Rated for: Language, mentions of abuse, sex, insanity
Genre: Angst, Hurt, Adventure, Suspense
Fandom/Universe: America McGee's Alice / Supernatural
Characters: Dean Winchester, Sam Winchester and OC's.
Pairings: Dean/OC, OC/Hatter, OC/Cheshire Cat
Spoilers/Warning: none yet
Disclaimer:Supernatural and all related characters are copyright Eric Kripke, Kripke Enterprises & The CW belongs to American McGee, EA and Rogue Entertainment. No infringement intended.
Summary: There is a purpose and a reason for everything…She was never just a girl, not when the angels watched over her and Underland was in her blood.
Status: In-progress and posted only because my pretty-much complete draft of this fic was stolen along with my computer and ALL my other fics that where in the works. It's been a month and some days since this happened and I'm only just getting back into writing though I'm not feeling inspired but I can't get this one out of my head and where I had it. My one shot has turned into a few chapters because of those butt-wipes.
She's hiding in the mausoleum, tired from the longs days and the miles. She's been on foot for a while, doesn't care to know the date. It isn't important and traveling the lonely back roads keeps her isolated with just the occasional car driving past. No one ever sees her, no one stops and she doesn't bother to make them. It's safer to hide from other travelers…
It's been a while since she's had a good rest. Too hyperaware of everything and everyone, can't be any other way to survive and she isn't giving up now. Not with the scars that have come with those lessons, with the people who weren't people, with a life no one should ever have or deserves. The things that come from nightmares… It's not easy to find a place to sleep, not easy to relax either but she's learned to cope, to adapt. She's a fighter- a warrior and not by choice but from necessity; for survival.
This isn't her first mausoleum, not the first cemetery she's spent the night in. It isn't the first time she's broken in…she doesn't expect it will be the last.
She used to have a family. A house with the white fence complete with dog…
She had friends, went on dates, cheered and yelled at games… all the things a normal teenager would do.
(And there's always a 'but'.)
Arýza didn't get the boring, normal ever-after. There wasn't a graduation, no first day of college- no college at all. The house is gone, no home and all she owns fits into the pack on her back.
It's unfair but she was lucky…
There was an angel on her side.
Had to be in order to make sense of what happened, how she could survive…
Arýza remembers the soft brush of feathers, a gust of warm air filled with the scent of exotic spices. It made her think of deserts and her favorite game at the time; Prince of Persia.
She woke to a new world that night; with screams and fear and pain…
Castiel has disobeyed before. He saved an innocent, it was the right thing to do but he has kept it a secret. The 'child' survives but there's no family. Arýza has no past while the hand of heaven rests on her future.
He watches them from the shadows, guards over her sleep though he knows it does not come easy for her. Her sorrow and pain is palpable and Castiel 'feels' for her. Arýza is one of many of God's children but she is special in her own right. There's a path laid out for her, things she must do.
The angel does not look away from the huddled figures. No response is needed and the being at his side stands just as still.
"Of course." There's a flash of silver and the being is gone, faded into the shadows…
They hurry across the dark cemetery, no moon to light their path though it isn't needed. One flashlight is enough and then it's there. The old crypt with the faded name but the symbol on the ledge over the door is clear enough.
"This is it."
Both men waste no more time and quickly have the doors open. They screech loudly enough to wake the dead only she isn't dead. There's the flash of light that passes over the crack in her hiding place. She makes no sound and neither do the men who work quickly on another tomb. Stone crumbles and the murmur of their voices isn't enough to cover the sound of approaching footsteps, not for her. She hesitates, not wanting to give herself away but they don't seem to be aware and so Arýza peeks out of the crack.
Neither man notices the two figures in the entrance- people who aren't people…
"Behind you!" Arýza shoves at the lid as both men jump-startled but they look behind. The tallest draws a knife, steps in front of the other man.
There's that feeling again, like a vice slowly tightening in her chest leaving her a bit breathless- a sign she's learned means trouble. She scrambles out of the sarcophagus, landing lightly on the dusty ground. The lid makes a hollow echo where it falls; more dust rises around their ankles and the silvery-green eyes lock on the black shadow behind … it.
"A three for one." Amusement laces the soft drawl and it draws closer, the grimace of a smile flashes white in the darkness. "I like it." And it's blacked out eyes rest on her. The huge dog at its back inches around, the stink of rotten eggs wafting in the soft breeze and all Arýza wants is to run.
