ok but it’s a wonderful life au
dean winchester has had a good life. at twelve he saved his little brother sammy’s life when they were sledding on thin ice – it cost dean his hearing in one ear but he never minded. worked at the ice cream shop, flirted with the girls who came in (lisa braeden always tried to catch his eye), grew up reading national geographic magazines cover to cover.
he always wanted to travel. he wanted to build – cars, homes, families. he wanted to make people happy in concrete ways.
but then his dad died, and dean took over the family business – Winchester Building & Loan. basically the only business in bedford falls that WASN’T controlled by crowley, the greediest, slimiest capitalist in the country. dean had a responsibility to carry on his family’s work. he gave his college money to his kid brother, who went on to be a lawyer and a war hero.
dean worked day and night, tirelessly, putting everyone else’s needs above his own. he never got to travel. he never got to go to college. but he got to build homes, a whole new housing development. he got to defy crowley and defy expectations, and it was a good life.
until. until uncle bobby misplaced $100,000. and suddenly everything came crashing down.
which brings us to this. dean winchester, standing on a bridge, trying to work up the courage to jump. he’s got a life insurance policy in his pocket that puts in writing what he already knows: he’s worth more dead than alive.
and then this grumpy guardian angel, castiel, shows up.
castiel is wearing a too-big trench coat, he talks like he’s from three centuries ago, and maybe he is. he doesn’t get any of dean’s pop culture references. but he’s patient, and he talks dean down from the bridge. wipes the blood from his lips– “bar fight gone wrong,” dean says. cas has really, really blue eyes, but dean obviously doesn’t notice.
angel, second-class. hasn’t gotten his wings yet, he says.
“well, this job won’t help,” dean says. “i’m a lost cause.” he mutters something about “i wish i’d never been born,” and cas says, “okay.”
and there they are. in a bedford falls with a gaping hole in the middle of it, something missing that nobody remembers. dean winchester.
dean walks through the town, through his usual bars (he and cas get a drink together, and dean tries not to watch cas’s mouth on the edge of a shot glass). nobody remembers him, not even his best friends, victor and charlie.
winchester park, the housing development he built with his own hands, foundation up, doesn’t exist. in its place is a graveyard. in its place is sam winchester’s grave, sam winchester who died at the age of eight after falling through thin ice.
“You weren’t there to save him,” cas says, and dean shakes his head.
“no, that’s wrong. that can’t be– i– sam’s my brother. i’m meant to protect him. it’s my job.”
“sam never had a brother,” cas says. he looks at dean. he can’t understand why this human, this rough-edged, freckle-faced human, would want to kill himself. he’s flawed, but he’s good. kind. cas has spent so many millennia watching humans, and the last thirty years watching dean. humans are so special. and dean is the best of them all, in cas’s eyes.
he watched dean throw stones at an old house and make wishes on broken glass. he watched dean kiss girls, and boys. he watched dean fall in love, too many times, with too many people who never loved him back. and today, this night, he watched dean sit at a polished wood bar and pray, for the first time since he was a kid, pray for god to save him.
god isn’t here, but castiel is. dean would do anything for the people he loves; castiel is just trying to do the same.
in the end dean gets it, gets why he can’t kill himself. he sees the light in the world, in bedford falls. he sees that it was all worthwhile. and so he runs back to the bridge and this time, instead of looking at the water he looks at the sky, and he shouts at god, at the stars, “i want to live again!”
it starts snowing. his lip bleeds. he laughs until he cries. victor finds him on the bridge like that, takes him home, and–
there’s everyone in bedford falls, crowded into his old, broken-down home (he was so busy fixing other people’s homes he never had time for his own), wallets overflowing with money for him. money to help him, to save him. someone counts it all up to be $103,214.06
his mother cries. she starts singing auld lang syne and everyone joins in, and the room swells up with all this joy, all this christmas cheer, and dean can’t stop smiling.
but something’s missing. cas is missing. a bell rings, and dean thinks hey, maybe that’s cas finally getting his wings.
but it’s the bell over his door. because cas is standing there, windblown, snow on the shoulders of his trench coat. he’s out of breath and dean shoves through the crowd to get to him.
“your wings?” dean says.
“didn’t need them.”
“i don’t need immortality. i don’t want my wings. i just want you. i want a human life, with you.”
people are singing christmas carols, in the street and in dean’s home. his pulse is rushing, face flushing. he says, “cas. i.”
“i want to be here, with you, in this wonderful life.”
dean pulls him in by the lapels and kisses him. he won’t let go again.