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Dean pissed

Fic: Between Nowhere and Goodbye -- part 2

Fic title Between Nowhere and Goodbye
author fourtenpm
artist yanyann


Their summer block party was always held sometime early in the season, before it got too hot to be outside. This year, the day of the block party dawned nice and bright. Sue had the day off, so she went to help Red with the preparation.

The party, as a tradition, was held at Red's comparatively spacious backyard. Red had planted tall bushes along the fence, a big oak stood prominently to the back of the yard. They used to place the food tables in the shade under the tree, but soon learnt better after an unfortunate incident involving bird droppings. So now the food tables were placed along the fence, and white lawn chairs under the tree.

Sue was surprised to find Sam and Dean hanging party decorations on the side of Red's house between the front door and the backyard. Sam, for all his height, still stood on a short ladder, trying to make a long strip of a blue white and red twirly string stick to the brick wall. Dean stood close by, looking up at him, laughing and providing completely useless directions, much to Sam's annoyance. Even under the sun, they looked washed-out and frayed around the corners; but concentration on manual tasks and a light sheen of sweat from the almost-summer warmth took years away from their faces. Sue couldn't help but think this was the best shapes she had seen them in, which weren't really much. They could use some serious peace and quiet.

She waved at them by way of greeting, asked them if they knew where she could find Red. They waved back, together pointed her to the backyard.

Red was dragging a plastic white chair behind him toward the tree. He was in an off-white cutoff T-shirt and gray shorts, white cotton socks and white sneakers. His movements were slow and measured, as if he planned out each and every one before he executed them. Sue suspected that he did exactly that. He used to be a lot taller, from the few pictures she had seen that were taken when he was a proud marine, until age gave his back a permanent hunch. His eyes were getting cloudy, obscuring their original color; his hair was completely white. It was startling how time took away racial distinctions in appearances, old people all over the world looked just like old people.

When Red smile at her, it was slow and wise, driving away the sadness in her heart whenever her thoughts drifting toward the direction that there would be a last block party in Red’s backyard. 'Not this year.' She thought to herself when she grinned back big and bright.

She put her trays of food on the table, a little impressed with the amount of soft drink and beer and hard liquors lined up neatly on the table and in the cooler, ready to be consumed. She laughed out, asking Red: "We are getting drunk this year?"

Red said: "The boys brought those over." At Sue's confused look, he explained, "The Smiths? Sam and Dean Smith. I invited them, they asked what they should bring. I said drinks."

Sue nodded, "It's kinda overboard, though."

Red shrugged, answered simply "Yeah."

"Ah, well." Sue shrugged too, then said contemplatively, "You know, Kaden really doesn't like them. Said they make his skin crawl. And he thinks that they are the psycho killer brothers from a while back."

Red snorted: "Kaden never likes anybody in the first year he meets them. You pass the one year mark? He is your buddy for life."

Sue laughed at the simple truth of the statement, Red went on, words slow and steady, "I'm sure they've killed, but not like that." He looked inward, into the dark recess of his memory.

Sue had seen her share of retired soldiers to know the look. She patted his hand gently, when he shook his head slightly, obviously coming back to the here and now, she asked him, "So, you like them?"

Red nodded, "They are good kids. Probably had seen too much, been through too much. I never did find out where they've been, but some place rough, I reckon."

Sue thought about Sam's quick slide into fighting mode when he was startled, and Dean's readiness to punch back, asked: "Do you get the feeling that they are waiting for the other shoe to drop?"

Red sighed, "Yeah, they are wound up too tight, for too long. This place is good for them."

Sue could only nod in agreement before they were interrupted by the arrival of the first of the guests and party helpers. The party was in full swing shortly after. People from the block and hospital began milling around, holding paper plates and plastic cups, making new friends and catching up with old ones.

Sue was more than a little amused to see Dean spooked by whatever Joan the dermatologist was saying. Joan met Lynnette at their orientation tour when they first started at the hospital. They bonded over their mutual dislike of the painfully cheerful woman of a tour guide. Despite the warmth of the day, Joan was still in her white coat, ID card clipped to a pocket; somehow she managed not to look out of place among the throngs of people in T-shirts and skirts and shorts. She was a tiny woman even by Chinese standards, stood up to 5 feet in heels, thin and frail looking like a spring chicken, but she made it all up with her intensity. For whatever reason, perhaps because she was currently doing skin cancer research, Joan found the correlation between freckles, moles and skin cancer a perfect party conversation topic. Dean was looking around furtively, sending silent plea of "Someone! Anyone! Save Me!" Sam, however, seemed quite interested in this morbid topic and even asked a couple questions, ignoring Dean's unmistakable "Don't encourage the crazy" look.

Sue was laughing quietly into her cup at the scene and not paying attention to her surroundings. She had to suppress a cringe when she heard someone in a familiar affected British accent called out to her. She gritted her teeth, plastered a smile on, and returned the greeting: "Hi, Eric! Fancy seeing you here."