"Like this bitch." The tall one lunges forward, the knife glinting in the faint light from the flashlight in the other ones hand.
She's poised to flee, to live another day because the fight has gone out of her. She has no one to fight for…
Arýza grabs the second man; she pulls back on his arm as he moves to help the taller one and knocks both of them down as the black shadow crashes into the wall where they had been. He rolls them over, gets to his feet and glances to the crumbled wall that shifts-
"What the fu-."
"Run!" Arýza yells at them both. She doesn't wait and heads out of the wrecked mausoleum, doesn't grab anything either though she wants to. All she owns is in the bag inside the coffin she'd claimed for the night. Had she stayed in it nothing would have touched her, there she'd had protection, the only thing left after the men broke in and ruined her seal on the doors…
"Where… are you going?" the lazy drawl is followed by a flick of its finger.
Arýza jerks off her feet, she gasps and tries to grab at anything but there's nothing to stop her from flying through the air. This time she hits the ground hard enough something snaps and Arýza is left breathless. The stars wink in and out and her sight goes blurry before Arýza is able to blink everything into focus once more. There's a burning pain that flares through her chest and down her back. Small fingers dig into soft earth and she tries to breathe.
When she looks around, at the four mammoth shadows that surround her, she wishes she couldn't see any of it. The huge dogs and their slobbering jaws- one even has a piece of meat stuck in its teeth. It's the yellow eyes Arýza can't stand and she ducks her head under her arm. It's over now. She can't get up to run any farther and feels nothing… They'll kill her and there's nothing she can do to change it. So why fight it anymore?
No one notices the shadowy shape among the trees or the flash of silver before it pounces. There's a hellhound down and another howling loudly, unable to move its back legs while Arýza breathes in the smell of the earth and grass to block out the snarls and screams. She's numb to all of it except for their screams, the haunting echoes of that night and she tries to think of the good things, memories of a better time when life hadn't been this hard to deal with.
"NO!" the demon screams enraged. "You'll pay!" it looks from one massive dog to the other- her precious pets torn to shreds.
"Not this time." Sam says behind her, the knife sliding in her back. She screams but the lightning forks through her before she can escape the meat suit.
The dark shadow hides, for now its task is complete- the hounds run off, called back to Hell and he watches the men approach her.
Sam drops the dead woman, the knife cleaned on the jacket before he puts it in the sheath at his back. Both look around, searching for any others but it seems there was only the two demons and Dean dealt with the other one.
"Hey," Dean moves towards the still girl and places his hand on her back. He glances at Sam, curiosity in the green eyes as he starts to help her.
Arýza refuses to look up. She flinches from their touch though it's easier to breathe, slowly becoming aware of her surroundings. That for now she is safe- another close call but she knows her luck can't hold out for ever. She feels slightly disappointed though fear is predominant. She lives to run another day…
"Are you ok? Anything broken…out of place?" he's careful, a little hesitant as he tries to pat her down, checking for broken bones or sprains-
"Dean." Sam frowns but his brother is already forcing the girl to sit up. She's trying hard not to be touched and wincing, jaw clenched tightly – she's in pain and both can see it.
They barely hear her soft voice and Arýza takes their pause to push away from 'Dean' and try to get to her feet alone. Her body aches and she's on her knees in the cold grass before either moves to take a step in her direction.
"Who are you?" Sam questions, moves back a pace when she flinches from them.
"What were you doing in the crypt?" Dean seconds as he slips an arm around her waist, ignoring the hand weakly shoving against him and hoists her up. The sudden change has her dizzy and Arýza rests her head on his chest, a small hand gripping the leather while she draws in a deep breath. He smells of gunpowder, oil and something else that tugs at her memories but she can't quite place it.
"Hey, you alright?" the concern is sincere- she's a tiny thing, easily engulfed by his arms and the feel of her against his body brings up a curiously strange protectiveness in him. He holds onto her just a little tighter, his face ducking down towards hers though she's not looking at either of them.
Arýza manages to nod then pushes out of his arms to stand unsteadily. There's a sharp thread of pain running up and down her back but she grits her teeth. It'll pass soon enough, like every other pain has.
"No thanks to either of you." Arýza glowers, forces herself to look at them and pretend she isn't afraid because the bodies of the hounds are still there; torn out chunks and Arýza wants to puke at the sight. She can smell that too and her nose wrinkles slightly.
