Title: What Could Have Been
Disclaimer: I do not own Smallville or Supernatural
Summary:When Dean goes to confront the Djinn he wakes up in a world he doesn't recognize, one in which he doesn't hunt, his mother is alive, his brother hates his guts, and he's married to a beautiful, pregnant, and somewhat scary Chloe Sullivan-Winchester. He's sure he's switched places with the Dean of this reality to try and mend the broken relationship with his brother----but he never thought he'd grow to enjoy the 'other' Dean's life---or fall in love with his wife. When its time to go, will he really want
Note: Set During Supernatural's Season 2's episode: "What Is And What Should Never Be".
It was Sunday morning and Dean had made a mess of the kitchen. A whole week had passed since he’d awoken in this alternate universe, and through a lot of trial and error he’d found out not only where it was his mechanic shop was, but also figured out another reason why Sammy hated him so much.
Apparently the other Dean had liked other men’s women.
It’d taken a lot of cunning questions on his half towards his mother and Chloe, but Dean had realized in surprise that Chloe had been Sam’s girlfriend before she’d been his. That little piece of news had shocked him to the core, and he hadn’t believed it at first.
He would never poach on Sammy’s girls---or, well, he didn’t in his dimension. Apparently in this one he’d flirted a storm with Sam’s few girlfriends, and when Sam and Chloe had broken up so he could concentrate completely on his studies when he was accepted in Stanford Dean hadn’t waited for the dust to settle before insinuating himself in Chloe’s life and seducing her into a relationship with him.
From little comments Chloe had made while recounting the story of how they’d gotten together (since he’d said he was feeling nostalgic and wanted to hear the story again), she’d resisted at first, not really interested in him since she’d seen him with his other girlfriends and knew he was a womanizer. It was only after Sam had commented about a friend named Jessica whom he was spending time with at school that Chloe had given into Dean’s doggedly persistent pursuing (his mother’s words, not his).
He’d then knocked her up.
She hadn’t even been nineteen yet and he’d gotten her pregnant. That was low, even for his standard, but Chloe had assured him that as soon as she’d told him about her condition he’d asked her to marry him---with the bottle cap of the beer he’d been opening as the news was proclaimed. It hadn’t been the most romantic of proposals, and she hadn’t accepted.
Dean really didn’t blame her.
Chloe had then told him that he’d proceeded to propose to her at least once a week after that rejection, and she joked that she only accepted a month later just to get him to stop.
All of this apparently hadn’t been told to Sam, who was busy with studying around that time, and when he came back for the holidays he’d been blindsided by his ex-girlfriend pregnant and engaged to his brother. And then, to top it all, Dean had had the gall to ask him to be the best man at the wedding.
Even to Dean that seemed a little low, because, if the wedding pictures he’d looked over with Chloe had anything to say about it, Sam hadn’t gotten over Chloe by that time. All the pictures in which Sam were in had him looking at the blonde with a sad, longing expression on his face.
And it made Dean feel like crap.
His whole life he’d always tried to make Sammy happy, to make sure that his life wasn’t as crappy as it’d been, but in this one he seemed to have been the reason for Sam’s misery. Sure, Sam and Chloe might have decided to separate on their own, but Sam had still been in love with her, and Dean was sure that he had known that.
“What’s this?” Chloe asked, smiling as she sat up on bed, yawning.
“It’s supposed to be breakfast.” Dean grimaced at the charcoaled bread and runny eggs. “But I think it might give you and Ree food poisoning so---.”
He turned to leave, taking the messily filled tray with him.
“No! No! Gimme! Gimme!” Chloe raised her hands. “You’ve never made me breakfast in bed before! Please!”
Turning, Dean sent a curious glance at her and couldn’t help but smirk as he watched her wriggling her fingers expectantly at him. This last week he’d spent it mostly between his mother, and his wife and son. He couldn’t believe that he could have the opportunity to be with his mother, to have her hug him, to smell that comforting scent that he remembered from childhood.
And he couldn’t believe how good a family could be. He’d always dreamed of having one, but he’d always had that tiny doubt in the back of his mind that it wasn’t as good as it seemed. But this last week had been like a dream. He’d spent the time teaching Johnny how to throw and catch a baseball, and taking care of Chloe despite her half-hearted protests that she could and was used to taking care of herself---even if she couldn’t see her toes anymore.
