Genre: 12 x 02 tag, gen, h/c, braided timelines
Characters: Mary, Dean, Sam, Cas, others
Warning: Spoilers 12 x02! Not strictly canon compliant.
Mary cursed her children, saved them.
She’s been to Missouri before.
Title from Bill Monroe.
Missouri dusk, cottonwood, split-level horrorhouse. Mary comes up cellar stairs with a child clinging to her neck, couple of violets blooming on her cheek.
Good work, honey, her father shouts, swings the sawed-off, scans the yard for the undead.
The little girl cries for her brother, digs snotnosed into Mary’s hair.
Run! she hears her mother shout, and pivots, swings her burden sidewise, plugs the thing that feasted here, one-handed, right between.
In the twenty-first century her boys grow tupelo-tall, shorthand each other with their eyes.
She sees her father in them, her mother too.
They leave horror behind like nothing, an exit sign.
Seemed she woke up, long sleep of the dead, and there was more killing to do, saving.
Dean pointed them south to Sammy, John’s sleek sweetheart humming beneath.
Mary dreams—the road, rescue in a yard, snotnosed girlchild, seven, mother cold on linoleum, father gone, brother too late to save. Dreams, Missouri 123, road rolling through flats, trees, green as Jerusalem, softrock radio and dad, mom; charms a jingle at her wristbones. Rolling: Fair Place and Humansville; down, down.
The drove south through Missouri, guns gripped, rolling in the trunk.
Again now: southeast, prairie highway an old enemy. New miles, old ride. Cellphone shotgun 21st. Her son. An angel.
John didn't know, he couldn’t know, not then. Days when the rains came. Days when it was green and there was hope. Days when.
1983, a flushed spring. Sam was so small, close and cranky cupped, against the storm he screamed into. No-- didn't scream. Didn't cry, bit for awhile, nursed when he wanted; didn’t, sometimes, tangled little digits into slipknots, tugged at her hair.
Dean chinned her knee, kind of lisped his brother's name.
He's OK baby, just hungry and he doesn't know it.
Angels’re watching over him too.
Dean had those sweet, skeptical eyes.
Mary used to sing, offhand, not offkey, way her oldest would sometimes, to himself.
Carols, Beatles, sentimentals, sometimes a hymn; John’s rock.
The house smelled of lavender and Tide. Mary’s mother at the kitchen sink.
Mary drew a devil’s trap, rubbed it out.
Mary laid a salt line, left a fault, a breaking place.
Do it again, her father said, get it right this time.
Samuel, said her mother, give her a break.
Thin sun slips through shadeslats. Cold chicken on the table, shells to fill. Mary’s nails are short, shiny; she wants coffee and a kiss. Her mechanic.
Got one down in Missouri, her father said, shrugged at her mother’s scowl.
Not all the way to the river.
Mary felt magic, a thrum-river around that house, all those years ago. This one too; younggrass, old power. Cottonwood. Aldrich, Missouri, 2016, soil charged with currents she could slip, maybe, glamoured by her first life.
Dean said he visited her, and she doesn’t remember. Time plaits itself and angels weep.
The little girl was cut, all those years ago. She watched them suffer, mother, father, brother-- for days before they came.
First sight of Sam, chained, makes Mary gasp, or would have, had there not been killing to do.
How did it feel, her mother asked her, the first time—
--first time she felt a blade slip through monsterflesh. First time.
How did it feel, killing that thing.
She can still fight blind; that is, it’s dark, cellar-mold and blood, mud, metalrust. Her boys.
Let them go--she says, or not quite. Kicks and pistol-whips, punches her way to the ground.
After, Dean holds Sam up like nothing--
put a hand to his sliced face.
1972. They drive and don’t stop ‘til morning. Warrensburg, Kearney, Independence.
They left her, girlchild, in the arms of social service, weeping for her brother, her mother.
Why—Mary says, red-angry. Of a sudden, with Liberty gone by and her mechanic
up the road.
Why, she chokes out—
Why are some children just cursed like that?
Her mother’s shoulders twitch.
It’s what we do, her father said, quiet. There’s the road.
Mary looks out the window, blinks them back.
There it is.
Mary asked to sit with him, sits in Sam's bunker bedroom-cell and tries to read the whole internet while he turns, breathes, sleeps off all of Missouri.
Dean puts his head in.
How's he doing?
Has a fever, Mary says.
Dean puts a hand to, feels his brother's pulse.
He'll be OK, get some fluids and antibiotics into him, wash out the crap they dosed him with.
You? Mary says.
Little the worse, Dean says, and his eyebrows rise just like John's, break his smile out brave -sun, nothing some more of that blueberry won't cure.
You boys have done this, Mary says, looks down at Sam's hand on its pillow, a lot.
Dean looks at her.
And I wasn't here, she says.
Mom, her son says--
Mary sat with Cas, too, strange angel, asked him to heal them, her boys, of all the hurts-- and he saw it of course: not just rips and bones, the really bad ones, the deep ones, the ones I had a hand in.
He’s like a silent bird. She waits him out.
What does it feel like, Castiel, she says, to live forever—
Castiel puts a hand to her shoulder, lets her feel the power, says:
You did good , Samuel said, but it might have gone sidewise today, you know that.
He stops the car at a rest stop, looks at her.
Never one-hand a shot, girl, you know—
Her mother’s quiet.
Her father pulls out again, points them north and west.
Little girl, sandsoil ponytail held in a pink twin-bead, muddy-creek tears. Leggy as a crane for seven, sandhill.
What’s your name, honey, Mary said, in the car after, don’t be scared.
Where’s my brother, the little girl said, wept.
She never found out.
The Bunker hum-whistles faint, far-off carburetor.
Sam’s sleeping. Dean’s sleeping. Her boys are breathing.
(Missouri, tallgrass to pumpkin ash, hills; floods, fog in the bottomlands-
monster, monster, torturer, ghosts. All those years ago, in her journal,
the secret one, Mary sat late at night and wrote, over and over in indigo-
Mary lies down. Holds herself still in time.
Sleeps it off, and sings herself to--
Hey Jude. O holy.
1983. Sun just shining after November rain, sky breaking up over the whole state. John smiles up at her from the yard.
Mary comes down the porch steps with her children in her arms.
“I wanna be ready, I wanna be ready, I wanna be ready Lord
Walkin’ in Jerusalem just like John.” –trad.