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No Deal (PG-13) Dean, Bobby, Ellen, Original Characters(Gen) - Not a rock, I'm just Ruth
All Me, no apologies
just_ruth
just_ruth
No Deal (PG-13) Dean, Bobby, Ellen, Original Characters(Gen)
Title: No Deal
Author: Just Ruth
Series: No Deal
Characters: Dean, Bobby, Ellen, Jo, Original Characters
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimers: Supernatural is the property of Eric Kripe and the CW. Characters/Situations are being borrowed for entertainment purposes only. You think anyone would pay me for this?
Soundtrack: "When I go" written and sung by Dave Carter (copyright 1998)(available on Itunes) The author recommends you hear it live performed by folk artist Tracy Grammer.
Warnings: grieving, funeral ceremony
Summary: The survivors gather at the roadhouse to say their goodbyes
Word count: 3245

*****

THEN

"It's like I had one job... I had one job..." Dean's voice cracked, "And I screwed it up. I blew it. And for that, I'm sorry." He scrubbed at his face, smearing his tears. "I guess that's what I do. I let down the people I love. I let Dad down. And now I guess I'm just supposed to let you down, too. How can I? How am I supposed to live with that?" He gulped and sobbed. "What am I supposed to do? Sammy. God." He choked "What am I supposed to do?" His pain rose from his aching chest in a howl. "What am I supposed to do?"
****

The attractive brunette shook her head. "Why would I want to give you anything? Just keep your gutter soul. It's too tarnished, anyway." She turned her back and walked away.

"You have to make a deal!" Dean screamed at the red-eyed crossroads demon.

"No." She turned, her voice coldly precise with malicious amusement. "I. Don't." She vanished.
****

The Yellow Eyed Demon smirked at Dean. "Don't be so sad, boy, just because Sammy's dead. . ." His form shifted and yellow eyes glowed in his brother's face. "Doesn't mean I'm finished with him," it continued in his voice.

He hadn't been able to shoot his brother; but he could shoot that yellow-eyed son-of-a-bitch using Sammy's face square between the eyes.
*****

"He's gone!" Dean grabbed Bobby's arms, his heart thundering wildly with a terror he couldn't put a name to. "He's gone! Sam's body is gone!"
*****

"Dean Winchester," Ellen followed him to the door. "We are in a war and I don't want you to be a casualty!"

He gave a deep sigh. "I already am," he said, turning. Her dancer's kick caught him full in the jaw.
*****

NOW:

Bobby Singer grumbled as he adjusted the rope holding the younger man's left leg to the leg of the chair. "First one then the other -- tying up Winchesters is getting to be a habit around here."

He straightened with a grunt. "Dean, you awake yet?"

Dean Winchester gave a little moan as the world came back in focus. His head was still ringing and he shook it.

"Packs a mean kick, don't she?" Bobby couldn’t help but grin through his beard.

"She didn't have to. . ." Dean complained before frowning at the sensations on his skin. He looked down, yelped and made an unsuccessful attempt to get his knees together. He was tied by his arms and legs to a sturdy wooden arm chair. Naked.

"Bobby!" He shouted. "What the hell?"

"Don't yell at him, it was my idea," Ellen Harvelle had been a Hunter's wife and had dealt with Hunters for some time in the small sanctuary of the Roadhouse. She was a strong, competent woman. "You are going to sit there bare assed until you give me your word of honor you aren't going to kill yourself."

"Ellen!" He turned bright pink, still trying to get his knees together.

"Word of honor, Dean Winchester." She folded her arms.

He stopped struggling and stared at her. "Why?" His voice broke. "Haven't I given enough? What have I got left?" his chin shook and tears welled in his eyes.

Ellen's slap rocked him backwards. "You selfish bastard! Do you think you're the only one who's lost anything?" Tears shimmered her eyes. "I've lost my husband and too many good friends to these demons and I'm not about to lose you too!"

Dean turned his head. He couldn't meet her eyes.

"Better make up your mind soon, son," Bobby drew Ellen away from him. "There's about seven bodies that need claiming in Lincoln; Ash's among them. We're going to be burning them at the Roadhouse and Ellen and I will need to get moving to meet up with the ones who got out."