Eric was Lynnette's attending physician, the most irritating man Sue had ever had to deal with. He was not actually tall, but managed to give the impression that he was always looking down at the people he was talking to. He was losing his hair, had bad teeth and a beer gut, with pants always hanging 2 inches above his ankles. He also thought he was God's gift to all women on earth. Lynnette held a grudging respect for him, always lamenting how such an asshole could be so brilliant when it came to heart diseases. Since he was kind of important in the Cardiology Department, and by extension in Lynnette's life, Sue couldn't just give him the cold shoulder and slip. So she stood around, didn't bother to make her fake smile less fake, since she was sure Eric couldn't tell, and made some sort of noise when there was a pause in the talking.

Sue endured the one-sided conversation for 10 minutes, found a bad excuse and extricated herself rather abruptly. She spotted Lynnette chatting with Christian by the drink table, and moved in fast, taking care to avoid anyone who might waylay her with small talk. As she drew near, she caught the tail end of what Christian was saying: "... not a couple."

Christian was a social worker at the ER and friendly with both Sue and Lynnette. He was about the same height as Sue, slender and willowy. His eyes were big and brown and looked soulful, yet Sue often wondered if he had a soul. Christian believed that life was one big mardi gras and dressed the part. He was always in skinniest skinny jeans and shirts in pastel colors; his hair was always in the latest popular style, which at the moment was closely cropped below the ears and layered top combed back over the skull. He was so blatantly superficial and shamelessly shallow and his life kept so single-mindedly uncomplicated that Sue found he was actually one of the easiest people to be around.

"Who are not a couple?" Sue asked, cutting into their conversation without ceremony.

"Your new hot neighbors." Christian turned and winked at her.

Sue looked at Lynnette incredulously, glad that she had the decency to blush and a little worried that she was getting too interested in Sam and Dean. Then she retracted, asked Christian: "Wait, so you're saying, they are not gay?"

"Uh-uh, nah-uh, me ladies. I don't think so." He wagged a finger.

"You sure?" Sue pushed.

Christen rolled his eyes, "Of course you can follow them into their bedroom to see for yourself. Short of that, take my words, they are not gay."

Sue sent him a withering look, though she had to admit that she kinda asked for the snarky remark. Christian always claimed that he had the best gaydar in tristate area, so that he wouldn't pine after straight boys. So far, Sue had never seen him being wrong about anyone.

Lynnette nodded with a tiny smile playing at her lips. Christian smiled back wolfishly, then he added as seriously as Sue had never seen him, "I won't hit on that pair even if they were. They are hot, but hello, baggage trains!" he looked pointedly at Lynnette for a beat. Sue had to marvel at this show of perception. Maybe there indeed was a soul buried somewhere in those flamboyant layers, deeply.

However, Sue was here for a reason, she said to Christian: "Christian, please please do me a favor?"

Christen raised an eyebrow at her. Sue continued, "Please go distract Eric?"

Christen wrinkled his nose in distaste: "Oh hell no, that pompous ass! I'd rather poke my eyes out with a fork than talk to him!"

"Exactly my point," Sue pleaded, "I'm this close to strangling him, and you know it's bad to kill a guest at a party."

Christian looked at her almost sympathetically, and Sue put on her best 'rescue me' look. Christian puffed out a long breath, sighed, "Fine! I will go. But it's gonna cost you."

"Anything. Just please make him go away."

"OK! I want pictures of your friend." He pointed with his chin discreetly at Kaden.

Kaden was in his usual attire, dark T-shirt and jeans that fitted him just right, perfectly defined muscles in his arms moving under his dark chocolate colored skin as he talked with his hands.

"I thought you said you are not pining after straight boys?" Sue asked dubiously.

"Never said I'm not drooling over them."

"Ok, no problem!" Sue saw Eric approaching from the corner of her eye.

"No shirt and I will keep Eric away until he leaves."

"Sure, deal!"

"Bare chest and nipples...!" Christian walked away backward, pointing a finger at Sue.

"Yeah yeah yeah." Sue agreed without hearing a word and grabbed Lynnette's elbow, escaped to the relative quiet behind the oak.

"Seriously, Lynn, what was that?!" Sue hissed angrily as soon as they had the illusion of privacy, "Kaden said they are bad news, I don't disagree, and even Christian here said they are no good, and Christian is always up for a one night stand. So, Lynn, exactly what are you doing?"

"I'm not doing anything." Lynnette grumbled, "And you're a hypocrite!"

"What? How?"

"Don't you hate it when your brothers tell you what to do or not to do? Now you are doing the same thing, to me."

"Oh, I hated it, but it didn't mean they were wrong!" Sue deflated as soon as the words were out of her mouth, "Fine, so I am turning into my mother, but they are still not good, in fact, very bad for you. I mean, just look at them, unless you are into threesome, you are getting a 2 for 1 deal."

Lynnette didn't reply, just looked at her levelly, calm and cool, eyes sparkling, as if asking: really? seriously? you listening to yourself?

Sue stared at her for a long while, finally out of steam and admitted defeat: "Fine, it's your life. It's your heart on the line. You have every right to break it. Just remember that my shoulders are free. You can cry on them whenever you need to."

