Disclaimer: I do not own Supernatural. Written for fun, not cash.
Spoilers: Season 7; obvious spoilers for "How to Win Friends and Influence Monsters" and "The Born-Again Identity." Set after "The Girl with the Dungeons and Dragons' Tattoo."
A/N: Named while listening to "Mama Said" by The Shirelles. The phrase just seemed to fit. Written for a prompt Zombi-fic-ation's Zombie Fest 2012, on LJ.
The house was empty. Quiet. Abandoned.
All the right pieces were in place: pillows properly fluffed on the sofa, wax fruit on the countertop, sorted laundry piled in a basket. But, even without noticing the missing luggage, the absence of fresh food, even then the creature could still have smelled the difference. The air was stale; the musk of humanity made his stomach roll in hunger, but the scent was not fresh.
He had been watching this place, disguised as her noisy elderly neighbor, for days, and the woman, Daphne Allen, had not returned to her home. Somehow, she had known they were coming for her. Of course, they had little doubt who had alerted her.
The leviathan sneered up at the staircase before reaching into his pocket. The call was answered on the first ring.
"Have we been able to track her?" he asked, by way of greeting. His brother was slow to answer, as if putting thought into his next orders.
"She's not our most urgent concern, but, yes, we believe we know where she might be headed."
"Do you want me to go after her?" He frowned at the thought. There were greater deeds to be done. Big things were happening, and this chore was for his lesser. His talents were being wasted here. Plus, he was hungry, and this quaint neighborhood was sickeningly devoid of transients to eat.
"That won't be necessary. Daphne Allen has lost her value due to recent events. The Boss believes it would be more prudent to use her to…make a statement. Dead or alive, she can serve the same purpose."
"Bait the angel." His smile grew wider, looking predatorial and out of place on his victim's wrinkled face. "What should I do?"
"Leave. We have a few lab mistakes our researchers are looking to put to good use, and this should serve as the perfect time for an experiment… It's always interesting to see how the humans react when they're being chased, isn't it? It's like one of those reality television shows they all love so much."
The leviathan closed the cell phone, pocketed it, and turned to leave the house. His job here was done; it was time for the mutants to clean up the mess.
They'd be the death of her: there wasn't a single doubt in Jody Mills' mind. Sam and Dean Winchester would be the death of her. Not that acknowledging that fact did her much good, as she had an obvious inability to say no to the hunters. Which was why, at current, she was speeding along a darkened highway far from Sioux Falls in a car filled with weapons and a barrel of cleaning agent.
"We've got a problem."
Those were the words she lived in fear of, and they were also the first words out of Sam's mouth when he called her. Not that she didn't like hearing from the kid—she really did. Hell, she'd admit it, her heart did a little gallop whenever she received confirmation that the brothers were alive and kicking. Still, when Sam went into a long ramble about the Leviathan and the angel Castiel and some secret mission into Evil Incorporated, Jody was a bit peeved.
Playing catch-up over the length of a ten minute telephone conversation was never fun.
What it came down to, though, was simple enough. They were leaving Chicago with hot merchandise and needed her to take a trip to Colorado for them. Because, hey, it was only ten hours out of her way, and it wasn't like she had a job or anything. So much for her weekend free.
Daphne Allen was the name of the "friend" in need of help. And, boy, was whatever conversation that followed their meeting going to be awkward. Jody barely had the low-down on what had happened with Castiel-slash-Emmanuel and his "wife" before she found herself hitting the road. Jody would not be in the mood to answer any of this lady's questions; she couldn't answer most of them.
She sighed, but she couldn't bite back the twitch at the corner of her mouth. Used to be that she was the one calling them for help. She'd never admit it to them, but being on the other side felt kind of good. Not that she was planning a career change or anything…but it was nice that they trusted her enough to call.
"Be the death of me," she muttered, and then focused her concentration back on the road. She still had a long drive ahead of her before she reached the meet-up spot, and the night wasn't getting any younger.
Running. Why did it seem as if it all came back to running?
Hiking boots instead of sneakers stomped the drizzled earth as she lost her pace, forcing a sprint from a fresh burst of energy. The moon cut through the tree branches above, leaving streams of light that she entered and exited so quickly they tricked her vision into believing she was moving even faster. It gave her just the slightest bit of hope.
Running had always meant freedom when she was a girl. Wind cutting past her ears, ponytail tickling the back of her neck, sides tensing in warning; she had felt, back then, as if she were leaving her home, leaving behind a memory of a kind but absent father, leaving behind the reality of an oversized house, still too small when filled with the presence of her withered mother's degrading voice. Running from everything.
