Title: if the song i sing to you could fill your heart with joy, i'd sing forever
Summary: Lila Bray 'verse AU: It is eleven o'clock am on a beautiful Sunday morning, eight days shy of his forty second birthday, and Tessa is standing in front of him.
Pairing(s): Dean/Ruby, minor Sam/Sarah, Bobby/Jody, slight undertones of onesided Castiel/Ruby.
Characters: Ruby. Cas. Bray. Connor. Sam. Sarah. Dean. Mentions of Bobby and Jody.
Warnings: AU of an AU (kind of like fic-ception), character death, mentions of a brain anyurism and some bodily fluids, tons and tons of angst.
Notes: Title and lyrics from the song Forever by The Beach Boys (although the version that inspired this was the version from Full House, which was sung by John Stamos and was just him and piano and a choir - don't judge me). This was actually part of a larger story (five deaths that never happened in the Lila Bray 'verse and one that did) but that story is never going to be finished (because it was depressing as shit) so I decided to just post this one.
Disclaimer: I do not own anything.
if the song i sing to you could fill your heart with joy, i'd sing forever
Written by Becks Rylynn
if every word i said
could make you laugh
i'd talk forever
i ask the sky just what we had
mmm, it shone forever
It is eleven o'clock am on a beautiful Sunday morning, eight days shy of his forty second birthday, and Tessa is standing in front of him.
She almost looks surprised to see him. She regards him silently for a moment, smiles sadly and then greets him with a soft, ''Hello.''
His shoulders slump. ''Fuck,'' says Dean.
Ruby is not now, nor will she ever be, ready for this. She is standing in a funeral parlor in her nicest black dress, tearing up a tissue in her hands as she watches her brother-in-law accept an ugly ass urn from the priest.
''Careful,'' he warns. ''It's a bit heavy.''
Sam, shaking but straight faced, stares right back at Father Feel Good and opens his mouth to speak. ''He - ''
''Don't,'' Ruby snarls, holding a warning finger up. ''Sam, don't you dare say it.''
''Why not?'' Sam challenges. ''He would've.''
His wife takes pity on the poor confused preacher and cuts into the madness with a wobbly smile. ''Um, thank...thank you, Father,'' Sarah says. ''I-It was a lovely service.''
Sam sighs and clutches the urn to his chest.
Ruby feels like she can't breathe.
They have enough food to live off of forever and about half of it is on the plates Aunt Sarah and Aunt Jody have made for Bray and Connor. Mostly it's casserole. People keep bringing them casseroles. All different kinds. Chicken, tuna, fish, green bean, spinach. They have every kind of casserole known to man and currently they're all bleeding together on her plate. It looks like something akin to a plate of vomit.
Bray feels nausea roll in her stomach, and it won't go away.
There are all these people in her house talking and whispering and they all keep sneaking glances at her and Connor, like they all want to see what a fatherless child looks like. She feels like she's in a circus. She is a tragedy to them. She is a statistic. And her dad is on the mantle. In an urn. There are so many things wrong with that.
She pushes food around her plate and thinks about the surprise birthday party they had been planning for her dad's birthday. She made him a special present. Connor made him a card. Mom bought him a really expensive watch. He will never get to see the present she made him - a replica of his precious, precious car. He will never read the card. He will never wear the watch. Her eyes well with tears as she stares down at her gruesome plate and she is surprised. She thought for sure that she was all cried out for the day.
Beside her, Connor is sullen and quiet but his appetite is still very much present as he shovels forkfuls of casserole into his mouth. Her stomachache is getting worse just watching him eat. ''Bray,'' he says suddenly, putting his fork down on his plate. ''He's not happy there.''
She blinks and turns her head to him. ''Who?''
His eyes flick to the urn. ''Dad.'' He licks his lips. ''He's not happy.''
She sucks in a breath.
Connor leans in close to her, close enough so that she can smell the tuna casserole on his breath. ''We have to save him, Lilac.''
She rolls her eyes. ''Don't be stupid.''
He looks hurt. It startles her when she can't find it in her to care. ''I'm not! He's really not happy, Bray! He's sad.''
She snorts and takes a tentative bite of macaroni, spearing it with her fork and pulling it off with her teeth. It's cold and greasy. It tastes like plywood. ''And how would you know that?''
Connor frowns and draws away from her, looking around the room. His eyes finally land on their mother, who is pouring herself another glass of wine. Her wedding ring catches a beam of light and Bray flinches. ''You mean...'' He frowns and leans in close again. ''You can't see him?''
