Chapter Ten: With Slushie in Hand
You know, that for almost the entire history of Western civilization this month has been a holy time. The Druids, winter solstice, Hannakah, the Romans converted Saternali into Christmas. Imagine that, Christ wasn't even born on this day. Maybe not even ninteen hundred ninety-seven years ago. So no one knows for sure when the millennium really begins. And how much time is left.
--Peter Watts, Millenium
Slapping a cap on her large blueberry slushie, Gail watched the Winchesters follow a woman towards the church through the window of the Black Bear Minimart. The woman’s name was Ellen and from the look of her, Gail was certain that she was another hunter. One the boys are acquainted with.
That was interesting. That Ellen woman had seen her right before Gail had made her exit. She wanted to shoot me.
Gail knew that it was wise that she hadn’t. She’s got a better sense of self-preservation than Dean, that’s for damn sure.
Dean wouldn’t know danger if it walked right up to him and waved a flamethrower in his face. But this Ellen… She knew. “Did you have to scare her?” Yes.
Grabbing a long red straw from the rack, Gail plunged it into the cold ice. Swirling it around in the blue stained mess, she made her way down the aisle and past the cash register, to lean against the frame of the door. Her lips quirked for a moment as she watched Sam glance around, he was looking for her. Looking in all the wrong places.
She had told him that she was hungry. Putting the straw to her lips, she sucked blue stained ice chips up into her mouth. Swallowing, she wiped her mouth. The boys were disappearing around behind the back of the church, there was a door back there and she could sense fifteen people waiting in the basement. Fourteen were normal, average humans. Well, nothing that posed a threat to her. One was not.
“Think they suspect anything?” She asked aloud. There was a moment of silence and she heard the derisive laughter of her alter ego. Gail started kicking herself for asking such a stupid question. Of course they didn’t suspect anything. The Winchesters were like minnows kept in a small fishbowl. They’d been taken out of that, tossed into the ocean, and left to swim with the sharks. She almost pitied them. Almost. No.
Mace’s deep voice reverberated through her mind.
Gail started, surprised. Mace had been lurking close to the surface since they’d entered the town. She had sensed what Gail had and was amused. “Think he does?” Roon doesn’t look at anything twice. He saw what he expected. Nothing more.
“Well, he’s always been a bit of a retard.” I’m going to enjoy killing him.
In the back of her mind, she felt the ancient warrior stretch and a grim smile, one that was not her own, spread across her lips and she laughed. It was gruff and cold, coming from the lowest register of her vocal chords. Mace was most comfortable in a male body and though he had been forced by outside circumstances to take female shape, his motions and speech patterns always reflected his preferred gender. In modern terms, he was butch. Very funny.
“I thought so.” Gail replied. Cheekily, she took another long sip of the slushie. She turned away from the window and walked across the aisle. Hopping up onto the counter, she crossed her legs and tilted her head, watching the outside. She knew her tendency to get distracted, but it was comforting to know that Mace was also watching. There were another few moments of silence as Gail tried to swallow her worries. Finally, she said. “You don’t seem all that concerned. Are you sure about this?” Fighting Roon? Yes.
“But you’re still not at your best.” She said. Gail couldn’t keep the nervousness out of her voice. In the year since they’d gotten their powers back, she had fought many things. But neither she nor Mace had faced off against another Eternal. “I mean, I’ve done what I can, what I remember how to, and it’s hard working outside myself on myself…” Mace didn’t answer. “What Fade did to us, it’s only partially been dismantled. So, can you take Roon? I mean. We don’t have to do this.” From deep inside herself, a long tail lashed out of the darkness and smacked her hard across the back of the head. Gail winced and rubbed her skull. “I get it, stupid question.”
She heard a sigh and felt her arms cross over her chest as she leaned backwards to stare at the ceiling. We always fight wounded.
Was Mace’s response. If we couldn’t keep fighting through massive amounts of pain, we’d all have died a long ago.
“Right.” Gail nodded. “I keep forgetting. You are what Terminators want to be when they grow up.” Roon will die.
“Because you are bored.” Gail sighed. “I get it. This’ll break the stalemate between all of you guys right? And with the kids too?” Perhaps.
“Why hasn’t it already broken? Roon’s out here killing people, wouldn’t that start something?” This is simply Roon being a fuck up and doing what he usually does.
