There are people reading this story. Like, multiple people. Just, y'know, ignore me while I go do a victory dance~
Warning for slash. Well, really, it's (mostly) just references to slash. There's also some strong language, suggestive images, angst, and schmoop.
Dean decided he could be excused for not immediately jumping out of bed when he woke up. It wasn't that he wanted to spend a few moments cuddling with the man who was his alternate self's husband. It was just that he hadn't immediately realized that the person in his bed wasn't Lisa. It wasn't that big of a mess-up, honestly. His drowsy subconscious had idly wondered why Lisa was a lot hairier than usual, and why her shoulders were too wide, and why when she hugged him in her sleep, her arms wrapped further around him than usual. When he'd woken a bit more, he'd remembered that Lisa had left him, which meant that the person next to him was a snuggly one night stand.
When he heard loud, obnoxious snickering coming from the area of the door, he remembered that his snuggly one night stand was, in fact, a man.
Dean's eyelids were practically shocked open and he scrambled out of bed like his partner was a particularly evil succubus he'd mistaken for a normal woman.
Except a monster, any monster, would've been better than a man. He couldn't even say that Harry Potter (or had Potter taken Jensen Ackles' last name when they'd married?) was feminine enough to remind him of a girl. Because he wasn't. His shoulders were too wide, hands too big, chest – which was only partially covered under a thin sheet – too hairy. He looked like a normal guy, someone Dean could be friends with, shoot some pool with, maybe even have a platonic drink at a bar with.
Sam was still laughing hysterically in the doorframe, damn him. Dean scrambled to get his clothes on.
"You were petting him," Sam said through his laughter. "I should've gotten it on camera."
"Fuck you," Dean muttered. "And this house and world and everything else."
"And me, too?" asked the third person in the room.
Dean looked back to see Harry sitting up on his elbows, the blanket shoved even lower than it had been. He didn't know why he was focusing so much on that blanket. It wasn't that Harry had something he'd never seen before. (On himself, obviously, and maybe through a one-time teenage experimentation thing with a fellow car geek that he'd later spent a long time denying.) It wasn't like Harry was going to make him gay through a single glance at his magic cock. His eyes were drawn down to the covered area between Harry's legs, where he could see the outline of his member. Right. He didn't feel a sudden surge of gay. He was fine.
Dean realized a couple moments too late that he still needed to give his bed-mate an answer. And that Harry had no doubt noticed his momentary stare, and possibly taken it for ogling.
"Sorry, have to get to the set. We have an early morning, uh—" Did not-him have a nickname for Harry? Honey? Baby? Snugglemuffin? "—yeah."
Harry grinned easily. "Don't trip over anything." He stretched, then got up from the bed. Thankfully for Dean's eyes, he kept the sheet wrapped around himself, though it was probably only for Sam's benefit.
"I never trip—" Dean began, then stopped as Harry nonconsensually rubbed sleep from the corner of Dean's eye. It was something Lisa would've done, and too intimate by far for this. So was Harry's soft look and the way his lips quirked up as though Dean's very (rumpled, unshaved, reluctant) presence inspired happiness.
"Oh yeah?" Harry asked, then kissed him softly, running his hand up Dean's arm. "Sorry for my morning breath." He turned to Sam. "Good luck to you too, Jared. We should catch up sometime, okay? Don't be a stranger." And then he got back into the bed, curling up in the spot Dean had just left. Fuck.
He let Sam say their goodbyes for him and took the stairs two at a time.
"Let's get this over with!" Dean called without glancing behind.
On the drive to the airport to pick up their supplies, Sam turned to Dean and asked, "So, how was your night? Learn anything new? New positions, perhaps?"
Dean gave him a steely (and not the blue steel kind) glare. "Shut up, Sammy. Tell me what you found."
Sam shook his head, motioning at their driver. When they arrived at the airport, Sam exited the car and Dean followed him, resting against the car and watching.
"That it?" he asked as Sam came back with two packages.
"Yeah. One saint's bone. We can be out of here in an hour."
"Thank fuck," Dean replied. "I've had it with this place."
Sam looked uncomfortable for a moment, then said, "Look, Dean—"
"We're not talking about it."
"Not about that. I also bought a soul-scrying board for us to use. I did more than research the ritual last night, because this? This is weird. Not only because this place has some sort of link to our world, but because our actors look like us but don't seem to be related at all." Sam pulled out a sheet of paper from his jacket and unfolded it to show a family tree. "Look at this: we don't have the same parents. But we are second cousins, twice removed. Our family trees are almost identical to ours except for our grandparents afterwards. Deana and Samuel never got together, neither did mom and dad or dad's parents. Instead they married similar enough looking people that Jensen and Jared look exactly like us."
"Why should I care about this, Sammy?"
