Disclaimer: Sadly I own nothing Supernatural.
Author's Note: This is my first One-Shot. It's just a little thing that was flitting about in my head. I know Dean's terrified of flying, and who can blame him? But can you really go you're whole life, in this day and age, without being forced to fly somewhere?
The question catches him off guard. The fact that he's being spoken to at all catches him off guard. He turns his head to look at the young woman sitting next to him, all the while keeping his body completely, totally, incomprehensibly still. He meets her eyes and nods slightly before facing forward once again and leaning back into the seat, pressing his head so firmly into the foam back the all the muscles in his neck stiffen and strain from the effort.
"Yeah," she says, her voice unnecessarily light and airy. "I figured as much."
The plane finally evens out and he swallows several times in quick succession until his ears no longer pop. The light behind the fasten seat belts icon blinks off with a beep that sends a shot of panic down his spine. Normal, he tells himself, that's normal, perfectly normal. It's a good beep, not a bad one, not an Oh-My-God-We're-Going-Down one. He relaxes his shoulders a bit, then his neck. His head lobs forward and he slowly rotates it from side to side, working out some kinks. But his back remains firmly plastered to the seat, his legs as well, feet to the floor, hands gripping the armrest.
"You know," she says softly, almost a whisper, "if you hold onto that any tighter, your knuckles might just split your skin and poke straight through." His brows furrow in an expression of both confusion and utter horror as he once again turns to look at the irksome girl beside him. As soon as his eyes lock with hers she glances down to where he white-knuckles the armrest, the one they're supposed to share. He follows her gaze and quickly lets go, jerking his hand up and away. She giggles briefly, the most irritating sound he's heard since the plane's engine started up, and he holds his now weak fingers in his lap, massaging the spent knuckles.
"I'm Jeannie," she says, offering her hand. He thinks about shaking it, that would be the polite thing to do, but ultimately decides that ignoring her would be the best option. Instead of accepting the cue he offers, however, she reaches over and picks up his sweaty hand, pries it off the other he's clamped onto, and shakes it firmly. "Nice to meet you, Jeannie," she says in a mocking voice, "I'm Mr. Too-Terrified-To-Speak." Laughing to herself, she releases his hand and leans back in her own chair.
Terrified? He had been thrown across rooms by invisible entities, performed exorcisms without breaking a sweat. He had stared down bigger, badder, more beastly things than this girl could ever even imagine, all without showing even a drop of fear. And she has the gall to accuse him of being terrified? He was…apprehensive, yes. A bit concerned, at the moment, fairly uncomfortable. But he was most certainly not terrified.
He turns to her, finally pulling away at least a bit from the seat, and prepares to tell her just exactly how wrong she is. But then he realizes something. The girl who sits beside him is just that, a girl. No more than fourteen or fifteen, he would guess. And she seems completely at ease with their…situation. Her belt is undone, her long thin legs crossed lazily at the ankle and she is slouching, actually slouching as though completely relaxed. And here he is, a 31-year-old man looking like and acting like a child. In front of a child.
"I don't really…fly…much," he says through clenched teeth.
"Oh," she says, a wry smile pulling at her face.
"I'm not scared," he spits out. Then, more calmly, "I'm just not used to it."
She rotates in her seat, swings a loose leg underneath her and leans on the armrest between them. She studies him for a moment with a fairly sober expression before saying, "It's okay to be scared."
"Yeah, I know. I'm just not." His tone is harsh as he turns more towards her, his icy glare boring into her. Dean Winchester is not scared. Dean Winchester is strong and brave and confident, cocky even. Dean Winchester does not get scared. Ever. No matter what.
"Oh, okay," she says, throwing her hands up in a mock defensive posture. "Whatever you say."
"I mean it."
"Yeah, I can see that."
He continues to glare at the girl as she pulls a magazine out of her bag and begin flipping through it. Fashion magazine. She was obviously into it just for the pictures, not even pausing long enough to read a caption in between turns of the pages. He rolls his eyes and leans back, mumbles, rather condescendingly, "not scared." But she doesn't react, doesn't acknowledge him at all. Instead she reaches into her bag once more and comes out with some kind of Ipod and headphones. "You're not gonna turn that on are you?" She nods. "You can't…can you do that? Aren't you supposed to not use electrical stuff? It can mess with the plane or something. The pilots'll get weird readings and think we're higher than we are and we'll clip a mountain and crash and die," he says without so much as a breath. "You're not turning that on."
She stares at him incredulously and slowly pulls the tiny headphones out of her ears. "Have you ever flown before?"
"Yes, of course I've flown before," he says in a huff. "I'm a full grown adult, thank you very much."
"Well, was it within the last forty years?"
Now it's his turn to offer an incredulous glare. "How old do you think I am?"
She laughs. "It's okay to use these, or even those," she points to a man across the aisle typing away on his laptop. "Trust me."
"Trust you?" he scoffs.
"They won't mess with any readings. It's perfectly safe. And even if it weren't, we're flying over the ocean, so I doubt we'll clip any mountains."
"Yeah, well, I'm not too keen on flying into the freakin' ocean either."
"Look," she says, closing her magazine and reaching for his hand. "I've made this trip at least twice a year for almost a decade. I haven't flown into the ocean once. Not once."
She pulls away, chuckling. "You might want to at least try and relax. You've got about eight hours left."
"You relax," he says. "And don't say we're perfectly safe, you'll jinx it."
He gives her a dubious look. "The plane. The flight. Us."
"Us?" She shakes her head. "We're not going to crash."
"Stop saying that. I'm telling you…"
"Yeah, jinx, I heard. Here," she says, leaning over and plugging an earphone into his ear, "just listen and relax." He pulls away, but she simply leans in further, forcing the music onto him.
It only takes a moment for his lip to curl up offensively and him to say, "What is this?"
"Tori Amos," she responds, not taking her eyes off the magazine she thumbs through again. "She's soothing."
He removes the earphones and tosses them into her lap. "Well, she's freaking me out." The girl closes her fashion mag yet again and turns to him exasperatedly. "Well, she was," he says, locking her into a staring contest before breaking the silence with, "Why do you fly so much, anyway?"
"Why do you fly so little?" she responds while putting her things away.
"It isn't obvious?"
She smiles, almost a laugh in itself. "My parents are divorced. My father lives in Charleston, my mother's in London."
"Oh," he says, his gaze falling to his lap. "Yeah, my brother's in London."
"That's who you're going to see?"
"You must love him an awful lot to be willing to put yourself through this," she says with a chuckle. He smirks in return. "You visit him often?"
"First time. He just moved out there last year."
"Yeah, some kind of internship or something. He's a lawyer. But not there. But he studied International Law, or something, don't ask me why."
"Why?" she asks mockingly. He rolls his eyes at her and she laughs. "My mom moved out there for work too," she says after a moment. "Dad didn't want to go, so she just…left. And then they got divorced."
"And I bet everyone said it wouldn't last," he murmurs to himself.
"Actually I think most people did say that." She pauses before saying, "You're lucky to have a brother. I always wanted a brother. Or sister."
"Hmm. Misery loves company, right?"
"Something like that." They sit in silence for a moment, watch as the flight attendants make their way down the aisle towards them. "So what do you do? For a living, I mean. Obviously it doesn't involve travel."
"Not flying anyway," he says more to himself. "Mechanic," he answers, while accepting his Coke from the flight attendant, nodding a thank you. It wasn't really a lie, he told himself. Not that it would matter if it were, he'd gotten so used to making up vocations. But he had been working at a garage for the past couple months, just outside Charleston. Business was slow and he had incurred a few gambling debts that his as of yet unbroken legs begged him to pay off. Besides, he knew that this trip was coming, that Sam would need him soon. And he didn't want to be in the middle of a hunt, unable to come running. Or for that matter injured or dead.
"You can afford to fly to London?" she asks, wrinkling her nose in genuine confusion.
"I make decent money," he says, maybe a little too defensively. "More than you, anyway."
"I don't have a job," she says plainly.
"Of course I do have unlimited access to my father's credit cards." She smiles. He frowns. "Just a happy byproduct of being from a rich yet broken family."
"I wouldn't know."
"Lucky you." He scoffs, but she doesn't hear. Or at least she doesn't respond. Instead she asks about his brother, where he lives, does he like it, is he staying. Most of Dean's responses include the words, 'I don't know', plastered between a compilation of others. "So why are you going out to see him now?" she asks finally.
