Welcome Back to my vision of the end of Sam and Dean’s fight to save the world! “With or Without You” is a multi-part, complex tale that brings the Supernatural saga to a close in a way that’s quite different than the “Unity”/”Despair”/”Inherit the Earth” finale that was presented in season 15. Yes, there’s mystery, danger, old friends and familiar enemies, but the ending – well, that just might surprise you. Begin with part 1, or drop into the story in whatever chapter you may have missed by using the links on our Fan Fiction tag. Then over the next several weeks, return with us to the Supernatural universe to again immerse yourselves in the lives of Sam and Dean Winchester!
“With or Without You”
“All the fairies wanted to know is how to get into Heaven?” asked Sam.
Gadreel nodded. “They asked me where and how to find the doorway to Heaven.”
Sam paced around Jody’s living room where they had brought the now freed angel. Behind Sam on the wall was the world map where he and Crowley had marked each location of a fairy/demonic conflict. Sam felt like they were on the verge of discovering Oberon’s plan, but it remained just out of reach.
“Why would fairies want to go to Heaven?” asked Jody. She was sitting on the couch beside the chair where Gadreel fidgeted to get comfortable.
The angel shrugged. “I do not know. If they invaded, it would violate the treaty.”
Sam stopped pacing. “Treaty?”
“From long before the Garden,” answered Gadreel. “We promised to leave each other alone.”
“Heaven can reach Fairyland?” asked Sam.
“It is a super-positional spiritual realm. We can reach anywhere.”
“Do any of the fairies go to Heaven?” asked Jody.
Gadreel shook his head. “Of course not. They lack souls.”
“Let’s say that we blew up the universe,” said Sam.
“How?” asked Gadreel.
“That’s not important right now.”
“But without God, it’s impossible. Even all the archangels working together couldn’t do it.”
“Pretend we did,” Sam snapped more forcefully than he intended. “What happens next? Is Heaven destroyed?”
“No. All souls would go to their proper eternal abides.”
“Does it end the treaty with Fairyland?”
“It would not.”
Sam began pacing again as he ran his finger through his long hair. “Then why do they care? What do they want from Heaven?”
“Did they ask about help in fighting the demons?” asked Jody.
Gadreel shook his head no.
“Would Hell be destroyed along with the universe?” asked Sam.
Gadreel shook his head no.
Sam sighed and collapsed onto the other end of the couch. “Tell us again what they asked you.”
“Where is the door to Heaven?’”
Sam and Jody both let out sighs. “I wish we knew what they were asking Crowley’s demons,” she said.
“They value secrecy,” said Sam. “Alex was reading Rowena’s journal. Seems she’s the first human to escape their grasp. When she came back here, she taught humanity the fae tricks and weaknesses like iron and true names.”
“So why him?” asked Jody, pointing at Gadreel. “Why is he still alive if they value secrecy.”
“Angels are not so easily slain,” he answered. “Puck might have had the strength, but you rescued me before he could return.”
Sam narrowed his eyes. “Return from what?”
“He said he would test my answer.”
“Have they already invaded Heaven?” asked Jody.
“Even in my cage I could hear the angels’ choir. Fairies have not set foot in our territory.”
Sam leaned forward. “They wanted to test your answer about the door, but didn’t enter Heaven. Gadreel, this time, when you tell us what the fairies asked you, I want you to repeat their questions, exactly.”
“I did. Angelic memory is flawless. Their inquiry was: ‘Where is the door to Heaven?’”
“Those exact words?”
“What are you getting at, Sam?”
“What if… what if it’s not getting into Heaven that’s the fairies’ goal? What if it is the actual door?”
Jody and Gadreel stared at him.
“What’s the use of a door if you’re not going through it?” asked Jody.
“Gadreel, is the answer to the question a specific place?”
“No,” the angel answered. “The door to Heaven can be opened almost anywhere.”
“Do the fairies know how?”
“Of course. I told them. Like you said, what use is it?”
Sam slapped the map on the wall. “Say you pointed the doors to Heaven and Hell at each other. What would happen?”
Gadreel grew pale. “It would be catastrophic. A collision of souls and opposing realms. Like smashing matter and antimatter together only infinitely worse. There’s a reason we always settle our conflicts on Earth.”
“That’s how they’re going to do it!” said Sam. “How do we stop them?”
Jack was moping in the library when Sam walked in and handed him a bottle of beer. “Uh… Sam, I’m not exactly twenty-one.”
Sam shrugged as he twisted off the top of his own drink. “Extenuating circumstances. It’s not every day you lose your grace.”
“Or your brother,” Jack said as he opened his bottle with more effort than he expected.
Sam’s somber face darkened. “Yeah. We’ll get him back. Dean will never stop fighting, so we owe it to him to do the same.”
Jack stared at his own hands. They seemed so fragile now. Mortal. “How? How can we beat someone so powerful?”
Sam chuckled and shrugged. “Story of our lives, Jack. Dean and me… we’ve always been powerless. But we kept winning.”
“How do you keep doing it?”
Sam took a long draught from his beer. “We use it. Your enemy’s arrogance is their weakness. Play into it – let them believe they’ve beaten you. Use their aggression to draw the enemy to where you want them. Roll with the hits into the trap you’ve made. In their overconfidence, they’ll give you an opening.”
Jack struck as hard and fast as he could, pushing Chuck backwards out of the library and into the war room. None of his strikes were even close to hitting his foe, but the writer was retreating from Jack. Chuck took another step back and bumped into the world map table that sat in the center of the room. It knocked him off balance for just a second and that was all Jack needed. The lightsaber had moved down as Chuck reflexively tried to catch himself. His right shoulder was exposed, and Jack’s weapon was already raised. The Nephilim swung his sword’s black blade down, towards Chuck’s neck.
The blade bit into the table, cutting halfway through the metal before catching. Chuck had just vanished a split second before the deathblow.
“It’s been fun, kid,” said a voice behind Jack and to his right.
Jack teleported ten feet backwards right before the lightsaber would have cut him in half. His left shoulder blade even tingled from where the burning weapon had brushed his skin. Jack was right in his guess. Chuck had just teleported himself to right behind Jack and now Jack had teleported to just behind Chuck.
Jack attacked with a horizontal swipe, but Chuck vanished again. Jack didn’t hesitate and teleported himself to a few feet beyond where he assumed Chuck now was. He wasn’t far off, appearing on Chuck’s left as the lightsaber passed through the air where Jack had been standing.
Through the bunker they dueled in this manner, each teleporting behind or beside the other in rapid succession, their strikes passing harmlessly through empty air. Down the halls they moved in the blink of an eye, passing briefly through the kitchen and throwing knives and cookware at each other’s vanishing form before moving onward. Their weapons cut in the old wooden doors and gouged the marble walls as no weapon or person ever remained long enough to be hit by the other. Their duel grew faster and faster until no one could be sure who was attacking any more as the rapid teleportation began to look like two blinking lights dancing around each other.
They had reached the motor pool when Chuck held up his hand and yelled, “Whoa! Stop!”
Jack paused, his attack swing heading towards Chuck’s right arm.
“If we’re not careful, we’ll damage the car,” Chuck said, pointing to the black, ’67 Chevy Impala that he was standing beside. Had he teleported away, Jack’s attack would have put his sword into the car’s trunk.
The Nephilim nodded and the two strolled over to the garage’s wide open, center driving lane.
“Did I ever tell you the story about how special that car is?” asked Chuck as he shook his arms and legs before resuming his fencing stance.
“Really? I have a story about how special it is too,” Jack said as he titled his head side to side, cracks echoing from his stiff neck muscles before resuming his own dueling stance.
Pain exploded in Jack’s chest and his vision went white for a moment. He looked down to see a glowing teal lightsaber poking through his left lung.
“Is it related to where Sam and Dean are?” asked Chuck, his voice coming from all sides. The Chuck in front of Jack faded away and he felt a hand on his shoulder. “Don’t feel bad, kid. It was a good fight. Worthy of epics and songs.” Chuck pushed a button on the hilt of his weapon, and Jack screamed as pure agony struck every fiber of his being, dropping him to his knees as he dropped his sword. “You know this won’t kill you, right, Jack? You’re too juiced up for this to be fatal. So don’t think you just need to hold out until death claims you.” Again waves of agony washed over Jack. “Tell me where Sam and Dean are!”
Raising a shaking hand, Jack pointed at the Impala.
The lightsaber switched off as Chuck moved to get a closer look at the car. When he turned back to Jack, his eyes were pure white and black again. “What do you mean? They’re not in the trunk, disguised as the army men, or placed in any of the myriad of higher and lower dimensions the car occupies.”
After a couple of ragged breaths, Jack was able to smile. “Did you know, I spent a year in one of your other dimensions?”
Chuck’s eyes changed back to their regular blue as they became unfocused. “Oh right. The ‘world without Winchester.’”
“I learned a lot during that year.”
There was a lull in the fighting when Dean heard his phone going off. Switching off his radio, Dean moved to a quiet corner of the parking garage and said, “Must be bad if you’re using a private line, babe.”
He could feel the hesitation and pain in Anna’s voice before she spoke, “Dean… We know where Eve is.” There was a long pause as she struggled to say, “And I need her to blink.”
She didn’t have to say more, they had been together too long. He was the one she trusted most to understand her command and be flexible enough to accomplish it no matter the obstacles. He knew what the strain in her voice meant: she wanted anyone else to do this but had no one else she could trust to understand and carry it out.
“No worries. I got this,” Dean said with his usual air of bravado. “I love you.”
“I know,” she replied.
The fighting had subsided for the moment and the hunters on Dean’s team were leaning or sitting around the parking garage, enjoying the breather. He unholstered his sawed-off double-barrel, the first gun he had made and shot, and loaded it with two shells filled with phoenix ash. “Hey, O’Malley!” Dean shouted as he headed to his car, checking the address Anna had texted him.
