Ten years is long time in anybody’s book. Ten years since the angels fell. Ten years since everything just..stopped. All the evil, all the dark spots on this planet just vanished. Of course, the world still isn’t perfect – there’s still war, natural disaster, poverty. The Raiders keep losing and they stopped making fucking Twilight movies, so there might still be a God out there somewhere. Every so often, a spirit gets anchored and needs to be set free, but besides that, everything is just…quiet. Ten years. Ten years since Dean Winchester just stopped caring.
It wasn’t easy at first. The anxiety of waiting out the calm before the inevitable storm was suffocating. So when the calm just kind of…went on forever, it was easier to breathe, to focus on something other than impending death and destiny and all that shit that’s been ruling their lives since the beginning. It was just over. By no means was it easy to accept. Dean spent years with that itch he just couldn’t scratch - in the back of his head, nagging at him to go, to run, to hunt, to feel. Dean spent years sleeping with a knife under his pillow and never took the weapons out of the trunk of the Impala. He still whispers Christo when people are acting weird, but eventually, you have to accept that people are just fucking weird.
At some point along the way, Dean, Sam, and Cas just stopped hunting. Sammy decided to finish his degree and get a job, so they packed and closed up the Bunker. Thinking back, it was pretty dumb to let the fallen angel (human, whatever) pick where they went from there, but at the time, he still just wasn’t ready to trust himself - trust this new world - so letting other people make the decisions was easier..better. Cas picked fucking Lawrence, of course, the sentimental bastard.
So they went, bought a house on the outskirts of the Lawrence city limits, and settled in. Sammy started school in Kansas City, and Cas went with him. Art school, if you can believe it. Dean found himself a job at the old auto shop his dad used to work at to pass the time while his boys were away, and every day, they sat down together for a family dinner. Dean didn’t know happiness before this. Ten years ago, everything changed…he changed.
It’s been three years since…Well, that’s still too hard to think about sometimes, especially on nights like tonight. Tonight he’s lying in the grass of Sammy’s backyard - having just snuck away from his own birthday party - hands cradling his head as he gazes up at the stars. The loneliness ebbs away in this spot. This was where he and Sam tossed a football for the first time since they were kids after Sammy bought the place with his hard earned cash – bought it for him and his new fiancée. This was where Sammy and Avery got married and had their first dance together. This was where Hunter took his first steps. This was where he and Cas would lay, late at night, whispering to one another and watching out for shooting stars. This was where Cas taught Dean everything he knew about stars and constellations. He said that the stars could tell any story about any man on this Earth, you just have to start writing. So he and Cas wrote their own legacy between the constellations – every wish, every hope, every dream, every reality, every ounce of love between them laid bare across the starscape. A man can learn a lot about stars, about love, about humanity in three short months – and Dean will never forget a second of it.
It’s then that Dean hears the soft crunch of tiny feet on grass approaching him, breaking him away from his thoughts. He closes his eyes and smiles softly. “Hi, Uncle Dean.”
Dean chuckles gently, his eyes still closed. “Heya, Hunter.” He feels the grass and the air next to him displace and cracks one eye open to see Hunter arranging himself in the grass, the perfect mimic to his posture. He watches Hunter study the sky, probably trying to figure out what is so interesting up there that Dean hasn’t come inside to tuck him in yet.
“Whatcha been lookin’ at?” he asks, still staring up at the star-filled sky. Dean takes a deep breath and opens both eyes, swallowing up the stars once again. How do you explain to a kid the meaning of…well, everything?
“You remember I told you about Uncle Cas?” he asks quietly, not taking his eyes off of the constellation centered above him – Canis Major, Cas had called it.
“You said he was special. He had Grace,” Hunter replies in that ‘matter-of-fact’ way that only six year olds can manage. Dean can only smile at that.
“Yeah, he uh…he was special,” he says quietly. Dean shifts his body and points right above their heads. He’s never shared this, because it was for him and Cas, but if he has to share this anyone, it may as well be his nephew – the second love of his life with the innocent, inquisitive nature that rivals the first. “You see that star right there, the brightest one in the sky?”
“Yeah!” Kid’s already excited like he’s learning the hidden mysteries of world and the secret ingredient to Dean’s burgers. He probably should be telling the kid some science-y shit about how stars are created or naming off the constellations, but where is the magic in that? Dean is laying out here because of his imagination – because if he lays out here and gets lost in the stars long enough, the loneliness goes away. If he lets himself go enough, he can still feel Cas here, next to him.
“Well, uh…people who have Grace, when they have to leave us, it’s because the stars said it was time to come home.”
“You said Uncle Cas went to Heaven,” Hunter says, turning to face Dean.
“He did, Hunter. But that star right there,” he points again and waits until Hunter focuses on that tiny spot in the sky again - Sirius, Cas had said, with a deep chuckle when Dean mocked the name. “That’s your Uncle Cas. That’s his Grace. His Grace is the brightest star in the sky and it’s always gonna shine and it’s always gonna be there for you, okay?” Dean stops short, the words catching under the lump in his throat.
“Good. I’m glad he’s there for you too, Uncle Dean.”
They’re such simple words. Simple words from a six year old boy. But Dean feels himself smiling, his heart expanding and aching and breaking all at the same time.
As a silent tear slips from his eye, Dean reaches one hand out to hold Hunter’s, the last word Cas ever said to him on the tip of his tongue.
brah i remember in 10th grade man. i first saw the J Hot.
in all it’s ugly, accessible glory.
i was late to school right. and i saw my teammate (a graduating senior safety/linebacker) walkin into the cul de sac behind the cafeteria just as i was. i shouldve been headed towards class but i said fuck it i was just ognna wait for second period to be over and i was on my way to the bathroom.
i said wassup to brah as we saw each other in the cul de sac.
nigga didnt say wassup back man no nod or no like…peace sign or however we were sayin wassup back then.
so im in the bathroom right. so after i get done peein im washin my hands. just as i get finished washin my hands, i feel a gotdam STUPID ass hit on the side/back of my head and my world goes dark for like a quick second. then some more hits and im on the ground. i see a nigga wit a red bandana on and im like okay so some bloods are gonna jump. lets not get killed just let em finish cause nobody beats people to death at a school in a bathroom.
turns out it was the nigga i saw earlier.
nigga was on his J Hot tip brah lol.
im like “chill brah chill brah what udoin1” as he’s hittin me on the ground. when i see who it is i go “damon!” then he like gets madder and starts hittin me harder then goes through my pockets.
i can see the J-Hot in his eyes man. the J Hot Lucifer.
nigga looked like he was on some type of unknown tip when i saw him in the cul de sac.
like when i saw him, like my mind went “tip? unknown…i cannot determine what type of ish this man is on from what i see….stay alert…but he’s still ur teammate so nevermind he’s a friendly. ”
turns out that nigga was high on powder boy.
watch urselves high shcoolers. niggas be on independent solo type shit man. niggas be havin solo motivations out here brah. u will get robbed in that bathroom by a nigga who made a last minute decision.
like u can tell the shit was last minute cause he couldnt have seen me get to school.
nigga saw me at that spot right there and decided it was time for a Lucifer.
i bet it was so funny hearin the shit from outside the bathroom though. “chill brah chill!!” “damon?” “shut up nigga!”
the most J-Hot part about it was that i didnt have shit in my pockets but an empty velcro wallet that said “caleb” that i got in like 4th grade, and honey bun wrapping.
niggas be on solo campaigns man. niggas be on islands, mentally. yall watch urselves in these public areas. watch these people when theyre all alone and squintin into the diagonally-upward distance (the sky.) when niggas be lookin up at that sky in a listless manner
niggas is thinkin SKY-type things. niggas is thinkin bout sendin niggas to the sky.
the most j-hot part was actually the fact that another one of the teams graduating seniors told my coach that “one of ur shutdown corners had somethin happen to him. shutdown corners. i was Honored-Hot when i heard that.
dont trust people who look up to the sky or the ground. niggas be lookin lookin at that ‘crete. thinkin bout sendin boys to that 'crete.