A/N: This is (OC) Jane Downey's view of "On The Head of A Pin". The sequel to "That Picture". It isn't strictly necessary to have read "That Picture" or to have seen this episode of Supernatural, but neither would hurt. Thanks to LilyBolt for the episode suggestion. Read her stuff - you won't regret it. I own neither Supernatural nor the men who populate that universe.
"You can sit up front, Jane," Sammy told me.
Those were the last words spoken among the three of us today. It's been hours.
The saying is that silence is deafening. I don't think that's right. There is never true silence. There's a buzz underneath the quiet; that's silence. I can hear every bit of it pushing against my eardrums. Or feel it, rather. Beneath the rumble of the engine, the even hum of the tires on cold asphalt, the hiss of the heat pouring from the vents, the light patter of the rain against glass, is the weight of the unspoken. It is heavy,all that is left unsaid, pressing down on all three of us with a force that makes taking a deep breath impossible.
Conversation is not a viable option for filling the roaring void. My God, what could we possibly say? Which cheerful memory could we share with each other to lighten the mood? In the four and a half months since Dean was pulled from Hell, there has been job after job, monster after monster, black and blue bruises on top of yellowed ones; all of it covered liberally in demon blood and angel feathers.
Sam and Dean have faced everything from familiar ghosts who were revealed to be harbingers of the apocalypse, to time travel, to black and white movie monsters, to feral humans living in the walls of a Midwestern farmhouse. There was a shit-just-got-real Halloween and a Yorkie that threatened Dean's life. There was a red-haired fallen angel who took a little too much interest in my man, and a Siren who came between my boys. Sam banged Sharon Stone in the middle of Basic Instinct, and Dean was asked for his safe word. They've fought Hell's chief torture master, been hounded by angels of the Lord, and raced to stay one step ahead of Lilith and her campaign to break the Seals that lead to the end of the world.
The boys both learned new magic tricks, they hunted for strippers bearing Disney princess names, a whistle made Dean a high school gym class god, and Sammy was killed - then unkilled - by a wishing well that thought it had jokes. Bobby blasted away at witnesses, spoke Japanese, and stuck Dean with a shiny blade. I became a cheerleading coach for a hot minute and met Mary Winchester. We all had our childish notions of benevolent guardian angels destroyed, replaced by a much less comforting reality. Dean revealed secrets of torturing and being tortured in Hell, Sam kept his own secrets and lies to himself, Castiel remained an unpredictable enigma, I struggled to find my place, and Bobby worried about us all. It's been an eventful, stressful, tension-filled time.
And then we went to Greybull, Wyoming.
We battled Alistair, teacher of demon interrogation and terror . We rescued Tessa, Dean's personal Reaper buddy who is apparently not very good at her job. We sent a very awesome dead kid into the light. We saved a Seal.
And we got Pam killed.
Our snarky psychic and devoted Ramones fan, our inappropriate threesome-offering buddy: dead. And this time, we know what happened to her was our fault. Neither Castiel nor an ill advised seance was anywhere near this one. We called her in; even after she asked us to leave her out of this Seal business, we guilted her into helping us again. The demons drew blood, but the blame lies at our feet.
So now we sit in the Impala as it carries us to the next destination sure to be as full of doubt and danger as any other destination in our recent past. Sam and Dean changed back into their street clothes before we left the funeral home. Unused to following the civilian rites of death, they nonetheless went along with the too-formal rituals with little complaint for as long as they could. Handsome and stoic in their FBI suits, they paid their last respects to a friend. Both would have much preferred to send her off on a hunter's pyre.
I, on the other hand, remain in my long black dress, purchased just for the occasion. As saddened as I truly am by Pamela's death, no matter how much I disliked her when we first met, I'm holding on to this small window of normalcy. Wearing black, gathering with a large crowd of mourners, wasting money on flower arrangements the deceased cares nothing about, scattering a handful of dirt in the grave - this is the most normal thing we've done in recent memory. This is what the rest of the world does when someone dies. They cry, they bury them, and they gather for casserole afterward. We did those things. We played along with the charade that we existed in a world that wasn't ending bloody. And now we're driving on.
Sam decides to roll the thunder of conversation across the dark calm before this storm.
"Ruby'll meet us outside Cheyenne. She's been tracking some leads. At the sound of grunts of frustration coming from the front seat, he tries a more diplomatic approach. "Look, I know she's not exactly on either of your Christmas lists, but if she can help us get to Lilith-"
"Man, work with Ruby, don't. I don't really give a rat's ass."
"What's your problem?"
"Pamela didn't want anything to do with this, and we dragged her back into it, Sam."
"She knew what was at stake."
"Yeah, saving the world. And we're doing such a damn good job of it."
"Dean," I whisper, grabbing his hand, trying to soothe him.
"I'm tired of burying friends."
"Look. We catch a fresh trail-" Sam begins. Dean cuts him off.
"We follow it. I know. Like I said, I'm just getting tired."
"Well, get angry!"
I decide to stay quiet. I already know there is nothing to be said that will do a damn bit of good. We reach the latest horrible hotel room in the pitch black of early morning. All I can think about is pulling on my comfortable sweats and wrapping myself around my warm man. After the hell of the last few days, I need to be surrounded by something good. His arm around my shoulders pulling me close to him might be an indication that he feels the same way.
"Home, crappy home." Dean says as Sam opens the door. We realize immediately that something good is not to be.
"Winchester and Winchester." Uriel, with Cas, is staring at us, waiting impatiently for us to get in the door.
"Oh, come on!" Dean throws his duffel across the room, but he keeps his arm around me. Protective at every turn.
"You are needed," the imposing angel of destruction continues.
"Needed? We just got back from needed!" Dean is fuming.
"You mind your tone with me."
"No, you mind your damn tone with him," I tell the smug angel.
Sam tries to diffuse the situation before it can get worse by explaining, "We just got back from Pamela's funeral."
"Pamela. You know, psychic Pamela. You remember her. Cas, you remember her; you burned her eyes out. Remember that? Good times. Yeah, then she died saving one of your precious Seals. So maybe you could stop pushing us around like chess pieces for five freakin' minutes!" Dean takes an angry and aggressive step toward the current focus of his rage. I grab at the arm he's dropped from around me and hold on.
"We raised you out of hell for our purposes."
"Yeah, what were those again? What exactly do you want from me?"
"Start with gratitude."
"Oh…," he breathes, unable to put into words his thoughts at the ridiculousness of that statement.
"Dean, we know this is difficult to understand," Castiel says when finally he speaks up.
"And we don't care," Uriel finishes for him. "Now, seven angels have been murdered. All of them from our garrison. The last one was killed tonight."
"Demons? How are they doing it?" It doesn't seem possible to me.
"We don't know," Uriel reluctantly admits.
"I'm sorry, but what do you want us to do about it? I mean, a demon with the juice to ice angels has to be out of our league, right?" Sammy can't seem to understand why they're here. Honestly, neither can I.
"We can handle the demons, thank you very much."
"Once we find whoever it is," Castiel adds, effectively wiping the self-satisfied look off of the other angel's glaring face.
Dean is still confused. "So, you need our help hunting a demon?"
"Not quite," Castiel replies with obvious discomfort. "We have Alistair."
"Great. He should be able to name your triggerman," Dean huffs.
"But he won't talk. Alistair's will is very strong. We've arrived at impasse," Cas understates.
"Yeah, well he's like a black belt in torture. I mean, you guys are out of your league," Dean informs him from experience.
"That's why we've come to his student," Uriel informs Dean with delight. "You happen to be the most qualified interrogator we've got."
"Dean, you're our best hope," Castiel tells him with sadness.
"No," Dean responds immediately with a voice choked into a growl by anger and the devastation of memory. "No way. You can't ask me to do this, Cas. Not this," he grinds out, finally gripping the hand I have on his arm, both of us seeking to remain anchored to each other.
"Who said anything about asking?" Uriel sneers as he steps toward us.
And just like that, Dean is facing Hell.
A/N: This is more of a word-for-word translation than I will usually use, but I felt that for the set up, it worked. Drop a word or two, please. Love it? Like it? Hate it? Share it!