No, don't be stupid, I tell myself. Of course it's not Dean Winchester. Dean Winchester does not exist, outside of your bizarro dreams. It's just a coincidence that this really angry man happens to look just like him. And that right behind him is... oh crap. No, it can't possibly be Sam. It's just someone who also coincidentally looks just like not-Dean's taller, slightly less angry brother, who is trying to pull not-Dean back and saying "Dean, calm down." And now I can decipher what probably-not-Dean is saying.
"You've got five minutes to tell me who the fuck you are, and how the fuck you know so much about us, or I'm going to stab you in the face."
Yeah, it's Dean Winchester.
I step back and they follow me into my apartment, looking around expectantly. Whatever they expect, I'm sure they're disappointed, as it's just the crappy cluttered apartment of a grad assistant at a dinky community college. A grad assistant who's supposed to be teaching a class in an hour. "Um... I'm supposed to teach a class this morning. Do you mind if I make a phone call? Call in sick?" I make eye contact with Sam. If either of the brothers is going to agree to postpone the stabbing, it's Sam. He nods, gives Dean a pointed look - one of the wordless conversations I've seen so often in my sleep, and holy crap, it's happening here, in front of me - and says "Go ahead. Stay close."
Sam and Dean make themselves at home on my worn sofa. I quickly dial my department head, and it's not lost on me that they listen to every word. Another silent conversation takes place between them, but its content is beyond my comprehension. Satisified that I have not, in fact, called for reinforcements, Dean motions for me to sit, and I take the chair opposite him.
"So, you're... real?" Dean's eyebrows lower threateningly. "I mean... that's stupid. Of course you're real. It just never occurred to me that you would be. That you could be." Being nervous makes me babble. "You're a really big guy. I never pictured you being so tall, since I always see you with Sam and you're, you know, shor... not as tall as him. How tall are you guys?"
"How about you let us ask the questions, Chuck?" Dean growls. "Like, for example, how do you know all of this?" He gestures to Sam's computer, open on his lap. "The story of our lives, right here."
How do I know all of this? That's a good question. Because I didn't even know I knew it until just now. "Okay, I know this is going to sound weird. You're probably not going to believe me."
"Try us," Sam says. "We believe a lot of things. As you should know."
"Um. Yeah. Okay, the thing is, I have dreams about you. I mean, I have dreams... I didn't know they were about you until, well, now. I didn't know I was dreaming about real people. I thought I was just having dreams. And then when I had them, I had to write them down, and I'm a writer - well, I want to be a writer - so I decided to publish them online-"
Sam interrupts me. "You had to write them down? What do you mean, had to?"
"I mean, I have to. I can't go back to sleep until I do. I can't eat, I can't work, I can't do anything. I can't concentrate on anything else until I get them in writing. It's like, my mind can't move past them until I've typed them out. And then I can take as long as I want to clean them up and put them online."
"The hell," Dean mutters, rubbing his hand over his face, and again I'm struck by the fact that I've seen this gesture so many times in my head, and now it's happening in my living room.
"Wait," says Sam. "How long after you write them do you actually post them?"
I shrug. Why does this matter? "It depends. Some of them, pretty quickly. Some of them, I don't really want to get back to them, so it takes longer. Cause a lot of them are pretty dark... um, but I guess you know that, don't you."
"Yeah," Sam sighs. "We're well aware of how dark our lives are. So, give me an example." He points to my laptop, sitting on the coffee table. "Can I look?"
He's obviously asking as a courtesy. I'm sure I don't have the option to say no. Sam isn't as scary as Dean but I've seen him (seen him, God, seen him in my own head) gut some pretty dangerous creatures without flinching, and I can imagine what he'd be able to do to a grad assistant. I open the DREAMS folder on my laptop and push it toward him. Sam's eyes slide down the screen and he stops, with a sharp intake of breath. "Dean, remember the story about you getting out of Hell? How it was posted a week after you got back? He wrote it in July."
