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That Story [7/11]

That Story, or Ten Reasons Why Priestly Doesn't Like Chicago

1. The Little Old Lady | 2. The Weather | 3. The Computer Genius | 4. The Bars | 5. The Crazed Psycho | 6. The Women | 7. The Tripper | 8. The Lost Boy | 9. The Skateboard | 10. The Little Old Lady (Again) | 11. Epilogue
“How do you know Jake?”

Andy frowned and shrugged his shoulders. “I didn’t until about two hours ago. I met him at the gas station, and he said I could park my van here for a couple of days.”

“Andy is on a road trip.” Delia supplied, taking a sip out of her bright red cup filled with Southern Comfort.

A road trip? The kid looked like he was all of fourteen. “Uh, no offense, but shouldn’t you be in school?” Boaz asked, and thanked Delia as she handed him a drink. He sniffed it, Johnny Walker.

“Probably,” Andy said and took a swig of his own beverage, a can of Budweiser. “Hey, are you the Lit major?”

Boaz was pretty sure he misheard Andy just then, and while he was trying to figure out what the kid actually said Delia answered,

“No, that’s Tom. He’s over there.” And then she proceeded to point him out.

“Cool,” Andy said, and then slapped Boaz on the shoulder. “It was nice to meet you, but if you’ll excuse me, I have a philosophical debate that requires some input.” He made it all of two feet away before he pivoted and returned. “Oh, and hey, have one on me.” He smiled, handing over two joints and giving them a small salute.

Boaz looked at his hand, and then at Delia, who had raised an eyebrow in scrutiny. “Got a light?” She asked, wiggling the joint between her fingers.

“Don’t smoke,” Boaz replied automatically, and then his brain tried to immediately conjure up something to say to explain his remark to Delia.

“Me neither,” She agreed, pausing to drink. “Jake and Buzzer do, maybe they’ve got one.”

“Hey!” Boaz called out to the men who were currently in the kitchen leaning against the bench and fridge.

As though he had said their names, they both looked over in question, and when Boaz held up his spliff, they both reached into their pockets. Buzzer got there first, and tossed his zippo over and Boaz caught it in his cup. Jake nodded to the coffee table, and Delia reached down and picked up the ashtray, placing it in the middle of the three-seater couch on which she also sat.

In what he would later look back on as peer pressure, Boaz joined her on the couch, lighting up and taking a long drag before passing her the lighter.


At some point after the joint was long gone, replaced by a bowl from Jake, Boaz was on his fifth or sixth or eleventh beer and retelling his experiences in Chicago to Andy; particularly how people seemed to keep mistaking him for someone else.

"You know what you should do?" He gestured to Boaz with his can of cheap beer. "If you don't want them looking at your face, you should give them something else to look at." He then flexed his fingers as though he'd finished a magic trick, ta-da!

Either the liquor was starting to get to him - or the marijuana (or both) - or Andy was just not making any sense, because Boaz was left trying to figure out the meaning long after Andy had ambled over to talk to Buzzer.


Delia swayed across the room to them, her movements entrancing both them and even herself.

" 'Cor, she's pretty." Jake slurred.

"Yeah, in a... pretty sort of way." Boaz agreed, ever the wordsmith.

"She's got a fing fer ya, yer know."

Before Boaz could ask, or even think of anything to say, Jake had stumbled to his feet saying he was going to get another drink. The wink that he sent Boaz when he left made him wonder what exactly Jake was planning to do to said drink.

He didn't get time to ponder it, as Delia had already crossed the room and sat down on the armchair. Her balance being what it was, she overcompensated and fell over until she was leaning against Boaz, her head on his shoulder. "Hey Bo."

"Hey Delia."

She looked a little different upside down. Her mouth was where her eyes were supposed to be and her eyes blinked upwards. Boaz cocked his head to the side to see if it was as interesting from a different angle.

"You know something Bo?" The words looked peculiar as they came out of her mouth, and he couldn't help but stare.

"What?" He asked, tilting his head down so he wouldn't miss it when she replied.

Her mouth opened a slight fraction, inhaling the air she'd need to speak. "___ ______ _____ _____ _____," She had said, and everything that happened after that was a big gaping hole in Boaz' memory.


The next morning he was woken in his Uncle’s apartment by the endless waves of pain that were coming from his neck. They were so potent that, when his body started sending the sensation to his brain and his brain had finally woken to what it was registering, his shoulders and head spasmed so hard he fell off the couch and onto the floor. Which didn't help the situation with his neck at all.

This all happened so suddenly to Boaz that he didn't have time to make sense of what was really going on - and thus, swear about it - so all he could do was stumble to his feet in a daze and run for the bathroom to wash some water on the bruised burning that was his neck.

He stumbled into the shower, still clothed, and turned on what he hoped was the cold water. The fates tossed a quick smile his way, for even though he had turned on the hot by mistake, there wasn't any left. Mildly lukewarm water sprayed down onto his head and shoulders, quickly turning to a chilly cold by the time the first droplet had passed down the leg of his pants.

This was both good and bad. Good, for his neck was enjoying an oh-so beautiful respite, and bad because he couldn't stay like this forever because he had to go to work at some point. Also, his clothes were now wet.

As he turned off the shower and gingerly stripped off his shirt, he tried to think of what exactly could have happened last night that would result in the pain he was currently feeling. Try as he might, the last thing he remembered was the party at Jake's, and Delia walking over to talk to him. And now, as he concentrated on it, he couldn't even recall what they'd said, if anything at all.

It didn't matter terribly because, when he dropped the sopping shirt to the ground with a squelchy splat, he happened to catch his face in the mirror looking up. One small glance and his eyes shot back in a panicked double take.

Black ink creeped along his neck, curling over itself and splintering out like thorns. Red rimmed the outside of the design, indicating that the skin hadn't fully healed. A tattoo. At some point last night he had gone and gotten a tattoo. He didn't know much about the side-effects of drugs, but he was sure he'd remember getting a fucking tattoo.

After two minutes of tentative prodding, he finally turned away from the mirror and finished getting changed.

He had just finished gingerly pulling his shirt over his head when his alarm went off, reminding him to get up and ready. Boaz started at the blaring clock, trying to will it to stop with the power of his mind so he wouldn’t have to go to work. When it didn’t work he slapped it on his way past to the kitchen where he toasted up half a loaf of bread and contemplated what he would say to Delia when he saw her considering he couldn’t remember anything that had transpired. Part of him wished that nothing had happened, and part of him wished that something did. Mostly, he just wished he could remember.

He finished off his breakfast and slipped on his shoes, trudging out of the apartment and into a day that was far too bright for his hungover self. Well, partially hungover – the adrenalin rush brought on by the tattoo went a long way to waking up his senses, and he suspected he’d be regretting that with one hell of a headache later on.

He picked up his skateboard from where he left it, pausing to consider the fact that no one had stolen it yet, and even on the mornings when he thought he’d forgotten it at work the day before, it was still there in the exact same spot waiting for him to ride. Boaz liked his skateboard that way, it was predictable, reliable. It wouldn’t get stoned and wake up with a tattoo.

Yeah, his skateboard was awesome. Too bad he wasn’t a skateboard.

When he rolled up to work, Boaz made his way out the back to where the others would surely be assembled, and felt a guilty sense of relief when he saw Tom.

“What happened?” Boaz asked quietly, nodding to the shiner on Tom’s face.

“No idea,” Tom answered in much the same tone, and pulled up his sleeve to reveal a matching bruise on his left shoulder, and then another on just below his right ribcage. “I think Buzzer does, though, but he won’t say.”

Buzzer must have heard his name because he appeared at that moment, bright and chipper as ever. “It was spectacular.” He said, smiling proudly at Tom. “Those frat boys will never forget it.”

Tom threw Boaz a look, partly pleading and partly pained from how loud Buzzer was. Boaz caught the hint and asked, “Forget what?”

Buzzer snickered. “You had to be there.”

“I was there and you won’t tell me.” Tom whined, just as Jake appeared;

“Hey Tom, I hear ye ‘ad an excitin’ night.” He clapped Tom on the back, who winced at the noise... or the slap. Or both.

Boaz was sure that the older people weren’t supposed to bounce back after a night like they had so well, especially in comparison to both Tom and himself, who were much younger. Jake looked like he had woken well-rested after an early night of knitting and assembling miniature ships inside bottles. Boaz took it as an affront to the laws of nature.

“I sure did, Jake!” Tom exclaimed a little too loudly. “How did you know?”

“Oh y’know, I ‘ear fings.”

Tom levelled his best glare on Buzzer. “You told Jake but you won’t tell me? ‘Had to be there’ my ass!”

Tom was getting angry, which was something Boaz had never seen from the well-spoken, considerate young man. Before he could vent his frustration on Buzzer though, Jake held up a hand;

“’Old on there, Tom. I’m sure yer having some troubles with yer mind not workin’ right, but that’s nufin’ compared te what Bo’s gonna go through when he sees Delia next. Not after wha’ ‘appened last night, anways.”

Boaz blood ran cold. “What did I do?”

“Ya don’ remember?”

Boaz gestured to Tom. “Neither of us do! What the hell was in those joints?!”

Jake took in Boaz’s new feature with a smile and said, “Personally I fink it’s got more t’ do wif the copi’us amounts of alcohol you were drinkin’ than the pot.”

“You shift started ten minutes ago! If you’re not going to work, then go home!”

They turned, as one, to the end of the warehouse where the door to the shopfront was. Phil stood there with his arms crossed and his ever-present cigar sticking out of his unimpressed mouth.

