Summary: Dean, Sam, Castiel and Bobby end up in an alternative universe of things that could have been but never were; i.e. Sam and Jess are engaged, Mary is alive, and Dean and Cas...Well, that's the shocker, isn't it? Destiel, Sam/Jess.
It all started with the argument, the raised voices that were drowning out all possibility of hearing each other, of coming to an agreement. Cas had his fingers pressed to his temples, head bowed, withdrawing from the fight before it became person. He wasn't even sure what they were fighting about anymore; none of them were. Too many days spent crammed together, fighting evil beings, losing loved ones, set them on edge and made them irrational. 5:02 in the afternoon and they were at each other's throats. All it took was one snippy comment to set the room on fire.
And then there was light brighter than anyone but Cas had seen before, a light that wrapped around them. And then they fell.
It wasn't a particularly long drop, and when they managed to pull themselves off the floor they were in an empty hallway of a fancy hotel, the kind that catered to huge, extravagant parties for big companies and wealthy private parties.
Elegant music floated out into the hall from a room at the end, probably the main party room. The men sorted themselves out and stared wide-eyed at each other.
"What...the hell..." Dean muttered, glancing around at the deep red walls and the candles and paintings decorating them.
"Uh, what just happened?" Sam rubbed his sore shoulder.
"We fell," Cas answered. Dean looked about ready to insult him for pointing out the obvious but Bobby cut him off.
"I think the better question is, where are we? And why?"
"I don't know, but be careful. This could be some kind of demons trap." Dean inched forward, feet moving almost on their own toward the big room with the beautiful music. Something was telling him to keep moving.
"Dean!" Sam whispered fiercely, reaching for his sleeve to pull him back.
"I just want a peak," Dean shot back, yanking his arm away. He just wanted to see-
The men jumped back instantly, Dean toppling over Bobby and hitting his head hard against the wall. Sam fell to his knees next to Dean and pulled his brother out of sight behind a small side table pushed against the wall. Bobby followed suit, yanking Cas with him.
"Someone called my name!" Cas tried to stand but Bobby pulled him back.
"They weren't callin for you, kid." Bobby nodded toward the end of the hall and Cas' jaw flexed in confusion.
It was him. It was Cas. A version of him, at least. He was dressed in form-fitting pants and a white dress short with a black, pin-striped vest over it. His hair was sticking up in the front, as it had when he first met the Winchester brothers. The shirt sleeves were rolled up to show off his forearms. And he was standing still, stiff, worry in his dark blue eyes.
Across from him was Dean, in black pants and a purple dress shirt. Cas smiled slightly, thinking how nice Dean looked in the color.
"What is going on here," Dean whispered next to Cas, peering over at his other self.
"We fell into an alternative universe," Cas muttered. "I've heard of such things happening with heightened emotional disturbance between beings who have had supernatural experiences, but I've never witnessed it before."
"So what kinda universe is this, then?" Bobby leaned over to catch a glance.
"The worse kind," Cas said as the pieces fell into place.
"What d'ya mean? What worse kind?"
"It's more of a second reality than an alternative universe," Cas said as he slowly pushed himself against the wall, out of sight of the two men down the hall. "Most alternative universes rely on big changes to show how different life can be. This one shows the smallest of decisions that could completely alter your life."
"Why is it the worst, then?" Dean demanded.
"Because," Cas turned to Dean solemnly, "It shows you how beautiful and easy your life could have been, had you just changed the smallest of things in your life. A decision, a perception, a passing thought. It dangles a better life in front of your eyes, knowing that there's no turning back."
"What you're saying is, this world could have easily been ours?"
"Well, then, let's hope it's shit. Then we can feel better about our shitty life, right?" Dean sighed and peered over the table. His eyebrows pulled together in confusion. "What are they saying?"
The Dean and Cas down the hall were standing very close, Cas' head turned toward the group, wringing his fingers together every few seconds.
Cas stood up slowly and took a few long strides forward.
