A/N – Chapter title from the song of the same name by Aerosmith.
Disclaimer: I don't own Supernatural, but I have Kripke'd Kripke back with this one. Take that, Eric! If you think the SPN staff doesn't read fanfic, better think again.
Part 3 – back in the saddle again
Being Death's not a bad gig at first.
Damn. Never thought I'd hear myself say that.
Me and Tessa reap Merle Hawkins, the guy who tried to rob that store. Seeing him point that gun at that kid and his father really pisses me off, so I take my time with him after the store owner busts a cap in his ass.
Hawkins looks surprised that he's the one who died instead. For a weird moment I have the feeling that he actually thinks he's headed upstairs. Didn't break my heart any to tell him otherwise.
"Enjoy the ride down, pal. Trust me - sauna gets hot."
Tessa rolls her eyes at me. Samirah just stands there with her ears pricked, staring at me. I can't explain the vibe she gives off. She seems calm and wired at the same time. I've never felt that from anyone else before. I want to ask her how whatsisname rolls when he's doing that Death Horseman gig, but I don't. Maybe I don't want to hear her answer: "Oh, he's way better than you are, OneDay."
I think about Sam with his soul back in place instead. Gonna keep my end of the bargain and do the damn job.
The walking heart attack's next. He tells me if he had to do it all over again, he'd eat the same way again. Dude doesn't seem all that broken up about being dead as he walks off with Tessa. I hear him ask her if there's going to be any food where he's going.
Samirah shakes her head from side to side. "Humans. I'll never understand them."
Maybe I shouldn't open my damn mouth, but I have to ask. "So, uh...there's a Sam Winchester where you come from?"
Samirah nods. "Sure. He's Bitchface."
"Uh huh. He's the Bitchface of the Apocalypse. There's War, Death, Famine, Pestilence, and Bitchface."
"Huh. Three guesses who named him..."
She sounds like she's one second away from busting out laughing. "And you don't even need one."
"Sweet." That makes me laugh, and she tilts her head to one side a little at the sound of my voice. "Does your Sam have a soul?"
"I'm pretty sure he does. He was dead for a while, too."
"He was what?"
She tosses her head just as Tessa comes back. "Long story."
Holy Innocents Hospital. That's where it all goes south.
Tessa crosses her arms in front of her chest and glares at me. If looks could kill...well, you know the rest. I'm not having any of it. The young girl in the hospital bed looks weak and pale. She has this faraway look in her eyes. I know what that means. She's seeing stuff healthy people don't see.
She sees me and Tessa and Samirah. She sees her death.
I can hear the heart monitor beep. I hate that sound.
Samirah stands quietly by the bed. The kid smiles at her and tries to raise her hand off the bed. I guess she wants to pet Samirah. That's what it looked like, anyway.
I know her name is Hilary, and she's only twelve years old, for God's sake. She has a heart condition. That's a hell of a thing to put on anybody, much less a kid. The more I think about it, the more pissed off I get. "She's twelve. I'm Death. And she's not dying today."
Samirah snorts. Tessa looks even more pissed off than she did before. "You made a deal with Death, Dean. In exchange for your brother's soul. Have you forgotten that? You have a job to do, and your shift isn't over yet."
I shake my head. "I'm not doing it. I'm not killing her, y'hear me?"
Tessa steps right into my personal space. "There's a natural order to things. This is her destiny. And yours."
I roll my eyes at that one. "Give me a friggin' break. I've spent my whole life fighting against that crap. I don't believe it. That's just something the Powers That Be use to frighten everybody into making nice. I'm in charge of this, right here, right now, and I say the little girl lives."
Tessa huffs. "The sad thing is you don't believe a word you're saying." She looks at the little girl and frowns. "You have no idea what you've done. You changed things, Dean. Hilary won't live a normal life. You think she will, but she won't. Death and chaos will follow her for the rest of her life. There's a ripple effect to what you did."
Samirah nods silently.
I don't pay any attention to what Tessa says. The beeping of the heart monitor gets stronger. Hilary's color is better.
That's the first domino down, and I don't even know it. Yet.
