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25 September 2010 @ 01:40 pm
[fanfic] Jimmy's Choice (gen, G)  
Title: Jimmy’s Choice
Author: tiptoe39
Rating: G
Fandom/Pairing: Supernatural gen; Jimmy Novak & sort of an OMC.
Summary: The tails of two comets meet.
Author's Note: This started out as a gift fic for smileontheedge and mutated into something far more meaningful. I'm really fond of it; hope you all like it.

Jimmy had built his own little world. It was green, full of quiet places to sit, both sunny spaces and shady hideaways. He had a memory from his youth of a grass-fringed field, atop a sheer cliff’s face, and that was the center of his paradise; around it he had scattered woods, a river, and the empty carcass of a farm house that he decorated differently every time he entered it.

It was, though, absolutely devoid of all other humans. A dog occasionally ambled by and ate out of Jimmy’s hands, and he allowed birdsong to float through, but he was very careful to keep people out of the equation. It was bad enough to be trapped inside one’s own mind; he didn’t want to allow himself to believe this world was real. So he stayed solitary, at the tail end of this comet he was riding, like the Little Prince on his tiny moon.

And then, abruptly, another comet crossed his path.

He heard a knocking, deep inside his eardrums, and recoiled in fright. It was the first time he’d ever heard such a noise, and it had been a year that he’d been locked inside here. The angel wearing him had come in contact with many others during that time, but never had he felt the kindred tugging at his consciousness that said someone was reaching past Castiel to find Jimmy in his solitary place and speak to him. It could be a trick of his mind. He could be losing it at last.

Or someone could really be trying to reach out to him. And Jimmy was only human. He had to crack the door open and peek out.

The face that flooded his mind was a strangely familiar one. Sandy hair, quirky lips. He struggled to think where he’d seen it, and the answer came only with difficulty. His eyes had seen the face, but his mind wasn’t present. This was someone Castiel knew.

“Who are you?”

The man struggled a moment before saying, in a tone accented with another language’s cadences, “Lucius.”

Jimmy rose to his feet and stood at the edge of the cliff, releasing his mental grips a little further. The man materialized fully into his world, standing a few feet away, looking grim. “OK,” Jimmy said, “but what does that mean? How are you in here?”

“I’m like you,” Lucius said. “A vessel.”

Jimmy’s eyes widened. “A vessel? For who?”

Lucius looked guilty. “His name is Gabriel.”

“Gabriel. Huh.” Rocking back and forth on the balls of his feet, Jimmy checked into the pockets of his physical memory. His body was standing inside an old building. This man’s face, and flames, were reflected in the retinas of his eyes. He could feel Castiel’s anger and hurt flaring up somewhere above him and quickly shut off the connection, afraid of being swallowed by it.

Lucius looked expectant, and Jimmy found himself scrambling for speech. “So... how long you been in for?” he finally said, after a few seconds of truly awkward silence.

Another guilty look, and then Lucius answered, again in that oddly accented tone. “Two thousand years. I think.”

Jimmy fell right back down to the ground. Even in his dream world, his tailbone ached from the impact. “Two thousand years...” he echoed, his tongue feeling heavy and dead inside his mouth. One year and he was already afraid of cracking up. How could this man have survived two thousand?

Maybe that’s why he was here. Maybe he was going to help Jimmy. Give him some answers, reassure him about what lay in store for him in the future. Or maybe it was just the opposite.

“How did it happen?” he asked. “Why’d you say yes?”

Lucius looked at him appraisingly, and then squatted in the grass near where Jimmy fell. When he spoke, his voice was musical with the rhythms of that other language. Latin, Jimmy figured, or Italian, or something similar. Really, they weren’t speaking any language at all, but communicating through their minds. So it was hard to get a lock on just what he was listening to.

“I had no one,” he said. “Nothing. An empty house, a shop that no one entered. I was unloved and alone. My sacrifices to the gods went nowhere. Nothing ever changed. That was my life until a man came into town preaching of a God of love. A God who was love. God loved me, he said. It was the first time I had ever heard anyone say anyone loved me.”

Jimmy had stopped brushing himself off halfway through the speech and stared now with blank eyes. He well understood the feeling that had brought Lucius to religion. He, too, had wanted that sense of meaning in his life, a feeling that there was something all-encompassing and all-forgiving outside of the petty, day-to-day world. For a while that faith had brought peace to his life. Until he reached out too far and fell headlong into the depths of it.

