Title: Lebanon, Postilla
Pairing: Sam/Dean, first-time
Author’s Note: Not my characters, only my words. Written for the 2019 spn dystopia bigbang .
Postilla is a latin word that means: afterwards, after, hereafter, thereafter, afterward, hereupon. Thank you to wendibird for the thorough and terribly useful beta work on this story. Thank you to kuwlshadow for pinch hitting and coming up with such great art for this story.
Summary: After the Great Deluge, the Postilla, or the Afterward begins. In 2030, Sam finally has the time to write the story of the end of their world and what came next. The Winchesters manage to find some solace in what they’ve long denied themselves. Cas and Jack are presumed gone in the Deluge, but then tales reach the brothers of approaching beings killing with only their voices.
Sam adjusted the LED lantern so it wasn’t blinding him, oh how he missed the soft glow of their Tiffany desk lamps. He so rarely got any time alone to sit down and write these days, that’s why he was taking advantage of the opportunity. Dean would be merciless with the teasing if he saw Sam was even bothering. “Who’s going to ever read it?” he would be sure to ask. But Dean wasn’t here at the moment. His brother was out on a supply run and Sam wanted to get this down on paper before he forgot all the details of what they’d experienced. It wasn’t every day you survived the end of the world.
It wasn’t something that they’d expected. Of course they’d both seen all the climate change disaster movies of the recent years, but it happened so much more quickly than they’d ever imagined possible. It seemed like one moment they had been worrying about Michael escaping the cage in Dean’s mind, and the next—practically their whole world was underwater. Of course it hadn’t gone exactly like that, but everything was so tragic and jumbled up in his mind, Sam just wanted to take the time to sort it out by writing it down.
Living where they did, at least they didn’t have the immediate death and destruction of the coastlines to deal with; all those people and places, just wiped clean by the water. It hadn’t slowly risen like a filling bathtub, it had been a cataclysmic thing when the ice sheets had given way. Mid-summer that year—god it was ten years ago now, back in 2020—the world had gotten a whole lot hotter than predicted, and even up where it was supposed to be the coldest the ancient ice couldn’t hold together. That flood of water came a lot earlier and a whole lot faster than anyone had ever dreamed.
Back then, most of the government scientists’ models had predicted that they had ten years, maybe twenty, before the inevitable rise of the sea would slowly start happening. But instead it was all over so quickly in the real world, scientific models be damned. No more New York City or Washington DC, much less anything down in Florida or in-between. They didn’t really know about the West coast; not much had been heard since the massive earthquakes and resulting tsunamis that had happened the same day. Sam was worried that the super volcano in Yellowstone would be going off next. Dean told him he was just remembering that “2012” movie because of his John Cusack obsession, and real life wasn’t like the movies. (Except for how it totally was!)
To Sam, it felt like they’d practically killed themselves (or literally in his own case) stopping the angels’ multiple attempts to bring about The Apocalypse—pretty much for nothing. The rest of the world hadn’t really known how close they’d come to the end of everything all those times before, and they still didn’t know, most of them were dead anyway. No one who was left could escape the reality of apocalypse—they were living it, and none of them cared who’d caused it. They were all just trying to survive to the next day’s sunrise. Everyone the brothers knew had lost most of their families that lived out of state. It had turned out that the very center of the country had been the right place to be, just so they could have the privilege to be some of the last people alive.
Sam wondered if they’d ever hear from another country, or if any even still remained. There had to be pockets of survivors on all the continents, but there was no way to contact anyone with the internet gone, the satellites still up there but unreachable, and the phone lines inoperable. He wondered if it had been as bad on all the other continents as it had been in their part of North America. He regretted that he and Dean had never made it out to Hawaii or to any of the other tropical islands that were no doubt completely undersea.
“Where was Aquaman when you needed him?” Dean had said when Sam had brought the subject of the long-gone tropical islands up. "Even Jason Momoa himself couldn’t save us now. The dude’s probably dead anyway. Doubt there’s anything even left of Hollyweird.”
All those big cities just *poof* gone; Chicago, and Houston, even Dallas, of course New Orleans was gone. Sam could picture the above-ground cemeteries filling with water; all the caskets floating among all the debris of civilization. No more Mardi Gras parades to avoid or Vodoun priestesses to visit for last ditch solutions to the perennial dead brother conundrum.
Their new northern coastline wasn’t that far away now, it was just over the state-line (that no longer really mattered) in what they formerly knew as Nebraska. Sam kept thinking of how Dean had always chanted “sand between our toes” as their ultimate we-time vacation dream. But now there weren’t any stretches of sand to be found; the new coastline was much too new of a beach. He wondered how long it would take to pulverize the Nebraska hardscrabble into lovely sand beaches. At least the bodies, and then skeletons had eventually stopped washing ashore. It had been disturbing to get anywhere near the new body of water for the first year.
