Welcome and thanks for reading. This fic is sort of my vision for how Dean and Castiel might meet and help each other in a parallel world where supernatural things don't exist but they are both still broken warriors. There are lots of canon references because I love the idea of a real world parallel to the Supernatural world we all love. Enjoy!
I have created a Rdio playlist at rdio dot com /people/angelswatchingover/playlists/9934026/Bless_The_Broken_Road/ to go along with this fic so you can listen along as you read. So if you want to be immersed in the music playing during the action in the story (or that I used as inspiration for the chapter titles) check out the whole playlist. Some of these are covers because Led Zeppelin and the Beatles are probably too expensive for Rdio but they get the idea across. Enjoy!
"Are you kidding me? Sammy, that's… not gonna happen!" exclaimed Dean.
"Come on, Dean. It's not like I want to do this anymore than you, but I have to do it and I need backup," huffed Sam. "Of all of the terrifying things you have faced, I can't believe this is the one you are going to let get in your way."
"Bullets, knives and bad guys I can handle, but this? No way!"
"Didn't you tell me once that Swayze gets a pass? Think of it like Swayze."
"I was talking about Roadhouse Swayze, not, not … this!"
"What if I told you Pamela is the instructor?"
"Pamela Barnes? Like, seriously hot Jessie Forever tramp stamp chick from the gym Pamela?"
"That's the one," Sam smirked, knowing his brother well enough that a pretty girl might just be incentive he needed.
Dean sighed. He remembered Pamela from the last time they had met. She was gorgeous, exactly his type. He could picture her big blue eyes, dark hair and beautiful smile. She was flirty and funny and had excellent taste in music if her endless supply of tight fitting concert shirts meant anything. His face began to take on that dreamy look that it did when he was remembering her last week in that cutoff Ramones… "Well?" Sam interrupted his daydream.
"Fine, but you owe me big! Why does Jess want to do this anyway?" Dean resigned himself to, of all things, dance lessons for his little brother's wedding.
"I guess she wants the first dance at the reception to look like we can actually, I don't know, dance. I don't really blame her, we both have zero experience with this and I don't want to look ridiculous. The way we grew up, travelling from town to town all the time, I don't think either one of us has ever even attended a school dance. I really want to do this for her so buck up, big brother, because you are going to come along and help me get through this."
"OK, OK. But I'm not doing it for you, I am doing it for the girls! Speaking of which, who am I going to have to dance with?"
"You are paired up with Jess' friend, Charlie."
"You think Charlie has any more of a clue about this crap than I do? Shit, Sam, you are going to make me completely embarrass myself."
"You don't need my help to do that, Dean. You manage that all on your own." Sam smirked.
"Bitch," was Dean's standard reply when he realized he was giving in to his little brother.
Dean huffed a laugh at his brother as he hung up the phone. He never could say no to that kid. The things he wouldn't do for Sam. The things he had already done for Sam! Dean had sacrificed everything for his little brother, raising him without a mother and with an alcoholic father who couldn't hold down a job and had to move their little family all over the Midwest every time John Winchester had gotten himself fired from another job.
Dean had been just four years old when their mother died of bone marrow cancer. It burned through her body like a wild fire and in just a few short months had consumed her life. His memories of his mother always came back at unexpected times. They were faint, like echoes really. He remembered her warmth when she wrapped her arms around him and her smell, like clean linens. He could still feel the softness of her long blonde hair that he loved to weave his fingers through as he fell asleep with his head on her shoulder to her softly singing Hey Jude. He remembered her making him pies, firmly establishing his lifelong obsession with the dessert.
And he remembered sitting on her lap in their living room in Lawrence, Kansas. She would sit on the rocking chair with Dean on one leg, his chubby little fingers gripping the arm that wrapped around him while his other hand twirled through her smooth blonde hair, while Sam cuddled snugly in her other arm. He could still hear Sam's snuffly baby sounds and smell that comforting combination of talc and milk.
This was the last memory that Dean had of his mother. She was speaking to her children in soft tones, telling them how much she loved them with quiet tears falling down her cheeks. She told Dean to be a good big brother and she promised to send angels to watch over them when she was gone. She knew that she was at the end of her battle with the disease and this was her goodbye to her sons.
