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218: Hollywood Babylon

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Writers, choose from any prompt and write a story inspired by the quote.

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Cap by oxoniensis.

Is it God Who Heals?, by monicawoe Walter: "You put your heart and soul into something, years of hard work. And then they take it, and they crap all over it! And then they want you to smile and say thank you."


( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 28th, 2011 07:29 pm (UTC)
Dean: "What's a PA?"
Sam: "I think they're kinda like slaves."
May. 29th, 2011 12:29 am (UTC)
FRANK : Oh, man, I'm telling you - working alone behind the sets, or after wrap? I catch this weird vibe sometimes.

RICK : Oh, like what?

FRANK : Like something's watching.
May. 29th, 2011 12:30 am (UTC)
SAM : Well, maybe I wanna work, Dean. Maybe it keeps my mind off things.
May. 29th, 2011 12:31 am (UTC)
McG : Brad, this is a horror movie.

BRAD : And who says horror has to be dark? It's sort of depressing, don't you think?
Oct. 5th, 2011 07:39 pm (UTC)
dark and depressing, 1/3
Lisa was careful. She avoided asking questions, usually, but she was figuring out the stuff he could handle, the stuff he couldn't, the stuff she didn't have a clue about yet. It was hard work; he didn't often say much and she made too many mistakes, and his strengths and fragilities were nothing like any other man she'd ever met. But she was careful and she was getting there and she'd known from the moment he turned up on her doorstep without Sam that she was never going to give up on him.

Sometimes she caught a knowing look. Sometimes he volunteered a strategic detail that yielded more insight than a week of watching. Sometimes when she found she did have to ask, there was this odd pause of restraint and meditation before he answered. It made her throat close up a little, like he knew too well what she was doing. Like he was doing what he could to meet her halfway, to help her help him.

And then there was that helpless look he would shutter away from her, that deep, frozen silence, when he just ... couldn't. Those were the times when it was more like something was clawing at her throat, and she'd put her arms around him if he'd let her, and let him have his space if he didn't, and save her tears for later so he didn't have to bear them on top of everything else.

In spite of the rough patches and the setbacks, they were getting better at being a team, at keeping him stable and consistently functional and her aware of his general state. Which was why it startled her when Dean got up suddenly and walked away from the tv, with a particular kind of casualness that set off a slew of her internal alerts.

She quickly double-checked the program, and her son. It was some animal-rescue show that hadn't raised any red flags in her head when Ben had begged Dean to watch tv with him; even though being a mechanic had suddenly become Ben's highest (permitted) aspiration, it had been veterinarian before that, and animal shows were still a draw. The scene was something to do with horses in a boggy, flooded field, which didn't seem especially dark or horrific, at least no more than any of the other wounded and mistreated animals featured previously. Ben was still riveted on it, not noticeably bothered by Dean's exit or the nature of it. Which, if Lisa knew Dean – and she was getting there – was the intention.

She frowned, watching the show for a minute for what it had set Dean off, but whatever it was, she wasn't going to find the clues on the screen.

When she joined him in the kitchen, he already had a beer in his hands. He didn't look up at her right away, but when he did it was with a broken, rueful half-smile that killed any question dead on her lips. She crossed to where he was leaning against the island's counter and, when he didn't turn toward her but didn't pull away either, wrapped herself around him and kissed his shoulder before laying her cheek against it. She just held him, listening to the sound of his heartbeat where her ear nestled against his ribs, just below his shoulderblade, moving with him when he drew in a deep breath. She breathed with him, taking in the smell of him underneath her own brand of laundry soap, his body warmth making the scent emanate from the fabric. She let her length rest against his, settled her arms around his waist and just held him.

"What was it?" she asked into his back, once the silence had become comfortable enough.

He laughed with a kind of hollow amusement, but didn't show any signs of pulling away. "I, uh ... it sounds so dumb. After everything I've seen...."

"After everything you've seen, it'd be dumb not to think random things would affect you," she said reasonably; she'd done a lot of reading on PTSD, although it wasn't helping as much as she'd expected. Even as she said it she felt his shoulders tense, in the way she'd come to recognize meant she'd missed his meaning. She bit her lip, and waited to find out if she'd put him off trying to explain.
Oct. 5th, 2011 07:39 pm (UTC)
dark and depressing, 2/3
"Point," Dean said after a minute, and snorted deprecatingly. "I wish it were just that. Sounds way more heroic."

