Well everyone, welcome to the FINAL chapter of this tale, there is a lot more dialogue this time around. I must say that this has been my favourite story to write thus far and I appreciate all of the wonderful, positive feedback I have received. I would really love to hear your thoughts, not only on this chapter, but on the story as a whole. I hope that you will enjoy this final installment and hope to see you again sometime! Thanks again for all of your support! :)
It's just plain weird. And creepy. And Bobby feels slightly sickened as he watches from the sidelines. Cas is busy working his magic and Dean seems to have turned into a mass of spineless jelly. Cas has removed his hands from Dean's face but the young man just remains where he is; floating around somewhere in the dark gaze of the eyes he stares into.
"Dean, listen to me. Focus and concentrate on my voice. Do you hear me?"
"Good. Now, listen carefully. You need, you want me and Bobby to help you. But in order to do that you have to be honest with us and answer any questions I ask of you. Do you understand?"
"Do you know where you are?"
"What happened to lead you here? What happened in the field? What started all of this?"
Something flashes across those green eyes and Bobby can sense the flurry of emotions as they roll through Dean's head; as he finds the answer to that question but holds on to it; tries to keep it inside. Because the answer must hurt like hell.
Dean's jawline tightens, his hands clench themselves into fists and his body physically starts to shake as he fights to keep his inner thoughts where they belong; to stop himself from saying the words that will be like a spike through his heart. His eyes open wider and Bobby knows he is willing himself to look away; to turn from the angel's pull on him.
But Cas ain't having any of that. Bobby isn't sure if it's a figment of his imagination but he swears he can see the colour in his eyes double in their intensity, like they are trying to bore a hole right into Dean's soul. Dean still quivers and Bobby can see the sheen of sweat glisten on his skin. The older man ain't liking how this is playing out but just as he is about to make his feelings about it known, Cas ups the ante and Dean doesn't stand a chance.
"Dean. You cannot fight this. You want to tell me. You need to. You need to let go of some of your pain and this is the only way. You know I am right. The memories won't hurt you, I am keeping them from doing so. But you must answer. Now."
And then Dean stops his fight; Bobby watches as he goes right back to the obedient little lap dog he was moments ago. His eyes return to their glazed and lifeless form and he answers the question that is demanded from the angel; the angel that Bobby is slowly starting to despise.
Dean is defenseless, his mind opened up and displayed like he's on the table at the damn morgue; his emotions and pain exposed for the other two men to see. Bobby feels dirty as sin about it too. He swallows the lump that has formed in his throat and prepares to serve as witness; to how the powers of heaven's righteous beings can actually reach in to someone's very essence and change them. Nobody and nothing should have that kind of power; that kind of control over another being.
As Dean speaks, Bobby is struck by how much he sounds like a damn robot. He would laugh about it if anything about this carnival act was in the least bit amusing.
"Sam. He threw himself, and Lucifer, into the pit. Into the cage. He's gone. Forever"
"And you have been left behind."
"If you were free to leave Bobby's right now, what would you do?"
Is this really necessary? Does this interrogation actually serve some kind of damn purpose? Let's get on to the fixing part already shall we? Bobby's pretty sure making someone relive the worst possible moments of their lives ain't top on the chart at the local 'How to Heal' handbook. The longer Bobby stands by, the more he thinks he has made a bad choice; the more he thinks Dean is going to be the one to pay for it.
It shocks the hell out of Bobby, the way the words so easily roll off the young man's tongue. Angel puppet or no, there should have been at least one little iota of resistance to that; one shred of the instinct of self-preservation waiting somewhere in the wings. Dean's fast and sure, and spits out those two words like they were nothing.
And Bobby's endless trip on this damn yo-yo is in full swing; he just keeps on going. One minute he wants to call the thing off, and the next he wants to hurry it along; wants Cas to just go for the jugular already and make Dean get rid of the thoughts running rampant in his head. This sucks already but Bobby knows it's just begun.
"Why do you want to end your life?"
"I have to. Can't live like this. Too much pain, too much torment. My brother, the one I swore to protect with my life is forever caged in with pure evil. It's the only way, I can't…. I just can't…. not without him."