“Yes, boss!” Buzzer called, and scurried off to work.

Jake had disappeared as well, so Tom and Boaz made their way over to retrieve their order sheets from Phil.

Phil handed them a stack of delivery receipts. “Tom, Delia needs help out fr...” He trailed off, taking in Tom’s shiner.

“Bo, go help....” He paused again, eyeing Boaz’s tattoo.

He looked from one to the other and then glanced down at his papers.

“One of you go help her, the other can start the rounds.” He then turned around and walked back into his office.

Tom turned to Boaz and said immediately. “I’ll take the rounds.”

“Oh yeah, thanks man.”

“Look, I know you probably don’t want to...” Tom looked at the door to the displays, and Boaz interpreted that to mean walk into the fires of Hell “But I really need to know what happened last night. Really.”

Boaz took in Tom’s marred features and sighed. “Sure.”

“Thanks, man.” Tom smiled and turned around. “BUZZER, DELIVERIES!”

Boaz flinched from the noise, before squaring his shoulders and making his way through to the shopfront, saying nothing as Delia instructed him to help carry out a set of bedside tables to the customer’s car.

When he returned, he was all hands in pockets and nervous energy as he shuffled over to Delia’s counter.


She handed him a bottle of water.

He took it. “Thanks?”

“I don’t remember much of last night.” She said, matter-of-factly. “But what I do recall suggests that you’re going to need a lot of water.”

Boaz looked down at the bottle in his hand. “Thanks.” He frowned. “Again.”

Delia nodded and focused on her paperwork.

“Look, I uhh...” She didn’t look up, but he could see that she had stopped writing. “I don’t remember last night either. And there is something I have to ask.”

She looked at him, one eyebrow raised in inquiry.

“Do you know how I got this?” He gestured to his neck.

She stared at the tattoo for the longest time, before dragging her eyes back to his. “No.”

She then resumed filling out the sale details before handing Priestly a delivery slip for the tables’ matching bed frame. She held onto the paper when he gripped it, forcing him to look into her eyes. “You really don’t remember?” She asked softly.

“I really don’t.”

She released the form and turned away, effectively ending a conversation that they would never have again.

[ cont>> ]

SPN/SGA Excerpt

Here are two snippets from the upcoming stories I had planned:


Stages of Grief #2 – Dean in Atlantis:


When Dean entered General Landry's office, he was a little surprised to see Jack O'Neill sitting behind Hank's desk. Even though it had once belonged to him, Dean couldn't recall an occasion in which he'd actually seen the man working. You know, proper general stuff. And it seemed a little suspicious that he would start now that he'd retired from said position.


"Winchester, glad you could make it." He was wearing a shirt, jeans and that leather jacket all the air force men seemed to have. Dean suspected they were given out when they enlisted, along with a pair of aviation sunglasses. The casual dress code made Dean unsure whether or not he should be calling him General.


Adopting his usual fail-safe with such circumstances, Dean avoided it altogether.


"As opposed to...?"


Jack paused. "Well, I imagine this conversation wouldn't be as interesting if I was having it with myself."


"Should I be worried?"


"Nah," Jack waved a hand. "Sit down, Dean."




When they were both seated, Jack drummed his fingers along the desk. When he caught Dean looking at him he stopped, clasping his hands together. Unfortunately it only served to have Jack tapping his hands on the desk like a child playing nutcracker with the furniture.


"You want me to come back?" Dean offered.


"No, no, I just... thought we should talk." Now his palms were lying flat on the desk, almost daring to start drumming up a beat. Dean couldn't believe it. Jack really was just a big kid.


"Anything in particular, or are we just shooting the breeze?"


Jack's mouth blew up with air before he let it out like a balloon. "I dunno... your file, maybe?"


Dean nodded. He suspected he knew where this was going. "Specifically the part that lists my rank, by any chance?"


"Yeah. Yeah, that."


Dean leaned back in his chair, the epitome of relaxed. "Shoot."


He couldn't think of an easy way to say it, so Jack just blurted it out. "You're a Major."




Jack grasped for the words. "But... How?"


"Well, back in '02 I was promoted from Captain-"


Jack rolled his eyes. "Shut up Winchester. I mean why aren't you a Colonel?"


Dean bit his lip. "Because that's not up to me?"


Jack threw him a look, and Dean straightened up. He figured he owed Jack the truth.


"It started off as a joke when Bert, Paul, Bill and I were running cavalry on that mission to PX-299..." When Jack nodded that he was with him so far, Dean continued. "After that the guys swapped my badge over and it kinda took on a life of its own. No one asked, and I didn't facilitate it in any way so..." He shrugged the rest.


"You do realise how much trouble you can get into by doing this?"


Dean opened his arms. "Do you have any evidence that gives you the impression I'm pretending to be a Colonel?"


Jack stopped. His BDU's only listed his last name, and now that he was thinking about it, he couldn't recall Dean ever referring to himself as a Colonel. Other people had, but Jack couldn't fault him for that. He could reprimand him for not correcting them, but that was a weak case. In fact, now that he was thinking about it, he remembered the last ceremony in which he had seen Winchester in his dress uniform. It clearly displayed his rank as a Major; something which a few of the men had made jokes about slumming and dry cleaning. Jack was kicking himself for not realising the reason behind the conveniently placed tears in his uniform, and had to wonder how long he’d gotten away with rankless clothes by pretending he’d just returned from a mission.


Dean pulled out his name badge from his pocket and tossed it across the desk. It had faded through time and use, but the words "COL. SANDERS" could still be read clearly.


Jack started tapping it against his palm as he trailed off in thought. Something wasn't right. How was it possible something that could easily be proven wrong have such a strong belief cementing it into fact? Jack had believed it. And if it wasn't for the matter at hand, he never would have looked at Winchester's file and gone on thinking he was a colonel.


Speaking off matters at hand, if the IOA - or even anyone outside the room - found out that Dean Winchester was not a colonel... Well, he didn't want to think about it. Which, in the eyes of Jack O'Neill, made the answer very simple.


"Congratulations on your promotion, Colonel Winchester."


Dean blinked. "I'm sorry, I must have fallen asleep there for a moment."


"Look, when Colonel Sumner died you were accepted as the ranking officer on the Atlantis expedition.” Dean nodded. "But since that thing with Weir-"


"-That wasn’t her fault!"


"I'm not saying it is, I'm just saying that the IOA have... changed their minds about having her in charge - and she was their civilian choice - they're willing to concede trialling a military leader."


Dean's expression darkened at the mention of the IOA's decision. "So what, they're just throwing her out?"


"No, no they said she could stay. She just can't..."


"Have a position of power?" Dean finished.


"Exactly." Jack noticed Dean's glowering and hurried on to distract him. "Anyway, the point is that they're willing to let you take the top job over there, because they think you're a Colonel. Problem is, the second they open your file and see that you aren't, and realise that you've been lying about it all this time-"


"-I haven't-"


"-Doesn't matter, they're gonna turf you, Weir, and probably instate someone completely new. And I’ll get a long and boring lecture."


Dean thought on this. "So, your solution is to promote me?"


"No one could have predicted what happened to Sheppard and Weir, and anyone else would probably banish them to some barren planet or what have you, but you - you're a good guy, Dean. You'll do the right thing."


Dean was proud of the compliment. Out loud he mimicked, " 'What have you'?"


Jack ignored him. "Are we on the same page here?"


"You want to pretend I've always been a Colonel because it would make a lot of things easier." His head filled in why this was happening and he added. "Though I gotta be honest with you Jack; as far as I'm concerned, Elizabeth is still in charge in Atlantis. And unless she does something drastic, I'm inclined to let it stay that way."


Jack held up a hand. "I did not hear that. In fact, I haven't heard any of the conversation that has taken place in this office."


"Then why am I here?"


"You were called in so I could inform you of your official appointment as Atlantis' new commanding officer."


Dean raised an eyebrow. "And that took ten minutes?"


"Well, you are kinda slow. I had to repeat myself, and use graphs."


"How would you graph that?"


Jack shrugged. "Carter would figure out a way."

[Excerpt #2]

SPN/SGA/SG-1 Excerpt

Stages of Grief #3 – AlternaDean runs into Actual Dean:

“It’s good to see you again, Sammy.”


Sam tore his eyes from his screen for the briefest of seconds to acknowledge his brother. “Just set it down on the bed, I’ll grab it in a minute.”


In his inattention he missed the smile fade from Dean’s face. “Sam?”


“Yeah Dean?”


The smile was gone now. “I guess that means you’re not surprised to see me.”


The comment drew Sam’s focus away from his laptop. True, it was his brother that stood before him, but there was something different, something missing. It took him a moment to realise what it was: sadness. Dean no longer had the tortured look that had clouded his eyes since his return from Hell. He was weary, but it was the kind associated with a soldier that had seen and done too much. The old Dean.


Wait a minute, soldier... Sam regarded him anew and cursed his obliviety. He was dressed in military uniform, all the way to his shoes. And while it was black this time instead of green, and the patches on his arms were different, there was still an unmistakeable resemblance to the last time Sam had seen him. “Dean.”


Not knowing him well enough to understand Sam’s thought process, Dean’s brow furrowed slightly. “Yeah. Don’t tell me you’d forgotten about me already,” He joked.


Kind of hard to when you’re out getting dinner. Sam snuck a glance at the door. “What are you doing here?”


