5.22 Swan Song AU tag…what might have happened without the last few seconds of the episode and the promise of a Season Six. So, yeah, this is kind of a death fic, but only what the show initially showed. And no, it is not what I wanted to happen and truth be told, I'm a little afraid to post this one. As Chuck, our narrator, would say, it's just the way the story seemed to be heading. Grab the tissues…these boys always manage to tear my heart out.

Apologies to those disappointed in how Season Five ended. Personally, I loved it…more so with every viewing. How this story plays out is not what I would choose to happen to the boys because they deserve so much more. I'll always believe in Sam and Dean and that no matter what happens they will find their way back to each other. In fact, I'm counting on it in Season Six.

Kripke, thanks for sharing your story with us.

As grateful as I am for the great gift you've given us, I'll forever want more and be willing to go wherever you and Sera and your talented team want to take the boys. I'll always be there for more Winchester adventures, more seasons to marvel at the awesome talents of Jensen and Jared, more of everything we love about Sam and Dean. I never want this ride to end, but if this part had to, you did them justice, you really did. – B.J.

The Power of Love

When Adam first asked what their plan was, how they, mere mortals, planned on defeating the devil, Dean had wryly replied they were working on the power of love. Adam, rightly, didn't think that was a strong enough plan; neither did Dean, that's why he was intent on saying 'Yes' to Michael. Even Sam never believed love would be enough. He thought he needed to be stronger, fiercer, more determined; all necessary in this fight but not all that was needed. Sam thought it would all come down to will, and maybe it did…

Or maybe will and determination needed a little help, a passion to push past the point of reason or rational explanation, to tip the scales and soundly defeat evil.

Maybe love does move the world.

It seems some fans of their story, fans of those popular comic book superhero stories, wanted their heroes to be more than mere men. They wanted super powers, supermen, someone larger than life that they could believe in, some huge finale where grandiose action and an epic battle saved the day. Those stories can be exciting, downright exhilarating, but this wasn't that kind of a story, not this time.

The true beauty of the Winchesters' story is how intimate and extremely personal saving the world ended up being for Sam and Dean. For these heroes it came down to the measure of a man and the depth of their love.

How they managed to accomplish the impossible without benefit of special weapons or super powers or any other inhuman advantage is quite a story, written down in the Winchester Gospel and shared with generations to come. Ultimately it was who they were and what they stood for that made all the difference.

In the vast uncertainty of the universe, it turned out the power of love was enough to save the world.

It was one man refusing to abandon his brother to die alone. It was two brothers believing in each other, holding on to that undeniable bond forged at birth and nurtured through the years.

It was love.

It was remembering their shared history, time spent within the steel walls of that '67 Impala. It was army men and Legos, and four initials scraped into metal. It was two brothers embracing their past and, in so doing, insuring the world's future.

It was family.

A family unlike God's holy family in all the crucial ways that mattered, even though surface comparisons were many and seemed destined to take their story in another direction.

The final showdown came and Lucifer and Michael faced off, angels denying their brotherly bond, one petulant and bitter, the other determined to fulfill his soldierly duty and obey his orders like the good son he thought himself to be.

Chess pieces playing their roles.

In contrast the Winchesters held tight to their belief in family and free will, doing it their way in spite of long odds and slim chances. Their faith in each other and their right to choose the foundation they risked it all on.

Legend had it that only the righteous man who started it could stop it. And he did. Not with guns blazing or fists flying. Not with clever traps or intricate rituals.

His role was more complex and more simple. Basic and true to the core of his being and the course of his life.

He stopped it by trusting his brother, by believing in them, by simply being there, for Sam. Dean refused to let his brother die alone. Battered and bloody, beaten but never broken, he croaked out his support, "Sam, it's okay, I'm here….I'm not gonna leave you."

And he didn't.

This time Sam was again the one to leave, but not like all the other times. This time was different. I guess you could say that Sam was fulfilling his destiny by putting Lucifer back in his cage, but the boys, they saw things differently. Sam assumed that responsibility, accepted the job placed before him. Then he weighed his options and took that last Hail-Mary shot and by sheer will and one hell of a family assist, he took back control and snapped the cage shut on the Devil.

In the cosmic battle between right and wrong, good and evil, man won.

Two brothers won. But the cost…the cost was high, as it always seems to be in these epic battles. Sam not only lost his life but was forever trapped in eternal damnation, locked down under with the ultimate bad, the Devil himself.

It was what Sam wanted, what he needed: to right a wrong, to find redemption, to do right for the world. And that's all Sam ever wanted, to save as many innocents as he could and make the world a better place.

I don't think he could have done any more. That's all you can ask of a hero.

