I’m super interested in talking about *why* the Jedi Order failed politically (in their ties to a corrupt senate), socially (in holding themselves apart from non-users through things like Jedi “recruitment”), and spiritually (in straying from the Force) in lurid, graphic detail.

I’m interested in thinking about ways where it could have been different. Fundamentally this is because I would like to ponder changes that Luke could implement as safeguards against such failures as he rebuilds his own Jedi Order.

“Mom,” Dean gasps, relieved beyond measure. It had been exhausting cutting their way through hoards of demons and angels alike, but they’d finally found her among the wreckage. “You’re ok.”

Sam raised an eyebrow, spattered with black gore. “And in charge, apparently.”

Mary made an embarrassed little gesture, the beret on her head tipping down slightly. “There’s no nationalities here anymore. Just people. All of us, united against this. It’s what I wanted from the beginning.”

Dean nods; he can appreciate the simplicity. “Still, you look like you did pretty well for yourself.”

Mary smiles, small and secret. “Well, I had some help from a friend.” 

She looks over her shoulder. Dean and Sam twist to look as well.

From around a pillar of stone comes a snatch of a coat whipping in the wind, not tan but black, but the eyes are still the same.

Dean’s lips part in surprise. Sam gives an awed smile. “Cas,” he says.

This Castiel joins Mary’s side and sticks his hands into the pocket of his coat. “Hello,” he says, stiffly but almost shyly. “I’ve heard a lot about you.”

Dean’s heart drops to somewhere around his knees. I’ve heard. Because this is a world where Sam and Dean never existed. Castiel has never met them before.

Castiel looks at him. “You must be Dean,” he says, but it’s wrong. The voice is the same, but the way it says his name isn’t. The tenderness that comes with the sort of friendship they had is totally absent, and it’s so jarring that Dean actually feels like he’s going to cry.

What is it with the revived and his expectations lately?

Dean swallows past the lump in his throat. “Yeah,” he croaks.

It’s been six months since Castiel died in the real world. They threw themselves into finding a way to save the one person they could, and now they have this to deal with.

Or, well, Dean does. Castiel turns to Sam and says, “I hear I’m a ‘hugger’” and Sam swoops him up into an embrace, laughing loudly and slapping him on the back like nothing’s amiss. Like this is a gift.

It’s not. It’s just twisting the knife deeper.

“Dean?” Mary asks him.

He snaps his eyes back to her. He shakes his head and turns on his heel.

He can feel the familiar weight of a pair of eyes boring holes into his back as he walks away.

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