Disclaimer: I do not in any way, shape or form own Supernatural and this is why.
Warnings/Notes: Dean/Castiel, some pseudo-underage sex (everyone is seventeen, and consenting, if that helps.) and underage alcohol/marijuana use. Schmoopy schmoop-schmoop. Set after 6.22. Pseudo-spoilers for the end of Season 6, and for the books Catcher in the Rye and Love in the Time of Cholera. While self-betaing this, I also realized I made the boys say the fuck word an awful lot, and other swears. I think I wrote them that way because I think they would swear like goddamned sailors if they weren't on the CW. This story is written to be my happy place when Season 7 inevitably breaks my heart.
Chapter One: Fast Times at Ridgemont High (Writing on the Wall)
"Dean! Dean! Are you okay? Dean, please, wake up! Mom!"
Dean Winchester could hear Sam yelling, but something was terribly, terribly off about it. It was high pitched, frantic, and was he actually crying for their mother? Dean tried to speak, but was overcome with a wave of dizziness instead. The last thing he remembered was Castiel going supernova, and then everything had gone black. He vaguely felt his body being lifted by strong arms, and smelled the familiar scent of the Impala. Then, the blackness claimed him again.
When he came to again, he was in a hospital. He slowly opened his eyes, and then shut them again instantly. Not possible. He thought. He opened them again. John and Mary Winchester stood at the side of his bed, Mary holding his hand, John's hand on her shoulder. He looked to his other side. It was Sam, for sure, but Sam at age fourteen, all big blinky eyes, floppy hair, and awkward limbs.
"Mmm…" Dean stuttered, before rasping out the full word. "Mom?" His eyes filled with tears.
"Dean! Oh, honey, it's going to be okay. They did a scan, there might be some mild damage, but you'll recover." Mary squeezed his hand.
'What… what happened?" he asked.
"You fell!" Sam exclaimed, "Out of the tree house! It was crazy; you just plummeted like a rock!"
"The tree house?" Dean was confused as all hell now. They hadn't had a tree house since… Oh fuck. Since 1983, Dean thought.
A man came in, the white coat and stethoscope a tell-tale sign that this was a doctor. Dean didn't recognize him.
"Well, Mr. and Mrs. Winchester, Dean here is a very lucky boy. He seems to have a mild concussion. There might be some retrograde amnesia- that means he may have trouble recalling past events for a while, but with rest and care, he should make a full recovery. He can go home in the morning; we just want to observe him overnight to be safe."
Dean let the voices fade away as he considered what he had just seen and heard. Okay. Djinn. It's gotta be. Mom and Dad alive, Sam happy and safe. This reeks of Djinn. Dean tried to push himself up and the doctor put a hand on his shoulder.
"Easy now, kiddo, we'll let you go home in the morning. You really can't move too much til then, okay?"
Dean forced a smile and nodded, struck by another wave of dizziness. Okay, no moving for right now. I'll deal with this as soon as I can get out of here.
In the morning, the Winchesters came to get him, much to his relief.
"I'm glad you're okay." In the backseat of the Impala, Sam reached over and squeezed Dean's hand. Dean smiled at his little brother, feeling sick inside, and thought, How fucked up is this? How many times do the demons have to dangle this life in front of us before we break?
Once home, Dean stood in the yard, looking at the house. White, two stories, pillars, yeah, that's the house, exactly like I remember.
His parents and Sam hovered over him, but Dean reassured them he was fine, and just needed some time to relax. He went up to his room. It wasn't exactly as he remembered, but it was the room he would have had at seventeen, if he'd lived a normal life. There were Zeppelin posters, worn band t-shirts in place of curtains, an acoustic guitar in the corner. Vonnegut novels on his small bookshelf, which was mostly full of cassette tapes and cds. He grinned when he saw the stereo system- it was pimpin', for the time period. The room was plain, but comfortable.
There was a knock on the door, which when opened, revealed Sam, clutching a photo album.
"The doctor said we should try and help you remember things."
Dean almost hesitated, but at the look in his little brother's eyes, let him in. He sat on the bed, and Sam gingerly sat next to him.