"Excuse me?" Sam frowns, hazel eyes flicking to his brother who looks just as surprised though there's amusement there as well.
"You let them in." silvery-green eyes focus on the tallest- as far away from the dead hounds as she can look without being obvious. They won't see the hounds, wouldn't believe her anyway…and how can they not smell that stench?
"Wait, how'd we do that?" Dean asks. He's looking her over, trying to figure out if he's ever seen her before and can't stop feeling he should know exactly when and where and how and …
"You really are blond." Arýza notes and starts past them, walking stiffly towards the wrecked crypt for her belongings. She'll have to find someplace else to sleep but knows it won't be soon. She won't sleep until this place is far behind her-
"Whoa," Dean frowns. The dig hasn't escaped him and he's confused as to why this girl-well, maybe she has a point but she could be a little grateful they saved her. "First off, we didn't know there was anyone alive in there. It's a crypt. Dead people rest in crypts."
"Why were you in there? You hid inside the coffin-." Sam starts after Dean, both following the girl pretending she isn't still in pain.
"I don't like questions, so leave me alone." Arýza cuts in, rounding on them. She flicks her eyes from one to the other, hands fisted at her sides as though she's waiting for one of them to attack. They both notice and can't help but wonder why she is so defensive. She didn't seem all that surprised to see a demon…
"Look," Sam tries in a softer tone. "We aren't going to hurt you-."
Arýza scoffs, eyebrow raised incredulously. She hesitates but turns around and heads inside the crypt ignoring the men. They could attack her and she wouldn't be able to do anything.
'Never turn your back, never.'
It's too late for regrets and Arýza reaches through the rubble for her pack. She has to breathe past the pain but has it in hand and tugs it out with a grunt of effort. Arýza can't hold back the soft shriek of fright at seeing a third stranger no more than a breath away from her.
"Cas?" Dean questions as he steps into the crypt and catching sight of the familiar trench coat. Sam is right behind him and the space feels a lot more cramped. "What are you doing here?"
"They won't harm you." Castiel says ignoring the brothers. Arýza gasps at the familiar voice. Her eyes shine bright and she shakes her head unable to believe it could have been real. She's told herself it couldn't be possible, that something else- a fireman or someone had rescued her from the fire but…
"You know her?" Sam questions, features set in a scowl as he glances at the girl. She's a scrawny thing, too pale-and not very tall. Sam thinks she looks like a child then revises that because she certainly isn't that. Her silvery-green eyes are hidden behind the long bangs but she doesn't look at them anyway- avoids direct eye contact; she's uncomfortable. Her long black hair has bits of grass he watched her pluck out with slim fingers. She looks much too delicate to be out this late in the night, alone and sleeping in a cemetery.
"Yes." Castiel responds, blue eyes never once straying from her face. He studies her, the changes he can clearly see up close. It's her eyes, silver-green and no longer innocent. The knowledge…saddens… the angel.
"You're real." Arýza whispers and she can smell him; the dry and exotic spices, hint of cinnamon… "Why?" more than ever, Arýza needs to know why he saved her, why it had to happen at all because she never understood. And where has he been?
"What the hell…" Dean frowns. "What's going on here?"
As answer, Castiel touches the tips of his fingers to Arýza's forehead. She can feel the warmth flow from him and into her. It's unexpected and takes her breath away, soothes the aches in her body and wipes away her fatigue. Her eyes flutter open, silvery-green and wide at the sight of this beautiful angel haloed in golden light.
"Thank you." Arýza whispers, more grateful than she can express. She still doesn't understand and for now- just knowing he is real is… is enough.
"Go with them." He offers a crooked twist of his lips- a smile, clear blue eyes studying her. She can't help but smile in return and then he is gone.
"Cas!" Dean yells but it won't make a difference. The angel is gone and now there are three where there once were two.
She dreams in blood of giant poker cards- their red hearts gaping wounds, bleeding … they stalk her, herd her onto the giant chess board where the RedKing awaits. The fire always wakes her, that phantom pain ghosting along her skin and the chocking smoke…
As always, Arýza wakes with a heavy breath, hand to her throat and shoulder throbbing. She never sees his face and the angel comes to her rescue but even that is confusing now. Castiel … she wonders if there were someone else- another angel?
It's been four months since Castiel left her with the Winchesters, four months without any contact. She knows what they are, what they do and still has doubts as to why her angel would tell her to go with the Hunters. She's come in contact with demons much more with them than she ever did alone.
