Sam woke up in Dean’s bed, warm and cozy in his pajamas, hungry and thirsty, but strangely content. Like they’d spent all night talking and saying all the things they never said out loud to each other. That’s when he remembered the message, the one that had knocked his whole world upside down.
“They’re alive, Dean. C’mon, you gotta wake up, they’re coming.” He gently shook Dean’s arm that was around his waist.
“Who is?” Dean asked in a sleepy mumble against his back.
Sam sat up and ran his hands through his hair. “Jack and Cas, they’re alive, but they’re both…something else.”
“What does that even mean, something else? You’re not making any sense, dude. Is it your head or whatever? You were knocked out, blood comin’ out of your ears last night.”
Sam rubbed at his ears and remembered getting the message and how hard it had hit him. “I got a message from Cas, that they’re coming. Both of them, he and Jack are coming here. And he’s not just an angel anymore, she said to call him Cas-Plus. I summoned one last night.”
“Jack and Cas are what now? Wait, she—hold on, you summoned who now?” Dean asked, sitting up now and looking like an adorably alarmed hedgehog with his hair spiking in all directions.
“I summoned an angel, and the one who came, she told me what happened in Chicago back on Deluge Day.”
“That’s what those reports we’ve been hearing meant? The people going blind or dying. Or getting bleeding ears and hearing singing. It’s them, isn’t it? What do we do?” Dean asked.
“We get ready,” Sam said, turning over and trying to get out of bed. He was stopped by the arms wrapping around his waist and pulling him back down.
“I’m hoping that you’ve got a way to talk to them without getting knocked out every single time,” Dean said, not letting go.
Sam turned in the circle of Dean’s arms and looked at him closely. Dean was worried, still freaked out over probably having to find him knocked out last night. “I’m okay, Dean. I promise. And yeah, I do have a way, that was part of the message. Remember the glasses and the holy oil thing to see the hellhounds? We’ve basically got to do that but also with noise-canceling headphones.”
“I can’t believe they’re really…alive or whatever they are,” Dean said in a daze.
Sam cupped the side of Dean’s face, and let him see the whole truth. He didn’t hold back the unbridled hope and joy; or the worry and fear. Dean’s eyes searched and found it, and he believed.
After breakfast, as they were preparing the eyeglasses and headphones, pouring the holy oil, lighting it on fire and saying the words, Dean finally asked. Sam had been wondering if he’d get away with not talking about all this.
“This is because of your dreams. I didn’t listen, so you had to ask an angel. But how, Sam, the angel summoning spell hasn’t worked in years? Not since Heaven closed for business,” Dean asked.
“Me…it was, uh…me, my powers. I let them out, and it worked,” Sam said, glad to have the truth out there, but still dreading Dean’s reaction.
“Where’d you get the demon blood then?” Dean asked.
“No! That’s not what I mean, this was just me. Kind of like it was mostly just me before.”
“You—how though? I don’t get it,” Dean asked.
“I’ve always had abilities I guess you’d call them, ever since I was a little kid. But I never let myself use them, especially not after the whole demon blood thing. Even before that though, I never really tried, because we hunted things like me.”
“We did not, we hunted people who used powers or whatever like that for hurting others,” Dean corrected.
“Well, we both know that dad hated psychics, and you never let up about how you hated witches. And I didn’t want to be anything like either of those things, so I…just didn’t let myself.”
Dean took in a huge breath and held it for a very long time. He let it all out in a loud whoosh and asked, “But you did last night?”
“Yeah, the dreams really got to me, and when I woke up yesterday, it felt a lot more urgent, like I had to do something. So…I did,” Sam confessed.
“I’m glad you did,” Dean said.
“You are?” Sam asked as a flood of relief crashed into him as he realized Dean wasn’t going to hold this against him.
“Yeah, otherwise we wouldn’t have known to prepare. Besides, I think you’ve got respect for the whole powers thing. I trust you to do the right thing with it, Sammy.”
“I do have respect, definitely. And this is the right thing to do, I know it is. Thanks for trusting me,” Sam said.
Dean set down the glasses he’d drenched in holy oil. He took the headphones out of Sam’s hand and laid them on the table. He gathered Sam into his arms, pulling him down so that Sam had to tuck his head down against Dean’s neck. Sam knew this move, it was because Dean didn’t have to be up on tiptoes to hold him.
“I’m sorry you thought I didn’t trust you. Because I do, even with this stuff, we’ve both been through enough to know exactly what we have to do. We gotta stick together, you and me, no matter what comes, right?”
“You and me, just like we always do,” Sam agreed, speaking the words into Dean’s skin, hoping they’d sink into him and stay there forever.
The last rumors they had heard came from the furthest northern outposts. The stories mostly revolved around a pair of strange figures walking down the new Eastern shores of the Mississippi. If anyone got too close or looked at them directly, they went blind or died. Sometimes it was said that they could hear something like singing, but the sound of it made people’s ears bleed. The figures weren’t exactly human looking, so it sounded like a campfire tale of exaggeration.
