I need a “1.5 coffees” folder for my ficlets, clearly...

A brief coda to “Ladies Drink Free” that will maybe get revised and expanded when I have a little more brain…

Claire was sitting on the steps, her chin resting on her knee, and Dean was struck in that instant how much she resembled - not Cas, but Jimmy, and how much of Jimmy’s physical mannerisms were still echoed in Cas.

In this instance, at least, that helped.  He knew how to read that particular pensive sulk. “Hey kid.”

“Not a kid.” But her tone was tired, not antagonistic, and he didn’t take offense. 

“According to my mom, we’re always kids.”

“Yeah, well, news flash, you’re not my dad.”

He wasn’t so sure of that any more.   But he just sat down next to her, resting his elbows on his knees, and waited.

“I remember some of it,” she said, finally.  “Not… not everything, not even things.  Just…”

“The feeling of it,” he said, when she trailed off.  “The sensations.  Like your body was incredibly tight and at the same time expanding like whoa.”

“Yeah.”  She turned to look at him, a question in her eyes, and he looked down, then looked away.  But Claire was a hunter, all the way to the bone, and she couldn’t drop shit any more than Sam could.

“Dean.  How did you -“

“How did I know?  Been there, done that, threw away the t-shirt.”

“You were - what?”  He could feel her still staring at him, but turned his gaze on the bland landscape across from them rather than look at her.  Not while he was talking about this, he couldn’t.

“Vampire.”  And god, there was a whole pile of repressed shit he’d never wanted to shovel ever again.  “A bunch of years ago, there was…”  He didn’t want to talk about Sam-without-a-soul.  Ever.  “I got turned.  Sam found a cure.”  He didn’t want to talk about Samuel, either.  Ever.  “But there was a while there where…yeah.”

“How do you…forget?”  It was almost a whisper, as though she was afraid to ask, afraid that she already knew the answer.  

“Things get… vague.  Vaguer, anyway.  Time doesn’t heal shit, Claire, but it does a hell of a job in blunting the edges.  The more time you get from it, the more it feels like… something you read about, or maybe saw in a really bad movie late at night.  Real but not-real, all the same.”

“I remember being Castiel’s vessel like it happened yesterday.”

He swallowed hard, and resisted the urge to pull her in for a hug, knowing that would probably get him stabbed, right now.  “Yeah, that was… that’s… I got nothing.  Angels, man.  They’re-“

“Unforgettable?”  But the exhaustion had been replaced with a more familiar wry resignation, and he chuckled.  “Yeah, maybe.  Cas cares about you, you know.  He did even back then, he just didn’t know how to show it.”

“He’s still shit at it.”

Dean nodded, although that was probably more to do with his teachers than the student himself.

“And nice attempt at deflection.”  

He gave a half-shrug; he hadn’t actually meant it as one.  

“So, this, the werewolf thing… You think that’ll fade?  Eventually, I mean.”

“So long as you don’t keep poking at it, to keep it sharp.”

He didn’t have to look to know that she was glaring at him. “You think that’s what I do with Castiel?”

He didn’t answer that: she was a smart kid, she already knew the answer.

“Yeah, okay.  So.  Repress and repeal?”

“Hunter’s Third rule: don’t linger on the shit that didn’t kill you, ‘cause something new’s about to step up to the plate.”

“That is totally not a rule.”

“Should be.”

“We need a wiki.”

“Just remember to set it private, or some idiot’s going to turn it into a LARP.”

He felt the briefest touch of something against his shoulder, and risked a sideways glance to see her head tilting toward him.  Not resting on him, not exactly, but a definite lean toward.

He threw up a quick prayer to Chuck that he was doing the right thing, and draped an arm over her shoulders, not pulling her in, but just resting there. Something for them both to focus on, rather than the past.

Hell Makes Promises

Some days, we escape to fic for fluff and forgetfulness.  And some days we escape there for a moment of vengeful satisfaction.

He’d gone off to be alone with his incredibly depressing thoughts.  So it didn’t surprise him at all to hear someone come up behind the bench he’d claimed, staring over the empty playground.

“Y’ever wonder what it’s actually for?  I mean, seriously… we just… we gank all the monsters in the world, we psychoanalyze the Darkness into skipping off into happy land, we do every damn thing we can to keep people safe and…”

“And humanity manages to fuck it up anyway.”


There was a thump as Crowley dropped onto the bench beside him, legs stretched out so those perfectly polished shoes were visible out of the corner of Dean’s eye, if he were looking, along with a length of charcoal grey suit pants.  He’d gone dapper again.

“You ask your angel about this?” the demon asked, as though they were having an actual conversation.

“Free will does not negate a tendency toward stupidity,” Dean quoted.  “Also, apparently, we’re masochists who couldn’t choose something good if we were given only a single option.“

“That’s always been one of my favorite aspects of the species, actually.  That masochism.  Within reason.”

“You’re enjoying this, aren’t you?”

“Not at all.”

That made his head turn, curious.  Crowley wasn’t looking at him, though.  Hands clasped in his lap, he was staring at something Dean couldn’t see.  

“The Crossroads exists to make deals.  Hell exists to punish those who make deals, who trade away their freedom for security.  But you don’t end up in hell because of what someone else does, Dean.  It’s all free will and personal choice, there.  You have to earn it.”  Something in his jaw clenched, twitching.  “I’ve done bad things to innocents, usually because they were in my way, or useful for a further purpose.  But the majority of humans, they go about their way and have no use for me or mine.  And I don’t…wish harm to them.  It’s not any goodwill nonsense: I simply have no reason to enjoy their pain.”

He slanted a look at Dean then, and something dark and hot burned in his eyes.  “But I promise you, Dean.  The rack won’t lack for bodies, soon enough.  And they’ll all have earned their agony, there.”