"No Dean, you are wrong. You will not kill yourself. You have always claimed your devotion, your love for Sam, and because of that you would never end your life. That would be a betrayal like no other."
Okay, well now Bobby knows exactly what going for the jugular would look like, it is right there in front of him.
"Sam did not sacrifice himself only for the fate of the world. To put it simply Dean, he did it for you. He took control of the Devil himself and threw him back into the box. For you. So that you could be saved; so that you could live on; so that you could continue with a chance at a normal life. Is that not what you asked of him when your positions were reversed?"
"But I... I did it for Sam because..."
It doesn't matter because I was saved so he didn't have to go on without me... And only because I started it in the first place; because I had to finish it; but I couldn't even do that. There is no way for Sam to come back so it is not the same."
"You still have the same self doubt as when we first met; that somehow you do not deserve to be saved. Listen to me Dean. You may not see it, but you have now saved your brother twice. You brought him back and paid with your soul. And even now, even though you can't see it, you have saved him again. Perhaps not in the physical sense but if not for you he would have been lost long ago. You saved him from the evil he had within him, and helped turn it into something good. And because of that he saved not only you, but all who dwell on this earth. He has made an enormous sacrifice, there is no question. But what you are never willing to acknowledge is that you Dean… you have made a sacrifice as well."
Bobby swipes at the tears that have unashamedly flowed down his scruffy cheek. Cas is one sneaky bastard, he'll give him that. When all other methods fail, use the one that will get through. This is how he is gonna play it; the only weakness that Dean has is his brother. And to use Dean's commitment to him as the thing that saves him is shifty and a tad cruel, but down right effective.
Around and around they go. Questions and answers to anything and everything. Cas asks, Dean answers and Bobby is in awe of how Cas can then manoeuvre the words around until Dean is eating out of the palm of his hand, seeing things the way that Cas wants him to see them. Bobby has found out more about Dean in the past hour than in the entire span of time he has known him.
And at the end of it all, when there couldn't possibly be one more question to be asked, Cas ends it just how he started.
"Dean, tell me, when you leave the care of Bobby; when you set out into the world on your own again, what will you do?"
"Do what Sam wanted. Live my life and remember him; remember that he and I both stopped the apocalypse from descending onto earth; remember that I deserve to live. "
No hesitation and no doubt in that statement. Just that damn robot speak. Bobby sighs as it hits home. Bobby just sat back and watched the man he knew be altered and twisted into something other than himself. Dean was right, he has been changed and Bobby did not lift one finger to stop it. He has just witnessed perfection in the art of brainwashing. And he wishes to hell he hadn't.
"Your last memory will be of Bobby bringing you here; there has been no interference by me. The actions you take, the need you will feel when you awake to talk to Bobby about the loss of your brother; the need you have to honour Sam by doing what he asked of you will come from within yourself."
"Yes, I know. I need help. I need to live. And I will. For Sam."
"Close your eyes and rest, free from the burdens of what you have lost and suffered. Sleep."
And with that, Dean closes his eyes and collapses against the angel, and Bobby ain't sure how the hell he feels.
Because although the end result is the one he was hoping for, he thinks that maybe the cost has been too high after all.
Because in the world of Dean Winchester, the one thing that kept you going; made you strong enough to defy heaven and hell and angels and demons, was the one thing that Bobby just allowed to be taken away.
Because when nothing else worked, when no other motivation would cut it, Dean would rely on two little words to forge ahead and tell those sons of bitches to shove it where the sun doesn't, or does, shine.
Because in the end, Dean would never give in to them, no matter what; because of those words. Two words he lived by; that he cherished; that he defied heaven and hell to protect.
Sure, maybe Dean won't be jumping out in front of a bus anytime soon but a part of him has been removed, ripped out without his permission.
As Bobby stalks over towards the two figures, the ones who look like they have been caught in some kind of weird embrace, another uncharacteristically frequent tear rolls from his eye.
As he looks down at the peaceful face of Dean, of the man he considers a son, he knows. Bobby knows. Damn it to hell, he chose wrong; the price was too high. The cost was those two words; the ones that had been spit out of Dean's mouth with venom so often against all who told him he had to bow down; that he and Sam had to just play along and do what destiny commanded. Two little words.