She stops chewing and has a hard time swallowing down the single piece of macaroni. She feels like she has been punched in the gut. She's going to throw up. She stares down at her plate and clenches her teeth, trying to remind herself that's he's just a little boy. ''Shut up, Connor.''
''But I'm serious! He's right over there next to Momma and he looks really, really worried about her and I think he needs us to - ''
''Shut up, Connor!''
A few people turn to look at her and she scowls at them until they look away. Connor slouches down in his chair, looking dejected as he folds his arms. Angry and hurt tears sparkle in his eyes and she feels a spark of regret. After a moment, he quietly goes back to eating and does not say another word to her. At least not until he looks over at her plate and notices her mostly untouched food. ''Ew.'' He pokes at it with his fork. It jiggles. Her stomach does a flip and her ears begin to burn, which is just never a good sign. ''It looks like a brain,'' he comments.
''Hey,'' Connor muses, chewing on his food thoughtfully. ''Do you think that's what Dad's brain looked like after his anyur-thingy?''
The bottom drops out, quite abruptly.
Bray leans away from her brother and throws up on the floor.
Aside from the massive amounts of disgusting looking food, do you know what else there is an abundance of in the Winchester household?
If people can't cook, or if they're smart enough to know that casseroles aren't going to help, or if they're a Crowell and they think any problem can be solved with alcohol, they bring wine. Bless their souls. No, seriously. Ruby thinks that casserole thing is fucking stupid, but she can totally get on board with the wine.
She keeps to herself during the wake. Loses count of how many glasses of wine she consumes. She sits, one leg crossed over the other, fingers fiddling with the wedding ring she's wearing on the chain around her neck. She looks like the perfect picture of a widow. She can vividly remember when she was given her husband's things. She remembers the pity in the coroner's eyes, dripping from his voice as he placed her husband's belongings in her arms and said, ''These are your husband's things, Mrs. Winchester. I thought you might like them back. I'm very sorry for your loss.''
Cas and Sam both keep one eye trained on her during the day and one eye trained on the kids, and she'd call them out on it but she's too tired and too drunk to do so right now. The wake falls apart pretty quickly after Bray tosses her cookies all over the insanely expensive rug in the dining room that Dean always thought was fugly. Connor bursts into tears during the commotion and instead of rushing towards her children like she knows she should, Ruby pours herself another glass of wine instead.
Jody and Bobby take over the Bray situation and Cas ushers Connor out of the room. Sarah, shaky and even paler than she was earlier, comes running up to Ruby. ''You have to say something,'' she orders breathlessly.
Ruby stares. She digs her nails into the palm of her hand and doesn't feel a thing. ''I don't have anything to say.''
Sarah looks desperate. ''Well...Well, you just need to thank everybody. Thank them for the food and the support and for coming. You don't have to mean it. They're not stupid enough to think that you mean it or that them filling up your house with nauseating perfume smells is helpful but it's the polite thing to do and once you say thank you, maybe they'll all get the hell out.'' She doesn't take no for an answer and Ruby can't find the strength to say no, so she lets Sarah pull her up and over to the center of the room. ''Attention, everyone!'' Sarah calls out and then balks when all eyes go to her. ''Um, hi,'' she smiles weakly. ''Mrs...Uh, Ruby...'' She pauses and seems to trip over her words slightly. ''Ruby has something she would like to say to you all.'' She looks at Ruby expectantly.
Ruby licks her lips. She looks out at the sea of faces, reads the grief in all of their eyes, and finds herself momentarily taken aback by just how much her husband was loved. She still doesn't feel anything other than a little tipsy. They're all here probably just because he fixed all their cars and gave them a discount at the garage. She stares blankly out at her audience. ''Stop bringing me fucking casseroles,'' she finally spits out. ''It's getting ridiculous.''
Sarah audibly squeaks.
''Nobody likes casseroles and nobody's going to eat them,'' Ruby goes on. ''My kids aren't going to eat them. I'm not going to eat them. My husband sure as hell isn't going to eat them, 'cause...you know... He's dead. And I really don't know what you people think, but a goddamn casserole isn't going to fix that.''
''Okay!'' Sarah claps her hands together. ''What Ruby means to say - ''
''You know,'' Ruby interrupts loudly. ''Dean Winchester wasn't a man who liked to miss anything. He hated being left out of things.'' She laughs cruelly. ''Wasn't being the operative word here. As in past tense.'' She must look like such a mess right now, with her wrinkled dress, her mussed hair, nearly empty wine glass held in her hand. She could say she doesn't give a shit but that would be a grand understatement. ''And isn't that funny?'' She bites out. ''Because now he's going to miss everything.''
