Title: Back to Reality - posted April 21, 2009
Author: Lacey McBain
Word Count: ~1350
Summary: Episode tag to 4.17, "It's a Terrible Life" - Castiel
tells Sam that Dean's made his choice.
Disclaimer: Supernatural belongs to Kripke and Co. I'm
just playing. Spoilers up to 4.17.
Back to Reality
was walking across the Sandover employee parking lot with his
half-empty box containing the bobble-head vampire and not much else.
He’d grabbed a pack of pencils in Ian’s honour, but he couldn’t bring
himself to take anything else, and he was burning the crappy yellow
polo shirt as soon as he got to his apartment. The phone he’d beaten to
death would no doubt be coming out of his last pay cheque, but it
didn’t matter. He was pretty damn sure he was meant for greater things
than working in a cubicle farm solving ridiculously simple tech
problems for morons making six figures a year. Even if he couldn’t
convince Dean of that, Sam was getting out.
Not without regret,
though. He’d thought Dean would totally be on the same page as him.
They’d worked so freakin’ well together against old man Sandover’s
ghost, and Sam had felt more alive in that moment than the entire three
weeks answering tech calls in his tiny cubicle. Maybe he could talk to
Dean again—drive by his place and try to persuade him there was more to
life than spreadsheets and sales meetings.
Sam reached his car—a
second-hand green Datsun with a crotchety stick shift—when the world
sort of shimmered for a minute, as if there’d been a glitch in the
Matrix, and he shook his head and gripped the trunk as the world went
out of focus, then came rushing back with a tidal wave of memories.
behind the wheel of the Impala. Jess pinned to the ceiling in a blaze
of hellfire. Dad in the hospital that last time, before he’d made the
deal that brought Dean back from the edge of death. Dean saving his ass
from ghosts and vamps, from clingy chicks and hell-spawned demons and
sometimes even from himself. Castiel and Uriel and Ruby, angels and
demons turning their lives inside out. Dean, loud and certain, roaring
in at the last minute like the cavalry. Ruby offering her mouth, her
body, her blood. Dean in the hospital, bruises on his face. Dean. Dean.
“I knew it!” Sam said aloud. The memories rolled
through him like a shockwave, and suddenly his life made sense again.
He was Sam Winchester and Dean was his best friend, his pain-in-the-ass
big brother, and the one person he’d do anything for. Dean had gone to
Hell and back to save him. Dean had died for him. Someone had
made him forget that, and someone was going to have to pay. After he
got Dean out of there and convinced him of who he was and what his real
mission in life was, of course.
“Your intervention will not be
necessary,” Castiel said, his voice low and close, and Sam took a
startled step back and away. The angel didn’t seem offended.
not leaving him there,” Sam shot back. “Whatever plans you or God has
for him, that’s not Dean. I’ll make him remember who he is.”
“You misunderstand me.” Castiel turned his head slightly, and looked up
at Sam. “Dean has made his choice.”
“His choice? No way is it his choice to stay here and be that guy. He’d
right.” Castiel laid a hand on Sam’s arm, and Sam got the impression
Castiel was trying to figure out a way to explain in small words. Words
didn’t seem to come easily to him, and Sam had to remind himself this
was an angel, not just some holier-than-thou prick in a trench
coat. “You’ve regained your memories because Dean has chosen his life
as a hunter over this dream.”
“So, he remembers? He’s gonna be
okay?” Sam looked up at the Sandover tower, trying to image what was
happening to Dean right at that moment. He was probably ditching the
suspenders and bitching about being hungry.
Castiel thought for
a long moment, and Sam had almost given up on getting an answer until,
“Yes. I believe he’s regained some perspective on where his path lies.”
nodded. He might have been able to imagine another life for himself,
but it had always been hard to see Dean as anything but a hunter. “Did
you do this? Was this some sort of test?” It came out sounding like an
accusation, and he saw Castiel look away.
“It was a test, but
not of my design.” Castiel paused. “My superior saw fit to provide an
arena where Dean might regain his sense of self by revealing his true
nature as a hunter.”
“Well, it worked,” Sam agreed. “We didn’t know exactly what was going
on, but somehow it was all instinct.”
“It’s difficult to escape the things you were born to do.”
looked at Castiel, but there was nothing on his face to indicate he was
talking about anything other than Dean. Sam tried to calm his racing
heart. If Cas knew about the demon blood, he probably would’ve told
Dean by now, and Sam knew Dean wouldn’t be able to keep that fact to
himself. So far, it seemed, his secret was still safe, but it was
probably only a matter of time. He’d been feeling the slow itch
underneath his skin these past few weeks, the need for something he
couldn’t define. Now he had a pretty good idea that thing was Ruby and
what she could offer.
Sam saw Dean striding out
of the Sandover building, tearing at his tie as he went. Castiel had
conveniently disappeared, and Sam couldn’t help the grin that split his
face wide open. He waited for Dean to get within earshot before he
said, “I told you so.”
“Shut up,” Dean said, stripping the suit
jacket from his shoulders. “It’s not as if we couldn’t seriously use
some health insurance.” He tossed the jacket into the back of the
car—which Sam could see had sneakily morphed into the Impala, complete
with all their gear in the backseat. “I’m getting real tired of angels
messing with my head. Cas’s supervisor, Zachariah, gave me a pep talk.”
Cas was here too,” Sam said, tossing the polo shirt and grabbing one of
his own t-shirts from the back. It felt familiar and smelled like the
generic laundromat detergent they always used. “He told me you’d made
“He did?” Dean was busy pitching the perfectly
shined dress shoes into the back and digging out his runners. “Yeah,
well, it wasn’t much of a choice really. I’m not exactly corporate
“But you were, Dean. You were good at what you
were doing. If I hadn’t been having those dreams, if I hadn’t told you,
maybe—maybe you’d still want to be there.”
Dean shook his head.
“No way, Sam. I was born to do this, remember?” Dean grabbed his
familiar leather jacket, slipped on the pendant of the horned man he
always wore, and punched Sam in the arm. “Besides, someone’s got to
look out for you. I’ve been drinking that Master Cleanse crap for the
last two days, and I’m starving. Let’s get out of here, okay?”
Sam said, and he’d never been so happy to slide into the front seat of
the Impala beside Dean and hear the first notes of AC/DC blast through
the speakers. They were meant to do this, to live this life. They were
meant to be in it together.
He just hoped when the time came,
Dean would be willing to do what it took to halt the apocalypse. They
were going to have to take down Lilith, sooner rather than later. Sam
knew it in his blood, and Dean had become squeamish about those sorts
of things since Alistair. Dean, even the angels, Sam doubted any of
them had the strength to do what was going to be necessary to hold
Lucifer off. But he could do it. For all of them.
“You okay?” Dean asked, and Sam nodded.
“Yeah. Just ready to get back to reality, you know?”
“Absolutely,” Dean said and gunned the accelerator away from Sandover.
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