Title: Another Radio Song
Word Count: 7620
Warnings: some minor language and sexuality, mentions of past character death, minor off-screen character gender-bending, a hodge-podge of canon AU verses within an AU, some mildly negative thoughts on union organization from a character in a management position
Pairings: some Dean/Cas, Sam/Jess
Characters: Sam, Dean, Castiel, Zachariah, Mary Winchester, Adam
Summary: The apocalypse didn't go how Zachariah or Heaven wanted it to. But you know what they say: if at first you don't succeed, try again.
Author's Note: This begins during the Season 5 episode “Dark Side of the Moon” and goes sideways from there. I pulled a lot of different scenarios and behaviors from different canon (au and non) episodes, including but not limited to: What Is and Should Never Be, It's a Terrible Life, Dark Side of the Moon, Houses of the Holy, and The Rapture. In places it is and yet is not like each of those episodes; I'll freely admit that this story is not near to being worthy of being paired withaffablyevil's beautiful, haunting, and moving video. I would have loved to do a full scale sprawling epic featuring all the characters as they are shown in the story the video tells, but that was not to be for the moment. Consider this the super, mega condensed version of the fic. The Spam, if you will. XD
Seriously though, go and give the video one or a hundred views; I think it grows more amazing every time I watch it.
The title is, rather unimaginatively, the same as the title of the song affablyevil used in “A Conviction of Angels”. It is performed by Okkervil River.
Also, the italicized quote is from a hymn called "Last Night as I Lay Sleeping".
EDIT: I apologize in advance for the wonky formatting. LJ is simply not cooperating with me very well tonight. Will hopefully be fixed tomorrow afternoon.
Zachariah, despite whatever he may have claimed to the contrary, was not an angel blessed with a fertile imagination. He was not like his older brother Gabriel, who could create illusory worlds on a whim, or Raphael, who could view multitudinous circumstances and immediately pinpoint would best bend to his will. Nor was he even like Michael, who possessed such a personality that, once faced with him, humans naturally desired to do whatever it took to please him.
What Zachariah did possess was patience and an uncanny sense of timing. Michael and Raphael, though, were no longer of the frame of mind to allow Zachariah his 'playtime', as they called it. The need for perfect vessels was no longer a priority. They could have, as Raphael put it, perfection after they'd succeeded in bringing about the end. Trying to make things just so on the way there? Just an exercise in frustration.
The Winchesters were in Heaven, on Zachariah's own turf. The idea that they could possibly hide from him here of all places was amusing, almost cute—the same way a puppy who piddles on the floor and then pretends it doesn't know how the mess got there is cute. As in, still a bit endearing, but you still want to rub their nose in it so they won't ever do it again. Why they never thought to use Heaven's flexibility to do more than run away on foot Zachariah would never know, but then, to him as an angel it was natural to think of such things, and the Winchesters were only humans.
“Guys, what's the problem?” Zachariah called out. “I just want to send you back to earth. Way back,” he muttered, sotto voice.
He heard Dean curse, urge Sam to run faster, harder, but there was no where they could escape from him in Heaven.
Oh, those two. You can change a million variables, but they'll still be exactly who they are, and their reactions will be the predictable. He should know—just as he'd told Dean in another timeline, this wasn't the first planetary enema he'd orchestrated, after all. His favorite universes were the ones where their mother Mary was the single, surviving parent. Purely selfish, but he enjoyed watching her fierce determination and quiet faith play out time and again. For this, what would hopefully be the final go around Zachariah thought he'd try another world where she was the parent who lived. It was clear he wasn't getting anywhere trying to convince the Sam and Dean of the current reality to agree to anything. Zachariah stepped into the clearing mere milliseconds before Sam and Dean crashed into it. The Righteous Man's eyes barely began to widen in realization when Zachariah snapped his fingers.
Maybe this time, Zach thought, things'll go right and the apocalypse could finally get properly underway.
Last night as I lay sleeping,
When all my prayers were said,
With my guardian Angel keeping
His watch above my head.
I heard His sweet voice caroling,
Full softly on my ear...
Another long ass week was finally over. Dean shucked off his stuffy-but-necessary work clothes, taking a few moments to hang the still-somewhat crisp blue pinstripe dress shirt and dark slacks. Then he shimmied into a pair of tattered denims paired with an equally worn flannel and t-shirt. Padding barefoot out into the kitchen, Dean snagged a beer out of the loudly humming refrigerator before moving the short foot and a half between his kitchen and living room—or more importantly to Dean in that moment, between the beer and the sofa. His apartment was small but clean, and Dean loved it. He'd never been someone who felt the need to define themselves by the stuff that surrounded them, being the sort who could pick up and go anywhere and have it feel like home. The small studio he was currently renting threatened to change that, though, and Dean couldn't say that he minded.