Lynnette smiled at her sweetly: "I don't get it. Why are you always treating me like a little girl? You are not older."

Sue sipped on her drink, refrained from saying: but you are, and I am. Instead she mumbled under her breath: "You have no idea."

Then Lynnette asked: "You didn't come over just to warn me, you know, off the Smiths. Did you?"

At that, Sue's fury rekindled in entirely different direction. She said angrily, "Oh, it's that attending of yours. I know he is gonna be a big hot potato that everybody wants a piece of one of those days. But, Lynnette, I swear to whoever and whatever that's up there, if he ever asks me ever again "What's your reaction when you first tasted cheese?"" She imitated a bad British accent, "I'm gonna cut his balls off with our kitchen knife. Trust me, I know how!"

She heard a startled huff of laugh and saw Sam and Dean standing nearby, apparently having escaped from Joan and her lecture of the peril of skin cancer to her chosen hiding spot. She was too pissed to care who overheard her tirade, so she went on, "Oh, and "I heard your Chinese people deal with alcohol badly." Oh, please! We were drinking wine back when you guys were still monkeys!"

She heard some strangled noise as if someone was trying to say something and turned to glare at whoever that was. It was Sam, stopped short by a hand at his elbow. That hand, of course, belonged to Dean, who gestured with a thumb toward Lynnette. Lynnette looked innocently back at her, as if she didn't just motioned them to 'shush' with a finger on her lips.

Now that she didn't have to squash any interruption, Sue let it all out, "And, oh, "the Chinese government handling of drug abuse is quite problematic." Yeah, he is the one to talk! The British Empire used to protect their dealers with the Royal Navy!"

"What?" This time, Dean's hand was not enough to catch Sam's question.

Sue barked at him: "Google the Opium War! Didn't they teach you anything at Stanford?!"

The air suddenly felt cold and dense, Sam's carefully casual voice asked: "Stanford? How'd you tell?" Sue chanced a glance at Sam and Dean, they didn't move a muscle, but somehow transformed from mostly harmless neighbors to deadly predators, their combined intense focus on her almost a physical force.

Sue suppressed a shiver, decided to run them over because she was still so worked up, "Oh please, you tell one person one thing, and everybody knows 5 minutes later. Don't tell me you're dumb enough to believe you got privacy here!"

Kaden's voice rang out, "Hey, Sue, not nice to badmouth your neighbors, and in their faces, at that."

Sue'd never been so grateful for Kaden's watchfulness, she played up her unreasonable bratty little sister act, she had a lot of practice after all, and yelled at Kaden: "It's all your fault!"

Kaden nodded at Sam and Dean tightly, asked Sue with an amused smile: "What's my fault? And how's it my fault?!"

Sue answered, loud and petulant: "I don't know! It just is!" then she relented, said, "Well, someone is an ass, and for Lynn's sake, we don't want you to do anything about it." Sue added quickly when Kaden's eyes unmistakably found Eric, "So I was, you know, bitching at Lynn, and they," she tilted her head slightly toward Sam and Dean, "somehow, got caught in the middle." She then smiled at them sheepishly, said, "Sorry to have yelled at you. I'm good now."

Sam and Dean continued to look at her suspiciously; until Kaden started to stare at them with open hostility. They exchanged one of their looks Sue had seen quite a lot since they'd lived on the block, then Dean said: "Don't worry about it." and walked away.

Throughout the rest of the party, though, Sue could feel their eyes on her and started to wonder if she really got herself in trouble this time.


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The summer came fast and furious. The temperature hit high 80s mid-morning; the sun reflected by window panes held enough heat to make the air hot. One of these mornings, Sue walked the short 5 blocks from home to the hospital. By the time she got to the building, she was already getting annoyed with the way the sweat at the roots of her hair making her skull itch, so she opted to walk in from the main entrance rather than through the ambulance bay that was a lot shorter walk to the locker room.

She sighed in bliss when the cool air hit her face. Right before she went through the heavy double door into the heart of the ER, she spotted someone familiar. Slumped in a plastic chair in the waiting area right next to triage station was Sam, looking utterly defeated. There were dark circles under his eyes that almost looked shiner. He was breathing in shallow little breaths, holding himself so tight that it looked like if he took one breath wrong, he'd shatter for good.

Sue approached him carefully, asked: "Hey, Sam, what's wrong? Are you OK?"

Sam looked up from a spot he was staring at on the floor, smiled a tight little smile that looked more like a grimace, said: "Hey, Sue, what are you doing here?" he caught himself, "You work here. I forgot, sorry. I'm fine. Thanks."

Sue sighed, "You really need to revise your standards of being fine, 'cause right now? you look like you're going to keel over any second." She put a gentle hand on his shoulder, letting some of her calmness bleed through to him.

Sam was startled into focusing on her, asked inspite of himself: "Are you supposed to talk like this?"

Sue grinned at him softly, told him: "I'm a nurse, I don't have to have bedside manners."