Dean raised an eyebrow an ignored the question in favour of his own. “Hey Dean, how are you? It’s been a while – Really Sam? Now that you mention it...”


Sam waved him off. “Okay, I’m sorry. It’s just... well, you know.”


“Yeah.” He did. He hadn’t really expected to run into Sam after their last encounter, either. Especially considering they’d destroyed the mirror.


“How did you get here?”


As open-minded as his brother-from-another-reality was, Dean doubted he could say “In a spaceship!” without explaining a few things first. So he laughed it away, “That’s kinda why I’m here actually. I, ahh... need your help.”


Sams’ eyes flicked back to the door again before he made his decision. “Listen, there’s something I have to tell you.”


When he wasn’t really forthcoming in with what that something was, Dean followed Sam’s gaze to the door, and then swept the room. His mouth formed a small ‘O’. “Oh. Is she hot?”


“Who?” It took him a minute to realise the implications of waiting for someone in a motel like the one he was in. Thing was, that conclusion was so far from the truth that he spluttered, “Oh, no – God no!”


Dean blinked. “Just so we’re clear, I was giving you the benefit of the doubt and assumed it was a woman.”


“What? No, it’s complicated.” How the hell was he going to explain this? ‘You’re not dead!’ – It was a Monty Python skit waiting to happen.


Dean however, was hearing an entirely different conversation. “Oh God, is it a man?”




Dean raised his hands. “Not that I’m judging. It’s your life-”


“Dean, just shut up a minute and let me explain.” Sam interrupted, trying to gather his thoughts.


“You don’t have to explain anything, Sam.”


“It’s you, you idiot!”


Dean froze. His mouth opened and closed a few times before it scrunched up in confusion. “...What?!


Sam held up his hands as if to calm him. “Look, I can explain everything, just put down the gun down.”


Dean didn’t remember drawing his weapon. A quick glance at his side-holster confirmed it. He was about to ask Sam how much he’d smoked before he had shown up when he noticed that Sam wasn’t even looking at him. When he heard the click of a safety disengaging behind him, he knew why. Slowly he raised his hands and turned around.


Holding a gun to his head was someone he never expected to see. And for good reason. “Hey, no offense – but aren’t you supposed to be dead?” Maybe this isn’t the reality I thought it was. Awkwarrrrd.


His doppelganger ignored him. “Sam?”


Sam started edging closer, as though to protect Dean from... well, Dean. “Dean, don’t shoot him.”


“Why not?”


“He’s you.”


He kept the gun trained on his double. “No, see of all the people in this room that would enter the Me Pageant, I think I’d win.”


“Tell that to Dolly Parton,” Dean muttered, eliciting a glare from himself. Though it was the wrong time to say it, Dean did silently admit that he could be pretty damn intimidating, and now fully understood why McKay avoided him like the plague.


He watched as the other Dean – this reality’s Dean – The Not-Quite-Dead Dean stepped back so he had both Sam and himself in his line of sight, his eyes narrowing in suspicion as the barrel shifted to point at Sam.


“How do I know you’re Sam?”


Sam rolled his eyes. “You’re an ass.”


“Oh, we both know that’s nowhere near good enough. I’m friggin’ awesome.”


“Not that I want the gun pointed at me again, but can I second that statement?”


While the two Dean’s sized each other up, Sam used the distraction to slip retrieve the silver knife hidden under one of his research books. “Dean.” Both looked up, but he was focused on the one holding the gun.


“Not really helping your case there, Sam.” He nodded to the weapon.


Instead of answering, Sam very slowly raised his arm and drew the blade across his skin. Biting down a gasp of pain, he locked eyes with his brother and raised an eyebrow.


Dean got the message and eased his grip on his colt. The other Dean spoke up,


“Uh Sam, what the hell are you doing?”


“Shapeshifters and Revenants are susceptible to silver,” Sam explained.


“Oh.” He frowned. “That actually explains a lot.”


“Sam, remember that explanation you were gonna give?” Dean pointed the gun in his double’s direction as though Sam had forgotten.


Sam sent him a look and Dean got the message, putting his gun away. Sam could tell he was still agitated though, so he took a breath. “When you died...”


“You cloned me.” Dean stared at his twin in realisation.




“You went all Sixth Day on my ass.”


Sam looked to the other Dean for help, but he seemed quite content in just watching. Sam should’ve known better. “Dude, you do realise how crazy that sounds, right?”


“Then what?”


“He’s from another reality.”


At Sam’s apparent recognition and explanation, Colonel Winchester internally sighed that he had been right the first time. He was in the right reality.


“Another reality?” Dean echoed.




Dean held up a hand, “Clone.” And then the other, “Alternate Reality.” He weighed them for a second before turning to Sam. “Who’s crazy?”


“Given our line of work?” Sam pointed out.


“Fine.” Dean dropped his hands and turned back to appraise... well, himself. “So, you’re sure?”


“Pretty damn,” Sam affirmed.


“And you met how?” Dean asked.


“One of Dad’s curse boxes had a mirror that accesses alternate realities.”


Dean sighed. “Okay, this is a little Twilight Zone for me, but okay.” He turned to his double. “So, what are you doing here, you gorgeous sonuvabitch?”


“That’s a good question,” he replied, and damn if it wasn’t weird hearing his own voice. “But I got something I wanna throw out there before we get down to it.” He pointed to his very much alive self and said, “How am I not dead?”

Stages of Grief [18/18]

The Road So Far:
Stage I - Denial and/or Isolation (aka Avoiding the Problem by Escaping to Another Reality)
Stage I/A - Leaving the Second Reality for a Third
Stage I/B - Realising You Can't Run Far Enough
Stage II - Anger (aka Shooting the First Thing in Sight)
Stage II/A - When You Can't Hold It In Any Longer
Stage II/B - Taking a Breath
Stage III - Bargaining (aka Tit for Tat)
Stage III/A - Assessing Your Position
Stage III/B - Bringing a New Player to the Table
Stage III/C - Bluffing
Stage IV - Depression (aka Being Left Alone With Your Thoughts)
Stage IV/A - Crash
Stage IV/B - Rock Bottom
Stage IV/C - A Swirl of Confusion
Stage V - Acceptance (aka It Is What It Is)
Stage V/A - Reacting/Resolve
Stage V/B - The Last Goodbye
Stage V/C - Moving On


"Colonel, are you sure you want to do this? I understand that you may be experiencing a rough time recently, with the situation involving your brother."


Dean rolled his eyes. “That was over a year ago.”


“Really?” Jack raised his eyebrows. “It doesn’t seem that long ago.”


Dean shook his head. Despite the star on his uniform, General Jack O’Neill was still the same at heart.


“In all seriousness though,” Jack kicked his legs under the chair to slide it closer to the desk. He leaned his elbows on the surface and fixed Dean with a concerned look. “This is pretty much a one-way trip. You sure you want to do this?”


“Ket to kick ass in a whole new galaxy?” He made a face. “Nah, I can’t see the appeal in that at all. Unless there’s a promotion involved.”


Jack smiled. “We promote you and I don’t think they’ll let you leave Earth.”


Dean frowned, and opened his mouth to speak. Jack beat him to it,


“Well, that’s settled. I imagine Colonel Sumner will be pleased to hear you’re on board.”


“Marshall requested me?” A four-month stint on a deserted planet sprang to mind. “The lengths that man will go to get a case of beer...”


Jack leaned back on his chair and threw his arms behind his head. “Personally I’d stow it in with the supplies, you never know whether you’ll get the chance to have another.”


“I’ll keep that in mind.”


“Well...” Jack stretched and stood. Dean did likewise. “I think that about covers it. You want to pass on the message to your team for me?”


“Are you foisting off your duties on me?”


Jack waggled a finger. “I’m a General, it’s called delegating.”


 “You used to be cool.”


“I still am.” Jack asserted. “Now, mush. Some of us have work to do.”


Jack sat back down in a way that left Dean with no reservations as to which one of them it was.





When he left the meeting, he found Major Stanson waiting in the corridor. They fell into step as he turned the corner.


“So, are you taking the mission?”




“Hmm. Well, I’ll be sure to send along a fruit basket. It won’t be the same without you here.”


“You’re coming with.”


“What? No I’m not.”


“Yeah you are.”


“With all due respect, I can’t. I’m allergic to other galaxies, and, uhh... you.”


Dean stopped and looked at him.




Dean raised an eyebrow.


“Sanders,” Stanson muttered just loud enough for Dean to hear before he resumed walking.


Winchester let out a bark of laughter and followed. “You’d be lost without me, bitch.”


When Stanson replied Dean forgot for a second that he joking with his best friend, and instead imagined that Sam was there, smiling in a fleeting moment of sibling camaraderie. The thought gave him pause for a moment, but it soon passed as he smiled at Stanson's rejoinder. He wasn't Sam, but he was family all the same. In that instant Dean could catalogue all Paul and Sams' similarities and differences and just be happy that in the end, he was able to call them both brother.






Random facts that you might be interested to know:

AlternaSam and Jess weren't actually married at the time of his death. But she loved him, and wanted to make sure there was something a little more than "Loving fiancé" on his gravestone. Unfortunately her and Mary+John's combined efforts couldn't come up with something more imaginative like, "She saved the world... A lot."

The SGC offered the shapeshifter a position, and Dean had a talk with him over the use of his face (I have written).

After some needless run-around, Jack managed to find the SGC in the SPN ‘verse, hence the road spikes and the fact he and Teal’c beat Sam to the mirror (also written). He did this under the proviso that he would explain everything after the crisis, which he did... only to his SGC. SPN’s SGC has no idea that Sam has a Quantum Mirror.

