Alright, this update couldn't have come at a worse time. Supernatural isn't back on until January and my roommate just told me that she doesn't think Jensen Ackles is hot.
Fun fact: While Carden is very loosely based on Buffy, that's not why she's blonde; I saw a pattern with the girls romantically attatched to the Winchesters - Jo, Mary, and Jess; they're all blonde.
I smirked to myself as I slid in next to Dean in a semi-familiar diner, completely confident and content as he begrudgingly let me cling his hand in mine. Dean was never the holding hands kind of guy, but he accepts that when we're in a diner I feel the urge to show the waitress that he's mine; call it an overprotective urge. I just don't feel comfortable with the way waitresses tend to eye my boyfriend.
I could squeal – Dean's my boyfriend again. And I love him. I've been planning out how to tell him that I love him these past two weeks; Dean's been my boyfriend for two weeks! We've DOUBLED our previous dating span. How monumental is that?
At this point, I'm officially not a part of the Slayer Society, or whatever our technical name was. I'm a liability, and they can't afford to pay to protect me if I'm not going to agree to take their orders. Therefore, I no longer work for them, and they no longer pay Dean and Sam the salary that they were originally paid. But that's fine; Dean's teaching me to play pool, and they figure with my small, bubbly way of being I'll be great at hustling.
Dean clicked his tongue for a few minutes; I wasn't quite sure why he had decided to take me out for breakfast without Sam, but I take whatever time I can get with him anymore. Being not a part of the society makes me feel a little antsy about my impending death, or Dean's. I can't imagine either of us dying, but it's got to happen eventually. Every kind of statistic is against us – we fight ghosts, and other assorted evil.
"I feel like I've been here before, and that they don't have good pancakes." Dean's brow was furrowed in concentration as he tried to remember how this particular diner made their food.
"Our pancakes are top notch," a waitress claimed, her Southern twang squeaking and making me flinch as she bounced up to the table, her too-tight uniform stereotypically starched white. Her eyes lit up when she saw Dean, her jaw dropping in delighted shocked, "Well dear sweet Jesus, if it isn't Brian O'Funk. Never thought I'd see you 'round here again."
I snorted, partially trying to hide my jealousy but mostly amazed at the fact that this waitress really thought someone's last name was 'O'Funk.' Honestly, doesn't that scream FAKE?
Dean's eyes were blank, his smile obviously forced, "Right, hey…" His eyes shot down to her name tag so that he could check who she was. He covered up the move, though, by pulling his hand out of mine and wrapping his left arm around my shoulders, "Jenny." His eyes blinked then; he obviously remembered this girl, "Great to see you again."
I could feel that tiny bit of my overprotective girlfriend side of me kicking in, and my right hand bent to intertwine with Dean's as it hung limply from my shoulder. Jenny eyed my shoulder distastefully, her eyes narrowing, "It's Lisa."
"I, uh, associate all the girls who are important to me with my dead ex-wife, Jenny." I tried not to snort, mostly because I was remembering that I should theoretically be mad that he's hitting on this girl blatantly in front of me. "No one will ever be special to me like she was." How can he blatantly lie like that? I want that talent. I'd use it for good.
My anger kept itself in check until the waitress, Lisa, skipped off with the order. Dean sighed as he settled deeper into the seat, his arm still securely wrapped around me. Then, annoyed that he'd so blatantly disrespect me, not to mention continue to keep up whatever past charades he'd had. I shrugged his arms off from around me, scooting away from him.
Dean's brow furrowed immediately, more intensely than when he'd been trying to remember the diner's reputation for pancakes. He looked adorable, but I think we're going to have to have a talk about this. Of course, I'm trusting Dean to put together what I'm so annoyed about.
"Come on, Carden, you can't actually be mad about this-"
I grunted as my cell phone cut him off. I almost thought to ask who would call me now, but then I remembered that this time holds no special significance to the rest of the world. No one I know is trying to have a serious talk with their boyfriend, probably.
It took a few seconds to fish my cell phone out from my purse, but as soon as I saw the name flashing across the screen I knew the call would take priority over the mini-argument. "Excuse me." I stood, pressing the phone to me at the same time that I stood to run out the door, "Alan?"
