Author Topic: Can't Find My Way Home  (Read 367 times)

Dean Winchester

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Can't Find My Way Home
« on: November 26, 2009, 02:02:42 PM »
Come down off your throne and leave your body alone
Somebody must change
You are the reason I've been waiting so long
Somebody holds the key
Well, I'm near the end and just ain't got the time
And I'm wasted and I can't find my way home.


("Can't Find My Way Home" - Steve Winwood)

---------------------------

Alliance, Nebraska
November 23, 2009...

"Dean."

Sam. Crap. I knew what was coming next, so I chose to ignore him.

"You were talking in your sleep again."

I leaned over the sink and spit the toothpaste out of my mouth.  "Yeah? Whose name was I moaning this time? Was it Angelina Jolie's, 'cause I'd do her in a heartbeat. Brad's a lucky guy."

I rinsed and spit, feeling Sam's eyes boring into the back of my head like bullet holes.

"No," he persisted, my sense of humor completely lost on him.  That's my Sammy.  Always the straight man.  I didn't have to look at him to know he was worried.  I didn't want him to worry.  Not about me.

"Actually, you weren't talking. You were screaming."

Well, at least that explained the raw feeling in my throat.  What did he expect? Forty years in hell and you're bound to have a few nightmares now and then.  I wiped my mouth, tossed the towel on the sink, and turned to face him, pasting on a cheesy grin.

"I'm good.  Let's get some breakfast. I'm starving.  Thought I saw a little diner just up the road.  Hey, did you know there's a place here called Carhenge? Gotta see that before we leave."  I patted him reassuringly on the arm and pushed past him to grab my coat.  Well, Dad's coat.

"Dean..." Crap. He wasn't gonna let it go, and I hadn't even had my first cup of coffee yet.  It was times like these when I understood why people prayed for patience.

"Sam," I countered, shrugging Dad's worn-out leather jacket onto my shoulders.  "I don't wanna talk about this."

"You never wanna talk about it," he argued, those damned puppy dog eyes of his pleading silently.

"So drop it, okay?  We've been over it a million times.  You're my brother, not my therapist."

"Look..." he spread his hands, tilting his head just a little to the side, his forehead crinkling with concern.  "I just wanna help."

Christ, I just wanted a cup of coffee. I was seriously starting to lose my patience.  "What are you Dr. Phil now?  Let it go, Sam. It's over. Nothing you or anyone else can do about it."

"You should talk about it, Dean.  It's like... it's like a wound that's festering inside you and someday it's gonna break open and you're gonna have to deal with it. All of it."

Okay, now I was getting angry.  What the hell did he know about it anyway? While I was suffering in hell, he was out with Ruby painting the town red. He didn't need me then, and he didn't need me now. It was me that needed him and always had.  What was there to understand?  Dad had made me promise to protect him, and I had failed miserably.

"You want me to talk about it, Sam? You wanna know what I'm feeling? Okay, what do you wanna know? You wanna know how it feels to have your flesh peeled away from your body?  How it feels to be sliced and diced so many times you lose count? How it feels to be poked and prodded in places you didn't even know existed? How it feels to endure so much pain that after a while, you just give in and ride it out because there's nothing else you can do. You scream and you cry and you beg and you plead, but no one cares.  And then, they leave you alone and let you think for a while.  That's the worst part. And after a while, you miss the torture.  Because at least then, you're not alone. Do you know what it feels like to be alone, Sam? Really alone?  I don't think you do."

It all came out in a torrent of words I was already regretting. My voice caught in my throat, and I had to stop and take a breath.

"Dean, I'm sorry." He took a step toward me, and I raised a hand to stop him.

"Don't," I told him.  "Just don't."  I didn't want his pity and even more than that, I didn't want his apology.  I had made my choices, and he had made his. What was done was done.  All we could do now was move on.  I grabbed my keys from the nightstand, shoved them in a pocket, and turned for the door.

"Where are you going?" he asked. I could hear the worry in his voice, the pain and confusion and maybe even a little fear. Like a jilted lover or a lost little boy, though he was neither. Not to me.

"Out," I said simply.  "I need to think."

I knew Sam well enough to know he was nodding behind me, absorbing it all like a sponge, supportive and caring and dying to help. More of a brother than I'd ever been. And it was killing me.

"I just need some air, okay?  I'll be back later." Don't worry about me. No, I didn't say that. Couldn't say that.  I heard him sigh, and then I walked out the door.

That was the last time I saw him before everything changed.  I never had a chance to tell him how I really felt.  We never talked about it.  Love. Loyalty. The things we'd both done to protect the other.  We were all each other had, and it was both our greatest strength and weakness.  The demons knew it.  So did the angels.  

I didn't tell him how I'd lay awake in bed at night thinking that maybe I should just let Michael have me.  Just get things over with. It was inevitable anyway, wasn't it?  I didn't really care what happened to me.  Michael could take my body, and if I died, I died. I'd already been to hell.  There was no worse fate than that.  So, why didn't I?  Because somehow I knew that if I let Michael in, the first thing he'd do would be to kill Sam.  

So many people were dead because of us. Because of me. Bobby was in a wheelchair because of me.  Dad, Ash, Pam, Ellen, Jo. I didn't want to think about Jo. Not now, not ever.  What could have been.  What might have been. Crap. I could feel the tears prickling at my eyelids. No, no, no.  I had to get away. Just drive for a while, and then I'd come back.  All would be forgiven and forgotten. Everything would be okay again. At least, for a while.

How was I to know I'd end up alone in another time, another place with no Sam or Bobby or Cas to help me? If only I'd known then what I know now. I miss you, Sam.
"Family's there, for the good, bad, all of it. They got your back even when it hurts."