When Mother had passed a year ago, she had kept up her running; her home and its memories remained her constant, but her feet refused to stay still. She'd take long weekends to find new running paths, and, yes, she'd get excited over a new route the way most women her age were excited about a shopping trip. Only, without that nagging voice behind her, she found herself running to, instead of away. Only, Daphne never knew what she was running toward until the day she found Emmanuel.
A branch snapped from somewhere high. She didn't slow, didn't even allow herself a panicked pause. A briar reached out, snagging her jacket. Another slapped her across the face. But, in the distance, she could see a faint light. It seemed to be traveling, and she could only guess that it was a car. That meant there was another road nearby.
Run toward it, she told herself. Always toward. Because, if she thought about what she was running from, those…creatures, she knew she'd never recover. God—God, help, she prayed. He was silent. He hadn't always been, but he was now, and she wondered what that meant exactly.
"Did ever people hear the voice of God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as thou hast heard, and live?" Out of context, it was a threat. The words of Deuteronomy filled her mind, if not her ears. Perhaps the answer was there, somewhere.
"No," she hissed, sucking in a fresh breath.
But she had doubt. Maybe, this was God speaking through action. Creatures were chasing her, trying to rip her to shreds. Unnatural creatures. And, all because she had went looking for her Emmanuel.
He had left before, of course. It was his duty, to go out into the world, heal. She would send him. And, she'd known every time that he might not return. Faith had kept her reassured that this man she cared for would come back home. Only, this last time, he hadn't. A demon had tried to kill her, find him, and a man who knew about evil, a believer, had taken her husband away.
She'd waited. And waited.
Emmanuel hadn't returned, but the man had called, giving her news and telling her nothing: "…Emmanuel can't come back, but he wants you to be safe..." And he'd told her about the demons who might come for her. Still, she waited. Kept faith. Despite the warnings, she waited in her house for Emmanuel to come back. He always came back.
"…Lady, he's not who you think he is. There're some things worse than demons coming after you—here's what I need you to do…"
It had found her mere minutes ago, as she was about to call the number those men had given her. Confirm that she'd made it to the park. That she'd be in the cabin when their friend arrived. Shaped like a man, wearing scraps of what had to be human clothing over its blue-tinted skin, it had slammed into the side of her car when she slowed for the turn-off, and her cell phone had flown across the car. Another monster had joined it, hitting her from behind and busting out the rear window. The impact wasn't enough to do much damage, but the vehicle slid into the rain slickened ditch off the side of the road.
She'd had seconds to decide between trying to call for help and running before the creatures recovered enough to reach through the window for her.
The forest at night was disorienting. Her mind spun as she tried to pick out the direction of her cabin. But, if this was the road ahead…
Grunting, she hit the ravine fast, not letting herself lose traction on the mud. Her fingernails scraped at blacktop as she pulled herself up, jumping back to her feet. And, for the first time, she stopped, blinded by the glow of headlights.
"Son of a bitch!"
Jody jerked the wheel, not enough to leave her spinning, but just enough to keep her out the direct path of the woman. Her brakes did their job, though, and the SUV stilled, unlike the heart currently pounding against the back of her throat. What the hell was that? Jody had time to take one deep breath, realize what had just happened, and make a move for the handgun beside her seat.
She was out the driver's door before her brain had fully caught up, and her arm automatically raised the weapon. Her eyes swam over the figure who had jumped out of the woods and onto the road in front of her.
It looked like a woman. She was shaking from either shock or exhaustion, but her stance was strong, her body rigid, like an animal waiting for the chance to take off again. The knees of her jeans were torn out, bloody scrapes showing through on her open palms and down one cheek—red blood, always a good side these days. With the headlights shining over her, Jody could make out the features framed by should-length waves of light brown hair. The stranger's face was in no way familiar, but there was something in that expression…
Jody aimed the weapon. "Down!"
The woman was fast, flattened on the black-top in an instant, and Jody wasn't slow, either. The bullet left the chamber and met the side of the monster before it could take one step out of the shadowed forest and onto the road.
"Get inside," Jody snapped.
It wasn't necessary. The woman was already up. "There's another one," she said, sliding into the passenger's seat, "still in the woods."
Jody acknowledged the comment with a nod, and threw the SUV into drive. Burning rubber, she swallowed once before shaking her head; she wasn't quite sure if the tiny smile on her face was due to terror or amusement.
"Any chance you're Daphne Allen?" The woman froze a moment, and Jody nodded once in confirmation. "Check the glove compartment."
Before the woman even saw the badge inside, she was breathing a sigh of relief. "You're Jody Mills…The one Dean said would be meeting me. You're a friend of my husband's?"
Jody's nose itched. It was a nervous tell. Crap, two minutes together and the conversation is already turning awkward. "Uh…Through association, I guess."
