good few feet from the front of the Impala, casting a looming shadow across the muscle car.
Damn it, there he went again, looking at it. Damn it. Ignore, ignore, ignore.
Yet Dean inescapably found himself blinking blankly up at it from where he lay across the Impala's front hood, his back propped up against the windshield, trying rather unsuccessfully to look anywhere other than the strange wooden manifestation that had so rudely interrupted his patheticness. That's what it really was, to be honest – what he was doing now. Patheticness. But everybody was allowed one wallowing moment of patheticness at some point in their lives, and Dean Winchester hoped he was not the exception.
It was in his right. It had to be. Five fucking minutes by himself, was it really too much to ask for?
That was why he'd ditched Bobby, left the elder hunter to deal with the Boy King...Sam...Sammy...whatever. Dean just couldn't anymore. Couldn't bear meeting his little brother's gaze through iron slits. Couldn't bear seeing the pitying way Bobby looked to them both. Couldn't. Couldn't think. Couldn't breathe. Couldn't manage. At all. Just couldn't.
Of course, it was really rather stupid to think Castiel would realize this and just leave him be. But, as clearly stated previously, Dean wasn't much up for thinking at the moment. His vision had narrowed. He just wanted. He just couldn't. He just didn't know anymore. So he'd just run for it. Fight or flight. And for this one night and one night only, he'd opted for the latter. He'd fled. He'd run. Except, he hadn't run. He'd drove. Drove for two hours nearly, not stopping until all of a sudden he had to stop, just had to, swerving off the highway, right into an open field, slamming the car into park, staring blankly into the long grass for a moment before grabbing the booze and shimmying up onto the hood where he now sat -
- pointedly ignoring the unusual sight before him. Yep, that's what he was doing. Ignoring it.
There came a ancient, gritty squeak that Dean could almost mistake as the Impala door being wrenched open, but no: instead it came from the now-opening doorway of the blue box where out popped Castiel, slipping cautiously out of the ajar door, pulling it shut behind him, all before finally facing the Impala. In doing so Dean found it immediately apparent, even through an alcoholic haze, that, well, it wasn't really Castiel. It almost looked like him. Tussled hair sticking up at odd angles, a long brown overcoat. Check, check. But this man wasn't Jimmy Novak. This man was very different. Yet very much the same. He carried that presence in the air around him. Still very Castiel. But not.
Dean let his head rest back against the windshield again, his voice resigned, "Swapped vessels, did you? I'm not babysitting again – I'm telling you that now."
The declaration of his name held too many implications to count and he actually shuddered. That voice was full of reverence, full of pity, full of regret. He hated it. So he ignored it.
"You trying to be funny, there? Come to ship me off?"
Dean felt he'd scored a point at the confusion in Cas's voice, "What?"
It was like Castiel wasn't possessing Jimmy anymore, but more like Jimmy was leaking into Castiel. Even though this wasn't even Jimmy's meat suit. Argh, Dean's head was hurting – too much thinking.
Focusing on the question at hand, he instead gestured with his beer bottle at the blue box, "That. It says 'Police'. So, what: go directly to jail, do not pass go, do not collect two hundred dollars? You're sending me back to Hell. Good. I deserve it."
"No one deserves it. No one. Hell is Hell."
Dean managed to sit up, surveying Castiel warily. The angel had on a brown pinstripe suit underneath the trademark coat, his head cocked to one side, watching Dean with his face a mask of understanding and complete befuddlement, both seemingly at the same time. Almost two different personalities yearning to get out. Fuck, Dean didn't get angels. Some were hot, some were dicks (most were dicks, really), some just liked to blink and stare at you with a creepy blank expression, and they all had the most fucking warped humor known to man...well, this man. Sometimes they seemed otherworldly, rightly so, but sometimes, just sometimes, they almost seemed human. Which confused things, especially when they tended to yo-yo back and forth between the two. Last time Dean had seen Castiel, it was a Warrior of God who had spoken harsh, cold words. A solider. But now -
"Mind if I join you?" Castiel asked abruptly, eyebrows wiggling in the direction of the Impala.
- now, it seemed Cas wanted to be best buds again. It was all so confusing and required effort to think, which was precisely what Dean was trying to avoid. So in attempting not to give a flying fuck about anything anymore, he didn't spend too long trying to explain Castiel's out of character behavior. Or out of character, in character, characteristic behaviour. Heh, whatever. Instead, he just sighed, "Why not."