Sam and Dean set out on their horses east towards the Mississippi, they didn’t know how long it would take until they found Jack and Cas, but they both felt an increasing urgency about getting it done. As they traveled, Sam’s dreams got louder and more intense, he barely got any sleep, and woke Dean up in their two-man tent several times a night.
One of the things Sam heard from Cas-plus in his dreams was that they would definitely survive contact and communication with him if they used the en-spelled glasses and headphones. But they could no longer speak to Jack directly, only through Cas-plus and they mustn’t try to touch Jack. It was hard at first to imagine, and Sam felt his heart clench at the sight of Dean’s crestfallen face. He’d tried his best to explain to Dean how Jack and Cas were no longer the beings they’d known, but Dean hadn’t talked to the angel himself, and he wasn’t seeing and hearing it all happening in his dreams every night. Dean had still held onto the hope that things would be back to normal, so he was disappointed.
They resolved that morning over breakfast, that they had no choice, but to try and make it work. It would be hard to not touch Jack or talk to him, but they wanted to survive. They hadn’t left their campsite yet, Dean was still getting the horses packed up properly, when Sam felt it. It wasn’t a loud message that knocked him out this time, it was much more manageable, like Cas-plus had figured out how to turn himself down or something. All he knew was that they were close, they were coming. His heart raced with excitement and fear.
“Dean! They’re coming, we need the stuff, now!”
Dean quickly dug through the saddlebags and tossed him a pair of treated headphones and glasses. They donned both things and stood shoulder to shoulder looking towards the eastern horizon. The earth was shaking and the air was vibrating with some sort of song that the earphones were mostly blocking out. Dean reached out and grabbed Sam’s hand in his. Sam squeezed Dean’s hand gently and planted his feet a little firmer on the ground beneath him. He opened himself up to his powers, knowing that they were what would help them get through whatever came next.
They saw Cas first—well no—the angel had been right, it wasn’t Cas at all, but Cas-Plus, he was in his true angel form, all seventy-seven stories tall, just like the Chrysler building. It was hard to take him in all at once, almost a thousand feet tall, the angel grace blazing out in a glorious corona around him. It took Sam’s breath away to think that their friend, the angel they’d known all these years had always been this, but he’d never seen it with his own eyes, and he still really wasn’t, protected as his eyes were.
Sam took a moment to steady himself, holding on tightly to Dean’s hand he sent their friend a message—mind to mind.
“Cas, it is so damn good to see you, where’s Jack?”
“Jack is here, but he can’t—no he won’t show himself to you.”
“Why not? Dean and I want to see him, if it’s safe, I know he wouldn’t want to hurt us.”
Cas-Plus’ head turned away from them, and Sam received another message.
“He will try, but it won’t be for long.”
“Cas, please tell him, whatever he can do to make it so we can see him, even for a moment, we’ll be so damn happy.”
The enormous head of Cas-Plus nodded in agreement. Sam quickly passed on to Dean what he had been saying to Cas.
And then Jack was there, standing beside Cas-Plus, towering over him, not quite twice his size but pretty damn close. Sam dropped Dean’s hand and pressed his own hands across his mouth, holding in whatever was trying to come out. He was beside himself with how good it felt to see the man they had raised as their defacto son. He wished with everything he had that they could envelop Jack in a Winchester hug, but they couldn’t touch him. They couldn’t go near either of their friends now, it was hard enough just to be around them even with wearing the specially treated eyeglasses and headphones.
The rumble and purr of Jack’s voice as he spoke to Cas-Plus went through Sam, seeming to vibrate every single separate cell in his body. But Jack still smiled that goofy smile, and that was all Sam needed. His boy was still alive. Dean grabbed his hand again and squeezed it tight, acknowledging that he was thinking the same thing. Sam couldn’t peel his eyes away from the sight of Jack and Cas-Plus walking and talking and he was so damn glad to have Dean by his side through whatever happened next.
“Sam, Jack says he is the one you read about in the ancient texts. He can stop the two titans
but it is beyond his powers to undo the cataclysm.”
“That’s amazing, I knew it, I knew you were right about him, Cas. He’s going to save the world, he’s going to make it better.”
A sudden wave of something, fizzing and joyful came over them, tickling their skin, making them both laugh out loud with sudden happiness. Jack had heard what Sam had said and was very happy. Sam passed on what Cas-Plus had said to Dean.
“Good, that’s really good, Jack, we believe in you!” Dean shouted, grinning from ear to ear.
Sam sent the message to Cas-Plus and they waited as the two enormous figures seemed to communicate.
“His plan is to battle the titans on the edge of the new sea. He wants you to see him win. We will take you there.”
Before Sam could pass the message on to Dean or even think about what that meant, they were swooped up onto their horses and then were flying through the air towards the new sea. Sam looked over to see Dean’s worried face turn into delight at going at a speed the Impala used to top out at on her best days. It had been a while since he’d felt the wind in his hair like this and Sam whooped with the sheer joy of it. He heard Dean’s answering whoop and smiled over at his brother as they rode their surprised horses through the whistling winds towards wherever Jack was taking them.
