Heya guys! Been a bit since my last story, school and all that y'know? School's still on but I felt like writing; meaning this story won't be updated as often as my other stories were but I always finish a story once I start it so you will always get an ending from me :) At any rate, I hope you enjoy this one (I don't like doing long chapters, this is just for the intro's sake)
Primary World: Part 1
"I know of lies by the truths I've been told, the biggest one's that we're not growing old." He sung to himself, fingers tapping the top of his bent knee slowly to a rhythm in his head. He was waiting for something. Waiting for the orders to be given, for the decision to be made. It wasn't something to be decided lightly, he needed council so he'd sought it. And now he waited.
Eyes closed, ears open and listening for the faintest sound. It was hard to hear them sometimes.
"You know your place, Castiel."
There it was, that voice that used to haunt him to the point of insanity.
"You know what is about to happen."
He tilted his head up to the sky to stare at the emptiness above, "Took you long enough to say so." He muttered quietly as he stood, humming a tune to himself.
-"It's not a sin if it don't make me cry."-
"Dean! You comin'?" Sam shouted from the main floor, still fussing a little with his suit.
"I said give me a minute!" Dean called back, barely turning his head to do so, luckily he could scream with the best of them so he was certain Sam had heard.
"I'd like to remind you that was five minutes ago." Sam muttered loud enough to annoy.
Dean would normally bicker right back but it was a sensitive time, he'd prefer to not argue that day. It was an anniversary; an important one and he wanted everything to go right. He and Sam were on their way to meet Bobby, Rufus and a few others who had been close with John and Mary several years back. He ran his fingers over the wooden frame that held the last image taken of his parents, "I hope I've made you proud."
Suit jacket on, tie adjusted, Dean walked out of his room and down the hall to the top of the stairs, spotting Sam staring up at him from the bottom. His hair was getting long, Dean noted as he scanned the younger Winchester. "Mad at me?" Dean smirked sarcastically, trotting down to meet him.
"Terribly." Sam lightly punched his shoulder as he passed, the two sharing a silent look as they headed for the door.
This was the first year they decided to do anything major, it had been ten years since John and Mary Winchester disappeared and Dean wasn't going to let it just pass by unnoticed. Every year he and Sam had gone to the cemetery where empty coffins had been buried, flowers in hand and something new to say on their tongues. Today Dean intended to have everyone in on it, to honour his parents and give them a little something back. It was the least he could do for never finding them.
Sam shifted in his seat when they'd stopped in front of the usual flower shop, ready to go in just as Dean caught his arm. The younger Winchester froze and glanced over at his brother, his face said enough that he didn't have to ask 'what do you want?' "Can you get mine too?" Dean nearly had trouble spitting out the words but Sam was unusually cooperative on that day of the year. Dean knew he could ask for just about anything and receive it without Sam's usual snarky-ness.
"Sure thing." His brother answered as he stepped out, knowing exactly what Dean chose every year without having to double check.
Dean smiled to himself and looked out the window, watching the clouds as they shifted by, wondering what his parents were doing now. Of course, he wasn't even entirely sure he believed they existed eternally but it gave him comfort to allow that little bit of faith. His fingers drummed along the steering wheel as Jason Cross' 'Drink the Water' ended, considering that maybe this was the last time he let Sam pick the station ever.
"Now for the traffic report; there seems to be another underground cave in of some sort, the roads have sunk down a good two feet on the entire west side of town. Added to yesterday's half a foot in the north end it looks like something needs to get fixed down there-"
Dean shut the radio off; last thing he wanted to hear about was road conditions of any kind. It was a sunny day and perfect to spend outside in celebration of life. Or at least that's what he told himself. As he glanced around the block to pass the few minutes it was taking Sam to get their flowers, he found that the streets were busier than usual. He figured it was due to what he'd just heard on the radio; those streets were probably closed off now. It didn't get in their way but it was annoying.
