A/N: This is from the Coyote 'verse. If you haven't read Dog Eat Dog or Coyote's Tale, here's the Reader's Digest version: One upon a time Coyote wanted a family, so the Powers That Be split him in two, trickster and human, and put him in a human body. Dean Winchester is Coyote's human half. They were supposed to merge, two-into-one. They didn't. Together Dean and Coyote brought John Winchester back from Hell, and now the Winchesters hang out at Bobby Singer's place a lot. Series title (and this might evolve into a series) paraphrased from A Good Man Is Hard To Find, by Flannery O'Connor.
Saints' Ghost, I know this is long overdue. You wanted Coyote and Dean versus the Dog Whisperer, and this is what came out. Here's the dark angsty version. My muse has been busy; she also cranked out a humorous version. This story is complete; will post remaining chapters Thursday and Saturday.
Disclaimer: I don't own Supernatural. This is for entertainment only, and not for profit.
Summary: Coyote/Dean versus the Dog Whisperer. Here's the angst first: He had another life before this one, and even though he can't remember it much, he was probably a bad dog in that one. The crack version will be posted on Thursday.
Part 1 - Captive
He's a good dog now. They tell him that all the time, especially when he's in his cage. The cage (slick silver metal that burns when he touches it) was built especially for him, so all the fear inside belongs to him. The collar he wears (My collar, he thinks dully to himself. Mine) is heavy and thick and made of black leather, with all these funny symbols on it. He wears a leather muzzle too, carved with the same symbols. It's a matching set.
He was a Bad Dog before.
There was a time when he could remember what the symbols meant. Thinking makes his head hurt, a lot, so he doesn't bother with that much now.
Sometimes words float through that addled brain of his. Words like Coyote, and Roamer, and First Artist. His name, maybe? They're just words, that's all. They make his head hurt.
They call him Dog now. Sometimes "Good", sometimes "Bad."
"Bad Dog" is, well, not good. Whenever he hears that his ears and tail droop and his skin tightens. He knows whatever happens after he hears that is going to hurt.
Sometimes "Good Dog" is the same way. He gets them confused sometimes.
Most of the time "Good Dog" gets a little more food, or a treat followed by a pat on the head, and they might even give him some water, if he's lucky.
Dog had another life before this one, and even though he can't remember it much, he was probably a Bad Dog in that one. Wide open spaces, long stretches of highway, swirling red rocks, mountains in the distance and sandy desert soil underneath his paws. There was beer, pizza and laughter, salt and silver, flame, blood and yelling.
He's lost some things and he can barely recall what they were or where to look for them even if he did know exactly what they were.
Some days it's worth the headache he gets just to remember.
Dog remembers uswebloodfamily.
JohnDad, tall and dark, with a hearty, booming laugh. At one time Dog was afraid of him and he doesn't remember why. Idjit is not uswebloodfamily, but close, very, very close; that memory's blue flannel and a big yard filled with metal shapes. Sammy-is-a-chubby-four-year-old-damn-it, Sasquatch tall, soft eyes and shaggy brown hair, and he asked all kinds of questions like he really wanted to know everything. Brat.
There was someone else. Battered brown leather and a slightly crooked grin. Dog can't remember the face, but this one loved pie and hamburgers and steam showers, purple nurples and just about any female with a pulse. The name slips out of Dog's shaggy head and breaks apart like a soap bubble.
Mistress doesn't want him to remember much more than that.
So Dog doesn't.
It's easier that way. Easier to just sit there with his tail between his legs and his head down as they poke jade needles dripping with white poison into him through the bars. Whenever he gets hit with one of those needles he really just doesn't give a damn. About everything. He's not happy, but he's not sad, either. Most days he just is. Everything he feels is so far away it feels like it's happening to someone else
He knows when they open up the cage and attach that leash to his collar that it's time to go for a walk then. Dog tries not to wag his tail too much, to show how pleased he is, otherwise they'll leave him to rot in there.
Getting out of the cage is always good.
Sometimes they let him out so he can chase things. Sometimes they let him eat what he catches. Dog can usually put a name to the things (cat, rabbit and hu-man). Cats and rabbits are good; he doesn't like the squirmy hu-mans so much. They're pink or brown or peach colored, usually hairless.
All the screaming they do hurts his ears. They scream a lot.
He plays dumb and clumsy with the hu-mans and lets them run into those stone canyons or hide behind those funny looking rock walls. He could easily catch them or smash through the walls if he wanted to but he pretends he can't. One time he overheard Sepheon tell the Mistress that her "little wild dog has lost a step or two."
He doesn't mind letting them think that. That's being a Bad Dog, but if Mistress, Nast and the others knew he was faking he'd probably end up a Dead Dog, or at the very least, a Hurt one. It's all a part of being tricky. He knows that word. Not what it means, not exactly, but it's a good word and it makes him grin a little.
Nast takes Dog out of the cage to see Mistress once a day. She stands there all tall and regal in her scarlet and black robes and he deliberately doesn't look her in the eye. A good dog wouldn't do that, and he tries so hard to be a good dog. Sometimes he forgets.