Dean Winchester

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Can't Find My Way Home
« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2009, 05:23:26 PM »
Ten o'clock in the morning found me sitting in the Impala with an Egg McMuffin and a six-pack of Bud just outside town looking at a mock-up of Stonehenge made out of vintage cars.  It was beautiful, in a warped sort of way. Anyone who could turn junk into art had to be some sort of genius. I wondered what it would be like to watch the sun rise over the sculpture of gray spray-painted classics. I made a mental note to add it to my bucket list, along with seeing Graceland. I'd criss-crossed the country countless times, but never seemed to find much time for site-seeing. I vowed to make a list of places I wanted to see before I died, with Graceland at the top.

I found myself unconsciously identifying makes and models as I admired the sculpture. The '62 Caddy was hard to miss. Dad would have loved this place.  I felt a stab of pain at the thought of that. Regret. I'd often found myself thinking about him during times like these.  I'd been accused more than once of trying to be like him. That man was my hero. I'd worshiped the ground he'd walked on. I sometimes wondered if he was watching and if he was proud of the man I'd become. Proud of the way I'd tried to take care of Sam.  He'd sacrificed his life to save mine, just as I'd done for Sam.  Bobby had said I was better than Dad, but that wasn't true. As far as I was concerned, my father was the greatest man who'd ever walked the Earth, despite all his faults. Hell, he wasn't perfect. He was only human, just like me. He'd done the best he could, and that was all anybody could ask for.

I popped open a third can of beer and lifted it to my lips, grumbling to myself as my solitude was rudely interrupted by the sound of my cell phone.  Sam.  I tossed the phone onto the passenger seat and let it go to voice mail.  I didn't want to talk to Sam right now.  If I did, I wouldn't have left.  I needed time to think, and I did my best thinking alone.  What didn't he get about that? He was such a girl sometimes.

My thoughts turned to Carthage.  Something wasn't sitting right with me and hadn't been since we'd left.  Lucifer had said he was one of five things that the Colt couldn't kill.  Well, of course he was.  That would have been too damned easy, wouldn't it?  

Cas had said only an angel could kill an angel, but even he had thought the Colt would work. Okay, think. What was so damned special about Lucifer? Lucifer was an archangel.  So was Michael.  Maybe the Colt was useless against both of them. That was two. Who were the other three? Or maybe it was archangels, in general.  Archangels and what else? The Four Horseman? We'd already met War and Death. Which were left? Famine? Pestilence? How the hell were we supposed to kill them?

And then, there was another burning question: Why hadn't Lucifer killed me?  Oh, sure, he'd given me one hell of a headache, but he hadn't killed me. Was I so unimportant in the grand scheme of things that Lucifer didn't really care what happened to me? Or did he want me alive?  Maybe that was it.  He wanted me alive because I was Michael's vessel and he wanted Michael, not me.  He was just waiting for Michael to take over, so that he could kill two birds with one stone.  But Michael needed my permission, and there was no way in hell I was gonna give him permission, unless...

Unless Sam gave in to Lucifer.  Then, I'd have no choice, would I? But future me hadn't given in. Future me had damned the world to hell and hadn't given in.  Future me had been killed by his own brother before giving in.

And where was God in all this? Dead? Missing? Off on a road trip somewhere? I didn't think so.  Free Will, Dean.  God gave His creations the gift of Free Will.  What sensible parent gives their children choices? You lay down the rules and put the fear of God in them, if they don't obey.  That's what my father did.  I knew if I screwed up, I was gonna pay for it with my hide.  So, if  God really loved His children, why had He let them go so far astray?

Maybe God didn't care at all.  Maybe we were just created for His amusement.  I tried to imagine God curled up on the couch with popcorn and beer to watch the ultimate drama.  That's what the Apocalypse was, coming soon to God's television screen and without any annoying commercials.

Crap. I was on my last beer and just starting to catch a buzz.  I glanced at my watch.  It was just past noon. Sam was probably pacing the floor, driving himself crazy with worry by now.  I guessed I had punished him long enough. It was time to go back.  But if he gave me the we-need-to-talk speech again, I was going to slug him, so help me God.

I drained the last beer and turned the key in the ignition, listening to the engine purr. First stop, gas station. I had to take a wicked leak. Sam would just have to wait.
"Family's there, for the good, bad, all of it. They got your back even when it hurts."

Dean Winchester

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Can't Find My Way Home
« Reply #2 on: November 28, 2009, 02:07:52 PM »
What self-respecting demon would attack a guy while he had his pants down?  Well, his fly down anyway.  Hell, even Batman gets to take a leak in private. But me? No. Nothing is sacred anymore. No place is safe, not even the john.

"Well, well..." I'd know that voice anywhere. It grated on my nerves like nails on a chalkboard. Meg. That bitch had been nothing but trouble since day one.   "Fancy meeting you here, Dean.  With your pants down even.  You don't mind if I take a peek, do you?  I never got the chance in hell, but I've heard it's quite impressive."

"In your dreams, bitch," I snapped back as I yanked my fly up and turned to face her.  "I'm flattered. Really. But I wouldn't touch you with a ten foot pole."

"Aw, Dean-o," she laid a hand against her chest, feigning pain. "I'm hurt.  I thought we were friends."

"You thought wrong."

"That's right, I forgot. You killed my father, and I killed, hm, let me think." She snapped her fingers. "Jo."

That did it. Now I was pissed.  I grabbed her by the shoulders and shoved her up against the wall.  If I'd had the Colt with me, I'd have put a bullet right between her eyes.  In fact, I'd have liked nothing better.  As if torturing her hadn't been enough fun.  But Sam had the Colt.  All I had was Dad's pistol, which wouldn't do dick against a demon.  Might slow her down, but that was about it.

"I'm gonna make sure you burn in hell, bitch, if it's the last thing I do."

She smiled. "Idle threats. I've already been to hell, Dean, or have you forgotten?  And so have you.  Don't you want to come back and torture some more poor innocent souls?  You were really good at it, I'm told."

"What do you want?" I hissed through clenched teeth.  I wanted to strangle the bitch, but before I did that, I needed to hear what she had to say.

"To see you wriggle like a worm on a hook, but that's not why I'm here."

"I don't have time for your games." I let go of her and started toward the door, but before I could get there, I found myself thrown across the room and into a wall.

