Welcome Home, Dean Winchester
Summary: A short add-on to my Mirror Images story. Another take on what happened when the Dean from 2014 returned to his own time. Expecting to be dead, he's in for more than a couple surprises as he learns the meaning of second chances. Mainly a fluffy story of brotherly bonding.
Tags/Warnings: Mild warning for language and mentions of previous events from Mirror Images so that story will more than likely have to be read to fully understand this one.
Author Note: Only two chapters in this one. I wanted to give alternate Dean more time in the spotlight since he grew on me. I hope anyone who reads it enjoys this.Chapter One
Memories brutal and vivid all were crashing in on him as breath seem to return to his body only a second ahead of the knowledge that he shouldn't be in this much pain while being dead.
Brash loud sounds seemed to want to explode his pounding head while something hot seemed to burn any part of his skin exposed to it as he struggled to cover his head against the too loud chirping that seemed familiar but alien to him. Almost as alien as the next thing he heard.
This voice he knew. This voice was one of the few that Dean Winchester from 2014 knew that he'd never forget. Hell, he'd been hearing it since he first taught the kid how to talk.
Groaning, he finally forced his eyes open to try to find the voice only to hiss as something bright burned his suddenly too sensitive green eyes. "Sonuvabitch!"
"Yeah, the sun's gonna be a bit bright for you yet," the other voice seemed to understand and Dean could almost see the head shake.
"This my own personal version of Hell then?" Dean was finally able to speak after swallowing a few times to wet his dry mouth. "To see all my failures and know how much I messed it up?"
"You never failed me, Dean. You never failed anyone."
That was amusing and if he'd had the strength then Dean knew he'd probably laugh. At this moment though he could only struggle to move, not fully understanding why his limbs seemed like lead or why he was so tired. Hell, it hadn't been this bad when he'd been pulled from the Pit.
"It's probably going to take you some time to get your strength back so just stay still. I don't think face planting will help you much."
Oh, his little brother was sounding too real and much too amused to be a mere figment of a delusional mind or even a tortured image from Hell.
"Shut up, Sam," he groaned, finally able to turn on his back and scrub stubborn fingers over eyes that seemed crusted shut until something splashed in his face. "Hey!" grabbing on instinct, he was actually startled when his hand came into contact with a wrist and felt strong fingers grip onto his arm.
Opening his eyes more slowly this time, Dean fully expected to gaze around to see the broken stones, fire, blood and mutilated forms that made up the Pit but only saw brilliant blue sky with pure white clouds, bright sunshine and… "Sam."
"Hey, Dean," Sam Winchester smiled, the light wind blowing his hair while hazel eyes watched his confused older sibling carefully. "It's been a long time."
Pushing up until he was sitting, Dean looked around to see that he seemed to be sitting in a field of wildflowers and he swallowed hard when he recognized the field as the very place he'd come up from the Pit and… "What…what is this?" he demanded, the scent of the flowers wafting over the air and took him back to the day these flowers came to life. "I died and I accepted that when I left that past time that I'd be dead again so who's pulling the strings this time?"
"No trick, Dean," Sam told him, standing to brush dirt off the knees of his jeans while shielding his own clear hazel eyes against the brilliant sun as he looked around until he seemed to find what he was looking for. "You did die…which isn't something I like to recall since Lucifer did it while wearing my skin and the way I had it explained to me Chuck and the others had you buried here…alongside…them."
Wincing as every part of his body ached, Dean slowly was able to pull himself to his feet in order to cautiously follow what appeared to be his brother over to a spot in the field that seemed to be more heavily covered in the flowers and felt his breath catch as he noticed the three white markers.
"She…Morg, she liked it here so I…brought her back here after you…he…those damn bastards killed her but…" Dean's breath was struggling to escape his lungs as he touched the third stone. "How? Chuck and Becky…they were fine with…"
"After you…died, things got worse and according to Chuck it was like the baby seemed to sense his family was gone, you were gone and he got sicker and sicker until he finally just…passed," Sam chewed the inside of his lip the way he would when struggling not to show the emotions that were brewing. "Why'd you give the baby to Chuck, Dean?" this had bothered him from the moment he learned of it…even during the dark times of being controlled by Lucifer.