As they paged through the pictures, Dean had to hold back tears again. Family vacations, holidays, the usual sappy crap, but this was his family, his parents, his brother and him, living the normal life they always dreamed of. Worse, as they flipped though the pages, Dean could almost remember the events.
What sort of fucked up spell is this? he thought.
"Who're they?" He tapped a photo that showed Sam and Dean with two other kids, one of them a boy with bright blue eyes and dark hair, the other with lighter blue-green eyes and reddish hair.
"Cas and Anna. You'll remember them, they've only lived next door to us forever," Sam said, concerned eyes searching Dean's face.
"Huh." Dean grunted. Does this mean Cas and Anna are part of my heart's desire now? "Sam, can I ask you a funny question?"
"Yeah, of course, anything. The doctor said you might have a lot of weird questions at first."
"Uh… Does Dad ever hunt? Or Mom?"
"Well, Dad does, yeah, with Bobby sometimes, only small game, though, and deer. I don't think they really do it for the kill, though, I think they just like the excuse to get away from Mom and Ellen and drink and bullshit."
"No, I mean… demons. Do our parents ever hunt demons?"
Sam was looking at him like he was crazy now. "Demons? Demons aren't real, Dean. Should I go get Mom?"
"No, uh, no, I just need some rest, Sammy, I'll be tip top tomorrow. No more funny questions," Dean tried to smile reassuringly.
After Sam left, Dean went to the den. Luckily, his fantasy family had succumbed to the internet age, and they had the basic Windows set-up. Dean was amazed by how slow the dial up connection was. Finally, though, he was able to search through the few cases he remembered his dad working back in the day. He turned up nothing, no deaths, and no mysterious circumstances. Next he searched for lore, checking the old sites and missing person's ads. There was nothing suspicious. In fact, according to the internet, there was absolutely no evidence that hunters, demons or angels ever existed, other than very basic mythology and the usual Bible crap.
Confused, and unsure of what to do, Dean decided to check out the neighborhood. He told Mary and Sam he needed to get some fresh air, kissed Mary on the cheek, pausing for a few extra seconds to hug her, and smell the incredibly missed scent of mom-ness.
He wandered down the street, glancing up at the house next to the Winchester's. He thought he saw a pale face vanish behind curtain, and heard a window slam shut suddenly. No one reappeared, and after a moment, Dean continued down the street. Preoccupied in planning his next move, he almost knocked over the red-headed girl rushing down the street.
"Woah! Dean. Hey. Watch it, you almost got me." Anna smiled at him. Dean stared for a moment at her, young and beautiful and alive. She seemed human. "What happened yesterday? We heard yelling, and then you all drove off in a hurry. Everything okay?" A golden cross glinted at her throat.
"Yeah. Uh, I fell. Out of the tree house."
"Yeesh. Are you okay?" Her eyes widened with concern.
"Yeah. I'm a little concussed, but the doc says I'll make a full recovery."
"Oh, good! Will you be in school next week?"
"God, I hope not," Dean said with a passion.
Anna's face sobered. "I wish you wouldn't say things like that, Dean."
"Huh? What?" Dean was perplexed.
"Take His name in vain. We've talked about this," she sighed, crossed her arms.
"Oh, uh, I'm sorry, Anna, " Dean apologized, "I wasn't thinking."
"I forgive you." She blinked seriously, and smiled a smaller smile. "I'll see you at school."
"Yeah. Uh, tell Cas I said hey." At that, Anna looked surprised, but nodded and went up her walkway.
As he wandered though the neighborhood, he wandered past a junkyard named B & E Scrap Yard. Remembering the Titanic-timeline where Bobby and Ellen were married, Dean went inside the gates. It was Bobby's house, no doubt, exactly the same, but in Lawrence. What the fuck, Dean thought, and was abruptly almost knocked off his feet by a tiny blonde tornado.
"Uff!" he grunted, and Jo bounced back, grinning with glee.
"Dean! You're okay!" God, she must be eleven or twelve. Dean boggled a moment at the preteen Jo in front of him.
"Yeah, just a head bump. Your ma home?"