"Rise and shine, sleeping beauty." Dean calls as the door closes behind him. It's another hotel, something she hasn't been able to get used to or all the people she now comes in contact with on a daily basis. Her life has become one noisy soap opera.
"No, I don't think this qualifies." Dean says with a slight chuckle. There is too much of the supernatural and horror for it to be a soap. "Your filter needs some work, Rýz."
"Arýza." She corrects automatically and scowls. She stumbles trying to untangle herself from the sheets, managing to stay on her feet and heads towards the bathroom. He knows she doesn't like the nickname and enjoys her annoyance.
"You're gorgeous when you're annoyed!" he yells after her.
Arýza is severely tempted to flip him the bird but he'd just take that as an invitation to make more comments. He doesn't bother her, not really. Words… that's all they are and he hasn't ventured any further than that. She stands under the hot water and wonders why. Does he find her attractive? Would he rather she had blond hair like the bimbo from the last town-?
'Stop it.' She scowls at the tile wall. What he does or doesn't do is none of her business. She has no business wondering if Dean likes her at all.
"He is… fond of you."
"Aah!" Arýza grabs hold of the wall and the shower curtain. The slight ping of the rings popping off are drowned under Dean's voice and the fist pounding on the door. "What- why- out!" she yells. "Please, out, just get out." She repeats in a calmer tone while clutching the curtain to her body. She never sees him, the angel is gone and Dean's voice has dropped in volume.
'Dean!' she scrambles to get untangled from the curtain hoping this time Castiel will filter what comes out of his mouth. Dean's talked too much about the angel's faux pas- amusing as they've been when it comes to embarrassing Dean, Arýza doesn't want to have the same experience.
"So now you're a frigging peeping tom?" Dean yells. His voice is louder once the door is open.
"Who is Tom?" Castiel questions, head slightly tilted in confusion. She can almost smile at the childish innocence of his question.
"What the hell where you doing in the bathroom with Arýza, Cas?" Dean steps closer, green eyes flashing. "It' one thing when you come in unannounced, when it's just me and Sam. Angel or not you don't bust in on a girl taking a shower. You hear me?" the 'Not unless she invites you' is left unsaid though its there on the tip of Dean's tongue.
"Knock it off." Arýza contains her flinch as Dean's eyes narrow on her and the towel she hastily wrapped around herself. It's the first time he's seen her in anything other than clothes- just too much bare skin glistening from the shower and the steam lightly billowing out behind her. "He didn't mean anything by it. Castiel's an angel, they don't..." her face feels hot all of sudden and she can't hold his eyes. "They just don't."
"Whoa." The hotel room door closes on its own when Sam just stares at the trio. "I don't want to know." He says but his eyes wander over all three and rest a little too long on Arýza. Her dark hair slightly curling, water beaded on her bare shoulders and over the exposed length of her legs…
"Can we not…" her silvery-green eyes beg them to skip over the awkwardness and Sam is willing. He turns away followed by Castiel and there's only Dean. There's a shadow of something in those green eyes she can't explain and slowly backs into the bathroom, too aware of her own nakedness under the small towel.
'Not the best idea.'
No but she didn't really think things through. She closes the door intent on rinsing the rest of the soap from her hair when she sees the damage she caused to the curtain- the only thing keeping the entire floor from getting wet.
"Figgin wonderful, Rýza." And she rolls her eyes at the nickname she's done her best never to repeat. "Can't believe this." She mutters facing the door once more. She draws in a breath and pulls it slightly open. "Uhm, Dean?"
'Krap.' She winces. 'Why'd I call him?'
"You ok?" he asks startling her with how close he is to the bathroom. Like he's been standing there all along.
"Uh, yeah- yes. Yeah, uh, I need…could you fix the uh…" she stammers and pulls the door wider, hiding behind it and pointing to the shower. It's obvious what she wants to ask and Dean quickly walks in. He doesn't say anything nor does he try to look at her, if anything he keeps his back to the door the entire time and the curtain is soon back in place with a couple missing rings.
"That should work." Dean says quietly. There's an awkward pause and he's trying not to peek in the mirror.
"Thank you." She feels like a child, having to depend on them for her food and somewhere to sleep. They don't know much more about her than what Bobby was able to dig up and Arýza won't talk about that. So far they've left her alone, haven't insisted but it's getting harder, more so when the guys go out of their way to make her feel comfortable.