Swiping a hand over burning eyes, Dean stared at the stones marking the graves of his family but his gaze kept staring at the one marked with his own name until the question dawned on him. "I was too far gone, to dead inside after I buried her to even consider keeping him…hell, I couldn't even hold my own son because it reminded me of the night he was born…the night I lost…you and he looked so much like you did but with Morgan's eyes that I knew I couldn't be the Father he needed," he replied slowly, coughing to cover the break in his voice as he stood up to fully look beside him and again felt his lungs strain because the last time, other than in the mindscape of his younger self, that he'd seen his younger brother he'd been wearing the pure white suit that Lucifer preferred with slicked back hair.
Now as he looked he found a young man much like he had been before it had all gone bad. On this day, despite the bright sun, Sam was dressed in a hoodie and jacket to ward off the chill of the fall air while his jeans looked new as did the boots but the way he held himself, the manner in which he stood to meet his brother's wary gaze was pure Sam.
"So, what is this?" Dean asked again, suspicion and mistrust still strong in him after his last few years. "I remember dying, I remember falling for Zachariah's lies again and nearly destroying another timeline and I remember all the hell I caused back in that past time for those kids…so what game is this?"
"You want my opinion or the one Castiel gave me?" Sam countered then sighed. He'd known getting his brother to accept this change was going to be hard, especially when he was still having trouble coming to terms with it.
"I know the sun hasn't shine and the sky hasn't been blue since the world went to hell in a handbasket," Dean replied, taking a more closer look around to see something else in the distance. "Is that…" he took a deep breath before releasing it slowly. "Is that the Impala?"
Sam recalled his horror at seeing the car that had meant so much to both he and his brother in the condition he found it upon his own reawakening. "Yeah, I guess telling you that Castiel got some power back would be a good idea?"
"Telling me what the hell is going on would be a better one, Sam," Dean felt his head pound but his eyes kept going back to his wife's grave when he noticed the sun glinting off the gold wedding band on his left hand. "I…gave this to…"
"Okay, so this is the Gospel according to Chuck," Sam blew out a breath as he stuffed his hands into the pockets of his jacket to keep them from either fidgeting or reaching out like he wanted to. "You died and things went a helluva lot worse. Lucifer had the world then suddenly…one day it all changed. Chuck said that Castiel was in the middle of one of his…okay, picturing Cas in a brothel was one bad image but picturing Cas as a stoned out hippie having orgies is something I do not want in my brain, Dean," he still shuddered at that imagery.
Walking slowly across the field, Sam glanced back to see that his brother was at least following him. "Cas says his Father finally stepped in and just like that, things were normal again," he shrugged. "The Croats were gone, people were finding their lives back to normal and…I was me again. No Lucifer, no demon blood, no voices in my head or powers. I woke up at Bobby's place and I was just plain Sam Winchester again…and I was beyond terrified," he murmured, still remembering that day. "I woke up but I could recall every damn memory, Dean. I remember our last fights, I remember the night I gave in and I remember the moment everything else crumbled because I knew that losing Morgan would drive you over the very edge."
Pausing by the car, Sam turned slowly with tears shining. "I remember the day Lucifer killed you then I stopped paying attention until I found myself in that other place with you and when I opened my eyes again, I was at Bobby's and scared Chuck outta his mind.
"I know you don't understand this and after all the crap you've been put through, the lies and tricks, why should you?" Sam looked back toward the graves then locked eyes with Dean. "The fact that you haven't tried to punch me or toss Holy Water in my face or cut me with a silver knife makes me a little worried," he admitted with a tiny smile then took the chance to reach one hand out slowly. "This isn't a trick, Dean. As hard as this is to believe, something…God or who knows what else, saved the world and we've been given a second chance. What can I do to prove that to you?"
"Angel tricks aren't affected by silver or Holy Water," Dean murmured, hating the pain he saw come into the opposite set of eyes just like he'd see when he'd hurt Sam before.
Stepping up to the car, he slowly ran a hand over the fender while recalling how it had hurt when he'd finally been forced to let the car go into ruin because the Impala had been home for so long. Sam had grown up in it and…
"Zachariah would've cut his own hand off rather than make you appear as you did in that mindscape," he spoke quietly while shooting a dry look over his shoulder. "Tell me something."
Considering, Sam chuckled lowly and smiled. "That between their father and ours, any number of mass murderers are good?" he offered then his smile softened as he laid a hesitant hand on a rigid shoulder. "I'd forgotten how young and innocent she looked at that age and the first thing I thought of when I saw that version of Morgan was…God, how much I missed her and how I would give anything to have it as simple as it was before I screwed it all up. Before I ruined the lives of the two people that I loved most."