They left him alone for at least a couple of hours while they called and spoke and coordinated.

"Dean?" Ellen came back into the room as shadows slanted. Dean was slumped in the chair. He didn't look up as she entered. "Do you need anything?"

"No," he said so softly she almost couldn't hear it. He sighed. "There was a djinn – he got me and offered me a dream where I never went hunting. Mom never died. Sammy was a lawyer and marrying his girl. But, I kept being haunted by the girl he was feeding off like he was feeding off of me. I went looking and I saw. . . I saw all the people we helped were dead and I kept asking why me? Why did it have to be me?"

He looked up. "And I guess the answer is – who else is there?"

"Dean," Ellen laid her hand along his face. For a moment, he leaned into her touch as if drawing strength from it.

"I promise," he said hoarsely. "I give you my word of honor, Ellen. I won't kill myself," he managed a weak smile.

"Well, that's good enough for now," Ellen began to untie one arm. "Although, after all the trouble I had getting your pants off, I was planning on having them framed."

"You're kidding, right?" His brow furrowed. "Ellen, you're kidding, right?"

She chuckled
****

The survivors laid the seven shrouded corpses in the ruins of the Roadhouse and built a pyre around them.

Kubrick, lanky and pale, dressed in rusty black with his ever-present Bible, was loudly praying over everything and not doing anything else.

Miranda was there; her twin brother Mack had been in the Roadhouse and she'd escaped with Mack's wife-girlfriend -- Dean couldn't remember which. Casey with her wispy fair hair looked a delicate china doll next to Miranda's sturdy brunette beauty. He did a double take. Casey looked pregnant. It would certainly explain why Miranda was bristling at anyone who came close. They were tending a firepit that had a large tin coffee pot hanging over it. Jo, cold and resentful, barely spoke to anyone after announcing that Ash had called her and asked to come; she'd arrived only that morning.

Gypsy Davy; black hair, black eyes and dark olive skin, was helping to gather wood. He had a reputation as a terrific knife fighter. Dean found himself thinking of last summer when Davy had challenged Sam to a sparring match with guarded knives. Sam had the longer reach but Davy was fast as a weasel. He'd gotten under Sam's guard and called out "hamstrung!'

Sam dropped to one knee, playing fair, but on the next clash, tipped Davy over backwards with the guarded blade at his throat yelling, "Got you!"

"Got you too," Davy laughed, his point against Sam's stomach. They both grinned and Davy bought them drinks, saying he couldn't think of five men who could have done what Sam just did. Dean closed his eyes. He'd been so damn proud of Sam right then. He shook his head and piled the wood he'd brought in.

Wade and Grant had been salting and scattering herbs among the bodies; both to ease the spirits and kill the stench of burning flesh.

Wade was as dark as Davy; but his skin was copper rather than olive and he claimed to be two-thirds Sioux Wolf Warrior. Grant was whip lean with hair the color of polished mahogany in a braid down his back. The two were well known to be everything but married and there was a rumor they'd gone and done that up in Canada about two months ago. They nodded to him and went to gather more wood.

"Ellen," Dean jerked his head to where an intense cinnamon colored boy was dragging a piece of rafter almost too big for him to handle. "What's Artie's kid's name?" Ellen had brought two Dutch ovens to the fire pit. One held a batch of biscuits and the other stew.

"I've never heard the boy called anything but Bo," Ellen shrugged. Dean nodded. He'd never heard what happened to Artie's wife; Bo was an orphan of the hunt now. Much like himself.

Dean found him later dragging another piece of wood too big for him. He lost his footing and sat down hard. Dean set down his logs and picked him up. Bo was trying fiercely to not cry. Dean put his arms around him. "It's all right," he said.

Bo began to sob. Dean held him and kept whispering it was all right. Wade came and looked at them a moment; picking up the logs Dean had set down, he left without a word. It wasn't until they rejoined the group and Jo offered him a damp washcloth that Dean realized he'd been crying too.

The knife-blade sliver moon was on the verge of setting by the time the pyre was complete. Bobby passed around the torches; one for everyone, even Bo and Casey. No one said anything; even Kubrick had finally set aside his Bible and fallen silent. Silently, they filed around the pyre.