The liver transplant did affect Dean (other than the rapid healing), though the symptoms took a while to emerge.

Someone pointed out that Dean was too young to be a Colonel, which is technically true. There is an explanation for this, which an excerpt of the sequel mentioned below;

I’m considering a ‘verse for AlternaDean in the Pegasus Galaxy. Though Sam isn’t in it, it will have Sheppard, Stanson, and a slight deviation on events due to Dean’s presence.

I’m also considering a sequel for this, in which AlternaDean reappears after Dean has been brought back from Hell. Snippets from both this and the aforementioned story, are posted in the next chapter. They won’t be uploaded until they’re complete though (to ensure regular uploads), and finally;

This story was intended to explore on the stages of grief (hence the title), through both Sam and Dean’s different reactions to loss. It was my intention from the start to have Sam finally come to terms with Dean’s death, in order to resolve to do something about it. In my mind Sam’s story now slips back into canon, with him meeting up with Ruby in time for the beginning of season 4, which is why there’s no epilogue for him (we know what he did). Remember, all this took place in the span of a week.

And thank you for reading. Not everyone, just you.

[Coming Soon(er or Later)]

Stages of Grief [17/18]

Stage V/B - The Last Goodbye

“You know, you could stay if you wanted.”

“So could you.”

“No thanks. I can’t even figure out why you do it.”

“Someone’s got to.”

“Then it sucks to be you.”

“What about you, why do you serve?”

“They let me blow stuff up.”

Sam rolled his eyes.

“I think they’re done filching all the alien tech from your curse boxes...” Dean still had trouble taking it seriously, despite all he’d experienced in the last week.

“Alien tech?”

“Sorry, did I say alien tech? I meant classified tech.”

Sam that piece of knowledge away for later. “I’ll meet you up there. There’s one stop I have to make.”

Dean seemed to know where he was going. “Without an escort? They won’t let you in.”

“I think you just want to follow me around.”

Dean smirked as they turned the corner. “La, lah lah lah laaaa...”

“Please stop.”

“Close to you...”

“I’ll pay you.”

“I just wanted to say thanks, for what you did.” Sams’ hands were in his pockets, because he didn’t quite know what to do with them.

The shifter was leaning through the bars on his arms. “No problem.” He glanced at the door. “He outside?”
“Yeah. How did you know?”

He shrugged.

Sam looked around the cell. “So, what’s going to happen to you?”

“They’re deciding what to do with me.”

“I could get you sent back to our world, if you want.” It really was the least he could do.

The shifter shook his head. “Nah, I think I like it here better.”

“Okay.” That was all Sam had to say, so he turned to the door.


He looked over at the shifter, who was suddenly serious. “Our ‘verse, I don’t know if it’s the same here, but... You shouldn’t forget about your brother. You shouldn’t start thinking he’s here when he’s not. It’d be kinda... disrespectful or something. I dunno.” He shrugged it off and returned to his cot.

Sam had no illusions of calling the Dean Winchester of this universe his brother – though he could very well be, given the chance – because he didn’t want to supersede the memory of the brother he had, as the shifter suggested. What he had forgotten was where his brother currently was. And he felt like a terrible person because of it.

“Thanks.” Sam said.

“You already said that.”

“Not for that,” Sam replied, and left.

“So...” Jack started, swinging his arms together in an effort to deflect any manner of awkward conversation.

“O’Neill, were you not going to offer a suggestion to Sam Winchester?” Teal’c prompted.

“Right, thanks T.” He turned back to the younger Winchester. “So, if this – well, not this obviously – but if you encounter any stuff that seems a little...”

“Otherworldly?” Daniel supplied.

Jack clicked his fingers. “Yep, but literally.” He paused, rethinking the sentence. “Otherplanetary... Look, if you come across slugs or guys who want to enslave mankind with flashing eyes-“

At this point Sam was thinking of demons, but wisely remained silent. Dean caught the look on his face though, and managed to come to the same conclusion. He covered his face behind his hand.

“And seemingly indestructible powers... what?”

“Nothing, sir,” Carter replied, casting an innocent glance towards the ceiling. “Go on.”

“Right... where was I?”

“I believe you were speaking needlessly, O’Neill.”

Jack raised a finger as though his next words were going to contradict that statement. “No. No, I was telling Sam that if he ran into anything weird, our kind of weird, he should contact the SGC in this reality.”

Sam smiled. “I’ll be sure and do that.”

“Good, good.” Jack turned to Carter. “Is our number still the same...?”

“I’m sure I can figure it out.” Sam answered.

“Good. Well, it was, uh, definitely an experience meeting you.” He held out his hand which Sam shook.

When they parted, Carter did likewise and Teal’c clasped his hand in that manly warrior way he did that Jack felt made him look hardcore. They then turned to the remaining member of the group.

“Right, so we’ll be...” Jack pointed to the mirror.

Letting Carter and Teal’c take the lead, Jack clapped Dean’s shoulder on his way past. The gesture indicating that he’d let Dean have a few moments to say goodbye personally. Out loud he said, “You’re filing the report on this one, Winchester.”

Not really in a position to say no, Dean merely rolled his eyes. “One lecture.”

Jack looked ready to argue, but then paused to consider the options. In the end he nodded and crossed through the mirror.

With Jack gone, that awkward silence finally descended. Neither brother looked each other in the face; a vain effort to prolong the inevitable.

Dean was the one that broke it in the end. “If there is one good thing about sudden deaths, it avoids chick-flick moments.”

Sam laughed. After the past few days they knew the truth in that all too well. “Dean, I-“

Dean held up a hand to stop him. He had a strange look on his face. “I’m sorry, Sam.”

The dull pulse in his leg reminded him as to why. “Hey, don’t worry about it. Hazard of the job.”

“No, I’m sorry we don’t get along in my ‘verse.” He said. “I wish to hell I could fix it, but...” His eyes flickered down, unable to look at his brother any longer.

It was at this point that Sam realised that this was what he was apologising for back when he’d accidentally shot him. And even though this Dean was different to the one he knew – and Sam could already tell he was a hell of a lot closer now than when he’d first stepped through the mirror – it must really be eating away at him not to have the relationship with his Sam that he and Dean shared. Used to share.

The words seemed a little moot to say when it was clearly too late, but if Alterna-Dean apologised to him because he thought it would matter, then there was something he had to say as well.

“Hey Dean?” He waited until Dean looked up. “I’m sorry I couldn’t save you.”

Dean looked confused for a second before it clicked. “Hey, it’s okay. You tried, it’s enough.”

Sam frowned. “How do you know I tried?”

“Because,” Dean smiled. “You’re my brother.”

There were no words to say to that, so Sam pulled him into a hug (in a purely manly way, Dean would insist to the guys watching on the other side of the mirror). After what seemed much longer than it was, they finally parted. Dean nodded, and Sam replied in turn. An unspoken agreement not to say goodbye, but to convey everything the word represented. Dean turned and left.

When he got to the mirror he paused and faced Sam one final time. Sam could see the water in his eyes, but didn’t say anything because he was sure he looked the same.

“Take care, Sammy.”

He reached out and touched the mirror.

Aside from the items Stargate Command had assured them weren't cursed, Bobby had managed to relocate all of John’s toxic waste to a more secure – or terminating – location. It wasn’t easy, but over the month and a half since the ordeal with the mirror he’d taken care of it. Only two remained; one that needed a solstice for the cleansing ritual to take effect, and the other...

“For God’s sake Sam, quit staring at that thing, will ya?”

"I'm not, I'm just..."

Bobby softened. "Son, he ain't coming back. It ain't his world. 'Sides, he's got his own brother."

"He's dead. The other me."

"Still his brother."

It was a heavy statement, and Sam felt the weight of each of those words. "Yeah...

"Yeah," He echoed again, having finally reached a conclusion. "Bobby, you think that-"

"Take as long as you want."

"Thanks Bobby."

The kid was smiling like he was about to cry. Bobby couldn't have that. If Sam cried, then there was a chance that Bobby would cry. And Robert Singer wasn't about to sit around crying like a little girl. "Well, go on then."

Sam chuckled and stood up. He slung his duffel over his shoulder and glanced around the room to make sure he didn't forget anything. "I'll keep in touch."

"Ya damn right you'll keep in touch. You Winchesters can only walk so far before you step in some serious shit."

"That's some pretty interesting imagery there, Bobby."

Bobby levelled him a look. "Don't you have someplace to be?"

"Yeah, I do." Sam gave Bobby a quick hug before leaving Singer Auto Salvage, and the state of South Dakota.

"So, uhh, you're dead... You're dead and I'm standing here talking to a piece of stone with your name on it." Dean scrubbed a hand over his face. "This is ridiculous."

He looked up at the clear blue sky. Not a cloud in sight to distract him. The cemetery was as well-maintained and peaceful, and Dean felt out of place standing there in the middle of the day in his shirt and jeans. He felt like he should be wearing a suit, or at least his dress uniform.

"Scew it." He glanced back at the tombstone. "Look, you and me, we never really got on. Mainly because I thought you were an annoying know-it-all brat but, uhh, you turned out alright.

"Well, not you you, but another you. You were still a pansy... and I got no idea what I'm saying."

He threw his hands up and shook his head. Thank God no one else was around to witness this.

