caranfindel (caranfindel) wrote,

14.20 Coda: It's a cold and it's a broken hallelujah

The zombies (reanimated corpses, Sam insists on calling them) are dispatched easily enough. A swing of the iron fencepost turns them to dust. Even Sam, hobbled by his injury, can hold his own. And then they're all gone and you're standing there, surrounded by zombie dust, and Sam and Cas are looking at you like you're in charge, waiting for you to tell them what comes next. It's tempting to look right back and say "What do we do now, Chief?" but everyone who called Sam Chief is dead, and you're shitty but you're not that shitty. So instead you say "Okay, let's get Jack back to the bunker."

The kid weighs almost nothing but you let Cas help, because it seems important to him and because carrying the lightweight body on your own feels too much like carrying Mom. (It wasn't Mom. It was a shell incapable of holding life.) You put him in the back seat of Cas's truck and you cover him with a blanket from the Impala, and you briefly wonder if that same blanket has ever covered your own dead face, because Sam's carried your corpse at least twice that you can remember. Sam puts the iron posts in the back seat of the Impala, where you can easily reach them if needed. He's only using one arm now.

"How's your God-hole?" you ask.

He starts to shrug, then stops with a pained wince. "It's okay," he lies. "Not bleeding. What about you? You all right?"

"Peachy," you lie right back. Well. You're not bleeding either, so you must be okay.

You drive.

. . .

It's still dark. You don't know what time it is - your watch stopped when Chuck turned the world dark - but you're pretty sure it should be light by now. You could look at your phone. You choose not to.

Your brother doesn't look at his phone either. He probably should. He should check in with your contacts, or at least see if Jody and the girls and Donna are okay. But he doesn't. Maybe, like you, he suspects you'll eventually appreciate this brief respite of not knowing how bad and how widespread the current wave of badness is.

Then he clears his throat. "Dean, I'm sorry."

"For what?"

"Jesus. For all of this. For shooting Chuck. For - fuck - for shooting God and starting all this."

"No, Sam, no. Don't." You were there to kill the kid, and you couldn't do it. You're not going judge Sam for trying to save him. "There's nothing to be sorry about. I get it. You were trying to stop him."

Sam sighs quietly but doesn't respond.

"I gotta admit," you add, "when I saw you point that gun at him, I thought you were gonna do it. I thought you were actually trying to kill him. And I knew what was going to happen. Chuck would die, and you'd die, and then the world would end, and you know what? I didn't care. Right then, I was so done, Sam. I thought you were ending everything, and I was okay with it."

Sam turns and stares at you, and oh, crap. You just told Mr. Optimist, Mr. Why Can't You Believe In Us, that you were ready to end it all. "I mean, just for a second," you say quickly. "Before I realized you were pulling your punches. And then I saw you were just trying to distract him from what he was doing to Jack. It's okay, Sammy. You were trying to save our family. Don't be sorry."

There's no response, and maybe you need to try harder to convince your brother that you aren't a shell incapable of holding life, but. Well. There are other things to worry about right now.

Like the fact that it's still dark when you get back to Lebanon. And when you finish building the pyre.


Cas leaves while a few persistent flames are still flickering in the embers. Going to Heaven to do... God knows what.

(God probably does. Because he probably scripted it, the asshole.)

It's fine. What you're going through right now, you and Sam, this complicated grief, it feels very human. It feels like something you need to do together; you and Sam.

Sam said his goodbyes quietly this time, standing close to the fire, fingers clenching and releasing like he was resisting the urge to grab the kid and yank him out of the flames. You couldn't hear what he said, but you're pretty sure the word sorry came up a few times.

He's been mostly silent since then. But now he turns to you, with the glowing embers reflected in his wet eyes and tear-streaked face, and he says "Dean. I wasn't pulling any punches. That was supposed to be a head shot. I knew what would happen if I killed him and I did it anyway."

Wait. Your world violently lurches and you have to stop and get your bearings. "No," you finally manage to say. "I don't believe that. You're a better shot than that."

"Yeah, well, he did something. He deflected the shot somehow. Or the gun doesn't work on him. I mean, he's God. He can do anything. But I swear, Dean, I really wanted to kill him, and I didn't care that it was going to kill me. I didn't care that it was going to end the world. It's like you said, man. I was done."

And you remember looking down on that same tear-streaked face as he knelt in front of you and realizing that you couldn't do it, that you'd let the world burn instead. So you get it. But that wasn't you deciding to die. That was you deciding to live.

"What about now? Do you still not care? I know what happened to Jack hit you pretty hard, but come on, Sam."

"It's not just Jack. It's Jack and Mom and Dad and all those other hunters, and then everybody before them, Bobby and Charlie and Jo and Ellen, and dammit, Dean." Sam's voice breaks and he stops to take a deep breath. "How many people suffered and died just because he liked watching us try to save them? How much our lives has been actually helping people, and how much has just been us acting out some fucked-up story for his amusement?"

"So we stop amusing him. We fix this. You didn't let me give up. You don't get to give up on me."

"I'm not giving up. I'm not suicidal. I'm just tired. I'm tired of all of it. And maybe I was wrong. If I'd let you lock yourself in that box..." He stops to wipe his eyes, and his expression hardens. "You're right. We need to fix this. But there's a good chance one of us, or both of us, won't survive. I need you to understand that I'm okay with that. I'm ready for that."

Well, it's definitely going to be both of you this time. He promised you not long ago that if you died, you'd die together, and then he went and broke that promise, and fuck if you're going to let him get away with that again. You've burned a father together, and a mother, and a son. You've burned a surrogate father and a best friend. You've tried to burn the world. You've burned everything except each other. And you're not going to start that now.

"Okay, Sammy."

Because the truth is, you're ready too.

It's still dark in Lebanon when the fire finally goes out.

. . .

(Like my other 14.20 coda, this one takes its title from "Hallelujah," and I strongly recommend the John Cale version.)

Now with a sequel! When the New York Times said "God is dead and the war's begun."
Tags: 14.20 moriah, episode coda, fic: dean winchester, fic: sam winchester, my fic, season 14, supernatural

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