"William Ashley," Jo declared.

Dean blinked. He had never heard Ash's real name.

"Owen Lewis," said Bobby.

"Mack Windsor," Casey's mouth trembled.

"Arthur Titus," said Bo fiercely

"Baron Durant." Wade added.

"Cassie Albright." Ellen said.

"Joey Kincaid – taught me everything I know about hustling pool," Dean spoke his turn. They threw the brands in and walked back to stand together and watch the burning.

"Where's Sam?" Grant was the first one to ask what they had all undoubtedly been wondering. Dean felt something freeze inside him. He couldn't look at Grant.

"Sam's dead," Bobby took the sword-sharp leaden words from him.

"Damn, I'm sorry," Grant reached out and put a hand on Dean's shoulder.

"His body's gone," Dean yanked free from Grant's sympathy and shouted the words that broke his soul into jagged, bleeding fragments. "Someone – something took Sam's body while we were shutting the Hell Gate."

There was a sudden shocked silence and collective intake of breath.

"How could you let that happen?" Miranda demanded.

"The Devil works in mysterious ways, his will to make known," intoned Kubrick.

"My God," said Wade. "Gordon was right."

That was more than Dean could bear and he rushed Wade. The two went down and rolled on the ground, trying for each others throats while Davy and Grant danced around to find an opening to get between them.

"Stop it! Just stop it!" shrieked Casey. She burst into tears.

Both fighters hesitated long enough for the others to pull them apart. Wade spat on the ground and cursed. Dean just lay on his back and stared at the smoke climbing to the sky.

"The last thing we need is to start fighting each other!" Bobby snapped, getting between the men and pulling Dean to his feet.

"Listen!" called Ellen.

The night fell silent again as the sound of hoofbeats came closer. A rider came from the shadows into the light of the fire. It seemed to be all in black; hat, long coat, pants and boots, with a guitar case on its back sitting on a black and white Appaloosa.

With an unspoken understanding, the men moved to face the rider first. Ellen, Jo and Miranda stood ahead of Casey and Bo. The black hat tipped up revealing the face of a woman. Not a pretty face, but full of character, with a strong jaw line and a bright smile.

"Welcome all who gather tonight," she said, dismounting. The Appaloosa moved off to crop grass.

"Who are you?" asked Davy.

"Just call me Rider," she said. Bobby drew in his breath like this was something important.

Rider looked at the pyre. "Brave souls a-rising tonight," she said, "Brave souls a-gathered here. Blessings on you all." She displayed both hands empty of everything but calluses.

There was a subtle, hesitant shift in everyone's posture -- relaxing ever so slightly.

"We're about to eat," said Ellen, shouldering through the men. "Will you join us?"

"I thank you. I shall gladly share this fire and this sorrow. I bring my own gifts to the gathering." She set aside the hat to reveal chin length hair that was ash-touched honey and eyes that were moon-silver pale. She sat down and began to tune her guitar.

"Rider," Bobby whispered to Dean, "I've heard that name. Riders come and go where they will. The last time I saw. . ." he hesitated. "The last time I saw a Rider, was when we were burning Will Harvelle and two other Hunters at Devil's Canyon Reservoir."

"A Rider shows up at Hunter's funerals?" Dean blinked.

"Not at all of them," Bobby shook his head. "They aren't demonic -- I don't know what they are." He hesitated again. "That one was riding a blue horse. He called John over to him. I don't know what he said but your father went white as a sheet. Never told me what the Rider said, did he ever tell you?"

Whatever reply Dean was going to make was lost with the Rider's warm voice rising in song.

"Come, lonely hunter, chieftain and king, I will fly like the falcon when I go.
Bear me, my brother, under your wing, I will strike fell like lightning when I go"

The fire seemed to burn hotter at her words, snapping, crackling and sending up a great plume of smoke to the sky from a white center.
Bobby stepped up behind Ellen as she stood by the fire. "Do you have any plans?" He asked quietly.

Ellen shook her head.

"Bill was a lucky man," Bobby rubbed the back of his neck. "I always said that. If you don't have any plans, you could hang around my place for awhile. I admit, the place kinda needs a woman's touch."

