The shopping basket was so laden down with books, Dean was forced to carry it in his arms up to the front of the store. The plethora of books was stacked higher than the green lip of the basket, causing volumes to slide and rest against Dean’s chest as he carried them.
It was quite possible he’d gone mad.
He was nearly shaking with energy and impatience, like he’d over-caffeinated, except he’d only had one cup of coffee before Ben and Lisa had dragged him out for the day.
He resolutely ignored the curious and surprised looks sent his way as he carted his load down the main aisle, eyes scanning for the shortest line before stepping behind a girl with too many belts and bottle-job raven hair.
She turned curiously at his approach, bored expression shifting to one of surprise, eyes zeroing in on the complete collection of Supernatural books he held. Then, her face went blank again and she turned around, taking a step as the line shuffled forward.
Adjusting his grip, Dean scanned the café, eyes locking on the dark haired woman drinking coffee and already reading her new book. Meanwhile, Ben would probably be sprawled in a bean bag in the kid’s section with a stack of a books.
“Psst. Lisa,” he called. Her brows rose, head lifting to signal she’d heard him, but her eyes never left the page. Stupid book club. “Lisa,” he tried again.
This time she did look up, sliding part of the book jacket between the pages to hold her place. When she saw him, she did a double-take, eyes going comically wide.
In his moment of distraction, one of the books slid off the stack in his arms, hitting the ground with a thump, and making him wince at the abuse. The girl in line ahead of him knelt to pick it up and was placing it back on top as Lisa hurriedly gathered her things and scurried over to him.
“Thanks,” he told the raven-haired female.
She nodded and smiled politely. “Big fan?”
“They’re life ruiners," he replied sardonically.
Chuckling, she said, "I'll have to check them out then," and turned back to the front just as he rolled his eyes and Lisa made it to his side, brown eyes flicking over the books and then around the store.
“Dean? What’s going on?” she questioned, keeping her voice as neutral as possible.
“I’m going to kill a Prophet of the Lord,” he informed her. She looked at him sharply. He nodded to the books. “The guy making money off my life is back in business.”
She frowned down at the books as they shuffled forward again. “I don’t understand.”
He glared at the books in his arms, then back down the main aisle. “Apparently Chuck went and got himself a new publishing contract.”
She glanced around, worriedly. "And for that you're threatening to kill him?"
“Sam and I warned him-“ he hissed at her.
She raised a hand, placating. “Okay, okay, totally understand you not wanting them in print, but why are you buying them?”
He blinked, regarding her. “It’s my life, Lisa. Mine and Sam’s. I, first and foremost, have rights to them.”
She bit her full bottom lip between her teeth, glancing around cautiously, before back at him, her voice lowered. “Are you sure it’s such a good idea, Dean? Won't reading them make things hurt worse? It's only been a couple of months...”
She looked so scared for him, making him shake his head lightly. “Lis. This isn’t some masochistic wallowing in self-pity. I may never read most of them, but I will own them, especially considering…”
Her brown eyes watched him curiously, head angling to the side as he trailed off. “Considering what?”
Dean wasn’t sure how to tell her that there were books in the series that took place after Swan Song, the book that followed the events that day in Stull Cemetery when Sam had dragged Lucifer and Michael down into the Cage. There were books in the series about things that hadn’t happened yet, and from the synopsis on the back: none of it was good.
The line shuffled forward, Dean placing his basket on the counter even as he looked at his girlfriend. “They’re mine, Lisa. I should own them.”
“Sir?” the clerk began; Dean handed over their discount card without looking.
“I just don’t think it’s healthy. You’ve come so far since you lost Sam. I’m worried is all.”
“Lis. I read all those books you gave me on grief, and even the Dale Carnegie one. Trust me, I’m not about to fall into some obsessive spiral of self-destruction.”
“Sir?’ Dean’s fierce gaze snapped to the clerk, who timidly held up a book he hadn’t seen on the Supernatural display. She held it up between them almost like a shield. “Did you want the companion guide as well? It’s an In-Store exclusive.”
He gave a curt nod. “Yeah. Add it to the rest.”
Beside him, Lisa had her face in her hand.
To his credit, Dean did wait until that night to start reading. Waited until Lisa and Ben were in bed and he was as alone with his thoughts as he could be before he settled down with the first book that would tell him the things that hadn’t happened yet.
He’d been tempted to start on an earlier book, to learn things they hadn’t at the time, like what with Bela having given the Colt to Crowley, but none of it seemed relevant now. Sam had been dead for three months, and according to the books due to make a reappearance in Dean’s life in about another nine, where everything promptly all went to Hell in a handbasket.
Reading, Dean kept realizing his was shaking his head in disbelief, or had to put the book down and walk away, using it as an excuse to fix himself another cup of coffee as the late hours wore on. His hands was shaking so badly during one of these breaks, he nearly ended up pouring coffee all over his own hand.
His plan to kill Chuck for publishing these books set to the side for the moment… Dean had no idea why the author hadn’t called him to warn him or something. Warn him that there was a future coming that was not peaceful like they had hoped, and that not only was Sam not dead, but his body was walking around without his soul in it.
How that even worked, he had no idea, but things only got worse from there, from Cas and the civil war in Heaven, to Dean and Lisa’s relationship going down in absolute flames, to Castiel and Crowley working together to extract the souls from Purgatory to use as a weapon, all the while, the angel never coming to Dean, of all people, for help.
It made no sense.
It made no sense.
And why wouldn’t Chuck come to him about these visions so that they could try to stop them from coming to pass? They had time! They could change the future and keep this from happening.
And with things that bad, why hadn’t Cas come to him sooner? Hell, if Cas was going to war, all he had to do was point out the dotted line and Sam and Dean were signed up as well. They would never let him fight alone. Did the angel think Dean wouldn’t take up another battle if Castiel needed him to? That maybe it would be asking too much?
Did he think Dean couldn’t help?
He waited until Ben was at school and Lisa was at work for the day before he prayed. He locked the doors, shut the blinds and the curtains, and glanced once over his shoulder to make sure he was alone. Prayer was never something he got use to, even more so aloud. Prayers a man sent up in his head were one thing, but aloud, standing in the living room of your house? That was another.
“Uh, dear Castiel. If you get a minute, I would like for you to come down here if, uh, if you wouldn't mind.” He frowned, remembering the huge wall between the two of them in the books. “Please.”
The tell-tale rustle of feathers was enough to make Dean’s eyes prick behind his eye lids, his throat clenching together as so many different things rushed through him, mostly relief. Perhaps the events in the books could be averted with this one step here. They’d tried proving the books wrong before, but Dean would be damned if someone out there ever thought he’d stop trying to fight fate.