Dean walks out, closes the door behind him and waits until the shower is on again before moving further into the room. He eyes Castiel but the angel isn't moving.
"Is there a reason for the unexpected visit?" Dean asks with a careless shrug Sam knows isn't what it looks like. He sits up, hazel eyes on his brother though the angel is more than capable of taking care of himself. It's Dean that Sam worries about.
They wait but as usual Castiel says nothing else. Dean's jaw clenches in frustration.
"What is it?" he asks.
Cas turns to the bathroom door, the water is off.
"Hey," Dean snaps his fingers in annoyance. "What's the reason you dropped in?"
"She is." Another simple answer without enough information. Its normal and both Winchesters are growing tired of it. "You have to take her home."
"Home?" Sam echoes. "The one place she won't talk about- why?"
"Cas." Dean's lips are pressed into a straight, disapproving line. The angels blue eyes never waver and then he's gone. "Dammit, Cas."
They traipse through another dark, abandoned building; just another day at the office for the Winchesters.
"Are you sure you wouldn't rather be at the hotel?" Sam questions, hazel eyes flicking to the slim girl tucked safely between the brothers.
"Nope." Arýza assures. For her, even if it means facing danger, being out with the Winchesters is better than staying alone in the room. There's too much time to think even when they leave her homework. Yes, the brothers have taken it upon themselves to teach her the basics of hunting. Arýza doesn't mind, in fact, she's grateful to be better able to protect herself.
"See," Dean smirks. "Our kind of girl." He says and a second later curses as his boot heel cracks the floor.
"A little heavy there?" Arýza chuckles, she aims the flashlight for him to see where he's caught.
"At least I eat." Dean grumbles under his breath because all she does is pick at her food. He manages to yank his foot free and straightens. He scowls at her and finds the rare sight of a smile on her usually solemn face. The difference is stunning, more for its rarity than anything else.
"I'm stronger than I look." She says and both remember how they met. Arýza won't admit it was mostly an accident how she knocked him down, all he needs to know is that she did.
"A little training wouldn't hurt none." Sam says beside her and his smile is kind. They've tried to convince her but she hesitates. She's not sure why because they wouldn't hurt her. Arýza rolls her eyes, that's exactly what Castiel had said but she's come to believe that as well. She's watched them spar, a couple times when there wasn't anything to hunt and the road was long and boring. It's unnerving, watching them fight… even if it isn't real she just feels nervous, gets tense and takes a walk.
"Come on." Dean nods. "Got a job to finish up." He winks and Arýza isn't sure who to but it doesn't leave her with a good feeling. Both men tend to attract trouble but Dean seems to be more prone to finding it on a regular basis.
Arýza takes up her usual place without argument. It's the only thing they've asked her to do aside from whatever else they say to do when its yelling time and that means they're in trouble. Her light skims over a dark corner catching as a shadow moves. She pauses and Sam lays a warm hand on her shoulder. He gives a gentle squeeze and she looks at him.
"What?" he whispers adding his light to hers and both see the cat skip out of the debris and out of sight. "Let's go." He gently pushes her forward and they continue but this isn't the first time Arýza has caught sight of the cat. It's the same cat; grayish blue and she knows that doesn't make sense because there aren't any blue cats. It couldn't be the same cat anyway… not so far from the town she first saw it and that was three states over. But that wasn't the first place or time she has seen the 'gray' cat. No, Arýza has seen it before, the first time when she was thirteen…
The rain has finally stopped and the sun has made feeble attempts at peeking out of the gray clouds. Arýza sits on the railing staring at the garden in her backyard. They have a big house, three floors not including the attic- an old Victorian that's been in the family for years. It creaks at night when the wind is blowing, makes its settling sounds when everyone is asleep- it's the lullaby she drifts into her dreams with.
"Meow," it's a grey streak that dashes through the garden until it's perched on the rail, tail swishing. Its eyes are a strange shade for a cat –grayish blue almost purple- then it picks its way across the rail into her lap where it rises on its paws onto her chest.
Arýza is a little surprised, cats don't just crawl into a person's lap and this one is purring- happy? She pets it tentatively, fingers running down its spine and it arches up. She smiles then hisses when its claws sink into her skin.