Ellen snorted. "Bobby Singer, that place of yours needs a backhoe and a dumpster." She smiled. "But I do love a challenge."

"Mom?" Jo shifted her weight from one foot to the other. "Ash wanted us to talk." Ellen nodded and they moved aside.

"I will climb the rise at daybreak, I will kiss the sky at noon
Raise my yearning voice at midnight to my mother in the moon
I will make the lay of long defeat and draw the chorus slow
I'll send this message down the wire and hope that someone wise is listening when I go"

Bo wiped at his eyes. Wade offered the boy a tissue. Grant leaned over and began to whisper to his partner. The two men drifted out of ear-shot to stand with their heads together. Wade shook his head briefly and rested his forehead against Grant's. Grant smiled.

Gypsy Davy stepped behind Miranda and rested his arms on her shoulders. Casey leaned against Miranda as Miranda pulled her close. After a moment, Davy let his arm settle on Casey's slender shoulders as well.

Kubrick folded his arms and looked into the flames as if he was trying to see something. The light caught a streak of moisture on one cheek.

"And should you glimpse my wandering form out on the borderline
Between death and resurrection and the council of the pines
Do not worry for my comfort, do not sorrow for me so
All your diamond tears will rise up and adorn the sky beside me when I go."

Rider quieted the guitar strings with her hand.

Wade came over and stood awkwardly. Dean wet his lips nervously.

"I'm sorry," Dean said.

"I'm sorry too," Wade shrugged. "Walker's a nut case."

Bo started passing around plates of stew. They headed over to sit with the others in a circle while Kubrick intoned a grace over them.

The food was hot. The coffee was bitter and conversations brief.

"Bo," said Grant. "Remember when your dad left you with us in Idaho? Want to come stay with us now?"

"Yeah," Bo brightened up and moved to sit between them. Wade ruffled his hair.

"Is this a wise thing?" Kubrick frowned. "Are there no other homes for the child to turn to?"

"What's wrong with ours?" Wade bristled.

"Any home where a child is loved and welcomed is a home that's blessed," said Rider calmly, giving Kubrick a cold look. Kubrick rocked back as if struck, and retreated to his Bible, mumbling. "Doubly blessed are those that have the courage to be so welcoming." She smiled at Wade and Grant.

She polished her plate with the last of her biscuit. "My, but I haven't had stew that tasted this good in a long time," she said.

"Just this and that I threw together," Ellen said with a shrug.

"That's a rare gift – to take things that have been left piecemeal and make a good thing from them. A rare gift indeed."

Ellen expressed thanks, but looked uncomfortable. Rider put her now empty plate aside and stood. She crossed the circle to where Casey picked at her stew, Miranda encouraged and Davy hovered near them.

"May I?" she asked. She rested her hand on Casey's stomach. For a moment, she looked sad. "This child will do Mack Windsor proud," she finally said. "This child will do all the members of this family proud." Miranda darted a look at Davy. Dean swore Davy blushed.

She started to her horse. "I'll say farewell now. May this war have an end soon."

She swung up into the saddle. "Dean Winchester."

It was like the tolling of a bell. It seemed to freeze everyone in place but him.

"Dean Winchester," she said again. He tried to stop himself, but he couldn't. He walked over to her side through the frozen members of the circle.

"A man's soul is worth more than a devil's kiss. If your Daddy never taught you that, learn it now." She turned her horse. "You gave your word to not take your life because you figure something in the darkness will do it for you. Listen to me!" She pointed in his face from the saddle. "There's many things a man can find to die for and some even call such men heroes. The harder road and the surer name of hero goes to the man who finds he has something to live for."

"Sam. . ." the word tore out of him.

"Look to your own soul and your own body," Her silver moon eyes cut into him like ice blades. "Dean Winchester," she intoned his name a third time. "Find you something to live for or, come a year from the Feast of All Souls it will be your bones that will be salted and burned and your soul that will be mourned by these brave and loving hearts."

She pulled the Appaloosa around and galloped out of sight.

"Dean?" Bobby called. "Dean?" he came up and laid a hand on his shoulder. "Dean, are you all right?"

"I don't know," was all Dean could say. "I don't know."

