Banner By: FranicaTitle: In The Midnight Hour
Pairing: Dean-Centric Implied Dean/Jo
Word Count: 3785
Prompt: “Dean get’s three choices for a future…” written for Calie15’s Birthday (spoilers through season 6)
Dean grunted as he nudged his arm against the motel room door, shoving it open slightly so he could move inside and out of the frigid air. It had been a long night and as he banged his boots against the door, knocking the snow from them, he briefly wondered what Sam was up to.
The last time he’d seen robot Sam, an endearing nickname he’d come up with for the soulless version of his brother, was four days ago at Bobby’s. They had agreed that it would be a good idea for Dean to take a few days to process what they’d found out about Sam, while taking on a job not far from Bobby’s place.
Dean shifted further into the room tossing his duffle bag onto the bed before plopping down beside it. His arms were propped on his knees, head in his hands as he leaned forward pulling in a long breath. It had been a long few days, between the Strega he’d been tracking that had decided to branch out not just going after children anymore, but adults too, and the rapid amount of thoughts flying through his head, he was exhausted.
Hunting had never been difficult for Dean. It had always been second nature to him, but after a year of suppressing that side of himself, attempting to build a civilian life with Lisa and Ben…well he was a little rusty.
This hunt had helped though, he was slightly beat up and a little worse for the wear, but nothing that wouldn’t heal come the next few days. He sat up and leaned back on the bed, not bothering to change as he pulled his arms behind his head. Dean stared at the ceiling for a few minutes before closing his eyes and letting his body relax against the comforter.
He could hear the wind howling outside around him, the sound of trees blowing back and forth as the snow powered on, leaving the ground covered in a heavy blanket of white. Dean’s breathing had just evened out when something scraped against the wall causing his body to shoot up, hand delving to the back of his pants before he had his pistol pointed in front of him.
As his eyes adjusted to the low glow from the outdoor light that pooled through his window illuminating the room just slightly, he frowned not seeing anything out of the ordinary. He kept his gun out as he shifted, moving off the bed slowly as he turned on the bedside lamp, the sight in front of him startling him slightly.
He kept his gun trained in front of him as his brows furrowed and he took in the man standing across from him. He was wearing brown robes with a rope tied around it, long white hair and beard standing out in contrast to the dark clothes he wore. He stood there a crooked smile on his face as he held a scythe in his left hand.
Confusion took over Dean’s face as he realized he recognized the old man standing in front of him. “I know you…you’re the guy from earlier…the one the Stregas were attacking…” His face hardened, “How the hell did you get in here?”
The old man held up his hands, the smile on his face replaced with a knowing look, “You don’t know who I am…do you?”
Dean arched an eyebrow his voice laced with sarcasm, “Should I?” The old man didn’t answer; he just smiled and shook his head. He went to take a step forward and Dean cocked his gun making the old man pause. Amusement gleamed in his eyes as he addressed Dean.
“Are you always this unfriendly?”
Dean made a face, “Do you always show up in people’s motel rooms uninvited?”
He tilted his head to the side a knowing smile appearing on his lips, “Fair enough…my name is Kronos…tonight you, Dean Winchester, risked your life to save mine and in doing so, you have preserved time.”
Dean gaped at the older man before briefly glancing at the clock, noting it was midnight before he ran a hand over his face at the jumbled words coming from the bearded man in front of him. He preserved time? What the hell does that even mean? Dean didn’t bother to hide his confusion as he lifted his arms in question.
“Listen grandpa…it’s late…I’m tired and I’ve had a long few days. I’m not even gonna pretend I know what the hell you’re talkin’ about.”
Kronos chuckled and shook his head as he motioned to the bed, “May I?” Dean shrugged but walked towards the other side of the room, gun still at the ready as he nodded. “Knock yourself out…you gonna answer my question? How the hell did you get in here and what do you want?”
The old man pursed his lips studying Dean closely taking note of his hunched shoulders and the tired look in his eyes. Dean Winchester had spent the majority of his life fighting a battle the Gods had long ago put into play and now that it was finally over, he was lost…trying to find his place and Kronos was resolved to helping him, no matter the consequences.
The man before him was brave, loyal, compassionate, a martyr and had an unyielding faith in those who he trusted completely. And after all he had lost…all that had been taken from him, this Christmas Eve Kronos was going to show Dean that there was still hope for the dreams he’d thought were long gone.
“Do you know what today is son?”