When Sam thought about it, they’d lucked out that Lebanon was up at eighteen-hundred feet above sea level (the old sea level), so that when the Great Lakes had been inundated, that thousand extra feet of elevation had saved them. From the West, he supposed the Rockies had also saved them by blocking the inundation that would have come in from the Pacific. The Appalachians to the East had worked pretty well too as a sea wall. Their Southern shore was a whole lot closer now too, and the Mississippi had pretty much become a vast inland sea, all briny and unsustainable. Luckily there were enough fishing ponds around the Lebanon area that they had all the fish they wanted.
Basically their map of the world had gotten a whole lot smaller. The way Dean talked about it, you’d think it was a good thing. “Just think, Sammy, all those hauntings or werewolves or whatever, just gone. It’s all a lot more manageable.”
Problem was, it didn’t feel much more manageable to Sam. He didn’t think this was how Chuck would have wanted things to go down here, so Sam still took some time everyday to hold on to the small brass pendant and pray. He’d talk to Chuck about their latest challenges and triumphs, he’d rant and rave about the vast losses of humanity, and what the hell was the point of it all. But all he ever got back was a whole lot of silence. It wasn’t like he expected Chuck to come back and wave a magic wand to make it all magically come back to the way it was before the deluge. He just wanted to hear that this was how it was supposed to be, that it wasn’t all a cosmic joke or mistake.
At least he hadn’t been the one that caused this apocalypse, right? He sincerely hoped he hadn’t and held onto that belief for the small comfort it offered. Dean had heard him say that once and his brother had just stared at him for an uncomfortable amount of time. Then he’d said something Sam had never thought he’d hear his brother say out loud. “It wasn’t you, Sammy. It was the angels, they manipulated both of us. And besides, I’m the one who broke the first Seal in Hell, remember? If that hadn’t happened, you breaking the last Seal wouldn’t have been possible, right? It ain’t all on you is what I’m sayin’, okay?”
It had taken him more than a few minutes to know how to respond, to be able to speak with a voice that wasn’t broken with emotion. “Hadn’t ever thought of it like that, thanks, Dean.”
Dean had just pulled him into a long, wordless hug that said more than several hours of talking ever could. That was one thing that had changed for the good, Sam noted as he wrote, they did hug a whole lot more now than they ever had. And he sure as hell wasn’t complaining about it. They kept better track of each other that way, checking in with their bodies, as well as with their words. It was how they kept the terror of loneliness at bay when they weren’t around the other people who’d survived.
Sam hadn’t been thinking about it as much of a possibility, but the way they’d banded together with the two hundred other inhabitants of Lebanon after the cataclysm had been surprising. Probably the Winchesters had been accepted so easily because at first they had unlimited hot water and electricity, even though everywhere else was so spotty. Whatever the Men of Letters had done when they chose the site and built the bunker, it had worked, and kept on working. They tried not to think about the details too much really. At first Dean wasn’t too happy about having to share their showers with the locals, but once the neighbors began bringing gas cans filled with scavenged gasoline or ethanol, then he settled down about it. They’d made some friends even, people that were fun to hang out with, go hunting (the civilian kind) and then barbecue what they’d caught. Sam was glad that Dean got to show off his fire-making and barbecuing skills to people who’d really appreciate them. He was kind of over it after a lifetime of his firebug brother always burning down things “just in case” they were still haunted.
The best thing was the new community; the inhabitants of Lebanon that they saw regularly now in a much more personal way, instead of those short, impersonal interactions at the gas pump or at the checkout line in the grocery store. Sure, they all missed that, something so simple as the ease and convenience of the grocery store. But the absence of it was bringing them all together, having to go out on longer and longer scavenging runs for supplies in teams, as well as figuring out how to grow the right things to keep them all fed as the years afterward marched on.
Sam had just traded some of their dwindling supply of toilet paper to get them two just-saddle-broken horses. One of the teenagers, Cecily was teaching them both how to really ride instead of just half-assing it and hurting themselves or the horses. Dean was pretty much a natural at it, once he stopped grumbling about not getting to drive his baby. The gas supplies were running low, and there weren’t any spare Impala parts to come by, so they saved driving her for special occasions. The horses, who Dean had renamed (of course) Khaleesi and Khal, were beautiful creatures. Khal was a pain in the ass black and cream stallion who thought he was all that, and indeed he was. Dean had his number though. The calico, Khaleesi, was spirited for a mare, probably to keep up with Khal but Sam didn’t mind. She got him where he needed to go, and had just enough stamina to run with Khal side-by-side.