"Shit," says Dean. "Shit. I can't - I'm gonna -" He stands, makes eye contact with Sam, and tilts his head toward my kitchen. Sam nods and turns back to me as Dean leaves the room.
"How did you even find me?" I ask.
"I was researching a hunt that I thought might be related to an old hunt, and when I Googled the monster I found your blog."
"Okay, that's how you found my blog, but how did you find me?"
Sam laughs. It's a friendly laugh, a familiar laugh. "Your email address is on your blog, and it's chuck.shurley at fostercollege.edu," he says. "You weren't very hard to find." I make a mental note to get a nice anonymous Yahoo address as soon as they leave.
Suddenly I hear voices in the kitchen. Voices, plural, which shouldn't be possible since Dean's alone in there. Except he's not, because he walks out, and walking behind him is a quiet, intense man with dark hair and a rumpled trenchcoat and holy crap, it's Castiel. Castiel the fucking angel of the Lord is walking out of my kitchen. I don't know if I should avert my eyes or fall on my knees or what, so I just stare like an idiot and cringe at the way my voice squeaks when I say "Castiel?"
"Chuck," he says, in that familiar gravely voice. "I'm a fan of your work." A fan? Castiel turns to Sam and says "Chuck is a prophet of The Lord."
"Hear that, Sammy?" says Dean, with a grin that does not reach his eyes. "Prophet of the Lord." He looks at me fiercely. "You and me, we're gonna talk. Don't go anywhere." Dean still scares the crap out of me. He heads back into the kitchen, Castiel trailing behind him.
Prophet of the Lord? Yeah, right. That seems pretty unlikely. On the other hand, I just heard it straight from the mouth of an angel... This is a little much for me to process right now. My head is buzzing and my heart is racing and I wonder if it's too early to offer them a drink. But Sam doesn't give me time to process. He looks toward the kitchen, then leans closer to me and says in a quiet, almost conspiratory voice, "You didn't write anything about what happened to me while Dean was in Hell. Why?"
I hope his feelings aren't hurt. I don't want him to feel like the sidekick in this story. "I'm sorry, man," I explain. "I just don't see you as well as I see Dean. At least when he's not around. When he was in Hell, all of my dreams about you were dark and murky and confusing. And I couldn't see him at all until I saw him get out." Sam nods tightly. He doesn't seem surprised or confused. "No, it makes sense," he says, kind of sadly. "That Dean would be your conduit and I... and I wouldn't."
I'm glad it makes sense to you, Sam Winchester, because it makes no sense to me. None of it.
The dreams are hammering at Kevin's subconscious. It's not just that they're horrible (they are; they're violent and terrifying and he wakes up shaky and clammy and just on the verge of screaming, and the latest one was bad enough that he's fighting the urge to call Sam and Dean just to make sure they're alive and functioning), it's the fact that he feels like he needs to tell someone about them. The urge to tell his dreams is like the urge to urinate, and he is constantly uncomfortable in his own mind because he needs to get the damn things out. But Kevin has no one to tell, so he runs through the images and the words over and over in his own head. It doesn't help, but he can't stop.
The bang and clatter of Sam and Dean's return to the bunker is a shock, but then a welcome distraction. He's annoyed that they seem to have forgotten he was there (or at least not thought enough to worry about him), he's concerned that Sam looks like crap and Dean looks like he just killed Kevin's puppy (or his mom and his girlfriend), but mostly he's relieved because finally, finally he can tell someone about the dreams, the dreams that are clawing at his mind trying to get out.
"Kevin!" Dean says, with a mixture of surprise and relief and (Kevin is secretly pleased to see) guilt. "You okay? I'm sorry we didn't call you, man, but things have been really... hairy."
"It's okay. Is Sam all right? What happened?"
