Another Auld Lang Syne
Story by Gail Z. Martin
Dioramas by Catherine Curl
Author’s Note: I wrote this during Season 14 before the mid-season finale, so it’s a look into the past. This first appeared in my Supernatural TFWNC group on Facebook.
New Year’s Eve at the Bunker is fairly quiet—a rarity for the Winchesters. They pick up burgers and wings—and beer. Maybe Cas or Eileen or AU Bobby will drop by, maybe not. They watch Die Hard—because it’s a Christmas movie, after all—but now, they both flinch because the fight with AU Michael and wolfed-out Garth makes Nakatomi Plaza a little too real.
Dean realizes Sam is feeling too many memories—and Dean doesn’t need to remember that time, either—so he changes channels. “Seen that a thousand times,” he mutters, not that it fools Sam, who gives him a grateful half-smile, knowing what he did there, and why.
It’s easy between them now. It wasn’t always. But like Dean told Sam, and Sam told John, they’ve learned to let go and leave the past behind. They grew up—and learned to talk it out, stop keeping secrets. (If Dean ever gets another chance to time travel, that’s what he’d tell both their younger selves, not that they’d have listened.) All that matters is that they’re alive, and together. They’re good with themselves, with each other, with their lives, with hunting. It’s been a long time coming, but now that they’re here, it feels….solid.
For Christmas, they splurged and went together on a gift for both of them—an un-haunted big-screen TV. Sam pointed out that they’d watched enough movies on laptops and crappy hotel TVs to last a lifetime. Dean ragged on him about the ‘fading eyesight of the elderly’, Sam reminded him who was older, and they’d bought one big enough that they’d needed to borrow Bobby’s truck to bring it home. It took all three of them to carry it in.
When Dean looks in the mirror, he sees the mileage—and it’s been a long, hard road. He knows he’s only still here because of Sam. Funny, but when he looks at Sam, despite everything—and Dean knows that although he hasn’t had it easy, Sam’s had the worst of it, time and again—he doesn’t see the years. Not really. It’s like he sees all the phases of Sam, all at once, on top of each other—geeky kid brother, the goofball riding shotgun in the Impala, the guy who stared down the Devil and made Lucifer blink, the bad-ass MOFO hunter, and now, with all his research and occult knowledge, Rowena’s witchy heir.
Dean knows better than to say “I’m proud of us.” That sends a shiver through him, just remembering the last time he spoke those words, and he knows Sam still has nightmares about that time. But he is so damn proud of Sam. And although, even with their new, improved talking they still don’t say as much as they probably should, Sam’s let him know that he’s proud of Dean, too. Dean struggles to believe that, but he’s learned to try.
They channel surf. A lot of movies are off the table…just because. Titanic—nope. It’s a Wonderful Life—hits a little too close to home, with all the Djinns and asshole-archangel time f**kery. They still like westerns, although having been to the Old West, the real thing left a lot to be desired. Ha. How many people can say that?
In the end, they watch a ScoobyDoo marathon Sam finds on one of the streaming channels. It’s like spending the evening with old friends.
“Velma was really crushing on you, dude,” Dean teases. “Those shoulders,” he adds, pitching his voice higher, like a swooning fangirl.
Sam rolls his eyes. “Whatever. You were crushing on Daphne so hard, I’m surprised you noticed.”
“It would never have worked, Sammy. She was so….two-dimensional.”
That makes Sam snort his beer, as Dean intended. They both know that they’re not the white picket fence type. Been there, done that; it didn’t work out for either of them. Maybe for the best, maybe not, but what’s done is done. There would be worse things than ending up as two bachelor brothers living out their golden years in a cabin somewhere, arguing about who forgot to pick up more beer – worse things like one of them not making it to the end. That’s happened too many times, and always, they’ve nearly burned down the world left on their own. The universe has made it clear they’re stronger together, and Dean really hopes that the universe overrides even the will of Chuck. Because this time, they’re staying together, like Sam said, no matter what.
Dean sees Sam watching him, with a look that suggests his brother can guess his thoughts, and faking a smile, tries to shake off his mood.
“Have another beer, Sammy. Not like we’re drivin’ anywhere.”
When they run out of beer, Dean brings out a good bottle of scotch. It’s the one Ketch gave him, which hurts a little, but Dean doesn’t mention it, because tonight isn’t about pouring one out for all the people they’ve lost—too damn many—it’s about right now, which is all they have.
Tonight is a break in the storm they know is coming. This time feels special, maybe a little sacred. Cas would probably call it something dumb, like a ‘state of grace’. Dean doesn’t know what’s coming with Chuck, but it won’t be good. This might be the time they run out of luck. Sam knows it too, Dean sees it in his eyes. But Sam’s smile is real and warm as they pour a couple of fingers of scotch into their glasses and raise a toast.
Dean clears his throat. Saying things out loud has never been easy for him, but dammit, this time he’s going to do it, because they might not have another chance. He hopes not—he wants to see them both get old and gray and spend their time fishing on a lake somewhere, with a cabin and a dog like Sam always wanted. But Dean’s a realist, and he knows the odds, so he’s not going to miss the opportunity.
“To us,” he says, lifting his glass. Sam gives him his ‘confused spaniel’ look, squinching his eyebrows, which makes Dean grin. “Auld lang syne, and all that shit.”
Sam clinks his tumbler against Dean’s with a smile that says he already knows all the things Dean couldn’t find the words to say—and feels the same. “Happy New Year, Jerk.”
“Right back atcha, Bitch.”
Song—”December Prayer” by Idina Mendel
A little gift from the heart, for my SPNFamily. Happy New Year. Or as Charlie would put it—Peace out, bitches!
Get to know CatCurl, the artist behind these vignettes, and see her incredible Supernatural drawings, in WFB’s artist profile: Inspired by Supernatural!