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Comments
(Deleted comment)
just_ruth From: just_ruth Date: November 30th, 2007 10:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks! It's coming fairly soon.
arliss From: arliss Date: December 7th, 2007 05:27 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh thank god.
just_ruth From: just_ruth Date: December 7th, 2007 05:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
You like this, I take it? :)

I have Yuletide obligations, but I'm drafting this as well as well.
arliss From: arliss Date: December 7th, 2007 06:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm not ususally a fan of crossovers--and I don't think of this so much as a crossover as a meld of a few things. Sam Elliott has to be #1 on my free-shot list, and he's all I think of when I hear "Rider." Reconciling the concept of a feminine version of him is melting my socks.

I have on my wee hard drive a LotR vid about movie Boromir set to When I Go, which has been in pretty constant rotation, even in a deep-layered window, since I read this. The clips and Boromir's character have a huge emotional resonance for me, so the lyrics freighted that in, not so much as background, more as undertone, a rumble underfoot to your story.

The atmosphere of this piece is so very much where I think the spirit of SPN comes from, at least S1: the flat prairies, the dark lowering skies, the coming-together for strength and purpose of people who may be uneasy together in their varied outlooks and mindsets--but the need for numbers and fellow humanity trumps more minor differences. There's a physical beauty in the landscape and a spiritual beauty in the people one has to look for, to be aware of its existence before it can be recognized and seen, and I think you've caught that here.

Your story feels mythic, spanning decades, even centuries, of legend. It encompasses these characters whose personas and whose journey I hold nearly as dear as true friends, and I try to remember to breathe as I wait to see what happens next.
just_ruth From: just_ruth Date: December 7th, 2007 10:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
The Riders of the Four Winds have always been in the back of my mind. I'm not sure where I first heard of them, but they've been there - they ride the storms and deliver messages not always welcome.

This Rider became a woman when I went to a "Sounds of the Spirit" concert - it began with Tibetan Monks sounding an incredible bass note with these fantastic horns of wood and brass that had to be at least eight feet long and ran through a wonderful, energetic and spiritual experience. One of the performers was a woman named Tracy Grammer; she spoke of her dear friend Dave Singer and how he had written this song for his mother as she was dying of Alzheimer's. My own mother died of this deterioration, so I was ready for sorrow but instead was swept away by these powerful images. As I said to my friend thehighwaywoman, as she sang I could picture a wrapped body on a fiery bier or a last defiant cry at a crossroads.

Even though I can only find a copy of this incredible song being sung by Dave Singer, it's Tracy Grammer who sings it in my mind and becomes the messenger bringing blessings, comfort and a stern warning.
arliss From: arliss Date: December 7th, 2007 11:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
I wish I had a link to the vid for you. The ending with the bier you're imagining? Backs the clip of the boat with Frodo, Gandalf, Celeborn and Galadriel sailing from the Grey Havens into a blinding golden light.

And the spirit of Boromir defending the hobbits through the earlier verses is poignant because of his defiance and refusal to surrender, too. The song is sung by Dave Singer, but the harmony is by Tracy Grammer.

You couldn't have chosen anything to invoke emotion from more sources, it seems, if you'd tried.
just_ruth From: just_ruth Date: December 8th, 2007 01:31 am (UTC) (Link)
I wish I could see your video as well! It seems the warrior spirit within the song has touched our muses in much the same way. :)
thehighwaywoman From: thehighwaywoman Date: November 30th, 2007 05:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ohhhh, I really liked this! (And I'm so tickled every time you write fic \o/ Hurray!)
just_ruth From: just_ruth Date: November 30th, 2007 10:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm glad you like it. I had a chance to hear folk singer Tracy Grammer sing "When I go" live and it just stuck in my head (as I posted in the comments to one of your music entries) as having "Supernatural" connotations.
embroiderama From: embroiderama Date: April 13th, 2008 09:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, wow, this is so achingly sad and yet hopeful. I love the use of When I Go.
just_ruth From: just_ruth Date: April 13th, 2008 09:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you! I'm delighted you've taken the time to read it. I'm currently working on an updated version that I hope will be better.

I had a chance to hear Tracy Grammer perform this song in concert and the imagery just blew me away. It's just incredible.

Edited at 2008-04-13 09:50 pm (UTC)
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