They’d made a lean-to barn sort of arrangement outside the garage entrance to the bunker. Dan from the Home Depot over in Smithville had traded them some extra shower time for his pregnant wife for the metal roofing panels and support wood. It had been easy to build once they got started, both of them falling into the old rhythms. Dean was surprised at how competent Sam was with the tools, and he’d had to remind Dean of his long-ago stint in probably long-gone Kermit, Texas as a handyman. That had resulted in a two-day sulky silence. Even though Dean had said he’d been forgiven about the whole Amelia/Purgatory thing, Sam knew that it would always rankle between them. He hadn’t forgiven himself, and knew he never would. But they weren’t doing that any longer; no more running away, or getting stuck in other planes of existence. They were tied down to the here and now, surviving each day, looking forward to getting through the next one—together.
Sam smiled at himself as he wrote that down, going back to underline the word together. After all their complicated lives behind them, this cataclysm for the world had been an unexpected blessing for the brothers. Once all the distractions of the hunting world, and the internet and all the rest of it, society’s expectations, whatever else was gone, they’d finally let themselves have this: the comfort of each other. It meant everything to Sam, that he’d gotten this at long last. After a lifetime of pining and trying not to hope or to pounce or to blow it all up, it had been easy. He decided to write it down, not that he was in any danger of forgetting how it happened, but just in case someone in the future wanted to know the real story of how the world had been saved.
On Deluge Day, Jack and Cas had been up in Chicago, studying at one of the religious order libraries, looking for more information about Jack and his potential powers once he’d regenerated the rest of his grace after consuming Michael’s. Since Chicago was definitely gone on the first day, Sam and Dean had given up hoping for their return pretty much right away. What was the point in hoping they’d survived something so catastrophic?
The first night after The Deluge had happened, they’d stayed together in Dean’s room in the bunker, side by side on his bed, searching in vain on both of their laptops for a way to get accurate information. At first there had been a few tv broadcasts, and internet news reports, but then one by one, all the outlets had gone dark. They had held each other and tried not to speak aloud the truth, the horror of surviving this, because it was too much. To lose the world, and for what?
Sam had let himself cry after he’d thought Dean had finally fallen asleep, but soon his brother was rubbing a comforting circle into the center of his back, pulling them closer together, whispering nonsense that soothed him back down into a lower level of panic. He’d wiped his face dry on his pillow and then pressed his face into the warm skin of Dean’s neck, breathing in the comfort of the familiar, of his stone number one. His lips moved as he voiced his thanks that they were still alive and together.
Dean’s hand had moved from his back to twisting in his hair, fingers scratching a distracting rhythm into his scalp. “We’re okay, Sammy. I’ve got you, you’ve got me,” Dean had said, over and over, until Sam had let himself believe it. He’d wound himself around Dean, picturing himself as a child holding onto his big brother after a nightmare, and then felt himself harden against Dean’s thigh. Dean had noticed too, and instead of pulling back in disgust, or throwing Sam out of his bed in anger, he’d shifted so that Sam could feel his arousal too.
“It’s not just me, huh?” Sam had said.
“No, it never has been,” Dean had answered, shifting his hips again until they were fully aligned,
Sam could feel how they pulsed together in time with their heartbeats. He pressed his hips against Dean, grinding a little harder, even though their jeans were in the way, it felt amazing, no even better, it felt—inevitable. Sam’s hands found their way to the back of Dean’s head and pulled it down, his lips moving hot and demanding against Dean’s. They kissed their way back to life that night, pulling each other out of the hopeless pit of despair that survivors of an apocalypse rightly found themselves stuck inside. There was no way out of this but to go through, and they were doing it together, the two of them against the world just like always. And if that meant Sam got this too, what he’d always wanted, well, that was a hell of a tradeoff that he probably wouldn’t have consciously chosen, but he was damn thankful that it had happened.
They’d managed to get their jeans and the rest of their clothes off, slipping and sliding against each other in a heated, heedless rut of desire. Sam had let himself get lost in the rhythm, gave himself over to it, the endless dance they’d been doing finally coming to its inevitable spectacular finish.
There hadn’t been any words for a long time, just two men holding onto each other in an embrace that meant that they were still there, in the world, alive, and together. Finally together just as they’d always secretly wanted and not-so secretly needed.
“Remember the pearl, the one that was supposed to give you your heart’s desire?” Sam had asked, finally breaking the silence.
“Yeah, what about it,” Dean grumbled, no doubt pissed that he was reminding him of what they’d lost that day. Even in comparison to losing almost the whole world, it still was one of the most intense days they’d survived.
“You ever wonder why it didn’t give you this,” Sam motioned at the two of them wrapped up together, gloriously naked and sticky.
“No, never,” Dean said with a quick decisiveness that surprised both of them.
“Never, really?” Sam asked.