Jody snorted. "Dean told you that, too, I guess? I'm not a demon. Or a monster, for that matter. How close are we to your cabin?"
Daphne frowned. "Next gravel turn-off on the left…But we can't go there, can we? Those things will…" She paused, eyes wide, as if the reality of the situation had just slammed down onto her chest. "What were those things?"
Jody shrugged. "Never seen them before, but I can venture a guess, based on what the guys told me. From what I understand, those things used to be human."
"They ate bad burgers."
Jody could feel Daphne's glare.
"That's not funny!" Daphne snapped. She took a breath, as if in recovery. "What are they, really?"
Jody shrugged one shoulder. She was running on secondary info here, but it wasn't as if she hadn't had the same reaction when the boys had told her what they'd been hunting when… Jody chewed her bottom lip. When the Leviathan had shot Bobby. She wouldn't let herself concentrate on that right now. This woman wanted answers, and Jody couldn't give them to her, not the ones paired with the really important questions. But, by God, she could at least tell her what was trying to kill her tonight.
"Zombie vampire cannibals created by an ancient evil determined to kill you."
Daphne's mouth opened and closed. Her reply was so soft, Jody barely heard it over the engine. "Oh, God. Zombies?"
At least part of it sunk in. She sure as hell wasn't going to step in and explain that, no, she'd met real zombies actually and these were a tad different. One supernatural shock a day was all Jody was willing to deliver. "Yeah, I know, but mama said there'd be days like this."
The cabin, a one floor square of log walls and mounted animal heads, was fortified within a ten minute time span. When she finished blocking the windows and doors and laying her weapons out, Jody dusted her hands on her pants, just a little proud of herself. Beat that, Winchesters. Jody bit down a manic chuckle, not wanting to scare the other woman, but it was no easy task.
"You know how to use a weapon?" she asked.
Daphne's nodded. "I'm in my church's gun club."
"No kidding?" Jody shook her head but decided it would be better not to question it. "Well…good. Pick your poison...You said there were two of these crazies, right?"
"Yes, that I saw." Daphne crossed her arms over her chest, her face hardened. "But there could be more. I don't know what we're doing here. We should be leaving. You've got a car! We should be—"
"Running?" Jody interrupted. "You're probably right. And, we'll hit the road again. As soon as we killed these bastards." For Bobby Singer.
Jody wasn't sure where the thought came from, but it physically hurt like a nail through the foot. These things, crazies as she'd been mentally labeling them, they didn't kill the hunter. She knew that it was their maker, the Leviathan, who pulled the trigger, and it was the job itself that got him killed. And, if her goal here was to keep Daphne Allen safe, she should probably follow the other woman's advice and put rubber to pavement. Only, Jody had felt something building in her over the past few months. It had been buried way back before Bobby died, even before she knew about the supernatural. When her little boy… Jody took a shaky breath. What had been building all this time was rage. And, it needed an outlet.
Daphne blinked at her. "But what if there are demons, too…What if we can't kill them?"
"One monster at a time," Jody said. She eased down onto the edge of the small card table near the front wall. "And we can kill these things. We will kill them. Want to know why? Because if we run away, then those things are still going to be out there. They're loose, and they're rabid. They're so hungry, they'll eat whatever is in their path. Dean, the guy who told you about your husband? He won't get here in time to stop these things from ripping apart anyone they find. If we leave now, people will die."
And, mostly, I just need to kill something before I explode. Jody kept that last part to herself, but she could see the change come over the woman's demeanor. Daphne wasn't going to argue the point. In fact, she walked to the table, took up the Remington shotgun lying across it and checked the magazine.
Jody considered the expression on the other woman's face. She was certain it had been on her own after her husband had been killed, her family lost to her once again. Jody couldn't be sure what exactly was going through the other woman's head, but she had a feeling that, at some point, the message had sunk in.
Something hit the roof, throwing down dust from the ceiling rafters. Jody and Daphne shared a look.
"I know you didn't ask for this." Jody rested her hand on the woman's shoulder. "I know you didn't ask to be in this situation, but here you are. I didn't ask for it either, but there's no point pretending otherwise."
Daphne pulled away, her weapon tight against her and ready. Jody duplicated the move, pulling her Glock free. Wood shattered above them; splinters rained down, and, with them, gray goo from a hungry maul.
"You're wrong," Daphne said. Her voice was nearly at a whisper, her eyes skyward. "I did ask for this. And, God answered."
She took aim.
She runs. Always runs. To, never from. It is the promise Daphne made herself, a spiritual goal. It is the opposite mentality that her mother instilled in her, but this has always been her way. Faith, is with her now; faith in a God who would save her, a God who would lead her down the right path. Daphne kept faith with her throughout all the years that her mother laid in her sick bed, her health slowly failing, her razor tongue never sharper as it filled her daughter's ears with insults.