“When the voice came, telling me I could serve the one God and live forever as host to an angel, I didn’t hesitate,” Lucius went on. “The things he told me. About how we would bring peace and justice to the whole earth. And the secrets he gave me, things about the makeup of the universe that no one else knew! The planets, the nature of fire and lightning. I thought this was truly an angel. How could I say no?”

“Castiel was the same way,” Jimmy said with a nod. “He showed me miracles. At least, I thought they were miracles. But my wife, she thought I’d lost it. Even though I showed her things that -- I mean, God, I put my hand in a pot of boiling water and --” He broke off, shook his head, and sighed. “Part of me wishes I’d listened to her. The other part is still pretty upset she didn’t believe me from the beginning. I mean, it was real. It all turned out to be real.”

“Did it?” And Lucius let out a laugh, a bitter thing. “Have you seen him, then? The God of love? I haven’t. The moment I said yes, Gabriel took off and hid himself away. This is the first contact he’s had with another angel since that day.”

Jimmy squinted. “What? How?”

“He’s been in hiding,” Lucius said. “He’s spent two thousand years mocking the human race, striking them down in horrible ways, and laughing. He’s always laughing.” He ran his fingers up through his hair. “I can sense his love for God, and his love for other angels-- even though he has run from them-- but for humans... he thinks we’re such fools. It’s embarrassing.”

“We are fools,” Jimmy said without thinking. “I mean, look at the two of us. Look what we said yes to.”

Lucius blinked at him, and then he let out a laugh. “You’re right.” And Jimmy found himself laughing, too.

He shook away the smile, wiped his hand over his eyes. “I don’t know why that’s so funny,” he said. “I’ve got nothing to laugh about. I’ll never see my wife, my daughter again.”

“Why not?”

The words came so far out of left field that Jimmy felt like he’d been sideswiped. His palm skidded across the grass, staining green where it slid, and he had to right himself. “What?”

“You can’t see them?” Lucius said. “Why not?”

“Why not?” Jimmy sat up straight and opened his arms wide. “Because I’m stuck in here! Haven’t you noticed?” Maybe he’d imagined this man entirely. Maybe he was losing it. Until then it had been easy to believe that Lucius was really Gabriel’s vessel, come through the ether to visit him inside his mind-world. But now he was saying things that made no sense, and Jimmy’s heart sank.

But Lucius was patient. “You let me in,” he said. “Why not bring them in as well?”

“You mean make them appear?” Jimmy’s lip curled. “I don’t need cardboard cutouts of my family. I’m close enough to insane with just fake grass and a fake sky, thanks.”

“No.” Lucius’ brow furrowed. “Not just images. Your wife, your family. For real. Bring them here.”

Tears were starting to heat Jimmy’s eyes. “How would I do that?”

“Reach out,” Lucius said. An expression of pity had bunched his eyebrows upward in the middle, and he was leaning forward on the grass. “Your angel isn’t using nearly all of his power. You’ve already borrowed it to create this place. Just...use a little more. Find them. See them.”

Jimmy tried. He didn’t trust his own eyes, he didn’t trust this man or this world to be anything more than an illusion, but he still had to try. He leaned back, lay in the grass, and looked up at the sky until the blue flatness of it began to waver before his eyes. Amelia, Claire! he whispered silently into the ether. Are you at home? Is school out? Are you doing OK? God, just let me see you. Just for a second.

The wavering rippling curtain of blue before him bulged and bunched, firming into shapes, figures, silhouettes. He saw a hand, the thin arm of a woman, soft lips and wide eyes. He heard a voice, heard the rattle of plates in a kitchen. His kitchen. No, now it was theirs, not his. But he could see it. The place where the tile cracked, the counter where Claire had once hit her head and prompted a worried night in the hospital... the pot where that boiling water had once vindicated his faith... he could see it.

And in the middle of it, her.

She’d lost weight. Her face was pinched. She was turning around nervously. He saw that she was wearing a new necklace, a pendant marked by an arcane symbol. A parting gift from his last, and only, visit home.

“Amelia,” he whispered.

She turned. Her eyelids fluttered nervously.

Joy surged up in his heart. “Amelia, it’s me,” he called upward to the illusion painted against the curved sky.

Her lips trembled. “Jimmy?” she whispered.

He sat, then stood. All thoughts of Lucius beside him had vanished. His arms opened up and he reached them to the sky. “Amelia, I miss you. Come here, come with me, please.”

Sky-colored teardrops filling her eyes now. “I’m going crazy,” she whispered.

“No, no, you’re not,” he shouted up at her. “Castiel’s power. I’ve found a way ... I can use it now. I can...”

“Then come back,” she pleaded, falling to her knees alone in the bright room. “Come back to us.”

Jimmy was going to fly upward to touch the sky if one more moment elapsed. He needed to touch her like he needed his own life. But the touch that came was from Lucius. A hand on his shoulder, a warning. Jimmy’s head and arms dropped. In the corner of his vision, the image in the sky dissolved once more into flat nothing.

“Stop,” Lucius said. “Think about what you’re doing. Do you really think she wants to go and live in a false world?”

His heart stinging, Jimmy turned on him. “I thought that was the point! Isn’t that what you just said? What the hell?”

Lucius raised his other hand and held Jimmy’s rage-tensed shoulders down. “Think,” he said again. “This is your world. You’ve created it. You can bring them here and build it around them. They’ll never know they’ve left the real world, left their own bodies. All they’ll know is, you’ve come home to them. And you can stay with them that way. Forever.”

Everything went still and cold around Jimmy. Frost spread across the ground, and the sky whitened as though inviting snow. “You’re telling me... to lie to them?” he said. “To let them think I’m coming home, when really I’ve stolen them from the real world?” His arms rose to cross over his chest and he huddled forward, shaking off Lucius’ hands. “That’s crazy, why would I...?”

“Because what difference will it make?” Lucius wasn’t backing down. “You’ll have them. They’ll have you. You can build whatever life you want for them. A husband for your daughter when she grows up. All the good fortune and family in the world. They’ll never know. And, I’m sorry, but... they won’t say yes. Why would they? You said yes, and they lost you.”

Jimmy stared at him. Lucius’ lips were pressed together; his eyes were strangely pale and hollow. A snowflake fell from the whitened sky, danced around the frame of his face, and found its way into the frozen ground, melting there. Leaving no trace of itself but a wet spot that soon disappeared as well.

He shook his head. “No,” he whispered, his heart crumbling to ashes as the sound echoed in the frigid air. “No, I won’t take anything else from them. Especially not reality. That’s the thing I miss most.”

“It is? Really? Isn’t the life you could give them here better than what’s out there? In here none of you even have to die!”

“Why do you care so much?” Jimmy shivered as he watched Lucius’ features contort. “What does it matter to you whether I bring them here or not?”

“Because I’ve been trapped for two thousand years!” Lucius’ tight stance finally broke, and he raised his hands, spread his fingers wide against the sky. Snowflakes poured into his palms. “Alone! I could create anything I could imagine, I’ve had lovers and friends galore, but they were all people I made up. Cardboard cutouts, like you said.The one thing I have never had was someone real to share it with.”

The pain in his eyes was real. Jimmy watched in shocked silence as Lucius went on. “Can’t I wish that for you? You’ve been here barely a year. Let me tell you, when it gets to be two thousand, you’re going to wish you’d done that one thing for yourself and taken your soulmate, taken your family with you on that journey. You can have the one thing no other human has. You can stay with them forever. Even past death. Why the hell wouldn’t you take that chance?”

The echo of his voice bounced off the cliff face beneath their feet and reverberated, a treble note, into the canyon below. Jimmy stood, his knees locked, his teeth chattering. He forced his jaw to lock, then looked Lucius in the eyes again and said, “I never told you I’d been here a year.”

Lucius took a step back. A flurry of snow fell, coating the ground.

“You’re not just a vessel,” Jimmy said. He pressed one step forward, closing the gap Lucius had just opened. “Who are you, really? Is your name even Lucius?”

A bright, wide sun shot shafts of light down from behind the white cloud cover. “His name was Lucius,” the man before him said with a half-smile. “I did pick him up two thousand years ago. And for the most part, it has been him talking to you.”

Jimmy’s brow furrowed. “So you’re...”

“Curious,” Gabriel said, giving a noncommittal shrug. “I know Castiel got knocked out of you once, and you wished back in. That’s a hell of a thing to do, considering what you must have been through in here. Guess I just wanted to see what was behind it.”

“So all of that... with Amelia, with my wife, and Claire...”

“Totally real.” Gabriel knelt and picked up a flower that had just bloomed by his feet. “You wanted it--” Getting to his feet, he brushed the melting snow off of the petals and held it out to Jimmy. “--you could have got it. They’d come on down, their bodies would have just--” He went limp, his tongue hanging out of his mouth in an exaggeration of sudden mindlessness. “And you guys could have lived here in your own personal Valhalla. Forever and ever, world without world, amen. But you still said no.” He tilted his head. “You do say no, right?”

“Yes.” Jimmy stood firm. “I mean, yes. I still say no. Maybe having a real body in a real world’s not such a big deal to an angel, but... I came here again to give that to Claire. I’m not going to take it back.”

Gabriel grinned. “I’m starting to get it,” he said. “Why you, why Lucius, why those two idiots the Winchesters.” He shook his head and clucked his tongue. “Oh, Dad, you’ve always been a crafty one. Look. Jimbo. You know the world is ending, right? Lucy’s out of the box, the big showdown’s happening, everyone’s gonna bite it?”

“I got that general idea, yeah.”

“Even so, you’d still rather be back there with them than bring them here with you?”

Only a split second of hesitation. “Of course.”

“Well, I’ll be damned,” Gabriel said with a huge smile. “You all might just be exactly what you’re cracked up to be.”

He raised his hand and touched Jimmy’s forehead. And the world, and everything in it, blinked out.

The street was cold. It had rained the previous night, hard if the puddles were to be believed, and his pants were soaked at the ankles. He was looking down at his reflection, brown-tinted in the muddy water, when a school bus drove by and plowed through the puddle. The kids aboard laughed raucously as the bus headed through the next intersection and out of sight.

Jimmy looked down at his mud-spattered shirt. He reached up and plucked a fallen leaf out of his hair. As he stared at it, the wind gusted, and it flew from between his pinched fingers, fluttering across the street and into the front yard of his house.

He followed it.


The Soul is:: pleasedpleased
Morgan O'Connermorganoconner on September 25th, 2010 05:53 pm (UTC)
I really, really don't have words for how much I adored this. Wow...just... WOW!

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Tiptoe39tiptoe39 on September 25th, 2010 10:42 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'm so glad it made you happy <3 I really loved it so it's always nice when that love is shared :) Thank you baby <3
Emily.  Just Emily.: SPN - Gabriel's Punishmentdarth_firefly on September 25th, 2010 06:04 pm (UTC)
This is wonderful. Fantastic work!
Tiptoe39tiptoe39 on September 25th, 2010 10:41 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much!! <3
carma_baby: Better Than Cupcakescarma_baby on September 25th, 2010 06:11 pm (UTC)
This is beautiful and sad and full of hope and really makes you think.

At least, as much as one can at 2 in the morning. I still can't get over your ability to convey such amazing imagery with such simplicity. Beautiful!

Tiptoe39: exercisetiptoe39 on September 25th, 2010 10:41 pm (UTC)
My cupcake icon loves your cupcake icon.

Glad you enjoyed it! Love back atcha! <3
Darkamberdarkamber on September 25th, 2010 06:21 pm (UTC)
This is a great story! Well done!
Tiptoe39tiptoe39 on September 25th, 2010 10:40 pm (UTC)
Thanks so very much! <3
{ embracing the storm }: SPN: Gabemithrel on September 25th, 2010 06:43 pm (UTC)
*wibble* I love this! Interesting that you picked Lucius as a name for Gabriel's vessel, since it's got a very similar meaning to Lucifer. And I love that Gabriel helped Jimmy out.

I did see a couple typos:

He struggled to think where he’d seen it, and came only with difficulty. I really hope you meant to put an "it" after the "and," otherwise...

Until he reached out too far and fallen headlong into the depths of it. You switch from simple past to pluperfect.
Tiptoe39: rentiptoe39 on September 25th, 2010 10:40 pm (UTC)
I should not be allowed anywhere without you betaing me. Dang. I cared enough about this one that I should have had it betad first. *is very embarrassed*

For whatever reason Lucius stood out to me, despite all the other choices. Even though I kept seeing Lucius Malfoy merging into Gabriel ;D
{ embracing the storm }: SPN: Gabemithrel on September 25th, 2010 11:09 pm (UTC)
I was wondering if you got the name from Harry Potter. And don't worry about it, they were two very minor errors that didn't detract from my enjoyment of the fic at all.
Tiptoe39tiptoe39 on September 25th, 2010 11:21 pm (UTC)
The name jumped out at me *despite* Harry Potter. The stubborn thing. >:D
Kevin Jonesmulder200 on September 25th, 2010 08:31 pm (UTC)
Wow! That was unexpected but good. And I am glad that Gabriel finally saw what his Father and Castiel saw in humanity.
Tiptoe39tiptoe39 on September 25th, 2010 10:30 pm (UTC)
Thanks. I'm glad you enjoyed it. <3
saavikam77: Team Free Willsaavikam77 on September 26th, 2010 01:51 am (UTC)
Aw, Jimmy! And Gabriel! *wibble*

This was too perfect, hon. Poor Jimmy, all alone in there. :( But yay for Gabriel getting curious and deciding the Human race had potential after all! :p

Tiptoe39tiptoe39 on September 26th, 2010 01:56 am (UTC)
It'd be kind of funny for someday Sam and Dean to discover that the reason Gabriel started to come around... or at least the reason he continued... was the guy Castiel wears to the prom.

I am so glad you liked it! Thanks!
Captain Nommers of the Tastypants Brigadesecondplatypus on September 26th, 2010 05:50 am (UTC)
I read a lot of really excellent fanfiction, so you would think I'd be used to being knocked on my ass by brilliant work right now, but every now and again a fic comes along that leaves me slack-jawed.
I have so much love for the wonderful insight into Jimmy's personality you've created here. I've never read anything quite like this before, and I'm just... happy you wrote it and happy I read it. I hope you're very, very proud of this, because you absolutely should be.
Tiptoe39: Cas smilestiptoe39 on September 26th, 2010 09:56 am (UTC)
Thank you so much. This is one of those comments that I'm probably going to save to read over and over again when I'm feeling like I can't write worth a damn <3 I'm so, so glad you enjoyed it, and every time you comment on my journal I feel luckier and luckier to have you as a friend :D

Thanks again!

Oh, crap, I'm all misty over here....
Captain Nommers of the Tastypants Brigadesecondplatypus on September 28th, 2010 01:21 pm (UTC)
Awwwwwwwww. *blushes and hearts you like crazy*
I have a few comments like that here and there that I treasure, and it makes me so happy I could give you that. Those writery drops in self-esteem are just awful (I've been going through one myself, lately), and I'm glad I can make a difference.

*smishes you*

... dude. We just had a serious chick flick moment.
I think all the schmoop bingo I've been writing must be getting to me, because instead of male-posturing all over the place, I feel strangely okay with it. :)
Kazcandycanerica on September 26th, 2010 11:09 pm (UTC)
Wow. I really loved this. 2,000 years! I actually said, "Oh my God!" out loud at that. I usually don't read fic that's about characters other than the Winchesters, but this... was so good! Well done. Sad and wonderful, and you captured Gabriel's voice perfectly there at the end.
Tiptoe39tiptoe39 on September 26th, 2010 11:51 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! I'm thrilled you liked it and I'm glad you made an exception for this :3
chibikameaichibikameai on September 27th, 2010 01:57 pm (UTC)
Sorry, I just now saw the Twitter said you got this up. OMC. This is the best birthday present ever. I love this! It's a happy Jimmy piece with a side of Gabriel too! Thank you so much for this!

How about a fic!exchange? Would you like me to write something for you?
Tiptoe39tiptoe39 on September 27th, 2010 02:44 pm (UTC)
oh, that's quite all right! It wouldn't be a gift if I asked for something in exchange. Besides, you gave me such a lovely present in just planting the seed for this fic, I ought to be thanking you!
Nora Norwichnorwich36 on September 28th, 2010 06:01 am (UTC)
This was fantastic. I really love your Jimmy.
Tiptoe39tiptoe39 on September 28th, 2010 07:13 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much! :)
twfftw: Team Free Will (We've got you) by moodymtfwftw on September 29th, 2010 03:03 am (UTC)
no words. fantastic.