Saturday, April 9, 2011

Things We've Lost

Author’s Note: So okay…I know this is a little different than some of the fics people have been posting about the ‘Abandon All Hope’ Episode…but this is just my first one-shot. I have two other version’s of how this episode could play out…and I promise those will be a little fluffier! Enjoy and comment if you like it! Or don’t like it LoL.

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Title: Things We’ve Lost
Rating: R
Pairing: Dean/Jo…sort of implied’ish
Disclaimer: I own nothing, and Kripke owns all, but if I did own them, Jo and Ellen wouldn’t be dead. They’d be kicking some demon ass with the Winchester brothers.
Spoilers: Everything up to 5x10. For the love of god if you haven’t seen it, don’t read this. I don’t want anyone else saying I spoiled the episode for them.
Category: Angst
Summary: Dean reflects on all the things he’s lost in his life, and the things he wished he hadn’t.

To feel sorrow or remorse for a fault act, loss, or disappointment; to think of with a sense of loss or dissatisfaction.

The ride back from Carthage was quiet. Dean drove with Sam in the passenger seat and Castiel in the backseat. It took seven hours for them to make it back to Bobby’s. When Dean finally parked the Impala, he killed the engine, opened the door, and walked away from the car without a word.

Sam watched his brother walk to the back of Bobby’s property where the junkyard was and worry crossed his features. Castiel moved forward in his seat before glancing at Sam.

“He did not answer any of my questions.”

Sam gave Castiel a sideways glance.

“No, he didn’t.”

“Will you answer them?”

Sam sighed.

“Not now Cas…”

Sam opened the door slowly and started walking up the steps to Bobby’s front door. When he looked up Castiel was already standing there. Sam gave him a disapproving look, but moved around him and opened the door.

Bobby must have heard them coming because not a minute after Sam and Castiel walked through it he was in front of them. He glanced behind Castiel and met Sam’s eyes.

“Where’s Dean?”

“In the backyard.”

Bobby nodded as the three men made their way into the living room. Sam sat on the couch as Bobby went over to a draw in his desk and pulled out a bottle of Bourbon. Castiel stood in the corner and watched as Bobby poured three shot glasses.

He offered one to Sam, who stood up and took it. He then turned to Castiel, hand outstretched with the small glass. He hesitated before taking it. Bobby raised his glass and Sam followed suit. Castiel frowned, but lifted his arm as well.

“To Ellen and Jo…may their souls find peace…”

Bobby’s voice was gruff and Castiel could see the pain on their faces clearly. Sam cleared his throat before echoing Bobby’s sentiments.

“To Ellen and Jo…”

They looked at him and Castiel realized they were waiting for him to speak. He nodded.

“Yes, they were great warriors, and though they fell at the hand of evil, they did not do so in vain.”

Castiel watched as Sam and Bobby threw back their shots. He looked at it and his memory slid back to the other night when he sat with Ellen and did shots with her and Joanna. Such a trivial thing to remember and yet he could feel a burning sensation in his heart.

It hurt and he wasn’t sure what it meant. He swallowed his shot and it seemed to dull the pain for the moment. His thoughts were broken by Sam’s voice.

“I should go check on Dean.”

Bobby shook his head.

“Leave your brother alone. When he’s ready to be around us he’ll come inside.”

Sam didn’t like the tone of Bobby’s voice. He frowned.

“We’re all grieving Bobby…he should be here…”

Bobby gave Sam his ‘don’t mess with me’ look before turning his chair around and moving back towards his desk. Sam sighed and walked back over to the couch. He couldn’t believe they had failed. The Colt couldn’t kill Lucifer.

The second horseman of the apocalypse, Death, had risen and Jo and Ellen were dead. Sam wasn’t sure how so much went wrong in such a short amount of time. He closed his eyes briefly and he could hear Ellen’s voice scream as the hellhound ripped into Jo’s side.

His eyes flew open and he glanced around the room frantically. When his eyes landed on Castiel he was watching him. Sam took a few deep breaths to calm his breathing and raised an eyebrow at Castiel.


“You are in pain.”

Sam nodded as he tried to convey his thoughts to Castiel.

“We’re all in pain Cas. Ellen and Jo didn’t deserve to go out like that…do you not…doesn’t it bother you?”

