End of ends
Disclaimer: Dark themes ahead. Contains dialogue from the Supernatural episode "The End."
Incredulity, shock, pain raw and stark blossomed in his chest as he watched Lucifer wearing his brother’s meatsuit kill his future self.
He argued with the devil automatically, the shock alone keeping a large part of his soul closed off from interaction, gaze trailing over the unfamiliar smirk playing on his brother’s lips, brain working overtime to make sense of everything he’d learned in the last day. What happened to Dawn?” he asked his future self as they cleaned their weapons, working unsurprisingly in sync as they polished the gleaming metal.
Future Dean sighed and put the shotgun in hands down, he turned to face the window where Faith and Dawn were talking quietly. They both took note of the fact that the formerly brash slayer was the one trying to calm down the rage in her younger friend.
Dawn was wearing a black wifebeater and cargos, shoulder holsters with two guns and sheathed dagger behind her spine. Dean winced, the expanse of skin he remembered as pale and unmarred was twisted, red and scarred with burns. It was jarring to compare the image of the Dawn he knew in his time with the one from the future.
Twenty two year old Dawn was beautiful, long haired, feminine, funny and hyperactive. She was still dangerous, but she had an oddly vulnerable streak to her that made you want to protect her, make her laugh.
Twenty seven year old Dawn was a battle hardened fighter. Hair gone, shorn into an uneven Mohawk, scars and burns covering half her body, formerly bright eyed gaze turned into a shuttered glare at the world that had betrayed her.
Future Dean sighed as he saw Faith place her hands on Dawn’s shoulders trying to calm her, the taller brunette shoved her friend’s placating arms away and stormed off into the distance. The two men, one from the past and the other from the present stared at the slayer who was looking at Dawn’s retreating back with a look of sad resignation. The fire, intensity and laughter was gone from Faith, only a weary strength remained, a mule like determination to keep going forward.
She lifted her gaze to meet their stares and for a few seconds, watching his future sister in law’s pain wracked stance outside the cabin- Dean actually contemplated saying yes.
Because whatever burned away the emotion from these women, it had to be destroyed, it had to be stopped.
“Willow and Dawn were captured,” Future Dean began, voice gruff with recognized intonations of guilt. Dean switched his attention to his counterpart.
“We had been gaining momentum in the war, slowly fighting back, the rebellion was growing. Thanks to the psychics’ led by Dennis we were able to see what cities would be hit next. And then they got Willow and Dawn. The killed Wills first, a bullet to the brain so at least she went *quickly*,” Future Dean’s voice cracked, “but they kept Dawn. Torturing her for information on Dennis’s location, the damned demons knew that he was our biggest weapon and they did *everything* they could to get the info from Dawnie.”
He licked his lips.
“It took two months for them to finally crack her and then she gave them our location,” he grimaced reliving the moment, “Dennis went out one night to meet the demons coming to pick him up. He said that he didn’t want anymore bloodshed.”
He got up, pacing the expanse of the floor as his younger self watched him, pain radiating from the older man’s features.
“They tried to burn away his vision, said that if he didn’t have his eyes left- then he couldn’t see what was coming.” He swallowed and thumped his fists on the table, “we thought Dawn was dead when we finally found them, she weighed exactly ninety pounds- just a skeleton with half her skin burned away. Dennis had managed to crawl into her cell, his eyeball hanging out of his face and he was trying to lift her up to get ready for our assault force.”
Dean felt sick, nausea rose up in him and he had to take deep breaths to will away the mental images of his friends broken and bleeding in a cell together. Dawn and Dennis, the perpetual jokesters and two of the bravest people he’d ever known had been so irretrievably broken only five years in the future. Dennis had come back from the dead, only to be destroyed five years later. He cleared his throat and some of the bile threatening to choke him “when did this happen?”
Future Dean looked him in the eye, gaze shining with rage and unshed tears “four months before Faith showed up from Detroit. Four months of Dawn’s silence.”
“Fuck,” Dean breathed out, fists clutched tightly against his sides.
“Yeah, it’s three years later and the only person that Dawn still hasn’t spoken to is Dennis.”
“It had to be your brother, it had to be,” Lucifer reached out to touch him and Dean stepped away.
Dean’s heart thudded hollowly in his chest as he looked at his brother, anguish threatened to finally cap his overflowing emotions.
“You better kill me now,” he stopped the retreating Satan, “or I will.”
For Sam who had said yes and then almost killed his wife, murdered his child.
For Dawn, whose laughter had been burned away from her.
For Faith, who looked more dead than alive these days.
For Castiel, who had to drug himself up to his eyeballs every day just to bear living as a human.
For Dennis and Chuck, who had lost their sights but kept on fighting in any way they knew how.
Tears spilled down Dean’s face as Lucifer approached him, “whatever choices you make, we will always end up here. You and I. You will never say yes to Michael and you will never kill Sam. It will always come down to me and you, here, in the end. Your friends dead because they followed you, your brother having betrayed you, your father having abandoned you. So I win.”
“You’re wrong,” the tears spilled hot and heavy on his cheeks and Dean gasped, trying to keep away the overwhelming despair and suicidal desire to kill the smug bastard in front of him.
The fleeting grin on Lucifer’s, no Sammy’s face almost broke his older brother as the devil in the white suit stepped away and smiled “I’ll see you in five years Dean.”
The look of hope on his younger brother’s face as he handed him the knife reminded him of a simpler time. A time when the words betrayal and Sammy had never been uttered in the same sentence.
“Look man, I’m sorry. Whatever I need to be, I was wrong,” Dean told him sighing.
“What made you change your mind?” Sam asked, gaze not daring to meet his brother’s.
“Long story,” no need to go into details. No need to break his little brother’s spirit and kill his hope.
“Maybe we are each other’s Achilles heel, maybe they’ll find a way to use us against one another. But we’re all we’ve got… And more importantly, we keep each other human,” Dean swallowed the lump in his throat.
Sam nodded, gratefulness, hope, love all mixed in his features “thank you. Really, thank you.”
They paused and a finally unburdened silence laid thick between them, “so what do we do now?” Sam asked.
“I don’t know, but I do know that we make our own future,” Dean steeled his shoulders and looked at his brother.
“Guess we have no choice,” Sam agreed.