"Ouch! That's not nice." She scolds, frowning. It's when she reaches to grab the little beast the pink tongue licks at the marks it has made. It noses the gold pendant- the gift sent all the way from London and a Grandmother she barely knew…
Dean sighs and waves a hand to get Arýza's attention. He's been watching her fight sleep for the past forty miles. She has to be tired considering the lack of sleep because Arýza doesn't do more than take 'power naps'; that's what Dean has taken to calling the few minutes she allows herself at any given time. He's watched her sleep on more than one occasion, when she can't fight it anymore. Each time the result has been the same; Arýza wakes gasping for breath, tangled in the blankets and choking back a terrified scream. She tries hiding it from them but nothing is that easy in the close quarters they keep.
"Sit up here." He invites with a side glance at his sleeping brother. "Keep me company while Sasquatch gets some beauty rest."
Arýza chuckles tiredly, easily hopping over the seat. "He doesn't need it." She says with a glance at Sam awkwardly scrunched into the corner. "He's pretty enough."
They both know it's no lie. She's studied them both in the past four months, watched them work and its never any trouble for them to get answers from women. They ply their charm; smile, use pretty words on the female- even Sam gets his share of attention; tall and strong- he'd scare them away if it weren't for the 'puppy eyes' he turns on them and all the women she's seen have been puddy in the Winchesters hands.
"Don't tell him." Dean mock scowls. "He'll get a big head."
"Right." She scoffs. "That's more your thing." And she's right but both Winchesters are 'pretty', much too handsome and Arýza forces her eyes to the road. The windshield has a light cover of rain constantly wiped off with the wipers. She likes the sound it makes on the Impala and how the road seems to glitter beneath the headlights. The purr of the engine makes it difficult for her to stay awake and eventually her eyes close. She tries so hard not to dream, not to think about them and the fire… Arýza draws in a deep breath and plays with the radio, searching for something other than the scratchy country twangs they've been stuck with aside from his tapes.
"He is…fond of you."
Not exactly an answer to her unvoiced question but Castiel wouldn't say that if it weren't true. Still, it isn't an option Arýza will allow herself… She is a nomad, lives one day at a time with no plans for the future. It hadn't always been like that, there was a time when Arýza wanted more for herself, when she had more than survival as a goal for her life.
"You feel like talking tonight?" Dean asks after a while. He doesn't really think he's going to get much out of Arýza but he's willing to try. Again.
"Chick flick?" Arýza murmurs with a slightly arched eyebrow at Dean. She's heard him fend off Sam like that more than once. He smirks in response then shrugs. He'll leave that up to her and she sits back, considering…
'One. Just one question. That's all…'
She can deal with that. Right? She sighs, hands in her lap and nervously plucking at the threads in her jean. "What don't you guys know?"
Dean is surprised but he keeps his eyes on the road and thinks. Bobby dug up a state file on her, birth records, medical records, school records- that was a shocker by itself. Arýza is- correction, was. She was a straight 'A' kind of kid, honor roll- a sort of 'egg head' in Dean's book. She was in her last months of high school when the 'accident' happened. A fire that consumed her old life- all dead. The only option left for Arýza when no family could be contacted was foster care. She was three months shy of turning eighteen so Dean didn't get why she'd run. And the interesting part about it was, no one ever caught her. That's where her file stops.
"I get why you're quiet about it." Dean says and he does. He understands her reticence and hasn't pushed for more explanations than they'd got from Bobby but there's still a lot about Arýza the Winchesters don't know and trusting in Cas has been… let's say the angel doesn't have the best track record in the 'trust me' department. "We've had our share of…" Dean clears his throat and shifts in his seat. The Winchesters are no strangers to personal tragedy; death seems to follow those they love. All he can remember of the Mother taken away too soon are faint memories; the sound of her laugh, the smell of cookies baking or the faint touch of her hand as she brushed hair out of his face-
"Sam mentioned it." Arýza says into his silence. "Some, anyway." She shrugs and stares into her lap. The discomfort is palpable, both painfully aware of things they'd rather not talk about let alone think of. This is where both feel a connection – as strange and foolish as Dean would no doubt say out loud, he feels it-has felt it from that first moment though he's made it a point not to think or even analyze the why.
"Yeah," Dean nods. "Sammy would." Because Sammy's such a girl when it comes to sharing feelings… especially when he's trying to get someone else to share.
