Then spoke the thunder

"You boys opened a door that's not going to close easy."

Disclaimer: The Winchester boys aren't mine and the girl doesn't belong to me either.

Rating: T (Language, angst)

Characters: Dean Winchester, Sam Winchester, River Tam, Missouri Mosely

Pairings: Sam/River (Het)

Author's Notes: This is part of my Firefly/Supernatural crossover series, Rhapsody of a Windy Night. Written for the spn_30snapshots challenge on Livejournal.

Spoilers/Warnings: None

The house hasn't changed since the last time he and Dean walked down the steps and into the Impala, with its peeling white paint and the creak on the porch right before stepping on the 'Welcome' mat.

The wind chime rings through the breeze while they wait, the white door swinging open to reveal narrowed eyes peeking past the edge of the door. She stares at them through the rusty screen and Dean drags the old grin from out of somewhere when she pulls the door back all the way, leaning against the wall next to the mailbox – but all she does is glare at him with a pursed mouth.

"You going to keep us standing here all day?" Dean drawls.

The screen door bangs into chipped paint and Missouri smacks Dean across the side of his head before she pulls him into her arms. "You're a damn fool, Dean Winchester," she whispers, a hard edge to her voice that Sam's never heard her use, and her eyes glitter at Sam over Dean's shoulder. "Going off all half-cocked like that," she adds, reaching around Dean and dragging Sam into the circle. "You boys opened a door that's not going to close easy. And…"

Sam swallows, ignoring the words she doesn't say even though they ring in his head louder than the wind chime. He was already listening to demons, weighing the temptation against saving Dean, and it didn't matter what Ruby had stolen from him in the dark – how her smile crushed his chest like it was nothing more than an egg shell, full of promises and poison if he just took her hand and raised her high enough to stand by his side.

River shivers, her hand twitching on Sam's back.

"Oh, child." Missouri reaches through them both and puts a hand on River's cheek, her eyes stormy, and she's the one who lowers her head when River returns the look.

"The black wind blew through me with two hundred voices," River says softly, "But they aren't mine, pricking hearts with needles and watching them bleed." She touches the hand on her cheek, eyes shiny as River swallows. "None of the voices are mine but they won't stop singing and sometimes I scream just to drown them out but I shouldn't have to dance to songs that aren't mine."

The words come out in a rush, so cracked that Sam's throat hurts, and even Dean's touching her before she's done; his fingers lightly brushing her bare shoulder like she's a bomb waiting to explode – and she probably is, the way she's shaking when Missouri's forehead touches down on hers until River's breath stops hitching.

"I wish I could stop dancing, even when Sam's dancing with me," she whispers.

Missouri wraps her arm around River's shoulders and guides her through the front door.

"You're all spending the night," Missouri says. "This girl of yours and I have things we need to talk about."

Dean sighs and turns on his heel, walking resolutely to the car. His shoulders hunch as he jams his hands in his pockets, shooting Sam a sideways glance before he shrugs. Sam shrugs back, following Missouri into her kitchen – and he and River are already chopping vegetables for dinner while Missouri browns and flours the stew meat when Dean sets their duffels in the hallway.

He coughs, jerking his head towards the living room when Sam catches his eye. Missouri frowns and hands River the wooden spoon she's been using to brown the meat, murmuring something in River's ear before joining them across the hall.

"Can you help her?" Dean whispers. "Because River's driving me batshit."

"Dean!" Sam hisses.

"I don't like getting stared at like she's one of those kids in Village of the Damned. And we're not doing jack to help her, dragging her all over the place." Dean rolls his eyes. "I told you this was a bad idea."

"That's why we're here, jack – "

Missouri's low chuckle interrupts him, more resigned than amused.

"There's one thing you boys need to know. The only person who can help River is River. All I can do is set her down that road and hope she'll come back," she says. Missouri chuckles again, shaking her head as her mouth quirks up. "And there's no use whispering. She can hear everything we're saying."

"I know," Dean snorts. "That girl's got supersonic hearing or something."

"Damn things knocked me to the floor and I felt them coming. That girl's been ripped wide open. It doesn't matter if you're saying it or if you're thinking it, Dean Winchester." Her eyes darken and Dean looks sick, the skin around his eyes going tight as his jaw clenches. "And she's not the only one, either. Lots of sensitives out there didn't even know they were," she adds. "But she's luckier than most. Didn't drop over dead or stay in her coma."

"Fuck," Dean manages.

"How many times do I have to keep telling you not to use that word in my house?" But Missouri's smiling softly, even though her eyes are still dark, and River's voice drifts across the hall from the kitchen; she's reciting Emily Browning over the sizzle of the meat, the same poems that Jess used to read curled up in the old chair by the window on rainy afternoons.

Sam swallows, and there's an ache in his throat that feels like it belongs to someone else.

"Not everyone has guardian angels watching over them." Missouri takes his hand, rubbing his palm with her thumb. "Most folks make do with what they're given."

She makes it sound like a blessing, except that it's the other way around.

Sam's got so much innocent blood on his hands that no amount of washing is ever going to make it come off – and the only thing keeping him from making a deal of his own is the girl who curls around him every morning, whispering 'you don't need a princess to save the brother who runs from dogs' into his ear whenever Dean's snoring wakes Sam out of a dead sleep.

He hears the soft pad of bare feet across the wooden floor before River's mouth catches the corner of his. She laughs when he splutters, dragging him behind her into the kitchen and pushing him towards the cutting board.


The title of this story is a line from the poem "The Waste Land" by T.S. Eliot.

So I finally divulged what I meant with the title of the 'verse in this one. "The black wind" is how River describes the demons escaping from the gate and she hears their "voices" as part of what happened to her. Sam has already confirmed in canon that approximately 200 demons escaped, so I went with that number.