Fic: Take A Bow 4/6
Title: Take A Bow Author: Lopaka Tanu Disclaimer: I do not own Supernatural. Characters: Dean, Sam, Castiel, Bobby, Anna. Words: 20200 Prompt: 2. Post-apocalyptic or end of the world scenario. For stageira Beta: Thank you to my Muse, Beta and Corrections Officer, kira_bouviea Fandom: Supernatural Pairing: Dean/Castiel Spoilers: Immediately Post 4x22: 'Lucifer Rising'. Rating: Adult Warnings: Language, Violence, Character Death, Angelic Violence, Dean Angst, Dean Centric, Implied Adult Situations. Summary: Dean is the instrument that stops the apocalypse. There are consequences. Author's Note: There are general WTF moments that are explained by the end. ______________________________________
The passing headlights of a car burned at Dean's eyes. He wasn't certain how long he had been driving, but it felt almost like forever. Night had fallen with all the weight of a building's worth of bricks. That had been hours ago.
Strangely, Dean didn't feel hungry. The last time he could remember eating anything was that morning in the diner. He was almost reasonably sure that it had been this morning. Not that it really mattered.
Glancing at the radio, he was tempted to turn it on. This was not the first time his eyes had been drawn to it. Ever since the park, he had been curious to see if it had been reported. A guy causing an explosion of water in a park fountain would be worthy of mention. Then again, it was probably billed as a hoax.
His fingers twitched on the steering wheel. Yet, he did not reach for even so much as a tape. The reason lay snoring in the back seat.
Dean wasn't sure what had happened to his brother in the fountain. Despite the lack of knowledge, he wasn't really worried. All he knew about this was that it was best to let him sleep off the effects.
So, he kept his eye on the road ahead of them. It was a back highway that had seen better days. Sure, there were plenty of patches, but the asphalt just needed a new layer.
Shifting in the passenger seat, Castiel glanced over his shoulder. He inspected the prone form with a critically raised eyebrow. Turning to face the front again, he shared a look with Dean.
Shrugging one shoulder was the only comment Dean was willing to make.
Who knew where things would end up now.
The sun appeared over the stretch of highway some time after he had broken down and put in a tape. There was only so much snoring he could take before he shoved a sock in Sam's mouth. Since the noise of passing traffic hadn't woken sleeping fugly, Black Sabbath wouldn't do it either.
Boy had he been right about that. Unfortunately, he had been wrong about the fact they could drown out the snoring. The louder he turned the radio, the louder it got. He was pretty sure the Impala was vibrating from Sam's snores by the time he had conceded defeat.
So, now, the tape was playing quietly in the deck and Sam was snoring softly in the back. If he didn't know better, Dean would have sworn the giant wind bag was doing it on purpose.
Blinking himself awake for the third time in, Dean checked his watch, three minutes, he sighed. He had to find some place to stop soon or he was going to pass out at the wheel. The last thing he ever wanted to do was deliberately wreck his baby.
Squinting, he checked the horizon. For the most part it was unending hills and mountains. But, over the next incline might be a place to stop. After seven such hills he finally saw something.
Warmth filled him. It was a neon sigh with two of the letters burned out. A greasy spoon after his own heart. Sam would hate it on sight. The smile on his lips made up for the fact he had to blink himself awake two seconds later.
The inside of the diner was surprisingly cool despite the dry heat outside. It was only seven in the morning and it was already eighty-two degrees. He would hate to be stuck here all day long. Dean knocked on the wooden counter just in case some trickster out there was listening.
His knock had the added bonus of attracting unwanted attention. The four truckers down the bar dragged their attention from the lone television to look his way.
Dean gave them a short nod of acknowledgment before looking up at the menu on the wall behind the counter. There were many things listed, but his eyes instantly went to one in particular food. They sold pie, any time. This place was indeed a gift handed down from god.
He was deciding what might look good when he caught sight of the little darlins. A whole row of them lined up on the back counter. They were waiting for him, all tempting and sluttishly made up for him alone. Oh, they wanted his lips on them and he knew it. If the waitress ever showed up, he would have him a piece or two.
At the moment, she was serving coffee to one of the truckers. After topping him off, she turned to look up at the cash register. Seeing Dean, she sighed and made her way over. The coffee pot slipped easily back on to its burner in a well practiced move as she passed it.