She squeezed him, but didn't risk saying anything this time.

"No, it just ... it, ah ... reminded me of The Neverending Story."

She pulled her head back to meet the look he was giving her over his shoulder, frowning her bemusement. "What?"

He raised an eyebrow. "Yeah, it didn't sound any less stupid than it did in my head." He shook it, and took a drink. "Man. It's been a long time since I've been this much of a little bitch."

His laugh was about as convincing as the last one, and she tugged him to face a little more toward her. "Dean," she said gently, but firmly.

He looked down, then away. "I don't know. I can't remember when I saw it ... I think I must have been six. Maybe seven?" He thought about it for a minute, then shrugged. "Yeah, because I remember Sa–"

He closed down around that name, as he nearly always did when he found himself saying it unexpectedly. But as the months passed he had got better at recovering, or forcing himself to, as he did now, breathing hard and swallowing before finally clearing his throat. "Uh. So ... six or seven. I ... uh, I think I saw it on tv ... don't think I ever watched it more than once."

He lapsed back into silence, fiddling with the bottle in his hands, until she rested her chin on his shoulder and coaxed him again. "What happened?"

"I ... dunno. You remember that part with the horse?"

She frowned again; it had been a long time since she'd seen it either, but now the animal show they'd been watching actually did give a clue. "I think so. You mean in the swamp, where it sank?"

"Yeah.... Freaked me right the hell out."

She did remember, now that he mentioned it. She didn't blame him.

He ran his hand through his hair and gave another snort. "It's weird, I can't remember anything else I ever watched – you know, on tv – hitting me like that. Not even anything else that happened in the movie. I even spent a while hugging the walls at night. Not really sure why – I guess I thought quicksand could just ... appear, and you'd never know it. Just walk right into it. I mean, the kid and his horse did, right? I guess it's how I thought it worked at the time."

Lisa had an odd, overlapping sense of memories of holding Ben while they talked through some irrational, movie-inspired fear of his, and smiled slightly. "What did your dad do?"

Dean's reflective frown became perplexed. "Dad? I don't think he knew."

Lisa had thought she was getting better at not showing surprise when the various revelations of Dean's past redefined her assumptions of what was normal, but she didn't manage to stop herself from blurting, "You didn't tell him?"

"Of course not. He already had enough problems. He didn't need to deal with mine, too."

She didn't manage to keep the anger out of her voice, either. "That's what he told you?"

Dean stilled, and she bit her lip again. But after a moment, he just leaned across and brushed a kiss against her eyebrow. "No," he said quietly. "It's just the way it was."

She nodded against his shoulder and kept herself from sighing. "Okay," she whispered, taking his acceptance for hers, at least for this conversation. Putting Dean on the defensive was not what he needed right now, that much she learned a while back. And who was she to judge what constituted good parenting in the world Dean grew up in?

He'd gone silent again, though. Not the frozen silence that chilled her to the heart; he was still fiddling with his beer, so it was a thinking silence. He always thought too much. She ducked under his arm and insinuated her hip between his and the counter, stretching up to catch his lips with hers until she was sure she had his attention back. When she drew back he gave her a tiny smile, touched his forehead to hers while far too many things happened behind his eyes. It reminded her all over again just how aware he was of what she was doing, but she tightened her arms around his waist and nuzzled into his neck, not apologizing and not letting him slip back into his own head.
Oct. 5th, 2011 07:40 pm (UTC)
dark and depressing, 3/3
"So tell me about it," she said.

"What do you mean?" he asked, and she very carefully did not think any thoughts about his father.

"I mean tell me what about it upset you. If you can," she added hastily.

"Ahh.... I mean, it was, you know ... freaky. The black mud, the horse screaming, getting sucked down...." He cleared his throat and restated the obvious. "Freaky."

"Yeah," she agreed, and smiled just a little to keep the questioning light, less threatening. "But then, that wasn't the only freaky thing in the movie. I mean...."

"True," he admitted, slightly reluctantly, and Lisa waited to see if she needed to prompt him again. Just as she began to form the next question in her mind, he shrugged. "I don't remember much of the rest of the movie. I don't think I really cared what happened, after that." He paused in thought for a moment, then resumed the subject. "But it was like ... here's this kid, this warrior, all strong and brave and true – not like that other kid, what a weiner – and he's setting off entrusted with saving the world ... just him, on his own. No one else. But that's okay, even if there's no one to really help him, 'cause he's got his horse, and they went everywhere together and meant the world to each other, you know? I mean ... it was his horse. It wasn't just his responsibility, it was his companion ... it was like it was really his home – he was a warrior from the plains people, they were nomadic, right?"