"The other Sam, he turned out to be an alright guy, and I guess what I'm saying is that I never really talked to you after you went to college, so for all I know that could have been you too, I guess. And even if you weren't - if you were still the smarmy Joe College-type - that's okay too, 'cos underneath it all you probably still would have been That Sam." He shrugged. "I guess I'm sorry I never got the chance to know for sure."

He absently thumbed some dust off his nose, because that's what men do when they're not crying. And not trying to clear their nasal airway from all the build-up that accumulates when they're busy not crying.

Dean looked down at the grave of his brother Sam Winchester, 1983-2005, Loving Husband, Beloved Son, and finally took it all in.

When he was ready to leave, he gave the marker a gentle fist-bump, as though they had been brothers all those years, and not two strangers who lived under the same house.

"See ya, Sammy."

"Hey, I know you can't hear me, but what the Hell.

"I'm sorry, Dean. Sorry I couldn't save you, couldn't find a way out of your deal. I'm sorry I let you die on my watch.

"More importantly, I'm sorry I Iet you stay dead. I know when I died you didn't hesitate to try and bring me back, and that's what I'm gonna do - whatever it takes. And you can bitch and moan about it all you like, but I'm okay with that. Besides," He smiled, "I owe you."

Sam appraised the unassuming cross that marked Dean's final current resting place. "See you soon, Dean."


Stages of Grief [16/18]

The Road So Far:
Stage I - Denial and/or Isolation (aka Avoiding the Problem by Escaping to Another Reality)
Stage I/A - Leaving the Second Reality for a Third
Stage I/B - Realising You Can't Run Far Enough
Stage II - Anger (aka Shooting the First Thing in Sight)
Stage II/A - When You Can't Hold It In Any Longer
Stage II/B - Taking a Breath
Stage III - Bargaining (aka Tit for Tat)
Stage III/A - Assessing Your Position
Stage III/B - Bringing a New Player to the Table
Stage III/C - Bluffing
Stage IV - Depression (aka Being Left Alone With Your Thoughts)
Stage IV/A - Crash
Stage IV/B - Rock Bottom
Stage IV/C - A Swirl of Confusion
Stage V - Acceptance (aka It Is What It Is)
Stage V/A - Reacting/Resolve

Sam was at his side before his head hit the floor, one hand pressed to his stomach. Carter was next to him in an instant with a bandage and Jack was ordering Daniel to get the mirror working. Teal’c had subdued the shapeshifter against a wall, and was restraining his arms with some rope he’d found on one of the shelves.

“I’ve got it!” Daniel said, and switched over to update the SGC on what was going on. There was some talking on radios on their end, and by the time Jack and Sam had gotten Dean to the mirror, they were already pushing a gurney into the room.

“Get him on the table,” the doctor ordered, and Jack and Sam complied. After that, they could only watch as he was wheeled down to the operating theatre.

“He’ll be fine,” Jack reassured Sam.

Even though he didn’t believe him, Sam nodded in response.

“Oh, and welcome to Stargate Command.”


“We’ve managed to get him stable.”

The doctor had met them in the mess hall, where Jack had suggested Sam wait while he debriefed Hammond on the events thus far. Teal’c was his minder as he technically wasn’t allowed on base.

“...But the damage to his liver is irreparable. Without a transplant he’s going to die.”

“I’ll do it,” Sam didn’t even have to think.

“Are you sure?” At the look on Sam’s face, the doctor continued, “I’m obligated to inform you of the risks involved in such a procedure, but before we start, is there anyone you want to contact and let them know?”

Bobby. He should be awake by now. Sam nodded.

“It’ll take a few hours to get everything set up, come to the ward when you’re ready.” And with that the doctor left, and Sam got the impression that the doctor didn’t know that he was really in inter-relatial traveller here on probation.

Sam turned to Teal’c, who also rose from his seat. “We should locate Colonel O’Neill.”


As Sam was heading back to the mirror, he was tried to remember what had become of his phone. Ultimately he recalled Jack saying that Meg had taken it, and had to do an about-face back to the ward to get it from Dean’s pocket. When he found it wasn’t there, realised that it would have to be with the shapeshifter, as he was the one that was impersonating Sam.

He told Carter – his current minder – and they set off towards the cells. There was one man at the door, and Carter agreed to wait outside while Sam went in to talk.

He was sitting cross-legged on the bed, still with no shirt, when Sam entered. He looked up at Sam waited.

“Where’s my phone?”

The shifter frowned at the question, before something occurred to him and he checked his pockets. He pulled out Sam’s phone. “Don’t you think it’s out of range?” He joked, tossing it over to Sam.

Sam’s arm reached through the bars to catch it before it collided with the metal. As he was about to open the door, a question formed. “Why are you here?”

“Teal’c’s one scary mo’fo?” The shifter raised his eyebrows.

“No, I mean, why haven’t you escaped? It would have been easy for you to slip through the bars and into the vent,” Sam gestured to said vent next to his foot. “So why haven’t you?”

“One, vents are gross. Seriously, no one ever cleans them.” He nodded for emphasis.

“And two?”

He shifted uncomfortably. “I wanted to know if he was okay.”


The shifter waved his hand in ‘ta-da’.

“Why would you care about Dean?”

“I don’t expect you to understand.” The shifter brushed it off.

“Tell me.”

The shifter was content to ignore him. That is, until he saw the resolve on Sam’s face. He sighed. “He’s someone... He’s someone I wouldn’t mind being, you know?”

This was the second time a shapeshifter had confessed that Dean was some soulmate. Given their inherent nature, Sam didn’t like the implication. He folded his arms. “No, I don’t know. I don’t go around stealing peoples’ lives.”

“That’s not... Didn’t you ever have someone you looked up to?”

Sam couldn’t answer that, because he did. And it was the same person the shifter was alluding to.

However the shifter managed to figure it out by his silence. “See, you know where I’m coming from. I just wanted to know if he was okay.”

Sam paused. What if the shifter was telling the truth? Given his recent actions, and the fact that he hadn’t escaped, Sam was starting to think that maybe the shifter did, on some level, care about Dean. Maybe the whole kindred soul thing didn’t have anything to do with Dean’s buried emotional issues, but the fact he was just Dean. Sam considered the person before him anew. “He’s dying.”

The shifter was on his feet. “What does he need? Heart, kidneys – what?”

“Liver,” Sam said.

“So take mine. I’m fairly certain it’s a match.” He smiled sardonically.

Sam was about to ask why again when he realised he already knew, he just had a hard time believing it. “Are you sure about this?” The doctors’ words echoed out of his mouth.

The shifter chuckled. “It’s just a liver, I’m not going to miss it.”

“You’re probably the only person who could say that,” Sam muttered as he turned to go. The shifter heard him and snorted, lounging back on the cot.

“Would that even work?” Carter asked after Sam relayed the conversation to her outside the room.

“It should. Like he said, at the moment they’re identical.”

“What about side-effects?”

“I don’t think so,” Sam answered. “The only way to kill a shifter is with a silver bullet to the heart, which kind of implies that their ability to change is derived from the heart. They grow new sets of teeth when they slip a skin, so it would stand to reason that their internal organs would also change to accommodate the body they’re doubling.”

“What about the donor?” Sam could tell she had a hard time saying shapeshifter. “Would he survive?”

“He could probably regenerate their entire body as long as the heart wasn’t damaged.” Sam conceded. “I also don’t think he’d offer to do this unless he was going to live. Survival instincts is kind of the reason they exist.”

“Adapting to their environment.” Carter reasoned. She shrugged. “Well, if you’re sure and he consents, I don’t see any reason why we can’t do the transplant. I’ll just run it by General Hammond.”

Carter jogged off to do just that, and Sam remembered that he still had his phone in his hand. The guard at the door didn’t seem worried that Sam didn’t have anyone to escort him, and he took that as a sign. He headed off towards the mirror to call Bobby, all the while thinking of how he wasn’t one hundred percent certain that giving Dean an organ from a shapeshifter wouldn’t have any side-effects.


“You WHAT?! Sam, did you take a sudden leave of your senses?!”

Yep, Bobby was once again conscious. He also wasn’t very impressed with Sam’s decision. Which wasn’t fair, because,

“It’s not my decision, Bobby.”

“And you’re just going to let your brother go off and get some shifter parts put in him?”

“He’s not my brother, Bobby. He can make his own decisions.”

“Near enough.” Bobby replied, but still quietened at Sam’s admission.

Sam offered a false smile to Stanson, who was watching through the mirror. Apparently he did still need that escort, as he found out when he got to the mirror. Stanson offered to come, having been in the ward with Dean when the news of his possible survival arrived, and wanted to ask Sam about some of the finer points of it. They talked, and Sam realised he could no longer resent the man who had nothing but concern for Dean. Paul then admitted that Dean wanted to go ahead with it, but agreed to wait for Sam to finish his call before relaying what he’d learned to Dean.

“How are you, Bobby?”

“Fine, or I will be when I can get out of this damn bed.”

Sam smiled, picturing Bobby in a hospital room. He suspected that his main cause for the cantankerous behaviour was the fact he was stuck in one of those gowns. Why they made people wear them was anyone’s guess.

“You let me know how it goes.”

It wasn’t a question, but Sam answered anyway, “I will. Talk to you later.”

Sam hung up and switched back to Stargate Command to go see Dean.


“Prom date?”

“Jennifer Walker.”

“Lucy Miller. And, uhh... Rachel Knave.” Dean looked sheepish, and Sam looked at him suspiciously.

“Was that my date?”

“What? No. Don’t be ridiculous.”

“How could you?”