"I don't know why-." Arýza squeezes her eyes shut and wills the sudden lump in her throat to pass. She doesn't talk about it, any of it because it makes no sense. She doesn't want to cry, not now, not ever but it still hurts… to think of them- everyone is dead. Her life is not at all how she'd pictured it, how it had been planned. Arýza is twenty-one, she should've been at college, she should've been dating, hanging out with friends, going home for holidays and vacation, looking forward to starting her life as an adult…
"We can find out." Dean offers and sneaks a glance at her. She hasn't looked up and the hole in her jeans just got a little bigger. He tries to fit his pixie into the picture in that file and can't. There's a big difference between that girl and the young woman next to him. He wonders if anyone would have picked up on the difference as quickly as he did-
That's where Dean can see it. Their experiences have been different-not the same, never- but the look is the same. She's haunted by that fire, by what she can't unhear or unsee the same as Dean can never erase what he did in Hell…
Arýza shrugs. "It's not going to change anything." Her family will still be dead-
"You won't have to hide, Rýza."
"Why?" she questions on a heavy breath and looks at him. There's irritation threading her words and in the silvery-green eyes. "You can't say my full name?" in the back of her mind she is grateful for the distraction. She takes anything that can help banish their ghosts but there's also a feeling - a thought – maybe nothing but there's something about Dean cutting her name that feels familiar-
"Huh?" Dean blinks, that smile slowly making its appearance and she knows he does it purposely. "What's wrong with Rýza?" he'll let her change the subject, give her more time knowing that eventually Arýza will need to talk to someone. Everyone needs someone at one time in their lives, if it weren't true there wouldn't be any need of psychiatrists or priests.
"You're missing the 'A' that goes at the beginning." She frowns, hates how it makes her feel and won't tell them only her Mother used to call her by that name. "Use it."
"I know who you're named after." Arýza threatens and Dean is suddenly quiet, green eyes on her. She nods when he glances at Sam and now she's smiling. It's just a hint, the dusky lips turned up at the corners so he doesn't mind the warning as much. She rarely smiles and Dean's tried- not sure why he should care but he does. He hasn't heard her laugh and thinks it's gotta be worth it, to see her smile and hear her laugh a real laugh but he hasn't had much reason to laugh himself. Maybe that's just the way it's going to be for them…
"Sammy might need a toupee…" he mutters. They sit in amicable silence for the next ten miles before he feels her weight pressing into his side and her head slowly comes to rest on his shoulder. Dean wonders if she'll talk again, maybe make some sense this time and he is close enough to make out her words.
She doesn't sleep much and Dean won't get on her about it either. He understands and has told Sam to leave her alone, glad not to argue about it, have to talk about the why's and share feelings-gah!
'Sammy's such a girl sometimes.'
Dean carefully raises his arm, slips it over her shoulders and Arýza comfortably curls into his chest. He's surprised, eyes flicking from the sleeping girl effectively cradled in his arms to the road and back. It hasn't escaped the brother's notice how comfortable she is with them. Sam doesn't seem to find it strange, that a girl they barely know is so…
Dean frowns. He doesn't get it. There's a lot he isn't understanding and the more he tries to figure her out the more he's frustrated by the questions. Who is she? Why do the angels care anyway? What the hell is going on?
"…please…" it's softer than a whisper. He feels her fingers curl into his jacket, the soft body pressing into his chest. "…not them…"
She dreams of a world lit in flames. Her world turned to ashes in minutes and no explanation at all. She's alone, confused-
Dean tightens his arm around Arýza and it seems to calm her. She mumbles under her breath, an urgency in her tone and through her body.
She cries out for help, for them, but no one hears. There was no one to stop the fire, no one to save her family and trying to change what is … that's the definition of insanity.
Even if it is only a dream.
She makes no sound and finally Dean gives up. There wasn't enough to explain and all he has is more questions. Who is she talking to? What is she asking for?
Sammy stirs as they near the state line. He yawns and stretches only to jerk still when Arýza's leg pulls off his lap. She jerks in Dean's arms, immediately tensing and her hands grip tightly to his shirt.
"Careful!" Dean hisses, gently smoothing a hand on her arm and she settles down again with a faint sigh.
"What?" Sam blinks, rubs his eyes and stares at his brother. "Dude…"
Arýza shifts and her feet nudge Sam's thigh. She's tucked into Dean's chest like a child, sleeping. He doesn't realize there's a smile on his face seeing them or rather watching his brother drive and cradle their pixie.
"Can you drive like this?" Sam questions softly while carefully pulling her feet and settling them on his lap, he takes the sweater that fell off the seat and drapes it over her legs. She stretches out comfortably, unaware of the whispered conversation taking place in the car while she actually sleeps.