He took a swig of beer and lay back down again, a moment later hearing the soft whoosh of Castiel's coat as he swung himself onto the car and positioned himself next to Dean. Cas pulled several empty bottles from under him, moving awkwardly, finally chucking them onto the grass with stray bottle number four. They then both gazed up at the stars for a long moment before the unbidden desire to speak crept forth within Dean, uncontrolled and unexpected, "You say no one deserves Hell." he said abruptly, "Is that supposed to inspire me or something?"
Castiel cocked an eyebrow but was silent, so Dean continued, "Because it's coming. Hell on Earth. And I can't stop it."
Okay, he'd told himself he wasn't going to go there....
"The world's always ending." Castiel replied slowly, after a long, heavy pause, "Someone always needs saving and someone always needs to get labelled the hero of the whole hour."
Dean shook his head stubbornly, vigorously, "But it's damn tiring...I don't want it...never asked for it."
The angel sounded weary, "Oh I know, trust me, I do. But someone has to do it."
Precisely: it just wasn't Dean's job, a fact he tried to demonstrate, "Yes, but we're not designed to handle this kind of crap on a daily basis, us human beings. You are. This is what you exist for. This is your purpose."
Thus the stupid fricking angel had no right sounding weary.
But Castiel's expression didn't improve – in fact, it sank lower. "Well now, isn't that depressing."
Angels weren't supposed to feel depressed either. They didn't have time or the emotional capacity for depressed. Either Cas had spent far too much time watching a particular master at work in the self pity department, or...
"So what's a hunter's purpose defined as, then?" the heavenly warrior asked, cutting off Dean's train of thought.
Dean chewed his lip, finally saying, "It's a life, not just a job and I get that, I do," he took another swig of beer, belching slightly, "It's hard, it's unforgiving...but there has to be a line."
Castiel actually snorted, "Where are you gonna draw it then?" his eyebrows flickered up, then down, "Between saving one child or ten? Between saving hundreds or millions...billions?"
Dean scowled across at him, and Castiel gave a small, honest shrug and turned to look up at the speckled sky, seemingly leaving Dean to ponder it for a moment.
Crank...thud...groan...Dean caved under necessity, slowly firing up his synapses through the alcohol swishing through his noggin. Thinking was hard. But, okay, here we go – time to think....wait, people-saving on a world scale was still a thought he stubbornly refused to face, so he turned to a more obvious and apparent topic of question.
"Should I be worried?"
Castiel pursed his lips, seriously considering that, his brown orbs fixed on the glowing orb in the night sky before he slowly turned back to look at Dean, "Well, in general, yes. But would you care to be more specific?"
"About you." Dean said flatly. "Who you are. What you are."
"You're not Castiel." But there was something else to it, something he couldn't put his finger on, "I don't even think you're an angel."
The man shook his head, an easy smile on his face, "No. I'm the Doctor."
Dean thought about this for a moment, "Okay."
The Doctor-man sat up, frowning at the hunter. It seemed Dean's one-worded response had done a number on him. Good.
"Okay? Well, that's a new one. Huh. Often its, 'Doctor What?' 'Doctor Who?'" he held up one hand, then the other, "Once an old lady got all excited and lifted her skirts to show me her rash." He made a face, "It's just, not often do I get an 'okay'. Though...to be honest, you're a hunter, and you're quite inebriated, which..." He finally seemed to notice Dean was scowling at him, "Sorry. Talking, bad habit. Continue."
"I don't like doctors." Dean said bluntly, glaring at this particular one, "They're nosey and interfering."
"Another flaw. Again, sorry."
"But they fix things."
It was as simple as that, really. Well, it wasn't, but Dean decided it was going to be as simple as that. Angels fixed things, Doctors fixed things. Deans didn't. Not anymore. He quit.
"A mechanic fixes things also."
Oh, nice. So, what would Dean be if not a hunter? Nice, Doctor, very nice – point for you.
"Fixing cars?" Dean shook his head firmly, giving the hood of the Impala a gentle tap, "Easy. But you, you save lives. It's in your job description."
"What have you been doing for the past twenty years, Dean?" the Doctor asked with a wiry smirk.
Dean grunted, saying nothing, and the Doctor gave a patient sigh, as if dealing with a stubborn toddler, small, pudgy fingers shoved in little pink ears. His smile was gentle and loaded with sympathy. Which pissed Dean off.