“Meaning no one cares if a few hundred people die in a remote small town in the ass end of nowhere. So what about the kids? Why haven’t they started doing their thing?” The Ancients are waiting to see what the big fish do.
“And the big fish are waiting to see what the other big fish will do. Good survival instinct, I guess. Most of the ops that they’re running right now aren’t ready to go active right? Ash and the others? That’s why they haven’t started moving?” There was silence and Gail groaned. Mace had left again. Got tired of retreading old ground.
She didn’t know how many times they’d been over this. “Apocalypses take a while to rev up. Everything doesn’t end just cause Lucifer is out and the Eternals’ abilities are active.” But they’d always been active, some of them. Now though, the gloves had come off. “I’m so tired of waiting…” Brat.
Mace’s voice was fond and with his voice, Gail chuckled. She felt herself smiling.
“You are too.” I know how to keep myself amused.
“You get twitchy if you go six minutes without killing someone.”
That got her loud and raucous laughter. Mace liked to laugh. It wasn’t surprising, Gail was sure that the old Eternal was a level beyond insane. He went through crazy and came out the other side.
But that didn’t make him any less dangerous. The general assumption among people of this culture was that the crazies couldn’t think as clearly as the rest of society, that it impaired them in some way. It doesn’t though.
Gail didn’t know the full extent of what Mace was capable of and she wasn’t sure she wanted to. She did know that Dean Winchester was walking on very thin ice with him. If it wasn’t for me, Mace would have killed him already.
And Mace would have done it in a way that made sure even the angels couldn’t bring him back. We should probably do that anyway.
The angels were behaving oddly and it left her feeling unsettled. Under normal circumstances they wouldn’t even wait for Dean to say yes. They’d just hop into his body and send it up in a pillar of fire and smoke. They rarely, if ever, respected free will. She knew that from personal experience. Don’t think about it too hard.
Mace’s advice rumbled over her own thoughts. Despite what it looks like, this isn’t very important.
“I thought Michael was involved.” Gail had never met the archangel but the thought of him made her shiver. She was still traumatized from the last time a trio of angels had decided to try to melt her brain. It’s a game.
Mace replied. Sometimes the Hierarchy likes to stretch their wings and get involved personally.
She listened to the irritated sigh. Lately, Mace had been in the mood to kill any angel they came across. She wondered if that was a new development. Probably, Mace didn’t seem to really be bothered by them one way or another. For him, they were little more than a mild irritation. She was the one who was scared of them. And fuck things up for the rest of us.
“Two cocks strutting over a tiny bit of territory in the middle of their multiverse wide war. Brilliant.” They’re not known for being intelligent, kid.
“So your response is to kick up your heels and have a little fun?” Yes.
“Liar.” Gail sighed. He was right. That was partially what he intended to do. But Mace never, ever told her the whole story, if he wasn’t outright lying. He gave her tidbits of his past, but never more than that. If he was planning anything more than what he’d told her, and she was sure that he was, he wasn’t going to include her in it. She knew he liked her, found her antics amusing. She was the only amusement he or she’d had for the past twenty-three years. He considered her valuable and he took care of her because he needed her. He shared what was necessary, but the rest Mace kept to himself. That was the best she could expect. Gail had no illusions. She was just another piece on the board. Like the Winchesters.
Idiots that they were. You are an important piece.
“And you’re the chess master.”
Again, there was silence. Gail knew that Mace wasn’t the only player sitting at the board, just one that no one expected. The other Eternals all believed he was dead, even if the Hierarchy knew better. This predicament they were stuck in was all thanks to a single misstep he’d made six hundred years ago in Colonial India. In a timeline far, far away.
But, she hadn’t fared much better. She’d been run over by a car in 1930s New York around the same time, a pawn in a plan to take another Eternal out of commission. Dumb luck had thrown them together. Taken to Hell, an Eternal named Fade had picked her out of a pile and fashioned her into Mace’s shock collar, a broken interface, reprogrammed with a single purpose.
Lost in contemplation, she tapped her chest. She and Mace weren’t alone in this body. There was one other player, the final part of the equation. “Is the succubus the reason why you didn’t want to cross the Devil’s Trap?” She couldn’t think of any other reason. It wasn’t like Mace planned on avoiding Roon, even if he was taking his sweet time about it. “You already said that Roon doesn’t perceive us as a threat.”
