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30 September 2010 @ 10:20 am
September drabble dump, SPN gen edition  

Stolen Hearts

He was a man's man, a hunter's hunter. You didn't give him any guff, or you'd end up with bullet holes for eyes. He knew a thousand and one ways to damn you, curse you, trap you, trick you, and let's not forget tear you a new one. So Bobby was ninety-nine-point-nine percent a completely confident individual.

But even he had his weakness.

When Dean was seven, he got loose in the house and started going through all of Bobby's stuff. Which was all fine and good, so long as you were only talking about things that could get him killed, like firearms and explosives and ancient poisons drawn from the blood of a long-extinct creature. Dean could screw around all he wanted with those. So Bobby paid him no mind. He never once thought that Dean would come into the living room, interrupting his conversation with John, declaring, "What's this?"

"This" was a bodice-ripper cover with Fabio on it and the words "Stolen Hearts" looped in ravishing cursive across the top. Bobby's face turned bright red, and he sputtered. His hand reached out and he managed to holler, "Where the hell'd you get that, boy?"

"It was under your bed," said Dean brightly.

"Dean!" John's voice thundered across the living room. "Put that back!" He turned to Bobby. "I'm sorry."

Bobby scrambled for how to recover. "I-- uh-- how in God's name do I put this?"

John clapped a hand on his friend's shoulder. "You don't have to explain to me. I'm sure it helps you to keep Karen's things close by. I of all people understand that."

"Buh--buh--" And finally, Bobby latched on. "That's right. K-Karen's things. Of course."

After that close shave, though, he bought a lockbox.




I Hear You, Man

He'd actually meant to call Ellen for advice, but as it turned out, it wasn't Ellen he needed. And looking back on it, it was a good thing that she didn't answer the phone that night. Because Ellen would have been all about solutions and strategies, and that wouldn't have helped Dean one bit.

Ash answered the phone in a rumbling "Rrroadhouse," and it made Dean nearly spit with a snorting laugh that he hadn't thought himself capable of giving at that point. In one word, Ash had defused the tension riding him. When Ash asked him what was up, Dean had meant to ask for Ellen, honestly he had. But what came out of his mouth was a litany of fears and worries . Ash encouraged them, never broke in for more than an "Mm-hm," or an "I hear you, man," or a "Really," and when it was all done Dean felt minutely better. He thanked Ash for listening, and Ash said, "Hey, hold up, man. Don't hang on me just yet."

"OK," Dean said, a little afraid that now he'd stirred the hornet's nest of advice and was going to get an earful.

But all Ash gave him was his cell phone number. And every time Dean dialed it, he was slightly amazed at himself... but he dialed it nonetheless.





Stupid Test

It was a stupid test to start with. Who the hell did stupid shit like this? In real life the answers didn't come in four choices. Dean knew this better than most, and he also knew how people prevaricated and bullshitted their way through life. The test was like reading a really bad liar. Some of the choices made no sense. Some of them were just close enough to be passable. And it really only took intuition to narrow down the rest. That's how Dad found their prey. That's how Dean picked up girls. Four choices was a fucking joke. A laugh.

When he got the envelope and handed it off to Dad, he thought he'd never recapture the expression of pride that bloomed wide and high across his father's face. "A 1490? Really? Did you cheat?" Asked with only a seed of suspicion, because cheating was hardly a felony in their family. What mattered were results, and Dean had sure as hell gotten those.

But then Dad started to talk about college, and getting Dean a proper education, and Dean lost it. His whole life had been one long sleepaway camp. Days, weeks, sometimes a solid month without Dad coming back. Cooped up in a motel room, or the spare bedroom in the house of someone Dad knew and Dean had never met. Sam demanding to be entertained. If college meant more of that, Dean didn't want a damn part of it.

"Forget it," he said, and the kind of purpose blazed in his eyes that even his father knew not to touch. "I'm going into the business full-time when I get out of highschool. You're never leaving me behind again."

Dad stared at him for a long moment. And he nodded. "All right, then. If that's what you want." The warmth in his tone was something else Dean wouldn't ever recapture.

They never discussed the topic again. Dean had no reason to ever think about such stupid, useless things as PSAT scores. But when Sam's came back and he trumpeted his 1410, Dean had to bite back a self-satisfied smirk.





Apology

"Hello."

Chastity didn't remember a lot of her johns. But the one that broke her down until she couldn't work for two days? Yeah, she remembered that mug. And he was standing in her doorway now, still wearing the super-weirdo trenchcoat like a flasher, looking at her with that strange sympathetic gaze that said he knew who she was and where she'd been.

What else was a girl to do? Chastity grabbed her gun.

"Get out," she said, waving the gun at him, though the man wasn't inside the door. "Get out of here."

