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Fandom: Supernatural
Characters: John, Bobbi Singer
Rating: PG-13, gen
Length: 1,700 words
Warnings/Spoilers: Mild season 1 spoilers, set pre-series.
Author's Notes: This is an AU written for the spnland 'genderswap' writing contest. Actions that might earn a man a reputation as the town drunk are a bit more dangerous for a woman.
Summary: John looks into reports of a witch holed up in a salvage yard in South Dakota.
Disclaimer: These characters belong to Kripke.

“- the witch,” John heard over the jukebox as he nursed a beer at a bar in a flyspeck town somewhere in South Dakota. The boys were asleep back at the Sioux Motel, six-year old Dean curled around his little brother.

John got up and sat down next to the couple at the next table. “Couldn’t help but over-hear. You said something about a witch ‘round these parts? I love those old stories.”

“Oh, it’s not just some story, this is true,” the young man insisted. He was painfully clean, wearing new jeans and a button-down, and was obviously torn between defending his story, and getting rid of the guy interrupting his date. “Bobbi Singer runs the salvage yard just across the county line. Back in the seventies, she murdered her own husband. Chopped off his head with an axe.”

“I heard she crushed him with a car,” the girl disagreed. She looked barely old enough to drink, pretty in a sundress and cherry lip-gloss kind of way.

“Well, however she killed him, she got away with it. Claimed it was self-defense, but everybody knows there’s no way. Plus, my Dad took me to the salvage yard once, to get a part for the Buick. Her house was full of all kinds of Satanic crap.”

This could be worth checking into.



According to the stories in the papers at the time, James Singer was killed by four shotgun blasts. The kid in the bar was half-right, though – the last shot blew his head clean off. John peered at two pictures under the town library’s only microfiche reader. One showed a clean-cut man in an army sergeant’s uniform. He’d been awarded the Bronze Star for action in the Que Son Valley. Bobbi Singer’s lawyer had argued that James had assaulted and raped her in the grip of some combat flashback. Apparently the woman’s injuries were severe enough to convince a jury.

The other picture was a wedding photo. James stared solemnly into the camera. His wife was pulled in tight against his side, in a stance that looked both protective and tender. The wife was nearly as tall as James, enveloped in a lacy white dress. She was plain-featured, beaming at him as she leaned in for a kiss. John recognized the steeple in the background – he’d driven past it on the way to the library. That made the next step obvious.



“The only reason I’m speaking to you,” the frail, white-haired Reverend Weston said as they sat down at the table, “is to convince you not to bother Ms. Singer with this. That poor woman has been through enough.”

“I know, sir,” John said, twisting his hat in his hands under cover of the table. Even with all that John had seen, and done, in the two years since Mary was killed, lying to a man of the cloth still didn’t come easy. “I’m sorry to intrude on a widow’s grief, but the Department of Defense needs to gather as much information as we can about possible combat-related incidents, to prevent such tragedies from happening in future.”

The kettle whistled, and the Reverend levered himself to his feet to make some tea. He didn’t offer John any. “She was … very fragile, after her husband’s death. I still consider Bobbi a member of my flock, and I don’t want you stirring up bad old memories.”

“Would you say that she was, umm. Disturbed?”

The Reverend glared fiercely at him for a moment. “No. You have to understand, Bobbi is a very intelligent, very strong-willed woman. After James she got some, well, some peculiar notions in her head. But I think she’s settled down now.”

“I see. Well, any information you can give me about their relationship and events leading up to the attack would be very helpful, sir.” John flipped open a notebook and started jotting down anything that might be useful.



John shouldn’t have brought the boys to the salvage yard. He knew that. But he’d handed over the last of his cash for two blue plate specials at the diner; one for him, the other for Dean to share with Sammy. No one was hiring day labor, and this town was too small to hustle pool. John decided to just quickly check in on Bobbi Singer, confirm his suspicions, and then move on. They could sleep in the car tonight on the way to that mass haunting he’d heard about in Wyoming.

John turned off the lights and coasted the last hundred yards up the access road and into the yard. “Now Dean,” he said quietly over his shoulder while checking the clip in his .45, “keep your brother down and quiet. No getting out of the car for calls of nature, it might be dangerous. Just take a nap – I’ll be back as soon as I can.” He looked in the rearview mirror for Dean’s nod, then got out of the car and nudged the door closed.

Piles of junkers stretched to the sky, casting warped shadows in the moonlight. There was a strong smell of motor oil, bringing back memories of a time when he would’ve been hunting for a spare part, not a witch. John kept a firm grip on his imagination and his gun as he threaded his way toward the center of the yard. The house was tall and white, so he could see it from a distance. John oriented towards it through the twisted metal jungle, testing each step, senses open for any threat, until he was within 10 yards of the house.

A rustle from the porch was his only warning before a bright light was shining in John’s eyes. He fell to one knee, pointed his weapon at the light and heard a shotgun round being chambered.