Green eyes narrow and Sam's lips twitch in amusement. Dean isn't the type who likes to share feelings but Sam knows there's a softer side to his brother. It's the things he does because Dean doesn't like to talk about 'feelings'. He's 'a man of action' and though it sounds like a joke … well, it really isn't. Not with Dean.
"Apparently I can." Dean snaps. "Fell asleep twenty miles back." He adds in something that sounds like a grumpy grumble but he's not releasing her either.
"Hasn't been long, then." Sam notes checking his cell for the time. "Think she'll stay asleep while we're here?" he questions doubtfully. They haven't told her where they are going, where they are taking her and she doesn't ask. She never asks anything and they've noticed Arýza doesn't plan. The brother's will make a comment; a place to see after they are done on a hunt, someone to meet up with or what Dean wants to eat…common mentions and not once does Arýza chime in with one of her own.
It's strange is all and that's why Sam has noticed it. He brings it up, voices the concern that she doesn't behave... like a 'normal' girl.
"She's been alone, Sam." Dean reminds him. "Who's she gonna talk to? Who's she supposed to be a 'normal' girl with?" but he's curious about that too. Because she is too quiet, tends to stand back and observe others interacting. He's noticed her discomfort around people, the way she gets tense and immediately searches her surroundings for a way out. It's obvious the running has changed her, the way she was living out on the streets and she hasn't said a word about what made her run in the first place … though she's better now than it had been when Cas left her in their 'care'. He has questions, certainly and no reason he can't get any answers if he just pressed a little harder. It certainly leaves the job of getting information from people solely up to the brothers.
"Has she told you why she's been on her own?" Sam questions and ignores Dean's scowl. "I just thought she'd be likely to tell you." He knows Arýza feels more comfortable around Dean, she is always more relaxed with him around. His brother is the same and neither of them seems to be aware though Sam thinks they are in denial.
"You're the one who likes to share feelings." Dean retorts with a side glance at his brother. There's the slight shifting of Sam's hazel eyes and Dean nods. "Oh yeah. Rýz told me." He assures at the slight hunching in of Sam's shoulders though there's also that defiant glint in his hazel eyes.
"She doesn't like that." Sam frowns but Dean just ignores the reminder. They sit in silence the rest of the night, what's left of it and Arýza sleeps quietly too and that's a first since the three have been together.
The rain makes it harder to stay warm. She huddles into her corner legs tucked in and arms tightly wrapped around herself. She can't sleep- it's been three days and the urge to close her eyes is there but she won't allow it.
Arýza's head jerks up, bloodshot eyes searching and there, out of the shadow emerges the familiar bluish bundle of fur. She thinks the cat might have fallen into some sort of die but hasn't been able to clean him up.
"You're back." Arýza whisper, her voice sounds harsh-raspy and out of use. "Figured you found a nice place to live." She wishes it was that easy for her, that all this was just a nightmare she'd wake from soon.
Wishful thinking is all. There's no one left, it's all been burned away…
The cat lightly jumps into her arms forcing her to let go of her legs. There's the briefest smile on her dusky lips and her hand lightly smoothes down the fur. It's ridiculous to be happy just because a stray cat has come back but she is. The pink tongue swipes at her chin and her smile widens, her face hiding in the soft fur seeking some sort of comfort.
The streets are dangerous, no place for a young girl to live but it's where she's chosen to be. No one can be trusted and yet the cat is the only constant in her life.
"Keep the boogey men away, Cat." Arýza murmurs settling into her corner again. She stares into the rainbow eyes, such an uncommon sight even for a cat and her breathing slows while her eyes slowly close until she is asleep.
Cat watches, waits and when her arms go slack he lightly jumps off her lap. There's a flash of sliver, a grin and rainbow eyes slowly search the abandoned building again. Arýza isn't alone but at least she has managed to keep the closet she's claimed to herself. Cat moves to secure it, a sharp blade jammed in place and then he slinks back to her side. He knows she is cold even in the coat he left for her before. Cat sits, back pressed to the wall and gently draws her into his arms. Arýza follows the warmth, barely stirs as she settles comfortably and Cat lightly strokes her hair, rainbow eyes on the door. The gentle purr vibrating through his chest makes for a comforting lullaby. She'll dream of his world, the way it was before…
AN: This is only half of the first part I had finished before. I'm working on the second half of this but there's no saying when it will be ready to post.
Any opinions on what's done so far?