He stood still. "I came to apologize."

"I said, get out!"

"I had no idea my comments would affect your ability to do your job. My apologies."

The gun wavered. "What-- what the hell are you talking about?"

He looked vaguely embarrassed. "My friend told me that resolving your issues would be detrimental to your ability to make a living."

Chastity's brow furrowed. She could feel a scream rising up in her throat. The jerk, the absolute jerk!

"And... I didn't realize it would upset you. So... I'm sorry."

He gave a halfhearted shrug. Something inside Chastity's heart hurt all of a sudden.

"How-- how did you know?" she asked cautiously. "About my father."

He looked for a minute like he was struggling with how to answer. "I knew him," he said in an oddly stiff tone. "I was a co-worker. At the Postal Service."

Despite herself, she gave a laugh. "You're weird enough to be a postal worker, that's for damn sure."

The corners of his mouth twitched. "I've often been told."

She set the gun down on the side table, keeping her hand on it. "So how'd you find me?"

She only glanced down a moment, but when her eyes lifted again, he was no longer there. A light in the hallway flickered, then burst. Chastity peered out into the hall, but she already knew he wouldn't be there.





A Good Pantheon

What had he done wrong? Where had he screwed up, to make Heaven such a mess? He'd wanted his angels to be the good older brothers, to take care of his precious humans when he wasn't there. He'd never expected them to rebel, to get testy. It was all such a mess.

Clearly he'd overestimated the angels' capacity for empathy. He loved them so, he thought they'd want the humans to feel the same. But it wasn't enough. He needed angels who had been human.

So he looked at the humans in his care, and he chose.

He chose a mother who died with her daughter. The daughter who saved the lives of her friends. He chose a woman who had been cursed and given her life to protect strangers from herself. A man who'd had an open enough mind to see that his rivals were in truth his allies. And of course, he chose a mother and father whose love and justice lived on in their sons.

It was a good pantheon, really. But it needed a couple of anchors. So God gave a few dead angels new life, including one joker to run the whole show. Because in addition to empathy, Heaven's host sorely needed a sense of humor.




Punctuation

Castiel is squinting at a sign.

Not a heavenly sign, not a sign of the apocalypse, just a sign. A hand-painted sign of no significance whatsoever.

"ROCKS BOTTOM. USED CD's Tapes Records ON SALE."

It's Dean's favorite place in the world to buy music. He can find missing pieces to his cassette collection there. Castiel looks like he'd like to torch the place.

"Cas." Dean clears his throat. "Issue. What is it. Now."

Castiel frowns harder. "The apostrophe," he says.

The missing live tapes of AC/DC's Sydney concert nearly take a nosedive. "That what?"

"The apostrophe," Castiel says. His voice is hard, deadly serious. "It shouldn't be there."

Dean rolls his eyes. "All right then, angelic English lesson."

"And it should be in the first word."

"Are you for real?"

"This is very serious, Dean. Communication is important."

Dean dumped the new tapes into the glove compartment. "Then go work for a newspaper instead of fighting demons. Are we leaving?"

Castiel glares at him like Dean's just spoken blasphemy. But he gets in the car. Once they're on the road, though, he suddenly materializes a paper and pen.

Dean glances over. "What are you doing?"

"Writing a letter to the editor."

Dean smacks his palm against his forehead. "What have I done."




That's Why

Oh, how the tables have turned. The upstart is the sheriff, and the herald is the victim. One is risen from the dead, and now he stands over the body of the brother who outranked him for so, so long.

Castiel raises his hand and the wings, burned into the ground in that place, rise up from ash and become light again.

Gabriel blinks, sits up. Looks up at Castiel and frowns. "You?"

"I was told about the sacrifice you made," Castiel says. His tone is brusque.

"So, what, you brought me back? Don't make me laugh."

But with one glance Gabriel knows Castiel's telling the truth. He turns his head. "So you got all this power, and you came back for me. What are you, stupid? I wouldn't have done the same for you, you know. If I were in your shoes."

Castiel just gazes at him.

Back in his skin five minutes and Gabriel's already itching in it. "What?"

"That's why you're not in my shoes," Castiel says.




Memories

The cold gets to Dean's bones sometimes, and he ends up huddling near the fireplace, leaning forward in his chair in a way that he knows is bad for his back. It's almost a relief for his bones to ache, though; for a long time he was afraid his heart would give out, and even though he avoided seeing the doctor he at least could brag a clean bill of cardiovascular help and throw it in Sam's face. Still, he'd had a glimpse a long, long time ago of what it'd be like to be this age, and he'd long since weaned himself off the burgers.