He’d never done anything like this before other than taking care of Sammy as they were growing up---and Dean found that he utterly enjoyed the role of husband and father. He would go to his own mechanic shop for a couple of hours, pick up Johnny from school, and then the rest of the time was spent at home with his wife and son.
Sure, sometimes some things were unknown and awkward at best, but he found this new role entertaining and fulfilling, and when he laid down in bed at night with Chloe he found himself unable to sleep if he wasn’t curled behind her, an arm around her impossibly large stomach, thumb caressing the skin. One night he’d even been as Woman’s Channel enough as to rest his head softly on that stomach and try hear the baby.
He’d found out that Ree reacted to his voice. Whenever he was close and talked to her she seemed to realize it because she moved, shifting inside of her mother. The realization had humbled him to the core, as had the first time he’d placed his hand to Chloe’s stomach and felt the baby kick, as if proving that she was in there somewhere and her mother’s wasn’t that big just because her appetite had increased.
It made Dean wonder about Chloe’s pregnancy with Johnny. Had his son been this responsive to him while in his mother’s womb? Had he kicked at the sound of his voice? Shifted at the touch of his hand?
Had the other Dean even tried any of those other things during the first pregnancy?
“You know, they look horrible, but the taste isn’t bad at all.” Chloe announced after the first tentative bite, smiling up at him. “Thank you.”
“It’s my job as the he-man of the house.” Dean replied with a smug smirk as he scratched the back of his head. “We men must hunt game and provide for our female.”
She giggled, shaking her head at him. “Don’t get me started on how sexist that was.”
Why not? She was damned sexy when she argued.
He decided to lay down on the bed and watch her as she ate. She laughed and chatted between bites, telling him all about something Lois had told her about on the phone the night before, and he had to admit that he truly hadn’t heard a word she’d said.
He was just watching her.
That was enough.
“Has anyone died around me?” He hadn’t realized the question had left his mouth until Chloe turned to look at him oddly.
“Died?” She asked, tilting her head to the side. “Other than your father?”
Uncomfortable, Dean sat up, scratching at his ear. “I, uh, I keep on having these nightmares about this woman in white. She’s a ghost. I know it. And she keeps haunting me. I dream about it all the time, and I was thinking, maybe I’ve forgotten about someone or---you know what? Forget it? It’s stupid.”
Why had he mentioned this?
He was a civilian.
So was his beautiful, innocent, pregnant wife.
“Someone’s haunting you?” Chloe frowned, concerned immediately. “Are you sure its just a dream and not a real ghost? And even if its just a dream, if it repeats itself its because its important.” She put aside the tray and frowned deeper. “As you sure she’s dead?”
Her response shocked him.
She was being so analytical about this. “Uh, yeah, she’s definitely dead.”
The woman had been appearing around more and more often, and lately she’d been looking worse, bleeding even. Desperation was in her eyes, and even though she continued to seek him out, seeming to implore him to come, whenever he tried to get close to her she’d just vanish.
“Honey, you can’t be so careless, this is Smallville, isn’t it?” Chloe looked a little nervous. “I know you don’t like to listen to my crazy theories, but crazy things have been known to happen here. You have to admit it. And stalking by a ghost isn’t something you should take lightly.”
“Just humor me, okay?” She whispered pleadingly. “Why don’t you just sprinkle some salt around the inside of the house----.”
And Dean Winchester officially fell in love with his wife.
“Do you know anything about djinns?” He knew he was interrupting her, and knew that it was a long shot that she’d know anything, but he asked nonetheless. Something had been bothering him about this, about how he’d switched, of how he couldn’t remember anything after the djinn and that funky light.
For a whole week he’d suspected that that encounter might have more to do with this situation than he’d first thought, and yet he hadn’t done any research, hadn’t even tried. He could have, he could have, really…but he’d been too busy. There’d been overseeing Winchester Mechanics, and making sure Chloe didn’t tire herself out too much, and spending time with his mother and son.
He—he had had other important things on his mind.
The hunt had taken a second to his family.
That was the way it should be, shouldn’t it?
“Djinns?” Chloe made a face, and then smiled. “You mean like genies.” Her smile grew. “I did a report on them in high school. They were Arabic of origin and while there are many contrasting stories about them they aren’t the rub a bottle and get three wishes creatures Disney wants to brainwash us into believing they are.”
Reaching for the tray once more, she took another bite of runny egg, chewed, swallowed, and continued. “They were greatly feared, and while there were few djinns they had godlike power that was amazing. It was said that they couldgrant your heart’s deepest desire.”
Heart’s deepest desire?