“Yard’s open from ten until sundown,” a harsh soprano informed him. “I don’t shoot visitors during business hours, unless they do something to ‘specially rile me.”

The voice was coming from behind the spotlight. John slowly lowered his weapon to the ground, squinting into the light, and laced his hands behind his head, showing he wasn’t a threat.

“A thief would have taken off,” she said. “So I’m guessing you’re the one that’s been pestering the Reverend. Why exactly are you sneaking around my place, armed, in the middle of the night?”

“I’m here because I heard you might be a witch,” John answered steadily. He was pretty sure this woman was the victim, not the monster of the story. 75, maybe 80 percent sure. If he survived the next sixty seconds he’d up it to 95 percent.

“Really?” the woman asked sharply. “What kind? Satanic? Wiccan? Bruja? Maybe I got a local shaman to teach me the ways of the spirits. Or could be I’m some kind of psychic.”

John tilted his head, wishing he could see the woman behind that blazing light.

“No idea?” she snarled. “Well, you must’ve come loaded for bear then. Hex bags? Anti-possession charms? Wards against the evil eye? ‘Course not. Here, drink this.”

An object arced out from behind the light, landing in the dirt next to him. It was an olive-green canteen. She sure didn’t throw like a girl. John picked up the canteen, shook it, opened it, and took a swig. After all, why poison him when she could just shoot him? The liquid was plain, plastic-flavored water.

He looked back up at the light and shrugged. “Brought my .45. I figure, if you shoot a witch dead, she’s dead.”

There was a metallic crash, and the spotlight fell to its side, highlighting a derelict red Ford off to John’s left. The woman stepped down the stairs, silhouetted against the light. John blinked to get his night vision back.

“I don’t need to be a witch to see that you are on a short trip to an ugly end. You know just enough to be a danger to yourself, and to me. I should shoot you, it’d be a mercy –”

Soft running footsteps, and a small body darted towards John. He instinctively braced himself, and got an armful of Dean.

The woman instantly pointed the barrel of her shotgun skywards. Over Dean’s panting breaths, John barely heard her mutter, “Oh, you stupid son of a bitch.”

John shook his son by the shoulders, and then let him slump to the ground. “I told you to stay in the car, Dean. When I give an order, I expect you to follow it.”

“Yeah Dad, I know, but she was gonna shoot you!” Dean pressed the grip of John’s .45 into his stomach, hidden between their bodies. John got a hand on it, feeling better about the situation.

“Not tonight,” the woman interrupted drily, settling the shotgun into a left shoulder carry position. John could make out more details now. She was tall in dark coveralls and work boots, careworn face unrecognizable as James Singer’s bride. “Maybe tomorrow. I’ll let you know. In the meantime, you want a beer? I probably got some apple juice for the boy.”

“Dad?” Dean asked, eyes uncertain.

John made a decision and holstered his pistol as he stood up. “Yeah. Go get Sammy, bring him in, Dean.”

“Sure,” she said, sarcasm like strong black coffee in her voice as Dean scampered off. “Why not invite the wife and kids!”

“No,” John corrected her. “Not – not my wife.”

Her eyes flicked to his face. She stared for a moment, then nodded. “No, I guess not.” She strode forwards and held out her hand. “Bobbi Singer. It’s a pain in the ass to meet you.”

John chuckled, folding her work-callused hand in his. “John Winchester. Can’t promise it’ll get any better.”



When Bobbi finally shot him ten years later, it was just with salt rounds, and even John agreed he probably deserved it.

Comments

( 51 comments — Leave a comment )
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lilacsigil
Apr. 11th, 2010 08:25 am (UTC)
I love this! I live in a very small town, and this is very true, even in this century - men are "eccentric" or, at worst, "drunks", women are "crazy" or "psychos". John's perspective here was great, especially as he walked through the salvage yard and it felt a little like home. Poor Bobbi - she's in for a long, long line of Winchester problems!
keerawa
Apr. 12th, 2010 01:51 am (UTC)
*nods* Bobbi is not all that different, but people's reactions to her are. Thanks for reading, lilacsigil!
tifaching
Apr. 11th, 2010 11:36 am (UTC)
I love this. And while I adore Bobby, I would also love this to be canon. I was going to write "can't you just see Bobby as a woman?" but realized that would be silly because of course you can! Your Bobbi was terrific and I can picture her teaching John and getting attached to the boys. The double standard is alive and well and still causing women problems!

I really liked the last 3 paragraphs. The John-Bobby relationship in a nutshell no matter the gender. Though I never imagined Bobby's shotgun wasn't loaded with more than salt!

Amazing story, thanks for sharing!

keerawa
Apr. 12th, 2010 01:53 am (UTC)
*laughs* I certainly can! I think that John would get along better with Bobbi than with Bobby, and would be far more willing to accept her trying to look after his boys.

Oh, Bobby's shotgun was loaded with more than rock salt that night. Rock salt in the ass is just her idea of a gentle reminder.