''Ruby,'' Sam pleads. He strides across the room towards her and tries to take her hand.
''No!'' She wrenches free of his grasp on her, sloppy and uncoordinated, and the wine glass falls and shatters noisily on the ground. ''No! Don't touch me, Sam. Don't try to tell me it's okay because it's not. You know it's not. All of you,'' she looks around the room with a sneer. ''You know we're not okay. And yet you're here anyway. Do you think you're helping? Making it better by being here? Because you're not.'' She shakes her head. ''You know what?'' She sighs. Pastes on an overly cheerful smile. ''Thank you all for your support at this difficult time. Thanks for the disgusting casseroles. Thanks for the wine. It means absolutely nothing to me or my kids and you're all incredibly aggravating with your godawful pity, but thanks anyway. Now get the hell out of my house.''
And then she spins on her heel and stomps away because fuck you, her husband just died.
A few days ago he literally just fell down and died.
She doesn't have to pretend to care what these people think of her.
if the song i sing to you
could fill your heart with joy
i'd sing forever
He finds her sitting on the kitchen floor crying over a bottle of wine, dress pooled around her.
Sometimes Castiel wishes human emotion was still a foreign concept to him. When he was first turned into a human, there was ecstasy in joy and sorrow alike and every breath he breathed felt like the first. It was like a wonderland to him. A nirvana. It was terrifying sure, but it was wonderful. It was a gift to be able to look at Ruby and just... To just look at her. But now... Human emotion is nothing more than a prison. A cage. He wishes he couldn't feel a thing. He understands now. How Dean felt all those years ago. A lifetime ago. He understands.
Ruby looks up at him when he enters, tears flowing steadily down her cheeks. ''Dean hadn't had a drink in eight years,'' she says strongly. ''I remember the withdrawals. The pain he went through. All the times he pleaded, cried to me while he was shaking and throwing up because his body didn't remember how to function without alcohol. I still remember everything about the worst of it. Just one more, Ruby, he'd say. Please, just one more. I just need one more and then I'll stop. I promise. One more drink. Please, sweetheart, I need it.'' She blinks. Looks sick and tired of being here without him. ''And then he'd scream and throw things and punch walls when I would say no, and I'd have to leave him with Sam because when his alcohol deprived brain decided that I was a stupid bitch who was just in his way, I wasn't strong enough to fight him off. I remember thinking how horrible and unfair it was that I wasn't strong enough for him anymore.'' She shakes her head, looking faraway. ''But he got through it. He did it for his daughter and for me and for Sam, for Bobby, for you, for the babies we never got to have and the baby we did get to have. And I was so proud of him for being able to survive that. To stick with it for eight years.''
He decides not to say anything and takes a seat next to her on the floor.
She sniffles and wipes at her eyes. A frown pulls at her lips and she lifts the wine bottle in her hands, staring at the label. ''I feel like I'm betraying him. Like I'm demeaning everything he did by getting drunk at his wake. I should just go dance on his grave or something.'' There are tears caught in her eyelashes as she continues to stare down at the bottle. Then she shrugs and looks up with a cackle, like nails scraping down a chalkboard. ''But who cares, right? Certainly not him anymore. He's not here to tell me I'm acting like a selfish bitch. He's not here to make it to nine years, to ten, to twenty. He's not here to pick me up. So screw it. Screw him for leaving me - for leaving our kids - here all alone.''
She takes a gulp of the wine, straight from the bottle.
Castiel purses his lips. He should say something. He doesn't.
''Everything hurts,'' she whispers raggedly.
He nods. ''Yes. It does.''
''It's not going to stop,'' she warns. ''It's not ever going to stop.''
He closes his eyes and leans his head back against the cabinets. ''And I so hoped it would.''
She goes quiet. Neither one of them say a word. Not for the longest time. He can't think of anything to say that would comfort her. Eventually, she opens her mouth to speak...and tells the story she has kept inside. ''On Saturday night, he got this...this headache. It wasn't a big deal. Just a headache. He and I both... We get a lot of headaches. It got worse and worse, it turned into a migraine, and he went to bed early. He thought it would go away if he popped a few aspirin and got a good night's sleep. He wasn't worried about it and so I wasn't worried about it. But the next morning, it was still there and it was worse than ever. He said he was feeling sick - he was nauseous and kind of shaky. I thought it was the flu or something and I told him to get lots of rest.'' She breaks off and seems to have a hard time getting the next words out. ''I think he knew. He knew something was wrong. Oh, I hope he didn't know.'' She shakes her head vehemently and lets out a few sobs. ''I hope he didn't know, because we were happy. He was so happy that Saturday and on Sunday morning I was making pancakes and bacon and if he had known... He would've been scared. He would've worried about us. About leaving the kids and Sam. I hope he wasn't scared. I hope his last thought was how happy he was, not how scared.''