"They can't see us, Sam." To demonstrate, Cas waved his hands around frantically. The two figures didn't even bat an eyelash. The three other men joined Cas and moved closer to hear what was being said.
"I just shouldn't be here," Cas muttered.
"Why not?" Dean had his hands on his hips, eyebrow arched.
"Because I'm not family! Tonight is a night for family, not weird angels lurking over everyone's shoulders."
"Hey," Dean moved closer and caught Cas' hands in his, threading their fingers together. "You are my family. Besides, I wouldn't use the word 'lurk' to describe you. Perch, maybe, but not lurk."
Cas sighed and glanced up at Dean. "They're not going to like me."
"And why not?"
"Because...Well, for starters, I am very odd. I don't understand the difference between when someone is joking and being serious most of the time. I have no regards for personal space. And... And I can't even use a cellphone properly! I still think there is an actual woman talking to me every time I call up my voicemail."
Dean snorted softly and shuffled his feet.
"You're a great person, Cas. The best man I ever met, in my opinion. I love you. Sam loves you. Mom and Jess will love you, too."
Bobby glanced at the Winchester brothers quickly; sure enough, both of them looked shocked and tense.
"Relax, boys," Bobby whispered. He was starting to see what Cas meant by this being the worst kind of alternative universe imaginable.
"Besides," the Dean in the hallway dropped his voice and wrapped a hand around Cas' waist, pulling him close. "When have I ever complained about the lack of personal space?" With that husky utterance, his lips were on Cas', silencing the fretting angel.
"Oh my God," Dean breathed out, eyes wide as he watched himself kiss another man. The two men pulled away and Dean smiled brightly.
"Ready?" Dean asked. Cas smiled slightly.
"Oh, come on!" Dean grabbed him by the hand and towed him into the next room, out of sight from the group of men.
Dean watched the spot where they just stood, the two men he thought he knew so well, before Sam grabbed his sleeve and pulled him toward the wall again. He leaned up against the structure and let out a loud breath.
"What was that?" he asked Cas. The angel was finding it hard to look him in the eyes.
"I already told you," Cas whispered. "Things that could have been and never were."
"Are you saying that we," he gestured frantically between them," could have been together? Like, together together?"
"That's exactly what I'm saying."
"Well, excuse me if that doesn't make any damn sense!"
"Of course it makes sense. You just never wanted to see it."
"Remember, Dean, perceptions can change your entire life. Perceptions of others...perceptions of yourself." He eyed Dean meaningfully and then wandered away, curious to see what was happening in the next room.
"Come on, Dean. You can dwell in this later," Sam said. He and Bobby followed Cas into the big room, Dean following shortly after that.
It didn't seem to be a big company party, as most of the tables didn't seem to know or care for the other tables. That ruled out the wealth family theory, too.
"An engagement dinner," Cas nudged Sam and pointed at the table in the far corner. "Just for family."
At the table, five people were hugging and greeting each other. Dean was standing up, gesturing toward Cas as if introducing him to the table. The four men went in close enough to both hear and see the people behind them.
Sam was pouring wine for the others. Next to him was Jess, beautiful Jess, with her long, curly hair and wide smile, one hand on Sam's and the other holding out toward a woman.
"Mom," Dean whispered softly. Bobby rested his hand on Dean's shoulder, squeezing gently. Dean looked like a lost child and, in many ways, he was. Sam, too, looked like he had a lump forming in his throat, though it was more for Jess than Mary. After all, he was so young when Mary died. He didn't remember his mother. He loved her, but Jess...
She was holding her hand out to Mary, and on the third finger sparkled a small engagement ring. Mary leaned over and brought both Jess and Sam into a tight hug, two tears sliding down her cheeks as happiness radiated from her features.
Cas was right; it was Jess and Sam's engagement dinner with the family, with the only people who mattered to them.
"Where's dad?" Dean managed to push out of his thick throat. Nobody could answer his question.