Dean frowned, thrown off by the older man’s question. “I don’t know…Thursday maybe…you broke into my motel room to ask me what day it is? I find that hard to believe…”
Kronos ignored his comment as he grasped his scythe between both hands leaning forward slightly. “It’s Christmas Eve…has life been so unkind to you, that you do not even stop to celebrate one of the most sacred holidays?”
Dean snorted at his words and shook his head as he leaned against the dresser finally lowering his gun. He was pretty sure if some old dude was going to kill him, he would have done it already. “You’re barking up the wrong tree…so it’s Christmas Eve…that doesn’t mean much to me except that maybe I’ll actually be able to get a full five hours of sleep tonight…that is if you ever leave.”
Kronos frowned and shook his head, voice soft but steady as he spoke. “So damaged…you believe you are broken beyond repair…but I know you are not. I did not fully introduce myself before. My name is Kronos or as some might know me, Old Father Time. I am the keeper of the past, present and future…tonight you saved my life from that witch…and in turn saved the destruction of all that was, is and will be.”
Dean chuckled lightly, “Looks like someone’s been throwin’ back the hooch…how drunk are you? Really…'cause I need to get you outta here…”
The old man sighed, “I am not drunk. I’m here to give you a gift…I have seen your life Dean Winchester…and though it is frowned upon to show a mortal their future I think you might benefit from it.” Kronos stood slowly and Dean tensed slightly, his grip tightening on his pistol as a small light formed in the man’s hands.
Dean swallowed hard as the iridescent ball glowed in mid-air above Kronos’ hands. It was no bigger than a large baseball and the colors that swirled in it before it became an ethereal white were mesmerizing. Dean opened his mouth, but nothing came out. Instead Kronos spoke, voice echoing around him as he was drawn to the light.
“A lifetime of missed opportunities…Three different futures…and one choice…Only you can choose your fate…time is relative and everything I show you is at this moment still a possibility…when you touch the light you will experience each future separately, though you will not be seen. Do you understand?”
Dean frowned, his eyes never leaving the light as he moved closer to it. He couldn’t look away it was as if it was pulling him…calling to him and he shook his head, “No…I have no clue--” but before he could finish his sentence the orb brightened and stretched enveloping him into a dazzling light as he disappeared from the room in a flash of light.
Kronos smiled at the empty space before him, voice low as the wind whistled around him, “Travel safe young Winchester…”
Dean blinked confusion settling over his features as his eyes adjusted and he glanced around the room with a frown. How had he gotten to Bobby’s? He took a step forward eyes drifting to the small colorful bulbs that were streamed up across the windows in the living room, flashing lights illuminating the room with different colors.
He took another step forward when he felt a rush of icy cold wind as something quite literally walked through him. Dean opened his mouth and what he saw made his blood run cold. He could see himself in jeans, t-shirt, and a flannel kneeling beside a wheel chair that he’d just pushed into the room.
But seeing himself wasn’t what had caused his eyes to widen…it was the person sitting in the wheel chair that had sent Dean into a semi-catatonic state. It was Sam. He sat, head lolling to the side as the older looking version of himself attempted to get Sam to eat.
Dean watched the interaction closely and he felt him stomach sink as the other version of himself stood and swore before letting out a frustrated sigh. Bobby entered the room from the kitchen wiping his hands on a towel, Castiel following closely behind him.
“I know you’re frustrated son--”
“You know I’m frustrated?” Dean watched himself whirl around, rage on his face as he glanced between Bobby and Castiel while pointing towards his brother. “My brother is a fucking vegetable…look at him. He’s 27 years old and he can’t even fucking feed himself. You’re telling me you know how I feel?”
Castiel took step forward, eyes sympathetic, but face hard. “I warned you Dean…I told you what the consequences would be and you didn’t care. You wanted to get your brother’s soul back at any cost…you wanted him to be whole again…and now he is. This was your choice and no one else’s. We understand you are angry…but do not take your anger out on the people who care about you.”
Dean reeled back, banging into the desk, but no one heard him. He watched as Bobby and Castiel fought with a different version of the person he was all while Sam stared at the glowing lights in front of him, as if he couldn’t hear the commotion going on around him.
Dean shook his head, “No…this can’t be happening…” As soon as the words were out of his mouth a white ball of light appeared in front of him extending until it enveloped him. Dean raised his arm shielding his eyes from the light as warmth filled him drowning out the sounds of yelling as he disappeared once again into the night.