As he looked he noticed a man in the flock of people just off the sidewalk across the road. There wasn't anything special about him, nothing that should have drawn Dean's eye to him, but here he was, looking. The dark haired individual was motionless in the crowd; he was perched, sitting on the base of the town's commemorative statue. One foot up and resting at the same level he sat, lifting his long coat to outline the frame of his hips. Dean marveled at the design of what appeared to be combat boots, buckles and laces running halfway up his calf and leading into what looked like fairly tight pants. Dean narrowed his vision trying to see the material better though through the passing people and the distance between them it was all but impossible. He almost laughed at himself for it, too, squinting to see another man's fashion a little better. Except something was wrong, he felt strange and uncomfortable, like butterflies flocked in his stomach but put his organs out of order.
Dean's gaze shifted back toward the man's face and realized he was looking at him. Sharp eyes locked onto his and refused to look away; Dean found that he couldn't either. Something about it was unnerving and he felt his skin starting to crawl, the feeling was creeping through his veins and sending chills down his spine. He shuddered but didn't pull his gaze away, not until the door opened beside him and made him jump.
"I got 'em, let's go." Sam said nonchalantly as he hopped into the Impala, noticing that his brother looked a little spooked. "Dean? You okay?"
"Yeah," Dean ran his hand down his face, "I'm good, it's nothing." He glanced toward the statue again, expecting it to be like a horror movie and that the stranger would be right outside his window or possibly gone, vanished in the wind. But that wasn't the case; the man was still sitting there albeit no longer looking Dean's direction.
Sam furrowed his brow, peering out the window to see what Dean was looking at but not being able to see through the crowd. He wanted to ask but didn't push it any further than a soft understanding noise, if Dean wanted to keep whatever it was to himself then he'd let it go. Not that he didn't worry about it, flinching as Dean nearly floored it out of there. This wasn't exactly one of those days that sat comfortably on the shoulders.
-"He's not the devil 'less there's fire in his eyes."-
"Boys!" Rufus called from the picnic table, "Glad you could finally make it."
"Yeah, yeah," Dean rolled his eyes, "We're a bit late, we know." He adjusted the lilies in his arms, white ones like he always brought. He didn't care what they stood for or what the meaning of them was, his mom always had them in the house and they reminded him of her. Sam usually varied, often a fan of the meanings of flowers and their colours. This year he had white carnations, supposedly they stood for remembrance though Dean wasn't sure how. Regardless, he didn't say anything about his brother's choice, he was glad that Sam put so much thought into it.
"Doesn't matter, you're here now." Bobby smiled and approached them, hugging Dean first; the man's strong arms a welcome feeling. Dean closed his eyes briefly as he squeezed his suedo dad back, holding onto tears that wanted to wash out with the rush of emotions. The discomfort from earlier fading, whatever it had been that came over him was a distant memory, nothing worth mentioning or remembering.
"Nice to see you, Bobby." Dean sighed as they leaned back, patting one another on the shoulder in the manliest way they could. No need for those silly mushy feelings, not if they wanted to keep up their personas of 'men'.
The older man only smiled and went to give Sam the same affections and then some; he squeezed the younger Winchester and ruffled his hair. Quiet apologies were exchanged but Sam brushed it off easily as he always did. The usual 'I'm sorry' for not being able to help financially didn't mean anything. Sam and Dean both knew that everyone in the world had their own problems and paying to get other people through life wasn't possible in this day and age. The boys would much prefer Bobby keep his money, take care of himself so they could go see him in a healthy state.
Deciding not to watch the little tearful reunions between Sam and Bobby, Dean moved to greet the others present. It was nice to see Harvelle's again and it'd been a while since he'd spoken to Rufus. Not that that was a bad thing, people could usually only take so much of the guy at a time.
"How's it going?" Jo approached with an all too familiar expression on her face, that sad look partially hidden behind an attempt at a smile. It used to bug him but now not so much. He only got that look on a few days of the year and this one was the only one that was consistent. "Not like you guys to be late for something like this."