"Yeah she is, and we just made pie, she musta known you were coming!" Jo grabbed his hand and pulled him toward the house. Bobby sat on the porch, disturbingly clean, beer in hand. Jo kissed him on the cheek.
"Dean says he's okay, Daddy," she smiled, and led Dean into Bobby's equally disturbingly clean kitchen.
Dean sat a while with Ellen and Jo, eating fresh apple pie, and looking at the family pictures strewn about with a strange mixture of heartbreak and joy. It's weird that my brain would make Jo into Bobby's daughter, and them living in Lawrence. But I guess it makes sense that I'd want this for them. He also looked for signs of demon activity, or indications of hunting, but everything seemed as normal as the pie in front of him.
After his plate was cleaned, and there were hugs all around, Dean headed home.
I am really fucking confused, was his last conscious thought before he drifted off to sleep after being tucked in- Seriously, tucked in at seventeen. I guess I could have protested, but it's just too damn nice.- by his mother.
The next morning, Dean woke, and wandered downstairs. As he got to the doorway into the kitchen, he saw something that made him freeze in his tracks and almost break down.
Breakfast, blueberry pancakes and a heaping mound of bacon with potatoes and syrup and butter graced the table. Sam sat, drinking orange juice and making a disgusted face. His parents stood by the window, John holding Mary in his arms as he kissed her the way only the truly in love can kiss.
A moment of perfect happiness, he thought. Dean wanted it to be true, to be real, so badly that he felt tears spring to his eyes and his heart seize up in his chest. It took him several minutes before he could control himself, and when he finally entered the kitchen, he thought he might lose it all over again. Mary and John broke apart, and his mom came over and hugged him, running her hand across his forehead, checking for bumps.
"How did you sleep?"
"Oh, fine, Mom." Dean hugged her back, tightly, and then sat at the table. They ate breakfast, chatted about times past, and Dean sat quietly, trying to remember the last time he'd felt such conflicting emotions, so happy and peaceful and so terrified because he knew it had to be a trap. He picked up some interesting bits of information over breakfast- John and Bobby owned a car repair shop together, Winchester Auto, and Ellen mostly ran the scrap yard. Ellen's first husband, Jo's dad, had died when she was small. Cas and Anna grew up next door, but only Anna and her mother, also named Mary, came by these days. Sam was just as dorky in this universe with a normal childhood as he was in the real world. As Dean left the house, he felt sick to his stomach, partly from the excessive amount of breakfast, and partly from the pain of being taunted by his fondest fantasies being used to fuck with him. I don't know what's doing this, but I will end them, he thought grimly.
Over the next week, Dean tried everything. Summoning rituals, prayers, he even went to the library and did actual research. Nothing worked. He seemed to be completely trapped. Finally, he figured, Nothing I can do but play the game, and wait for the big bad to reveal itself. At this point, I'm thinking it's the Guardian of Forever fucking with me. I expect Joan Collins to show up any minute.
That was how Dean Winchester, a thirty three year old man trapped in his awkward, seventeen year old body, found himself starting his senior year of high school at Lawrence High.
At least this time, it should be easier. Just call me Peggy Sue, he told himself, as he headed to his first class. By the end of it, his notebook was covered in band logos and the teacher, a youngish man named Mr. Kripke had called on him three times, each time resulting in a wrong answer from Dean. Needless to say, he was asked to stay after class.
"Dean, I'm glad to see you're on your feet, heard about your fall. I was thinking it might be helpful to you to seek some tutoring now, when you have a good chance of getting things together. I see you have a study hall fourth period. Why don't you ask Cas Abimael for help? He was in the high honors class last year, and he tutors his peers for his Honors Club."
Seriously? Abimael? How did that name happen? Dean thought to himself, but agreed with the teacher, and went on his way. He was a little excited to know he'd see Cas soon. Okay, I kinda miss the nerd angel, he thought, shuddering a little at the thought of the wringer the last year had put their friendship though.
Fourth period came. Dean paused in the doorway, seeing the dark head bowed, and knowing instantly that the messy black hair belonged to his friend. The other boy's head was lowered, his tongue sticking out as he concentrated very, very hard on the paper in front of him. As Dean drew nearer, he was surprised to see that what Castiel was so studiously drawing was the Swan Song logo. He chuckled to himself at that, and at the noise, Cas looked up. The blue eyes were exactly the same, cold, righteous, full of something sad and angry.