One time, when we were kids, Sammy and I found a box of dominos up in the attic of Pastor Jim's house in Blue Earth. Sam was nine, Dad was off on a hunt, and I was laid up with a broken arm. We spent the weekend playing with the damn things. Laid them down on the floor in all these patterns, straight lines, curved lines. Tickled the hell out us to set 'em up, and then make 'em fall down. Just a touch. That was all it took.
This was different, but the same. I didn't touch Hilary. She gets better, and everything else goes to hell.
Ten minutes later I'm standing in the ER staring down at the surgeon's nurse. Her name was Jolene. She has dark hair and a nice smile.
She'd gotten off early because I didn't kill Hilary. There was a car accident. A bad one. Now Jolene is covered in blood, and she's dying. Because of me.
Less than a minute later I touch Jolene, and Tessa reaps her. "Decades early," Tessa says.
Two more dominos down, and the sonsabitches keep right on falling.
My time sense is all screwed up. Things seem to slow down and speed up. The next thing I know Samirah and I are on this sidewalk somewhere, and I watch Jolene's husband stagger to his car. Dude's drunk, wasted. He has a bottle in one hand and his car keys in the other.
I knew he's going to drive drunk. Suicide by car.
And I also knew he's going to take a busload of people with him.
The names run through my head (Gerald Smith, Kathy Doughtery, Clara Ames...). I see their faces, know their ages, and I just couldn't take it anymore. I'd fucked up. Big time. I hear the roar of the engine as Scott starts the car up.
I didn't think about what I did next. Damn it, I should have known better. It was the only thing I could think of to do.
I jump on Samirah's back, grab a handful of her mane and kick her in both sides with my boots. "Yeeee-hahhh!"
Right then and then I knew I'd made the biggest mistake of my life.
Samirah freezes. Her ears go up. She turns her head slowly and gives me the evil eye, and those copper eyes of hers blaze hot and bright. "What the hell do you think you're doing?"
I gesture at the car. "Uh...well...he's getting away?"
She shakes her head sideways, looks at the speeding car and then back at me. "Do you ride?"
"Horses. Do you ride horses?"
"I never would have guessed. You kick me again, OneDayDean, and I'll sit on you."
All I can do is nod.
"All right then," Samirah rumbles. I look down and see this weird blue light flash over her coat. Next thing I know I'm sitting on a black leather saddle. Hadn't been there before. Didn't look like any Western gear I'd ever seen in the movies, either. Samirah's wearing this halter too.
No, wait a minute. I think they call it a bridle.
She nods her head up and down. "Pick up the reins."
"The long leather straps. They're right in front of you. Come on."
I wind them around both hands once and then pull back on them. Hell, that was stupid. She opens her mouth, tosses her head and shows me her teeth when she turns around to give me another dirty look. "Too tight. Just hold them, don't yank on them."
She paws the ground with her right leg while I loosen my grip. By this time Scott turns the corner nearly on two wheels. "He's getting away-"
"Oh, please. My son Nahele could outrun that thing when he was a foal. We have time. Put your feet in the stirrups."
She sighs and rolls her eyes. "The silver things below the saddle." She's explaining things to me like I was a four year old. Should piss me off, but it doesn't. What I know about horses you could put inside a thimble."Slip your feet through them."
After I do that she nods again.
"One last thing." Something grabs my ass and pulls me down onto the saddle. I hear a click. Feels like my ass and the insides of my legs are superglued to the saddle. I can't move.
"What the hell was that?"
"Just wanted to make sure you don't fall off. Don't kick me again. And don't pull on the reins." Samirah takes a couple of dancing steps sideways, and then we take off.
Damn. She runs faster than my girl ever could, faster than anything I've ever driven or ridden in.
I like it, but it scares the hell out of me too.
I don't think I screamed.
We catch up with the car just past the turn at the corner. The bus is at the intersection less than half a block away.
OneDay? I hear Samirah's voice inside my head. Think fast.
Everything around me goes copper colored. I'm not on her back anymore. I'm in the car, in the front seat. Scott has his foot jammed on the gas pedal.