She keeps faith now, that she will be guided by the nudge that woke her from her bed a half hour early, that the impossibly soft whisper in her ear is not her imagination.
Daphne…He needs you…Care for him…
The words don't make sense until her breath catches and she sees him. He was not there, and then he was: water drips from his dark hair, down his pale, naked body. He doesn't shiver, despite the cold morning. His blue eyes catch her as well as any net.
Daphne's throat is dry.
…Care for him…
"I am lost." Those are his first words, resounding and hard.
Daphne stays quiet; she knows this man in an instant. She has seen him before. This is the man from the news, the one they said committed those murders in that campaign office. The one who called himself God.
But his isn't the voice she'd heard in her head just now. Because, he isn't God.
…Care for him…
And she knows this is not that man, the one on television. This is the man she has been running toward on God's path.
He cocks his head to one side, curious. "Do…Do I know you?"
"I…" Daphne can only breath for a moment. She shakes her head. The words slip out, because they're true, and they're easier than an accusation. "God wanted me to find you."
Daphne jerked awake, her breath fogging the window against her head. The inside of the SUV was quiet, the morning sun filling it with a pink glow. When she turned her head, the other woman, Jody, was staring ahead. Tired, yes, her face gray with bruises and dust and something else, certainly, but she looked focused, alert.
"You were dreaming…About Emmanuel?" Jody asked.
Daphne sat up straight, remembering the night behind them. They had been expecting one more of the creatures and gotten three. Four, a total of four of those freaks had been sent after her and Daphne still couldn't quite understand why. She also couldn't understand how. How they had managed to shoot their way to victory. How these monsters could fall by human hands, when her lips had never muttered a single prayer for God's aid throughout the battle. Daphne wasn't quick to admit it, but watching that first creature's head blow back because of her shotgun, because of what she had done…It had been invigorating. She had felt purposeful in the duty, in a way she never had as a caretaker.
Her jeans and jacket caked with muck, blood, and that strange gray-lavender goo, she knew she still smelled worse than she looked, but she couldn't summon the strength to be apologetic.
Over the reek of death laid another scent: fire. Jody had insisted they burn the creatures. Daphne had insisted they burn the whole cabin.
Jody chuckled, and the sound made Daphne jerk.
"I don't know about you, but I'm thinking a pay-by-the-hour motel might be worth it for a chance at a decent shower."
Daphne smiled out at the landscape ahead. They were entering a city, it looked like—Daphne didn't recognize the place. "Agreed," she muttered, but her grin broke. "Those creatures…?"
"I think we pretty much established that they're dead," Jody noted.
"But the ones who sent them aren't."
Jody's lips tightened into a line. There was resentment there, and Daphne wondered if she'd ever know why. "Nope," Jody replied, after a moment.
"It's not just them, is it? It's not just demons and those crazies and…" She shook her head. "There are lots of monsters roaming the world, aren't there? Dean hunts them, doesn't he? And Emmanuel?"
Daphne didn't let the other woman answer before adding, "But you don't."
"I have a home." As if that was reason enough. Jody rolled her head to the side, as if in thought. "I'm going back to it. And, you're going somewhere safe until Dean calls and tells me they've…fixed things, and it's safe you to go back to your life."
Daphne didn't argue the point. She had no desire to go back to that house. She'd never really had a desire to go back to that house, ever. For a while, it had been a financial convenience. Then, for a few short months, she'd had a family, had Emmanuel to take care of and send out to do God's work. But, she wasn't a care-taker any more, not his nor her mother's. That house died with that duty.
"You're good at it," Daphne said, staring at the other woman's profile. "At killing monsters."
Jody gave her a quirky smile, but there was something sharp in her eyes, even if they never left the road. "I don't mean to be. But lately, seems like I keep getting chased down. Hunted. Better to act like a hunter than prey in those cases, I guess."
Daphne agreed. "I don't want to the prey." Or the care-giver. The helper. The servant. "I don't want to run. To or from. I want to make a stand."
Jody nodded, as if she'd heard a question in the statement. "Now, wouldn't that be a nice change."
Daphne didn't think the woman was speaking to her anymore, but she smiled in agreement, nevertheless. "Tell me more about the Leviathan."
End Notes: I'm amazed that I managed to write a SPN story without the boys in it, but the prompt was for a Daphne story including the hyper-adrenalized cannibals and "any women of Supernatural" taking care of business without the save-the-day menfolk-I decided to put Jody in, because I adore her character. I hope both women get brought up in season 8.
I hope this kept you somewhat entertained. Feel free to leave a review and let me know what you thought.