My family was under strict orders not to call me unless it was an emergency; as far as I knew they were looking for a new house in a new location with the new identities that had been fashioned for them before the Order of the Slayers dropped me. Needless to say I was horrified that something was happening after only two weeks.
Alan's voice was panicked, "Carrie? Carrie, I need you to get here right now! Oh my God, oh my Go-"
"Alan," I punctuated, cutting off what could be a very long freak out fest via the middle of the first triplets, "Alan, what happened?"
"They're burnt up!"
I never thought two words could be so sickeningly horrifying. I mean, I figured Dean confessing his death would be my biggest problem, or the scariest thing I'd ever heard; nothing compared to that. "Who burnt up, Alan?" My words were very careful, very slow. I was trying not to cry; I didn't even know if he was actually serious or not.
"EVERYONE! They sent me out to get breakfast and when I got back the motel was on fire!" Now I couldn't even deny who 'they' were. My family. My family was in a fire. "I don't even know how it happened – it was the first time I'd been outside all summer! And the first time I leave it's just on fire!"
"Did anyone get out? Did you call the fire department?"
"I did, I did," Alan sounded horrified, and for good reason. His next words were careful, and his tone alone told me everything I needed to know, "But Carrie, they… no one got out. The windows, they were all closed; we were in the middle of a heat wave in a motel with no air conditioning and all the windows were closed – how does that make SENSE, Carrie?"
"It doesn't," I nearly shouted at him, my voice cracking. I glanced around the diner parking lot, trying to hide the fact that tears were falling in full force down my face. This… no. It couldn't be happening; they were going to be safe. I haven't even heard from Azazel since that night with Dean! It just… no.
"Carrie, what am I going to do?" Alan's heartbroken voice brought me back into the realm of reality, where no amount of denial in the world could bring my parents, my sister, or any of my other brothers back. They were dead in a fire, stuck in a motel where all the windows were locked and apparently unbreakable.
"Wh…" I closed my eyes, accepting my duty all too easily. There was no choice in the matter and there was nothing fair about it, but Alan couldn't take care of himself on his own, much less take care of himself without being caught by one demon or another who decided he was worth it to take out. "Where are you?"
"Some place town in North Dakota; Devil's Lake, or something weird like that. We… we couldn't find any other place with affordable housing, and-"
"I'll get there by tomorrow, and then we'll get you to Philadelphia. Alright?"
"But… the…" I shook my head, trying to sound strong for the sake of my brother. I knew what he was going to ask about, and I also knew that in the end they wouldn't matter.
"We'll have the school take care of them, just get to the train station as fast as possible, alright?" My voice cracked again, "I'll be there as soon as I can."
I had to hang up at that exact second, at risk of letting my younger, my only, brother hearing me cry. It just… it wasn't possible. How could he find them that fast – he'd never even met them as a demon. How could he find them so quickly? Two weeks? Was that all it really took anymore?
Accepting what this would me for me, and what it would mean for Dean, I forced myself back into the diner, tears still openly streaming down my face. Shapes were generally blurry, but I could make Dean jumping out of his seat at the sight of me just fine. He has a very distinctive figure to me.
"Take me to the train station." My voice came out stereotypically weak, but I didn't have time at that moment to worry about appearances or representing my gender. My entire family save for one lonely brother, who may be dying as we speak, just burned in a motel.
"Carden, I get it, I won't hit on anymore w-"
"TAKE ME TO THE TRAIN STATION!" Silverware clattered at my outburst; everyone who hadn't been staring at the crying girl was now appalled at my outburst, labeling me instead as stereotypical. More than ever, I felt the burning urge to get out of there. I had to go take care of Alan. "Please, Dean, I'll explain in the car."
There was no need to go back to the motel; I'd taken to keeping most of my things in the Impala to save on packing time.
I took a deep, calming breath as I sat on the trunk of the Impala, two separate train tickets shoved crumpled in my fist. Two of my bags were sitting at my feet, perfect for carrying onto a train. It's like I was mentally prepared for the day I'd have to leave like this, sudden and ASAP.