Castiel furrowed his brows in contemplation. Did it bother him? Ellen and Joanna, though he had only met them recently were soldiers of the Lord. They fought for his cause and had pure hearts. Yes, it bothered him that they were no longer here.

But they sacrificed themselves for the greater good like true soldiers…and Castiel wasn’t sure why they didn’t see that. Why Sam and Dean chose to ignore the fact that Ellen and Joanna Harvelle believed so much in their cause…

…in this fight, that they sacrificed themselves so Sam and Dean could keep fighting. It was an honor to know them and fight beside them. Castiel realized he was being watched by both Sam and Bobby. They were waiting for his answer. He let out a deep breath.

“It does bother me to see such good destroyed by evil, but they believed in you and that is why they sacrificed themselves. So you and Dean could end this and kill Lucifer. They believed that the lives of the many outweighed the one. They are true soldiers or…what some would call heroes.”

Bobby swallowed hard and Sam’s voice failed so he nodded before leaning back on the couch. Sam wasn’t sure how long they stayed like that. Quiet and pensive. He was worried about Dean and not entirely sure what to say since he had no clue what was going through his brother’s head.

He glanced out the window to see if he could see Dean, but he saw nothing; it was too dark. I hope he’s okay out there…

Dean stood in the middle of the junkyard, hands in his pockets, jaw clenched. He could feel the cold seeping into his bones and he wasn’t sure if it was from the events of the past 24 hours or the cool night breeze tickling the back of his neck.

He glanced up at the sky and it was dark, no stars blinking out at him. It was as if they sky was blanketed with a deep darkness that reflected his mood. He closed his eyes and the day replayed in his head. The four of them running from the hellhounds.

Dean brought up the rear as he watched Sam, Ellen and Jo running toward the empty hardware store. He had just quickened his pace when he felt the sharp tug on his pants. He slid to the ground with a thud and he must have swore because his voice caught Jo’s attention.

He saw her eyes go wide as she called out to him, before running towards him instead of the hardware store. He held up a hand and yelled for her to stay back as she shot off a few rounds at the hellhound who’d latched onto him.

As soon as the first shot was fired he felt it release his pants. He started to stand as three more shots were fired. It was when he was finally on his feet that he saw Jo hit the ground as her body arched and she screamed in agony.

He threw his body forward and he banged into something he couldn’t see. He shoved at the hellhound before lifting Jo in his arms and running as fast as he could in to hardware store. He heard Ellen’s frantic voice, but what she was saying didn’t register.

He could feel the blood seeping into his shirt and he had to steel himself to the feeling or he’d never be able to hold it together. He placed Jo on the ground and Ellen bent next to them practically pushing Dean out of the way.

Ellen moved Jo’s hand aside gently. Blood poured out and Dean could swear he saw right through Jo’s side. He turned away…

Dean’s eyes jerked open and he took a ragged breath. That sight…would haunt him forever. He let Ellen down again, just like the first time he and Sam went on a hunt with Jo. Except that time he was able to bring her back.

This time…not so much. Dean was physically and emotionally tired. He’d grown up knowing life was no picnic that things were hard and that’s just the way it was for people like him. He accepted that…but Ellen…Jo…that was something he couldn’t accept.

At this point Dean was convinced that everything he and his brother touched, they destroyed. If he looked at things in retrospect, the apocalypse was entirely his fault. He was responsible for breaking the first seal…none of the things that happened the past year and a half would have happened if he had been stronger.

Even Sam breaking the final seal was his fault. He failed to get to Sam in time…he failed everyone he loved…everyone who counted on him. He failed his father, by not saving Sam from the darkside. He failed Sam by not knowing when he needed help, rather than judgments.

He failed Ellen by letting Jo die in Carthage, and he failed Jo by just being himself. By being a coward…A lone tear fell slowly down his cheek as he took another deep breath, eyes never leaving the murky sky.

Dean Winchester had lost a lot in his life, but he’d never had any regrets until today. The evil surrounding the Winchester men had become a sinister cloud of death, killing off anything and anyone they held dear to them.

It started with his mom when he was four years old. He could still remember what her body looked like pinned to the ceiling, fire consuming her and stretching out through the rest of the house. That night Dean lost his childhood.