She forgave him for how he acted when they dragged him back from where ever he was before. He's a little fuzzy on the details. The first rope came out of nowhere, somewhere, somewhen, and looped itself around his neck.
It took twenty of them to pull him in, and the ropes around his neck and body made him feel cold and sleepy (fucking magic) but he still snarled and bit and chewed up Nast's arm and bit Pton in two.
Didn't do any good; Nast laughed as his arm grew back together. The two halves of Pton grew into two Ptons and they both got up and started stomping Dog together.
Nast and his brothers (they all looked alike, tall and broad with dusty cracked faces like stone mountains) cornered him in the grey place and beat him with their clubbed hands. Dog couldn't move his hind legs for three days. They finally gave him a drink of water and a scrap of gristle to eat a day later.
It wasn't blueberry pie, but he ate it anyway.
That was the day he became a Good Dog.
Not long after that they took him out of the cage for the first time and Mistress told him to change his skin, so he did. He went two legged, because that was what she wanted. He stood there in front of her dark blue mirror and looked at himself: wide green eyes, broad shoulders. Most of his hair was on his head now; it was dark blond and spiky. His eyelashes were longer and darker than hers were, and she liked that. She ran her fingers over the spots on his chest and face (Freckles. That was the word for them, wasn't it?), smudged that that full bottom lip of his with her thumb and he didn't try to pull back when she took him by the collar and led him over to the bed.
Dog howled when he came, and so did she.
That happens every day now. It must be part of being a good dog, and afterwards she digs her long red fingernails into his back and tells him it was good. He doesn't know for sure, but she's his Mistress, so he believes her. Her mouth tastes funny, like ashes, and her skin tastes sour. He nearly loses his breath when she kisses him, like she wants to take everything inside of him and swallow it all right down.
Maybe he should care more about that, but he doesn't.
He's always weak when she's finished and can barely walk afterwards. Sometimes Nast has to carry him back to his cage. Nast looks down at him with something like wonder: "You're a hard mutt to kill, Old Man."
Whatever "mutt" is, it's not "good dog", so he doesn't care about that, either.
Dog hears it before he even sees anything: a low, loud rumble that shakes the air. He's heard sounds like that before, in his dreams (Back in black, I hit the sack, been so long it's good to be back) but he's gotten so now he ignores stuff like that. His world is just the cage and the leash, Mistress' bed and being clubbed even when he's good. There's nothing else, so why even bother to think about it?
The rumbling stops. And the screaming begins.
That's mildly interesting. Nothing he hasn't heard before, though, not around here. Hu-mans scream. Rabbits scream.
Dog lifts his head, cocks it to one side when he realizes that Nast and his brothers are the ones doing the screaming. It goes on for some time, but he can't see anything. The cage is in the yard behind the house, and after a while he loses interest and lays his head down on his paws.
There's death all around. Seems to be the day for it, and Dog just can't bring himself to care about that, either. Nast and his brothers are already dead. He senses it when Mistress dies in the house. She melts like a wax candle in a blast furnace.
Fusce dignissim mollis sem, vel auctor dolor semper id. Etiam ultrices…
The voice that kills her is familiar, deep and whiskey smooth, full of fire and fierceness, but Dog can't place it.
He's tired. His back hurts and so does his heart, deep inside. Mistress broke him the last time she touched him. Took too much from him inside and now he thinks he won't ever get it back. His heart beats slow and sluggish, and he thinks about letting it stop altogether. He wouldn't mind sleeping forever. His pelt's just as dry and dusty as the inside of him.
The door to the house opens as he sighs wearily and closes his eyes. He's just a dog, after all. Not even a good one anymore.
The top of the cage is torn off, and he's too tired to move.
"Old Man," someone whispers, and it's that voice again, the same one he heard inside the house. The fire's gone, filled with fear and worry instead. That bothers him somehow.
Dog opens his eyes, stares dully at the four men standing around the cage.
There's JohnDad, Idjit, Sammy-is-a-chubby-four-year-old-damn-it, and…and…
"I'm sorry we didn't get here sooner," the green-eyed boy whispers roughly. Dog stares up at him, struggles to put a name to that worried young face. Freckles, long dark lashes, wide green eyes. "That mojo they worked on you screwed with my head. I couldn't think straight. Scared the hell outta Dad, Bobby, and Sam."
The kid snaps his fingers, and the collar and the muzzle dissolves into wisps of grey smoke. Dog whimpers a little as the pain in his head and his body vanishes. He feels better. Strong fingers brush lovingly over his grayish brown coat and in that moment his real name flows over him, through him like cool water, and it doesn't hurt at all.
Coyote closes his eyes again and doesn't struggle as he's lifted up and out. The touch is rough and gentle and loving all at the same time. Roamer sighs as Dean Winchester cradles him to his chest. He tucks his head underneath the boy's chin and listens as their hearts beat as one, solid and steady.
"I got you, dude," Dean says softly. "I got you."
The crack version will be posted Thursday morning.