The physical contact and the distraction of conversation helped, Sam was pulled back from the mental ledge he was on enough to take a couple deep breaths, whispered: "It's Dean. I found him on the kitchen floor," his voice hitched, "I thought he was... he was not breathing, I don't think ... " Sam was too exhausted to hold it all in. He scrubbed his face tiredly with both hands, then hid behind them, confessed with brutal honesty, "I can't, I can't .... lose him, not him, too; not again, after all the crap....." His voice broke, like he was going to cry. But his grief was the kind that burnt on the inside, one that wouldn't find relief in tears.

Sue's heart broke for him a little, comforted him: "Shhhhhhh, it's OK, it will be OK." she knew it was a promise she shouldn't have made, so she added, "Dean is in good hands here. We have the best trauma center in the whole city." she squeezed his shoulder gently, told him, "You sit tight right here, I'll go in and find out what's going on with him. I will be back as soon as I heard anything. Promise." She waited until Sam gave her a shaky nod before she walked away.

Sue pushed open the double door and stepped into the chaos of a big city ER. She nodded her hellos to those at the nurse station who can spare her a glance, checked the board, and went looking for Dean. She found Lynnette first instead.

Lynnette was standing in front of the bay of computers, one hand flat on the table, the other on a mouse, bent over a little as she scrutinized images on the screen. Sue walked over and asked her: "Hey, what are you looking at?" she peered at the screen, amended, "erh, whose heart are you looking at?"

Lynnette flashed her a smile, and turned back to study the image, answered: "Ah, this heart belongs to one Dean Smith."

Sue blinked, took a closer look at the heart. She couldn't see anything abnormal, but she knew she was really not one to catch subtle problems, asked: "Did you see anything wrong?"

Lynnette shook her head, answered distractedly: "No. Here is the weird thing, his EEG was a... heart attack waiting to happen; but his echogram is looking pretty good."

Sue said: "Huh, so his heart is beating all over the place, but looks like it's brand new?"

Lynnette nodded, while she turned the image of a beating heart on the screen in this and that direction, inspected them at different angles with critical eyes, answered: "Yeah. That pretty much summed it up. And, his heart's fine now, I think. After we stabilized him, he responded to treatments beautifully." Lynnette finally tore her eyes away from the screen, there was a sheen of pure professional delight and intense focus that she got when she was confronted with formidable challenges, "You know the most interesting thing? His liver. According to Sam, his brother or partner or significant other," Lynnette waved her hand, tilted her head, looking for a suitable word, settled on, "well, next of kin. Anyway, according to Sam, Dean has had a drinking problem for years. You'd think with the amount of alcohol he has ingested, you could put his liver in a jar and show it to the public as a cautionary lesson for alcoholism. But, no. His liver looks better than, hum, probably mine, definitely Kaden's; it must be super good at repairing itself."

Sue made her impressed face, asked after a beat: "So are we keeping him? Sam is waiting outside. Seems like nobody told him anything yet. The guy is miserable."

Lynnette went back to study the images as something caught her attention, and answered with her eyes glued to the screen: "Hmm... Sam? Oh, Sam! I think we're going to monitor him for a few more hours. He got in really early this morning. It was pretty intense for like an hour, but his stats has been good and stable. I don't think we are keeping him for another night."

Sue huffed a little laugh at the back of her friend, walked away without further ado. She knew from past experiences that she wouldn't get Lynnette's attention until after the shift was over, when they were both home. Even then, Dean would no longer be the very interesting and hot neighbor guy who Lynnette wouldn't mind to know better, but the owner of a mysterious heart and super self-rejuvenating liver; and Sam the next-of-kin. It was better all around, Sue thought despite the sudden twinge of regret she felt for Sam and Dean.

She found Dean still unconscious or hopefully sleeping in a hospital bed, his face slack and almost at peace. He was hooked up with a few monitors, all making their regular working noises. A green fluorescent dot, representative of the heart, was ticking strong on the screen. There really was nothing much to worry about. She read the chart and went out to find Sam.

Sam was in the same spot, in the same posture, as she left him. His head hung low between the shoulders, face in the hands, a picture of silent despair. She sat down in the chair next to his, called him gently: "Sam?"

Sam raised his head and turned just enough to look at her. He looked even worse for the wear in the short time Sue had left him. He made a visible effort of bracing himself for whatever was to come, answered, voice hoarse, "Yeah?"

Sue dived in to the good part, "Sam, Dean is fine. He is sleeping now. I heard we are releasing him today." Sam's eyes widened a little, made an almost inaudible oh sound, and collapsed inward, as if all the wires holding him up were cut and he was just a bag of broken shards of bones. He buried his face in his hands, elbows on his knees, whole body shaking like the last leaves in winter wind. Sue sat by him in silence, started rubbing comforting circles on his back, humming some ancient soothing tune under her breath.

After a long while, the shaking subsided. Sam raised his head, managed a little smile, voice gruff, said quietly: "Thanks." There was so much gratitude in that little word that Sue was almost embarrassed. She cleared her throat, asked: "Do you know what happened with Dean?" Sam shook his head numbly. Sue said: "I guess Dean's doctor will come out to talk to you in a bit. But I read his chart, from what I can see, it was probably a complication brought on by alcohol withdrawal."

