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03 January 2010 @ 03:47 pm
After the Flood (The Beaten and the Damned Remix) 1/3  
Title: After the Flood (The Beaten and the Damned Remix)
Fandom: Supernatural
Rating: R
Word Count: ~6000 (total)
Characters: Dean and Sam, Dean and John (gen)
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Spoilers: None.
Summary: Some kinds of ugliness take a long time to fade.
Warnings: Bad language. Show-type levels of violence, gore and murder. Violence against children, not perpetrated against, or by, any Winchesters.
Author's note: This fic is a remix of
After the Flood by [info]i_speak_tongue  for the Dean-focused h/c remix challenge at [info]hoodie_time . With huge thanks to [info]i_speak_tongue  for the liberties she's allowed me to take with her fic.

Now, New Hampshire

It would have been an ugly job in spring, with meadows full of flowers stretching out like wings from the centre of the town. It would have made his flesh crawl even with the smell of fresh cut grass in his nostrils, and the sun shining, clean as newly-washed cotton sheets, on the back of his neck.

It wasn't spring.

Dean stood next to the door of the 7-Eleven, and waited for Sam to come out with coffee. The winter sunlight was coming in flat, glinting off the cars in the parking lot and into his eyes. The air was so cold it hurt going down into his chest, and hurt coming back up, but he'd almost gagged on the smell of dirt when he'd followed Sam in to the convenience store, his boots sticking to the filthy floor.

There was a tattered poster from the New Hampshire tourist board taped to the glass of the door. Dean would have curled his lip at the faded picture of autumn leaves drooping artfully over a picturesque bridge, if his face hadn't been so fucking cold he thought it might crack. This town sure as hell wouldn't be starring on any posters, wouldn't be enticing any tourists north for leaf-peeping and antiquing, and whatever other rustic Americana New England peddled.

They had walked along Main Street when they first hit town, going in to the stationer with empty shelves, and the lunch place in a storefront, with picnic tables set up on the cheap carpeting. There were two stores selling tourist tack, targeted at the few station wagons with families in them that they had seen pulled in to the parking lot, maps spread out along the dashboard, but the stock was dusty and faded.

He looked back out over the parking lot, towards the low-rise buildings of downtown. They were white, alright, like he'd imagined every New England town to be, but there were no charming inns serving clam chowder, no places to eat with open fires burning in a grate. The paint was peeling off the wood, scoured by the salt hanging in the air like mist, and the sidewalks sagged, as though disappointed.

He watched two high school kids walk past, hunched in the wind. They both had acrylic hats on, but one didn't have gloves, and he was blowing on his fingers to warm them up. Neither of them had boots worth shit, and Dean didn't need to be told what that meant, what that was like, and he could feel the poor of the town swirling on the edge of the gusty breeze.

The door swung open, and a blast of sour, warm air hit Dean.

"Here," Sam held out a coffee, nose twitching in the cold.

"Thanks." Dean's voice scratched in his throat. He coughed, clearing it.

Sam's brow wrinkled. "You getting sick?"

Dean shook his head. "Nah. It's just colder than a witch's tit out here." He blew across the plastic lip of the takeout cup, steam eddying towards his face.

Sam stepped off the curb. "C'mon. This wind is nasty."

Dean followed him back to the car, feeling off-balance. It had been a long, fruitless day of digging, both literally, in the frozen wastes of one of the kid's backyards, and in the stacks of the mildewy library. He was good for a hard day of work, usually. Liked the aching tiredness in his muscles at sundown. Today, though, he felt as weak as a kitten, exhaustion flickering in his stomach like hunger.

Sam looked at him, oddly, as he eased himself behind the wheel. "You okay?"

Dean slid the key into the ignition, looking at the frayed cuff of his hoodie, poking out of the sleeve of his jacket.

"Just tired."

And he was. Tired to his bones, but there was something else, fluttering at the edge of his consciousness like a moth.

"We can skip the research tonight." Sam shook the hair out of his eyes. "Get a jump on it tomorrow."

Dean turned the key, listened to the sound of the engine coming to life. "Nah. We'll get it done tonight."

--

2006, New Orleans

The August evening was like a stifling, clammy cloak, and there was no bottle of beer on earth that wasn't going to taste good after walking ten blocks in that. Dean walked down the stairs from their room, mentally cursing New Orleans' relative lack of mom and pop stores, and the fact that his jeans were already hot and heavy against his legs.

They were staying in the French Quarter, near to the scene of the haunting, in a hotel with lush greenery in the courtyard, and AC efficient enough to keep a film of condensation on their beer. It was the only city that he'd ever had the least bit of interest in going to, and that was probably all about the movies that situated their evil against the verdant backdrop of the New Orleans cityscape.

They'd scoped out the Ursulines Convent – oldest colonial building in the Mississippi Valley – in the early morning, when the city was still sleeping off the previous night's excesses, and it was undeniable that the Quarter had charm. He'd looked forward to sampling the bars along Bourbon, the morning street littered with bright yellow cocktail go-cups under the wrought-iron curlicues of the balconies above, but there was something dark thrumming underneath the decadent laissez-faire. Something old as dirt, and something that made his skin itch.