Dean leaned his head back on the couch, closing his eyes to soak in the memory. But memories tend to have a mind of their own and the warmth of his mother's arms was quickly replaced by the images that came after. Dad crying, the man who was his father being replaced by the ghost of a person with only a vacancy where his spirit once was. Dean holding onto Sammy and not wanting to let go of him. Then, at the funeral, surrounded by tall people he didn't know, near strangers patting his head, taking his hand, shuffling him from room to room. He remembered the confusion, the worry, the darkness that seemed to be settling over him.
He felt himself walking through a hushed crowd to a long wooden box at the front of the room, stepping up onto a stool, looking down seeing not his mother's face, but the bloodied, filthy face of a fallen soldier. The memory suddenly became a whir of confused battle sounds, the zip of bullets flying and pop-pop-pop of M16s firing, the high pitched squeal of damaged eardrums, white hot pain, blood mixed with tan colored dirt, the smell of gunpowder, the metallic taste of blood, screams, chaos then blue and sky and floating.
Dean woke with a start. He was sweating and his breaths were coming in shallow bursts. Damn, these days it seemed like every memory took him back to Afghanistan. He took a few moments to practice the calming techniques his brother had found for him on some PTSD website. It eased the anxiety a bit, but he couldn't help feel an aching sense of hopelessness that he might never stop seeing blood and pain every time he closed his eyes. Taking one final deep breath, Dean steeled himself to face the day.
"He convinced you to do what?" laughed Dean's business partner, Bobby Singer.
"Dance lessons, for his wedding," Dean grumbled.
"Lemme guess, twinkle toes, he gave you them damn puppy eyes?"
"Didn't even have to. God, I am a sucker for that kid!" Dean admitted, shaking his head at his own weak spot for his little brother. "But on the bright side, the teacher is smokin' hot."
"Knew you weren't just doin' it out of the goodness of your heart. But you can guarantee I'll be there to witness Dean Winchester dancing. Now hand me that wrench, Baryshnikov." The corners of Dean's mouth turned up a bit at this, Bobby knew the Winchester brothers well. Bobby had also fallen victim to Sam's puppy dog eye method of getting his way a few times.
"So this one's going to be a beaut' when we're done," Dean gave a low whistle as he walked around the 1969 Mustang Mach 1, lightly caressing the edges of her steel body as he examined her lines. Damn, he loved these classic muscle cars. The sharp lines, the detail that went into them, the rumble of the engines, the power he felt in the driver's seats. He couldn't wait to see this one restored to her former beauty.
Dean had always loved fixing up cars. It was the one thing he bonded with his father on. John Winchester had owned a 1967 Chevy Impala and taught Dean to fix cars, using the Impala as their classroom. John had wrecked it a few times in drunken stupors, but that just gave Dean more experience in restoring her to her original beauty. After their father died, that Impala had become Dean's prized possession, a gleaming sexy black beast roaring and eating up roads with Dean behind her wheel.
Dean knew mechanics. Maintaining engines, though, was tedious to him compared with the rewards of rebuilding a classic and restoring it to its former beauty. So when Dean left the Army with just about every dollar he had made saved up it didn't take much to convince Bobby Singer to add onto his auto repair garage a restoration shop for Dean. They both had to hide the dampness in their eyes the day they hoisted the Singer and Son sign over the shop. Of course, Bobby wasn't really their father, but they believed that family doesn't end with blood so Singer and Son just felt right.
"You gonna stand there all day bonding with it, or you gonna help me fix her up?" grumbled Bobby.
"We are getting to know each other. Cars like this, they have a soul. I have to take a moment to get to know her, understand what she wants to be." Dean knew this sounded corny, but the one thing he never could bring himself to feel ashamed of was his love for this work. He wasn't a mechanic, he was an artist.
Bobby rolled his eyes at this, but he let Dean have his moment because he had seen what that kid could do with a car and if a little bonding time was what it took, then he was all for it. He loved having Dean's finished pieces sitting outside the shop. Just seeing them there had brought in more than a few customers, admiring his work. "Fine, before you two get a room, though, can we at least get started on this engine?"
Dean huffed a laugh at this and dove into working on the Mustang.
There were nights when the wind was so cold
That my body froze in bed if I just listened
To it right outside my window
There were days when the sun was so cruel
That all the tears turned to dust and
I just knew my eyes were drying up forever
~It's All Coming Back to Me – Meat Loaf