Welcome to the conclusion of my vision of how Sam and Dean 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 this ending – well, it 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.
Now return with us to the Supernatural universe for the thrilling finale of “With or Without You!”
“With or Without You”
“One thing I learned is that worlds are bound together by the people and objects they have in common,” said Jack.
The room trembled, only this wasn’t a normal earthquake. It was as if reality itself was shaking.
“Two worlds – created with nothing in common? You can control where they intersect,” Jack said before snapping his fingers.
On both sides of the Impala, the air itself split apart into two long golden strands. Chuck turned and was captivated by the sight. Through both doorways he saw the worlds. Dozens upon thousands of unheard stories stretching forth from them. They were filled with characters he hadn’t written about in years and new ones filled with rich potential. Chuck was so enthralled, he didn’t notice Dean emerging from the portal on his right, nor Sam on his left.
Jack picked up off the floor the katana that he had shaped from Death’s scythe. The brothers, barreling forward, tackled Chuck with the force of two universes. With Dean on one arm and Sam on the other, the writer was knocked off balance and he fell backwards onto the point of the weapon Jack had raised.
Chuck Shurley looked down at the black, curved blade sticking out of his chest. “How very… thematic,” he said with a wry smile as his eyes turned white and black. “You should be proud,” he said to his favorite two brothers. “You taught him… well.”
The dying author struggled to stand back up, but his limbs began to shake and he was only able to prop himself up on his knees. He tried to grab the sword but the strength drained from his arms and they fell listless to his side. “The. End,” said Chuck as he closed his eyes and bowed his head.
The three of them waited for the kneeling body to stir, but it was unmoving.
Both of them stood up and embraced each other.
“Did we do it? Did we win?” asked Dean.
“Jack! Are you ok?” asked Sam.
Jack looked down at his own body. “I seem to be,” he said with a warm smile.
“So what happens now?” asked Sam.
As if in reply, all of reality began to shake.
“That can’t be good,” said Dean.
Jack snapped his fingers and Castiel appeared in the garage beside them. “I take it by the unraveling of reality that you were victorious, Jack?” the angel inquired.
The young man nodded.
“So that’s it? Everything dies?” asked Sam.
“Without a God to maintain everything… everything ends” said Castiel.
Jack moved over to Chuck’s body and knelt beside it. He slowly pulled out the black sword, causing bright, pure white light to spill out from the body’s chest and back.
“Whoa, Jack, what are you doing?” demanded Dean.
Jack looked up at the three of them. “The family business. Saving people, just like you taught me.”
“Hold on, there’s got to be another way,” said Dean.
“There isn’t,” Jack said as he placed his hand over the wound. “I have to save – everyone.” The light from the body wrapped around Jack’s hand as if embracing it before flowing into him. Out of Jack’s every pore it shone, until it erupted from his mouth and eyes as the Nephilim absorbed every drop of light he could hold. Jack’s glow grew brighter and brighter until Sam, Dean, and even Castiel had to avert their eyes.
“Thank you, fathers, for my life.”
The rumbling stopped, leaving those words echoing through the air.
When they opened their eyes, Chuck’s body, Death’s scythe, and Jack were all gone.
The uncomfortable silence was broken by Dean. “We’re still alive?”
“Yes,” Castiel answered. “It would seem Jack has assumed the role of God to keep the world spinning.”
“I need a drink,” Dean as he headed to the kitchen with Sam and Castiel following.
“So that’s it?” asked Sam. “Jack is just… gone? Never coming back?”
“I do not know,” Castiel replied as he watched Dean step through the kitchen’s rubble to fetch three beers out of the fridge.
“Can’t you use your angel privileges to find and ask him?” asked Dean.
Cas shrugged. “I can try, but he may spend many years distracted by learning about the new job before I can speak with him.”
Sam, who had been too lost in thought to even open his beer, stormed off towards the library.
“What are you doing?” Dean asked as Sam grabbed one of the older tomes from the shelves and brought it to the table.
“We dealt with Chuck, we dealt with Amara. I know there’s got to be a way that we can summon Jack here–“
Castiel put his hand on his friend’s arm. “Sam. Stop.”
Sam looked up at the angel with watery eyes.
“Jack has to do this on his own. When he’s ready, he’ll come back to us.”
Sam looked down and with a sad smile said, “Are you telling me to have faith?”