He was especially glad to be there tonight. His original plans for the day included flying to New York for a seminar on the threat of unions—Sandover very recently discovered not one, not two, but three salts in the Cleveland tech support offices alone, and subsequently decided that all management needed remedial training—but Dean's name was excluded from the list due to some sort of head office fuck-up. No name on the list, no ticket on the plane, he'd been cheerfully told. Dean had only found out that morning he wasn't going—in fact, his fully packed suitcase was still sitting by the door.
The suitcase could sit there for a few hours more though as far as Dean was concerned. Because he didn't go to the seminar he'd had to go in and work regular office hours during the day, and Adler had been irritatingly happy in a way that suggested Dean would have a huge pile of work on his desk come Monday morning. So for now, Dean was going to enjoy his unexpected weekend off by vegging in front of the television and drinking all the booze his fridge held. Cozily ensconced on the sofa with the remote in one hand and beer in the other, Dean took a second to relish how much better his current situation was than waiting in an airport for the better part of a day only to board an airplane where he'd fear for his life for three or so hours. Yeah, this was much better. Smirking, he flicked the television on.
KJLT 15's evening news began blaring out, the newscaster's face and voice grim as she reported, “...over one hundred feared dead. A makeshift memorial is already being erected here, just a half mile from the crash site as families waiting to hear about their loved ones fear the worst.”
Images of black smoke, heavy and rolling thickly through air filled with distraught people's screams filled his screen. Women placed bunches of flowers on what looked like a random piece of ground while silently stood and held candles, their faces heavily pinched. This wasn't made Dean sit upright and lean forward to stare in open-mouthed shock, though—it was the plane's flight number and destination scrolling on the bottom of the screen that did that.
“United Britannia Flight 424, Cleveland to New York City,” Dean said in shock. That was his plane—the one he thought he was going to board earlier in the day.
“....as rescue workers sift through the rubble here in Pennsylvania they say it looks increasingly unlikely that they will find any survivors...”
Dean shuddered. That could have been, should have been him. A good half of his co-workers were on that flight. The woman filling the screen with red-rimmed eyes, blank in shock as she talked about her missing son could have been, would have been his mother if not for corporate's mistake. Two years or so ago, in fact, it had been his mother, standing at a vigil and holding a small poster board sign with his stepfather's face on it, hoping against all logic that he'd be one of the lucky ones found alive in a similar plane crash.
“Shit!” Hands shaking, Dean thumped the beer he'd been barely hanging on to down on the coffee table and scrabbled for his cell phone. Mom still didn't know he hadn't gone to the seminar. Mary Milligan liked the idea of flying about as much as Dean did (which is to say not at all) and her developed phobia of flying after Carl's death was worse when one of her boys was the one making the trip than if she went herself. She was probably frantic.
Sure enough, there was over two dozen voicemails pinging into his inbox and just as many texts. Some were from Mary but more were from his youngest brother Adam and the last few were from Sammy.
“...Dean, if you get this you gotta call home, mom's freaking out. I'm sure you punked out of getting on the plane so if you'd just let her know that--”
“Please, please, sweetheart, tell me you weren't on that flight, I need you to call me, Dean--”
“Dean, I just saw on the news about the plane and I called Mom and she said you haven't called her back and...” there was a wet snuffle that told Dean his middle brother Sam might have been crying. Normally it'd be something he'd love to make fun of him for, but not right now, not under these circumstances.
“...if you're okay you need to call one of us Dean, please.”
Cursing, he pressed 2 for speed-dial and called his mother.
“Christ, you look like shit.”
“I thought you were dead for over half a day, Dean.” Sammy made a face at him but didn't try to hide his bloodshot eyes.
“You only called me at 5, bitch. It was like, an hour at the most.”
“Dean, you--” Sam bit off whatever he'd been about to say and wrapped his arms around Dean in a big hug instead.
“Is that--?” Over Sam's shoulder Dean saw his mother appear in the archway leading out to the dining room. He watched the exact moment when she realized it was indeed him crash across her face. The visible way her body sagged in relief at seeing him in person made the two hour drive worth. She rushed over, nudging Sam out of the way to hug Dean herself.
“Hey, mom,” Dean said gently, smoothing a soothing hand down her back. “You didn't even get this worked up when I blew my knees out in high school.”
“That's because I knew Carl could take care of you. There was no danger for you. An airplane, though?” Mary shuddered.
