Disclaimer: I don't own any recognisable characters!
Warning: Since this story deals with S2, All Hell Breaks Loose pt 2- there is character death...
The place was torn apart, the human corpses of angel and demon hosts lay scattered all over. The surviving humans wandered around looking shell shocked, as if they couldn't believe their eyes at what they had just witnessed…
In the center of the ruins, Dean Winchester sat and wept next to the corpse of his brother, Sam. The apocalypse was finally over but at a heavy price. He had done what the heavens had foretold, Dean had taken the life of his own brother so that the devil himself could not take over Sam's body and use it to conquer the world.
What do I do now? He thought as he tightly clutched his brother's still cooling body. He doubted that Michael would let him kill himself so he could join Sam and their parents.
Someone cleared their throat behind him. He didn't want to talk to anyone, Cas in particular.
"Dean," said a female voice.
A soft phantom hand came to rest on his shoulder.
Angrily, Dean shook off the hand. "LEAVE me ALONE!" he bellowed.
"I can not. You have done well, you have saved everything and everyone." The voice continued seemly unaware at the flinch he gave.
"No, not everyone." He whispered looking down at Sam's serene face.
"Yes, well. You can not save everyone. I have come to reward you for your efforts."
At that, Dean started to chuckle hysterically, "really? What- you'll give me 7,000 women as a reward? Huh?"
The husky voice chuckled, "No, Dean. I am going to give you a chance to save your brother from his destiny. It will force you to make a huge sacrifice but I know that you are willing. You need to convince yourself to let Sam go."
With that-- the phantom hand touched Dean's forehead.
Dean appeared in front of a rundown cabin in the middle of nowhere. The cabin looked familiar. It was the same one that he and Bobby had brought Sam to when he had--
Shuddering at the memory of Sam's body laying on a tattered mattress, he noticed movement inside the cabin and realized that he was seeing himself grieving over the loss of Sam.
"You know what you have to do." The husky voice whispered in his ear.
Dean nodded, yeah-- he knew what he had to do. It didn't make it any easier though.
He stepped into the cabin and looked into his own swollen eyes and tear-stained cheeks.
"Who are you?!" Past!Dean growled.
He stood on guard in between Dean and the room where Sam's body lay.
Dean smiled to himself. He had forgotten how much he resembled a mother lioness with her cub when it came to protecting Sam.
He held out his hands as he walked towards Past!Dean, "Relax. I'm you from the future."
Past!Dean just looked at him in shock, "You can't be me! There's NO such thing as time travel."
Dean chuckled softly to himself, he had forgotten that once upon a time, he also didn't believe in time travel, heck he hadn't believed in angels either.
He held his hands out in front of him, "I know that all the explanations in the world wouldn't please you, man, because I know you! I know that the most important thing in your life is Sam and it's been that way since Dad first pushed him in your arms back in Lawrence and told you to run. From that day, Sam had you as his sole protector against the rest of the world, even protecting him from Dad. Dean, I know you because I AM you."
Past!Dean sighed slightly and let down his guard just an inch. "Then if you are me, then you know that I just can't, can't—"
He broke down in a heart wrenching sob.
Dean clutched his eyes close in anguish. God, this was the hardest thing he ever had to do. This was harder than staring at demon-blood dripping Sam or fighting with him over Ruby and the apocalypse. He had begun to lose Sam the second he had made the deal--
He had to get his younger self to accept that he had to let Sam go. That was easier said than done because he, Dean, hadn't been able to let Sam go either even with the apocalypse and Sam begging him to kill him so that Lucifer wouldn't be able to use him.
Then he thought about Sammy, his Sammy who was terrified of the thought of being a monster, a freak. Who was one of the most kind and gentle people he knew. What Jake had done was unspeakable and he'd make sure that his younger self would get revenge for Sam. But Sam being Sam had made his choice by not killing Jake and Dean just had to accept his brother's wish. Bringing Sam back would not only be selfish on Dean's part but he knew that it was the start of Sam's downfall and he couldn't let his younger self do that again to Sam. It wouldn't be fair.
Taking a deep breath, Dean looked at his younger self.
"I know what you're thinking. Go to a crossroad and summon a demon and get Sam back because what is your life worth against his? Nothing."
Silently, past!Dean listened to his older self.
Dean continued, "Hey man, I'm you right so I've been here. I remember how devastating it was getting there and not being there in time to save Sam. Hell, I was the reason for his distraction. If I hadn't called his name out, Sam might be still alive." His voice broke at the memory.
