I'm falling, and there's no end in sight.
It's almost peaceful, except that I know instinctively that there's an end. There always is. And it always ends with a loud and obnoxious SPLAT.
I guess I should count my lucky stars because the splat never comes, but it's still a little weird to find myself plummeting into darkness. I find myself wishing someone would catch me, but it doesn't happen. I keep falling down, down, down...
My leg twitches and I jolt awake fully. I don't bother sitting up, my body still weighed down with lethargy, and instead choose to rub my eyes hard enough that they don't even consider closing again.
Ever had that feeling before? When you're somewhere between sleep and clarity and you get that swooping falling sensation in the pit of your stomach, which then causes your leg to spasm?
I have. Far too many times to count. Except it always happens when I'm about to sleep, never when I'm about to wake. Guess I should have realized that my day was only going to get stranger from there.
"Yo." A pillow sails towards my head and I groan as it makes fluffy contact with my face. "I know you're awake, Air."
"Bugger off," I snarl with my best impression of a British accent, which is quite good for someone who's still half-asleep. "I don't even have early morning classes this semester."
"But I do, and I'm not suffering alone," Piper, ever the kind and considerate roommate, informs me matter-of-factly and grabs her pillow off my bed in order to whack me again. "Up and at 'em, Harry Potter!"
"Give me some credit," I grumble as I force myself to sit up, "I'm clearly Hermione." My hair seems to think so, anyway. I comb my fingers through it absently in a vague attempt to calm it down so that I don't look like some sort of monster while wandering the halls of our dorm.
Catching on to my train of thought, Piper studies me critically. I suspect she's about to give me some life-altering advice, but instead she narrows her eyes and says, "Christo."
My expression shifts into Sam Winchester's patented bitchface purely out of instinct. "Not a demon." I can't help a grin, though, as I always can't whenever someone else, particularly Piper, makes a Supernatural reference. After all, she's the one who introduced me to the show, and while she has long since left the fandom, I'm still going strong, currently trudging my way through the fifth season.
"Aww." Piper looks disappointed and I take the opportunity to whack her with my own pillow.
"Go away, woman." She reluctantly moves aside and allows me to start the day at my own pace.
Seven A.M. in the morning for a college student is an unholy time to wake up, but Piper's classes begin at eight almost every day, which means I'm up with her for "moral support," whatever that means. My own first class of the day is at three in the afternoon.
I return from my shower in time to hear Piper warbling the last off-key notes of the chorus to "Part Of Your World" as she packs her backpack for class.
"WANDERING FREEEEE, WISH I COULD BEEEEE~!"
"Oh, God, my ears," I groan in despair as I close the door behind me. "You were doing that just to annoy me, weren't you?"
"Absolutely, little mermaid." Piper smiles sweetly as she ruffles my still-damp hair on the way out the door. She shuts the door before I can protest my nickname - is it really my fault my parents thought "Ariel" would be a cute name because The Little Mermaid had just come out a few years earlier? - and I sulk the rest of the way through my morning routine, my mood much worse.
Despite the several hours between the time I woke up and my first class, I still find myself yawning my way through the day and finally trudge up the steps to my dorm building, my hands tucked tightly in my pockets as I shiver against the bitter cold wind.
It's snowed recently, and the steps are still lined with piles of rocksalt, much more than the meager snowfall had required. My lips quirk at the brief thought of how useful this stuff would be to hunters, but certainly not to college students who would like to keep their brand-new sneakers salt-free, thank you very much.
I continue on up, grasping the freezing metal railing for balance.
The railing is so cold that it burns my fingers and I yank my hand back to shove it back into my pocket. My hand has chosen a terrible time to be cold, because my foot promptly slides out from beneath me, a pile of rocksalt the cause of my lack of balance.
My stomach drops unpleasantly as I topple backwards. I expect my head to smash against the stone steps, or to hit the rough asphalt, but instead I'm falling for much longer.
I open my eyes, startled that my fall hadn't ended, but all I see is pitch black, dotted with tiny little pinpricks. Are those stars? How have I ended up in the sky?
A blinding white beam of light explodes upwards beside me and I scream, my voice oddly muted by the rushing of air around me as I shut my eyes again, terrified.
But I'm not falling anymore, and my fall doesn't end with a thump or a splat. Instead, I'm suddenly sitting upright, clutching leather armrests tightly. I tentatively open my eyes and exhale when I realize I'm on an airplane.
Wait. An airplane?
"What the hell?" a gruff voice demands quietly from a seat across the aisle from me. I turn and my jaw drops. No way. There's no way.
"I don't know," the man sitting beside the first speaker replies shakily, running a hand through his long brown hair. He's tall, much taller than he is on television.