“I think the pearl thing knew that I already had it—my heart’s desire. I had my family. Just like I told Dad that night. He said he’d pictured me out of the hunting game, all settled down with a wife and kids, but I already had what I wanted. Even back then. My heart’s desire was to…well I guess I just wanted the chance to tell him that.”
Sam couldn’t speak with how much what was left unsaid by his brother meant to him. He’d known…well, he’d hoped that if (and when) they finally took this final step together, expressed their love physically, whatever you wanted to term it. Well, he’d thought that it would be the main thing for Dean, because he’d always been like that; carnal, physically and demonstrably affectionate. But this meant the opposite was true, it was good that he could still be surprised like that.
“Huh—“ Sam said, unable to come up with anything more coherent.
“Really, that’s all you got?” Dean asked, on the verge of rolling his eyes.
“I’m just surprised is all. I always thought it’d be the opposite thing for you. That if we ever got here,” Sam gestured at them still wrapped together, sticky, and so very satisfied, “I just figured that was the part you were missing most, that you’d be wishing for.”
Dean rolled away from him, and sat up on the edge of their bed. Wait, was it their bed yet? He watched as Dean’s shoulders slumped and Sam felt his stomach clench with dread.
“I didn’t mean that, how it came out, I’m sorry. I just meant, all these years of seeing you chase after women wherever we went, I thought it meant that you needed that, more than you needed or wanted me,” Sam said, feeling like the whiniest little baby admitting it out loud.
Dean leaned forward and put his head in his hands. His back was tense, his shoulders nearly up to his ears. Sam took a chance and rolled over, curving his body around his brother, hoping that he’d get the message that way.
“I thought you were supposedly the smart one,” Dean finally said, leaning back just the tiniest bit into Sam’s body.
“Not about everything, obviously,” Sam admitted.
Dean turned a bit, leaning back more into Sam’s legs. His eyes searched Sam’s face for a long moment that stretched out into a silent conversation. Sam could see the uncertainty and fear fighting with the love and tenderness. It was fascinating and so fucking beautiful. He wanted to live in this moment between them forever. Whatever time was left here on earth, he ached with how much he just wanted to hold onto this feeling.
“Just say it,” Sam finally said, breaking the silence, unnerved that maybe he’d misunderstood their silent conversation. It seemed all-important to get it right at the start of things for them.
Dean grimaced and visibly struggled to pull the words out of himself. “I only did all that because I thought I couldn’t have you—like this. All of those women, and a few men to be honest, they were only placeholders for what I wanted and couldn’t have, which was you—you dumbass.”
Sam stopped himself from saying something dumb like: really? or even worse: you mean it? and went with a smile instead. Dean returned it, slow and warm, it made Sam’s toes curl up from the sheer happiness that wound through him.
“Let’s forget all that then, it’s all in the past, only you and me, from here on out,” Sam said, grabbing for Dean’s closest hand.
Dean clasped his other hand on top and squeezed tightly. “Only you, Sammy, only you.”
Sam set his pen down after writing this scene, satisfied with capturing how the momentous change between them had gone. He didn’t know or care who might read these words, but he hoped they’d understand what the love of two people had meant at the end of all things. He left the journal out on the library table in plain sight, hoping that Dean might read it.
A few weeks later Sam picked up the journal to add more details about the trading/barter system they’d worked out in the local community and was surprised to see several pages in Dean’s writing following his own.
He read them over, heart in his throat, then tears running down his cheeks. Dean’s point of view of that night, and all that had changed between them was…indescribable. He knew his brother was a deeply emotional person, but he always kept it all to himself, even now, he still did. And here it all was on the page, written down and somehow even more permanent, even more important.
Sam had to do something to thank his brother for the unexpected gift of his words, written down on the page like they were incised in stone on Moses’ tablets. He dug out one of the last bottles of whisky from where he’d hidden it for just such an occasion and poured two measures out in their best crystal. He found Dean in their room, lying on the bed reading one of the Vonnegut paperbacks that was barely holding itself together.
Sam sat on the bed, his hip pressing into Dean’s and handed him a whisky.
“What are we celebrating?” Dean asked, grasping the crystal tumbler with a confused adorable smile.
“Thanks for what you wrote in my journal,” Sam said, raising a glass of whisky in Dean’s direction.
Dean turned several shades of red, as he slowly sipped his whisky. “Well…uh—It’s the truth.”
“I know and I’m just grateful that you shared it with me, really, Dean, it means everything.”
“Sap,” Dean said with the sappiest grin Sam had seen in a while. He loved it when his brother’s eyes twinkled like that when he was trying to tease.
“Yes, and proud of it actually,” Sam said, smiling as he finished his whisky. He took the empty glass out of Dean’s hand and set both of them down on the bedside table. Sam stood up and drew his shirts off over his head, his eyes meeting Dean’s, pleased to see how instantly interested and on-board with where this thank you was heading.
To Part 2