Sam was surprised at that, asked: "What? Dean said he was quitting, drinking, that is. I thought it was a good thing?"

"It is a good thing. To stop drinking. But I guess he went cold turkey?" Sue continued after Sam nodded in affirmation, "His body is used to having a lot of alcohol around and couldn't handle it when there suddenly was none. His vitals are looking good now, as good as one can get, really. His blood pressure is good, his heart is doing fine, and he's breathing on his own. You should have him home tonight." She gave his back a last rub and nodded at him. Then she handed over a brown paper bag, explained: "Bagel and cream cheese from the food cart, you know, the one parked right in front of the ER door? Surprisingly good and really fortifying. Now, take this and go home. Eat and sleep. You are about to crash."

Just knowing Dean was in good health took years off Sam. He sat up straighter, eyes clearer, for the first time since Sue saw him in the hospital, he seemed to be completely present. He took the bag and said: "Thanks, Sue, it's nice of you. You really didn't have to."

Sue suddenly felt quite uncomfortable to get so much gratitude for such small show of kindness. "Has nobody ever been nice to them?" she wondered to herself, and said to Sam, a little awkwardly: "Well, I am a registered nurse, it's in my job description to educate and support. Here is me, supporting.... and educating.... ya'now, just doing my job." she continued apologetically, "I need to get back to work. But, give me your number, and I will call you when Dean wakes up."

She got the number and walked toward the ER. When she looked back at the double door, she saw Sam looking after her thoughtfully. She waved at him reassuringly, went back to work and promptly forgot about it once the real life of a busy ER caught up.

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A couple of weeks later, Sue came to regret that she ever forgot that Sam and Dean were actually dangerous people.

It happened at a quiet night, with a yellow full moon hanging low in the sky. Sue was strolling home from the train station after she got back from the city. She felt sad and lonely, all the years since she walked the earth creeping up on her and she could feel the weight of each and every one of them. She contemplated taking a vacation to visit her friend, sitting in her garden that never changed for a day or two. It was comforting to have a constant in an everchanging life, however much she preferred the ephemeral human life.

She grinned to herself when she remembered the lengthy discussion about which shade of pink was the best in peonies the last time she visited. Suddenly, she glimpsed a tall shadow moving fast toward her. She stopped dead in her track, feeling an imminent threat.

But it was only Sam, he called out: "Sue, I need your help! Can you come, please?!"

Sue didn't hesitate to follow him into the house, asking as she half walked half ran with Sam: "Hey, what's wrong? Is it Dean?"

Their front door opened to a small foyer that led to the living room. Sam walked briskly in, with Sue right at his heels. As soon as she stepped into the room, the door was kicked shut behind her with a loud bang. At the same time, Sue felt a force pulling at her, made her stumble, almost knocked her back to her true form. This hadn't happened for a long long time, probably for a thousand years, maybe longer.

She closed her eyes and cleared her mind, breathed in deep and breathed out long. She found her center and pushed back. The magical force with a familiar signature trying to strip her of her power wouldn't succeed this time either. When she opened her eyes, Sam and Dean were staring at her, in awe or horror. It was difficult to tell, because she was shimmering in a white light under her skin and the room was dark, as the wrestle of power had blown out the lights.

She could see Dean holding up a strip of almond yellow paper with bright red chicken scratches on it. Not many people alive could read, let alone write, those symbols that held so much power. She sighed almost resignedly and mumbled: "That prissy little prick!" Belatedly agreeing with her brothers that it was a bad move to have got herself an archenemy who just wouldn't quit.

"Who are you? No. What are you?" Came Dean's stern question.

"Not human or of human origin. A demigod, sort of, at the moment."

"We've ganked gods before. Now, you have exactly one minute to tell us why we shouldn't gank you too. And that's because of Sam!"

Sue rolled her eyes, "Oh, how generous of you to spare me one full minute!" she swayed on her heel a little, almost dancing, told them flatly, "You can't kill me, not for real."

At Dean's cocked eyebrow, she explained, "Well, maybe you can manage to sort of kill me, 'cause I'm pretty sure this piece of paper is not the only thing that little man gave you. Oh, by the way, you do realize that that man is a spirit?"

Sam and Dean exchanged a quick surprised glance, Dean stuttered: "Sure, of course."

Sue muttered, 'Of course my ass! You've never seen a spirit that is not mindlessly angry. Well, this one is angry, but definitely not mindless.'

Sam brought out a foot long wood dagger from behind his back, said: "Yeah, he said to stab you with this." Sam and Dean both looked at the thing dubiously, apparently doubting its usefulness.

Sue peeked at the dagger, nodded, 'Yeah, that would do the trick of sort of kill me.'

"What do you mean 'sort of'?" Sam asked curiously, as if they were carrying on a everyday conversation in a coffee shop.

"Sam!" Dean flashed his eyes between Sam and Sue, urging Sam to get on with the stabbing.