"We're miracles of biology. Also, the angels probably got our grandparents together too, along with our parents. It didn't happen here, even if we came out looking like, well, us. But what's important is the fact that not that many things are different. We probably have the same souls. This body, it doesn't have my scars. It's not me. But it still accepted my soul. I think somehow, we either pushed out Jared and Jensen's souls, or even overwrote them." Sam's expression became grimmer the more he outlined what might've happened when they'd burst into this alternate universe.
"Where would their souls even go?" Dean asked.
Sam shrugged, his expression hard. "I think they may have gone to heaven."
Dean closed his eyes, thinking about not-Ruby and Harry, about how he didn't like either of them, but they obviously loved their spouses. About how Jensen and Jared might be two more casualties of the Winchester brothers. About how Sam wasn't always right.
"Or we could've swapped places with them. Hell, maybe they're tearing up Bobby's house back home trying to get back."
"I hope so," Sam said, but his voice wasn't as confident as Dean's.
That was okay, Dean thought, because he had enough confidence for the both of them. It was up to them to make sure a whole different universe didn't get screwed up just because the Winchesters came for a visit.
"What's that?" Clint asked when they got back in the car.
"An Ouija board and some old dude's bone," Dean replied.
"It's for TV purposes," Sam added.
Clint gave them both a very un-amused look. "Your enthusiasm for the job is frightening."
They arrived at the set an hour early and went straight to Jensen's trailer, hoping no one noticed them carrying suspicious boxes through the set.
"Okay, how do we do this thing?" Dean asked as he laid out all the pieces of the soul-scrying board on the coffee table.
"According to Mr. Dunbar's instructions, we lay the board facing north, then spell the name of the soul we're trying to reach. If the name glows white, the soul is still in reach. If it doesn't, it's passed on into the afterlife," Sam said, arranging the letters for JENSEN ACKLES on the board. "But first, we have to simultaneously chant these words." He held up a sheet of paper covered with Latin phrases.
"Are you sure this even works?" Dean asked, eying it with suspicion. "We should try one of our own names first."
"Good idea," Sam said, and rearranged the letters before they went on to the simultaneous chant. The chant wasn't going to be a problem, after all the practice their father had them do as kinds. They had a few false starts, with Sam or Dean speaking too soon, but they got the hang of it quickly.
The words SAM WINCHESTER glowed white and the board rotated until the arrow pointing north faced Sam instead.
"I guess there is magic in this world," Dean said offhandedly as they stared at the board. Had Dean not already been sure of Sam having his soul back, this would have done the trick.
"It probably wouldn't work in our own world," Sam said with a sigh. "But we could take it with us and try, anyway."
"It would sure as hell be useful," Dean said.
But when they tried JENSEN ACKLES, the board would not respond.
The only thing left to try was the ritual to get them back to their own world, no matter how wrong it felt to possibly destroy two lives and just leave. But getting it done with proved more difficult than they'd expected. Sam had gotten the right parts shipped for the ritual, but before they could begin, they had to spend the day doing their doppelgangers' jobs. It was the most pointless thing Dean had ever done, and that included four years of Spanish classes in high school and working as a cashier for a case.
As Dean stood in front of a camera and repeated some bullshit line for (no joke) the fiftieth time, he thought he'd almost rather be in hell. He needed out.
"And yet, somehow you got no problem with it," he said to Misha-as-Cas, trying hard to not look at the camera.
That was probably an okay take. He said the line, didn't glance at the team of directors—
And reset. Once again. He was going to kill someone. Misha continued to play a strikingly familiar Cas while he and Sam jumbled through their lines, hoping for the eventual end of the scene. Or for lightening to strike them down.
The biggest surprise was when, two hours (of talking and gesturing while a group of people shouted at them for doing things wrong, and wondering how people seriously did this for a living without going insane) into filming, Harry (wearing glasses – how did he ever play hockey in them?) came in, taking a seat near the end of the long line of cameramen and directors. He shot Dean a thumbs-up, which Dean replied to with a nod.
Harry cheered silently but enthusiastically for the next few takes while Dean resigned himself to the idea that his husband was disturbingly supportive. Of everything Dean – or rather Jensen – did. He and Lisa should meet sometime, he couldn't help but think. He also watched Harry grow more and more confused each time he and Sam screwed up a shot. Great. He was making a fool of himself and making the person he lived with suspicious.
"And when we find the lock, we'll have a lock. But we'll also have a key. Which we'll use. To open the lock," Sam said haltingly, and Dean didn't need to be psychic to know he was going to hear—
—in a few moments.
When he glanced sideways again, behind the disgruntled directors and at Harry, Harry was holding up a finger to his lips. His mouth hinted at a smile. He held up a sheet of paper, one that looked like someone's copy of this episode's script, and showcased a brilliant illustration of a dick drawn in thick black marker.