Castiel looked at both brothers. “Has family ever failed you?”
Neither of them replied. Sam closed the book and pushed it aside before he opened his beer and sat down. Castiel settled into one of the chairs as well while Dean picked up one that had been knocked over and set it upright before plopping himself into the seat.
Dean held his beer aloft. “To Jack!”
Sam and Cas nodded as they clinked their bottles against Dean’s and the three men took a solemn drink.
“You would not believe what happened to me,” Dean said after the moment of silence.
“Couldn’t have been any stranger than what happened to me,” Sam replied.
“It was like that time Zachariah had us working in an office building.”
“Yeah. I had a life, new memories, but I kept seeing memories of here.”
“Apologies, that was… my idea,” said Cas.
The brothers both shot him questioning looks.
“True, it was your idea, Sam, to hide you both to distract Chuck long enough for Jack to be trained. I had the thought that if you were separated, it would be harder for Chuck to find you. Jack… created the two worlds for you to hide in from your memories and desires.”
“How long were we there?” asked Sam.
Castiel shrugged. “Difficult to say. Time can flow differently between dimensions.”
“Was it real?” asked Dean. “Are the people there alive? What will happen to them?”
Again Castiel shrugged. “Jack did not tell me the details of your realms. He did say that they would be weaker than other worlds, and that the bond you two have is so strong, the worlds would slowly unravel until you were both reunited.”
“Or until Jack smashed them open to give him just enough edge over Chuck,” said Sam.
They drank in silence for a long time as they ruminated over recent events.
Dean was the first to speak. “So. What was your world like, Sammy?”
Sam took a deep breath. “I worked for the FBI.”
Dean almost spit up his beer. “Really?”
“Really.” Sam gave a half smile. “Agent Henricksen was my partner. We still hunted monsters, but I had obtained my law degree and had a real badge.”
“My brother, a G-man. Wish I could have seen you in one of those suits.”
Sam chuckled. “Yeah it was… a sight. You?”
Dean looked around the room. “Just… took care of the bunker here. Had a wife. Couple of kids named John and Samantha.”
Dean took a quick drink to hide that his eyes were starting to water. “Well… my daughter was born with your hair.”
The three of them shared a laugh.
“Wish I could have met them,” said Sam wistfully.
Dean gave a slight nod as he seemed to expect one of the kids to come running around the corner any minute. Setting his beer down, he pulled out his pocketknife, leaned over the library table and carved the letters ‘J’ and ‘K’ next to his, Sam’s, and Mary’s initials. When he was finished, he stood up and said, “To family.”
“To our son,” said Castiel.
“He was a Winchester, through and through,” said Sam.
Dean flipped his knife around and held it out for Castiel. “So are you.”
The angel gave a look of confusion.
“Your initials, Cas. Add them to the table,” explained Dean.
Taking the knife, Castiel leaned over and carved a ‘C’ close to the ‘JK’, along with a strange collection of squiggles and lines.
“What’s that next to the C?” asked Sam.
“That is the Enochian pictogram for my last name,” answered Castiel.
Dean chuckled. “All this time, I never knew you had a last name.”
“You never asked.”
“Cas, would Jack hear our prayers?”
“Undoubtedly,” said Cas.
Sam raised his bottle into the air. “Then Jack, if you can hear us… carry on, our adopted son.”
Castiel smiled and lifted his bottle into the air as well. “We are proud of a job well done.”
Dean lifted his bottle and said, “When we lay our weary heads to rest, we won’t cry no more.”
*** THE SUPERNATURAL ***
In a place beyond, Jack sat in a reclining seat, watching Sam, Dean and Castiel clink their bottles together. In the seat beside him, Chuck slurped loudly from an oversized cup before grabbing a handful of popcorn out of the gigantic tub on his lap and stuffing it in his mouth. To Jack’s left and beyond Chuck, more theater seats identical to the ones they sat in stretched to an infinity beyond where he could see. Jack turned his gaze back to the scene before him and watched Dean run off to get more beers while Sam and Castiel talked and laughed.
The scene faded to black.
Chuck put his cup in the drink holder and handed Jack the bucket of popcorn. Standing up, the author began applauding loudly, cheering, even sticking his fingers in his mouth to whistle loudly.
Jack found the button and pushed it to move his chair into an upright position, feeling very confused.
