Disclaimer: I own nothing you recognise; the original concept of this story was inspired by 'To Hell & Back' by EventRider87, but I've added my own spin to things and have received EventRider87's permission to use their idea for this
Feedback: Much appreciated
The Corrupted Innocent
As she opened her eyes, Bela initially sat up sharply, the previous night's nightmares still fresh in her mind- she could almost see the face of her torturer now, even if it tended to change on a regular basis-, but calmed down as she took in her apartment, protective amulets and sigils in the wards under the wallpaper and the reassuring sound of Deanna Campbell making breakfast in the next room.
After the initial introductions had concluded, Bela had to admit that the previous night had ended rather calmly for such a unique day. Dean and Sam had decided to head back to their motel room for a good night's sleep- something about the way they'd left suggested to Bela that they had other things to discuss that had been interrupted by her and Deanna's earlier arrival, but she wasn't about to push her luck by asking- while Bela had taken Deanna back to her apartment. It was a bit of a long drive, and she'd had to hotwire a car to get there- she'd naturally park a short distance from her apartment to discourage the possibility of someone identifying her as the thief-, but all four of them had agreed that a protected location would be the best place for them to discuss what had taken place over the last few decades since Deanna had been active, and Bela had already spent the last few days before their time-travel jaunt securing the room against supernatural detection.
After parting from the Winchesters, the two women had agreed during the drive to Bela's apartment that at least the first few days would focus on getting Deanna caught up with world history in conventional society, ranging from the end of the Cold War to the 9/11 attacks, based on both Deanna's questions about events in her time and Bela's own experiences.
Right now, Bela's concern was how long it was going to be before Deanna broke down; seeing her husband essentially kill himself wasn't something that you could easily get over, after all. She had thought about attempting to perform an actual séance to give Deanna a chance to talk to her husband and say goodbye- she'd certainly made it work as one of her many means of making a living-, but she hadn't taken long to dismiss that idea; things were awkward enough between her and the Winchesters without her bringing something like that into the equation. Dean might not want to die himself, but she'd heard enough about the Winchester's hunts to know that the brothers preferred to leave the dead alone when they weren't actively harming anyone, even without witnessing his concerns when they'd initially been resurrected that someone else had died to bring them back.
The other woman was coping so far, but Bela doubted that would last much longer; she might have denied what had happened to her after she'd lost her family for different reasons, but she knew from experience that denial could only take you so far…
The sound of a phone ringing distracted Bela from her bleak thoughts, prompting her to pick up her phone and answer it, grateful for anything that would give her a chance not to think about that issue.
"Calling to make sure we're alive?" she asked with a teasing edge to her voice, recognising Dean's number from their past conversations.
"Just letting you know that we'll be leaving the motel now; we got a call from an old friend of Dad's about some hunt he needs some help on, so we'll be checking it out for the next few days," Dean said, an edge to his tone that Bela could somehow guess wasn't just about the current hunt. "How's, uh… how's Grandma?"
"Settling in," Bela said, looking at her guest as she sat at the table, eating her breakfast while trying not to pay too much attention to what Bela was doing. "We've only covered some of the essentials of the last few decades so far; I'll start bringing her up to speed over the next week or so."
"Cool," Dean said, sounding grateful. "By the way, we called Bobby to fill him in on what's gone down recently, so he knows about… well, your guest…"
"But that's as far as it goes, right?" Bela asked, guessing where Dean was going with this.
"That's as far as it goes," Dean confirmed. "Anyone else wants to know about her, it's need-to-know only; considering everything Cas said about things having to happen, I'm not going to draw any more attention to her being here than we have to."
Bela would have pointed out how pointless it was to think about keeping secrets from the group that Dean was obviously most concerned about- considering that Castiel had been responsible for the time-travel in the first place, he was almost certainly aware that Deanna Campbell was in the present-, but there was no point in bringing that up; Dean was willing to trust her, so she was going to tolerate his own desire for privacy even if she didn't think was totally necessary.
"Well…" she said, stuck for anything else to say right now. "Good luck with that hunt."
"Thanks," Dean replied. "Shouldn't be too difficult- Travis said he just needed assistance on finishing this one because he broke his arm recently-, but everything helps."
As he ended the call, Bela put her phone back in her pocket and looked back at Deanna, who had paused in her eating to looking anxiously at her host.
"They're fine," she said, smiling reassuringly at the older woman. "Some friend of their father's just asked for help with a hunt because he broke his arm a while back; it should be simple enough."
"Can any hunt be simple?" Deanna said, looking thoughtfully at Bela. "I mean… if it was that easy, would we be needed?"
"Well… compared to some of the things your grandsons have done, that kind of hunt is simple," Bela said with a smile. "I heard one story about how they thwarted a demon assault on a police station by recording the exorcism and then playing it on the station speakers while they were being attacked."
"Really?" Deanna said, looking at Bela in surprise. "You can do that now?"
"Among other things," Bela said, nodding at the woman with a smile; if she recalled her history correctly, making those kind of recordings in Deanna's time would have been rather difficult to accomplish under the circumstances described.
"Well…" Deanna said, nodding thoughtfully at that news. "Sounds like hunting's moved with the times, anyway."
"In some ways," Bela noted. "Of course, we're always having to learn some new rules; learning that angels still exist was a bit of a shock for all of us…"
"And… my family-?" Deanna began.
"Dean and Sam are alive, and that's it as far as I know; if you want to know more, you'll have to ask them," Bela said before the other woman could finish her sentence; Dean had made it clear that he was going to tell their grandmother about the family history, and that was that.
"Of course," Deanna said, nodding at that before she looked curiously at Bela. "How did… you meet them?"
"It was an interesting little case involving a cursed rabbit's foot," Bela said, smiling wistfully at the memory; it had been strangely fun when you looked back at the case, even if it wasn't that fun to face the prospect of your imminent death when the foot was lost…
"Anyway," she said, pushing that thought aside as she turned her attention back to Deanna, "Dean and I recently ended up in a… difficult situation… until we managed to get out with some help from a new friend of ours, and we've been… well, we're helping each other out when we can."
"You don't have any family yourself?" Deanna asked, a slight tone of surprise to her voice.
"My family died long ago," Bela said, hoping that her tone would make it clear that she didn't want to discuss this particular topic any more than she had to; if she hadn't told Dean and Sam the truth, she definitely wasn't going to tell someone she'd only met yesterday, even if 'yesterday' was over four decades ago in this case…
And why did she care about what the Winchesters thought about her? She'd been dragged out of Hell and had a 'connection' with Dean and was helping this woman adapt to her current drastic change of circumstances; they were only together by chance and she'd be happy to go her own way and get back to her usual work as soon as the Apocalypse wasn't a factor any more…
"Now then," she said, smiling at Deanna as she reached over to remove a recently-purchased laptop from her bag and show it to the older woman, eager for the chance not to think about what had just crossed her mind, "if you're going to get around in daily life, the first thing you should probably be aware of is the Internet…"
AN: Not my longest chapter, I know, but this was always intended to focus on Deanna and Bela establishing their dynamic as Bela begins her 'lessons'; as I said before, if you have anything you particularly want Deanna and Bela to do while they're away from the brothers, let me know