Dean rolled his eyes. Very mature.
You know it, Harry's expression seemed to say.
"Ackles, stop that this instant—"
"Yeah, yeah," Dean replied. He focused on not screwing up too badly, but his attention kept turning toward Harry, who kept on drawing ridiculous things.
The next time he glanced to the side, Harry had moved on to stick figures riding on broomsticks and a huge block-letter caption reading, "Want to ride my broom?"
Dean didn't quite get why the figures were riding brooms. Maybe Harry and Jensen had a creative role-play life.
Fuck. He was going to bleach his brain when things went back to normal.
When their director forcefully ejected them from the set, saying that maybe a break would set their heads back on, Dean collapsed into one of the nearby chairs and Sam said something about taking a leak.
"How do I do this every day?" he groaned.
"Well, you're not usually quite so bad," a voice he recognized as Harry's said. The man himself sat down on a chair next to Dean's and rested one of his knees companionably against Dean's. "What's wrong?"
Dean shrugged and said, "Nothing much. Just tired."
There wasn't anything he could say to a man who only knew some watered down version of himself. It wasn't like he could say that he and his brother were stuck in an alternate dimension, that they might have killed or merged with or whatever two innocent actors, that Sam had been soulless only a short while ago, and that their own world was so screwed up right then that as much as Dean didn't like this world, it was a welcome break.
Dean thought about Sam and wondered if he was thinking about just staying in this world. One where everything was good and whole. One where Ruby was alive and cared for small children and animals and third world countries.
"Alright," Harry replied. They sat companionably for a while, until Harry said, "I love you anyway, even if you've somehow turned into a terrible actor in the past few days."
He said it so easily, like it was a completely ordinary truth. Dean's chest ached.
"You wouldn't feel the same way if I were Dean Winchester," Dean replied, then cursed himself for even saying it. It was petty and dumb and just the product of overthinking Sam's reunion with some form of Ruby. Because not-Ruby would run screaming in the other direction if she found out that Sam wasn't Jared, and that would probably cause Sam to angst over her for months.
Harry laughed. "What kind of logic is that? If you really were Dean Winchester, I'd be out hunting demons alongside you instead of playing hockey. Of course I'd love you. In addition to being you, the caring, proud, talented man I care so much for, you'd also be a charming gun-slinging hunter with a heart of gold." He took Dean's hand in his, running his thumb over Dean's knuckles. "I've never loved anyone as much as I love you. That's not going to change. So relax and let whatever's bothering you go. You're getting Sera worried, and you know that's just going to give you more grief."
There wasn't anything Dean could say. He went with, "Thank you," but it wasn't nearly enough to convey his wonder that some version of himself was able to have a stable relationship with this depth of feeling. And he ignored the prick of guilt at his conscience, because Harry was here and able to give comfort to him, but after Sam and Dean left, there might not be anyone to give him the same.
His acting was better after the break, if only because he tried twice as hard to focus on acting, instead of on Harry's words.
Hours later, Harry was gone, probably back at the home he shared with Jensen, they were finally done fooling around on the set, and their ritual was a no-go.
"Why didn't it work?" Dean asked as he and Sam trudged back to Jensen's trailer. "We had the right ingredients. It was the right set. It should've worked."
At least they'd done the ritual with fake glass, since otherwise they'd both be bleeding now. But that was the only positive spin Dean could put on the whole thing.
"I have no idea. Maybe the magic in this world is just too different for our world's rituals to work," Sam said thoughtfully, opening the door to the trailer.
They entered the room only to see Harry there, standing in the center of the room. The soul-scrying board rested to his left, JENSEN ACKLES spelled in wooded letters. He'd obviously seen the soul-scrying board, and Dean started to say something about it being a prop from the set that he and Sam had been messing around with. But Harry's expression wasn't one of confusion or curiosity. He wasn't trying to make fun of them for thinking the supernatural was real.
Harry's expression was pained as he said something in Latin and his eyes froze on the air above Dean's head. Dean warily tilted his head back to see a cursive script form over his head, as though someone were writing in the air. Once the invisible hand stopped moving, the words Dean Winchester hovered in the air in judgment.
Harry pointed a wooden stick at Dean's head, his face grim and determined, and said, "You're not my husband. What the hell is going on?"
If you're interested in this 'verse, you should subscribe to the series on AO3/subscribe to me on FFN/periodically check for updates. After this fic is over (in two chapters!), I'll be writing the sequel. It will take place in the Supernatural world with the Supernatural world's Harry. And there will be more slash ;)
Also I am a terrible updater who's undeserving of your lovely reviews, but please leave a comment anyway? They mean the world :)