Summery: Sometimes all you need is a second chance.
Warning: Season Five spoilers. This story one-shot was written in response to the broadcasted previews for episode 5x22 and to pacify my own imagination. Seeing as this was written before the real episode 5x22 aired, I cannot be blamed for any difference between this fic and the canon. Thanks.
Disclaimer: I own nothing. Any and all things written related to Supernatural is simply the work of a very board little girl playing in her cyber-sandbox.
Special Thanks: Many thanks to cheshirecat101 who was kind enough to offer her savvy beta-reading skills:) This story was edited by aforementioned awesomeness on 07/11/10
All the Flowers of Tomorrow are in the Seeds of Yesterday
By The White Wanderer
"Is it too much to ask for a second chance?"
The war was over, but like the biblical flood that had cleansed the world of evil, the Earth had been burned and blackened and transformed into nothing more than a barren wasteland of lost and forgotten memories.
Today the sixty-six seals of the Apocalypse were restored and Lucifer was once more chained down with his cage in Hell. Without their Lord to lead them, the demons had retreated to their fiery sanctuary of eternal torment, rather than face the righteous wrath of the victorious angels.
It should have been a glorious day, but it wasn't – not when the Earth had become nothing more then a war-torn battlefield; a mass graveyard for the fallen.
Now that the war between Heaven and Hell had ended, extinction seemed inevitable. The once magnificent floras and faunas had been turned bone and dust, the water having long since become tainted and toxic. The human race, caught blindly in the crossfire, hadn't known what hit them until ninety percent of the population had already been annihilated.
For the few lingering survivors, one silent question remained: how long would they continue to survive?
For Dean Winchester, who was one such survivor, wished he was not one.
The End of Days had had its toll on him, and it had been the day he watched his brother die again. Sam had fallen, taking Lucifer with him. Stubborn until the last, his little brother had fought his own inner darkness – for Dean and for the world – and come out on top. He had been brave, all the while knowing that he would not see tomorrow.
"Is this not a second chance?" an unwelcome voice asked. "So many possibilities lie before you."
Dean scowled, turning to stare loathingly at Michael, rankled by the archangel's presence.
It hadn't been long now that he had earned the ability to see and hear angels in their true forms – and while it was mind-blowing to say the least, he wished he'd remained blind and deaf forever. There was no way to describe what he saw, for angels were completely beyond simple human comprehension. Perhaps 'aliens' actually did exist and it was angels that had originated the tales of otherworldly travelers.
"Go away." the last Winchester growled.
At the end he and his brother had stood fast, determined to put Lucifer back in his cage where he belonged. Sam's endgame had been crazy, but it had been their only option. So while Dean had wanted nothing more than to tie him down and watch the world go to shit with Sam by his side, a deal with Death himself and his own responsibility to let his brother grow up had stayed his hand.
And now Sam was dead.
"Your brother knew what he was doing when he chose to use himself to take Lucifer back to Hell," Michael replied. "You do not have to face this alone. You must know that I also feel the pain of losing one's sibling."
Dean scoffed miserably, toeing at the dusty ground dispassionately. "So what? You're not human. The difference between you and me is that your brother isn't dead. You got to 'send him to his room' and wait till he repents. Mine is gone."
"Samuel is not gone. Though he jumped into Pit to save this world, his soul is free of that damnation – Father saw to that. He will be reincarnated and will be reborn when the time of renewal comes."
After everything that he had seen and done, something inside him finally snapped.
"Yeah well I don't want a reincarnation!" Dean bellowed. "I want Sam! I want my brother, not some stranger that just so happens to have his soul."
"No! What I meant when I asked for a second chance was about going back and doing it all again! Changing things so that this,"-he gestured wildly at the barren landscape around him- "hopefully never happens!"
There was a moment of silence as the pair gazed out upon the devastation. The angels had anticipated such destruction, but looking at it now they saw why the humans had fought so hard to preserve what had once been. The great cities of man had fallen and their civilizations had crumbled – leaving nothing of God's greatest creation to be salvaged.
Michael stared at him, listening intently as he continued to rant.
"Now if there's any way of going back and actually changing things for the better, I'd take it! But is it even bloody possible? That time Cas sent me back and I tried to save my mom, it didn't work. Then that time when Anna went back to kill my parents so Sam wouldn't be born, she failed because of you. Is it possible? Damn you, if it's possible, tell me!"
The archangel smiled, though it was more of a sneer, and Dean gritted his teeth.
"It is possible," Michael replied. "But none who have been given the chance have ever been able to live the consequences that tend to result from changing the past. That is why we never allow it. All who have tried have gone mad; driven insane by their need for the perfect future and the inability to control the outcome."
"Yeah, yeah, it's Murphy's Law – whatever can go wrong will go wrong. I get that, I do. Just give me the chance!"
There was momentary silence, then much to Dean's surprise, Michael nodded.
"You and your brother – by sheer guts and audacity alone – have proven that destiny can be changed. Samuel proved that when he retook control of his body from Lucifer and returned my brother to his prison. Destiny had always foretold of a battle between Lucifer and I. You changed that. So if you truly believe that you have what it takes to do this without fail, then I shall give you the benefit of the doubt, Dean Winchester."
Dean nodded, trying to hide his enthusiasm so as not to lose this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
"Yes! And I won't fail."
Michael smirked, and reached towards him with two fingers.
"Very well then. Don't screw up."
When Dean came to, the first thing he wanted to do was vomit.
Though sick to his stomach and violently ill, he found that he was unable to puke. Lying facedown in bed, he groaned in pain, silently cursing Michael for not having the decency to make the trip anything less then terrible.
