Title: It’s a Winchester Life (1 of 2)
Summary: A Winchester-y take on Frank Capra’s holiday classic It’s a Wonderful Life. What would the world be like if one Dean Winchester had never been born?
Characters: Dean, Cas, Sam, mentions of others
Rating: PG-13 for language
Warnings: Brief suicidal ideation (if you’ve seen the movie, you know the score), S8 SPOILERS
A/N: I fabricated Bedford Falls, NM. I have no idea if this place really exists on a map. If by chance it does and it is your hometown, please don’t be offended. Also, I expect this to be heavily Joss’d come January, but this is the holidays, so I’m gonna have my little fantasy J
Wordcount: ~2,200 this part (expect about double that overall) Should post the rest tomorrow or by Monday.
Dean had to laugh to himself when he saw the name of the town on the exit sign: Bedford Falls. Now wasn’t that the place to find oneself on a Christmas Eve? The picture perfect, apple pie town of Jimmy Stewart’s beloved George Bailey. Of course he remembered that town. He’d only seen the movie five-gazillion times. No matter how skeevy a motel was, you could always find at least one TV station showing it between Thanksgiving and New Years and, more often than not, he caught it at least once a year.
Problem was, this version of Bedford Falls wasn’t exactly picturesque. For one thing, this was Bedford Falls, New Mexico. He couldn’t quite remember where the movie version of the town was, but he was fairly certain it was up north somewhere. New York or someplace in New England, maybe? Definitely not New Mexico.
Aside from the difference in geography, there was the fact that this was apparently the Bedford Falls of Bizarro World or the one that existed in the world where the evil Mr. Potter ruled. The place was a shithole to put it kindly.
It seemed the recession, the meth epidemic, and every other societal problem of the past two centuries had converged here to create a quaint patchwork of empty buildings, pawn shops, working girls, and teenagers with nothing worthwhile to do.
Yeah, definitely Potterville. Now he was just waiting to see Dru Barrymore’s evil great-grandaddy come rolling by in his wheelchair, smoking a cigar and cackling maniacally while he counted his cash and ran down starving street urchins. That would actually be kind of funny… in a sick, twisted sort of way.
Dean was beginning to wonder if the 24-hour/always open diner he saw a sign for still existed or if it had closed-up shop like most everything else in this town. Then he saw the bridge up ahead. That sight was just a little too much, even for his freak show of a life.
It looked exactly like the bridge from It’s a Wonderful Life, the one that old George was going to take a swan dive from. And even though it was dark out, it still seemed to live in a strange black and white sort of world of its own. Dean had sure as hell seen his share of freaky angelic television dimensions, but he had to check this out. Come on! He’d more than likely end up regretting it, but he had to check it out.
He eased the Impala onto it and, sure enough, now he was in black in white. Seriously, what the hell?
After pulling to a stop right smack in the middle of the bridge, Dean climbed out and wandered toward the edge. He wasn’t quite sure if this was real. It reminded him of something out of the African dream root experience. With his luck, he was about to face down both his demon possessed doppelganger and the ghost of Jimmy Stewart.
He was a bit surprised to make it to the edge and see nothing but dark, swirling water below. It was much colder here in this Twilight Zone version of George Bailey’s bridge from Bedford Falls. It was also blowing snow.
It was blowing friggin snow. In New Mexico. Where it was a good, solid 50 degrees not 50 yards south. Yeah, this made all sorts of sense. All sorts of it. Maybe this was the universe’s sick way of telling him it was time to hang it up. After all, his life did pretty much blow.
Practically everyone he’d ever known or cared about was either dead or didn’t know he existed anymore. And Sam wasn’t speaking to him, hadn’t spoken to him since the fake 911 from Amelia.
He’d tried to explain. He’d even gone to Texas, but Sam was nowhere to be found by then and was once again not answering any of his phones.
Saw Amelia though. She was just a girl. Kind of cute. Definitely human. Not Ruby. Not a monster. Not anything horrible at all.
He wasn’t exactly blown away by her. A part of him wanted to be. Part of him wanted to think ‘Wow, this chick is so worth leaving your brother to rot in Purgatory over! Now I understand!’
But no, she was just a person. A mere human being. And a married one too, apparently. Damn. He’d kind of sent ole Sammy into the hornets’ nest there. No wonder he was pissed.
He almost introduced himself, but decided it was best not to. He didn’t know what or how much she knew about him and figured he could track his brother just as well without her. There were many times he’d had to track down a Sam that didn’t want to be found, this was just one more.
Eventually, he’d given up on finding him in Texas and drifted across the state line into New Mexico. Now, here he was in fake Bedford Falls vaguely considering throwing himself off of Jimmy Stewart’s fake bridge in the fake snow.
Suicide had never truly been a viable option for Dean. Sure, he’d have done it if he ever truly thought it would solve any of his problems. But, truth was, he knew way too much about what went on behind the curtain for that.
If the Catholics were right about the suicide thing, then he’d go to hell, which was… hell. And with Crowley in charge down there, it might be even worse than hell this go around.
Then there was heaven. The best he could hope for up there was an eternity of re-runs, but he highly doubted the angels would make it that easy for him. He was pretty sure he’d be less than popular upstairs as well.
Sadly, he’d probably fit in best in Purgatory. At least he understood the politics of the place. Kill or be killed. It was pretty cut and dried.
Screwed. That was him. His life was a great cosmic joke and now even God, some Trickster, or who-the hell-knows-what-else had decided to have some fun with him.
