5.22 Swan Song tag – I loved Chuck's narration in SS and now it seems like every story I write, I hear his voice, his commentary on the action. And I keep getting drawn to writing tags for SS, even though I have probably already said the same thing in just a slightly different way. It is what it is, but Kripke sure hit a nerve with me and I just keep revisiting it. So I hope there is something worthwhile here and you can enjoy it for what it is. Thanks for reading, B.J.

"The spirit of man can endure only so much and when it is broken only a miracle can mend it." - John Burroughs

This Is How It Began and This Is How It Ended

So, how did their story end? Was it destiny or free will? Anyone who knows the boys was betting on free will, but then, no one can say for sure. The boys don't even know. They hope it was their choice, but in the end only God knows for sure and he's not talking.

What we do know is they stopped it. Stopped the Apocalypse, stopped Lucifer in his tracks, and thumbed their noses at Michael and the rest of his angel buddies.

But it cost them, more than any previous sacrifice and Lord knows the Winchesters have sacrificed for mankind. This wasn't that much different except this time Dean let it stand. There were no do-overs, no crossroad deals, no bartering to change the outcome, and most cruelly, no second chance to make it right.

Dean had made a promise.

So he walked away from that hole in the ground, the burial place for both his brothers. Left the ground as it was, an empty field full of brambles and weeds, with no marker or monument to commemorate what they'd done. He didn't need a stone slab to remind him of what went down that day. It was forever seared into his memory, a vision that would haunt him for the rest of his days.

Lisa was the only soul he ever told this story to and it took a long time for him to find the words. And when he finally did, he started at the beginning. He told the tale of two brothers who grew up on the road, who learned to depend on their own wits and that impenetrable bond they shared that held their family together. He took his time telling that story, never wanting to reach the end. In the back of his mind he secretly hoped that the ending would change before he got there, that a miracle would somehow reverse Sam's fate.

When all their adventures had been covered, when each and every hunt had been explored in depth, when he could no longer avoid the inevitable he took a deep breath and began, "On May 13th, 2010 the world was set to end until…"

Lisa sat by his side, holding his hand as the tears finally fell, tears of loss and regret mixing with tears of love and pride. That night for the first time in a very long time Dean dreamed, of army men and Legos, of two young boys just beginning their journey, no real knowledge of what was to come but confident they'd always be together as they traveled life's road.

Telling their story reopened raw wounds, wounds that had never managed to heal in the first place, piercing the tentative calm he'd tried to establish and pulling him back to that time and that loss.

With the reflection of time he thought he'd find deeper meaning, new truths, better understanding. In reality nothing much changed, every thought and feeling the same.

It still hurt.

He knew it would always hurt.

As hard as it was to witness, Dean never regretted that he was there for the end. He knew it was necessary. He was fully aware that his presence helped Sam break free of Lucifer's grip. It didn't make it any easier, in fact, it made it a thousand times more difficult, but he never would have changed it. As Sam's big brother, it was his duty to be there. As a man, it was his honor.

On that dark day so long ago, two brothers united in their beliefs, stood side by side against the dark forces of evil, and finished the impossible job placed before them. All the demons and angels, from Azazel and Lilith to Lucifer and Michael had discounted their worth in this battle. None of them considered them a threat. Lucifer thought no man, not even Sam Winchester, would be able to break his hold over their willing body once they said "Yes". He was wrong.

And Dean? To the movers and shakers of the Apocalypse, he was just a man, insignificant beyond his role as a vessel, unimportant in the grand scheme of things. But they too were wrong. In the final tally he was the catalyst for change, he was a shining example of the best mankind could offer. They both were.

They were brothers standing up for humanity and they refused to be diminished. They refused to accept that their choices didn't matter. Dean was forever the big brother who would be there for Sam. Nothing changed there. He refused to be ignored, refused to be silenced, refused to sit on the sidelines while his brother made his play.

In some respects you might say Sam didn't have a choice in how he came to the battle, that choice taken away when he was six months old, or even earlier, ten years before when his mother made that unholy deal. But he did have a choice in how he dealt with his dark destiny, how he refused to give up or give in.

Dean, well, Dean's choice was all free will. He chose to back his family. He chose to stand beside his brother, or rather, in front of him for much of the fight. That is until he had no choice but to let Sam go.

Was either man more important? No, I don't think so. They each had a part to play and they played it magnificently.

And that is all you can ask. All you can expect from heroes.

In the end, it was enough...truth was, it was exactly what the world needed.

So was it their destiny to save the world or simply the world's good fortune to have men such as the Winchesters fighting for it?

That's a question for philosophers and poets…or God if he ever decides to make an appearance.

In the nitty, gritty reality of the aftermath Dean was left with only one thought, one desperate need. How could he go on from here? Without his brother, knowing where Sam was and what he was suffering through? How could he possibly live with that?

Dean thought this was the end, an end he never wanted to face.

No one knows how it happened but this wasn't the end. Instead this most tragic of endings somehow opened up a new beginning as Sam appeared beneath that streetlight, eyes pensive and reflective as he sought out his brother.

As Dean faced his darkest fear, a new light beckoned, a new hope as his brother returned from his grave one more time. With these Winchesters one should know, it is never the end, not for men such as these.

Endings are hard, but then again, nothing ever really ends, does it?

The End


July 2010

All standard disclaimers apply.

Kripke has given us all indications that a new beginning is on the horizon. Thank goodness Sam is back, and that is all Dean or I care about. We'll figure out the rest in Season Six.

Thanks for reading, B.J.