His hazel gaze rested on his wife, on the woman was who proving herself to be everything he’d ever wanted, ever dared secretly wish for, and for the first time he wondered if the switching of dimensions wasn’t his fault. What if the djinn had read his heart’s deepest desire and found a him who was living the closest to the life he most desired and switched them?
“How can you kill them?”
“Easy!” Chloe grinned, completely unaware of how troubled he was. “Silver dipped in lamb’s blood.”
“You’re absolutely the perfect woman for me.” He declared.
She blushed, looking surprised at the comment, but pleased nonetheless. “Did it take you this long to figure that out?” Blushing, she looked away. “Anyway, if a djinn granted someone’s wish, why would they want to kill it? I mean, didn’t it grant them a special favor? They should be grateful.”
The doorbell rang.
Dean frowned, turning so that he could look at the clock. “Who the hell?”
“It’s probably Sam.” Chloe replied, putting the tray to the side and trying her best to get out of the bed by herself. “He’s come early though.”
“What’s Sam doing here?” Dean wanted to know, ignoring the doorbell, frowning.
He knew that he’d decided on his first day here to try and mend things with his brother, but that wasn’t really working out too well. Anyway, he was too busy feeling both guilty and threatened by Sammy’s close relationship withhis wife to truly put much effort into it.
“He’s taking me to the doctor’s appointment.” Chloe replied, finally out of bed and turning to smile at him. “Like he usually does.”
“He’s the one who usually takes you to see the doctor?” Dean frowned darker. “I should be the one doing that. It’smy kid you got up in you, not his.”
She frowned slightly at him. “Dean, you’re busy, running Winchester Mechanics is time-consuming. I---I understand that.” She smiled slightly. “You don’t know how grateful I’ve been that you’ve taken so much time off this week to just be with Johnny and I, but I’m not going to expect you to continue to---.”
“To what?” Dean snapped. “Put my wife and kid as first priority in my life?” Seeing the stricken look on her face he sighed, closing his eyes for a second. “I’m sorry love, I shouldn’t have---.”
“You’ve never called me that before.”
“Huh?” He asked, opening his eyes in confusion.
“Love.” And Chloe was smiling at him. “You usually call me baby, but you, you’ve never called me love. I…I like it.”
With that she turned and waddled towards the bathroom, leaving a shocked Dean frozen on the bed.
Had he called her love?
The doorbell rung again, shaking him out of his stupor. The elder Winchester stumbled out of the bed and out of the room towards the front door, finally opening it to a smartly dressed Sam. “Sammy.”
“Dean.” He nodded curtly, leaning against the doorframe. “Is Chloe ready?”
“No, she’s a little late.” Dean announced, folding his arms over his chest. “We were talking in bed while she ate the breakfast I made for her and---.”
“You made her breakfast?” Sam’s eyes were wide in surprise, all hostility shocked off of his face, making him seem more like the Sam Dean knew.
It made him miss his real brother so much more.
“Yeah.” Dean nodded, feigning nonchalance. “It mightn’t have been the best breakfast she’s ever eaten, but I didn’t want her having to get up a do it herself. She---she’s so close to the due date and---what?”
Sam had been looking at him oddly throughout the whole thing, and Dean couldn’t help but feel a little awkward and defensive.
“According to Lois, Lana has been insufferable and miserable all week.” Sam announced frankly. “I know for a fact that you haven’t been to see her once this last week.”
“I don’t love her.” Dean responded fiercely, truthfully. “Whatever happened between the two of us in the past, I don’t love her. I never did. It was a mistake.”
A big, stupid-ass fuckup.
“I never thought you loved her.” Sam snorted at the thought. “But you sure seemed tickled at the fact that she was looking in your direction.”
“Tickled? Sammy. Dude. You can’t sound any gayer than that.”
Sam glared at him for a second before continuing. “Why the sudden change? I’m not complaining mind you, Chloe and Johnny deserved a helluva lot better than you were giving them in my opinion, but I can’t help but feel like I’m suddenly dealing with a whole different person.” He paused. “Mom too.”
For the first time since he’d gotten into this situation, Dean was glad that his difference with the other him was noticeable. “I told you on mom’s birthday, Sammy. I’m a completely different person than the Dean you used to know.”
Sam ran his fingers through his hair in frustration, obviously not sure how to handle this situation.
“Why do you take Chloe to the hospital all the time?” Dean asked, realizing he could get many different answers to this question, curious as to which his brother would give him.