Mary was alive and happy. Jess was alive and engaged to Sam, who seemed to be doing very well for himself. Dean and Cas were undoubtedly the biggest surprise, but it was still nice; all Dean ever wanted was someone who could love him for everything he came with, all his faults and insecurities, and Cas had always accepted him for every last thing that he was. And they had each other here. They loved each other, and the rest of the family looked happy for them.
Dean grabbed Cas' hand and held in tight, smiling at him like he had his entire world sitting right next to him. Cas blushed and leaned away to say something to Sam, the two seeming happy and as close as best friends.
It was like locking a man up in a cellar for years, letting him get used to the darkness, the cold, the dank smell, then one day deciding to open a small window. Suddenly the man's world is filled with light, with warm sunshine and the smell of rain and cut grass. But the window had the most impossible bars over it, and all the man could do was watch and yearn for a world he could never have.
"I want to go home," Sam whispered. Tears rolled down his cheeks as he watched the woman he loved lean on his arm, this stranger who he wanted so badly to be.
"Don't we all," Bobby sighed.
And that was all it took. It was as if cracks formed in thin air, light pushing itself through those cracks and engulfing them, flinging them back with such force until their bodies hit the floor hard and they were back. The big room was gone, the smiling people replaced with fading furniture, the dishes and wine replaced with books and papers, guns and knives.
Bobby's place. Home sweet home.
They pulled themselves off the floor silently and looked at each other. The clock read 5:12 pm. Had it only been a mere ten minutes that they'd been there? How had they changed so much in such a short time?
"Why did that happen to us?" Dean slumped against the nearest wall for support.
"Because we wanted it," Sam answered before Castiel could. "We were fighting because our lives suck. We were all internally wishing for a better life, wondering why things couldn't just be different. And that's what we got. We got a great world that we could never have. Isn't that right?"
Cas nodded silently.
"Well," Bobby huffed. "Where the hell was I?"
Dean pushed off the wall and went into the other room. Without thinking it through first, Cas followed him. He was leaning against a window frame, looking out at the leaves being pushed around by the wind.
"So my perception of myself changed our relationship, huh?"
"Yes," Cas said softly. "In that universe, you weren't afraid to show affection for men. You didn't hold back like you do here."
"So we fell in love and lived happily ever after?"
"So what if I changed right now?" Dean spun around and faced Cas, arms folded over his chest. "What if I decided to stop worrying about my sexuality and just let myself be me? What would you do?"
"Whatever you wanted me to do," Cas moved closer to Dean. There was less than a foot between them now.
"And we would have what they had?" Dean asked. One fat tears rolled down his cheek as he thought about how happy the other Dean was, the happiness he may never feel.
Dean bit his lip and turned back to the window, sorrow overcoming him. That is, until he felt arms wrap around his chest and Cas' chest pressed against his back. The angel pressed his lips to Dean's ear.
"We could never have what they had," he breathed. "They had it easier than we do. They had forever to count on. We can't even count on tomorrow. But we can have a version of what they had, and it will be real. It will be all our own."
"You'd take me for who I am? For this broken, fucked up creature?"
"Dean," Cas turned him around in his arms so that their faces were mere inches apart. "The more I get to know you, the more flaws I see, the more I want you."
"You want to fix me," Dean laughed out bitterly. Cas shook his head and sighed heavily.
"I want to help you fix yourself. Because you can do it, Dean. You could always do it. I've always believes in you. And maybe... maybe you could help me fix myself. You're not the only one broken around here."
Dean smiled softly and looked into Cas' eyes, eyes that held a sea of emotion for him.
"So does this mean...?" he started to ask. Cas slid one hand up Dean's left arm and placed his hand over his own hand print in Dean's skin.
"Mine," he breathed out. And then they were kissing, pouring their tears and fears and every last uncertainty in to the only hope they had left - each other.
Um, sorry, this was supposed to be humor! But something went horribly wrong and it became depressing. Sorry! Please please review, I would appreciate it so much!