"Come again?" it was the tone, the shaking near break in Sam's voice that Dean paid more attention to because only his little brother had that tone and only when he was close to breaking. Then he replayed the last sentences and felt his jaw twitch.
"Face it. From the moment Cold Oak happened you and Morg paid the price and that wasn't what I ever wanted to happen," Sam told him, shivering as memories that he hadn't been burdened with for the last few years suddenly coming back.
He was moving his hand when his brother reminded him just how quick Dean could be when he needed to be as when he reached back to grip the retreating hand before turning to face Sam fully. This time locking eyes in a way that he hadn't allowed himself to do yet.
"Morgan loved you, Sam. I…I…loved you," he began, not missing the brief flash of surprise in hazel eyes since he knew he'd rarely said those words to his brother. "I know that I screwed up after I came back and yeah, maybe a small part of me did blame you but…" Dean paused to reached up to take a firm grip of Sam's neck which was something else he knew had been lost between them. "…but it wasn't your fault.
"I made the choice to not wait for Morgan to heal you because I was afraid for her to try, I made the choice to make the crossroads deal and whatever happened to me in the Pit was also because I made the choice," he declared quietly but firmly as he allowed his fingers to squeeze more gently and was silently surprised at how easy it was to return to how he would handle his brother when Sam was upset.
"Choices, Sam. My choices took us down the paths we ended up on. You only did the things you could to survive and to protect Morgan," he recalled something he'd been told and the things he'd seen while in the alternate past and decided to take a shot. "Why didn't you ever tell me?"
Surprised at the quiet tone and by the way his brother was gripping his neck, Sam frowned. "Tell you what?" he asked, trying to think of what Dean could be asking when he felt the fingers tighten slightly and he caught the pain in the green eyes that were watching him.
"That when you and Morg freed me from Zachariah, when I was still drugged out of my damn head and I attacked her that Morgan was already pregnant. Why didn't you ever tell me that, Sammy?" Dean asked, knowing that the bald Angel's bragging had been true the moment his younger brother's eyes widened then went to look away when the use of his nickname hit him and he nearly fell in surprise. "That's why Morg wouldn't look at me right away, why she kept those days and weeks blocked from our bond. She miscarried, didn't she?"
Swallowing hard, it took Sam several moments to finally nod then he bit his lip. "I promised I wouldn't tell you because she knew you'd be hurt and upset enough. There were a lot of things you didn't know from that time, Dean," he told his brother then waited for the normal angry outburst but only saw a sad resignation.
"I didn't know a lot of anything or so I've found out," Dean remarked, shifting his other hand so that he could lift Sam's head up to meet his eyes. "You gave in, you said yes, to protect Morgan and the baby. I saw that while I was back there and I saw how Morg died. You didn't hurt her, Sammy. I know that now and I am so sorry that I didn't see it then. That I didn't listen to Morgan when she tried to tell me," clasping Sam's neck with both hands, he finally allowed himself to accept this reality as solid and not another cruel joke. "Sammy."
The gruff voice that was covering emotions was something Sam hadn't allowed himself to even dream of hearing again, much less using the nickname he only allowed his brother and sister-in-law to use. "Dean… I'm…"
"C'mere," Dean gave a quick tug that brought the unresisting younger man into a hard brotherly hug that he held the moment he felt Sam return it fully with a hushed sob that told Dean that he had indeed come home…though a part of him still hurt that he and Sam were still missing one key thing. "Second chances, little brother. Good or bad, we've got it. Can I go back to being the man I was? I…don't know. Can I go on living, being given this second chance without the love of my life? I…I don't know that either but…I'll try because I know that's what she'd want," he knew this and he knew something else. "Morg would want me to try and she'd want me to watch after you so I guess that's what we'll do."
Having closed his eyes against the tears that were threatening, Sam nodded while holding on for just a few more moments then he coughed to give his brother a chance to break what he would sooner or later call a major break in the chick flick rule. "Come with me?" he asked hesitantly.
"Come with you where?" Dean asked, not having given much thought to that part of this new life. Where the hell did he have to go.
Pulling a set of keys from his pocket, Sam dangled them for just a moment before snatching them back in case his brother got the insane plan to drive. "Home," he replied with a smile, motioning to the car while hoping he could pull this off without anything going wrong since he knew it wouldn't take much to cause his brother to lose hope again. "We're going home."TBC