Lisa made a vaguely affirmative noise; she honestly couldn't remember, but it sounded right and she didn't want to break the flow of his introspection.

"And then ... he leads them both into that swamp, and ... they just start sinking, and there's – there's just nothing he can do to stop it. No matter what he does, and his horse trusted him, and he couldn't stop it, he wasn't strong enough, he couldn't –" Dean broke off, but a dam had broken and the scene kept pouring out of him anyway. "It was so suffocating and they were both screaming and he was sobbing and they're struggling with everything they have but it didn't matter and he couldn't hold on to it, couldn't save it, it just ... it just got pulled right down until it was lost, gone, like it never...."

He took a deep, terrible breath like he wasn't even aware he was doing it, her hold around him telling her of the subtle shudder that ran through him. "Then he pulls himself up by the tree and – and then he went on. I ... I never ... it was like I couldn't move on with him in the story, like I was still stuck there, right there at the edge of that patch of quicksand where I could feel it being sucked down and I could never understand how he could get up and keep going, how he could go on when he'd lost his horse. How could he ever leave it behind like that?"

Dean turned the full force of the question on her with his eyes, with all the lost bewilderment of a six year-old with no paradigm for that scale of grief. No, she corrected herself; no paradigm for moving past that scale of grief. She opened her mouth, but even as she did she knew she had no words to help him.

"I don't know," she said, unable to keep the rasp of tears from her voice.

He stared back at her, unfathomable, as she had a desperate sense of hatches battening shut, flow controls clinically re-establishing after the crest of the flood had passed. Before she could think of anything to stop it – she'd never yet worked out how – that cool, detached humor was sliding into place.

"Yeah, well –" and a sip of beer closed him off completely, "– kids get the weirdest ideas in their heads. Speaking of which, once he's finished watching his pansy bleeding-heart animal shows, tell that one that I'm out working on the truck if he wants to join. After his chores though."

"Yeah," Lisa agreed unhappily, but he was already turning, and she all she could do was watch him walk away.
Oct. 5th, 2011 10:11 pm (UTC)
Re: dark and depressing, 3/3
Oh this is good. Very sad, but it rings very true. Poor Dean!
Oct. 6th, 2011 01:48 am (UTC)
Re: dark and depressing, 3/3
Thanks! It was an odd idea, I'm glad it sounds right. The boy so needs huggles. :(
May. 31st, 2011 10:20 pm (UTC)
Dean: "I don't really know what I'm doing."
May. 31st, 2011 10:43 pm (UTC)
Walter: "You put your heart and soul into something, years of hard work. And then they take it, and they crap all over it! And then they want you to smile and say thank you."
Jun. 5th, 2011 02:03 am (UTC)
Is it God who heals?
"Did it ever occur to you that maybe Lucifer raised you?"

Raphael hears his own words echoing in his mind as he's blown to bits by Castiel. He hangs, suspended in time, hovering in between existence and the void and he is furious.

Castiel, naive, young, insignificant Castiel had succeeded in finding and draining Purgatory. It wasn't just that act that made Raphael's rage great enough to keep him tethered to reality though...it was the arrogance, the presumption that this little pigeon knew what to do with that much power.

Raphael knew exactly what would happen next. He'd seen it before.

Castiel would demand obeisance, he'd go on a rampage- slaughtering all of Raphael's loyal soldiers. He would waste all of those millions of souls in a thousand tiny acts of vengeance.

Castiel was young, he was far too young to know what that kind of power was really for.

Raphael pulled what was left of himself, little more than a bundle of atoms, together and followed the call of his Brothers down, down, down.

Jun. 8th, 2011 04:01 am (UTC)
Re: Is it God who heals?
Very nice! I can really see this isn't going to go well for Cas. Thanks for the fill!
Jun. 8th, 2011 10:49 am (UTC)
Re: Is it God who heals?
Agreed- Cas isn't going to keep his title long.

Glad you liked it!
Jun. 8th, 2011 03:37 pm (UTC)
Re: Is it God who heals?
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )