October 27, 1983
Aaron Novak had always thought of himself as a religious man. Ever since he was old enough to drive himself he made sure to go to church every Sunday and went to every church social he could manage to squeeze into his schedule. He met his wife, Julie, through church. Two years after they married, they had their first and only child. A boy they named Jimmy.
Julie had left with Jimmy to go to the store a few minutes ago to get more Halloween candy as well as regular groceries; assuring him they’d be back in an hour, even though he knew they’d take at least three. He was home doing some work for his next big job, the television playing in the background to keep him company, but the volume was down low enough that he wouldn’t get distracted from the assignment he was now typing up.
The static of the television caused him to look up and stare at the black, white, and gray screen. Aaron let out a faint groan as he stretched his arms over his head, his shoulders popping after staying in one position for a long time. He stood up and walked into the living room, grabbing the remote from off the coffee table and hit the power button. He glared at the screen when nothing happened and mashed the button a few more times, with the same result. With another groan he placed it onto the table top and walked around it to push the power button on the TV. Before his finger could actually push the button the static of the screen went off, turning the TV back to its previous channel for a second then turning it to a channel with a male preacher on a stage then it was back to static.
A loud screech erupted from what Aaron thought was the television, bringing the man to his knees to clutch at his ears. He screamed out in pain as the glass from the table and windows broke around him. He was still screaming when it stopped, leaving him in silence. Aaron raised his head a fraction of an inch and glanced around the room until his gaze landed on the TV, which was now turned to the channel he had had it on before it went to static the first time. Aaron stood from his spot on the floor with a dazed and confused expression plastered to his face. He walked back over to the chair he had been sitting in and collapsed down into it, but couldn’t get back to work.
October 31, 1983
Jimmy had fallen asleep earlier than usual that night; spent after going trick-or-treating all around the neighborhood with Julie. Julie had fallen asleep shortly after the boy, leaving Aaron alone in the living room to finish up the same report he had been working on for a few days now. He had hit a slump in his writing after last Thursday. He still wasn’t sure what had happened with the TV, the company had no other records of it emitting an ear piercing screech. Julie had shrugged it off as a one time thing and helped him clean up the mess in the living room the incident had caused. Aaron had mostly forgotten about it, until he forced himself to get back to his paper and made him remember that the television had been the cause of his report taking him too long. Currently, it was keeping him from going out with his son and wife to scout out the neighborhood for Halloween candy.
Aaron stood up from his position at the kitchen table and walked over to the sink to place his hands on the cool marble of the counter and look out the window to see all the kids running around in their crazy costumes. Julie had made sure to leave the porch light off so he wouldn’t be interrupted by the children, but he now didn’t see the reason behind it since he couldn’t focus at the moment.
The television in the living room flickered to life in the reflection of the kitchen window that he was watching, bringing him out of his daze. Aaron turned around, confused, and stared at the machine that seemed to be acting up a lot lately. It was on the static screen again, but no loud screech came this time. It stayed on static for a few minutes before flickering off again. Aaron waved it off and walked back over to the table and collapsed into the only pulled out seat. He was still watching the television screen when it came to life again, showing nothing more than static like before.
Aaron straightened himself in the seat and looked around the room, searching for any kind of explanation as to why he had just heard his name, but he came up empty. He raised his hands to rub at tired eyes, deciding that it must be the stress of the report sitting on the table in front of him that must be the cause of him hearing voices. There was really no other way to explain it.
“Fine, I’m going to bed.” Aaron said out loud to himself and stood up to make his way to his and Julie’s bedroom, but a more forceful voice this time kept him frozen in his step.
Aaron, I am not a delusion your mind made up. I am Castiel, an angel of the Lord.
“Well, Castiel, that whole angel of the Lord thing, not really working in your favor.” Aaron said, and shook his head. He continued his journey to his bedroom, leaving his report downstairs in favor of just getting a good night rest. Something he desperately needed at this point.
You believe in God, do you not?
“Of course I believe in-“Aaron stopped himself mid-sentence, “I can’t believe I’m talking to myself!” He threw up his hands in disbelief and continued his climb up the stairs.
If I must, I will prove it to you.
Aaron paused in his stride and looked up to the ceiling of his home with a very annoyed expression. His mind was playing tricks on him, using his belief in the Lord as bait. It was beginning to become frustrating. “Could you leave me alone?” he asked the air, with hopes that it wouldn’t actually answer him back this time.
Go downstairs into the kitchen.
Aaron let out a very loud and annoyed sigh at how demanding this voice seemed to be, but turned around to face the bottom of the stairs nonetheless. “Fine, I’ll play into this delusion just this once.” He said, and began to trot back down the stairs so that he was standing in his living room once more then to the kitchen where this ‘angel’ told him to go expecting to see some minor miracle; like his report being finished for him, but nothing was out of the ordinary. “Alright, now what?” he asked the room.
Turn on one of the burners on the stove.
Aaron wasn’t liking where this was going, but did as he told and this time without the attitude. The voice, well Castiel, didn’t say anything for a while. He was beginning to give up, turn the stove off, and head back up the stairs when the eye turned its brightest shade of red and the voice came back.
Now put your hand on the burner.
“Excuse me?!” Aaron shouted, holding his hands up in front of him and backed up away from the stove, “Alright, voice, that’s where I’m drawing the line. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to bed.”
The tone had grown increasingly more demanding, and now even sounded angry. Aaron shifted his weight between his feet and stared at the burner in front of him. He let out a very shaky breath and reached forward, pausing an inch away from the red surface. He slowly moved it forward, but jerked it back when he was but a few millimeters away from actually letting his hand hit it.
You will be fine, now touch it.
Aaron let out another shaky breath, but did as he was told and reached his hand out to touch the surface of the burner. He drew it back as soon as his finger hit the metal. He stared at his hand in slight disbelief when there was no redness and the spot that should have been burned didn’t even feel as if it had even touched the hot surface. He shifted his weight between his feet again and with slightly less coaxing on his part, reached out to press his hand flat against the burner. Again, nothing. It didn’t even feel hot. “Ok, what just happened?” he asked, but this time there was no answer from the voice of Castiel.
November 1, 1983
One day passed before Aaron heard anything from the angel. All morning he had chalked it up to his wild imagination; that maybe he had only dreamed the entire thing up after the stress of the report. He hadn’t bothered to tell Julie about it, this time he was sure it was only a one time thing and he’d never hear from this Castiel again. But there he was. Standing alone in his bathroom and talking to himself once more like a lunatic.
I need your help.
Aaron gazed at his reflection in the mirror; sure he’d see some sign of himself going crazy if he stared at it long enough. He wasn’t actually sure what those signs would be if he could even see them, but he was sure talking to himself in an empty bathroom qualified as one. The voice in his head insisting that he was sane was really only making it worse. Isn’t that what their expose to say? “With what?” he finally asked, indulging in his delusion for the second time that week.
Your bloodline allows me to walk the Earth, with you as my vessel.
“So, you want to take over my body so that you can run around down here with the humans?” Aaron asked, a small hint of disbelief finding its way into his voice.
No. I have a duty I must perform and I need you as my vessel to do it.
Aaron shook his head at his reflection and bent over. He turned the sink on and cupped his hands together under the stream until it puddle in his hands. He splashed his face with the cool liquid before looking back up into the mirror. “And if I say yes?” he turned the knob on the faucet until the water turned off and placed his hands on either side of the sink.
Then you will be greatly rewarded.
That was it? No explanation? Aaron inwardly groaned as he let himself continue to actually think this over. “And what about my family?” he asked, “Will they be safe?”
Aaron straightened himself up and grabbed the towel of the ring on the side of the wall to dry of his face. “Alright then, I’ll do it.” He said, still not one hundred percent sure he wasn’t imagining this entire conversation. A second later disproved that thought. A bright yellow light surrounded him and just as quickly it was gone. The towel was dropped out of his hand, onto the bathroom floor, and a second later he wasn’t there.
The man, who was now Castiel, was standing in front of a house in Lawrence, Kansas. The home of his newest charge: John Eric Winchester.
November 2, 1983
John Winchester had never liked Wednesday’s. It never failed that this day would force him to stay at the shop later than usual, working beside Mike on cars they had worked on countless times before. The only difference between today and every other Wednesday was that he had to stay there an hour over what he normally had to. Not that it bothered him. Extra work meant extra pay. The only true problem with staying past his scheduled hours was that it usually caused an argument between Mary and him. She had been getting on to him lately about how much time he spent at the shop; spending extra time there fixing cars instead of spending that time at home with their six year old son, Dean, and their six month old son, Sammy.
The argument was always the same for the both of them. She’d shout about him not spending enough time with the boys and he’d shout about how much a new mouth to feed was costing them. That night was no different than the rest. Mary waited until she was sure the boys were asleep in their separate rooms then brought up the conversation that John knew was coming as soon as he stepped foot into the house. They fought in hushed voices until it got to the point that John opted to watch some TV instead of heading up to bed with Mary. He didn’t know the name of whatever movie was on the television, the beer he was nursing in his right hand keeping his attention more than whatever scene was playing out on the screen.
It was around ten o’clock that night when he finally drifted off to sleep with the beer still in his hand. A scream erupting from upstairs forced him out of his slumber. He jumped up from his seat, letting the bottle fall to the floor.
“Mary!?” he shouted as he ran to the stairs of the house, not even bothering to pause to wait for an answer. He called his wife’s name out twice more as he bolted up the stairs, but no answer came. John went straight for Sam’s room and slammed the door open when he got there; a flood of relief coming over him when he realized that his son was safe. He walked over to the crib and smiled down at the tiny boy, “Hey Sammy.” His face contorted into confusion when his gaze landed on a spot of red in the crib beside Sam. He reached down and dabbed at it with his finger, some more drops hitting the top of his hand in the process. He tilts his head up to the ceiling, eyes widening in surprise when he spots Mary resting against the ceiling as if there was no gravity that was supposed to be holding her to the Earth.
However, none of that mattered to him at that moment. His wife suspended in the air against the ceiling of the nursery wasn’t his problem. Mary was the cause of the blood that was dripping into the crib next to Sammy; her stomach had been stabbed with, what he assumed was, a knife. “No! Mary!” he shouted and tried to reach up to her and get her down, but as soon as his arms stretched up the entire ceiling burst into flames. Sammy’s crying breaks him out of his surprised trance and he turns to face the crib once more. He wrapped his arms around Sam and ran out of the room to find Dean running out of his own room.
“Daddy!” Dean shouts as he runs towards John.
John bends down and hands the baby to Dean. “Take your brother outside as fast as you can! Now Dean, go!” John orders and turns back to the room where Mary is still. He makes it to the door when the entire room is engulfed by the flames. “Mary! No!” His body begins to seemingly move on its own as he runs down back down the hall and down the stairs to the front door, leaving Mary in the room where; already knowing that she couldn’t have survived the blast. He’s out the door in a matter of seconds and across the yard where Dean is standing with Sam in his arms, staring up at the window of the nursery. “I gotcha.” John is still running as he grabs them both and continues running until he’s across the street to Mike and Kate’s house.
Mike is already at the front door, holding it open for him and the boys. He ushers them in as he stares openly at the house across the street. “Kate’s calling the fire department now John.” Mike says as he shuts the door behind them and takes the boys from John’s arms and forces them to go into the kitchen where Kate is standing; she’s shouting at the people on the other end, telling them to hurry.
John doesn’t see how it helped any. It’s almost twenty minutes until the fire trucks get there with an ambulance and cop cars in tow. John is sitting on the couch in the living room, wringing out his hands as he stares vacantly at the floor. He looks up briefly when Kate enters the room and seats herself next to him, placing a hand on his shoulder. “They’re gonna want to talk to you, John.” She says and he gives a small nod of his head before standing up and walking out of the house with her close behind him. The fires out by now, but the house is gone. John stopped caring when he realized Mary wasn’t going to be walking out alive. If she did; it would be one hell of a miracle.
John realizes his worst fears were correct when one of the firemen, who John supposes must be either chief or the lieutenant, walks over to him with a sorrowful expression on his face. He only half heartedly listens as the man tells him his wife is dead. He appreciates the fact that Kate’s there, with her arm tightly wrapped around his upper back and her right hand gripping painfully at his arm; he doubts he would have stayed in the present if it wasn’t for her standing next to him.
“Can you tell us what happened?” The man asked John; forcing him to try and keep track of the conversation, but his mind was elsewhere.
“I was asleep, in the living room, when I heard Mary scream.” John paused to think back on what had happened next, “I jumped up and ran up the stairs into the nursery where Sammy sleeps.”
John pauses again, this time to actually wonder if what he saw was even real. Mary couldn’t have been on the ceiling. There wasn’t any plausible way for her to be in the air when he walked into the room; but if she hadn’t been there, then when’d she get into the room and where had the blood in Sammy’s crib come from?
John glanced to where the fireman was standing, waiting for him to continue telling the events of the night. He wasn’t sure what to tell the man. If he told Kate and this guy the truth then they’d both think him nuts. “I… checked on Sammy, he was awake but alright. Mary was… she was in the corner of the room, I hadn’t seen her when I walked in.” he stopped and rubbed at his face with his hands, “I don’t know what happened next: all I know is that there was a fire and I grabbed Sam, ran out the room, gave him to Dean, and told him to take his brother outside.”
Kate was rubbing at his arm now, urging him to continue and get it all done with now so he wouldn’t have to do it later. He didn’t know how she thought it would help him; he’d still relive it in his mind and in his nightmares. “I went back to the room, but it was already in flames when I got there. So I ran out, grabbed my kids, and went to Mike’s house where Kate was already calling you guys.” The fireman was nodding, taking down every word that came out of John’s mouth for the report and if they had any more questions for him later.
John turned his attention to the house that was really now only half of a house. He didn’t bother listening to the rest of what the guy had to say, he was sure that if he asked a question then Kate would answer for him and if she didn’t know the answer then she’d nudge him and rephrase what had been asked of him. Instead he was watching the crowd that was forming in front of his home; his gaze landed on one person in particular. Shocking green eyes were watching him, almost curiously. It made John angry; that this man, who he had never seen before in his life, was standing in front of his home and was watching him. He forced himself to look away from the man in the suit and stare back at his home.
No nudge ever came until the man left the two of them alone and Kate was trying to turn him around to go back to the house where Sam and Dean were waiting for him. “John, you and the boys can stay with us tonight.” Kate was saying as they both walked across the street and lawn to the stairs of her home. He doubted it was optional, but he was glad for the offer all the same. John only gave her a nod, to show he had been listening, and walked into the house with her; heading straight for the living room to seat himself on the couch. Looking around he didn’t find the boys, but Mike assured him they were sleeping soundly in the guest room. John didn’t move as Kate scurried around between the rooms, grabbing blankets and pillows for John so he could sleep comfortably on the couch.
John found he couldn’t sleep that night, not even after being coaxed down to a laying position on the couch. The warmth of the blanket that was placed over him by a very gentle Kate was nothing compared to the warmth of Mary’s body. Why he had refused to sleep in the bed with her that night; he couldn’t remember anymore. Everything before Mary screamed had become one giant blur in his mind. After that, he could recall everything in vivid detail, but most of it didn’t make sense. Mary couldn’t have been on the ceiling; John knew that. And how had she been hurt?
It took him a long time, but John eventually drifted off: this happened somewhere between arguing with himself over if Mary had actually been up there or not and whether or not the fire had someone managed to jump out at him to keep him from getting to her.
November 6, 1983
John felt more than a little uncomfortable sitting in a pew in a black suit, wringing his hands as they rested in his lap. Dean was sitting still and quiet to his left while baby Sammy was asleep in his baby carrier with his blanket half falling out after he had kicked it away in an attempt to stay a little cooler. Every now and then John would let his hands rub down the fabric of his pants to rest at his knees as he looked around the room half expecting Mary to walk through the doors of the church to come sit with him, but then he would remember that the reason they were here was because of her. Her funeral. A closed casket funeral. Nothing had been left of his wife the night of the fire; not even her teeth. John didn’t see the point in this; holding a funeral for an empty casket, but Mike and Kate Guenther said it would help him grieve and get over his wife’s passing. In the beginning he argued with them, yelling that there was no point in having a funeral if there wasn’t a body, but he eventually agreed when they said it might help the boys get over it. He could only guess how it made Dean feel. John wasn’t even sure if Dean really grasped what was going on. He could ask, but all the questions he had asked the boy so far were answered with even more silence so he had eventually stopped asking all together.
With each new person that filed past to shake his hand before sitting, the uncomfortable feeling grew. John stole a glance to where Dean and Sammy were sitting; Sam was still conked out and Dean looked slightly frustrated at all the attention he was getting from people he barely knew or didn’t know at all. His gaze was glued to his younger brother, even when people stopped to pat him on the head or shoulder.
John chanced another gaze back at the door, a look of disappointment washing over him when the door opened to reveal yet one more person that he wasn’t entirely sure when Mary could have run into them. A hand on his shoulder, from behind this time, startled him for only a moment. He glanced in the pew behind him, where Mike and Kate were sitting, revealing that the hand on his shoulder belonged to Kate. He tried to give them a reassuring smile, tell them that he was ok without using words, but he wasn’t even sure his lips had twitched, let alone form an actual smile. He readjusted himself to sit straight, staring vacantly at the empty coffin to his left.
When the pastor of the church walked in John didn’t bother looking at him or even to try and pay attention; he only kept his eyes on the empty coffin and reached his hand over to rest on Dean’s knee. The rest of the service went smoothly; at least, as far as John knew, halfway through he zoned out. Dean squeezing his hand brought him back, but by then it was all over. John stood up from his seat and grabbed the handle on Sammy’s carrier. Mike had walked to the end of his own pew, with Kate right behind him, and stopped to wait. Wait for him he supposed, but that didn’t make John speed up any. When he did finally get to where the two were standing Kate wrapped her hand around his arm and walked with him out of the church.
“You and the boys should stay with us as long as you need to. No sense in the three of you being held up in some apartment.” She said in that no nonsense way of hers, letting John know that he didn’t really have a choice in the matter. If he wanted to live alone for a while, with his boys, then he’d have to fight a losing battle for the chance. It was a good thing he didn’t want to be left alone, with nothing but his thoughts since Sammy had always been an unusually quiet baby and now Dean refused to say anything, to anyone.
“I, uh, have to go to the store.” John said, giving a reluctant nod to the woman. They needed new clothes, baby supplies, and basically everything else. The house had gone up in smokes, leaving them with nothing. Kate gave a small nod, not bothering to tell him that he could always do it tomorrow. He doubted he would have paid attention to the suggestion and he definitely wouldn’t have done it.
“Ok, we’ll take the boys home.” Kate took the carrier out of John’s hand and put it into her and Mike’s car, fastened it and baby Sammy into place, then helped Dean climb into the car and buckle himself up. John nodded, waved goodbye to his two children, and climbed into his Chevy Impala. He dug his keys out of his pocket and jammed it into the keyhole, turning it away from him so that the engine roared to life. He backed out of the parking space, waved once more to Kate and Mike, and then drove off to the nearest store.
One hour walking around the store found John with very little in his cart. He wasn’t sure what the boys would want. Mary was always better at keeping track of what the boys liked and what they didn’t. He should have paid more attention, but his job as a mechanic getting in the way of his family time. He wished that he could have been there more, but he couldn’t change the past now. All he could hope for is the chance to be closer to his boys now. Now that Mary was gone.
John paused in one of the aisles, his eyes glued to a book with a green-brown binding. He remembered countless nights where Mary would sit in bed and by the light of the table lamp scribble in these journals. He had asked her about it on several occasions, why she felt the need to write everything down in the journals. She had smiled and told him that it helped her remember the little things and him and the boys. He wished he could read those journals now, but they were gone now, like the house and everything else they had. John reached out and let his fingertips run across the binding of the journal. It only took him a moment longer to grab it and place it in the cart. That was all he bought: a few supplies, some clothes for everyone, and the journal.
The drive to Mike and Kate’s house went by quick with one of the many tapes he had playing as background noise. When he arrived he took one step inside before the smell of food hit him in the face. He didn’t want to eat anything. He should eat, but at that moment it only made him feel nauseous. John bypassed the kitchen and went straight for the make shift bed on the couch of the living room and threw the bags down beside the table. He didn’t bother removing the clothes he had worn to the funeral; instead he kicked off his shoes and fell back onto the couch, draping an arm across his eyes to block off the light that caused his headache to multiply in pain.
John didn’t move for the longest time, but no matter how hard he tried he couldn’t will himself to go to sleep. He could hear movement all around him; quiet footsteps of people trying not to disturb his sleep, since as far as they knew it was the best he had had since the night before the fire.
It was around eleven at night when John finally gave up on sleep; instead, going to find Dean and little Sammy. He walked as quietly as he could to the room down the hall from him and peaked inside. Dean’s bed was vacant, had been for the entire time they had started staying there. He was curled up in the other bed with Sammy, protecting and watching over him. He stood there watching them both sleep for what seemed like an hour, but in reality was only twenty minutes before he turned around and walked back to the couch in the living room. He collapsed onto the seat and raised his hands to rub at his face.
John dropped them into his lap, his gaze roaming the room until they landed on the white shopping bag sitting a foot away from him. He reached out and grabbed it, dragging it closer to pear inside. It didn’t take long for his eyes to land on the thing he was searching for; the journal he had bought at the store. He took it out and opened it up, flipping through the pages once before turning it back to the first one. He stared at the blank page until he got fed up with himself and tossed the book onto the other end of the couch.
He didn’t know why he had even bothered to buy the book. He wasn’t someone who wrote things down, never had been. Mary was. She always insisted on writing in her journals before she went to bed and she had wanted him to start, but he refused. John had never seen the point in it and he wasn’t sure he would see it now.
He went back to what he was doing before, trying to fight himself into falling asleep. It wasn’t working and every time he opened his eyes, his gaze drifted back to the journal at his feet. John let out a frustrated sigh before sitting back up and reaching over to grab the book that was almost mocking him. He opened it back up to the first page and stared at the page once again. This time he reached behind him to grab the pen that was always sitting on the table by the couch and actually began to write down all of the thoughts that were running through his head at the moment.
It wasn’t much and it didn’t make him feel any better afterwards, not that he expected it to, but he was able to fall asleep after the words were written down in the book instead of running through his head.