Dean had been informed on everything in the car, and his first reaction was that Azazel had done it without a doubt in his mind. Of course, I didn't need to hear that. And now I'm stuck with fifteen minutes until my train leaves, drinking one last beer with Dean before I have to leave.
"Sam'll be sad that he didn't get to say goodbye, you know."
I nodded, somehow thinking my own brother was more important. Even if taking care of him ruined my life, I'd protect him; he was all I had left anymore.
"What do you want me to do with Phantom? Drive him up to Philly?"
Phantom. My Tommy. Could he live without the hunt? I shook my head, "Keep him. He…" My voice broke in spite of the fact that I'd long grown too tired to continue my crying fit. "He doesn't belong where I'm going."
"You don't belong there either."
"Dean," I groaned, wishing that he wouldn't test me this way.
"I'm just saying we could protect him, Carden, better than whatever your school could manage." I shook my head, wanting desperately to curl into a ball and never letting anything from the world in again. Seeing that I wouldn't budge on that particular subject, Dean kept on with his questioning, "What about the stuff we have of yours?"
A man talking in monotone over the intercom cut Dean off by announcing my train was due to arrive in just a few minutes. I slipped off the trunk and onto the ground, "Sell it; Lord knows you two need the money." Dean nodded, standing to block me from leaving just yet but also not looking at me. He took a long sip from his beer, and I sighed in partial annoyance and the tiniest bit of pain.
A car flew by, honking in annoyance at all the other drivers who were apparently going too slowly, and the jingle of my necklace made my heart pitter. I wanted to leave Dean something more than just my dog and a form of money. My fingers working mostly of their own accord, I reached up and unhooked my necklace, slipping James' ring from it.
Dean watched me carefully the entire time, his eyes appraising every movement I made as I reclasped my necklace and pushed it towards him, "I want you to keep this, too. I'll… I'll have no use for it in my own special purgatory. You know the whole thing about what it does and stuff, so I'll just-"
Dean's course fingers wrapped around the ring while simultaneously he leaned down to kiss me. The kiss took me by surprise, and made it definitive that I was in love with this man. Too bad I've got a brother in North Dakota to save.
I took a step backwards uncertainly, leaning down the grab my bags and push passed him into the street, "Bye, Dean."
Much like when I was first trying to leave, I paused at the door, but instead of turning and running to Dean I just looked over my shoulder at him. He still held his beer, and when we made eye contact he broke it almost immediately. Instead, he opted to wave, obviously thinking it better than whatever else had come to mind.
Great, now I get to think about that all through the twenty-six hour train-ride.
"Well you're magic," he said, "But don't let it all go to your head
Cause I bet if you all had it all figured out then you'd never get out of bed."
Well no doubt of all the things that I read what he wrote me
Is now sounding like the man I was hoping to be
I keep on keeping it real because it keeps on getting easier you see
He's the reason that I'm laughing, even if there's no one else
He said, "You've got to love yourself."
He said, "You shouldn't mumble when you speak
But keep your tongue up in your cheek
And if you stumble on to something better, remember that it's humble that you seek
You've got all the skill you need, individuality
You got something, call it gumption, call it anything you want
Because when you play the fool now, you're only fooling everyone else"
You're learning to love yourself
There's no price to pay when you give what you take
That's why it's easy to thank you
Let's say you take a break for the day and get back to the old garage
Because life's too short anyway, but at least it's better than average
As long as you got me and I've got you, you know we've got a lot to go around
I'll be your friend, your other brother, another love to come and comfort you
And I'll keep reminding, if it's the only thing I ever do
See, I will always love you
"Song for a Friend" by Jason Mraz
That song, in addition to "Dance with the Devil" and other assorted song on the playlist, really encompass this series for me, which is sadly over. But fear not! I'm putting up the "story" for the sequel right now so that you can all subscribe to it and be informed the first minute the first chapter comes out.
I really did love writing this series; the beginning of the next should be up within them month. I just need somet time to iron out the details.
I hope you guys loved this series as much as I did.