He lost his ability to dream…to believe, but even at four years old he understood there was nothing he could have done to help her. Nothing he could have done to stop it, but that didn’t make the pain any less real.

And so when his father took them on the road and taught him and Sam how to kill the things that go bump in the night, Dean followed without hesitation. Because that was how he could help, that was how he made it up to his mother for not being able to save her then.

When Dean was 27, his father sold his soul to bring him back from the brink of death. He told Dean to watch over Sam, make sure that whatever he did he saved him from Azazel. That if he couldn’t save Sam…he’d have to kill him.

At the time Dean had been shocked. He couldn’t fathom what his father was saying to him. Before he had time to process everything John Winchester was dead. Not even five minutes after the words were out of his mouth he dropped to the ground and in that moment Dean lost his purpose.

He lost his unrelenting faith in his father. He lost the reason for their mission. Of why he started hunting in the first place and with that came a confusion that overwhelmed him more than he thought was possible.

When Mary Winchester was murdered Dean had thought he’d never feel any pain greater. That was until John went to hell for his first born son. The guilt had eaten him alive every day since it happened. Dean was perfectly still as another tear rolled down his other cheek.

That same year Dean lost his brother. He could still remember holding Sammy in his arms, blood covering his shirt and hands. He watched the light go out of his brother’s eyes and that day…he lost his heart. His little brother…the one person he swore to always protect in this world had died.

When Mary was murdered, he had no control over the situation. He was a child. When John’s soul was taken from his body to save Dean’s life, he wasn’t conscious to stop his father. And eventually he realized that he couldn’t control that situation either.

When Sam was murdered, Dean knew it was his fault. He hadn’t been paying enough attention to the signs. He didn’t figure the vision out soon enough. He didn’t yell louder when he saw the guy coming at Sam from behind. There were a million scenarios he went through at the time.

And so, when he finally pulled himself together; he went to a crossroads demon and sold his soul to bring Sam back to life. They gave him a year to live and Dean was okay with that. As long as Sammy got to live out his life, he’d be okay with dying in a year.

When Dean was 28 years old he died. He lost his life that day. It had been two years, but he could still remember the day vividly. He remembered how the hellhounds tore at his body…ripped his insides out. He remembered being in hell.

Being tortured…and then finally giving in to the darkness and torturing an innocent. In Dean’s eyes, that was the day he lost his humanity. The day he knew he was a disappointment to his father, who broke out of hell to save his sons when the gate opened.

But four months later, when Castiel raised him from hell…brought him back to the land of the living…and explained his mission, yeah he was pissed, but he had a purpose again. He had a reason for moving forward even if it was to stop the apocalypse he inadvertently started.

A chance for redemption. Not for God, because Dean wasn’t completely sure he believed the guy existed, but for his father. To right the wrongs he’d committed. To make his father proud again even if he was no longer alive.

Dean lifted a hand from his pocket and ran it over his face before walking further into the junkyard and leaning against the closet car. He swallowed hard as he finally tore his eyes away from the sky and glanced around the yard.

It’s true, he had lost a lot in his 30 years, but not once had Dean ever regretted the decision’s he’d made. Everything he’d done, had been done with pure intentions. All the choices he’d made up until this point…they were done to protect those he cared about.

But today…today Dean lost something that he’d never get back. Something that he’d never be able to make right. Something he’d regret until the day his body finally gave out on him. Today Dean Winchester lost his future.

The hair on the back of his neck stood on end and he let out a sigh. His voice was hoarse from not using it for hours.

“What do you want Cas?”

Castiel moved out of the shadows and came to stand beside Dean. He frowned at the way Dean was hunched under his jacket.

“Are you not cold out here?”

Dean shrugged.

“A little cold never killed anyone.”

Castiel nodded. Dean was right. Cold weather had not killed any people that he knew of. He stood quietly for a few minutes before broaching a topic that he’d been trying to ask about since they left Carthage.

“What happened, when I was captured by the demon Meg?”

He saw Dean’s body tense. When Dean didn’t answer him he looked at the sky.

“I would just like to know how we lost…the others. I’d like to understand…”

Dean turned his head and glanced at Castiel. He studied the Angel’s demeanor and noted the look of discomfort on his face. The slight etch of pain there and his features softened briefly. Cas, was hurting too Dean realized.