“Cas,” he called out just because. “Dude, you better not appear out of nowhere and jump off this bridge. My ass ain’t jumping in that cold water to save you. Whatever the game is, I’m not playing.”
Dean should be used to it. He really should. But every time Cas materialized out of nowhere when he wasn’t expecting it, he almost had a stroke. One day he was going to have a stroke or piss his pants, or both. He was actually very glad to see the guy, but a little warning would have been so nice.
“You seem surprised,” Cas remarked mildly.
“A little bit.” Jeez what an understatement.
“You called me.”
“No, I was running my mouth. There’s a difference. I didn’t exactly expect you to turn up. You don’t normally pop-up out of nowhere every time your name gets mentioned.”
Castiel nodded his head in agreement as he stared out across the dark water. “True. But this time you sounded particularly,” he paused as if trying to find the right word before finally settling on, “frustrated. I thought you might require my assistance.”
Frustrated. Yeah, that was a good word for it. But, wait a minute…
“Cas, are you saying you can hear every conversation where your name is mentioned? Dude, do you just sit around listening to all conversations where your name is brought up, because that’s just weird and all kinds of creepy.”
“I am an angel, Dean. I’m tuned-in to many frequencies at once.”
Dean ran a hand down his face and realized that his nose was almost numb from the sudden artic temperatures. Cas really had not answered his question, but whatever. One weird-ass, disturbing thing at a time.
“What’s the score here, Clarence? Did we get thrown into an old movie or what? Am I here to learn that the world would be better off if I’d never been born?”
Cas turned to him with an uncharacteristic expression of surprise painted on his features.
“Meg used to call me that. I never understood the reference.”
“It’s a Wonderful Life.”
The angel tilted his head and blinked his eyes at Dean. Damn. It was almost comforting that some things never seemed to change. Cas was still as clueless as a toddler at times.
“Is it?” he asked.
“No, Cas, it friggin’ sucks. That’s the title of an old movie. It’s a classic. Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed?”
“Jimmy Stewart, the actor?”
“Yeah, Jimmy Stewart, the actor.”
“He has a very interesting heaven, actually. I think you call it BDSM. There is lots of rubber and -”
“Dude! I really don’t need to know about that! Just let me tell you about the movie, okay. It’s important.” Later, he was going to ask Cas to wipe that bit of info from his brain. This was Jimmy Stewart for God’s sake! The man was a national treasure.
“Okay,” Cas agreed. He actually looked like he was pouting about not being allowed to share his juicy gossip.
“Okay… So, Jimmy Stewart plays this guy named George Bailey and George is this really good guy. He lives in a town called Bedford Falls, just like this place, except not a shithole, this place is perfect. Lionel Barrymore plays a douchebag who tries to make it seem like good ole George is stealing money from the bank where he works. A lot of crap goes down and George decides to throw himself off a bridge that’s exactly-friggin-like this bridge where we’re standing. Snow, black and white effects, and everything. But before he can do it, he sees some old dude flapping around out in the water and he jumps in to save him. Turns out the old dude is actually an angel named Clarence who was just pretending to drown to keep George from killing himself.”
“Oh, so that is the source of Meg’s reference.”
Dean nodded. “That’s Meg’s reference.”
“I miss Meg,” Cas remarked thoughtfully. “I worry about what may be happening to her. It cannot be pleasant.”
Honestly, Dean could give a rat’s ass. Meg would slit any of their throats just for kicks. But, being a dick hadn’t gotten him very far lately, so he decided on a shrug and a quick change of subject.
“Anyway,” he said, plowing ahead with his tale, “George tells Clarence that he wishes he was never born. Clarence needs to earn his angel wings, so he shows George what a terrible place Bedford Falls would be if George had never been born and George realizes he wants to live. George lives happily ever after, Clarence gets his wings, and everyone has a Merry Christmas. The end.”
Cas seemed to give the story a moment or two to soak in.
“Angels do not have to earn their wings, Dean. We are created with them. We don’t go through any special process to obtain them.”
Dean sighed. Leave it to Cas to pick up on that detail.
“That’s not the point, Cas. It’s a movie. I’m just telling you the plot. It’s not a theology lesson.”
“And you think we are in this movie?”
“Kinda? I mean, the bizarro version of it. Look around, Cas, something’s messing with reality here. Don’t you agree?”
“Okay. And, trust me, this is not George Bailey’s version of Bedford Falls. This is more like the version of Bedford Falls that existed in the world where George Bailey was never born. The crap version. Some supernatural smartass is trying to say I should have never been born. Which yeah, fine! I get it!” he yelled, giving the finger to the increasingly snow-filled sky. “But exactly what the fuck am I supposed to do about it?”
“Okay,” Cas said, sounding infuriatingly calm given how enraged Dean was feeling at the moment.
“Okay, you were never born.”
That was not what Dean expected to hear, so his rage fell in on itself a little. It was hard to keep a good, righteous anger going when your company was so friggin bland about everything.
“I, what now?”
“You were never born.”
“I’m standing right here, Cas. No offense, but are you sure your marbles are all back in place?”
“I am perfectly sane. I just thought this would be an interesting exercise. If it helps you to understand the concept, you can think of this as an alternate dimension. A dimension where everything is exactly the same, except you were never born. You are simply here visiting.”
“Awesome. I’m a tourist.”
“If it helps you to see it that way.”
Dean threw up his hands. “Whatever. You’re running this tour, Clarence. What’s our first stop?”
Cas did not look like a man with a plan. A deer in headlights would be Dean’s description.
“What was your destination when you drove into this town?” he asked.
Read Part 2