“I did...” Dean drifted off. “How did you know?”

Sam thought of explaining how his brother had a djinn-induced hallucination that suggested it would be something he’d do. Instead he said, “You’re an open book. A picture book. For kids.”

“I’ll have you know I clean up at poker night. Ask Paul.”

“Don’t bring me into this.”

Dean threw his jello cup at Stanson. “Stop reading, dude. Only robots process that much information.”

“Bite me.”

“Nuh-uh, I’m not explaining that to your sister again.”

Sam watched the byplay with a smirk. There was no jealousy, just a slight wist for the rapport that he shared with his own brother. The conversation was helping. They’d been comparing pasts (generically, Sam kept the gloom of their life to himself) and all Sam heard were differences, and he found he was okay with that.


“Yes.” Dean sat a little straighter in his bed, looking at the doctor expectantly. The operation had been over six hours ago, and already the shifter was up and walking around (back in his cell). Despite the doctor’s assertions, Dean also claimed that he was fine, and ready to leave the ward.

“We’ve checked your results, and it seems you’re perfectly healthy.”

“I’m sorry to hear that.” Dean threw off the covers and swung his leg over the bed.

“This rate of recovery is unprecedented, for normal circumstances.” The doctor amended, conceding the rapid recoveries of symbiotes, and other mystical recoveries they’d encountered in the past.

“Tell you what, anything weird starts happening and I’ll be straight back here,” Dean promised, kicking Stanson out of his chair. “Let’s go.”

He got as far as the end of the bed when the doctor held his arm. “Anything.”

Dean saluted him and, with a smile, jogged out of the ward. Stanson turned to Sam.

“Coming? He’ll be in the mess hall. There’s pie on Wednesdays.”

Sam snorted and followed Stanson out.

[ onwards ]

Stages of Grief [15/18]

The Road So Far:
Stage I - Denial and/or Isolation (aka Avoiding the Problem by Escaping to Another Reality)
Stage I/A - Leaving the Second Reality for a Third
Stage I/B - Realising You Can't Run Far Enough
Stage II - Anger (aka Shooting the First Thing in Sight)
Stage II/A - When You Can't Hold It In Any Longer
Stage II/B - Taking a Breath
Stage III - Bargaining (aka Tit for Tat)
Stage III/A - Assessing Your Position
Stage III/B - Bringing a New Player to the Table
Stage III/C - Bluffing
Stage IV - Depression (aka Being Left Alone With Your Thoughts)
Stage IV/A - Crash
Stage IV/B - Rock Bottom
Stage IV/C - A Swirl of Confusion
Stage V - Acceptance
(a.k.a. It Is What It Is)

Bobby was giving the emergency dispatcher the location of the warehouse when he noticed Dean straighten. It was so abrupt that he ignored the voice on the other end and called out, “Dean?”


“He’s... He’s dead.”


Dean rose to his feet, rubbing his hands over his eyes. Bobby hung up the phone and watched Dean carefully. His back was turned, but Bobby could still tell that he was trying to process it. Bobby knew this wasn’t the Dean he’d known over the years, the one he had a soft spot for and had taken in as his own, but he was still Dean Winchester, and that had to count for something. Bobby had watched him interact with Sam, and though there were a few differences – most due to fact he obviously wasn’t as close with his brother as was the case in this reality – he was still Dean. He still had the same cocky smile and the same dedication to his work. Bobby even noticed that he even displayed the same protective, brotherly bond, even though it was with... Stanson(?) instead of Sam. They were, more or less, the same person.


Except that now his wasn’t. Dean had just given up and declared his brother dead. While Bobby could concede that this Dean wouldn’t know about crossroads, he clearly knew how to give CPR, and would have to be aware of the obligation to continue it until an ambulance arrived, heartbeat or no heartbeat. But this Dean had just accepted the idea and all but surrendered. Bobby couldn’t help the surfacing impression that Dean wanted Sam to be dead. Was that what this was? Did this Dean just want it all over and done with so he could return home, obligation-free?


Of course not. It was just an errant thought that sprung up before he could quash it. Still, there was something going on, and Bobby had his answer when he saw Sam’s hand spasm. Slowly, Bobby’s hand went to his flask, cursing that he left his shotgun in the car.


Whether he saw or sensed that something had changed, Dean turned around and fixed Bobby with a cold smirk. “Not buying it, huh? Tell you what, if you get that flask open before I pull Deano’s gun out from behind his back and shoot you, I will officially acknowledge that you are the coolest hunter I’ve ever killed. How does that sound?”


They stood at an impasse. Bobby all-to-aware of Sam’s urgency, and the demon quite comfortable to waste that time secure in the knowledge that Bobby wouldn’t be the faster drawer.


But Robert Singer wasn’t a hunter for nothing, and he sure as hell wasn’t born yesterday. He grabbed his flask and shouted, “Christo.” The second’s distraction was enough for Bobby to get the lid off and toss holy water on Dean, who flinching away from the scalding liquid.


“Bobby Singer, you sly son of a bitch!” The demon ducked out of the way of the water and was chuckling. “I must say this brings back memories. All we need is a chair, some ropes, your ceiling and this could very-well be it. What do you say, third time lucky?”


“Meg,” Bobby bit the word out, tossing a little holy water for emphasis.


Meg sidestepped the spray and held up a finger in warning. “Ah ah ah, don’t damage the merchandise. I got plans for this one.”


Bobby didn’t have time to process that statement, but he did gather that it had something to do with whatever reality Dean came from, which could only end badly. “Exorciz-


Meg made a fist, and Bobby felt his throat close up. “Fool me once, Bobby. Anyway, I don’t want you dead, not just yet. I’m thinking of going through the ole looking glass, getting your double, and then bringing him back here so you can watch me slice him up like a pizza.” Megs’ eyes lit up as an idea occurred to him. “Maybe he has a wife – maybe he has kids. Ooh, won’t that be interesting? I’m getting tingles just thinking about it.”


Whatever came next was drowned out by the pressure in Bobbys’ ears. The air loss was already causing his vision to blot, and he knew it wasn’t long now before he...




Jack eyed Teal’c’s purchase with a frown.


“Is something wrong, O’Neill?”


“No, no,” He turned back to his choc-mint. “Just didn’t figure you for a bubblegum kind of guy, is all.”


Teal’c inspected his ice cream. “It is not often one gets to try a food in the colour of blue.”


“What about that blueberry pie we had the other day?”


“I believe they are purple.”


“Really? Purple?” A drop of his neglected ice cream fell onto his hand. Jack licked it off.






They each tasted their choices, savouring the flavour.


“How does it measure up?”


“I find it most satisfactory.”


“That’s good.” Jack slipped his cone out of the paper cover, munching into the waffley-goodness. He shoved his bite to the side of his mouth, so he could both chew and talk at the same time. “Hey Teal’c, let me ask you something.” He paused to swallow. “Does that look like Sam Winchester to you?”


Teal’c looked across the street, where a tall, haggard man was limping. “He does seem to resemble the photo supplied in the briefing.” Teal’c agreed.


“That’s good enough for me – Hey, Sam!” Jack jogged across the street, Teal’c following at a slower pace, as he still had much of his ice cream to finish.


Sam stopped and eyed them suspiciously.


Jack dusted the crumbs off his hands before raising them in a non-threatening manner. Teal’c, still licking his ice cream, did not look threatening at all. Which was possibly a first.


“We’re friends of Dean. Your brother from another...” Should he change it, or keep to the original? “...Mother. In a way.”


Sam still seemed dubious, so Jack pulled out his military credentials. When that didn’t seem to sway him, Jack laid it out as simple as he could. “Look, either we’re who we say we are, or we’re from this reality, in which case we’d be arresting you, considering you’re a fugitive.”


“Or you’re a shapeshifter,” Sam replied.


Jack’s mouth gaped a little as he took that in. He turned to Teal’c. “Teal’c, are you a shapeshifter?”


“I don’t believe so.”


“Right. Well, I’m not a shapeshifter, and he’s not a shapeshifter.” Beat. “Though if I was a shapeshifter I guess I’d say that anyway.” He waved it off. “But I’m sure you guys have some sort of test for that, right?”


Sam looked between the two. “You got a flashlight?”


Jack searched his pockets whilst Teal’c retrieved one. Jack ended up passing that over. Sam clicked it on and directed it in their eyes. Teal’c merely blinked, Jack on the other hand raised a hand and started to curse.


“For crying out loud, what was that for?”


Sam clicked off the flashlight and handed it back. “You’re not a shapeshifter.”


“No, but I am blind. You do know those are designed for long-range?”


Sam waited as Jack rubbed his eyes and blinked away the spots. “Do you know where Dean is?”


“Yeah, he took off after Robby after you rang him.”


Sam frowned. “I never rang Dean.”


“Not Dean, the other one, Robby.”


“I believe his name was Bobby.”


Jack turned to Teal’c, “You sure?”


Teal’c nodded.


“I never rang Bobby either. I don’t have a cell.” Sam suddenly realised what was going on. “Do you have a car?”


“Yeah, why?”


“We’ve got to get back to the warehouse.”


Jack took Sam’s expression at face value. “Then let’s move out. T, you can finish that in the car.”

[Post too large, rest here]

Stages of Grief [15b/18]

[Previously on Stages of Grief]



When Jack, Sam and Teal’c arrived at the warehouse it was Bobby who was lying unmoving on the ground. They piled out of the car, Jack and Teal’c checking the perimeter while Sam approached Dean, who was trying to rouse Bobby.