He probably didn’t understand the human emotions he was experiencing, but Dean was pretty sure it was grief. He cleared his throat and looked away from Castiel.

“It was hellhounds. Meg sent them after us and one of them almost got me. Jo…”

Dean’s voice faltered for a second before he continued.

“Jo came after me…and one of them got her. By the time I got her inside…it was already too late…there was so much blood Cas…”

Dean’s voice was choked up with emotion so he stopped speaking. Castiel observed his features and shifted to the side so he could look at Dean’s face again.

“You cared about them a great deal. Ellen and Joanna.”

Dean’s jaw twitched, but he nodded in the affirmative.

“I did.”

Castiel leaned against the car and copied Dean’s stance as he once again looked up at the sky. Dean did the same.

“She must have cared very much for you.”

Dean grunted and Castiel frowned.

“You loved her.”

Dean let out a humorless chuckle.

“I didn’t love Jo.”

Castiel gave Dean a look of certainty and nodded his head.

“No, you did. You loved her.”

Dean turned his head toward Castiel and his glare was harsh.

“What the hell would you know about love? You don’t fucking feel anything. Leave me alone Cas…”

Castiel was confused by the venom in Dean’s voice. He wasn’t sure what he’d done to upset him and that bothered him. He stayed where he was and waited. He knew eventually Dean would speak. When he was ready of course and not a minute before because that’s how Dean Winchester was.

Not five minutes later, Dean didn’t look at Castiel, but his voice broke the silence.

“Sam and I met Jo three years ago. She was so different than…younger…more innocent, but still…there was just somethin’ about her. I thought, hey she’s a hot blonde…I can probably get a piece of that…and I had every intention of doing it too…”

His voice trailed off and the silence returned.

“And yet you did not…why? What changed your mind?”

Castiel could see a ghost of a smile on Dean’s face.

“She looked at me…she looked me right in my eyes and…she saw me. I mean really saw me. She didn’t just think I was good looking…or bad ass hunter…she just saw me…Dean…and that scared the shit out of me.”

He shrugged.

“So I let it go. I’m a hunter…I don’t have time for attachments or complications…so I put Jo in this…box in my head that said she was off limits because even if I didn’t want to admit it at the time…not even to myself. I knew that she could be that person.”

Castiel gave Dean a look of confusion.

“What person?”

“The one you could see a future with…the only problem was I didn’t have anything to offer. I mean really what could I give her? Some good sex whenever I had a chance to get to town in between jobs?”

Dean shook his head.

“I made excuses, but then she started hunting…and I started running out of reasons. I could have taken her on the road with me and Sammy…but I knew it wasn’t time. I always said when things settled down…when Sammy and I weren’t being chased by a million different things…I’d give it a go…”

Dean’s mouth was dry and he was trying hard to keep his stoic demeanor. He refused to get all emotional in front of Cas or anyone else for that matter.

“It’s too late now…I lost my shot…I’ll never have another chance. Jo died without ever knowing how much she meant to me…without knowing what she represented…without knowing what I held so fucking close to my heart cause I couldn’t be bothered with the complications it would bring with it.”

Castiel could hear the disgust in Dean’s voice and he wondered why when Dean knew Jo was dying he didn’t tell her then.

“You say you knew it was too late when you saw Joanna’s wound, why did you not tell her of your feelings then?”

Dean turned his head in Castiel’s direction and a sad smile appeared on his face.

“Because even though Jo and I haven’t seen each other in years I know her. The reason she can read me so well…is cause she’s a lot like me. I held her Cas…I kissed her and I tried to let her know how I felt without saying it…If I told her how I felt in that moment…she’d always wonder if it was genuine.”

“I do not understand.”

“She was dying Cas…right there in front of me. If I had said ‘oh by the way Jo…I love you…I’m pretty sure I always have’ she’d think I was saying because she was dying. She’d think I was just trying to give her that moment before death…and…I…couldn’t let her go wondering if I meant it or if I just said it because she wouldn’t be around anymore.”

Dean tried to fight the tears that welled in his eyes.

“She didn’t deserve that. I shouldn’t have put it off…we could have made each other happy…scratch that…we would have. I know that now.”