Dean chuckled. It wasn't that he was insensitive to his mother's worry, it was that if he dwelt too much on what could have happened today he'd start freaking out himself. He was still carefully not thinking about all the people he wouldn't see in the office again come Monday. Pulling away gently, he asked, “Where's Adam?”
“Right here,” Adam said, waving from the dining room table. His smile was watery but brave. “Waiting for you to get your ass inside.”
“Adam, don't curse at your brother,” Mary said automatically.
“Dean called Sam a bitch and you didn't call him on it!” Adam said. He shakily winked at Dean over their mother's head, letting Dean know Adam was just trying to distract Mary. The poor kid looked like the one that really needed distracting though. The similarity between today and his father's death had to be rough for him.
“Your brother gets a free pass today,” Mary said softly, not fooled by what Adam was doing for a moment.
Adam, obviously forcing himself to, rolled his eyes.
“You stop that,” Mary chided gently. “All three of my boys are under my roof for the first time in ages. I want to enjoy it.”
Turning to Dean, she said, “You're staying here tonight, aren't you?”
Dean thought about teasingly balking at the suggestion but then saw the lines of strain bracketing his mother's eyes; it wasn't the night for that type of joke.
“I've got a bag in the car,” he said. Her answering smile told Dean he'd made the right choice.
“Thank you, sweetheart,” she said, patting his cheek lightly. “And you, Sam?” she asked. “You're staying as well, right?” Sammy only lived across town from their mother's house, but he seemed to sense that Mary needed him there as well.
The night passed in a pleasant flurry of family jokes, popcorn and bad movies play low on the television which they ignored in favor of just talking. Dean wasn't normally a loquacious person, but around his mother he found it easy and almost natural to talk. It wasn't how it was at all at Sandover, the way he felt like he was forcing himself to go from one painfully trite conversation to the next.
Mr. Adler called him in the morning and told him to take the next week off. Dean was surprised; the company was usually all about productivity and making goals, and Dean certainly couldn't make his goals if he wasn't there....plus there was the fact that most of management was gone. Adler informed him that the company had decided to give all associates the week off in a show of uncharacteristic care over their mental health.
“Besides, son,” he said, “if you have any vacation time accrued, we'll use that to cover the days we're shuttered.”
Figured. So much for caring about their associates, Dean thought wryly. Corporate douchebags.
“Okay,” had been Sam's unenthusiastic response when Dean told him over lunch.
“Geez, man, contain your excitement.”
“Are you gonna stay here for the week?” Adam perked up from his spot across the table.
Dean shrugged. “Probably.”
“Could you teach me how to drive the Impala?” Adam said eagerly.
Adam visibly deflated.
“Why won't you ever let me drive your car?” he whined, sounding every bit the seventeen year old teenager he was.
“Because you don't have a license yet, kid,” Dean said, leaning over to rap his knuckles gently on top of Adam's skull. Adam jerked away, frowning, and swatted at Dean's hand. “When you get your license and the state of Ohio says you're probably not gonna kill anybody out on the roadway, then we'll talk about it. Until then the answer is no.”
“But mom said she won't even let me get my permit until spring.”
“Good,” Sam grunted. “That means we won't have to worry about you out on the roadways.”
“So unfair,” Adam complained. All he'd needed to be more of a girl about it was to stomp his foot and toss his hair before leaving the room. As it was though he dramatically rose from the table and skulked off to pout, face pulled into a fierce frown.
“And he wonders why I won't let him behind the wheel of my baby,” Dean snarked.
“Dean,” Sam called him back over, gesturing to the newspaper he'd been paying more attention to than Dean. “You see this?”
“No, princess, you've been hogging the paper all morning. What's up?”
“Apparently some folks in midtown killed people.”
Dean put down his coffee cup to glare at Sam. “And this surprises you? Really?”
“No, not that someone got killed. Although you could show a little more sympathy about that,” Sam frowned at him. “No, it's the reason why they said they killed them. They said, and I quote, 'an angel of the Lord came to me in a dream and told me to.'”
“...Angels? These people think actual angels are telling them to kill people?”
“Hasn't mom always said angels are...I don't know, happy and fluffy and protective?” Dean gestured to one of the many figurines Mary had sitting around the house. This particular figure was porcelain, its feminine face pleasantly blank as a trail of butterflies sat on its arm. “Telling people to run around ganking other people doesn't seem very angelic to me.”
Sam simply shrugged.
“Weird, but that's not the part that really got me. Both victims and attackers attend Our Lady of the Angels.”
Mary floated into the room, a basket of bread rolls cradled in her hands. “Are you talking about me? I thought I heard you say 'mom'.”
“We were just...” Sam tried to tuck away the paper as Dean said, “talking about the weather.”