Dean pasted on his most pleasant smile as she stopped directly in front of him. "Good morning, beautiful."
"Can it, sweetheart, I've been on my feet since midnight." She reached in to her hair and pulled out one of six pencils holding the tangled mess back. "What'll it be? Here or to go?"
"To go, of course." He gave her a reassessing look as she put the pencil back and went to the cash register. "A burger with fries, and some fruit salad thing if you have it."
She pursed her lips and looked up at him as she rang it up. "You have a girlfriend waiting for you in the car?"
"Prissy brother." At her nod of understanding, Dean thought he may have found Bobby's soul mate.
She hit the enter key and cracked her gum at the same time. "Total comes to ten, twenty-eight. That includes a buck-fifty for two pieces of cherry pie."
He was wrong. Obviously she was sent by god to this wonderful place. This wasn't a roadside diner, it was a slice of heaven on earth. If he listened carefully, Dean bet he could hear the holy chorus in the background.
More likely it was just some twenty-four hour news channel. Still.
She cracked her gum to get his attention.
Clearing his throat, Dean smiled at her, chagrined. Reaching in to his back pocket he pulled out his wallet. He pulled out a twenty and handed it over to him.
The waitress handed him back change before the twenty had completely left his hand. The woman had obviously been at this job long enough to judge a man by appearance alone. Putting it in the cash drawer, she bumped it shut with her hip. "It'll be five. You can wait any where but over there." She indicated a sectioned off booth. "It's haunted."
"Of course." Dean looked to the ceiling. God was obviously trying to tell him something. Good food, quick service, and cheap entertainment. This place was too good to be true.
"And more on a story we brought to you earlier. Remember the incident at that fountain in Marblehead, Oregon? The one where people claimed to have seen a man-in-black surrounded by light. You'll also recall that they said he performed a so called 'spiritual cleansing' on another man?" The reporter's voice was perky, with just a hint of mystical awe.
To Dean, it sounded like she spoke with the forked tongue of Satan himself. Looking down at his clothes made him grimace. He swallowed to clear the swelling in his throat, but otherwise kept his reaction under control.
"Well, believe it or not, we are now getting reports of actual miracles happening at that same fountain." She finished speaking with a soft voice. Reaching up, she ran a hand over her face to wipe at something in her eye. "Some of the amateur videos we have acquired are really quite shocking. We're going to show you just one of the many hundred alleged miracles."
It was like a train wreck. Dean found himself unable to break the lure as he turned to watch. Any doubts he might have deluded himself with quickly vanished with the opening shot.
On screen, a woman in a wheel chair was pushed towards the fountain. There was a large crowd gathered, but they gave her plenty of space the moment they saw her sunken features and waxy pallor. It was hard to get a clear image of her face as the camera kept bouncing between her and the fountain.
Black lines ran across the bottom of the screen as someone bumped the camera. Someone said something intelligible to the microphone and the camera swung back quickly to face the fountain.
Standing next to the water, a man had a small, wooden chalice that he dipped in to the water. Holding it up, he caused a hushed whisper to fall over the crowd.
Dean fought down the urge to roll his eyes when he got a good look at it. Someone had too much time on their hands and a worn out copy of 'Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade'. He must have missed a few seconds of it because when he next looked, the man was at the sick woman's side.
The man reverently presented the cup to her.
She had to have help removing her oxygen mask. Raising one shaky claw of a hand, she grasped the edge of the chalice. Bringing it to her lips, she gave the man a grateful smile.
At that moment Dean felt like he was going to throw up. Here, this obviously dying woman was being made to believe some disgusting water from a public fountain was going to cure her. In reality, it was most likely going to infect her with the bacteria that would kill her in a few, painful days time. It was enough to make him turn away.
Stunned gasps on the television drew him back.
In her wheelchair, the woman was now holding the chalice by herself. As she drank steadily, color quickly came back to her skin. Her fingers seemed to inflate and her eyes lost their sunken hollows.
Dean's jaw dropped.
By the time she finished the water, the woman was sitting up in her chair looking vibrant and full of life. She still had no hair, but all physical symptoms of her illness were now gone.
"Bullshit." Taking a bite of his omelette, one of the truckers farted. He sniffed a couple times before laughing. "No smell, there's a real miracle for you."
Dean was saved from having to react by the clearing of the waitress' throat. He glanced over at her grateful. "Thank you!" He held out two dollars for a tip.
She accepted it and handed over his bag of food. "You are most welcome, Dean."
He started to smile until her words registered. Without a doubt, he knew he hadn't told her his name. His fingers automatically went to the small of his back. "Who are you?"
The waitress stuck a thumb under her name tag. "It says Naomi, doesn't it?"
"You're not Naomi." Dean cast an assessing glance over at the truckers. To his surprise, they were too caught up in the newscast to notice him. "What do you want?"
Picking up a rag, the woman smiled. "All right, you found me out." As she blinked, her eyes started to glow brilliant yellow. She blinked again and they returned to normal. "Do you have any idea how hard it was escaping those assholes a second time? This time, I don't even have my body to come back to."
Something clicked in Dean's head. Raising his eyebrows, he stared at her in shock. "Anna?"
"One in the same." Looking down at her vessel, she sighed. "Not exactly pretty, but she's of that special blood that makes her useful to us."
Hand clenching his bag of food, Dean glared at her. "What do you want?"
"Just to warn you." Anna wiped the rag over the counter top in slow circles. "Things are really screwed up on every plane right now and I wouldn't want to have the last name of Winchester."
"What?" It came out louder than he intended, but Dean didn't care. He leaned in closer to her to whisper loudly. "What did we do this time?"
"Not you specifically, or your brother for that matter." She glanced up from her scrubbing to pierce him with her stare. Her eyes were back to glowing. "Do you know how long it's been since the big guy actually played his hand? It was like an earth quake in the heavenly circles, I can only imagine what it did in hell."
So that was what it was about. Dean snorted in derision. "Yeah, well, you people brought it on yourselves."
"Not me, Dean, I was much like you, drafted against my will." She sighed. "But, that is over now. I'm free." Her eyes returned to normal. "Which is more than I can say for you." The smile that graced her lips was not pleasant. "Tough luck, but as they say 'them's the breaks'."
Her venom left Dean confused. "What the hell did I ever do to you?"
"You should ask your very own pitbull with wings next time you see him. Which shouldn't be," she checked the television screen, "too much longer." When she faced him again, she was wearing a smile.
Dean felt his lips pull tight in a mockery of a smile. "Yeah, well that's going to be kinda hard, considering he's dead."
That wiped the smile right off her face. "Castiel's dead? When?" She seemed to grow in size during her rapid fire questions. "How?"
"That dick Zachariah, right before your boss finally got off his ass and did something." Snatching his meal off the counter, Dean shook his head. Fucking crazy angels. They were all a few bricks shy of a load. Heading for the door, he missed the pained expression on her face.
"We're now even, Dean," she called to him just as he reached the door.
Ignoring her words, he all but stormed out.
The wake of a semi passing by shook the Impala. Dean set the carry-out in the passenger seat as he closed the door. Once it shut, he sat there for a few minutes doing nothing. While he may have been staring at the dash he saw nothing.
Anna's words had stung him more than he cared to admit. What he had been trying to ignore for the past five days laid bare. He had to give them credit, when those damned angels got angry, they knew exactly where to strike.
Sniffing, Dean reached up to rub at his face with the back of his hand. That done, he wiped it on the leg of his pants, then reached for the keys. A soft groan from the back seat made Dean glance over his shoulder.
Curled on his side, Sam's arm was thrown over his face. As his chest rose, he sucked in a soft breath. The exhale ended with a soft snort.
Dean watched him breathe for a few seconds. He justified this to himself with the thought that he was just making sure the big dork wasn't faking. When he felt secure that Sam was okay, Dean turned around to face the front again.
Through the windshield he could see cars heading up the old highway. The higher the sun climbed in the sky the more people were out and about. It was almost like a law of nature. That probably had a lot to do with the fact that humans weren't naturally creatures of the night.
Relaxing in his seat, he continued to stare out the front window. Beyond the highway was a large field with crops growing. It wasn't corn, that much he could tell. The way the leaves and stalks moved in the wind reminded him of flowing ocean waves. It was a big, green inland sea.
So peaceful. If he tried hard enough, Dean could see a boat out there. The sails were deployed as the wind drove it onwards.