Osiris. It had to be the Egyptian god that placed people on trial to weigh their guilt. Of course it had to be him.
Dean was always one to harbor shame. It almost ate him alive some days, although he tried not to let it get the best of him. He knew some of the things he blamed himself for weren’t his fault. At all. But it didn’t negate the shame he carried around like an anvil on his shoulders.
Dean was on trial.
Sam was his lawyer.
And Osiris was the judge and jury.
Osiris called the first witness: Jo Harvelle. Dean almost couldn’t handle seeing her again. The flashbacks of the last time she had been alive came flooding to the front of the elder Winchester’s mind. The Hellhounds. Ellen volunteering to stay behind with her daughter. The explosion that claimed the lives of not one, but two loved and cherished hunters. Dean tried not to, but he did feel horrendous shame about it. He felt like he had a hand in killing Jo. He could still see the flash of the explosives, could still smell the burning hide of Hellhounds. It was all so fresh although it had happened years ago. He certainly knew he had a hand in starting her down the path of hunting. Although she insisted it was her own father.
Before Jo could say she didn’t blame Dean for any of it, she was forced to disappear.
Sam was then called to the witness stand. Osiris tried to put words in Sam’s mouth, but he boldly came to his brother’s defense. Yes, Dean partially played a role in bringing Sam back to the life, but it was the yellow-eyed demon above anything else. The hellish creature that killed Jess. He needed to ensure Dean came out innocent. His life literally depended on it.
This entire trial was about how Dean felt, way down deep. If Dean thought himself innocent, then he was. But if Dean felt like shit, at all, about his past, then he would be guilty. The trial was almost over before it began.
Sam took his seat as attorney once more, beside Dean.
“I will give you time to strategize,” Osiris said as he stared the Winchesters down. “Then I’ll call my last witness.”
Dean swallowed. If this was about him - if this was about believing himself innocent - then he was certainly going to fail. As much as he tried to hide it, Dean felt the weight and responsibility of so many things. Of so many lost lives. Of screwing up people’s version of normal. All of it.
“Do you know who he’s going to call?” Sam asked.
“What? No.” Dean scrunched his brow in confusion. “Why would I know?”
“Well, he almost made it sound like you would.”
“How should I know?”
“I guess we’re about to find out.”
Osiris tapped his staff on the ground to call the court back to order as he called his next witness.
“I call to the witness stand…” Osiris paused. “Y/f/n Y/l/n.”
Dean’s mouth went dry and he felt his heart drop at hearing her name being called.
As her image appeared, Dean couldn’t help the sudden warmth of fresh tears behind his eyes. Why did it have to be her? Why her? Damn it! He couldn’t help but feel guilty. The pressing burden at the knowledge of what he’d done to cause her death.
"Y/n! Run! Come on! Run!"
“Y/f/n…” Dean mumbled, choked up at the sight of her.
“Hi, Dean,” she replied, her voice still as soft as ever. “Hi, Sam.” She grinned at the boys in front of her.
“Enough chit chat.” Osiris gestured for y/n to take her seat. “Now, tell me. What was it that turned you into a pile of ash?”
Y/n couldn’t help but smile at Dean, even as she recounted the gory details of her death. “We were running from angels. Douchier-than-normal angels. They had a vendetta against Sam and Dean and anyone that helped them. I just happened to be one of those humans. One of them caught me by the arm and slammed an angel blade through my back before I even had the chance to scream.”
"Y/N! No, baby, please! No! Not her! Not her, you douchebags! Not her!"
Osiris nodded and scratched a small area along his jaw. “So, would you say it’s Dean’s fault that he dragged you into all of that?”
Y/n turned her gaze from Dean to the Egyptian god on the judge’s seat. “No. No, I went of my own accord.” She shifted to hold Dean’s green eyes once more. “He couldn’t force me to do anything I didn’t want to do. I would do it all again if I had the chance.”
“Y/n…” Dean mumbled again. And this time he couldn’t do anything to hold the tears from falling. “Y/n, I’m so sorry. It never should have been you. Never you.”
She closed her eyes at the brokenness of his voice. “It wasn’t your fault. I promise it wasn’t your fault. You can’t blame yourself for what happened to me, Dean.”
“But you’re dead. If I…”
Dean's angel blade sliced through celestial beings, rage filling his eyes. Pure vengeance was all he felt, was all he heard, as he ended the existence of the angels that had killed her.
“Don’t. Please,” she begged. “We were all there together. It could have been any one of us, and I know Sam and Bobby have been telling you the same thing. Please. Don’t shoulder that guilt too.”
“Back on topic,” Osiris interrupted. “Isn’t it true that Dean was the one who introduced you to hunting in the first place?”
Y/n sat in silence for a moment. “In a way, but -”
“So, if it hadn’t been for him, you’d probably still be alive?”
She took a deep breath. “No.”
Osiris quirked an eyebrow as he leaned toward her in his judge’s seat. “No?”
“No,” she stated again, very matter of fact. “If it weren’t for Dean, I would have been dead long ago. In truth, he and Sam saved me. They gave me a reason to keep going. I’d rather have died at the hands of dickbag angels than of my own doing.”
Osiris nodded and gestured toward Sam. “Prosecution rests. Defense, your witness.”
Sam approached y/n and couldn’t help the sad smile on his lips. “Y/n.”
He swallowed down the beginnings of tears. “Were you forced to go with us to confront the angels?”
She shook her head and stared past Sam at Dean. “No. I went willingly.”
“Do you hold any hostility toward Dean for how things played out?”
“No. I never could.”
"No. Y/n. Please. " Dean cradled her limp body in his arms, his head hung as tears fell over his cheeks and dripped onto her lifeless form. "Damn it, come on. You can't be dead. Not you. Please, baby. Please."
Dean didn't know how long he sat there holding her. Eventually he stood, carrying her body, and walked to the Impala where he gently laid her in the backseat, his jacket over her face. He wanted, more than anything, to wake up from the nightmare, but it hadn't been a dream. She was gone.
And he was angry.
Sam nodded and asked his last question. “Do you feel like Dean dragged you into hunting? Or that it's his fault you were pulled into the life?”
Y/n flicked her eyes up at Sam momentarily before meeting Dean’s melancholy gaze once more. “Dean introduced me to monsters. That is true. However, when the two of you busted in the door to my house, you saved me from more than one kind of monster. One was a ghost. The other was myself. He didn’t drag me into anything. I wanted to learn about monsters and hunting. It’s not his fault, or yours, that I ended up in ‘the life’. I wouldn’t change it for anything. Because I met someone who made me love life.”
Dean choked back a sob as he stared at the woman in front of him. He wanted to rush up to her, to hold her one more time, but there was more than one reason he couldn’t do that. He was shackled to the table in front of him. And she wasn’t real. His arms would push right through her.
“Baby, I’m sorry,” Dean whispered, tears flowing over his cheeks.
She shook her head. “Don’t be. Please, Dean. I’m in heaven. And I’m waiting for you.”
Dean and y/n just stared at each other, and she was allowed to be there longer than Sam thought she would be.
“I love you,” Dean spoke, a sob accompanying his words. “I love you so damn much.”
She smiled bitter-sweetly at him. “I love you, Dean.”
With that, her image flickered and disappeared.
Dean hung his head, sobs racking his chest.
“Well, I think we’ve seen all we need to see,” Osiris said as he tapped his staff on the ground thrice and stood. “The court’s reached a verdict.” He stared at Dean, his eyes emotionless yet heavy. “I find you, Dean Winchester, guilty in your heart...and sentence you to die. I suggest you get your affairs in order quickly.” Osiris’s staff thudded once more against the ground.
The trial was over.
But all Dean could think about was seeing her again and how much he wanted her back. So what if he died? She was waiting for him. Would it really be so bad to just go to her?
However, Dean knew his brother wouldn’t let him die and would find a way to stop Osiris from carrying out the sentence. No matter how much he wanted to be with her again.
As he watched the flames flicker around her, Dean silently swore that he would somehow obtain vengeance. He would hunt down the angel that had sent those that had put an end to the sweet life he loved more than anything else in this world. More than Sam. More than his mom. More than Bobby. Everything that mattered to him had come to an abrupt, horrible, unfair halt. Dean wanted her back, and would give anything to have her again, but that would break her heart, and he wouldn't do that to her. He would never, and could never, do anything to break her heart.
His was broken enough for the two of them. And he mourned her without ceasing.
And the guilt - that he should have been able to stop it from happening - came brand new with each sunrise. It never stopped. And it never would.