Dean gasped for air as the light around him faded, his eyes once again trying to adjust to his surroundings. His brows furrowed as he pushed away from what looked like a dresser with a frown as he mumbled to himself. “Great…where the hell am I now?”
The sound of a ringing phone drew his attention towards the corner of the room and he squinted trying to make out the figured slouched in the corner chair, eyes fixed on the window. When a gruff voice answered, Dean’s eyes once again widened.
He took a few hesitant steps forward and came face to face with himself yet again. Something was different though…his face looked older, but lacked the anger that he’d witnessed from before. He sat down on the motel room bed, attention focused on the conversation going on in front of him.
“Hey Bobby…Merry Christmas to you too…” Dean watched as the other version on himself frowned, before his eyes turned back towards the falling snow as he spoke with a hint of resignation in his voice.
“I don’t think that’s a good idea…look I get it okay, I do…but we both know I can’t. With Sammy gone…it’s just too much. Tell Jo and Cas Merry Christmas for me…Okay. Talk to you soon.”
He shut the phone and sighed, his shoulders slouching further when there was a fluttering of wings behind him. Both Dean’s turned and he watched as a smirk appeared on his own lips, but there was no humor in it.
“How’d I know it was gonna be you? Bobby send you?”
Castiel shook his head. “Joanna.”
Dean nodded, “She’s always worrying…tell her I’m fine.”
A frown appeared on the Angel’s face. “Are you?” Dean watched as the other version of himself turned from the window and studied Castiel for a moment before speaking.
“He should be here…and it’s my fault he’s not, so no Cas…I’m not okay. And before you say anything and tell me how it’s not my fault, I’m the one who pushed him…called him a monster because he didn’t have his soul. He jumped down there for me…”
Castiel shook his head, “Sam knew the risks. He did it because he wanted to be whole again…we all knew there was a chance he’d get trapped down there again. It’s no one’s fault…I’m still looking for a way to release him and I promise you I will not stop…until then sitting here drinking, “ he motioned to the alcohol on the table, “it is not doing you any good.”
Dean watched as Castiel attempted to coax the older version of himself into agreeing. “Come back to Bobby’s with me…spend Christmas with what is left of your family…your absence is felt.” Dean couldn’t take his eyes off of the people in front of him.
He was so confused…what had the old man said about futures? There was no way this was his future. He’d never let Sam jump back in the pit, even if it was to save his soul…and Jo was dead…it had been close to two years since she saved his life.
Dean’s attention was brought back to Castiel when he heard the Angel say something about Old Father Time, but before he could hear anything more, the bright sphere appeared in the room.
Dean sucked in a breath and stood trying to get as far away from it as possible, but it was no use. The light expanded, enveloping him once again as it flashed, disappearing and taking his body with it.
Dean opened his eyes slowly; almost afraid of what he was going to see, blinking several times as he stared at the white of the ceiling. He frowned and shifted, soft cushions moving beneath him as he pushed himself into a sitting position. He was seriously getting tired of this bullshit.
Bright lights, changing scenery, his brother’s death…this was one trip down the rabbit hole that Dean wanted to get the hell out of. He glanced around and recognized the bedroom right away. He was at Bobby’s again…
He shook his head as he got up off the bed and headed towards the open door. At least he was consistent. Motel rooms and Bobby’s house had apparently become a theme in the madness that was tonight. Dean was moving down the hallway when he heard a soft feminine chuckle coming from downstairs.
He arched an eyebrow, hand on the railing as he walked down the stairs. He froze halfway down the, sight in front of his causing his chest to tighten painfully. His jaw clenched as he watched the scene unfold before him.
Jo tossed some tinsel onto the tree letting out another bubble of laughter as Dean wrapped his arms around her from behind, pulling her against his body. She shook her head, eyes bright as she tilted her head to the side and glanced at him, amusement on her face. “I’m a little busy here princess…why don’t you go make yourself useful and get me something to eat.”
Dean head fell to her neck with a smirk as he placed a soft kiss there, “Mm how about I take you upstairs…cause I think you’ve got something I want to eat.”
She spun around in Jo’s arms eyebrows raised as she wrapped her arms around his neck. “Is that so…” He nodded as he cupped her cheek, lips capturing hers in a drawn out kiss. There was a noise by the kitchen and Dean glanced away from the other version of himself and Jo to see what it was.