"It's exactly like us." Dean smirked and hugged her, keeping it friendly knowing that Ellen was watching. "Sam took his time in the flower shop as usual."
"Dean took his time primping as usual." Sam called over unceremoniously, ruining Dean's composure good and proper.
"You suck, Sammy."
"Right back at'cha."
"Alright girls, settle." Ellen chuckled and motioned toward the picnic table, "Come on, food's waitin'."
That was all it took to gather them, if you couldn't enjoy a meal in remembrance of a loved one then what could you enjoy? Dean stuck close to Sam's side, appreciating the presence of the others as they settled; it was nice not being alone in the graveyard for once. Their usual tradition hadn't exactly been the most comforting thing, this was a nice change.
The weather was bright, dinner was delicious and the conversation wasn't evasive. Dean was surprised to hear everyone talk about John and Mary; it sometimes felt like a weird little secret, that they weren't allowed to talk about them ever again. He smiled, the immediate uneasiness dwindling and soon dissipating altogether. It was comfortable to talk about them, tell their stories, remind each other that John and Mary were people, beautiful people who had lived and deserved to be mentioned.
"I remember dad used to tell me 'man up, Sammy.'" Sam laughed and shook his head; Dean could see the slight glisten in his brother's eyes and prayed that those weren't tears. "I think I heard it at least once a day, though I can't really blame him for it. I cried at everything, I'd probably tell me the same thing."
Ellen chuckled and nodded, "I remember that, Dean could do just about anything and you'd go runnin' to your mom like it was the end of the world."
Sam's smile remained, possibly even broadening as the memories skipped across his vision like a movie, "Yeah, like when he'd break my toys or hide in my closet and jump out at me-"
"Or eat your candy bar." Dean added with a smirk, "You particularly hated it when I took your food."
Bobby nodded, the look on his face said enough to let on his amusement though he tried his hardest to remain crotchety, "My favourites were the name calling contests," he glanced up at Dean with a smile in his eyes, "The look on your face when Sam would call you fat was priceless."
"He kept taking my food, what else was I supposed to call him?" The younger Winchester piped in, getting another punch in the shoulder for it. "But really, I think my favourite moment with my dad was when I tried to prove to him I had manned up. I did so many stupid things and nearly got myself killed- how many times?"
"I think four," Dean nodded, "You kept copying him, including trying to drive the car."
"Yeah, I think that's the one that got him." Sam cracked up but the wetness of his eyes hadn't faded at all, "I'd taken the keys from the rack, pushed a chair against the wall so I could reach them, and hopped in the car just like dad did every morning. I put the key in and actually started the car-"
Dean scoffed, "After turning the key all the way for like a minute straight, trying to ruin the poor thing."
Sam offered a 'shut up Dean' look without saying it and turned his attention back to the others, "I'm not sure what happened next exactly but I managed to get the car into reverse and it started to move backward, right into the street. I was too short to reach the pedals but I was moving, I was a man going to work like dad always did." He smiled and tried to hold back a laugh, "I look up at the house and see dad in the window and he's just got this face, like shock and horror mixed with disbelief." He paused to try and mimic it though laughter ruined his muscle control. Despite the fact that Dean got to see it more than the others he seemed to enjoy the sight more than anyone else present, he loved that smile. "I'm just waving, all smiles. He runs out in his bathrobe and throws the doors open, shoves me over and drives us back up to the house. I thought he was going to be furious with me but he wasn't. He turns the car off and just grabs me and hugs me; this is the fourth near death experience so he was a little shaken up I imagine." Sam paused and smiled down at his hands fidgeting on the table, "He squeezed me and it hurt a little, but he told me 'Sammy, you're perfect the way you are.' He never said he understood why I was doing all those things, we didn't talk about it ever, but we didn't need to."
Dean reached over and squeezed Sam's shoulder, not missing the subtle way the other's voice cracked. He didn't have anything specific or helpful to say, but everyone else was eager to continue the conversations and ease the pressure from Sam.