The first man's attention quickly snaps to me when he senses my gaze. "Got a problem, princess?" he growls.
I know I should look away, try to blend in with my surroundings, but that is Dean freaking Winchester talking to me. You can't blame a girl for getting tongue-tied.
"Uhh," I say eloquently instead. I have a feeling Dean would have taken that moment to mock my idiocy, but he looks a little too stressed to deal with me.
Instead, he says shortly, "Look away, kid."
Kid? My cheeks grow hot with embarrassment and I drop my gaze to my knees, my brain struggling to piece together the situation.
I'm on a plane. With Sam and Dean Winchester. My mind tries to argue that it's not them, but Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki, but I doubt the actors go around dressing and speaking exactly like their characters when off-camera. I've seen clips of their panels on YouTube; they're much nicer in reality.
The spiky-haired rude guy across the aisle from me is no Jensen Ackles.
"Sorry," the taller man - Sam Winchester, I correct myself - apologizes quietly for his brother, turning slightly in my direction. I venture a glance up and receive a faint twitch of his lips that's supposed to be a reassuring smile. He looks shaken and upset, though, as if he's just survived a terrible ordeal, and I have the oddest urge to hug him.
Maybe it's the famous puppy eyes.
"'S okay," I mumble in return and try to return the smile. It comes out as more of a shaky grimace and Sam's attention is quickly lost once more, returning back to his clearly-irritated brother. I go back to figuring out what the hell is going on.
Okay, I've read fanfictions about this. People fall out of their world and drop into their favorite T.V. show. I thank whoever's listening that this isn't The Vampire Diaries, or Piper might have killed me out of sheer envy.
Speaking of Piper, does she know I'm gone? How the hell do I get back? My throat tightens with panic and I feel vaguely nauseous, but thankfully, neither of the Winchesters seem to notice the girl freaking out nearby. They're too wrapped up in their own hushed conversation.
I wrack my brain, trying to think of what episode or season I could be in. So far, only two episodes contain planes: Phantom Traveler and Sympathy for the Devil. I chance a peek at Sam.
Definitely Sympathy for the Devil. Any true Supernatural fan can judge the show's timeline based solely on Sam's hair.
And I'm staring again, something Dean notices and distinctly disapproves of.
"Y'mind, sweetheart?" The nickname is anything but endearing when he says it like he considers the recipient of said epithet - A.K.A me - to be akin to vermin.
Something tells me playing dumb won't help me get home - who knows? Maybe one of the angels can hook me up with a wormhole back to my reality or something - so I blurt out, "You're Dean Winchester."
Not my best plan. Or choice of wording. Both hunters freeze and turn identically-narrowed eyes on me. Thankfully, the crackling intercom saves me.
"Folks, quick word from the flight deck. We're just passing over Ilchester, then Ellicott City, on our initial descent into Baltimore-"
"Ilchester?" Dean echoes, his eyebrows raising as he glances back at Sam. I'm temporarily forgotten. "Weren't we just there?"
"So if you'd like to stretch your legs, now would be a good time to-" The plane rocks violently as a bright white light erupts vertically, sending the plane banking sharply right to avoid it. "Holy crap!" I hear the pilot shriek, his voice high-pitched with shock and fear. When I had first seen the episode, I had laughed at that. Now I'm half-tempted to join the pilot in screaming.
The lights flicker and oxygen masks drop from the overhead compartments. Without hesitation, I tug the one in front of me over my face and inhale deeply. I see Sam and Dean doing the same, Dean looking pale. I then remember his fear of flying and wonder why he and Sam had been resurrected on a plane, of all things.
Surely the angels could have come up with better.
When we finally land at Baltimore, people stumble out of the plane, looking shaken and terrified. I make to follow them - anything's better than having Sam and Dean glaring at me murderously - but a rough calloused hand grabs my arm just before I make it out of the gateway. I yelp in pain and turn to see Dean staring at me with hard green eyes.
"Start talkin', kid."
Well, she's just dug herself into deep shit, hasn't she? I know this idea's overdone, but I always had this muse lingering in the back of my head, and I thought I'd see how it goes if I played it out a little.
Ariel is not in fact named for The Little Mermaid, and you will find out who she is actually named for soon. I don't intend for her to be a Mary-Sue, but I have had an unfortunate tendency to write such characters in the past, so I'm counting on you all to warn me before she gets too Mary-Sueish.
I rely on reviews, not favorites or story alerts (but feel free to add those, too, if you wish). PLEASE take your time to send a review, let me know how I'm doing. Thank you very much and I hope you guys like this first chapter.