He turned his body and Castiel could see the anger radiating off of him.

“And now, the only chance of any future I could have had is gone…because of me. I could see it Cas…hunting with her…laughing…having a family. It was all there and I ignored it because I was terrified of the way she made me feel.”

Dean lifted his arms and motioned around the yard.

“Look around…there’s nothing left…I’ve given everything I can…I’ve lost everything…the apocalypse is here…the Colt can’t kill the devil…Death is on earth…and the one person I purposely ignored to keep safe and out of all this mess is dead! I can’t fucking do this anymore! That’s it Cas…we lost…we’re done. We might as well just throw in the dam towel now…”

Dean was breathing hard and Castiel frowned. Dean could see a look of disapproval cross his face as he shook his head.

“You are being ungrateful.”

Dean’s eyes almost popped out of his head.

“Ungrateful…did you really just say that?”

Castiel stood his ground.

“Ellen and Joanna gave up their lives so you and Sam could stop the apocalypse. They sacrificed themselves to save you, so you could save the world. You would let their sacrifice be in vain because you are angry?”

“It was already in vain! We failed Cas…Lucifer is out there with his horseman of death. The Colt is useless. We have nothing left to hope for…I’m tired of losing things to this life…I just want it to be over.”

Castiel studied Dean as the anger within him deflated. His voice was quiet, but strong.

“Is that what Joanna wanted? Things to end this way…Would she want you to give up because things are hard? Because although I know little about her and her mother. They seem to me like they were fighters until the end. True soldiers of the Lord.”

He watched Dean wince as his hands tightened into fists.

“She would be greatly displeased if she knew you had given up so easily. The Dean Winchester I know, would not give up. He would make sure the people he loved did not die a worthless death. What you do is your own choice.”

Castiel sighed when Dean said nothing.

“This guilt you carry with you…she would not want that either. As you had free will, so did she. Her choices were her own. She left this world feeling great love for you and I believe her to be in a better place. A place that knows all. Joanna was a smart woman…I am sure she knew your feelings for her were true…honor her memory Dean…do not taint it with self loathing. Be the man she thought you were…not the one you believe yourself to be…”

Dean turned abruptly to face Castiel, but he was gone. Dean stared at the empty yard and when he was sure he was alone, he broke down. His body was wracked with sobs as he clutched the old car in Bobby’s yard. He wished he had another chance.

He’d tell her…he wouldn’t make excuses. He’d tell her what she meant to him…but the time for second chances were over. The only thing left now was the upcoming war. The days ahead were dark and Dean wasn’t sure he and Sam would make it through.

He pinched the bridge of his nose and collapsed against the car. Dean took a few deep breaths and let the tears on his face fade as he calmed down. He swallowed the last of his tears and kicked the car once and then twice.

He kicked at the car for a good five minutes and by the time he was done, Dean was breathing heavy while he leaned over the car. Dean had lost a lot of things in his life, but he would not lose this war. Cas was right…Jo and Ellen…they gave their lives for the cause.

He wasn’t about to fuck that up. He collected himself and headed toward Bobby’s back porch. Jo was counting on him to kill the devil…to save the world…and he’d be damned if he let her down again. There would be time to grieve when the devil was dead.

For now…he’d do what he had to do…because that’s who he was. Dean was a soldier. So he made his way inside the house and found Sam and Bobby staring at a photo. He moved over and glanced at it. It was the one they had taken the night before leaving for Carthage.

The three of them looked at each other silently. Sam passed the photo to Dean, who tightened his jaw to fight his emotions from getting the better of him. Dean handed it to Bobby, who tossed it gently into the fire. They stood there and watched it burn.

As the embers caressed the photo, it curled in on itself and Dean stared at himself and Jo. He watched for the second time as his future faded away and in that moment he vowed he wouldn’t let Jo down. He promised her he’d kill that son of a bitch…and he would if it killed him.

He wouldn’t do it for the Angels…he wouldn’t do it for the preservation of the earth and humanity…he wouldn’t do it for his Mom, his Dad, or Sam. He’d do it for her. For Jo…because even though he had never said it…he loved her. And sometimes…when everything else was lost…love was the only thing you had left…

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