He continued to lie in bed, unmoving. However, when he smelt the telltale scent of apples and cinnamon, his nose began to twitch. Despite his nausea, Dean's mouth began to water as the nostalgic memories of his childhood return to haunt him. Though it had been nearly twenty-seven years, he remembered the mouthwatering aroma of his mother's apple cinnamon pancakes like it was yesterday.
When he had been only four years old, he had been a momma's boy through and through. Every Saturday morning he would hop out of bed and rush down the stairs to the kitchen where Mary Winchester would be waiting for him with a ladle in hand. He had always loved helping her make the last of the pancakes.
If he was really in the past, then this would be the first Saturday he didn't participate in the weekly ritual.
How long he lay there, Dean didn't know. It could have been seconds, minutes or hours for all he cared. But when he heard the soft patter of footsteps approaching, he almost stopped breathing.
'Please don't let this be a dream…' he begged silently. 'Please…'
His bedroom door creaked softly on its hinges – he still could breathe – and then a soft hand threaded its fingers into his hair and the scent of Chanel No 5 awoke almost as many memories as the sweet voice that followed it.
"Dean, its time to wake up."
"M - Mommy…?" he whispered, his throat hoarse with unshed tears. He rolled over and looked up at her.
Gazing down at him with concern in her beautiful eyes was none other then Mary Winchester.
"Baby, what's wrong?" she asked, sitting down on the edge of his bed and brushing the hair out his eyes.
"N-nothing," he croaked. "I'm okay."
His mother, however, was as unconvinced as any mother seeing her child in distress and drew him up into her warm embrace. It was then that Dean knew that this was real - that she was real.
True to his word, Michael really had turned back time.
He was small again, his thirty-one year old mind stored safely away tiny four year old body. Clinging to his mother like she would disappear at any second, Dean began to sob.
Twenty-seven years worth of tears soaked the shirt beneath his face, and loving arms he longed to feel around him again clung to him as he cried.
When Dean woke up the second time that morning, his face was sticky with dried tears.
Thankfully though, he wasn't feeling sick anymore. His mother was gone, but he could hear the reassuring sound of her humming from downstairs and it warmed his heart knowing that it hadn't been a dream.
Sometimes second chances really do happen.
With a spring in his step, Dean climbed out of bed and hunted for some 'acceptable' apparel. He might be four years old again, but he wasn't going to settle for anything that didn't make him look good (blah! like that t-shirt he wore in flashback Heaven).
He nearly squealed – yes, squealed – when he found a Batman t-shirt in his dresser (he might have a good memory, but you can't remember everything). Standing in front of the mirror with the shirt, along with a pair of tiny jeans, Dean scrutinized himself.
Staring back at him was cute little kid with a mop of blond hair and smattering of pale freckled across his nose.
'Not bad, but I'll do' he thought with a smirk.
As he exited his bedroom, he glanced across the hall towards Sammy's nursery. The door was slightly ajar and the soft intake and outtake of breath could be heard from within. Tiptoeing towards the door, the little boy slowly pushed it open and padded softly across the room to the crib.
Being a lot shorter then he been before, Dean was forced to improvise and drag a chair over to the crib so he could clamber onto it and use its height to steal a peek at his brother for the first time since his death. Looking down at the sleeping infant with a thatch of brown hair, he realized how innocent Sam looked when unburned by the hardships of a future he would hopefully never have to endure again.
This Sammy wouldn't be the Sam he remember, but at least this Sammy would have the chance grow up as normal as possible. He wouldn't have the burden of remembering the future that Dean intended to change, and even if it killed him, he would make sure that he never had to suffer from Azazel's influence either.
"Cas!" the little boy gasped, his eyes widening in surprise as Castiel suddenly appeared beside him.
Castiel had been restored to his full angelic nature soon after Sam had ended the apocalypse, and while he shouldn't have still looked like Jimmy Novak, it seemed that his former vessel's human appearance was there to stay.
With a smile, Dean surrendered himself to his four year old urges and threw himself into the angel's arms.
"Wha – what are you doing here?" he babbled as Castiel caught him, clinging to the angel like a limpet. "Why do still look like Jimmy? And hey! Can't I be trusted to this by myself?"
The angel sighed, which Dean was certain was to cover his laughter, and lowered him back to the chair.
"Just because my brother has allowed you the privilege of changing the past does not mean that you will not require assistance."
"So what," Dean teased, "Mike made you my personal Guardian Angel?"
"If that is what you wish like to call it, then yes. It does not matter what time you are in, you are still my charge, Dean Winchester."
"Whatever you say, dude. Now tell me why you still look like Jimmy."
Castiel frowned, looking down at his body. "It looks as though James' body had become my own," he replied. "The current James has no need of it, and as the future will undoubtedly change, he will never have need of it."
"So, like, it's become a loophole?"
He glanced back at Sammy, who continued to sleep undisturbed.
"Will he ever remember?"
"Perhaps one day," the angel replied. "For now Samuel is getting what he wished for – peace, freedom, love, and family. I will be here to make sure that Azazel does not touch him."
Dean let out a breath of relief. "Thanks Cas."
"You are welcome Dean."
The little boy flinched at the sound of Mary's frightened voice, and turned guiltily towards the door as his mother rushed into the nursery. He glanced in Castiel's direction, but as he suspected the angel had vanished, leaving Dean alone in the nursery with his sleeping baby brother.
"Dean sweetie, who where talking to?" she asked, panicked worry in her eyes as she scooped him up into her arms and looked around the room with the fierceness of a hawk protecting her chicks. "Come on buddy, you can tell me."
Knowing that he would need to soothe the terrified hunter she had hidden away within her, Dean smiled innocently and kissed her cheek, deciding now was the time to tell her the one thing she needed to know.
"Don't worry mommy – we have an angel watching over us."