"Ah, well, if you manage to stab me with that thing, and I doubt if you can, I'd die in the sense that my soul would leave my body. WuChang would come to collect." Sue explained conversationally, "WuChang is our Chinese version of your Reaper. And guess who is the boss of WuChang? One of my brothers. He is the acting ruler of the underworld, so, I'm kind of a princess down there by association. My family," she sighed deeply, "is pretty powerful. They don't approve of the way I live, but they aren't going to let me die either, not for real. It would lose face for them. Besides, I am the baby of the family, they are actually fond of me. So you see, I wouldn’t really die."

Sam and Dean gaped at her, momentarily speechless. After a long pause, Dean asked: "What's wrong with the way you live?"

"Nothing if you ask me." Sue answered ruefully, "Too far away from home for them, and too human. Oh, by the way, I'd really appreciate it if you don't stab me with that thing. I won't die for real, but still, it's embarrassing to be rescued. Besides, my brother would dump me in our parents' hands for sure this time. And they'd try to marry me off, so that I'd be all settled and stuff, for eternity." Sue shuddered at the thought, "it would be years of begging, more likely sneaking, to come back out to this world again. I'd rather avoid that."

"Yeah, but you still haven't given us one reason not to gank you, whether you die or not." Dean almost softened, but demanded harshly in the end.

"I've never killed, and never will." Sue raised an eyebrow at them, "Good enough?"

Dean snorted, "Yeah, right!"

Sam darted a quick glance to Dean, said quietly, "She is a vegan."

Dean asked under his breath, eyes kept on Sue, "Come again?"

Sam repeated, "She is a vegan, only eats vegetable. Red said so, Lynnette confirmed, so did Kaden."

"Huh? When did you ask them about me?" Sue was puzzled.

"Block party. You know something you shouldn't have known." Sam answered.

"And Kaden talked to you?" Sue felt vaguely betrayed for that piece of information.

"Yeah?! What's his problem?" Dean piped in, "He hates us guts."

"Well, he figured out that you're the Winchesters, psycho killer brothers on the news." Sue replied, a little smug, "It wasn't you, though, is it? I mean you are Sam and Dean Winchester, but those two weren't you, right?"

"No, they were leviathans." Sam answered, "Kaden didn't talk to me, he and Red agreed that you made the best beef stew, and you don't even taste them when you cook them because you are a vegan."

"Ah, I have Lynn for that, I mean tasting." then she pointed at the strip of paper in Dean's hands, asked, "Erh, do you want to put that away? I'd rather not be the flashlight here. It's distracting."

Sam and Dean held their discussion with a few quick glances, then Dean said, "Yeah, but no. Besides, the lights are out. I don't mind a flashlight. Devine, flashlight."

Sue laughed, said, "Seriously, I am no threat to you. I really have never killed, not even an ant."

Dean snorted again, "Yeah, we've met one of you --- big guy with a huge knife, likes eyeball soup."

"Oh, I heard about that! My brothers talked about it the last time they were here. They couldn't figure out why Kali would ever think to recruit a kitchen god to defeat Lucifer. You'd think Kali would know that kitchen gods mostly just report the going-ons of the household to heaven, and as far as I know, they like normal people food." then a thought occurred to her, "Or maybe she tried for someone bigger, but, my brothers said Lucifer honored the treaty we have between our worlds, and the ruler of heaven didn't want to get involved....."

"What are you talking about?" Dean asked.

"Apocalypse that almost but didn't happen, thanks to you two." Sue sighed, "It's a long story. Let's put weapons aside, sit down and talk like civilized people, shall we?"

Sue didn't wait for their responses, just turned and sat in the couch; snapping her fingers while she moved. There was a whooshing sound, and the room was in pristine order, with lights burning bright.

Sam and Dean looked impressed. Sue waved a hand dismissively: "Oh, this is not real, or, it's a reality held up by my godly presence." Sue grinned at that, "As soon as I leave, there will be broken glasses on the floor, so I suggest you to put a fresh bulb in the light here."

Sam tucked the dagger back to his belt, and went about to do just that. Then he dragged over a chair and sat opposite to her, slightly to the left; Dean grabbed a seat beside his brother, still holding onto the piece of yellow paper.

Sue couldn't help but smiled at the way they put themselves at strategic points to block her exits. She didn't comment on that but lunged into her story, "Well, first your question, what am I?" Sue tipped her head at Dean, "It's a really good question. My true form is a fox, but I have taken the shape of a human for millenniums. It gets confusing when I think about it, you know, what am I? who am I? a fox? a human? lover I used to be? mother I had been?" Her voice trailed off, a look of nostalgic introspection on her face.

Sam and Dean looked at each other, a little shell-shocked, it happened before, but it still was rare that they face something this old, and probably quite powerful.

Sue shook herself to banish the thoughts and continued, "Anyway, the story goes like this, my parents used to gift buddha with fresh fruits every day, when Prince Siddhartha meditated. Our whole family became gods after long long years of practice and meditation. They all hold some kind of bureaucratic jobs in heaven and the underworld. I'm the only one who lives among humans. I've always been drawn to human society."