I'm glad you liked it, thanks tifaching!
counteragent
Apr. 11th, 2010 12:25 pm (UTC)
This was delightful, with spot on voices for everyone all around.

Fantastic!

This is probably the best set of lines I've read about their first hellos:


“No,” John corrected her. “Not – not my wife.”

Her eyes flicked to his face. She stared for a moment, then nodded. “No, I guess not.” She strode forwards and held out her hand. “Bobbi Singer. It’s a pain in the ass to meet you.”

John chuckled, folding her work-callused hand in his. “John Winchester. Can’t promise it’ll get any better.”

Edited at 2010-04-11 01:22 pm (UTC)
keerawa
Apr. 12th, 2010 01:56 am (UTC)
Thanks counteragent! The genderswap was a good excuse to write their first meeting, since we never did get to hear about it in canon.
fleshflutter
Apr. 11th, 2010 12:49 pm (UTC)
This was AWESOME. <3
keerawa
Apr. 12th, 2010 01:56 am (UTC)
Yay, thanks fleshflutter!
musesfool
Apr. 11th, 2010 05:28 pm (UTC)
I liked this.
keerawa
Apr. 12th, 2010 01:56 am (UTC)
Thanks for letting me know, musesfool!
elliemurasaki
Apr. 11th, 2010 06:51 pm (UTC)
Adore this.
keerawa
Apr. 12th, 2010 01:56 am (UTC)
Thank you kindly!
chibifrieza
Apr. 12th, 2010 04:29 am (UTC)
SO MUCH LOVE. I don't often read genderswap, but when I saw the subject of this one, I had to check it out. Well done. :D
keerawa
Apr. 12th, 2010 05:53 am (UTC)
Thank you, chicifrieza! It was my first attempt writing genderswap, and I'm happy to have tempted you over to the dark side.
labseraph
Apr. 12th, 2010 04:56 am (UTC)
EEEEE just so cute! I could see it happen and unfold so beautifully. Will there be moar?
keerawa
Apr. 12th, 2010 05:55 am (UTC)
thank you! Both of my betas immediately requested 'The Further Adventures of Bobbi and John.' I don't have any immediate plans to write more, but it's certainly a 'verse I could happily play in again. Also - you are invited to write Bobbi! Everyone is!
britomart_is
Apr. 12th, 2010 09:13 pm (UTC)
WONDERFUL. I love Bobbi, I love your dialogue. I can see this scene so clearly.
keerawa
Apr. 13th, 2010 01:07 am (UTC)
Thank you, britomart! She was fun to write.
delphinapterus
Apr. 12th, 2010 09:55 pm (UTC)
This was a really wonderful story. I like how you switched Bobby's gender but kept her just as awesome, if not more so, than male Bobby.
keerawa
Apr. 13th, 2010 01:09 am (UTC)
Thank you! Oddly enough, I think so asects of Bobby's canonical character and situation make MORE sense as a female. For example, Bobby is knowledgeable, friendly (in a gruff way), and helpful to hunters. So why is he so isolated? I'm not sure, but I know why SHE is.
(Deleted comment)
keerawa
Apr. 13th, 2010 01:09 am (UTC)
*grins at the icon* Glad you enjoyed!
elusive_life_77
Apr. 13th, 2010 12:13 am (UTC)
*squeals with joy* I NEVER once thought I would read a Bobby genderswap and like it, but here I am lovin this bit you've done!!!!

"Bobbi Singer. It's a pain in the ass to meet you." Dude...that's awesome and so going into my vocabulary!!!

Srsly wouldn't hurt my feelings if you continued this someday!!!
keerawa
Apr. 13th, 2010 01:13 am (UTC)
Heh, never say never in fandom!

John isn't the first ignorant hunter to turn up on her doorstep. But showing up with two small boys in tow? That takes the cake.

Thanks for the comment!
who_favor_fire
Apr. 13th, 2010 12:17 am (UTC)
God, I love this.
keerawa
Apr. 13th, 2010 01:13 am (UTC)
*hugs* Thank you!
(Deleted comment)
keerawa
Apr. 13th, 2010 06:24 am (UTC)
Thanks! My Bobbi Muse was speaking loud and clear there. I'm delighted you enjoyed it.
embroiderama
Apr. 13th, 2010 11:11 am (UTC)
This is an awesome concept, and I love what you did with it. Bobby as a woman--yeah, that would not go over well with people. But I love that John figured out the truth, OMG wee Dean running in to save the day. I imagine Bobbi's going to give John a real talking to. ;)
keerawa
Apr. 13th, 2010 01:46 pm (UTC)
Thank you, embroiderama! John's able to recognize the story of someone who's life was destroyed by the supernatural. You're the first personm to mention little Dean running in to save his Dad! I imagine Bobbi's going to give John a real talking to. Better believe it. Up one side and down the other.
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( 51 comments — Leave a comment )