“...tonight's football game,” Sam said at the same time. They looked at each other guiltily but Mary just sighed.
“You boys don't need to protect me from everything, you know,” she said. “And I already read the newspaper so I know what happened.”
“Sandover gave me a whole week off,” Dean blurted out. Mary looked up at him in surprise. “What do you say to me staying here during my time off?”
“Really?” Mary looked so excited at the prospect that Dean thought back to the last time he'd spent a few days together with his mother. When he drew a blank he felt more than a little guilty.
“Yeah mom,” he said. “Really.”
“That sounds wonderful,” she said, smiling sweetly. She stepped between Sam and Dean and placed a hand on each son's cheek. “Sam, you should stay here too and catch up with Dean. I know it's been a while since you've had time to spend together.”
As it always did, his mother's touch warmed Dean. While he'd been worrying about her she was taking care of him; Mary had the uncanny ability to make him feel better with just a few words and a reassuring glance; it was with those that she'd managed to convince him to put in the effort to go to business school, helped him put himself back together after Cassie dumped him, and comforted him after he'd wrecked dad's old Impala and ended up in the hospital for three weeks. He really didn't know where he'd be in life without her. It might make him a momma's boy but after the near miss he'd had that weekend, he wanted to be as close to his mother as possible.
The subject of angels and murders was completely forgotten.
That changed on Sunday when Mary dragged her three reluctant boys to Our Lady of the Angels early in the morning.
The current Father of the church wasn't a man Dean had ever met. Father Uriel was a big burly man who looked like he'd be more comfortable in the gym lifting weights then behind the pulpit, but the subjects he chose to preach on were interesting, at least. The Padre wasn't shy about talking about the expectations of faith for modern Christians, testifying to the unbelievers, and (from the whispers of the congregation surrounding them, controversially) what he called the 'truth about angels'. He didn't, however, go into detail or even mention the murders at all, which Dean thought was a good move on the guy's part. A priest going on and on about how a few parishioners killed their fellow churchgoing folks wouldn't just be tacky, it'd make people nervous.
Dean made sure to thank the priest afterwards while shaking his hand, telling him how much he'd enjoyed the service. Father Uriel grinned, teeth sharp and white.
“I am pleased to hear that, Dean.”
His surprise must have been clear, because Father Uriel said, “Your mother speaks of you often, and you look much like her. It is good to finally see you here in my church. I was relieved to hear that you were not one of the victims claimed by that plane crash.”
There was something—Dean couldn't identify what—off about the man's expression, something that gave him a chill. Like 'someone was walking across his grave', as Grandma Deanna would say. Dean dropped his gaze to his feet and said, “Yeah, only by the grace of God, right?” When Dean looked back up Father Uriel was the one looking at him as though he was uncomfortable, which, weird. Wouldn't priests be used to hearing crap like that?
“You don't know how right you are, Dean Winchester.”
Father Uriel's words rung in Dean's ears throughout the post-church brunch Mary treated them to, on the car ride back and during half of the football game. Sam complained that his attention wasn't on the score, but hell, their team was the Browns and they were playing the Steelers. Dean didn't need to watch the game to know how it was going to turn out.
“What did you think of Father Uriel's service today?” he said, in the middle of Adam talking about how the referee was clearly biased against the Browns. Both his brothers stopped and stared at him. Pushing on, Dean turned to Adam and said, “Are his services always like that? And does he always talk like he, I don't know, knows you or something? When you've just met the guy?”
Adam shrugged. “Father Uriel has always been that way. He's pretty cool, not uptight the way Father Reynolds was. Why?”
“No reason,” Dean murmured. Rising, he said, “You know what guys? I think I'm going to go to bed.”
His brothers didn't say anything as they watched Dean struggle up from their mother's sofa and stumble towards the guest room he'd claimed as his own for the week.
Walking thorough the hallway, Dean's fingertips touched on a print of the Archangel Michael standing atop a pile of writhing serpents, sword pointed downwards. His mother's collection, which had been miniature until Carl's death, had exploded in recent years until there was an angel figure of some sort on nearly every available surface.
“Dean,” a disembodied voice said as the television in the living room flickered to life. Dean could see it reflecting shadows on the hallway wall. He stepped fully into the room and saw a fuzzy black and white screen with a man's face barely visible through the white noise that was clouding the picture. “Dean,” the man said again. Dean stepped closer. His eyes met the man on the screen's and it was almost like he was actually looking right at Dean. Jerking back, Dean began to shake and--
Everything shifted. Instead of his mother's calm, quiet living room,he was in a freezing cold space lit only with flashes of red lights. Voices screamed wordlessly, pressing in closer to Dean. He struggled against the chains that held him down but couldn't get away, couldn't move at all. He reached out blindly, not with his physical body but with something else, something that Dean was tempted to call his soul. There was a flare of warmth that was so at odds to the frigidness that surrounded him and Dean found himself clinging to it desperately.