Dean pulled a gun on Sam before he realised who it was. Slowly he clicked the safety back on and turned back to Bobby. “He’s alive. Out cold though.”


“Let’s get him to the car.” Sam reached for Bobby’s feet as Dean picked up his shoulders. “What happened to your shirt?”


Dean seemed surprised at the question, and had to look down to confirm that his shirt wasn’t actually there. He looked around for it, and Sam eventually spotted it in a puddle of blood and the oh-so tantalising mixture of a shifter’s skin.


He arrived at the logical conclusion. “Let me guess, it was me?”


Dean nodded. “And dying. Bobby saw through it though.” Before Sam could ask, Dean went on to say, “It’s back to me again, and it’s headed for the SGC.”


“What’s headed for the SGC?” Jack appeared at the other side of the car, pocketing his gun and flashlight.


“Demon.” Sam replied. “In the body of a shapeshifter.”


“I’m guessing that’s bad?”


Dean lowered Bobby’s head into the back seat of his car. “It’s like a double no-no.”


“Wouldn’t that be no-no-no-no?”


“No.” Dean replied. “Anyway, you better call it in, the sucker got my phone.”


“Was it in your shirt pocket?” Jack flipped open his phone. “Carter? It’s me.”


The voice on the other end seemed hesitant. “Sir...”


“Don’t let Winchester back through the mirror, apparently he’s a shapeshifting demon or something like that.”


There was a pause. “How can we be sure you’re you, sir?”


“Because I am me.” Jack automatically replied.


“Colonel Winchester called in half an hour ago, and said the same thing about you.”


“Well, in that case don’t let any of us back through the mirror, We’ll be back there A-sap to sort this out.” Sam looked like he wanted to say something, so Jack held a hand over the speaker.


“There’s a devil’s trap in the locker.”


“A what?”


Sam held up his hands in a circle. “It’s a pentagram with some runes in it.”


Dean nodded. “It was in the entry-way.”


“Tell them to try and manoeuvre Dean into it, it won’t be able to get out.”


Jack relayed the message to Carter, and Sam had to reiterate that they actually had to trap Meg (“That’s its name”) in it, because no demon would knowingly walk into one. Dean went on to say that Meg was also aware that it was there, having his memories at hand.


“Did you get all that?” Jack asked after they finished.


“Yes sir.” Carter replied.


“And move the curse boxes back to the SGC, until the threat has passed.” Dean added.


Sam looked at him. “I hadn’t thought of that.”


Dean shrugged and waited for Jack to hang up. “We better haul ass back to the mirror. It’s already got at least half an hour on us.”


“Would it not be more prudent to fly?” Teal’c suggested.


Dean flinched at the idea, and Sam couldn’t help the twitch at the corner of his mouth.


Jack seemed to consider the idea, and Dean was quick to rebuke it. “Meg’s taken the Impala, which means she’s driving.”


“She?” Jack echoed.


“He, me – whatever. Point is, he wouldn’t be going too fast to risk getting the cops on her tail, they could set up a road block and try and slow her – him, whatever – down.”


“Good idea. You two follow him, and we’ll see about some wings and possible road spikes.”


Sam waited for Dean to shoot down the idea of causing possible harm to the Impala, but it never came. Instead he nodded and hopped into the driver’s seat. “Come on, Sam.”


Jack and Teal’c were already sprinting back to their rental as Sam slid into the passenger side.


Dean gunned the engine and they were on the I-90 before Sam knew it.




Despite the intention of driving nine hours straight –seven-and-a-half, Dean insisted he could make it in– to Black Rock, they had to make at least one stop for fuel. They also used the opportunity to go to the bathroom and grab some food.


When Sam returned to the car, Dean noted that Bobby still hadn’t woken and suggested he might be concussed. Sam agreed that if he hadn’t woken by the time they got to Cleveland, that they would leave him at the hospital.


When the twenty minutes passed and they rolled into the city limits, Sam scribbled a note for Bobby, before leaving him at the emergency entrance with one of their fake credit cards.


They hit the road again, and thanks to Sam’s surprising knowledge of shortcuts, they managed to skim more time off their trip, before they caught up to Impala.


It was parked in the edge of the road, dangerously close to swerving off. The shredded tyres that littered the highway alerted them to the presence of the road spikes, indicating that Jack had actually followed through with his suggestion.


They drove off the road around the spikes, and pulled up next to the Impala. There was no one in it, though from this angle they could make out the body of a police officer on the ground. Apparently the plan wasn’t as successful as they had hoped. Sam instructed Dean to keep driving while he rang an ambulance for the officer, and a tow truck for the Impala, who was more than happy to drop it off at Singer Auto Salvage when he realised how much money he would be getting for the interstate trip.


The rest of the trip wasn’t as eventful, with Dean only pumping the gas that little bit more to compensate for the fact that their car didn’t have a licence to speed.




They were the last ones to arrive at Black Rock Storage, and rushed into the locker to find the mirror shut off, and the entire group circled around Meg, who was currently stuck in the devil’s trap.


His eyes lit up when he spotted them. “It’s about time you got here, these poor guys are at their wits end.”


“We tried that exorcism Robby – Bobby – gave us,” Jack explained its effect with a shrug. “Hell, even Daniel tried it, and if anyone’s going to know Latin, it’s going to be him.”


Daniel stepped forward. “I’m Daniel Jackson,” he introduced himself to Sam, “aside from the obvious flaw of mere words being able to dispel a cognisant entity, I couldn’t find anything wrong with the exorcism Jack used.”


Sam sighed and turned to Meg. “A lock?”


Meg just raised his shirt to reveal a Q burnt into Dean’s skin, just under his ribcage. “Don’t worry though, I’m going to remove it in a minute.” She pulled out a gun, which saw SG-1 drawing theirs in response. What they didn’t count on was Meg pointing it at the himself. “Let your friends exorcise me, Sam. And you get to watch your brother die all over again.”


“You’re not my brother.”


Meg smiled knowingly. “No, but at the moment I’m a lot closer than some people in this room.”


Sams’ eyes shot to Dean, and Sam couldn’t believe he didn’t notice it himself. The bloodstains on his pant-leg coincided where Sam himself had been shot, and the skin at the warehouse finally fit together. The shifter was telling the truth, it just neglected the mention that it was him. Sam drew his gun. It would also explain why he called Meg a girl, despite the fact all her current hosts have been male.


Jack seemed to clue in what was happening as well, and pulled out his flashlight. The shifter flinched, and his eyes flashed before he could get his hands up. “Aha!” Jack cried, happy to see it work.


“Did you hurt Bobby?” Sam asked, flicking the safety off.


“No,” The shifter insisted, and Sam almost believed him, before he realised his mistake.


“Of course he did, and he loved itt...” Meg sing-songed.


The shifter shook its head, but Sam wasn’t buying it. “Why are you here?”


“I...” In that second, he looked so honestly vulnerable that Sam forgot he was looking at a monster. It was gone in a blink though. “Bitch jacked my body, I’m here for the payback.”


“Sure you are.” Meg winked, and then addressed Sam. “Does this seem like a viable threat now? Or should we get Carter to go back and get Deano’s birth certificate?”


“You’re not my brother,” Sam repeated, “My brother’s dead.”


He’d said it as a bluff, but the words seemed to resonate home with a truth that had been missing before. Dean was dead. Dead. Gone. Sam finally seemed to accept that.


“I don’t mean to pun, but aren’t you jumping the gun a little there?” Meg said, and pulled the trigger before anyone could get a word in. The bullet broke the lock as promised, as well was tearing through Dean’s liver. Black smoke billowed out and was gone before his body hit the ground.

[ onwards ]

Stages of Grief [14/18]

The Road So Far:
Stage I - Denial and/or Isolation (aka Avoiding the Problem by Escaping to Another Reality)
Stage I/A - Leaving the Second Reality for a Third
Stage I/B - Realising You Can't Run Far Enough
Stage II - Anger (aka Shooting the First Thing in Sight)
Stage II/A - When You Can't Hold It In Any Longer
Stage II/B - Taking a Breath
Stage III - Bargaining (aka Tit for Tat)
Stage III/A - Assessing Your Position
Stage III/B - Bringing a New Player to the Table
Stage III/C - Bluffing
Stage IV - Depression (aka Being Left Alone With Your Thoughts)
Stage IV/A - Crash
Stage IV/B - Rock Bottom
Stage IV/C - A Swirl of Confusion

“So we’re going to wave a crystal around and hope that it magically points us to Sam?” Dean seemed hesitant. “Is this before or after we put Yani on and bless Mother Earth?”


 “Unfortunately the demons who took Sam didn’t leave behind a forwarding address, so this is the best we got.”


Dean raised his hands in surrender as Bobby rolled a map of America onto the bonnet of the Impala.


Jack raised his eyebrows. “What, you don’t think they hopped a plane to the Caribbean?”


“The demons have had sufficient time to cross a large distance. We have been absent for three days, O’Neill.” Teal’c reminded him.


Dean noticed Bobby had halted in his actions. “What? Is that it?”


Bobby frowned at the crystal attached to the lock of Sam’s hair. “It didn’t work.”


While it was easy to insert another remark, Dean instead opted for something productive. As Teal’c had said, three days had passed and the unease in Dean’s stomach had grown threefold on the drive to Chicago. “Is there something else we can do then? Some other magic flim-flam or should we consider giving this a practical approach?”


Bobby’s glare told him exactly what he thought of Dean’s backhanded comment, and replied. “The hair was not a strong enough link.”