"Neither do I," she told me, as she leaned over and grabbed me by the collar to pull me to my feet.  "The boss wants you out of the way for a while."

I reached into my jacket for anything I could get my hands on.  If I wanted any chance at all, I had to get her to keep talking. "Why? Is he afraid I'll let Big Brother take over and boot his sorry ass back to hell?"  I just about had the knife in my hand.  

"No, smart mouth. He wants you out of the way, so he can work on Sam.  Have a nice trip, Dean.  I hear the weather is great in Rhydin this time of year."

The knife clattered to the floor as she threw me across the room into a full-length mirror.  I squeezed my eyes shut, waiting for glass to come crashing down around me, but instead I found myself crashing into a sea of wooden tables and chairs.  

I laid there dazed for a moment, and when I finally opened my eyes, I knew I wasn't in Kansas anymore.  Not in Nebraska either.  

Welcome to Rhydin, Dean, where it's a freak show every damned day of the year.
"Family's there, for the good, bad, all of it. They got your back even when it hurts."

Dean Winchester

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Can't Find My Way Home
« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2009, 06:06:11 PM »
Oh, where, oh, where can my baby be?
The Lord took her away from me
She's gone to heaven, so I got to be good
So I can see my baby when I leave this world.


("Last Kiss" - Wayne Cochran)

--------------------

Rhydin
Present Day...


I shouldn't have let Bobby burn that picture. It was all I had left of Jo, and now it's gone. I understand why he burned it. He burned it in tribute to Ellen and Jo, but I'd give just about anything to have that picture back.

I still see her face in my dreams. What could have been. What might have been. I remember the last time I saw her. I thought I'd never see her again. I told her I'd call her, but we both knew that wasn't gonna happen. And then, there she was in Colorado, looking as pretty as ever, and I felt the old sparks flying again, stirring up a hornet's nest of emotions. I'll never forget our last kiss, bittersweet as it was. Jo didn't deserve to die. It should have been me.  My heart broke that day. I don't know if I'll ever be the same.

Christ, we've lost so much. Sammy lost Jessica, and I lost Jo. What's it all for anyway? Why us? Why can't they pick someone else to play their little game of Cain and Abel? I don't care what Gabriel said. It's crap. I never asked for this. I never wanted this life, but I'm stuck with it. All because of some damned war between Heaven and Hell. What do I care about that? All I care about is keeping people safe.

And then, there's Quinn. Quinn reminds me so much of Jo. She doesn't want me to protect her, but I can't help it. I don't want her to be like Jo. I don't want her to get hurt. I don't know what's going on between us. She knows I can't stay. I can't get attached. It's too dangerous. But whenever I see her smiling face, I wish things could be different.

If only I had a normal life. If only I didn't have to go back. But Sammy needs me. Bobby needs me. The world needs me. There are times when I just want to get the whole damned thing over and done with. Let Michael do his worst. But I can't. It's not me I'm worried about. It's Sam. I promised Dad I'd take care of Sam, and I intend to keep that promise.

In the meantime, I'm stuck in this hellhole called Rhydin. Every day I spend here, I feel my old life slipping away. It's like a piece of me is missing, and it's not just Jo or Sam. It's everything. I can't stop thinking there has to be some reason why I'm here. I just wish someone would tell me what it is.

I wonder if I'll ever see Sam again. He must be going out of his mind with worry by now. Probably thinks demons got me. He wouldn't be wrong. I've yelled for Cas until my throat's raw. Either he can't hear me or he can't find me. I'm on my own, and I don't know what to do.

Somehow, I need to find my way home.
"Family's there, for the good, bad, all of it. They got your back even when it hurts."

Dean Winchester

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Can't Find My Way Home
« Reply #4 on: December 13, 2009, 04:33:10 PM »
Carry on my wayward son
There'll be peace when you are done
Lay your weary head to rest
Don't you cry no more.


("Carry On, Wayward Son" - Kerry Livgren)

--------------------

Some would argue that sacrificing your soul for your brother's life might be considered suicide. Some would even call it foolish.  Some would argue that I've traded one form of hell for another.  I'm not here to argue the point either way. Everyone has to die sometime, and they haven?t lived my life.

Nothing makes sense in Rhydin.  Logic doesn't exist here.  There are no rules.  Every time I think I've got it figured out, something weird happens, and I'm back to square one.  Quinn says at least I'm not whacking my head against the bar anymore, but that's only because I know what hell is. I spent forty years there, and Rhydin is nothing compared to hell.  

When I was a kid, I used to watch "It's a Wonderful Life" every chance I got.  I used to lay awake in bed hoping and praying our lives would be better, to bring Mom back and let us be normal, but nothing ever changed, and after a while, I stopped praying. What was the use in praying if no one was listening? If no one cared?  

Last night I dreamed about Dad. At least, I think it was a dream.  It's hard to tell. I can't always tell what's real and what's not here.  I hope Quinn is real. I know my feelings for her are real.  She?s the only thing that keeps me sane, the only thing that?s even close to normal.

I heard a voice calling me up from sleep, a voice I?d know anywhere.  How many times had he woken me in the middle of the night to tell me he had to go away on some hunt or other and to keep an eye on Sam?  It's been over twenty years, and I'm still doing the same thing.  Everything I do, every decision I make is about Sam.  I've never really had a life of my own, until now.

"Dean??  

I opened my eyes, but all I saw was the dim outline of the room, moonlight streaming in through the window, Quinn breathing softly beside me, looking like an angel.  I concluded I must have been dreaming and closed my eyes to go back to sleep when I heard him call me again.  

I sat up in bed, peering into the darkness, searching for his face, my heart frozen in my chest.  "Dad?" I called into the darkness, hoping against hope.  It couldn't be him.  He?d been dead for years.  My eyes widened as I saw a shadowy figure appear before me, slowly taking shape, until I recognized the face that looked back at me. It was impossible, but it was him.