The screams raised in pitch, the owners of the voices screeching their dismay at Dean escaping them before they abruptly died away. Warm, moist earth surrounded him instead, and Dean pushed weakly upward at the same time a hand reached for him and pulled. He broke the surface of the earth with a gasp, falling back onto a dense pile of rain-damp leaves piled on a forest floor. A low rumbling voice said to his name, full of some unnamed emotion. “There's work for you, Dean. You need to...” He had the briefest impression of a tan overcoat and bright, bright blue eyes fixed onto his, a full mouth parting as it leaned towards his own before he was jolted to wakefulness.
“Fuck,” Dean said under his breath, breathing heavily. His half-hard cock pressed insistently into the mattress, the afterimage of smoldering blue eyes burnt into his brain. The dream wasn't what Dean would call sexy, but the end of it, the feel of those hands on him and that voice calling to him...Dean shifted once, twice, allowing himself to revel in the slight pressure before sighing and rolling over. Temping as it was, he wasn't going to get himself off in his mother's guest room.
That's what the shower was for.
When he exited, feeling refreshed and clean, Sam was already awake again. He was even more churlish than normal, staring down into his cereal bowl as though it held the answers to life.
“What's the matter with you?”
Sam just grunted.
“Had a weird dream.”
Dean made a noise of interest but he was more interested in his own breakfast, a muffin he'd found tucked away in their mother's goodie cabinet. He didn't feel guilty about snagging it; he'd buy her more later from the bakery she liked down the road.
“What 'bout?” he asked around a mouthful of food.
“God,” Sam groused. “It's not bad enough that I got woke up by you moaning into your pillow, now you've gotta chew with your mouth open right in front of my face?”
Dean scowled. “I was not moaning.”
Snorting, Sam retorted, “Yeah, you were. Oh, oooooh,” he mocked. “Sounded like you were dying or something but when I checked on you...” Sam waved his hand and yeah, Dean got it. “Who're you hung up on, anyways? I know you're not the casual attachment type and you're obviously, erm, interested.”
“Don't know,” Dean admitted. When Sam just stared, Dean said, “I don't. Was a good dream though. Weird, but good.”
“Sounds like you had your own weird but good dream, eh?” Dean teased. “That why you so grumpy about me waking you up?”
“Yeah, it was, I don't know, like I just...knew her, or something.” Dean opened his mouth to say something lecherous but at the look on his brother's face held off. “It was...parts of it were really good, but then she looked at me and said...”
“Said what?” Dean wasn't sure he really wanted to know what a chick his brother was dreaming about said to him, but Sam seemed really concerned about it.
“She said that an angel had work for me.”
The hairs on the back of Dean's neck prickled. It was the very same thing those people that'd killed the other parishioners had said about why they had to targeted their victims, the very same thing the almost growling baritone voice had just said to him in his own dream. That there was work for him to do.
“I know what you're gonna say Dean, and I'm thinking the same thing.”
“Tend to really doubt that, Sammy.”
When his brother tilted his head to one side in puzzlement, Dean said, “My dream was similar. I mean, my angel--” he winced at Sam's raised eyebrows-- “the guy in my dream, I mean...told me that there was work for me.”
Sam's voice trailed off. “I almost feel like what I dreamt was more real than this right here and now. You know how that happens sometimes?”
Dean thought back to his own dream, the insistence of solid flesh pressed against his own as it pulled him from the earth. He licked his lips. Yeah, Dean understood feeling like a dream was more real than reality.
“This angel with work for you have a name?”
Sam paused. “Yeah, actually. She said Castiel was coming for us.” His eyes went wide and met Dean's. “Not me, us,” he said. “She said 'you and Dean'. She also said that Castiel had a message for you, that he wasn't sure if you were going to hear him or not.”
All the breath left Dean's lungs in a whoosh. He felt his limbs freeze up, felt something scratching at the back of his brain. Another impression—of hot sparks flying through the air as the same man from his dream walked calmly through the darkness towards him—flickered in Dean's mind. Black, black wings, unfurling and stretching towards him highlighted against a brick wall...Dean blinked rapidly, and the images were gone.
“Castiel,” Dean repeated, the name shakily exiting his trembling lips. “What was this Castiel's message?”
“That...he wants to speak to you in person, Dean, and he will when he can,” Sam started slowly. “But in the meantime...keep your radio on.”