"So, you know there is this terracotta soldier exhibition and there was this guy who dressed up like one? That guy was not a random crazy guy. He was a spirit and he was looking for me, 'cause he didn't know it was thousands of years later. He thought he was heading home to his wife." Sue pointed to herself, "Back when he was alive, we were a couple, pretty happy at that. But it was the time of Warring States, he marched to war and didn't came back. I never found out how he died, but, I guess it doesn't matter in the end." Sue lowered her eyes, looking back to years past, "Anyway, they made a statue after him, and bound his soul to it, and he'd been standing guard over his emperor's tomb ever since."

"So the dancer figurine on Lynnette's phone really was you?" Sam remembered the incident and asked, "That was what you were talking about the day you showed us the actresses?"

Sue made an unimpressed 'duh' face, said, "Well, actually, that was what I was trying to not talk about."

Dean nodded ever so slightly, and made a move along gesture, "Whatever. What's that got anything to do with anything?"

"Well, about nine hundred years later, there was this Daoist priest. He, somehow, learnt something real. So much so he could command the local river dragon king to rain. Of course he became pretty influential. He got whatever he wanted. The thing was, he wanted my friend, who was a peony spirit. My friend resisted, and he almost killed her for it. So I made him fall from his high place in public so spectacularly that he'd never be able to recover his influence. My friend was safe, but the Daoist priest holds a huge grudge. Ever since then, he's been trying to kill me. I really should have listened to my brothers on this. They told me not to taunt him if I was not going to kill him.' Sue sighed, 'But hey, the look on his face was totally worth it, every time he tried and failed."

"OK, once again, what's that got anything to do with anything?" Dean prompted again.

"So, the little man you met was that Daoist priest. He tracked me here, woke up the spirit that was bound to the terracotta statue as a hello; and sent you guys to kill me as a farewell, I suppose." Sue shook her head a little, "I just went to the show and unbound the soul from his statue so that he could move on with the circle of life. And here we are. Stalemate, sort of." She stopped to take a breath, then asked curiously: "Actually, how did he find you two?"

The brothers held a brief discussion with their eloquent eyebrows, and Sam replied slowly, "We went to check out the terracotta show, because Lynnette said it was amazing."

"Those swords are...." Dean nodded in appreciation, "yeah, I won't mind having one of 'em."

"Yeah, well," Sam continued, "Then the EMF started beeping."

"What did you bring your EMF meter to a museum for?" Sue was completely bewildered.

Dean waggled his eyebrow, smirked at Sam. Sam took on a longsufferingly resigned air, recited in monotone, "Yes, Dean, you're right. Things that old, bound to have some shit attached to it." Dean nodded, pleased with himself for being right, again.

"Yeah, so, this lit.... guy came over to us and said something about us under the influence of heavy yin-chi?" he looked over questioningly to Dean, unsure about the words.

Dean shrugged and confirmed, "Something like that."

Sue groaned, "Not that again."

"Well, then, he said we live with a fox fairy, and she... you, was sucking the life essence out of us; that you live on, errh, the yang-chi of young men. Basically, he said you are a succubus." Sam stammered a little at the end of the sentence, apparently embarrassed.

"And you believed him?" Sue asked incredulously.

"Of course not!" Dean answered indignantly, "we are not idiots."

“Well, we kinda followed you around a while, but... hum, erh.." Sam couldn't find a way to finish the sentence.

"Hey, you can say it, I don't have a sex life." Sue finished it for him nonchalantly.

"Yeah, why is that? You are, you know...." Dean asked.

"Seductive if I want to be." Sue rolled her eyes, "Yeah sure, if I want to get laid, I could. But, after this long, you don't need to be able to see the future to know how things are gonna go. It's … I don't know, not fun? Whatever, I am taking a break." Sue said a little sadly, then she asked, "So, you stalked me for a while, figured that I am not a succubus, why you still tried to kill me?"

"You are not human either." Dean answered, pulling over a printout of an old picture from a nearby table. It was a group picture of a few girls, Sue was in the back, her hair pulled back in a severe bun and she wore an expression so serious that it was almost a scowl. The picture was taken in the 1920s. "And we didn't try to kill you try to kill you."

Sue took a look and sighed, "Aye, the downside of having a famous classmate."

The three of them fell in almost companionable silence, Sue finally asked, "So, what now?"

"You really have never killed?" Dean asked after a beat of weighted silence.

"Not even an ant." Sue almost sing-songed.

"Then I guess we'll do nothing." Dean finally decided, surprising himself, while tucking the piece of paper into his pocket.

"Good, I was hoping for something like that." Sue said solemnly, "In this case, I shall offer you a gift." She waved her hand, they suddenly weren't in the living room any more, but standing in a pavilion in the middle of a lake. The water was calm like a mirror, reflecting the dark-green trees on the gentle mountain surrounding the lake. There was a stone table and four wooden chairs. A steaming teapot sat in the middle of the table, four tea cups neatly placed in their saucers.

"Holy shit!" Sam said shakily.