It took me a moment to catch my breath and find my voice.  "What are you doing here?" I asked, disbelieving.  I've seen a lot of strange things in my life, but I never expected this. "How did you find me??

"Find you?" he echoed, as if puzzled by the question. "I didn't have to find you, Dean. You're my son. I'm always with you."

I shook my head in disbelief and denial.  That couldn't be true. "You're dead, Dad.  I'm in a place called Rhydin, and Sam..." I broke off, my brother's name catching in my throat. "Sam needs you. You should be with him." Not me, I thought. Sam needs you, not me. Don't worry about me.

"No, son,? he replied.  ?Sam needs you."

I knew what he said was true. Sam needed me now more than ever, and I needed him. I felt tears sting my eyes, and I forced them back down.  Not now.  Tears were a sign of weakness.  Hadn't my father taught me that?  

"What am I supposed to do?? I argued, too upset to keep the anger and frustration from my voice.  ?I'm stuck here. I don't know how to go back. I don?t know what to do.?

?All you have to do is want it, Dean.?

?Right, just click my heels together three times and chant ?There?s no place like home,?? I remarked sarcastically.

He smiled, looking a little amused.  ?Something like that, yeah.?

?You?re kidding me, right? That demon bitch Meg tosses me through some friggin? portal, and all I have to do is want to go home??

?It?s not quite that simple, but yes.  Go back through the portal, and your heart will lead you home. Sam needs you. If you don?t go back??

I felt my face flush with anger.  Who the hell was he to be telling me what to do? I?d done everything he?d ever asked of me.  I?d promised to take care of Sam, and I?d kept that promise, even to the point of sacrificing my own life and happiness.

?Don?t patronize me, Dad. I know what happens if I don?t go back. Sammy becomes Lucifer, and the world goes to hell. What do you want me to do? Kill Lucifer? I tried that. It didn?t work.  If you?ve got any bright ideas, I?d love to hear them because I?m fresh out.?
"Family's there, for the good, bad, all of it. They got your back even when it hurts."

Dean Winchester

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« Reply #5 on: December 13, 2009, 04:33:44 PM »
?Lucifer isn?t a demon, Dean. He?s a fallen angel.?

I bit back a sarcastic remark. He wasn?t telling me anything I didn?t know already.  ?How do you kill an angel, Dad? I haven't found anything in your journal that covers that subject.?

?Maybe you don?t,? he replied. ?I?m not here to give you the answers because I don?t know what they are. I?m only here to tell you that you have to go back. Whether you want to or not.?

?What makes you think I don?t want to? I hate this place. It?s like the Twilight Zone on crack or something.?

He shifted his gaze to Quinn, who was still sleeping peacefully beside me, as if nothing at all was wrong in all the universe.  ?Do you love her, Dean??

I clenched my jaw, refusing to answer. I didn't want to answer that question. I didn't even want to think about it.  It seemed my silence was answer enough.

?Which one needs you more?" he continued.  "Which do you love more??

?That?s none of your damned business.?

?It?s a question you need to ask yourself.  Are you willing to sacrifice one for the other? Are you willing to sacrifice the world??

?Don?t you think I know what I have to do? I know I have to leave. I know I can?t stay. Did you come here to lecture me?  To remind me of my promise? You don?t have to remind me.  I?m not gonna let anything happen to Sam, okay??

?This isn?t about Sam,? he continued. ?It?s about you.  You never asked for any of this.  You never questioned anything. You always did what you were told, and you never complained. You understood.  Sam never did.?

?What?s your point??

?God doesn?t want the world to go to hell, Dean.?

?God?? I couldn?t help but laugh. I'd stopped believing in God a long time ago. ?Are you God?s messenger now? I thought that was Gabriel?s job. Oh, that?s right. Gabriel is too busy sulking like a child because his family is fighting. Boo freaking hoo.  Sam and I are not gonna play Cain and Abel in their little struggle for Daddy?s love and approval.  They can fight their own damned battles without us.?

I blinked in surprise at the irony of my own statement as the words came tumbling out. Was that what Sam and I had been doing all these years? Vying for Dad?s love?  I?d always been the obedient son. I was the one most deserving of his love.  Sam only broke his heart. And yet, it was always Sam he kept trying to bring back into the fold. Had I been competing with Sam for my father?s love and approval? I didn?t think so, but maybe the angels thought differently.  

I felt tears threatening again, and I was helpless to stop them this time.  My chest tightened in pain. I felt more alone that ever before, like the weight of the world rested on my shoulders. ?Dad,? I pleaded, ?I can?t do it alone. I need your help.?

?No, you don?t.  This is what you were born for, Dean. It?s your destiny.  Everything happens for a reason, even this.  You?ll understand that one day.?

?I don?t believe in God, and I don?t believe in destiny. I don?t believe I?m special. I?m just trying to survive. I'm just trying to do the right thing.  You make your own decisions and your own fate and hope that when the day is done, you can look at yourself in the mirror and know you?ve done your best. I learned that from you, remember??

?Make the right decision, Dean. And make it soon.?

I watched as he melted away into the darkness, as if he?d never been there at all, and I let the tears come. I never had the chance to tell him how I felt -- how much I loved him, how much I missed him. It was too late. It was always too late.

I climbed out of bed, pulled on my jeans, and went to the window to look out on the rest of the sleeping world of Rhydin, wondering if what had just happened had been real or merely a figment of my imagination.  

What the hell did he mean anyway? Make the right decision, as if I'd ever had a choice. I had already decided.  And yet, I felt torn between my love and loyalty for Sam and my growing feelings for Quinn. But when the hell had my feelings ever mattered? I had no right falling in love, but it was too late now for regrets. What was done was done.

Just until Christmas, I told myself, and then I?ll leave. I?ll go back and do whatever it is I have to do and never look back.

I pressed my forehead against the cold glass and gazed up at the sky, wondering, like I had as a child, if anyone was watching or listening, if anyone even cared.

Just let me have until Christmas, I pleaded silently.  Just until Christmas, and then I?ll go. I promise. Even if I don't want to.
"Family's there, for the good, bad, all of it. They got your back even when it hurts."