He smiles to himself before answering. "He just had a kid, his first kid. Well, his wife actually had the kid."
She giggles. "Yeah, I figured that."
"It's weird, you know," he starts, almost to himself. "I mean it's weird enough to think of him as being married. But a dad?" He shakes his head in seeming disbelief. "Sammy's a dad. That's just crazy."
She smiles, watching him. He's more relaxed now than he's been since the plane took off a little more than an hour ago. "He's you're little brother?"
"Well," she says, picking up her plastic cup of orange juice and raising it as though preparing a toast. "To the new uncle." He smiles broadly, if not a bit bashfully, and clinks his plastic cup to hers.
"You wanna see her?" he asks quietly.
She swallows down the rest of her juice and looks at him confused. "What?"
He reaches down into the ratty bag he's stowed under the seat in front of him and rifles around for a moment before sitting upright again with several folded pieces of paper in his hand. She watches as he unfolds each one, flattens them on the pull-down tabletop. "Email," he says. "I had to print them off the computer at work, not great quality, but…" He hands them to her and she sees they're digital photos of the baby, his niece. "Cute, huh?"
"She's adorable," she says, even though all babies look pretty much the same to her. One photo shows the newborn, eyes still tightly shut, curled into the crook of a young man's arm. He doesn't look at the camera, just at the baby as she grasps a clump of material from his shirt. Clearly he is her father, but she asks anyway, pointing to the picture, "That your brother?"
"Yup," he says, and when she looks up at him she can see what people mean when they say someone is beaming. He positively lights up when he reaches over her and pulls a different photo to the front. "That's my favorite," he says. She looks down at the picture where the baby, clearly no more than a few days old, lays on a pink blanket and stares wide-eyed into the camera. "That," he says. Pointing at the baby, "is pure Sammy."
She hands the papers back to Dean, shuffling that one to the middle of the pile where it's safely hidden. Babies are cute, this one included, she wouldn't deny that. But her eyes…they freaked her out a little. It didn't seem right that a baby would stare like that, so open and…knowing. It made her feel like the tiny thing had been staring straight through to her soul, like even through the picture she was somehow able to read her mind, see her thoughts.
But of course she doesn't say anything about that to Dean who, finally, seems at least relatively at peace with being in the air. Then a bit of turbulence shakes the plane as she hands him the photos and she notices him visibly tense. "Does she have a name?" she asks, if for no other reason than to try and keep him calm.
"Marianne," he says, obviously shaken.
"That's nice. Where'd he come up with that?"
Dean looks at her and slowly relaxes as he begins talking. "Our mom's name was Mary. But I don't think he wanted to name her after her really. You know, he thought she should have her own identity and all. Actually, that's what his wife said, but I think she's right. So I guess it's in honor of our mom, but not really after her, you know?" She nods. "Of course he always was a fan of Giligan's Island too. Maybe that's why."
"Well, I guess it's better than Ginger anyway."
"Sammy's definitely a Marianne kind of guy."
"The best ones usually are." He looks at her out of the corner of his eye and smiles, lets out a little laugh. "What?" she asks.
"Nothing," he says shaking his head. "How old are you anyway?"
"Fifteen. But I'm wise beyond my years," she says in an utterly sarcastic tone, causing him to laugh again.
"So you've been making this trip…didn't you say like a decade?" She smirks and raises her eyebrows to confirm. "So, since you were five? Damn."
"Yeah, I have more complimentary pilot wing pins than anyone I know."
"Is it hard? Going back and forth like that?"
"It's a long way. Must suck, having people you love live so far away."
"You tell me."
He looks at her with genuine surprise before his face melts into understanding. "Yeah," he says earnestly, "it sucks."
"But you have phones and email and all."
He nods solemnly. "Yeah, but it's not the same."
He waits a minute before turning to her again and asking, "Are you used to it? It's been like this most of your life. Do you just…get used to it?"
She thinks for a moment. "No, I don't think so. Maybe a little, but it always sucks." He drops his head and, for the first time, ventures a peek out the window. It's dark now, not much is visible, but he can still somehow sense just how high they really are, just how much distance there is between them and…everything else. And he feels his heart begin to race again as his hand grabs for the armrest. "It's okay," she says, a soothing quality to her voice that seems impossible for her age. She places her hand over his and whispers, "It's okay to be scared."