Sam's aches and pains were worse than his. Sam had arthritis, and blood flow problems, and sometimes he can't sleep for the way his body assails him. That means Dean can't sleep, either, and sometimes they're so tired it's a pain in the ass to even get up to make food. They have to eat, though; they need the sustenance. Neither of them could get along if the other wasted away.

Life is hard, now, but life has always been hard. It's always been a fight to keep their heads up and their bodies moving forward. Now, just a little bit more than most. But on the other hand, they no longer have to look behind them every two minutes, and their home has actual rooms and doors without roll-down windows.

And at night, sometimes Sam will sit on the couch watching baseball while Dean's rocking near the fire, and say, "Dude, that guy looks like Chuck." He'll point out a baseball player with a soft beard, and Dean will look over and squint, and say "That guy next to him looks like that dude from the haunted house in Cleveland," and Sam will laugh and say "You're so right. That poor schmuck."

And before they know it it's the bottom of the seventh and they're neck deep in memories of rugarus and sirens, of girls and Ghostfacers, and who cares whose bones hurt or who can't sleep because they've got a thousand lifetimes behind them, not to mention the one thing they never thought they'd have: time to enjoy them.




Punishment

The drudgery of it. The waste of time. His Father's punishment may not be just, but it's sure as hell cruel. He imagines that somewhere Michael's laughing at him, just doubling over on his celestial ass and having a riotous good time at his expense. "That Lucifer," he's saying. "Nearly destroyed the world all out of jealousy of humans and look what he's doing, washing dishes at a bar. I'd say 'how the mighty have fallen,' but..."

"He's not worth it," says Jo from across the kitchen. Lucifer looks up. She's got a towel wrapped around her fist and she reaches for one of the gleaming beer mugs that's drying on the counter.

"What?"

"Whoever stole your girlfriend," she says, hopping up onto the counter. "You've got a face that says you're planning to deck him."

He looks at her, petite and long-legged, her hair sprawled out behind her as she ably, efficiently wipes each mug dry and lifts it onto the shelf to her right. "I won't have the opportunity," he says.

"Then he really isn't worth your time." She waves a glittering glass at him, shaking it by the handle. "That's a lot of wasted anger, if you can't do anything about it."

Lucifer stares at her. He doesn't quite get it, what she's saying. Anger is what's kept him going for millennia. It's what gave him the power to create the first demons, to break out of the cage in the first place. It's all he's felt for so long, he doesn't understand what it is to waste it.

Her gaze appraises him. "Lemme guess," she says. "You're the kind of guy who isn't satisfied until he's exhausted himself. You know, sometimes it's OK to give up."

His eyebrows twitch. "Giving up is the definition of not OK."

"According to who?" She grins and shrugs and for a moment he can see the experience that's given her this perspective. "The point of life isn't to win any awards, you know. It's just to live. You gotta decide what's worth fighting for."

"And you would know what's worth fighting for?" He shakes his head, gives a sad smile. "I don't need your lectures. I've been at this a long time."

"And you're here stewing in your own juices washing dishes."

"Shut up!" He slams the sponge down. The counter shakes. Rattled, she jumps down from the counter and looks at him through skittish doe eyes. Chastened despite himself, he mumbles, "I'm sorry."

"No, you're right," she says with a soft smile. "I shouldn't have gotten all superior on you. But can I tell you something?" She tilts her head at him, and he nods. "I had a night once I thought was gonna be my last night on earth." She's moving toward him, her eyes fixed on his face. "And I had a choice. Take what I had always wanted, or live with myself for the few hours I had left?"

She's very close to him now, looking up at him, her face in line with his shoulder. She's taller than he thought at first, which surprises him. He's not used to this limited a perspective. "I have a feeling I know what you chose."

"I was kind of surprised at myself, honestly." she says. "I mean, he was right there and I could have... but for whatever reason, I liked myself so much better after I said no."

"So you win for losing?" He laughs. "I can't imagine."

But he sort of can. For the first time, he's thinking about what it really means to lose. Whether it's really the end of the world.

It isn't, not anymore, is it? And it takes this girl to tell him that. Maybe humans' limitations give them a perspective that could be useful to an immortal angel, who has forever and thus has no need to prioritize. Maybe this punishment is about giving him a taste of that.

And if it's giving him something he can use, maybe it's more of a gift than a punishment.

Maybe. Probably not. But the idea is there, for the first time. And someday, when he knows better, maybe he'll thank her for that.
 
 
 
Darkamberdarkamber on September 30th, 2010 08:47 pm (UTC)
Love these, especially "Stolen Hearts" and "A Good Pantheon".
Bobby secretly reading bodice rippers! Hee!
Tiptoe39: love - harley & Mr. Jtiptoe39 on September 30th, 2010 09:21 pm (UTC)
That was my husband's prompt. He's a clever lad. :D