"You feel it too?" John's face had been impassive when Dean had suggested getting a few beers and taking them back to the hotel.

"Yeah." Dean had bitten his lip, drawn his eyebrows closer together. "What is it?"

John had shrugged. "Noah and his ark is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to flood myth and lore. They're usually about rebirth, about new beginnings. Literally wiping the slate clean." They had been standing within twenty feet of a condemned house, close enough to see that a family was still living in it. "This look like a new beginning to you?"

Dean had shaken his head.

Shook his head too at the fact that the first store he went to only had Shiner Bock chilled down, and what the fuck was up with that? Twenty frat boys just left, the counterman had said, and that was just his luck. He found Sam Adams at the next place, and he was so hot he nearly popped the cap on a cold one right then, but he just wrapped the sweat-slick handles of the plastic bag around his hand and picked up the pace back to the hotel.

He walked back along Royal, but all of a sudden he was at St Ann, and he'd come too far, could see the stores lining Jackson Square when he looked. He turned back, wiping his forehead against the already damp skin of his arm, and missed the sound of footsteps behind him under the shrill laugh that gusted out of a nearby bar.

He heard the whoosh of the weapon a few seconds later, but not soon enough to stop it smashing into the back of his head.

--

2007, New Orleans

John hadn't wanted to take him back. Had tried to persuade the dealer to meet him somewhere else, but they guy had been resolute. He was only going to be in New Orleans for a day, and then he was flying to Belize, on some errand John hadn't asked, or been told, about.

Dean had set his jaw when John had tried to talk him into doing something else, going somewhere else.

"We need to check on Sammy," he'd said, finally, like a man throwing everything in on aces high, and Dean had been openmouthed with shock, because there was a name that hadn't been spoken between them in eighteen months.

John read non-compliance into the silence, and looked away. Another man might have said I'm worried about you, son, but John wasn't another man.

The guy, the dealer, wanted to meet at Cafe du Monde, and Dean had rolled his eyes at that, because it sat uneasily with him, doing their business in front of busloads of tourists, and because it was so deeply fucking lame.

"I'm going alone," John said, and Dean nodded, but slid a gun into his own waistband nonetheless.

They travelled on the streetcar to the Quarter, and John left Dean by the river. He had expected to be cooler, it being October and all, but he could feel the trickle of sweat under his shirt as he sat and looked at the Mississippi. John brought him some beignets and a cup of coffee, and smiled, sun in his eyes, at Dean's look of disgust at the green logo on the paper bag.

He dropped powdered sugar all down his shirt, and if it was possible to eat those damn things without that happening, he didn't see how, and watched a towboat push fifteen barges past him on the flat, brown river.

He remembered a history teacher telling him about the Mississippi and the slave boats that travelled up and down it, about New Orleans being one of the centres of the slave trade. He'd written a paper on it, a litany of facts that made him feel hot and cold, and awkward in his skin, but he had a better imagination now for the shit that people would do to each other without blinking, and he probably hadn't even scraped the surface on the atrocities that took place.

The beignet and coffee sat uneasily in his stomach, and he half-wished he'd stopped drinking sooner the previous night. They were staying at a place out on I-90, and after they had unloaded the car, John had pulled a bottle of Jameson's out of his duffel, along with two shot glasses, and stood them on the table, half challenge, and half consolation. They had drunk until Dean's throat had stopped burning, until the tension had drained out of him and he was sloppy-limbed and warm. John had put him to bed for the first time in forever, tugging his shirt over his head, and pulling his boots off. Dean had grabbed his wrist when he felt John's fingers on the top button of his jeans.

"It's just me, son." John's voice had been clear. "Just me." He had waited until Dean's grip slackened, before carrying on, sliding Dean's jeans down his legs and folding them over the back of a chair.

Dean sat and looked at the ugliest river he'd ever seen, and knew what his father had been trying to do. He didn't have a choice, though. He had to go back.

(Part two)
 
 
 
Rince1windrince1wind on March 31st, 2011 10:06 pm (UTC)
Great setup. Can't stop reading.
dipenates: SPN - Dean Winchester - smilingdipenates on April 20th, 2011 05:55 pm (UTC)
Thank you.
moira4ekumoira4eku on April 2nd, 2011 11:24 pm (UTC)
story...
I love the beginning of this story. The flash backs to New Orleans have great description. The only thing that confuses me are the dates. They don't match the show's canon. They are off by several years. Anyhow, I find that I am really looking forward to reading more of this great tale. Wondering what exactly happened to Dean in N.O.
dipenates: SPN - boys and skydipenates on April 20th, 2011 05:52 pm (UTC)
Re: story...
Thanks for commenting, and sorry it's taken me so long to reply.

I should have copied over the author's note for the original fic that this remixes (or written my own!). The original author, i_speak_tongue wanted both to write about Hurricane Katrina, and to situate it during a time when Dean and John were hunting together. This is obviously impossible to resolve without moving something, so it timeshifts the show, rather than real life.

Edited at 2011-04-20 05:54 pm (UTC)