The horses were let down onto the top of what used to be a sports stadium, the water lapped against it in uneven waves like they hadn’t quite gotten used to hitting the new shores. Sam worried about how they’d get down, presuming that they would survive watching this battle. Dean pointed out the sturdy concrete stairs leading eventually to an elevated walkway that led the rest of the way down to the ground. They turned to watch in silence as Jack’s plan unfolded before them.
Just as Jack had predicted, his presence lured the two titans to the new northern shores of the sea. The water was pushed in large waves before the titans and it lapped higher up the sides of the stadium. The horses whinnied and shied, until the brothers settled them down.
Sam and Dean had come to bear witness and see Jack do battle, but they didn’t want to see anything bad happen to him. Neither of them knew what to expect or even feel or hope for in that moment. They were rooting for Jack with everything they had, for him to succeed, to take the titans away, to make the world safe again. They could barely see the shape of Cas-Plus far away, his figure low on the horizon. Then he began to run towards them in enormous steps, waving his arms in alarm.
They could see the two titans approach where Jack stood, striding along the submerged American plains, their faces set for ruin and victory. They stopped a few hundred feet away, towering over the much smaller figure of Jack—their boy standing alone. Sam felt his heart stutter with fear for Jack, but then it skipped back into beat with the pride of seeing him fight for their world. The titans were so huge, they seemed to be blotting out the sky like two moving death stars compared to Jack and Cas-Plus’ skyscrapers.
Jack just stood right where he had decided to have the battle. Right there below them at the edge of the new sea, his feet were planted a shoulder’s width apart in the fighting stance Dean had taught him so long ago. He glared up into the titan’s faces, set his shoulders with intention just as Sam had taught him so long ago. And then in an enormous rush of movement and power, he grew to ten times the titan’s size. Before the titans could react he opened his now inconceivably large mouth and consumed them both, just like he did Michael’s grace and The Empty.
When he was done, Jack pretended to burp and smiled down at Sam and Dean with his planet- altering sized smile and then reached his arms overhead. They could barely see his fingertips, they were so far up above them where they stood near the ocean’s shore. But they could see it as Jack opened a glowing rip in the sky above them all. It was just like the one they’d seen back when Jack was born, just like the ones the brothers, their mother, Michael and all the others had used to travel between the worlds.
Jack couldn’t seem to move his body on his own, his face showed the strain of trying, his feet seem to be tied to the earth where he stood. Maybe it was the weight of the two titans he’d just eaten, or maybe they were inside of him fighting their way out, neither of the brothers could really tell. Cas-Plus suddenly rushed past their field of view, tearing through the water at an enormous speed, he crashed into Jack. The force of their collision pushed them both through the rip in the sky. The tear in the sky zipped itself closed behind the two of them. Just like that, blink and you missed it, Cas-plus and Jack were gone. They took the titans and The Empty along with them, passing through into another universe and were presumably gone forever.
The brothers dismounted from their horses, and slowly took off their holy-oil treated glasses and headphones, the sound and color of the world resetting itself back to a more normal level. They stood there together at the water’s edge for a long time in silence, arms around each other, looking out sightlessly into a world without their friends. But a world that had been saved from further ruin.
“So, that’s it then?” Dean finally asked.
“Yeah, that’s it,” Sam answered.
The sacrifice of these beings, Jack and Cas that they’d both loved for so long, their last friends from the Before, was the last straw. Sam and Dean began their final retreat from the world. They didn’t ever make a permanent return to the bunker, this wasn’t decided in any big discussion or debate, but it just organically happened. Instead they wandered the remaining land riding Khal & Khaleesi. They scavenged food and visited the remaining human settlements they came across. Sam told the tale nightly of how the world was saved wherever there were people to listen, reading from his well-used journal. People took the time to painstakingly copy the book, writing page by page, leaving nothing out of the final chapter of what had by then come to be called the Winchester Gospels.
Now in what they’re pretty sure is the year 2040, (there has been an ongoing argument that was at first mildly amusing and then became annoying, enough said about it), now they are pleasantly surprised to find themselves sixty-one and fifty-seven years old, both gone grey, their faces and hands thoroughly wrinkled with their days in the sun, as well as their nights in the cold under the stars. But still they travel the roads, together.
There were a few blank pages remaining in his journal, and Sam was filling them with a final passage as he sat by their fire, Dean asleep and warm at his hip. Lemuria, Ys, Atlantis, it was all true, all of those ancient cities and civilizations were once vibrant and alive and then wiped off the face of the earth by the sea. And now it had been their modern world’s turn, they were just lucky enough to be among the survivors. Most days it didn’t feel like anything close to luck, but the world’s worst curse. But it wasn’t, not really. Not when the sun still rose and set on the only person alive who still mattered to Sam, his partner in love and survival.