“...the hell is that supposed to mean?”
Sam shrugged as he stood and slipped his jacket on over his shoulders. “Don't know.”
Dean stared. “An angel...had a chick in a dream to tell you to tell me...to keep my radio on?”
“I know how it sounds Dean, but I think...remember what those people from Our Lady of Angels said? Maybe....”
“How it sounds? It sounds insane, Sammy. What, am I supposed to get divine instruction from listening to AC/DC? Is Von Scott gonna tell me to go kill some guy?” Dean laughed shakily, but Sam stood there, unblinking.
“You believe this. You really believe that an angel is playing telephone with me through a chick in your dream. That maybe those people from mom's church weren't disturbed, that they actually....”
“You said yourself that the dream felt really real, Dean. And mom told us the entire time growing up that angels were watching over us.”
“Sam, really?” Dean burst out. A feeling not unlike panic was beginning to fire in his bloodstream. He didn't know why he was fighting Sam so hard on this other than the fact that if there were angels out there, capable of doing good, and instead of that they were hurting people....
“It's...we just had weird dreams, okay? Weird, similar, never to be spoken of again dreams. Angels are not speaking to us, we do not have work to do for them, end of discussion. We clear?”
Sam's jaw clenched. It was clear he wanted to argue but to Dean's relief he simply nodded. “Fine. ”
That would have been the end of it. Dean really wanted it to be the end of it. But the next night he had similar dreams: in one, the same man from before, dark hair shining under a street light as he leaned into his personal space. Normally Dean would think someone crowding that close to him would be uncomfortable, but he reveled in it. He spoke but the words were all garbled, like he was speaking through a broken CB handset.
Dean went about his day—he took his mother shopping, brought her back to the house and mowed the lawn, and that evening they had dinner on the patio. Dean had almost convinced himself that the dreams didn't really mean anything, that they were just tricks of his stressed brain, but the next night he dreamed of the man yet again. This time he was pushing against Dean's shoulders urgently with open fists, his face contorting in frustration as his voice continued to break.
“...hold back...Zachariah...stop me...Jimmy...”
When Dean woke that morning he was completely hard and aching. Modesty over being in his mother's home forgotten, he reached over to the beside table to turn the radio on, hoping to at least muffle the sounds he was bound to create. His hand was already snaking under the covers when the voice came through, loud and clear.
He jumped, hand leaping away from his dick guiltily. He looked around for the speaker, saw nothing. More crackling came from the radio and then the man from his dream's voice said, exasperation clear even if Dean couldn't see his face. “Don't shut the radio off!”
Of course Dean did just that. Then he bolted out of the bed and ran down the stairs, sleepy ardour forgotten.
“What is with all the shouting?” Mary said, sticking her sleep-tousled head out her bedroom door.
“Sorry mom!” Dean called over his shoulder as he bounded down the stairs.
“You're just lucky Adam's in school right now,” Mary said, amusement clear from her tone. “If you woke him like that he'd be sullen all day.”
Sam was having his own moment of panic in the living room. “Dean--”
“Dean! Look at the tv!”
Whipping his head around, Dean looked at the screen. It was just as it was in Dean's dream, the man's face filling the screen, and yup, the exasperation he'd just heard through his clock radio was expressed in his furrowed brows.
“Yeah, I think that about covers it.”
“Dean, we don't have time for this,” the man said. “Raphael is coming for me. You need to summon me.”
The man sighed, then said, in a small voice completely opposite of his brisk, no nonsense impatience of moments before, “You don't remember this time either, do you?”
Dean gaped. There was another sigh, and then the screen crackled. “Summon me, Dean,” the man said again. “There is a book on Enochian on your mother's bookshelf. Use it to call me to you. I'll be ready for you by the time you gather the supplies to do so.”
“You're...this isn't real. Sam, this is the guy from my dreams.”
“I know,” Sammy said, staring intently at the television. “Jess told me to come down and turn the tv on to her favorite channel.” Before Dean could ask who exactly Jess was, Sam was leaning, practically pressing his face against the glass of the set. “If you're really here where is she? Where is Jess?”
The man—no, angel, Dean supposed, because if he was going to believe the crazy he was going to go in whole hog—looked deeply apologetic. The long silence was answer enough.
“She's dead, isn't she? A ghost of some sort.”
“...I'm sorry.” There was a loud crack somewhere behind Castiel and he flinched. “I have to go. Dean, I can't find you on my own. You have to summon me. But please—” and now he sounded urgently strained, “if anyone comes to you after this—even if they look the way that I do now—in reality or a dream and they ask of you a favor? Refuse them. Rumor is the big plan has changed but we can't be too cautious. That goes for both of you,” he said sternly. “Someone asks you to help them with something, tell them no. No matter how inconsequential the request may seem. Only believe it is me if you yourself summon me.”
