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Title: Predators and Prey
Characters: Dean, Sam, and Mary Winchester
Rating: PG
Length: 827 words
Spoilers/Warnings: Set after the season 6 finale, and includes vague spoilers for up to that point. Inspired by, but completely free of spoilers for, 7x03.
Disclaimer: These characters belong to the CW.
Author's Notes: Third place winner in the spnland 'Location, Location, Location' short writing challenge. This story gave me all kinds of trouble. The original, hand-written version was 1200 words. I had to brutally cut it down to 500 for the challenge. In the process this became a very different story. The one I'm posting now is a hybrid between the two, influenced by my reactions to 7x03. I'd welcome con-crit, because it's still not quite right.
Summary: You can't change what you are.

Dean grabbed Sam’s arm, pulled him into a narrow alleyway, then shoved him into the rank shadow of a dumpster and hunkered down behind him.

A pack of monsters thundered by, howling, screeching, and screaming for their blood.

Sam whimpered. Dean pressed back against Sam to remind him to be quiet. The fact his brother had woken up at all was some kind of miracle, but Sam had been staggering, muttering, and flinching away from things Dean couldn’t see ever since Cas declared them ‘inconvenient’ and sent them here with a snap of his fingers.

It sure wasn’t Heaven. Could be Hell, but judging by the fact that every evil thing they’d ever put down seemed to be out there, looking for some payback, Dean guessed they were in Purgatory. At least they’d lost the dragons when the night-time desert they’d been running through flicker-changed into a grimy, abandoned cityscape.

“Boys,” a woman’s voice called urgently. “In here!”

There was a metal door set into the slimy brick wall of the alley that hadn’t been there a minute ago.

“C’mon Sammy,” Dean said, reaching out for his brother’s hand. The door opened on stiff, rusted hinges. Dean tugged his brother inside and pulled the door closed behind him.

It was pitch-black inside. Dean listened - he heard breathing. His own pants, ragged from too many miles on the run. Sam’s frantic little gulps of air. And one other, breathing slow and steady.

Dean brushed his hand blindly down the wall next to the door, found a light switch, and flipped it. A naked light bulb hanging from the ceiling flickered on, revealed a woman with long blonde hair staring at them hungrily. Her pupils contracted in the light.

“Mom?” Dean said unsteadily. She looked like he remembered from Lawrence, from Heaven, from when Eve took her form. “What … what are you doing here?”

“What, you thought I’d be in Heaven, after I sold my baby boy to a demon?” she said; mouth a bitter line as she moved closer and reached a trembling hand towards Sam’s face.

Sam stumbled backwards into the door with a cry and crashed to his knees.

Mary’s face crumpled like she was about to cry. Dean stepped between them. She looked like Mom, sure. Plenty of monsters could look like Mom.

“Guess it’s better than the Pit,” Dean said, trying to pull her attention away from Sam. “I figured I’d earned a one way ticket by now.”

Mary barked a laugh. “Oh, don’t you worry about that. Hell’s the last place your crazy angel buddy would send you boys. The demons all know who killed Azazel.”

Dean tilted his head and shrugged. In a life full of fuck-ups, icing that son-of-a-bitch was one thing he could be proud of.

“They know who destroyed Alastair and Lilith,” Mary continued. “They know who forced Lucifer back into his Cage.” Sam curled in on himself.

“I get it,” Dean said harshly. “We’re not exactly winning any popularity contests down there.”

Mary shot him a fierce smile. “No, you don’t understand. Crowley? He’s nothing. A red-eye demon," she said scornfully. "The only reason he’s King of Hell is that the ones who earned it, who slaughtered their way right to the foot of the throne, haven’t shown up to claim it.”

Dean smirked. “Seriously? ‘Heaven won’t have me, and Hell’s afraid I’ll take over?’”

Mary nodded. Sam made a sound, half-laugh and half-sob. Mary leaned to get a better look at him, curled up on the floor.

“So what’s your excuse?” Dean asked, hand ghosting towards the gun at the small of his back. If she made a hostile move, he’d take her out.

“Turns out I’m a little too much my father’s daughter,” Mary said absently, trying to edge past him to get to Sam.

“What’s that supposed to mean,” Dean said roughly, side-stepping to stay between them.