"6'4, shaggy hair, ring a bell?" The Doctor asked.
The word was spat viciously because he knew damn well where the Doctor's was going with this. And he really didn't want to go anywhere near that line of thought.
"Above everyone else, above everything else, that's your life to save. That's the real job, isn't it?"
Of course, the Doctor had gone there, of course he had said it, and Dean decided right then and there that he much preferred conversing with the real Castiel. Riddles and half answers he could pretend he didn't understand, but this...
"I don't want it."
The Doctor gave a little laugh, "Well, that's a lie."
Dean couldn't take a swing at an angel, he knew that. But he could take a swing at a doctor; in fact he had done so a far few times and, a plus point, in this present scenario there wouldn't even be any hospital security to haul his ass off either. Oh, how the thought was tempting.
"I don't want what comes with it." He amended through gritted teeth instead, restraint only just holding.
"Life is unfair."
Dean blinked at the complete and utter absurdity of that. That was it? That was the extent of the logic that was thrown back at him? Life was unfair? He'd fucking known that since he was four!
"Well, you are the most unhelpful doctor, in like, ever. Believe me, I've met a few."
The other man did look rather apologetic, but offered no more insight, silent. Dean sighed and returned his gaze to his now-warm beverage, surveying the liquid left in the bottle, giving it a small swish and taking the penultimate gulp, all before saying bluntly, "Okay then: look where that job has got me, Doc. I saved Sam and because of it started the apocalypse."
The Doctor opened his mouth, had second thoughts, closed it slowly, before opening it again and finally spitting the words out, "So you regret doing that job, then? Saving your brother?"
Dean just gave him a look, as if saying: 'Don't play fucking mind games with me, pal – not today.'
"Then it's worth it," the Doctor deducted.
Dean couldn't really believe he was having this conversation with a total stranger. A total stranger who seemed to know way more about all this than humanly possible. Dean had already ticked angel of the list of possibilities, and this Doctor didn't scream demon either. The not knowing would have been a major issue for Dean on any other day, but everything seemed to be pouring out now – he couldn't stop, "Now its beginning to look like I can't stop the apocalypse unless I stop Sam."
"Save. Save Sam," the Doctor remedied.
Dean's response was bitter, "Too late for that."
"Well," the other man scoffed, shoving his hands under his armpits in a vain effort to keep them warm, "you're never going to get anywhere with that attitude."
Dean's phone trilled suddenly from within his jacket, interrupting them, giving off the first few notes of a guitar solo, and they both gave a little start. He glanced down at his jacket, locating the source of the noise but merely returned his gaze up to the stars again, taking a final swig of beer and chucking the empty bottle into the grass with the rest.
The phone kept ringing.
"Are you going to answer that?"
"No," Dean replied simply.
The phone rang some more.
The Doctor raised his eyebrows, "It could be important."
"Knowing my list of contacts, it probably is."
"So the whole world is depending on Dean Winchester to stop this whole apocalypse bizzo, but he's late for the party because he doesn't answer his phone?"
Okay, now Dean is angry, lines have been crossed, "Where do you get off, huh? I don't even know you. Which," he continued on absently, looking forlorn-like down at the empty space next to the Impala's wipers, void of any fresh beverages, his anger seeming to dissipating as soon as it had hit, "if I wasn't so drunk, would probably be a huge issue."
"Hah! As well as most definitely drunk, you are also monstrously thick." the Doctor's expression turned from smug to sombre in one radical instant, "It's sad," he said softly, "You seem so determined to do it all alone."
And, there we go: back to pitying poor Dean Winchester again. Lets see how bluntly he can put this:
"I don't want to do it, period."
The Doctor's hand gave a small dismissive wave, "Stage 1: Denial. You're stuck with it, Deano – accept it, stop moping, and move on."
"Don't call me Deano."
The Doctor let it slide, "You're not alone in this. You've got Sam."
"I don't even know which side Sam's on anymore," Dean admitted softly, and damn if the pity wasn't self-induced once again.
"Well he knows he's on yours. Trouble is, he's actually not – slight technical hitch there, but he wants to be...on your side, that is, and when it comes down to it, that's what matters most."
Dean just looked across at the Doctor for a good, hard moment before asking quite simply, "I don't get you. Who are you? What are you doing here?"
The Doctor shrugged, banging his dirty, worn trainers together, "I'm just doing my job."