“Well done,” said Chuck. “Well done. Maybe a bit melodramatic in a few places, but you really nailed the important stuff. Here, you’ve earned these,” he said tossing something at Jack.
The young man caught the objects that had been tossed to him. Examining them closely, he saw they were three interlocking key rings with seven gold and silver keys on them. From one keyring dangled a flat image of a planet with rings. On the second keyring was a flattened image of a tree. On the third keyring dangled the flattened image of a quill and ink bottle. “What are these?”
“Why, the keys to your little multiverse,” said Chuck. “You’re in charge of it now, though I wouldn’t worry. Amara belongs to that collection, so she’ll be around if you need help. Good luck being god.”
So many questions flooded Jack’s mind and got stuck trying to exit his mouth all at once, all he could ask was, “What?”
Chuck pointed up and the scene they had just been watching appeared. It began rewinding until it reached the moment Jack had stabbed Chuck. “You beat me. You won.” The image moved forward to the moment of Jack absorbing Chuck’s power. “Like you said here, you get to be god now.”
“But… you’re alive.”
“Of course. You think I can’t create some stunt doubles for an action scene?”
“The power I absorbed?”
“Infinity divided by any fraction is still infinity. That’s not what matters right now,” sighed Chuck as he flopped back down into his seat. “Don’t you get it, Jack?”
The kid shook his head.
“Your challenge. The trials! They were never about killing me. I was just playing the role of a villain to give it all… an epic finale! No hard feelings, ok?”
“Then… what was it about? Why did you put us through all of that?”
“For the stories, Jack! You proved your worth when you took my original world and built something new out of it.”
“I only did that to hide Sam and Dean from you.”
Chuck laughed. “The why doesn’t matter. You created! That’s what’s important! You didn’t destroy it all to try and stop me. You built up. You made new.”
“The stories, Jack, they never end. They’re never over. Not as long as you remember them and keep them going. However you want to tell them – that is now up to you. You can take Sam and Dean to the ends of their lives then to the afterlife itself. Or you can make them immortal forever. You can tell tales about their descendants in the future. Or tell of their ancestors in the past. Make spinoffs involving their friends. Make spinoffs involving their enemies. Invent new friends for them. Stick them with a surly Brit and an alien in a blue box. Put them in new settings. Make copies of the boys and keep going with either of those spinoffs you made. Whatever inspires you, Jack, the most important thing is that you create.”
Chuck stood up and spread his arms. “Because! This!” He spun around to emphasize the overwhelming void before them. “Because this is the alternative!”
Jack stood, and for the first time began to take in the true scale of the eternity that surrounded them.
“Take it all away – the universe, life, souls, and all the stories that grow from those things, and all you have is nothing. Emptiness. The vast abyss.” Chuck smiled and clasped Jack’s shoulder. “But if we all create, every one of us… If I inspire you and you inspire another who inspires another then another and another… “together, we can fill infinity.”
“That’s what it’s all about?” asked Jack.
“Were you expecting the hokey pokey?” Chuck replied with a wink as he began walking away.
“Do I just… control them? Are they all just puppets?”
Chuck shrugged as his voice echoed back saying, “That’s up to you! Though I personally find a dash of Free Will always makes the stories more exciting. Trust in what your fathers taught you!”
Jack raised his hand to wave goodbye. “Will I ever see you again?”
“Not for a while,” he heard Chuck shout. “I have this new story idea about superheroes I’m anxious to try. All this, I leave to you. Get creative.”
Jack looked down at the keys he had been given. It was a lot to take in.
Summoning a desk, Jack sat down to a blank sheet of paper.
Dipping his quill into the ink bottle, Jack began to write…
Dean survived his battle with Eve but now searched a war-torn city for his family. Sam stopped the fairies, but still had to save his friends from the fairy world. It would be challenging for either one, but neither of them would quit. No matter the world, no matter the life, the Winchesters would always carry on the family business.
Story and Illustration by Nate Winchester
Edited by Nightsky
Dedicated To: Alice Jester, The WFB founder
Special Thanks to Eric Kripke
For all the fans.
Enjoy WFB’s other Supernatural fan fiction, found at the Fan Fiction tag on the bottom of every page!
Find Nate Winchester’s Supernatural video episode reviews, graphic novel and book reviews, and other features on his Writer’s Page.