And Dean? Dean made his own sacrifice when he let go. That took every fiber of his being, but he'd made a promise and Dean Winchester doesn't renege on a promise. At least he didn't this time; the stakes were too high, even though the fallout was much too much for the Winchesters.

He did what he had to do, just like Sam.

So when generations look back, generations that never would have been born without the Winchesters' sacrifice, let the history books proclaim that yes, the power of love can accomplish the impossible. Let the record show that two brothers came face to face with the Devil and won.

And that's one hell of a legacy for average men faced with the impossible, who somehow found a way to be victorious.

But then Sam and Dean weren't just average men, they were Winchesters, with something indefinable and special, just not superhuman. They did it the old-fashioned way, with determination and guts, with perseverance and character, with forgiveness and love.

Dying for each other was something they had never thought twice about, all the Winchesters had always been hellbent to sacrifice themselves if it meant they could save one of their own. So for Dean to stand back and watch Sam sacrifice himself, to support him in that decision and not jump in with him, well, that was huge. It was a character defining moment, a spurt of growth.

Dean may have wanted to die, every fiber of his being desperate for a way to unlock the box and save Sam, but he'd made a promise. And all of the Winchesters knew how to keep promises. Honor, like sacrifice, is another trait among heroes.

So maybe that was the lesson here, how to let go. The love never died and that just made it harder, damn near impossible and most definitely unbearable, and yet he did it.

Lesson learned.

The world survived and so did their love: intense, unending, traversing the distance and bringing the only modicum of peace Dean could find amid intolerable anguish.

So while evil always seemed to use their love against them, in the end their love is what saved them.

After Sam took that swan dive into the pit, Dean knelt in that cemetery for a long time, refusing to abandon his brother, unable to gather the will to move. He'd already used all his will to see this through. Eventually, because he had no other choice, he staggered to his feet and moved forward, one more promise to keep as he went back to Lisa and Ben and tried to live his life.

There he spent many solitary nights sitting on the hood of the Impala and staring at the stars that seemed to shine even brighter within the dark his life had descended into. With the still of the night surrounding him he'd get lost, allowing the night to swallow him until the day finally came when the memories again brought a slight smile to his lips. He found, with time, he could give his brother that much; his memories of their time together the only calm in a sea of grief.

He tried. And each new day got a little easier until he found he actually managed to laugh with Ben as he bonded with a new child who needed him, another young life that looked up to him and wanted to be just like his new dad.

Dean again found purpose in his life, a reason to keep going.

But he never forgot. Sam's life and death were permanently imprinted into his consciousness and he honored his memory with each new day as he continued on, one day at a time.

When Lisa got pregnant, he knew it was a boy and he knew what his name would be from the start. Lisa agreed, and little Sammy grew up hearing tales of his dad and his uncle as he bonded with his own big brother, Ben.

Ben had a family tradition to uphold and he was a natural.

As Dean watched them grow he relived his own childhood: toy soldiers and Legos, two young boys using their daddy's knife to scratch their initials beneath the rear window of that classic car.

On a warm summer's eve Dean helped his boys add their own initials, right there beside the S.W. and the D.W.

And the boys grew up, strong and true, courageous and bold, kind and loving. Their brotherly bond impenetrable, destined to last forever.

Eventually, with the passage of time, a new generation of Winchester men set out to make the world their own. And the world was in good hands.

Together Sam and Dean had saved the world. In most stories that would be the end, but for them it was just the beginning, another chapter in a continuing saga.

Back on that fateful day when the world sat poised on the edge of the sword, teetering on the brink of scorched earth and the distant promise of paradise, Bobby and Cas thought the older brother was going to do something stupid. His response was pure Dean, his voice raspy and worn, but certain, unwavering in his course, "Well, then, I ain't gonna let him die alone."

Dean saw the world clearly that day. It all came down to family and he wasn't going to give up…not on Sam. He would be there, just like he had on so many previous days, for all those life moments that matter and all those that seem to slip by unnoticed. He would be there, come what may…

So in the end, Sam didn't die, not really. The true essence of a man can never die, not when there is love like that that keeps him close.

Every man will eventually die…what matters is how he lived and what he chose to die for. Sam and Dean chose well.

Their story will forever live on, for every generation to come, how two men, two brothers, were faced with an awful burden and somehow, through perseverance and courage and faith in each other, they kept going through unimaginable struggles, kept fighting until the scales were tipped when the power of love triumphed over evil.

That was the only way their story could end.

The End


May 2010

All standard disclaimers apply.

I am so relieved that Kripke and Sera and TPTB have brought our boys back for another season. Without Season Six this might have been the ending to their story and I am so happy it isn't; that Sam did indeed come back. Their story is far from over. Long live Sam and Dean. They still have work to do, important work, and it's not yet done.

Thanks for reading, reviews are much appreciated. Take care, B.J.