The static grew hazier on the television screen. “Read...Bible, Dean. 1 Corinthians...”
Another crash from something on the angel's end of things and then the screen went black.
“Shit.” Sam said, which was pretty damn eloquent given the situation in Dean's opinion.
“Are we really going to believe this? Are we gonna ride this crazy train?” Dean asked after a long moment.
“Did it feel fake to you?”
Dean thought of his dreams and the way his waking hours seemed to grow more and more distant, as though he was viewing them from a long way off. He answered truthfully, “No.”
“Then yeah. I say we're riding the crazy train.”
It didn't take them long to find the books Castiel referred to, which just served to make Sam more certain that what they were doing was somehow sane, and freaked Dean out. While Sam flipped through and geeked out over the 'fascinating' angelic language and how to make a direct call to an individual angel, Dean went back to the bookcase and pulled out his mother's battered, well-read Bible. Flipping to Corinthians, he began scanning random passages, wondering if he'd be able to pick out what the angel was trying to tell him when he wasn't even certain what exactly he was referring to.
“We're going to need chalk, fresh human blood and what this book calls 'holy oil'. I read the recipe for making it, though and it sounds a lot like the ingredients to mom's salad vinaigrette, only blessed.”
“For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face; now I know in part; but then I shall know even as I am known. And now abideth faith, hope and love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
Sam looked up from the book he had his nose shoved in. “Dean?”
“I think that's what Cas was trying to tell me to read. It's 1 Corinthians Chapter 13, Verses 12 and 13.”
“Why do you think that?”
“Well, I did hear the word 'Corinthians' so that was a pretty big tip off there,” Dean said dryly. “But the first part of it especially--'for now we see through a glass, darkly'? Dude, he's been trying to talk to me through tvs and AM radio.”
“What do you think it means, though?”
Dean stopped to consider how to phrase it. “I think he's telling us that we'll know what's going on really soon, and I think he's telling me that...” he paused, flushing red.
“That he, ya know...” Sam ventured, the tips of his own ears turning pink.
“Yeah,” Dean breathed out, relieved Sam didn't go there and say the dreaded 'L' word. This entire week had been strange enough already without Dean thinking about possible delusional manifestations falling in love with him and what a therapist would say about such a thing.
“What you guys doing?” Adam leaned against the doorway to their mom's office, munching on popcorn. He saw the Bible in Dean's hands and his eyes widened. “Geez, Dean, I didn't think I'd ever see you reading that willingly. Did what almost happened with the plane freak you out that bad?”
“We're not doing anything important,” Sam said, hiding the book of Enochian behind his back. Adam rolled his eyes.
“Okay, sure. I'm gonna go to a friend's house for a while. Got something important I gotta do,” he said, smirking at them before turning away. They listened to him stomp all the way up the stairs to his bedroom and winced when he slammed his door shut hard enough to rattle the house.
“That kid...” Dean muttered, "is up to something."
“C'mon, Dean, you remember what being a teenager feels like.”
The only problem was Dean really didn't. He knew he was, at some point, but the angst and emotional trauma he watched Sammy and now Adam go through had been absent.
“Yeah, sure,” he agreed anyways. “You wanna go to Wal-Mart for the chalk or should I?”
Summoning an Angel of the Lord was a lot easier than what Dean expected it would be. All they needed to do was clear out a spot in the garage, draw a bunch of hooey on the floor and then drizzel and light oil around it. Sam read some long-ass sounding words from their mother's book, and then the angel that had been haunting Dean's dreams for the better part of a week was standing in front of him.
“Dean,” he said, eyes large and liquid dark. And just like that he remembered it all—he remembered who he really was, what his life was really supposed to be. The idea that the mother he adored was nothing but a byproduct of Zachariah's meddling made him alternately sad and pissed off. The only reason he wasn't foaming at the mouth over it was because, no matter the fact that she was around because of Zach and this wasn't their original timeline, it was his mother—and his little brother Adam living with them, too. More family, to Dean Winchester, was always a good thing.
He picked up the bucket and doused the flames surrounding Castiel. Dean moved forward, and Cas took a step as well, until they were nearly pressed together. Dean felt a flush of embarrassment burn across his skin when he recalled that he'd pleasured himself to thoughts of Castiel, but all thoughts of awkwardness left when the first words after his name out of the angel's mouth were, “I see you remember now. This is good, because Michael has already possessed your brother Adam and is working with Raphael to start the beginning of the end.”