All in all it was a successful day, Sam wasn't the only one to share stories and though everyone was overly emotional it really was one of the best days Dean had had in months. They packed up the picnic and helped each other with re-loading their vehicles, all discomfort had vanished among them and it was the first anniversary in ten years that Dean and Sam hadn't returned home in a morbid mood.
Traffic was slow but they weren't in a hurry to get home, Dean drummed his fingers along the steering wheel humming to himself as Sam rested in the seat beside him. Everything was going well, Sam was back in school, his health had increased and Dean's mechanic work was still going strong. Nothing to complain about, nothing to worry about, things were good.
But that didn't mean he was always happy with how things were.
-"It ain't the ghost if it don't speak in tongue."-
"How long will it take?" He asked angrily, "It's been days already. Did you send me to the wrong place again?"
"Patience, Castiel." Their reply was as gentle as ever, and vague as hell.
"That doesn't answer my question."
"You will see why we've sent you early, there's something you need to see."
"Something I need to see? I've seen everything I need to over the span of the last few centuries. What more could there possibly be?"
He fell silent as he thought over the next best thing to say. "Bullshit." He muttered.
The next day…
"The strangest things have happened all week and it's asked that everyone stay indoors after 10pm. That's all for the eight o'clock news, have a good night-"
Sam furrowed his brow, eyes fixed on the television in front of him as the news played out its ending sequences. Missing persons reports scattered all over the place, the town's road conditions had gotten worse, the town would rather put money into a new bar than the schools, and it looked like the locally favoured football team was losing. Sam wasn't sure what bugged him more; probably the bit about the schools but the missing people was off putting.
"Heading out," Dean's voice echoed from the doorway, his older brother's usual gimmick to make sure Sam couldn't get him to do anything before leaving the house.
But Sam was quicker, "Dean, wait." He smirked to himself when he heard the sigh from what must be an almost closed door.
"Be careful, 'kay?"
Normally he'd just leave with a somewhat disgruntled 'of course, Sam' but there was a tone that Sam took when he was serious. It wasn't very obvious; in fact someone had to know him for an awfully long time to be able to differentiate between his tones. Dean walked back inside and over to the living room, a curious eyebrow risen for the younger Winchester, "You watching the news again?" He figured that had to have something to do with it.
Sam made a face but glanced back at the TV, "Things seem weird lately, that's all."
Dean would have pointed out that it was only the day after their parents' death anniversary, of course things seemed weird, but that was the same reason he didn't say anything. "Don't worry so much, it'll be fine."
Sam smiled a little and nodded, he was probably just being paranoid. "Alright, have fun."
"Will do." And with that Dean left. Jacket adjusted, the leather one he knew he looked good in, jeans loose-fitting but tight in all the right places, and hair styled immaculately; Dean was ready for the bar. Why spend the entire week miserable and upset? He needed a pick-me-up and why not go to the bar with his best friend and wing-man? He saw no reason not to. He was most of the way there, passing by the flower shop as he went. Dean found himself staring into the darkened window at the gorgeous bouquets and arrangements, finding it to have something of a calming effect. As much as the other day brought his mind to a certain level of peace he couldn't quite retain it, something in him was stirring and he blamed it on this time of the year.
"Hey man," the familiar voice of his pal rung in his ears in a way that he dared admit was therapeutic. Just something about being 'with the guys' built up the usual persona a lot better than time alone with his little brother and family-friends could ever do. It gave him a sense of 'man-up' as Sam had explained the other day, something that kept him in check. He didn't need to be in touch with his feelings all the time, he didn't need the sympathetic look of the others, he needed a friend to laugh with him and punch him in the shoulder as a show of affection.
And that's where Jet came in. "Hey," Dean waved at the brunette as he approached, both men grinning in a way only guys on their way to a pub ever would.
"How was yesterday?" Jet asked as their fists connected, an action that kind of hurt but that's the way fist-bumps were supposed to work.