She bursts into sobs, gut wrenching sobs that sound painful and straight from the heart, and she lies down on the floor. The bottle of wine gets knocked over and red spills out all over the nice, pristine floor. Nobody makes a move to clean it up. She lies with her cheek pressed to the ground and her fingers trace shapes. It's a somewhat odd position, but there is a reason behind it, as grim as that reason may be. ''Sunday morning,'' she whispers. ''Bray was in the living room watching cartoons. Connor was still sleeping. I was making breakfast. Dean had a headache. It was just a headache. He was sitting at the counter and I could see the pain in his eyes. I felt bad that I couldn't do anything to help him. He said he was going to take a shower and he stood up...and then he went still. I remember asking him if he was okay. And he looked at me...'' Her voice quivers. ''...He looked so lost. Confused. Like he didn't know where he was or who I was. ...And then he fell.'' Her fingers clench; her wedding ring catches the light. ''Right here. Right here. Her voice continues to shake and quiver like a rollercoaster. ''This is where he died,'' she tells him.
His mouth works silently for several seconds before he finally manages to spit something out. ''This is where he lived,'' he corrects her.
''If I told you I wanted to die with him,'' she starts, and never finishes.
''I would tell you that your children need you,'' he says firmly. ''They need their mother. ...Especially now.''
She shakes her head. ''They need their father.''
He has no response to that. ''Yes,'' he finally sighs. ''Yes, I suppose they do.''
let the love i have for you
live in your heart
and beat forever
In the darkened household, Connor slips quietly through the moonlight and climbs the stairs quickly, skipping the squeaky steps. It's late and he's supposed to be in bed, but there is something he has to do. Something to make it better. As quiet as possible and determined as hell, he makes his way to the attic with an urn held tightly in his small hands. He could get in big trouble for this. If he does this, he may never be forgiven. But he doesn't care. This is what's right and he has been taught all his life to always do the right thing. He is only six years old, but this is what he knows is right. He scurries across the nearly empty attic floor, fumbles with the window latch for a few frustrating minutes and then climbs out onto the roof with his dad. They used to watch the stars from out here, him and his dad.
His momma would be absolutely livid if she knew he was out here alone.
Completely and totally unafraid, he opens the urn and stares down into the ashes. ''I know you're not happy,'' he says quietly. ''I want to make you happy. And you won't be happy on the mantle. Not ever. You can fly now. You should get the chance.'' He waits until the freezing cold breeze picks up and then he carefully tips the urn over and watches as the ashes float away in the wind.
For a few precious moments, he feels exuberant joy. His heart thuds loudly with adrenaline and he beams, cheering his father on happily. ''Dad, you're flying,'' he says. But then, as with most things, the moment ends. The adrenaline drains away. The accomplishment fades. And suddenly all he feels is terribly, terribly alone. Slowly, he climbs back into the attic and sits down on the floor with an empty urn held close to his heart. There are tears in his eyes.
He doesn't think that six year olds should have to feel like this. He doesn't think that anybody should have to feel like this.
It is four in the morning and all is not well in the Winchester house. Bray is sleeping fitfully on her parents' bed, curled into her mother's left side and Connor is sniffling quietly, cuddled into his mother's right side as she tries to comfort him, all the while wishing somebody would comfort her. There are three broken people on the bed and it still looks empty from where he's standing.
He could go crazy here, all alone, unseen and unheard. He does not have it in him to care. He does not have it in him to let go. He drifts out of the shadows, out of sight and out of reach, but still there. He inches towards the bed. ''Ruby,'' he says her name desperately, even though he knows she won't hear him. ''Ruby,'' he says again.
She doesn't hear him. His wedding ring, on a chain around her neck, looks more important than it ever has.
He sits down on his side of the bed and stares at his wife. He can't remember ever feeling this much want before. ''Ruby,'' he starts again, clearing his throat. ''You should know... You should know that I told Tessa I'm staying. I won't go anywhere without you.'' He reaches out to touch her hand and sighs when his hand only passes right through hers.
She gasps lightly at the sudden whoosh of air, wiggling her fingers. She doesn't say a word. But she looks up.
''Don't worry,'' he promises, and pretends she's looking at him and not just at the empty spot on the bed. ''I'll wait.''
He'd wait forever.
i've been so happy loving you