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Unmaking, Prologue


Prologue

Libby was shrieking in the corner as the hunter lowered the gun barrel. Mary hurried over to comfort her, sparing a momentary glance at the still-twitching corpse of what had once been a doctor. She was still processing the flashes of lightning that had flickered from inside the ribcage and the obscene yellow glow had faded from the man’s eyes, leaving blank, dead brown behind.

Her father cleared his throat and eyed the man called Dean with a mixture of suspicion and interest. “So I guess it is real. Can I see it?”

“No,” he said curtly, tucking it away inside his battered leather jacket. “I should get it back. It needs to be there.” It was as if all that tension and focus that she had witnessed earlier had drained away, leaving behind a weary but satisfied man. He looked over at Mary, catching her eye. “Good luck with that John kid,” he said, raising an eyebrow and not-quite-smiling. Dean turned and headed toward the door.

“You’re just leaving,” Mary blurted out. “Just like that?” It wasn’t that she wanted another hunter hanging around. This was it. She was done. Normal life married to John Winchester, here she comes. But something about Dean made her feel safe, the same way being around John did sometimes. It would have been nice to get to know him a little better.

“I did my job. I stopped it,” he said. This time when the man spoke he full-out grinned. “See you around.” He walked out the door, and Mary watched as he joined another man in a trench coat at the end of the walk. And then they were simply gone.

Her father grunted in surprise. “What the hell was that?”

***

Dean wasn’t sure what to expect when Castiel whisked him away from Lawrence. He’d seen enough movies to know that changing the past altered his future. He had no idea what was going to happen, what he would remember of his life before, but he hadn’t thought it would take this long. Or end up in the middle of an empty field. “So what now?”

“That depends on you.”

“I did my job. I stopped it,” Dean repeated.

“Yes, you did.” Castiel started walking and Dean followed, pissed off and looking for some answers from the angel. He was tired of this enigmatic bullshit. “And now you have a decision to make.”

“What?”

“What you have done changed things. And it changed you, the version of you who will be born six years from now. Dean Winchester, son of Mary and John Winchester, will be born and raised in Lawrence, Kansas, along with his siblings. He will never hunt anything more dangerous than a rabbit. But you still remember it differently. You remember what really happened.”

“What does that mean?”

“You are a man outside of time. You do not belong here, but neither do you belong in your own time anymore. You could simply be absorbed into the Dean Winchester that will now exist. That should be my next task, actually.”

“And why haven’t you done that already?”

“Because then you, the Dean that was raised as a hunter, who saved lives and went to hell for his brother, will cease to exist.” The angel shrugged, an odd gesture from him. “As I was the one who raised you from perdition, I find myself reluctant to remove you so readily. You are a warrior, Dean. Choose.”

“And what exactly are my choices here?” Dean turned to face Castiel. “I don’t wanna die, Cas. And the idea of being erased like Marty McFly doesn’t really appeal to me either.” The euphoria of the hunt was starting to wear off, leaving him exhausted and aching. He hadn’t had a decent night’s sleep since he’d gotten back from hell, and he’d just gone straight for the past two days rather than even try. “What can I do?”

Castiel studied him for a moment, the bright blue eyes of his vessel narrowed. “Rest,” he said finally, reaching out with two fingers and pressing against Dean’s forehead. And then there was finally peace.

He woke up in a bed. A very comfortable bed, to be precise, in a room that was vaguely familiar to him, and this prompted him to fling himself out of the bed, directly into Castiel. The angel steadied him and kept him from further flight.

“I have had it with these mind games,” Dean spat out, furious to find himself back in this house all over again.

“This is not a game,” Castiel said gravely. “You needed a safe place to rest and recover. I created this one from your memories.”

The hunter looked around him, taking in the toys piled haphazardly in the corner and the cowboy-themed decorations. “This hasn’t been a safe place in a long time.”

“Some part of you still equates your parents’ home with safety, Dean, or else I wouldn’t have been able to recreate it so completely. Have you decided what you will do?”

Dean had managed to forget about this while he slept, but now the events of the past few days came rushing back in awful clarity. “What are my choices, Cas?”

“You could merge with the Dean Winchester from this time stream. That would be the simplest course of action.”

“Door number two, please.” He tried to keep his exasperation to himself; it was only wasted on the angel.

“You could remain in this time. Live out your life here.”

“But you won’t take me back to my time.”

“You don’t belong there anymore. No one knows you. No one there misses you.” Castiel’s words hit like bullets in his most vulnerable spots, and the angel continued to look at him with that inscrutable gaze. “If you want to remain separate, you will have to stay in this time.”

“And do what?”

“What you do best, Dean. Hunt.” Castiel’s lips quirked up in what could almost be called a half-smile. “You are a warrior and a righteous man, Dean Winchester. You are needed. We have work for you.”

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