“I’m a hunter,” she clarified. “How’s your Nietzsche? ‘Battle not with monsters – ’”

“’Lest you become a monster,’” said Sam in a hoarse voice. He pushed to his feet clumsily, like it hurt. “’If you gaze into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.’”

“Turns out we belong here, just as much as the things we hunt,” Mary said.

A distant, familiar bird-call - Dad’s signal to move. Mary pulled a knife from the sheath at her belt. By the time it was in her hand, Dean's .45 was in her face.

Mary's eyes flicked from Dean's weapon to his face. She grinned at him.

“John’s finished laying the false trail,” Mary said. “That’ll give us time to get back to base and get set-up.” She laughed, delighted. “I’ve never seen them so blood-crazed. The monsters will follow your scent right into a kill zone.”

Mary was flushed, eyes sparkling and eager. Dean felt his pulse pick up in response. Why not? Killing monsters was the only thing he’d ever been any good at. He glanced back at his brother.

“You up for this, Sammy?” he asked.

Sam eyed them both, then swallowed convulsively. His head jerked in a nod.

And the Winchesters went hunting.


( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 9th, 2011 01:45 am (UTC)
Very intriguing. I wouldn't be at all surprised if Samuel wasn't 100% human.
Oct. 9th, 2011 01:59 am (UTC)
The boys do seem to heal awfully fast. But I was trying to suggest something about, mmm, attitude, rather than genetics, if that makes sense.
Oct. 9th, 2011 02:01 am (UTC)
It does indeed. There are plenty of humans more monstrous than monsters. Genes aren't everything and it would make a whole lot of sense if the afterlife weighted souls on more than what they're physically made of.
Oct. 9th, 2011 04:11 am (UTC)

Sorry. I seem to be stuck in permanent capslock since season 7 started heheh.

But srsly. The fact that the hunters are the monsters too was touched on in s6, but it never really got past the Campbells. Sure, Sam seemed sort of monstrous in his soulless state, but the blame and all the bitterness of the whole situation fell on Samuel. Dean, however, is more than capable of proving the statement to be true, and it's coming out nicely this season. It's about time - he's felt like a monster ever since HE got back from hell. He needs to take a look in the mirror and pick a side.

Oh, Dean. *snuggles him* You are so effed up. I love you.

Killer creepy!Mary. I love it.

(Sorry for being so rambly - going on 36 hours of only 3 hours sleep! HAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAH-SQUIRREL!)
Oct. 9th, 2011 04:34 am (UTC)
I've always wondered why Ash couldn't find any hunters in Heaven - here's one possible answer. Dean is seriously, SERIOUSLY fucked in the head. The cracks are starting to show this season, definitely.

Mary was fierce as a young woman, and ballsy enough after she died to spend decades as a spirit, battling the fiery thing that dared take up residence in her home. I think she'd fit right in...

Thanks, tahirire! I am delighted by the rambling incoherency that is sleep-deprived you!
Oct. 9th, 2011 09:49 am (UTC)
Predators and Prey
For I moment, I thought that Mary and Dean would try to kill each other. Dean, because he didn't trust Mary to be his mother, and Mary, because she decided that Dean was more monster than human.

I like the way the show plays with shades of grey, and this fic did so, too. :-)
Oct. 9th, 2011 05:30 pm (UTC)
Re: Predators and Prey
I'm glad that tension came through, catsintheattic. Thanks!
Oct. 10th, 2011 05:19 am (UTC)
Really delicious. Nietzsche and creepy Mary. Of course John would be there too. And using the boys as bait.....ooooh! Poor befuddled Sam getting hauled back into the family business even in Purgatory.
Oct. 10th, 2011 06:01 am (UTC)
I hadn't thought of it before, but this Mary rather reminds me of the one that Sam hallucinated in Bobby's Panic Room. Sam's pulled into a stripped bare, ugly echo of the family business. No one left to save. It's all about the hunt.

Thanks, galwithglasses!
Oct. 13th, 2011 11:44 pm (UTC)
Good, very pointed, story. Monsters hunt monsters...
Oct. 14th, 2011 07:05 am (UTC)
*nods* My very own commentary on 7x03.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )