This story is also available at this location on The Archive of Our Own, where all my current stories and comments can be found. I am no longer updating this site.

History catches up with him in Iowa.

At least, that's the only thing that Tom can figure out about what happens, which is that a guy taps him on the shoulder. Tom turns, afraid he's been recognized, and sees that the guy has his own goddamn face. After that Tom's not too clear on the details, but there is pain and eventually, a bright light.

When Tom manages to blink his eyes open, the guy with his face is putting away a flashlight. Behind him, there's a tall blur. Tom's not small, but the other guy is bigger and broader and Tom begins to shudder in his chair, which is when he realizes that he's tied down, wrists wrenched behind him and ankles strapped to the chairlegs.

He's been strapped down for shock treatments, but this—this beaten-down motel room—is nothing like the hospital, and panic is sour copper in his mouth. He thinks maybe he's going to throw up.

The dark-haired man pushes past Tom's double and looms over him. "What are you?" he demands. He's furious, like everyone back in Harmony. Tom cringes and the man looks disgusted. He brings out a knife, blade gleaming in the low light spilling into the room from the outside.

"What are you?" the man asks again, and now Tom is crying.

"Sam …" his double says uncertainly, his voice rougher than Tom's.

The knife flashes out, slicing across Tom's cheek, and the pain is shocking enough to make him yell out. The blood runs hot down his skin. The man—Sam—hits him across the other cheek. "Shut up," he says, almost gently and Tom freezes. Sam bends down, presses his fingers to the cut as if he's looking for something. "No reaction to silver," he says. "But unless Dad had a lot more surprises for us—"

"Yeah," his double agrees. After a moment, his double makes a frustrated noise and disappears from Tom's line of sight. When he returns, he's got a first aid kid; he presses gauze to Tom's cut and tapes it up. Tom can still feel the ooze of the blood, but it's not hurting so much any more.

Tom isn't sure if he's allowed to talk. He's shaking so hard that the chair is actually wobbling back and forth, making heavy clunking sounds on the thin carpet. Even when Harry Warden had him in the cage, he could do more to defend himself than he can now.

"What's your name?" his double asks him, squatting in front of Tom so that they're at eye level.

"T—Tom. Tom Hanniger," he manages. If he's lucky they won't have heard of him. Axel and Sarah closed ranks after he left, accused him of the murders. But the state police got involved and found out about Axel's affair. Tom followed the reporting from afar; the story never made it all the way national, but that hardly mattered these days when information just floated through the air. In the end, the prosecutor concluded that Axel's decision to handle the investigation himself had compromised any possible case against Tom beyond repair, plus nobody could even figure out whether Tom was still alive, so getting his side of the story wasn't a high priority. He liked it like that.

"Well, Tom," his double says easily, like this isn't freaking him the fuck out, like this isn't worth freaking the fuck out over, "my name's Dean. And if this turns out to be the weirdest coincidence since Dark Side of the Moon and The Wizard of Oz I will personally buy you a beer. And hold Sam down so you can smack him one."

"Why did you tie me up and cut me?" Tom asks. This time his voice doesn't shake, even though his body is still trembling. His muscles feel tight, locked up. He can't help straining against the ropes, even though they're watching and they're armed.

Dean sighs, rubs his hand across his mouth, and looks up at Sam as if he's got some answers. "Basically? We've met guys that look like me before. They're usually trouble."

Tom doesn't understand this at all, and his face must show it. "Sam, you got any ideas here?" Dean asks.

Sam shakes his head.

Dean leans forward. "There's a couple of other things we can try."

The panic is back again, clawing its way up Tom's throat, and as Dean gets closer, his face starts to flicker in and out, covered up by a gas mask, blank and horrible. He's Tom and then he's Harry, Tom and Harry, Tom and Harry—

Tom jerks back so hard that the chair goes over, landing hard on his arms and smacking his head against the floor. His teeth clang together and he tastes blood, but none of that matters because Harry is here for him and Tom is trussed up like a brown paper package—

Someone is yelling; someone else is screaming and Tom is pretty sure it's him. Harry looms over him—

"Stop," a new voice says, and everything goes quiet.

Somehow, Tom's chair is righted, even though he doesn't feel hands and he can see Sam and Dean—Dean again, not Harry and not Tom—and the new guy, all standing in a loose ring around him. Tom's arms hurt like fuck and possibly he's cracked an elbow. The new guy is staring at him like he's either dinner or trash. He's wearing a trenchcoat and a suit, and his eyes are blue as gas, so Tom looks down.

"Hey, Cas," Dean says, like this is all normal. "Can you figure out what's up with Mirror Dean here?"

Cas approaches. His hand is gentle on Tom's chin, tilting it up. His face, too close to Tom's, is unshaven and his eyes feel like they're cutting into Tom worse than Sam's knife.

"He's human," Cas announces, pulling back, and the fact that he says it like there was ever a question sends another shudder through Tom. "But he is deeply hurt."

Over Cas's shoulder, Harry appears again, raising his ax. "Look out!" Tom yelps, because as crazy as these people are, nobody deserves what Harry does. They all turn—a gun is in Dean's hand, materialized there as fast as Harry—and then swivel back to him, Dean and Sam puzzled and Cas calm.

"Please," Tom begs, "he'll kill you."

"Dude—" Dean begins, but Cas reaches out behind himself, his palm facing Harry, and Harry shivers and disappears like a TV signal dying out.

"Demons and angels walk the earth," Cas says, like he's reciting a sermon. "Do you wish to renounce your demon, Tom Hanniger?"

Tom's more confused than he was before he went into the hospital and every inch of him hurts, but Cas got rid of Harry, which is better than anyone else has ever done. "Yes," he says fervently.

"Do you give yourself over wholly to the service of God and His angels?"

"Hey, wait a second!" Dean begins, angrier than he's been so far.

Cas tilts his head and examines Dean the way he was looking at Tom. "There is always a price, Dean."

Tom's too high with the promise of salvation. Harry's been chasing him most of his life, and if he doesn't get help soon he might as well let Harry catch him. "I do," Tom says. "I do."

"He doesn't know what—" Dean begins to protest, but Cas steps forward and puts two fingers on Tom's forehead, and the world goes white and cold. The light surrounds him; a buzzing rises in his ears, drowning out the sound of Dean continuing his useless argument. For the first time in years, Tom doesn't smell the mine: the damp and the sweat, the coal and the metal, all gone. He doesn't know how, but he can feel Harry writhing, dying, shrivelling into nothing.

The light reaches into him and he gives himself to it.


Notes: Okay, I’m that viewer who felt really bad for Tom and wanted Axel to get what was coming to him, which was not to die bloody but at least to suffer some.

All feedback much appreciated!
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