"Hello, Winchester," he said, and Dean was surprised to hear that while Cas's voice was still deeper than a seventeen-year-old's had any right to be, it wasn't filled with nearly the rasp and weight of the angle he had known.
Silence. The blue eyes regarded him warily.
"Um. Yeah. So, I, ah, I need some help. A tutor."
More silence, accompanied by skeptical narrowing of the eyes, then finally, "You want me… To tutor you."
"Uh… yes? Please?" Dean shifted uncomfortably in place.
Cas regarded him for another very long moment before he responded.
"Thanks, man. Um, can I stop by after school? Go over my homework with you?"
"I'm not going to do your work for you." Cas's voice was suspicious. Dean wondered what he had done to cause such hostility.
"No, no, I don't- it's not-"
"Yeah, okay, sorry. I'll see you after school." Cas bent his head back to his notebook.
"That's a good drawing." Dean said conversationally, trying not to be rattled by the curtness.
Cas ignored him, and Dean gave up after a few seconds. He sat across the row from Cas, though, and in between algebra problems, he looked over at the other boy. Cas was skinny as fuck, wearing a too-large black t-shirt and khaki pants. He didn't have any jewelry, Dean noted, and he wondered absently if Cas was as religious as Anna had seemed.
After school, Sam and Dean walked home together. Sam was a bundle of energy, talking a mile a minute, excited to finally be in High School.
"And there's a new girl, she just moved here from California, her name is Jess, she's so pretty!" Sam barely paused for breath, "And my favorite class was English, we're reading the Great Gatsby. It's awesome. High school is awesome."
After Sam was safely home, Dean headed next door. He knocked on the Abimael's blue door, and after a few seconds, a willowy woman with dark hair and the same blue eyes as Cas opened the door.
"Hey, Mrs. Abimael. I'm here to see Cas, he's tutoring me for school." Dean smiled, and she looked surprised for a moment, then delighted.
"Dean! It's been ages! I'm so glad to see you, come in!" She ushered him in. "Cas! Dean is here!"
After a few minutes of awkward but enthusiastic conversation with Mary, Cas manifested, and led the way up to his room.
"So," he said, arms crossed.
"So," Dean said, and held out his math and social studies homework. Cas placed the papers on his desk and silently looked them over. Dean took the opportunity to look over the room. There was a giant Swan Song poster covering almost half of one wall, and similarly to Dean's room, worn band t-shirts covering the windows. Cas's bookshelves were huge and covered the other wall of the room, however, stacked to overflowing with all sorts of literature.
'Well, this is horrible," Cas said, and Dean looked back to the desk. "How can you not tell the difference between you're, apostrophe R-E and your, Y-O-U-R? Seriously? How did you make it to senior English not being able to spell for shit? Did you even try researching this paper?"
"Well, I watched the First Knight. That's sort of research."
Cas stared at him in horror, "Is that a movie?"
"Um, yes? I'm pretty sure that came out in '95. Do you not get references in this universe, too?"
"What? Um. Yeah. I based it on a movie. I don't really care about the days of yore." Dean tried out his most adorable smile on the frowning teenager in front of him. It almost worked; he saw the barest hint of smile curl Cas's lip.
"Well. You'll have to do some actual research and try again. This is shit." Cas crumpled the paper up. "Here, flip through this." He went to the bookshelf, handed Dean a large book, "Your paper isn't even supposed to be on King Arthur, it's on the feudal system. I'll check your math while you're reading."
Dean pretended to look through the book, but he mostly watched Cas instead. The tip of Cas's tongue was sticking out the corner of his mouth again, between pink, slightly chapped lips. He tapped his pencil restlessly against the desk as he marked error after error, brow furrowed in exasperation.