Sam is obviously not all right, as he's scraped and bruised and leaning heavily on Dean, but Dean replies "He's going to be fine. Just a little tired. But listen." He pauses, sighs. "I'm sorry, Kevin. It didn't... it didn't happen. Sam didn't close Hell. I'm sorry, I know you worked hard and your life has been completely fucked up by all of this but Naomi was right, Sam was going to die if he finished it, and..." Dean trails off. The rest doesn't need to be said anyway. No matter what might happen to anyone else, Dean wasn't going to let Sam complete a suicide mission. And part of Kevin is furious, but mostly he knows he would have done the same thing, if he'd had the chance to save his mother. And he's had time to contemplate the probability that Dean would stop Sam, since it was the subject of one of his more vivid dreams.
"It's okay," he assures Dean. "I would have done the same thing."
Sam pries Dean's hand off his arm and falls into a chair, concern on his face. "Seriously, Kevin? You've made a lot of sacrifices, and I feel like I let you down." From the look on his face, Kevin is pretty sure he feels like he let everyone down, and Kevin feels a rush of sympathy. After his nightmares about the poor guy, Kevin's just relieved to see him.
"I've had some time to think about it," Kevin says. "I guess it was on my mind, because I even had a dream about it... that you were about to finish the trial, and Dean stopped you because it would kill you." The brothers exchange glances but do not comment, and Kevin needs to talk about the dreams, he knows he will be on edge until he tells someone about the dreams, so he continues. "I mean, I'm having crazy dreams. In this one, Sam was doing the last trial, and some psycho demon woman showed up and started pounding on him and Crowley, just beating the living crap out of them, and them Sam set her on fire, and..." As Kevin speaks, he sees Dean raise an eyebrow at Sam, asking an unspoken question which Sam confirms with a nod.
"Prophet," Sam says quietly to Dean. He turns to Kevin. "How long have you been having these dreams?"
"A week or so, I guess. Since I stopped working on the demon tablet. Why?"
"You're a prophet of the Lord," Dean says. "That's why you dream about us. Chuck did it. I don't know why you didn't. Maybe it's all the sleeping pills and whatever you were taking."
"No, wait, that's insane," Kevin laughs. "These dreams were bizarre. Like, you and Castiel chopped off a woman's hand to get her tattoo or something, and you guys had Crowley in the trunk..."
Dean's expression tells Kevin that it's true, that he did help chop off a woman's hand, that Crowley - "Oh, Jesus, tell me Crowley is not in the trunk of your car right now." The implications of what Dean is saying begin to sink in, and Kevin suddenly feels like his legs are going to buckle. Because if that dream is true, then the others are true, and...
Sam gives him his best non-threatening, "I understand, we can help you, it's going to be okay" look and Kevin wants to smack it right off his face, his doomed face, because Sam does not understand at all, and it is not going to be okay. "You're a prophet, Kevin," Sam murmurs. "It's not just being a translator. It's also seeing into the future."
"No, no, no..." Kevin's stomach twists and he puts his head in his hands. It's true. The dream - the fucking prophecy - is true. "Oh, God, Dean," he moans. "You don't know what you've done. You have no idea what you did to Sam."
Author's Note: This started as a fic about Chuck. I love Chuck, but I don't love the breaking of the fourth wall. I think it makes things unneccessarily complicated (too many people who should know about the Winchesters) and it pulls me out of the story (yes, that means I didn't like The French Mistake, I can hear you gasping in horror!). And I also thought it was odd that Chuck has been having visions about Sam and Dean but didn't recognize them when they came to his door. So I came up with an AU version of discovering Chuck. (Oh, and in my version, Chuck isn't God, since it's from his POV and obviously God's POV would be somewhat different. And more knowledgeable.)
And then I thought, speaking of prophets, why doesn't Kevin have visions? And I was working on that in my head when 9.01 aired, and the end fell into place, fueled by my theory about Ezekiel (that he's not who he says he is). I'm posting this before 9.02 airs, and I didn't even watch the preview for that episode, so if anything in this fic happens to be a spoiler, it is a coincidence. Or, you know, a prophecy. ;-)
Constructive criticism very welcome!
Title is borrowed from "The Prophet's Song" by Queen.
Oh oh people of the earth
Listen to the warning the seer he said
Beware the storm that gathers here
Listen to the wise man