Dean Winchester

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« Reply #6 on: December 20, 2009, 04:08:11 PM »
When my time comes
Forget the wrong that I've done
Help me leave behind some
Reasons to be missed
And don't resent me
And when you're feeling empty
Keep me in your memory
Leave out all the rest.


(?Leave Out All the Rest? ? Linkin Park)

--------------------

What's dead should stay dead. That?s what I told Quinn.  How many times have I said that? What a hypocrite I am.

I shouldn't have told Quinn about Sam. I shouldn't have told her anything. I know what she?s thinking. She's wondering if there's a way to bring her sister back, like I brought Sam back. God, I'm such an idiot for telling her about that, for putting that thought in her head.  Who the hell was I to think I could bare my soul to anyone, especially her?  It was stupid and selfish. Almost as selfish as the day I brought Sam back.  I keep asking myself if I did it for him or for me. Did I do it because I'd made a promise to Dad or because I couldn't bear the thought of living without him?

If I were to do it all over again, knowing what I know now, would I have done anything different? I don't know. Ever since Mom died, it's always been about protecting Sam.  That's all my life has ever been.  Even when we were apart, it was for Sam's good, not mine.  I tried to tell myself that if I just stayed away, Sam could have a normal life.  Who the hell was I fooling? Sam's life stopped being normal the night Mom died, the night that yellow-eyed bastard gave him his first taste of demon blood.  If there was ever anyone I relished killing, it was that sorry son of a bitch.

I wonder what things would have been like if I'd just let Sam go.  Everyone has to die sometime. When your time is up, your time is up. My time ran out a long time ago. I'm just living on borrowed time now, waiting for the past to catch up with me and for the demons to drag me back to hell.

Dad warned me. He told me that I might have to kill Sammy someday.  I don't care if he's Lucifer's vessel or not. I can't do it. I won?t do it.  There's no way I'm killing my own brother. There's no way I'm sacrificing the only family I've got left. The world can go to hell. I don't care.

Mom sacrificed her life for Dad, Dad for me, and me for Sam.  It's in the blood.  It?s the Winchester way.  But Sammy? He didn't trade his soul for mine or yank me out of hell. Castiel did that.  Despite his promises to save me, Sam watched me die and buried me, only to take up with Ruby as soon as my body was cold. I always hated that bitch. I knew she was up to no good. Maybe Sam gets it now. Never trust a demon. They?re all just lying bastards.

If I'd just been strong enough to let Sammy go, none of this would have happened.  I wouldn't have gone to hell, the seals wouldn't have been broken, and Lucifer wouldn't have been set free.  The Apocalypse would still be just a bedtime story, nothing more.

Dad had been stronger than me. He?d resisted. He hadn?t given in, but I was weak. After thirty years in hell, I had finally broken.  I had agreed to torture souls, just as I had been tortured.  It doesn?t matter if I?ve been forgiven. I can never forgive myself. I have to live with the guilt and the memory of what I did to those poor souls for the rest of my life.

"The Righteous Man who begins it is the only one who can finish it." That's what Castiel said, but I?m not righteous. I'm just like everyone else, struggling through life trying to do the right thing. Trying to survive and protect the ones I love. That?s all.

If it hadn?t been for Azazel, we?d just be an ordinary family living ordinary lives.  Dad said it?s my destiny. Well, screw destiny. I just want to live my life in peace. And just for once, I?d like to be able to hold onto something good for a while. Something like Quinn.  

I gave her my ring last night. It was probably a stupid thing to do. It?s just a ring, after all. It doesn?t mean anything, except that it?s mine. I don?t know why I gave it to her. I just wanted her to have it, needed her to have it.  I needed to give her something to remember me by. I'm never gonna forget her, but no matter how much it's tearing me apart, I can't stay. I have no choice.

It?s not about the world. It?s not about angels or demons. It?s about me. It?s about Sam.  I can?t turn my back on him now, not after everything that?s happened, everything we?ve gone through together, everything we've fought so hard for. If I don?t go back now, Sam will become Lucifer and the world will go to hell, and I?ll be to blame.

Life will go on without me. Quinn will forget me in time. She?ll find someone else, someone who will give her everything she needs, everything she wants. Someone to hold her close at night and wipe away her tears. Someone to help her forget.  Someone to heal her heart. Someone who can be there for her. Someone deserving of her love. Someone better than me.

I?d bring her sister back if I could, but I can?t.  I?ve already opened that can of worms once, and I?m not opening it again.  We all have to die sometime.  

When all is said and done, I just want some peace.  No thanks, no reward. Just Rest in Peace, Dean Winchester.  That?s my idea of heaven. I don't think I'm gonna have to wait too much longer.
"Family's there, for the good, bad, all of it. They got your back even when it hurts."

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« Reply #7 on: December 27, 2009, 08:20:41 PM »
I'll keep holding on
I'll keep singing my song
It gets me through it
I've got the scars to prove it
Well, I know the road is long
But I'm staying strong
So don't cry
?Cause this is not my last goodbye.


("Last Goodbye? ? Alex Band)

--------------------

Christmas night was my last night in Rhydin.  Strange how people there celebrate a holiday half of them don?t understand or believe in.  I hadn?t slept a wink.  I'd just laid there watching Quinn, the bed still warm from our love. It?s strange to find myself writing that word. Ironic how love finds you when you least expect it, when you're least ready for it.

My last day in Rhydin was bittersweet.  I tried not to talk about leaving, but it seemed to always be there, looming right in front of us. I didn?t have to give Quinn the last-night-on-Rhydin speech.  She seemed to understand why I needed to go.  She never argued with me about it or pleaded with me to stay.  She seemed to think Sam needed me.  Dad had said the same thing, but I knew better.  Sam didn?t me. Sam had never needed me.  It was me who needed Sam.

