Genre: gen, character study
Characters: Charlie (POV), Sam, Dean; mentions of Castiel, Moondor, Dorothy, an old man in Tuscany, and some others, undisclosed
Word Count: ~1350
Warnings: Spoilers for 10x21 “Dark Dynasty.” Very brief, semi-explicit f/f content. Brief mentions of past drug use, sexual assault, slut-shaming. Violence. Second person POV.
Summary: Ten stories Charlie hasn’t told you yet.
1. Wake her mother. You’ve wet yourself, but you drank so much soda at the party it’s clear and it smells like nothing. You hope no one will notice. You’ve been lying awake on the soft, smoky brown carpet of Olivia’s living room for four hours, watching the cuckoo clock wind around its face. (It never cuckoos. The bird comes out, but there’s no sound. It’s like a groundhog, waiting for the night you will be brave. You are not very brave. The hiss of the television and the faint glow from its screen (when the VHS ran down it went dark, but not dark enough; quiet, but not quiet enough) makes your heart race and your fear finds its way to your throat and you’re afraid to wake Olivia’s mother you stand at her bedside willing her to rise to know feel your need and call your parents. You can’t make a sound you’re so afraid. When Olivia’s mother wakes to your pale face in the darkness, she screams the tiny scream you couldn’t. You cry.
You’d been watching The Rescuers. You will never watch it again.
2. Learn to run. Listen to your social worker tell your new mother that you’re a runner. Your new mother laughs, and cracks a joke about the track team, and welcomes you warmly. But seven months later you are not on the track team and your mother is no longer warm. She’s found the go-pack you keep by the bed, just in case. Many years later you will tell Sam this, some random factoid that filters into the silence he leaves in your passenger seat, and he will shrug. He will tell you he doesn’t think there was anything wrong with that.
3. Don’t take that job at Google. The California you know is beautiful, it has whales in the sky, it’s old-school. You’re sad about its gentrification, and you do not want to be part of the problem. Voyage Home and Twitter just don’t compute. (Even though you still love Twitter.) When you sign on with Dick Roman instead, it is a matter of personal integrity.
Part of you still feels that way, and sometimes you are afraid to admit it. You are afraid Sam and Dean will judge you, these boys who are always so much about saving the world. But you’ve always meant to ask Dean, if maybe he snuck out one night and saw it in theaters. If he’d learned to act like a small, lost child looking for the bathroom, needing to be returned to parents in Theater Four On Your Right, because that could always get you in for free. That’s what you’d have done, you know, if you’d even been toddling when that movie came out; you’d have toddled. You're not sure how old Dean is.
4. Invite them out to Michigan. Moondor is your home now, but it has the haunting quality of a TV whispering in the dark, of a VHS left in its slot and forever un-rewound. There’s a ball of fear in your throat. You may be a queen but you are not a brave girl; you do not know what to do with yourself in the same place for so long. You are multi-fandom, and moreover, you multi-ship. And part of you is afraid that if you stay too long, they will call you slut; eventually, they always do. There is a tent full of bondage cuffs and other leatherwares, and another, the Summernight’s Dream, which is at least semi-officially reserved for nymh orgies, and you are still afraid.
Comic-Con 2005, after hours, someone convinces drunk you to get a tattoo. Drunk you agrees to Leia, to her g-string, to the 20-sided die pressing the 6-9 edge with her clit. Drunk you agrees to S, then L, then U. Then you run out of cash.
You spend four months doing database work for Pfizer, stuck in San Diego, earning the money to rip those letters out from under your skin. (That’s actually how your resume ends up on Dick Roman’s desk.)
5. Keep Leia.
6. Fuck Dorothy. Kiss her clit every night. Let her bite your nipples. Realize that you are not afraid of war, of the fire in the poppyfields or the way the heat of heavy fire melts the candy walls of the City of Oz, until each balustrade has a groove worn into it for a gatling gun, as though it were always meant to be, it was always part of the story. You are afraid that you will wake up, and you will be in Kansas again. You are afraid your storybook will end.
Then one day you’re in Kansas.
7. Check Tuscany off your bucket list. Live off egg noodles. Italy is a lot like your first temp job, in that way--a lot of noodles, skeevy landlady, a big library. Of course, back then, the books weren’t made out of skin; but you’re proud of how smoothly you’ve made that adjustment to your life, and you know you owe it to your RPGs. You made parchment once, in Moondor--with a wizard named Tim.
I won’t let this happen to you, you tell Dean.
It’s already happened, he says. It’s the same thing you’ve been telling yourself for years and you want to tell him you were wrong--you were so wrong. Because here you are in Tuscany fighting for so many things you thought you’d lost for good. But you’re afraid you’ll cry if you speak and you are tired of tears.
8. Take a deep breath. The first time you smoked crystal (there’d been a girl, she’d been cute, you’d been lonely), and your new mom found out, she’d screamed and cried but she didn’t throw you out of the house--you were already a runner, remember, and this was Baltimore, and it was 3am. She told you you’d end up dead in a motel bathroom, and here you are. For a moment you’re ashamed she’s right and then you’re certain she’s wrong. You are indispensable. You are Queen, you are warrior, you are a legend in Oz and a wizard back home. You spent your last birthday eating egg noodles cooked in an old man’s beard and you haven’t had a chance to tell that story yet.
You are family.
And family dies, your mind yelps, when you freeze with terror and the guy comes at you like a black Escalade on a faraway but unforgotten night.
You’re surprised when he leaves you alive.
Then you realize that both heartbeats are his.
9. Tell your mother you love her. You love her, but you cannot stay. It’s easy, because she’s silent and comatose in Heaven, too; it’s a little funny that saying goodbye to her that one last time would be one of your life’s greatest hits, but now that you’ve met Castiel you understand a little better.
That day, you’d never been more terrified, but you’d also never had to be that brave before.
Fear and bravery are not binary, and Heaven honors these complexities.
Then you realize you never asked Dean how he saved you, that last time. He promised one day he’d say. You wonder if that qualifies as unfinished business.
That and you and Sam still haven’t seen the finale to Game of Thrones S4. Did that count, too?
You figure if you run into an angel while you’re on the lam, you’ll tell him you are lost; you’d gone for a drink of water and you can’t find your way back to Theater Four On Your Right. It’s showing Voyage Home. You’re looking for your parents, honest.
10. Fear her. You can’t help yourself; you fear her.
“Dean walked in my dreams once,” you confess. “I think he left a bit of you behind in me.”
Mary doesn’t smile.
You hadn’t realized she died so young (but of course she did). She is ghost beautiful.
You celebrated your big 3-0 in Tuscany, alone and almost upset about it.
You wonder if there are still birthdays in Heaven.
Your fear is in your hands this time, and not your throat. It clamps around the memory of that knife in those hands.
In the end, you are not afraid to wake her.
“Listen,” you say, “Dean’s my brother, and I-- I gotta help him out. Please.”
Please, Mary, you say. Hail Mary please Mary Christmas.
Mary glides her white fingers across your cheek. She catches your tears on her fingernail.
She’s always wanted a daughter.
You can also read this on AO3.