"It went pretty well," Dean shrugged and turned away, his attention back on the flower shop window. He didn't want to think about the reason for the picnic, about his parents, about their disappearance. So he looked at the flowers, finding his relaxation point again. But something didn't look right, something in the reflection was off putting and he didn't know why. Dean focused on the window and the reflections in it, and because he did he completely missed whatever Jet said next because he saw an image that struck his core like ice. Sitting in the same place as he'd been yesterday, the dark-haired man was watching again. Cold eyes fixed on him, burning into him as if they couldn't see anything else.
"Dude?" Jet nudged his shoulder, "You okay?"
Dean snapped his gaze away and back to his friend, "Yeah, yeah I'm good." The urge to look across the street nagged at him, but he refused to.
Jet raised an eyebrow and looked at the flower shop window, knowing full well that this was the place the Winchester brothers bought their memorial bouquets. His face scrunched a little in worry but he knew better than to voice it, there was a reason he and Dean were going out and he wasn't going to let the man down. "Come on, let's get going."
"Definitely." Dean started down the sidewalk again, they were only a few blocks away and he couldn't wait to get his throat burning.
"Didn't feel like driving tonight?" Jet asked as his steps fell in line with Dean's, hands shoved into the pockets of his sweater.
"My plan was to get wasted and driving doesn't fit in very well with that plan."
Dean smirked at his friend before daring to glance over his shoulder, back toward the commemorative statue and the stranger. Still there but no longer looking his way. Jet followed his gaze and furrowed his brow, shuddering slightly he turned away again. "That freak's been there all week."
"What?" Dean snapped his attention on Jet, the taller male nodding briskly.
"Yeah, every time I walk past here he's there, just sitting. I don't think he's a beggar, he doesn't have anything to collect money in." He shrugged, "But whatever, if he wants to sit then let him sit."
'All week?' Dean's thoughts were starting to sound unnerved in his own head. But then again that was good news, wasn't it? It meant he hadn't noticed for an entire week until just the other day, that his nervous behavior was only the result of his parents' anniversary picnic. In a way, it was more comforting. "Definitely weird."
Jet nodded in agreement but left it at that. Why continue to worry about it? They had an evening of fun to get to.
The stranger looked over again, tilting his head back as he watched them walk away. He caught a grin before it consumed his face when the bowlegged one turned to look one more time. It was nice to see he was making an impression.
-"It's not a victory until the battle's been won."-
It didn't stop there. Over the next few days Dean found himself on the same route through town, the roads were ruined and all traffic was being redirected. This route wasn't one he normally took but seemed to be the common one since half a week again; always driving past the flower shop and the town's statue. Along with the normal scenery there was always the same man, dark clothes, dark hair, bright blue eyes, always staring. The first moment of eye contact was the worst of it but Dean couldn't help himself every time, he'd look and they'd lock for the few moments it took for the light to change colours. After he'd look away and back again the stranger was no longer watching him, like it was a game of some sort.
Every day. Same routine at that stop light, he'd look, they'd both stare, he'd look away and back again, the stranger would have turned his gaze away already and that'd be it. Dean started to wonder if the man was real but reminded himself that Jet had seen him too. So then what was his deal?
As much as Dean wanted to ask he always seemed to find an excuse to not stop and approach the stranger. He needed to get gas before work, didn't have time, he was tired, work was long, Sam had already ordered pizza, etc. And though the list was short he still had more lined up for the next times he'd ask himself to stop. He was comfortable enough with how things were playing out and this strange little routine; it didn't need to be any different.
So when it changed he felt anxious. The stranger wasn't there that morning, his spot on the statue empty aside from a pigeon or two. Dean stared for a moment and the first thought that came to mind was 'Where the fuck did he go?' The idea that this unnerving man was on the move and could literally be anywhere was upsetting at the very least. Dean didn't have a clue if the guy had ever left the statue, or had a home. He hadn't been close enough to the man to know what he really looked like, and while that was still a cause for alarm he knew that the stranger wouldn't know what he looked like either, so there was some comfort in that. Whatever was going on, he couldn't sit and focus on it he had work to get to.