Hours later, Dean headed home, after being re-taught the basics of math and grammar by Cas. It was worth it, though, because by the end, Cas seemed to warm up to him, laughing at his jokes and even smiling openly at him. Dean had rarely seen the angel smile in his universe, and it sent thrills through his spine in a way that pleased and terrified him at the same time. His Cas was someone to be feared, even when he was a dork, because hey, still an Angel of the Lord and capable of Smiting Dean's ass six ways to Sunday, even before he went nuclear. This Cas was obviously fragile and wary, but definitely human, adorably human, actually. Dean smiled to himself.
When he got home, Sam was waiting for him.
"What were you doing over at Cas's?"
"He's tutoring me for school, cuz of the brain trauma, dorkwad." Dean ruffled Sam's hair affectionately. He was in a good mood, all things considered.
"It's good to see you guys talking again," Sam said seriously.
"We weren't before?" Dean raised his eyebrow.
"Not since your freshman year. You never talked about it." Sam looked sad for a minute, and then perked up. "Oh hey, you remember last week, when you asked about the demons? I think I figured out what you were talking about. Chuck's stories!" Sam held out the stack of papers clutched to his chest.
"Chuck's here?" Dean's stomach knotted up. A lead? About damn time! he thought excitedly.
"Uh, well, no, Chuck's in Scotland with his parents til after Christmas, then they'll be back and he'll finish out the school year with us," Sam explained patiently, "But he writes those stories all the time, about us, and I thought maybe that's what you were thinking about."
Dean accepted the stack of papers. "Thanks, Sammy."
Sam wrinkled his nose. "Don't call me that. It's just Sam, now."
"Okay, Sammy," Dean grinned, "Wanna go out to the field and light some Black Cats?"
"Hell yes!" Sam grinned back.
Dean figured, if this was all just some sort of dream or Djinn illusion, it would all come crashing down eventually, so he might as well enjoy some of the time he was given with Sam again, in a place where they didn't have a lifetime of pain dragging them apart.
That night, Dean read Chuck's stories. It was all there, Mary and John's deaths, Sam, Dean, and Castiel, the Apocalypses, all of it, complete with over-dramatization and awkwardly explicit sex scenes, and at the very end, Castiel taking the souls into himself, and then the final showdown between Dean, Sam and Cas, where Dean had walked up to Cas, spit right in his face and called him out on the horror of what he had done, exactly, word for word. Dean was crying silently as he read the final lines.
Castiel looked down at the fragile human in front of him, and slowly wiped the spittle from his alabaster cheek.
"How. Dare. You," he said, slowly, voice full of foreboding. He snapped his fingers and Sam fell to the ground, blood streaming from his every orifice.
"Sammy!" Dean cried, but he was rooted in place by the new God's power. Castiel began to move towards him. "Fuck you, Cas."
Castiel stopped inches away from Dean, and suddenly his body jerked, and he began to shine with a terrible white light, exploding into an enormous pillar of blinding heat. The ground shook, and Dean tried to shield his eyes from the blast, but then everything went dark, and there was nothing and no one left.
There was nothing, not a single clue as to what brought him here, just what Dean already knew. Well, that's a mark in the "this is all in my head" column, Dean thought. Suddenly, something occurred to him. Unless Cas stuck me here, and it's an angelic alternate reality. In which case, I should play along with his game.
Dean maintained decent grades over the first month of school, with the help of Cas, and they studied together after school a few days each week. Then, the Odd Thing occurred.
They were sitting at Dean's kitchen table, and Cas had leaned in to mock Dean's grammar once again, and then had somehow failed to move away again. Now their knees were touching ever so slightly under the table, and if Cas noticed, he wasn't letting on. Dean, however, had noticed, and was fighting to quell a suddenly rising boner.
What. The. Fuck, he thought to himself. His heart was racing faster, his breath caught in his throat. It was like he really was a teenager again, finally close to the girl he crushed on. He couldn't stop sneaking glances at Cas's impossibly blue eyes and the pink lips that the other boy constantly flicked with that soft little tongue. I wonder what his tongue would feel like on mine, the idea raced across Dean's thoughts unbidden. Okay. Seriously. What the fuck.
Suddenly, the knee was gone, and Cas stood abruptly.
"I have to go. I'll see you in school, Dean," and he ran off before Dean could form a farewell.