"Stop the car!" I yell at him. The side of the bus fills up the windshield.
We're not stopping.
"Stop the damn car, dumbass!" I yell out again, and then it hits me that he can't hear or see me.
So I yank off Death's ring.
I reach out and grab the steering wheel, yank it hard over to the right. Scott yells when he sees me, but I don't give a damn about that.
The car slides sideways, then jerks to a stop six inches away from the bus.
Scott's bug-eyed, and I can tell he's going to have to change his shorts after this. "Who the hell are you? How the hell did you-"
Samirah walks up on the driver's side, lowers her head and stares at him. She's breathing fire and her eyes are bright copper.
Scott screams like a girl.
I lost the bet.
That's all I can think of. I've screwed up, big time. Death doesn't have to go through with his part of the bargain, and Sam's soul is going to stay in the pit. I'm stuck with Soulless now, and me and Bobby are going to have to find another way to get Sam's soul back.
I know I'm kidding myself. There isn't any other way to get Sam out of the pit.
Death knew I'd fail. Hell, I knew I'd fail, from the moment I walked into that hospital room and saw that little girl.
I fucked up for sure, but I have to make this right.
"Hilary won't live a normal life. You think she will, but she won't. Death and chaos will follow her for the rest of her life. There's a ripple effect to what you did."
I put the ring on, and Samirah and I go back to the hospital.
I do my damn job.
I try to apologize to Hilary, but nothing I say is good enough. I feel like a total bastard as Tessa walks off with her. That leaves me and Samirah.
"I screwed up big-time. I won't get my brother's soul back after this."
She looks at me and makes this soft sound, the same sound she made when she saw that big spotted horse, her son. "You think you're so different from Gaelen, but you two are so much alike."
I stare at her.
"Would he have done what I did?"
"In your place?" She nods. "Yes. We followed the natural order of things for a long time. It's different now." She pricks her ears. "Maybe you didn't mess up after all."
I gently pat her on her neck. I don't know why I do it. Samirah makes that soft horsey sound again. She doesn't pull back and she doesn't stomp the hell out of me. That's something, at least.
Horse-boy looks pissed.
He's dressed in black, and I can't help it, I snort a little when I see him. Dude's wearing a hoodie, for cripes sake.
He stands up straighter when he sees us. Dude's definitely got his game face on.
"I'm back!" Samirah says cheerfully. She practically dances up to him. "Did you miss me?"
He stares at her for a moment. "I guess." Then Gay-boy's eyes widen. "Wait a minute." He points at me. "You let him ride?"
"I'll be damned," he mutters. He shakes his head. "Did he scream?"
That weird blue light runs over her and she has her saddle and bridle on again. He swings up into the saddle. Samirah turns and slowly walks around Tessa and me. Gay-boy sits tall in the saddle, I'll give him that, like Eastwood or McQueen.
"Tessa." He nods at her. Tessa smiles and nods back.
He looks at me. Another nod. "Poser."
"Hey!" I give him a look that could blister paint. He smirks even more.
"See you around, One Day," Samirah calls out as she walks away. "Hope everything works out for you."
The air around them lights up with that weird copper colored glow.
Horse-boy grunts. "So how was it?"
"I had a nice time."
He chuckles as they fade into thin air. "Good."
I shake my head as they fade out. "Least it worked out for them."
Tessa sighs. "You're all the same. No matter what 'verse, you're all the same."
Damn, I feel dead tired all of a sudden. What the hell Can I say? "Deal's off because I screwed up?"
Tessa gives me this sideways glance and the look on her face softens. I blink, and next thing I know I'm back at Bobby's place. The hair on the back of my neck stands up. I guess it was the ring. I still have it on.
I know what I 'm going to see, even before I walk into the room: Bobby tied in a chair. Sam with a butcher knife. Doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure this one out.
I put my hand on Sam's shoulder, jerk him around.
He looks surprised.
"Hey, Sam. I'm back."
I put my fist in his face and drop him like a bad habit.
Yep. Perfect end to a craptastic day. This one definitely buries the needle on the Weird-O-Meter.