“Well, it’s got his DNA in it, what more do you want?”


Bobby considered. “Blood.”


“Blood?” Jack shared a look with Dean. “Uhh, why exactly?”


“Blood is power.”


“Right, right. Blood is power. That explains why vampires are always after it. Perhaps we give them a pamphlet on the benefits of going Solar, it’s a lot more eco-friendly.”


When Dean snickered at Jack’s remark, Bobby couldn’t help but feel like a kindergarten teacher. He was beginning to think it was a mistake in bringing DoppelDean and his friends here.


Thankfully Teal’c’s presence helped to bring the conversation back to the matter at hand. “Would it not be difficult to obtain a sample of Sam Winchester’s blood, given his absence?”


Though Teal’c had been the one to voice it, the thought had already occurred to Dean, as did the memory of Sam getting shot during their first encounter. Dean had dressed that wound and some of the blood had ended up on his clothes, mixed in with that of Sergeant Gate...


It suddenly occurred to Dean that he hadn’t spared Bert a thought since his death, which seemed oh-so long ago now. They’d been friends for years, and aside from Stanson he was the person with whom he had actively served with the longest. And then he died, and all Dean could think about was the mission – which was completely understandable. You push those thoughts to the back of your head so you can focus on the task at hand and get out alive. Except that he hadn’t been doing that. Since arriving in this reality, Dean had been easily distracted by the presence of his brother and the unresolved tensions that both his life and death had pertained. In fact, Dean could safely say that since meeting this world’s Sam, it was all he’d been thinking about. Yet he couldn’t even manage to spare a moment for a friend who meant a great deal more than a brother he barely knew? And that’s not even mentioning Sergeant Wills. What was he doing? He was messed up. He need to get this shit sorted in his head before it snowballed. Later though, right now he had work to do.


Dean cleared his throat. “I might have some of his blood on my clothes from when he was shot.”


The silence that met his statement was a disconcerting. Jack’s ‘awkward’ face was not helping matters.


“Winchester, can I talk with you a second?” Turning to Bobby he unnecessarily repeated, “We’re just gonna talk for a second.” He even pointed to where he expected Dean and himself to be standing, before heading over there.


Dean followed Jack over to the side. “What?”


“You sure you’re alright?” Jack shifted so he was blocking Bobby and Teal’c from the conversation, as though seeing them might distract Dean from the importance of what he was saying. “If you’re emotionally compromised, we can send you back. I’ll make sure we follow this up though. Find your brother.”


Dean was a little taken aback by Jack’s observation, and truth be told his mental preoccupation wasn’t helping him pull off a convincing reply. Or any reply, really, because Jack went on to explain,


“Robby just said that you might have gotten Sam’s blood on your clothes when he was shot, but considering you changed when you got back to the SGC it doesn’t really help us much, unless you want to spend another day going back there to get them.”


Dean looked down at his uniform. He had changed when he got back to the SGC, how could he have forgotten about that? And more importantly, how did he not hear Bobby say any of that?


“So if you feel like...”


“I’m fine, Jack.”


He seemed unconvinced. “I’ve been hearing that a lot from you.”


“Truth is, I was rethinking over everything that happened here, trying to see if I missed something. Just zoned a little, I guess.”


Jack still seemed hesitant, but he let it go for now. “Irony aside, you might want to pay a little more attention.” It was as subtle an order as Dean had ever heard from O’Neill. Usually something like that would be accompanied with a joke.


“Yeah, I will. Thanks, Jack.”


“No problem.” Jack clapped his hands together. “Anyway, while you were off with the fairies, Robby said that since his crystal thing didn’t work, the next option is to,” Jack opened his hands in offering, “ ‘commune with nature’ in hopes of some Earth deity answering the call, or something.”


Dean frowned. “And how is he going to do that?”


“Naked, apparently.”


“That is not something I want to see.” Too late, the image appeared in his head. “Oh God, I’m seeing it. Oh God.”


“Well, I wouldn’t worry about that, you won’t be seeing much.”


That seemed like a loaded comment. “Why not?”


“Robby says that for it to work, it has to be someone with a tie to the person they’re trying to find...”


Dean figured out where this was going. “No. Hell no. You gotta be shittin me.”


Jacks’ eyes twinkled. “You really didn’t hear anything he said, did you?”


“You are shittin’ me.”


Jack clapped him on the shoulder and started back to Teal’c. “Come on, hopefully they’ll have figured something out by now.”


“Two hundred lectures, now.”


“It’s not my fault you fell for it.”


“Considering all that this mission has entailed thus far, can you blame me?”


Jack considered. “No, I guess not.”


“Two hundred lectures.”


Jack silently congratulated himself on being able to distract Dean enough from whatever was preoccupying his mind. What he didn’t know was that it wasn’t going to last for long.


“Hey T, where’s Robby?”


“Bobby is currently packing his belongings in the car after receiving a call from Sam Winchester.” Teal’c informed them.


“Sam?” Dean jumped in. “Is he okay?”


“It is uncertain at this time, though Bobby did seem rather concerned.”


The squeal of tyres brought their attention to the battered car that was currently peeling out of the parking lot.


“Son of a bitch!” Dean swore, and ran to the Impala to follow.


“Winchester – Hey, Dean!” Jack called after him. But it was too late. Dean had taken off as fast as Bobby had, leaving Jack and Teal’c standing in the parking lot of a funeral home in Chicago.


After a few seconds silence, Teal’c opened his mouth to speak. Jack cut him off with a raised finger and pulled his radio out of his pocket and turned it on. “Winchester, please tell me you left the keys to the rental behind.”


It rattled off static for a few seconds before Dean replied, “In the ignition.


“Thank God for that.” Back into the radio, he said. “Don’t do anything stupid.”


“Well, I was going to, but now that you mention it-”


“I’m serious.”


A beat. “Copy that.”


“Check in, one hour.”




Jack turned off his radio and checked his watch. “Speaking of checking in...” He pulled out his new phone and dialled one of the four numbers saved.


“Sir?” Carter answered.




“We appeared to have found several pieces of alien technology, including a ZPM.”


Jack was surprised. “Got any juice left?”


A pause. “We don’t know, sir. You told us not to open them.”


“Well if it’s a ZPM obviously you can.”


He could hear the smile in her voice. “The boys are running diagnostics on it now. We should know soon. How is everything going there?


Teal’c started to head for the last car in the lot and Jack followed him. “It’s shaping up to be quite the long story, full of insanity and woe.”


“I look forward to reading your report, sir.”


“Oh, you will. I expect a Pulitzer for it. Or at least the science-fiction equivalent.”


“Or perhaps the classified government file equivalent?”


“Well, some kind of reward at any rate, and possibly a trophy.” Jack slid into the driver seat, happy to find the keys in the ignition. “Two hours, and try to keep Daniel from opening the other cases.”


“Will do, sir.”


He hung up the phone and looked over to Teal’c. “How do you feel about ice cream?”




It didn’t take Dean long to catch up to Bobby, despite how fast the man was navigating the streets. When he finally pulled to a stop it was outside an abandoned warehouse, and Dean didn’t have to ask why. Lying on the ground not far from the entrance was Sam, and he wasn’t moving.


Dean was out of the car in a blink, and tearing across the pavement. “Sam!”


He skidded to a halt by his side, and took in his appearance. His shoes were missing and his shirt had been ripped apart to serve as a bandage to the mortal wound on his side, held in place by his belt. His thigh had been slashed and the bullet wound in his leg had re-opened. Dean reached over for a pulse just as Bobby appeared. He took in the scene and waited for Dean to announce the verdict.


A pulse. Barely registering and widely spread, but a sign of life none the less. Dean immediately checked his airway and started CPR. “Call an ambulance,” He instructed Bobby as he counted compressions. While Bobby was immersed in the phone call, Dean focused on the task of saving his brothers’ life.


...Thirteen, fourteen, fifteen. Breathe. Breathe. One, two, three, four...


It just wasn’t fair. And not in a petty, ‘I want my candy back’ way, but in a larger, universal sense. He’d spent most of his life ignoring his –breathe- brother unless he wanted something, and now that he was dead, he was finally starting to realise all the things they had in common, or could have had. He was beginning to form the kind of bond he should have had with the brother in his reality, and just when it –breathe- seemed enough to totally mess with his fuckin mind, the bastard had to go and die on him again. How was that fair? It was like a cruel twist on A Christmas Carol, making him realise that he never appreciated his brother while he –breathe- was alive, and thus giving him the chance to do so, only to realise that it’s all moot because in the end he’s still dead.


It was a grasp of the situation he had somewhere in his mind, but was buried beneath layers of erratic thoughts ranging from breathe, damnit! to how did this happen? to how this all didn’t make any sense. All the things that had been happening lately had seeded doubt to the certainties of life by which he lived by, and they were adding up. A normal person, when confronted with such doubts, would take a minute and either a) reaffirm their belief on the matter, or b) if they evidence was unrelenting they would alter their perception of the world to accommodate it. There was a third option in this scenario, and that was c) ignore it until a later date. Unfortunately, that’s all Dean had been doing, and all it did was serve as fuel to an even bigger crisis of faith. If those things didn’t make sense, how did anything make sense? How did life make sense? When doubt culminates to such an enormity it can overwhelm the mind, leaving it open for anything to slip in, such as depression in Sam’s case. Or in Dean’s, a demon that was currently hiding in the body of the shape shifter he was unknowingly trying to save.

[ onwards ]