Past!Dean let out a sob as he too recalled what had happened only yesterday.
"But Dean, do you think that Sam would have wanted it? To be alive at the expense of your own life?"
At that Past!Dean looked up at his counterpart and glared, "but then he would be ALIVE and that's what matters."
Dean chuckled sadly, "Yes, he would be alive but have you thought about yourself? You know that making a deal involves hell-bound time don't you?"
Past!Dean nodded, "I know but I'm willing to do anything if it saves him."
Dean agreed, "I know you are and I'm proof that you do survive hell but Sam changes too much and you end up not trusting him and driving him away—to people who want to use him and hurt him."
Past!Dean insisted, "But isn't it worth it? Saving Sam?"
Dean shook his head, "No. Unforturnately, Sam has a screwed up destiny that whatever he does, whatever he chooses to do or not to do. It all leads to one place—being Yellow eyes' pawn for none other than Lucifer."
Shocked, Past!Dean chocked out, "Lucifer?! Sam's a pawn for Lucifer!?"
Sighing deeply, Dean answered, "his vessel actually."
"What? His vessel?!"
Waving off his younger self's disbelief, Dean continued. "But none of that matters IF you don't make the deal. If you aren't selfish and let Sam go, then Yellow Eyes and Lucifer won't get their hands on him and use him for their own ends."
He grasped his younger self's shoulders, "You have to be the brave one, braver than me and just let Sam go, for his sake. So that he doesn't end up being the monster he dreads that he really is."
Past!Dean glanced at Sam's corpse and then with a tear running down his cheek, he finally nodded. "I'll let him go. I need to go, to go and prepare the--"
With that, he left the cabin to go and start building the pyre.
Worn out, Dean went to sit in the vacant chair by Sam.
"Sam, I know that I'm not your brother from this time, but I just wanted to say that I never ever stopped loving you even in the midst of us fighting. I don't ever regret making that deal but I do regret that it changed you from being you. I know that you said that you felt that you had to be more like me so that you can survive without me, but I hated the thought that you would lose what made you Sammy in my eyes. I just hope that you find peace, little brother. You deserve that."
Dean bent down and kissed Sam on the forehead much as he had done some 20 odd years ago on that fatal night.
They silently prepared Sam's body for the pyre. They had agreed that they shouldn't call Bobby for help because this was personal- this was a goodbye to their little brother. From the little boy who thought that Dean was the moon and stars in one, to the teen who resented their dad because of the elder's obsession, and to the fellow hunter who stood by him through thick and thin.
When it was time finally, Dean stood in the shadows, watching his younger self gently put Sam on to the funeral pyre.
He pretended not to hear the whispers floating on the air—the words of a brother to a brother, "I love you Bitch. I'll get Dad out of hell and then we'll join you, okay? Don't be scared."
Dean could not stop a tear from running down his cheek as his younger self lit the pyre and watched Sam's body burn.
He watched the solitary figure as darkness fell and the flames licked the sky.
Next thing Dean knew—he was sitting in the driver's seat of the Impala with a frozen Sam just about to get out of the car.
Stunned, Dean glanced out the window screen and to his shock- he saw the ill-fated little diner where he last saw his Sammy three years ago. Where Yellow Eyes had kidnapped his brother and as a result changed him forever.
What am I doing here? Dean thought as he stared at Sam frozen. He remembered vaguely turning to Sam asking him for pie and extra onions, chuckling softly at Sam's retort at the latter.
"Dean." Came from the backseat.
Not surprised at all that the female voice had followed him here, he turned towards the backseat.
"Now what-- You going to tell me that I have to kill Sam here and now again?" He snarled.
"No, this is your final reward. This is now the present. You can decide to let Sam go into that diner and be taken by Azazel again-- in that case, everything that happened in your future will happen again, or you can decide to just keep on driving and create a new future. It is up to you, Dean."
With that the voice faded as Sam unfroze. Just as he was about to turn away from the car and walk to the building, Dean called out "Sam?"
Sam turned back and glanced at Dean, "Yeah?"
"I have a bad feeling about this place. Let's just continue driving and stop at the next one."
Sam glanced at him oddly as if he had just suddenly sprouted two heads, but he didn't argue, "Okay."
Sam opened the car door and slid into his seat. Dean nodded at him, satisfied that Sam was just where he should be--by his side safe and sound.
With that, he turned up the volume on the radio and reversed out of the dirt road, knowing that while the future was relatively unknown, he had his brother and that's all what really mattered.