There never seemed to be enough time, and I had started to think of all the things I hadn't done in life, all the things I'd never do.  I'd never get married, never have a family.  I knew there was no happily ever after in my future. Even if we defeated the demons, I had a feeling in my gut that a happy ending wasn't part of the deal. At least, not for me.  

I had asked Quinn one last time to come with me, already knowing what her answer would be.  If I thought she'd say yes, I probably wouldn?t have asked.  What kind of life could I offer her back home?  Hunting demons and being hunted.  There was a bullseye on my back, and my days were numbered.  I knew they'd only end up using Quinn to get to me, and she'd end up just like Jo.  It was better this way. Safer.

I got up early that morning, already knowing what I had to do. I didn?t want to say goodbye. Not again. Maybe I was a coward, but it seemed easier this way for both of us.  No tearful goodbyes, no awkward silences, no broken promises.  All I had to do was walk out the door. If only it was that simple.
"Family's there, for the good, bad, all of it. They got your back even when it hurts."

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« Reply #8 on: December 27, 2009, 08:21:17 PM »
Leaves are falling all around, it's time I was on my way. Thanks to you, I'm much obliged for such a pleasant stay.

I watched her for a while before I left.  She looked so young, so innocent, so peaceful. It nearly broke my heart. She would be the last, I vowed. No more. Never again. No one else is getting close.  If only things could have been different. How many times had I told myself that? What was the point?  I had to go back. I had no choice.

Quinn and I were just two pawns in a bigger game of chess.  Or maybe I was the Knight and she was the Queen. I don't know.  All I knew was that I had to go back and finish what I'd started. It was my fault the world was a mess, and I was the only one who could fix it. Or so I?d been told.  I had waited long enough.

The sky was turning gray, and I knew it would be morning soon.  I wanted to be gone before morning, before she awoke, before I had to say goodbye again.  I quietly got dressed, tucking the chain from which hung the guitar pick she?d given me beneath my shirt, beside my heart, where the amulet Sammy had given me had once laid.  

Castiel had the amulet.  I doubted it would do him much good.  I?d felt naked without it, but now I had something of Quinn?s to replace it. The guitar pick had no mystical properties. It wouldn?t protect me from demons or invoke the help of angels, but it meant so much to me, as much as Sammy?s amulet once had. It was something that had once belonged to her, had once meant something to her, and she'd given it to me.  Who could ask for more than that?

I tucked the blankets up around her and kissed her on the forehead, lingering a moment, reluctant to leave, even though I knew I had no choice.  I studied her face, wondering what she might be dreaming about. Was she dreaming of Natalie or of me? Would she remember me when I was gone? Would she miss me even a little?  We were so much alike, both of us lost and lonely and damaged. It was too late for me, but I hoped it wasn?t too late for her.

There was nothing more to say, nothing more that could be said.  If she didn't know how I felt by now, she never would. I had opened my heart to her more than I had to anyone else in a very long time. Up until then, my whole life had been about Sam. I had no regrets, but I'd never expected leaving would be so damned hard.

I kissed her again, knowing if I lingered too long, she?d wake and there would be tears. We?d both cried enough. I didn?t want to cry anymore. I had to harden my heart for the battle ahead, and I couldn?t do that so long as she was with me.

(Lyrics from "Ramblin' On" written by Jimmy Page and Robert Plant.)
"Family's there, for the good, bad, all of it. They got your back even when it hurts."

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« Reply #9 on: December 27, 2009, 08:23:24 PM »
It?s time for me to go. The autumn moon lights my way. For now I smell the rain, and with it pain, and it's headed my way.

I tucked a note beneath her pillow, along with a photo of myself and Sam ? the one I carried in my wallet.  I wanted someone to remember me when I was gone. It seemed fitting that it be her. The note was short and simple. I?d already said everything there was to say.  ?I love you and I'll never forget you.?  What else was there to say?

I shrugged my father?s brown leather coat onto my shoulders and shoved his .45 into the right hand pocket.  I?d thought about leaving the coat with her, too, but I just couldn?t bear to part with it. All I had left of Dad was his coat, his gun, and his car. There was nothing else.  Sometimes I even thought it still smelled like Dad, but it was probably just my imagination.  

I felt torn as I turned my back on her and made my way through the apartment. I paused a moment to take a look around, committing the place to memory, remembering how we?d shared a lifetime worth of love in just a few short weeks. I knew it was those memories that would somehow get me through.  Funny how the demons thought they?d break me, tossing me aside like a worn out shoe, when all they?d really done was give me the strength and courage to go on, to fight the battle until the end.

Even if I couldn?t have the dream, other people could.  That?s what Sammy and I were really fighting for. For all the families just like ours who deserved to live in peace and harmony.  For all the Quinns and Deans in the world just like us who deserved a happy ending.  That's what it was all about.  I wasn?t going down without a fight because if there was nothing else worth fighting for, it was that.

(Lyrics from "Ramblin' On" written by Jimmy Page and Robert Plant.)
"Family's there, for the good, bad, all of it. They got your back even when it hurts."

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« Reply #10 on: December 27, 2009, 09:34:20 PM »
Red Dragon Inn
December 26, 2009
Early Morning...


There was no one in the common room when I got there. It was just as well.  No explanations, no goodbyes.  Not that anyone cared really. I could count my friends on one hand.  Quinn, Vex, maybe Reap. There was no one else. I'd been careful not to make any friends, but a few friends had found me.  

I'd broken all the rules with Quinn, but it was too late to worry about that now.  Life would go on.  She'd meet someone else and forget all about me.  Eventually. I couldn't say the same for myself.

No matter what Dad had told me, I still wasn't quite sure how the portal worked.  Click your heels together three times and say, "There's no place like home."  Right. Might have worked for Dorothy, but I doubted it would work for me.

I vaguely remembered the night I'd come through the portal. Or been thrown through. Crashed through. I hoped the return trip would go a little easier.

I made my way to the back of the tavern and stood before the door, studying it doubtfully.  Portal, door, whatever it was. It just looked like an ordinary door to me, though I knew from experience it was nothing of the kind.  This chapter of my life suddenly seemed like something from out of a Stephen King novel, and my life was pretty bizarre already.