That got her nothing but silence. Mace had already retreated back into the shadows. Gail groaned and hopped down off the counter. Sucking in another long swig of blueberry ice, she shook the slushie and peered down the aisle towards the back. “Maybe there’ll be something fun to watch on the security footage.” She muttered. God only knows how long it’ll take the mice to peep their heads back out of their hidey-hole.
Too bad that they didn’t know the cat was in there with them. Well, they gotta learn sometime.
They wouldn’t be of any use to her until they smartened up a bit. That was, if they could at all.
Across the street, Ellen pushed open the door leading down towards the basement of the local Presbyterian Church. It now served as a refuge for the survivors and base of operations as they tried to figure out what was going on and what to do. She was just glad that the Winchesters were here. She’d been worried about them. Worried more by the fact that she hadn’t spoken to them in more than a year. She’d gathered the scraps from Bobby, but not more than that. Torn between anger at being left out of the loop and being overjoyed to see them alive and well, she wasn’t sure what to think. There was also the problem of their traveling companion. Who was she? Ellen had caught a glimpse of the girl before she’d disappeared. She knew that she was short, brunette, and probably in her early twenties. Ellen was willing to guess around twenty-four years old. She was there one minute and gone the next.
Kid wasn’t human, Ellen knew that much. But the boys didn’t seem to think she was a threat. Not much of one, anyway.
Still, Ellen wasn’t so sure. There was something about her demeanor that had rubbed Ellen the wrong way. Especially when she looked back at me and smiled.
In that moment, Ellen’s heart had froze, her finger squeezing the trigger of her gun as it hung by her side. But she couldn’t lift it to take the shot. I know what I felt.
Terror. I was sure that the boys weren’t themselves.
Not in the company of that…thing. Maybe they didn’t know.
Soon as Dean crossed over the threshold, concern and relief won out and she flung her arms around his shoulders and pulled him into a tight hug. “Real glad to see you boys.” She whispered. Looking over Dean’s shoulder, she met Sam’s eyes and saw him smile. Then, she let Dean go and a second later, slapped him hard across the face. “The can a whup ass I oughta open on you!” Ellen snapped. “What? You can’t pick up a phone?”
Her eyes jumped to Sam as Dean rubbed his cheek, wincing. This was the second time a woman had hit him today. He glanced back at his brother, with raised, shocked eyebrows. He was surprised but Ellen’s reaction but at the same time it was strangely warming. He knew that his brother didn’t have anything to respond with either. Both were struck dumb by her reaction.
“What are you? Allergic to giving me piece of mind?” Sam was about to start smiling but then Ellen’s hard eyes caught him over Dean’s shoulder and he immediately swallowed it. The chewing out wasn’t just for Dean. “I gotta find out that you’re alive from Rufus?”
“Sorry, Ellen.” Dean mumbled.
“Yeah, you better be.” Ellen snapped. “You better put me on speed dial, kid!”
Dean glanced over his shoulder at Sam and then looked back at Ellen with a nod. “Yes, ma’am.” His hazel eyes were completely serious.
There was another pause as Ellen blinked away the tears in her eyes. “Now, you better start explaining about your friend. Who is she?” Ellen refrained from asking “what is she?” though she wanted to. You never know who might be listening.
“Her name is Gail Sparks.” Dean said, rubbing his jaw. Just the mention of Gail’s name brought back the memory of her knocking him off his feet. The girl clearly wasn’t human. She’d already handed them their asses twice. And I feel a hell of a lot better without her around.
He didn’t feel like he was walking on eggshells.
“She’s Dean’s bodyguard.” Sam added after a moment when it didn’t seem like Dean was going to volunteer up anymore information. “We don’t really know what she is, but she’s not human.”
“She never explained it in a way that made sense.” Dean added.
“Yeah, her lack of humanity was obvious from the get-go.” Ellen said. “We can discuss it later, right now we’ve got bigger things to attend to.” She turned around and walked down the stairs, disappearing towards the basement.
Dean glanced back at Sam and met his eyes silently. He was surprised by Ellen’s reaction and it was gratifying to see that Sam felt the same way. It was also nice that they were on the same page. It was also good that Sam hadn’t felt the need to stick up for Gail. His brother was making a bad habit of it. Good thing Ellen didn’t dig to deeply.
Dean wasn’t really sure what else he could have said. Without letting the cat out of the bag.
And there was no need to tell Ellen that they were the ones responsible for ending the world. Together, the boys followed Ellen down the stairs.
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