“Well, for one her hospital is in Metropolis, and I have to go there for work anyway.” Sam explained, as if talking to a kid. “And two, I want to. Chloe’s one of the most important people to me, you know that.”
“But she’s my wife.” And Dean found himself telling his brother she’s mine without even having planned it. “If there’s anyone who’s going to take her there in the future, it’s going to be me.”
And as those words left his mouth he knew he looked as shocked as Sam did.
Clearing his throat, Dean tried again. “Don’t get me wrong, I---uh---I’m thankful for your help, but in the past I don’t think I’ve made my wife and son important priorities, and I need to change that.” He sighed when all he got was silence. “I know---god I hate chick-flick moments!---I know it’s gotta be hard for you because I basically stole Chloe from you, which was wrong on so many levels, but what’s done is done and she’s mine now and I need to be the one to take care of her. I want to be the one to take care of her.”
There was more silence.
Sam frowned. “Who the hell are you?”
Well, it could have been worse.
Sammy could’ve hit him.
He wasn’t sure exactly what to expect of this Sam.
His Sam would have hit him, called him a jerk, and then would have tried to continue with the whole chick-flick moment and discuss each other’s feelings with a total emo vibe that would have threatened Dean’s masculinity.
God. He missed his Sam!
“Sam!” Chloe’s voice caused them to turn their attention to her as she waddled towards them, dressed and armed with her greatest weapon---her brilliant smile. “Sorry for the wait, but Dean made me breakfast in bed!”
Sam’s expression softened as his gaze rested on her. “Was it edible?”
“Hey!” Dean exclaimed, though not as insulted as he should be.
“Yeah, it was!” Chloe grinned, sending Dean a wink. “Honey, I shook Johnny awake but you’ll have to go check up on him and make sure he didn’t go back to sleep. His lunchbox is under the sink and---.”
“I’ll somehow manage to make edible PP&J for him to take to school.” Dean assured her. “Don’t worry about it. You worry too much.”
“Right.” She smiled, grabbing his shirt and bringing him down to her height so she could press a happy kiss to his lips. “Bye.”
“Bye.” He whispered, pressing another kiss to her lips before she could pull away.
Smiling, Chloe turned to Sam. “Let’s go?”
“Yeah.” He placed his hand on the small of her back and looked back at Dean uncertainly before nodding a goodbye and leading Chloe away.
Waiting until Chloe and Sam had driven off in the Audi, he closed the door and turned. “Johnny?” He called.
“I’M UP ALREADY!” The cheeky brat called from the vicinity of the bathroom.
Smirking, Dean headed towards the kitchen to make the PP&J when suddenly the woman in white was in front of him. “You.”
She outstretched her hand towards him and started to walk away, as if leading him somewhere.
Frowning, Dean followed her until she walked into the utility closet, going through the wood of the door. “You want to complain about our cleaning products?” He asked, realizing how lame it sounded but unable to take it back.
Wary, his fingers clasped around the handle and he pulled the door open, eyes going wide as suddenly the spacious little closet that was usually filled with the cleaning supplies was transformed. Corpses in varying stages of decomposition were strung up, the smell of death and decay so strong he recoiled and staggered back, a hand covering his nose.
And then in a second the bodies, and their stench, had disappeared, and the woman stood in front of him, skin terribly pallid, eyes lifeless, blood coursing down her neck and arms. She opened her mouth, seeming to try and say something, but then she flickered and disappeared.
“Is that it?” Dean growled, going into the closet yet finding nothing as he twirled around. “You gotta give me something more to work on than that! What do you want from me?”
Something thudding against the front door causing him to storm out of the closet, but when he opened the front door all he found was the morning paper.
Sighing, Dean picked it up and went back inside, his gaze going subconsciously to the headlines and then straying away before what he read registered and his gaze shot back to the paper in his hands.
Impossible. We stopped that plane from crashing!
And yet the newspaper spoke of the plane crash he remembered getting on with Sammy and saving. The newspaper cited today as the anniversary of the horrible tragedy that’d claimed so many lives.
Because Sammy and I aren’t hunters…we---we weren’t there to stop it from happening.
Something cold settled in Dean’s stomach at the realization, and the newspaper fell from his hand and thudded to the ground.
He hurried upstairs to use Chloe’s laptop.
He needed information.
If he and Sammy hadn’t stopped this plane from going down---what about all the other cases they’d worked on?
Somehow he already knew the answer, but as he took the steps two by two, he prayed that he was wrong.