"Follow your heart, Dean," my father had told me.  How was I supposed to do that when I'd left my heart behind with Quinn?  I felt torn. Part of me wanted to go home to Sam, and part of me wanted to stay with Quinn, but I couldn't be in two places at one time.  No one could. I had to make a choice, and I'd made mine a long time ago. No matter how much I loved Quinn, my first loyalty was to my brother.

I reached out and slowly eased one hand through the portal. Nothing happened. I knew if I didn't do it right, I might end up somewhere far worse than Rhydin.  I banished that thought from my head. There was no worse place than Hell, and I didn't want to end up there.

I drew a deep breath and closed my eyes, trying to focus my thoughts on Sam and home, trying to see him in my mind, feel him in my heart, but the only image I could manage to muster was that of Quinn.

I shook my head clear of the clutter and cobwebs. I couldn't remember the last time I'd slept. I felt drained, exhausted. It didn't matter. There was no turning back. It was now or never.
 
"Here goes nothing," I  told myself and stepped through the portal, steeling myself for the worst.  Nothing happened for a moment, and then I was plunged into darkness and it felt like I was falling. Falling and falling and falling into nothingness, and then there was a sharp pain that seemed to tear me in two and a blinding light, like lightning flashing all around me, electric in its intensity. I heard myself cry out in fear and pain, but it wasn't Sam's name I screamed.  It was Quinn's.

And then there was nothing.
"Family's there, for the good, bad, all of it. They got your back even when it hurts."

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« Reply #11 on: January 01, 2010, 08:51:00 PM »
I was looking back on my life
And all the things I've done to me
I'm still looking for the answers
I'm still searching for the key
The wreckage of my past keeps haunting me
It just won't leave me alone
I still find it all a mystery
Could it be a dream?
The road to nowhere leads to me.


("The Road to Nowhere" - Wylde/Castillo/Osbourne)

--------------------

Alliance, Nebraska
November 23, 2009...

 
Dean heard a familiar voice calling him, summoning him up from the cold, dark void he?d somehow fallen into, and he struggled to the surface, like a drowning man fighting for life.  He felt someone shake him, and he heard himself groan.

Sam?

Dean pried his eyes open to find his brother looking down at him, wearing a worried expression, but then, when did Sam not look worried these days?
 
"What? the? hell?" Dean stammered, blinking his eyes to clear his blurry vision and pushing himself up from the floor.

"Take it easy.  You passed out," Sam explained patiently, as he helped his brother up.  

Dean sometimes thought that Sam had the patience of a saint to put up with him.  Saint Sammy from Lawrence, Kansas: the Devil's Vessel.  He almost couldn't help but laugh at the irony of it.  Sam didn't have an evil bone in his body.  Why the hell the demons had picked Sam was beyond him.  He?d always been the dick in the family, not Sam.

"You're wearing yourself out, Dean,? Sam continued.  ?You need to get some rest."

Dean couldn?t argue with that.  His head felt like it was going to explode, and the room kept spinning.  He felt sick and disoriented, almost like he was drunk.  He hadn?t felt that bad since the day he?d dug his way out of his own grave.    
 
Dean pushed himself up from the floor, groaning in pain and clutching his head as the room swayed to and fro.  He felt Sam take hold of his arm, but shook him off.  ?I?m good,? he insisted, fighting down the sick feeling in the pit of his stomach. He narrowed his eyes and tried to focus on Sam?s face.  What the hell had happened?

"Take a few deep breaths," Sam suggested helpfully.
 
Dean blinked.  Deep breaths?  Someone else had told him that recently.  A girl.  Blond with the face of an angel.  She?d meant something to him.  Something important. She?d given him a black guitar pick hanging from a silver chain ? something to remember her by.  His heart sank as he reached for it.  It was either gone or had never been there at all.  

What the hell was going on?  He?d told her he?d loved her.  He remembered that much.  He couldn?t have just imagined her.  She seemed so real.  He muttered her name, ?Quinn??
"Family's there, for the good, bad, all of it. They got your back even when it hurts."

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« Reply #12 on: January 01, 2010, 08:53:46 PM »
"Who?" Sam asked, with that deer-in-the-headlights look he always had when he was confused.

Dean stumbled to his feet, fighting off the wave of dizziness that threatened to send him sprawling back on the floor.  He flopped down on the bed and looked around the room, shoving a hand through his hair, trying to remember.  Everything was just as he remembered it.  Same no-tell motel room he and Sam had rented for the night.  It seemed like ages ago.

?Who?s Quinn?? Sam repeated, as he took a seat on the bed across from his brother.  

Dean closed his eyes and pressed the heel of a hand against his forehead as he tried to remember.  He remembered arguing with Sam and leaving the motel room before his encounter with the demon.  That was where everything got weird.  That was where he?d entered the Twilight Zone.

?That bitch Meg threw me through some portal?? he began.

?Dean,? Sam interrupted, ?you haven?t left this room.  We were arguing and you passed out.?

Dean shook his head, memories flooding back, threatening to drown him.  It had all seemed so real.  ?No.  I left. I got a six-pack and went to see Carhenge, and on the way back, Meg tossed me through a mirror.?

?A mirror?? Sam asked, arching his brows doubtfully.

?Yeah and?? Dean broke off, glaring at his brother. ?You don?t believe me.?

?It?s not that. It?s just?? Sam sighed.  Sam always sighed when he was feeling perplexed.

?Sam, I saw Dad.?

?Dad is dead.?

?Yeah, so is Mom.?

?That?s different.?

?Why?? Dean asked, his face flushing with anger.  ?Because she came to see you??

Sam frowned at his brother, looking remorseful.  ?You must have been dreaming.?

?I wasn?t dreaming!? Dean exclaimed.  ?I know what happened!  Meg threw me through a mirror, and I ended up in some place called Rhydin. I met this girl named Quinn and I?? He broke off, the words catching in his throat. I fell in love.
"Family's there, for the good, bad, all of it. They got your back even when it hurts."