Dean demanded after a few choice words, "Where are we?!"

Sue replied calmly: "A place neither here nor there, somewhere you can find peace and quiet for a little while. Or, maybe you'd like this better." She waved her hand again, and they were standing in gray fog by the sea. A fishing boat floating a few yards away was the only thing visible. They could hear the wave around them and the deep sound of fog horn. It was peaceful.

"It can even be Bobby's place. But I don't know if you'd like that."

"You know about Bobby?" Dean asked, surprised.

"Yeah, I do. My brothers tried to get me home when the apocalypse seemed imminent. So I figured out the key players. You know you brothers are some sort of celebrity in the supernatural circle." Sue smiled softly up at Sam and Dean, "Because of you, the apocalypse didn't happen....."

"I started it. I freed Lucifer from his cage." Sam said, matter of fact.

"We both did." Dean wouldn't let Sam shoulder the blame by himself.

"But you stopped it too, before it's full-on end-of-the world apocalypse." Sue said warmly, "you both did. You are only human, but you managed a thing gods failed."

Sam and Dean looked at each other, uncomfortable with the compliments.

Sue smiled at them, looking suddenly ageless and ephemeral. "I can see a person's past and past lives. And I've seen both of yours. It's not easy to be a Winchester."

Both Sam and Dean snorted at that comment, Dean mumbled under his breath, "You can say that again." Sam only shook his head.

Sue laughed a little, her voice decidedly took on an otherworldly edge, "Well, you are just two regular guys, mostly; and you seem to be pretty good at being the center of world-ending crises. And you never catch a break. So here is my gift to you."

She waved her hand again, they were back in the living room, with one single bulb burning and shards of glass all over the floor. Sam and Dean looked dazedly at each other. Sue hold out an old jade ring to them, "Whenever you need to get away, twist this ring and think of a place that you'd really want to be, and you'll be there. But I warn you, when you return, you are returning to the exact time and place you left. I mean, this is not an escape to safety ring. This would only give you some quiet time, of real peace; nobody and nothing from heaven or hell can find you. This is a safehouse, where you can truly rest."

Sam and Dean conversed with their eyebrows again. Then Sam accepted the ring, said sincerely, "Thank you."

1-a-TWP-BOTTOM-post-divider-branch1-a-TWP-BOTTOM-post-divider-branch


The next spring came faster than usual. The winter storm a distant memory in the face of too warm sun. The haunted house lost its last renters on one of those rare days between snow storms in the winter. It was rented out currently to a young couple, the wife hugely pregnant.

Lynnette, Sue and Kaden were chatting around the fence of Kaden's front yard once again.

Kaden remarked, "I don't like that guy. He's always home. How does he support his family if he's always home?"

Sue laughed out loud, "Kaden, you are always home, how do you make a living?"

Kaden blinked at her, "I am a IT safety consultant, people hire me to test whether their system is vulnerable to malicious remote attack. I work from home."

Lynnette observed, "Ah, that makes so much more sense."

Kaden narrowed his eyes at them, asked grimly, "What exactly did you think?"

"Lynn thought you're in witness protection." Sue had no trouble selling her friend out.

Lynn glared at her, retorted: "Oh, Sue thought you are a romance/soft porn writer, she thought you wrote the fifty shade of gray."

Sue defended herself: "Hey, I didn't say you wrote that one. I said you probably wrote something like it."

"Glad to know ya'all think so highly of me!" Kaden grumbled.

Sue laughed. Lynnette patted his shoulder sympathetically. None of them spared a passing thought on their old neighbors, Sam and Dean Winchester who existed in the peripheral of their life for a short time, now somewhere between nowhere and goodbye.

the end
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ferrous_wheeler October 23rd, 2012
Nice fic! Like how it has an outsider's pov and the outsider was actually what was being hunted. Fabulous 'monster' mythology. Well done!

fourtenpm October 23rd, 2012
thank you. I actually was surprised to realize that most ghosts here in the States are hostile, 'cause I grew up listening to stories where ghosts and spirits were friendly and helpful.

borgmama1of5 October 25th, 2012
Lovely little story. Your little hints about Sue were nicely scattered in the first part :)

fourtenpm October 25th, 2012
Thank you, I had fun writing those little clues in.

vexed_wench November 16th, 2012
I really enjoyed this.

fourtenpm November 16th, 2012
Thank you, I enjoyed writing it.

endora_prue November 18th, 2012
I really enjoyed your story, thank you for sharing it!

fourtenpm November 19th, 2012
thank you for reading and commenting.

judith_88_g February 18th, 2013
I didn't expect THAT turn in plot! Great story, I thoroughly enjoyed it!

fourtenpm February 19th, 2013
Thank you for reading, and commenting. It's really fun to write too.

elwarre January 10th, 2015
What a wonderful story! I love the casefic and outsider pov elements, the character development - and Sam and Dean getting a safehouse - perfect!

Thank you for sharing.

fourtenpm January 11th, 2015
Oh, thank you!

The safe house idea had been there for a long time, then Hammer of Gods happened. Years later, this finally come to existence.

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