What did it matter that the stranger was missing? It was no skin off his teeth. If this guy was out and about then good, maybe he went to get a job or something. Stop living on the statue. Dean decided not to worry about it anymore, pulling up to work in his usual parking spot. At least no one had taken it this time.
The shout startled him from his thoughts, making him jump as he climbed out of his car. "What?" He snapped, turning toward his co-worker with a bit of frustration.
"For one you're almost late, and two we have a ton of work to get through so get your butt moving."
Dean rolled his eyes but continued on toward the rest of his day, knowing that there'd be something keeping him on edge for the entirety of it. He'd told himself not to think about it but he couldn't help it. Where could that guy have gone? Did it matter? Was he important enough to remember? Dean wouldn't forget the image of the guy perched in the same position on the same spot for days on end. Did he ever move? Did he eat? Maybe he'd died while sitting there and someone cleaned up his body, maybe it was all over and done with and he'd never have to deal with it again.
But when did anything ever play out that way? Really?
The end of the day came and went and still he was working. The roads had gotten so bad out there that people wound up in the shop more often than not, in a small town that meant big business. Dean figured that if Jet weren't working alongside him he'd go insane. The guy had something about him that made the situation a little funnier, even if it was possibly the worst-case scenario. Dean watched him with a smile, his best friend's antics easing the pain of a 12-hour day at work.
"Dude," Jet dropped down next to him on the workbench and leaned back against the wall, neither willing to admit that their limbs were so heavy they couldn't stand anymore. Just taking a break. "I think it's time to go home."
Dean scoffed and leaned back as well, closing his eyes and relaxing a bit. "I think so." He ran a dirty hand down his face, wiping away the sweat of the day. "I think I've had enough." He didn't have to look over to know that Jet was nodding in agreement; the man's silence was enough.
The question was a surprise but not unwelcomed, "He's good," a smile spread Dean's lips as he thought about it. Sam had been sick for a while; the past year had been a mess of doctor visits and stay-home in bed days. He'd gotten many treatments along the way, some made it much worse and others made it better or at least better than the result of the previous medications. Dean had nearly pulled his hair out trying to pay for the bills because he would have preferred to stay home and take care of his brother. He'd been there when it counted and that's all he could hope for at the time.
"He's back at school and everything?" Jet glanced over, not missing the expression on his friend's face.
"Yeah, he's a lot better, the University was willing to bring him back on his free-ride and everything. It was a nice change of pace." Dean sighed as he tried to relax his muscles, the pain throbbing dully. It was a good kind of ache, the kind that you knew you'd benefit from in the long run. A feeling to prove you'd done something productive during the day.
"Sounds like it's looking up for you guys." Jet grinned and stood up, about to head out when he paused and glanced back, "By the way I was asking around, and a few of the guys agreed to help me out with something."
Dean looked up curiously, his eyelids feeling like lead weights already. "With what now?"
"Well you already know it ate me alive to watch you try and take care of Sam on your own-"
"Dude, I know you had a lot of work to do on your end. You took every shift and project I asked you to take and even more that that." Dean stood and smiled at his friend, "Don't worry about it."
Jet returned the smile, this time without his usual smugness. "I know you've barely been able to pay for half of Sam's treatments and medication, so here." He stuck his arm out, an envelope in hand.
Dean stared at it and shook his head, "No, I can't take your-"
"Damn it, man! Just take it!" Jet forcefully grabbed Dean's forearm and pulled his hand over to shove the envelope into it. "This should take care of the rest of it."
"I…" Dean was speechless as his fingers curled around the gift, heart thumping erratically in his chest. "I don't know what to say."
"Thanks?" Jet offered before slapping his friend on the back, "Go on, I'll see you tomor-" He was cut off when Dean practically jumped on him in a hug and bounded out the door. "-row…. Okay then." Jet finished with a laugh, "Run, Forrest! Run!"
"Shut up!" Dean's reply was distant but still made their co-workers snort.
-"And all God's people said amen."-