Dean shook his head, glancing to their left – where you could only just see the headlights of many hundreds of cars, whizzing by in the distance, "I'm the middleman – more important things need fixing. You should side-step me and get to the root of the problem."
"Can't do that Dean – can't interfere, not really. Wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey."
Dean raised an eyebrow, and the Doctor gave a vague wave of his hand, "It's prophesied anyway. My hands are tied. Whatever happens...this apocalypse is all down to you."
"Thanks for remind..." A deep, pounding bell disrupted his sarcasm, sounding muffled but potent, "...what the hell is that?"
It appeared to be coming from the blue box. It throbbed consistently, uncomfortable on the ears but not completely unbearable – more simply aggravating than anything, persistent and never-ending.
"Well, that's the TARDIS Cloister Bell," the Doctor said, sitting up at once, looking thoroughly a glee at the sound. "See," he jabbed a finger in the direction of the machine, "that's my call to answer. The world seems to be ending...again. I've got to go."
He rolls off the Impala, light on his feet, shoving his hands in his pockets, returning to his blue box.
"But you said you couldn't interfere," Dean pointed out, sitting up also.
The Doctor fished around in his pocket and produced a key, fitting it squarely into the lock. The TARDIS door opened and the Cloister Bell was suddenly heard in all its glory, the sound echoing out into the vast night, its chime final and eerie.
"Oh, no, not with the Apocalypse," the Doctor said, coming to a stop in the doorway, raising his voice casually over the clanging, as if the noise wasn't of any real bother. "Don't you get it, Dean? The world almost-ends almost weekly. And most of the time it's ordinary, everyday people who stop it. Turning left instead of right. Believing in something. It's those little things. One insignificant little act can cause a ripple, and that tiny ripple, not even a feather hitting the water's surface, can impact exponentially. It can save the world. The whole universe." He cocked his head, waving away his next thought, "And it doesn't need to be a life-changing sacrifice – you Winchesters have had enough of that. Just one little thing at a time. Maybe start with answering the phone."
Dean slid off the Impala, leaning against it now with a frown, "It's not as simple as that, Doctor. It can never be."
The Doctor was nodding even before Dean finished, "I know, oh, of course I know. But take it from a man with near a millennia of experience in this business: it helps to think like that."
The clanging quickened in pace, rising in volume, and the Doctor glanced back inside the TARDIS, where Dean could see a warm, inviting glow emanating from within.
"Okay, okay, I get it!" the Doctor called into the box, aggrieved, before turning back to Dean, looking suddenly catastrophically tired, "I really have to go, really. But good luck Dean Winchester – say hi to Sammy for me when you see him again."
Tapping two fingers to his forehead in informal salute, he gave a final grim smile before slipping inside, the door creaking shut behind him. The next second Dean found himself taking a step back as a wind from nowhere billowed around the box, the small light on top beginning to glow on and off. The TARDIS whirred and groaned, fading in and out until it was gone altogether.
And then it was just Dean Winchester and his car, standing alone in a field dotted with empty tinted beer bottles under a pulsing yellow moon.
Hours later, when he finally got back – back to reality and Sam, Sam and reality, pounding headache and dry mouth – he wondered if it was all a hallucination. The house was strangely quiet, Sam finally in a fitful sleep and Bobby out in the yard, so Dean collapsed onto the sofa and really thought about it for a moment, attempting logic and reasoning – something he had been far too out of it to use at the time. Men in blue boxes? Really? Well, he had been drunk. But even so....
But then the phone rings, interrupting his thoughts.
He's surprised to find his cell sitting in his hand; he must have absently pulled it out at one point and is now palming it back and forth, rhythmic. He stares down dumbly at it for a long moment before realising it is silent and still. The ringing doesn't sound from the little silver device he now holds.
Instead up on Bobby's desk sits Sam's phone, abandoned and untouched since it was confiscated. It shrills its tune again, so Dean walks over and glances down at the caller ID, swallowing hard.
Then he picks it up and answers.
"Howdy, bitch...Sam can't come to the phone right now..."
Wow, this has been a real...err...adventure to write. This was such an unusual, challenging fic for me, in both style and plot. I really don't know if I succeeded with the result but I am mildly pleased with it. After a point with your own work you loose all objective point of view, so I don't know what to think about this. I hope for some sort of reaction...I wait for some sort of reaction (hint, hint)...