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« Reply #13 on: January 01, 2010, 08:54:37 PM »
Quinn, Dean thought, his heart filled with sadness. I?m sorry. I?ll never forget you.  I promise.  He laid his head in his hands, struggling to control his emotions.  What was the use? Sam would never believe him.  He could hardly believe it himself.

?We?ve seen a lot of strange stuff, Dean,? he heard Sam say, trying to sound reassuring.  ?I believe you.?

Dean nodded and took a deep breath, deciding to change the subject. It was better that way. Better than breaking down. He was supposed to be the strong one. He was supposed to protect Sam. Wasn?t that what he?d always done?  Wasn?t that what he?d come back for?

?You have to promise me, Sammy,? Dean started, voice low.  ?No matter what happens, you won?t let that son of a bitch have you.?

?Dean, I?m not gonna??

Dean looked up and lifted a hand to silence his brother and allow him to finish.  He?d seen the future, and there was no way he was going to let Lucifer have Sam.  Not if he had anything to say about it.  ?No matter what, Sam.  No matter what he tells you, no matter what he does. I don?t care if he says he?s going to flay me alive.  You say no.  Got it??  

Sam frowned, looking like a lost puppy, and Dean felt a stab of pain.  He realized at that moment that it hadn?t been his father who had looked after Sam through the years; it had been him.  His father had been too busy hunting the demon who?d killed his wife.  He hadn?t had much time to be a father; that role had been taken up by a four-year old Dean. Dean had sacrificed his life for his brother, and now he'd sacrificed his happiness, as well.

Sam nodded, solemnly.  ?I promise.?

?Okay, good.  Now, let?s get some breakfast. I?m starving.?  Dean moved to his feet, pausing a moment as a wave of dizziness washed over him.  He felt strange ?  drained, empty, like something had been ripped from his very soul.  He hoped Sam didn?t notice.  

?You need to rest,? Sam pointed out, watching his brother sway unsteadily as he got to his feet.

?Shut up, Sam.?

?Dean??

?What part of shut up, Sam, don?t you get?? Dean snapped back, reaching into his coat pocket for his car keys and tossing them to Sam.  He didn?t trust himself to drive. Not yet. Not until he got some coffee in his veins and had time to figure things out.

"Come on, Sammy. There's an Egg McMuffin somewhere with my name on it."  He tossed an arm around his brother's shoulders, letting Sam take some of his weight, and headed toward the door.  

No matter what happened, no matter how many times Sam pissed him off, they were brothers and always would be.  In that moment, Dean realized he was exactly where he was supposed to be. He was home.
"Family's there, for the good, bad, all of it. They got your back even when it hurts."

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« Reply #14 on: January 09, 2010, 11:06:56 AM »
Come down on your own and leave your body alone
Somebody must change
You are the reason I've been waiting all these years
Somebody holds the key
Well, I'm near the end and I just ain't got the time
And I'm wasted and I can't find my way home.


("Can't Find My Way Home" - Steve Winwood)

--------------------

Rhydin
Present Day...


I don?t deserve a second chance. I don?t deserve Quinn. I don?t deserve to be happy.  What the hell am I doing in Rhydin?  

Ellen and Jo are dead because of me. Bobby is in a wheel chair because of me.  The Apocalypse was kicked-started because of me.  I?m not trying to be a martyr.  It?s the truth. It?s my fault, no one else?s.  My heart broke the day Cas told me. The righteous man that begins it is the only one who can finish it.  How was I to know this would happen?   I should have been stronger. I should have tried harder. Ignorance is no excuse.

Thirty years of torture in hell is my excuse.  I was sliced and diced so many times I lost count, until they finally broke me.  I was the First Seal.  I can?t take the blame for Lucifer, but if it wasn?t for me, none of this would have happened.  

You think you know what torture is.  You read about it in books, see it on TV, but until you?re the one on the rack, you don?t know dick.  I can?t even begin to describe what it was like.  Sam wanted to know, but I couldn?t talk about it.  He?d never understand. Neither would Quinn.  How do you tell someone about your worst nightmares? It?s better they don?t know.  It would only hurt them in the end, knowing there's nothing they can do to change it, nothing that can make it better.

Time heals all wounds, or so they say.  I have my doubts.

Emily said half of me went back to finish what I started, to kill Lucifer and set things right.  She said my heart was torn in two.  Half of me wanted to be with Sam and the other half with Quinn.  I know it sounds crazy, but I believe her.  Ever since I got back, I feel empty inside, like part of me is missing - the part that loved Sam.  

I miss him, but I can?t go back.  I can never go back.  That door is closed to me now.  My soul has been torn in two.  All I can do is trust that the Dean that went home is strong enough to do what he has to do to because I can?t do it.  My hands are tied.  

I?m trying to make a new life for myself here, but I know the fight isn?t over.  They?ll find me eventually.  I have to stay one step ahead of them.  

Maybe it?s selfish of me to get Quinn mixed up in all this.  I?ve given her so many chances to walk away.  I?ve tried so hard to keep her safe. She?s stubborn, like Sam.  The harder I try to push her away, the tighter she holds on.  If I was smart, I?d take to the road and disappear, but I?ve been running from demons for twenty-six years. I?m tired of running. It?s time to make my final stand. If I can?t do it for myself, then I?ll do it for Quinn.  

Despite everything, I?m one lucky bastard.  Not many people get a second chance at life. Hell, I?m probably on my fourth by now.  

Someone up there isn?t done with me yet, and I owe it to the memory of those who?ve gone before me not to give up.  I owe it to those still living. I owe it to Bobby, I owe it to Sam, I owe it to Quinn.  I?m gonna do everything in my power to keep them safe, no matter what.

I'm a Winchester. Nothing else matters.  Nothing else ever will.  Rhydin is my home now, and it's exactly where I'm supposed to be.
"Family's there, for the good, bad, all of it. They got your back even when it hurts."