The younger hunter jogged up to him as Dean got into the Impala. “We going somewhere?” he asked.
Dean rolled down the window and handed his radio to O’Malley as he said, “Just me. I got to make a milk run for the Mrs. You’re in charge, Nick.”
“Until you get back?”
Dean turned the key and let the roar of his trusty car wash over him. Out of the corner of his eye, he thought he saw someone sitting in the seat beside him, but it was just another passing vision. “Yeah. Until I get back.”
The gazes of the other hunters were somber as Dean pulled his car to the garage exit. O’Malley started shouting encouragement and the hunters followed his example, cheering Dean as he pulled away. They probably would have followed him if he asked. It was ultimately his call how many of them to bring, but Dean couldn’t bear to put any more of them as risk. Besides, the more soldiers Anna had at her disposal, the better her plans would work.
No, it was up to him alone to make a distraction Eve couldn’t ignore. Reaching into his jacket pocket, he pulled out a wallet sized photo of him and Anna holding John and Samantha. Leaning forward, he wedged it into the dashboard. “Ready for one last ride, Baby?” he asked, squeezing the wheel as if to hug the vehicle.
“No wait. Something’s missing…” Dean muttered to himself. He looked around the car until he spotted the box of cassette tapes that had ridden with the car as long as he had been alive. Without looking, he reached in and pulled one out at random and slid it into the tape deck.
‘RISE UP – GATHER ROUND – ROCK THIS PLACE – TO THE GROUND’ belted the recorded singer. Dean smiled.
“That’s more like it,” he said. “Now let’s kick it in the ass.” Dean said as he stomped on the gas.
Sam stepped back to admire his handiwork. All over the black, ’67 Impala were glyphs and markings scrawled with a white marker. Across its hood, along its trunk, and on both sides on all the doors, it was covered in the symbols Gadreel and Alex had shown him.
“Do you see it?” asked Gadreel.
Sam looked through his binoculars. The field had hosted countless battles over so many centuries, it was said the bones of fallen warriors made its bedrock. Now demons clashed with fairies as spells flew hither and yon, tearing up the landscape, while mystical weapons collided with thunderous fury. In the middle of it all, Puck stood next to a towering white wall, drawing shapes into the ground with his shillelagh. Circled about a ten yards radius from him were wards against demons carved into the ground. Another circle beyond that consisted of dozens of fairy folk of various sizes keeping the enemy from breaking the perimeter. “I do,” said Sam. “How long until he finishes?”
“If that is a true Bael arch, we have maybe eight to ten minutes to properly open it,” Gadreel answered. “You should have brought your friends.”
Sam shook his head as he went to the trunk and began grabbing weapons. “No, they have their tasks. They don’t need to be put in danger like this.”
The angel held up a silver blade – his sword – and said, “Thank you for the chance to fight with you, Sam Winchester.”
Sam picked up the last gun he could hold with his arms full and slammed the trunk closed. “We could all use a second chance now and then,” he said as he dumped all the guns and knives into the Impala’s front seat. He then climbed in behind the wheel and began cocking the weapons and checking their ammo as he arranged the arsenal on the seat beside him.
“Ready for battle?” Gadreel asked once Sam had finished preparing his dozen weapons.
“No,” Sam replied, surprising even himself. It wasn’t quite right. Again he felt like there was someone missing, someone that should be sitting on the seat here beside him. Leaning over, he opened the glovebox and a cigar box tumbled out into the floorboard. Sam chuckled. His mom and later he had used that old thing to hold fake IDs. He hadn’t used any of them for years since joining the FBI and acquiring a real badge. Picking up the box, he was surprised to see that it hadn’t just held IDs, but a cassette tape. A small photo had been in there too.
Sam picked up the photo and turned it over. A young Mary Winchester smiled back at him, holding a newborn baby. Next to her was a beaming man that Sam realized must have been John, and he was holding for the camera a young boy only a couple of years old. “All this time, Mom, and you never showed me Dad or Dean,” Sam muttered to himself. Leaning forward, Sam stuck the picture into the dashboard and started the Impala’s engine.
“You are ready now?” Gadreel asked again.
Sam looked at the cassette that had fallen out of the box then slid it into the tape deck and hit play.
‘GOING DOWN, PARTY TIME – MY FRIENDS ARE GONNA BE THERE TOO’ belted the recorded singer. Sam smiled and looked at the photo of his family.
“Let’s kick it in the ass,” he said as he cranked up the volume.
Gadreel spread his shadowy wings and dove into the vicious melee as Sam put the car into gear and stomped on the gas.
*****To Be Continued*****
Find out what happens to Sam, Dean, Castiel, Jack and friends in the final chapter of “With or Without You”! Until then, enjoy WFB’s other Supernatural fan fiction, found at the Fan Fiction tag on the bottom of every page!
Story and Illustration by Nate Winchester
Edited by Nightsky