Sam must have remembered just as much as Dean (thankfully) because he didn't waste time asking the obvious questions of who and what and jumped straight to the why. “I thought Dean was Michael's vessel. Why is Michael—how is Michael—using him?”
“Just as you are Lucifer's perfect vessel, so is Dean Michael's,” Cas said, as if such an admission left a bad taste in his mouth. “But Heaven is no longer concerned with perfection or the breaking of the Seals. In this version of the timeline neither John Winchester nor Dean went to Hell; the first wasn't broken, therefore they can not start it in that manner. There are, however, as many ways to begin the end as there are apocryphal angels. They have simply been focusing on the method they prefer most until now.”
“What's the second option?” Dean asked.
“Raphael blows the Horn of Judgment and Michael descends into Hell to challenge Lucifer directly.”
“Michael—as in the douche currently wearing my little brother, Michael?”
“Yes.” Castiel sounded as grim as Dean felt. “We'll have to hurry if we want to stop them. Raphael has been suspicious of my behavior and--”
Like saying that was an admission of guilt, the floor began to shake and blue electricity began to arch about the room. “Dean, Sam!” Castiel shouted. “You need to leave, now! Raphael's found us!”
Arguing was futile because a few moments later Sam and Dean found themselves standing inside a familiar room. Large gilt-edged paintings hung on the walls, a huge platter of burgers sat in the center of a table...the only difference was the man sitting at the table—or should Dean say angel?--wearing his what Dean still thought of as his baby brother as a meat suit.
“Oh, don't worry, Dean. Castiel and Raphael will be along shortly.”
As if this was a cue, both angels fluttered into existence in front of the Winchesters. Castiel was bleeding heavily from his nose and what looked like shallow cuts along his abdomen; Raphael just looked smug.
Then Cas looked up at Dean and winked, actually winked. His hand snuck around to the chain around his neck; he pulled off Dean's pendent and palmed it.
“Dean, I believe I have something of yours.” He threw the necklace. Sam was the one that caught it, catching the edge of the cord with the tips of his fingers.
“You shouldn't have done that, Castiel,” Raphael growled. Michael looked more than a little alarmed.
“I probably shouldn't do this, either then.” With a wave of his hand both Sam and Dean were sitting outside a small wooden shack in the middle of a warehouse, and an extreme, bright glowing light edged around the door, the type of light that was seen when an angel decided to blow another to kingdom come with one of those blood sigils...but there were no sigils in the room, and Cas wouldn't have had time to paint them on himself. Then he thought back to what he'd believed to be random scratches on Castiel's chest and saw them in a new light. He'd carved that banishing sigils into his own skin. That meant--
“No! Adam! Cas!”
Sam held Dean back from the glowing room, but barely.
Zachariah stepped out from around the corner.
“Oh, you boys. I'm afraid stopping this just isn't an option for you. But you know, Raphael found this go round so amusing that he said he was willing to let me try one more time if this version didn't work. The one thing I wonder, Dean...how did you manage to lure Castiel away from his orders? That was a clever trick. Ah, well, won't be happening again,” Zachariah said cheerfully. Dean fought every instinct that told him to touch the pendent hanging around his neck to make sure it was still there. It would be happening again, and hopefully Dean would remember this time, hopefully he wouldn't get so caught up in whatever fantasy that Zachariah had spun that he would forget Cas completely.
“I'm ready to go again. How about you guys?” With a sharp, shark toothed grin, Zachariah snapped his fingers and the world went black.
Dean fell onto his futon with a groan. Another long ass week working at Singer Auto Yard and Salvage was finally over. He'd scraped his knuckles while pulling parts for some sort of ancient crap Impala that the owner insisted was a classic. Working in a scrap yard wasn't what he'd planned to do when he went to college for his liberal arts degree, but in this economy Dean was just happy to have a job.
He weighed the pros and cons of getting up to get a bottle of soda versus staying (and continuing to dirty) his mattress pad and finally decided a root beer sounded really good. Dean pulled himself up out of bed and headed towards the kitchen, where he pulled out his soft drink before going back to the futon. Sitting down, he took a long swallow and sighed in satisfaction as the bubbles tickled on their way down his throat. Yeah, it was good to be home after a hard day's work. They only thing that'd make it better is if he had someone to come home to afterwards. Pushing aside this momentary melancholy, Dean turned the tv on.
“...over one hundred feared dead,” the newscaster said, her perky smile at odds with the scene of devastation behind her. “A makeshift memorial is already being erected here, just a half mile from the crash site as families waiting to hear about their loved ones fear the worst.”