Sam walked into the room and paused, “Seriously…do you two do anything else? No wonder Jo’s knocked up…with the way you two--”
Sam glanced at Dean who chuckled and shook his head. “We’ve talked about this man…” Sam rolled his eyes as he made his way to the couch and glanced up at the tree. “Right...the censoring of thoughts. Really Dean it’s just us…I don’t know what the big Deal is. Jo doesn’t mind…do you Jo?”
She chuckled, “As long as you’re not sitting there blaming your lack of tact on the fact that you don’t have a soul, I’m good. Personally I like this edgier uncut version of Sam.” She winked and he grinned as he eyed her none to subtly.
Dean gaped between them, “Are you kidding me?” He smacked the back of Sam’s head before putting a possessive arm around Jo and pulling her into his side. “Back off Sammy…that’s the Mother of my unborn child you’re leering at.”
Sam held up his hands as Castiel walked in with a platter of drinks that Bobby had given him. “I come baring…refreshments. Joanna yours is the one in the green cup. Do not drink any others, they are filled with alcohol and we do not wish Dean’s child to have any more problems…”
Bobby entered the room and clapped Castiel on the back as they all chuckled while Dean frowned. Bobby lit a fire as Jo tossed a few more decorations on the tree before they all sat on the couches, talking and laughing.
Dean sat on the steps, tears brimming in his eyes as he watched himself celebrate Christmas, a real Christmas with his family…there were many nights after Jo’s death that Dean had wondered what if…he’d always pushed it aside though, afraid to let himself go down path.
And here it was…the answer to so many nights of wondering. He could honestly say there had only been a few times he ever saw himself look that happy. He watched as the other version of himself lay a protective hand over Jo’s slightly protruding stomach while he continued talking, Jo’s body leaning into his…like they must have done a million times in the world.
Out of the corner of his eye Dean caught the glimmer of a light and when he turned he saw the sphere glowing in the corner and he stood quickly, shouting as the light grew, “I’m not ready! Stop…I’m not ready to leave yet…”
But it just kept growing, coming towards him and he turned and ran. His boots pounded against the stairs as he ran for one of the bedrooms and just as he opened the door he felt himself being sucked. The white light enveloped him, pulling him back, the sounds of laughter and his screams reverberating around the room as the light flashed evaporating with him in it.
Kronos stared down at Dean Winchester, thrashing against the sheets of the motel room bed. The light slowly faded and his eyes flew open. He pushed himself off the bed, glancing around wildly, and breathing heavy. He caught sight of the old man and his jaw clenched as he advanced on him.
Dean grabbed the front of his robe and slammed him against the dresser, voice hard. “What the hell was that? What did you do to me?”
Kronos wasn’t fazed though; he had expected Dean’s anger. His voice held a soothing tone as he spoke. “I explained it to you before you left…you saved my life tonight…and so I gave you the gift of foresight. You are at a crossroads Dean, and the next few decisions you make will alter the course of your life.”
Dean frowned, but released the man from his grip and took a step back, still slightly unsteady after everything he’d seen. “Foresight?”
Kronos nodded, “The future…I can see three possible futures for you…and your choices in the coming weeks, the decisions you make will take you down one of these paths. You just need to figure out which one you want…and let your heart lead you down that path.”
Dean swallowed hard as he tried to see if the old man was lying. Hell he’d seen a lot of shit in his days…why not Old Father Time being real? Fairies were real…Greek Gods and Goddesses…demons, monsters…why not some old man who held the power of time in his hands?
He eyed Kronos wearily, body filled with tension, voice quiet, “You know…I would have believed you…but you made one mistake. You told me all of these futures are still a possibility…but Jo Harvelle died close to two years ago buddy…trust me. I was there…”
His voice trailed off as he licked his lip, the memory filling his head as he winced. Kronos smiled at the young man in front of him and tilted his head. “Did she? Death is a funny thing Dean Winchester…in some cases it’s less permanent than others…”
Dean’s eyes widened at the implication of the man’s words and he opened his mouth, but before he could say anything Kronos lifted his scythe, banged it against the floor and disappeared in a flash of light, a grin still lighting up his face.
He glanced out the motel room window, snow falling heavily as Christmas lights flashed outside. His eyes strayed to the clock and he was startled to see that it was still midnight. Dean stumbled back slightly landing on the bed a frown marring his features. Was it possible? Could Jo still be alive? He let his body fall against the bed as he tried to make sense of everything that had just happened.
He wasn’t sure if the old man spoke the truth…but one thing Dean was sure of. He knew the future he wanted and he wouldn’t stop until he made that future a reality.