hth: (Hth the 2nd)

I feel like my subject line is misleading: these aren't stories I'm DUMPING, I'm just dumping them on You, the Reader.  These are things I'm actually working on, I just felt like, for my own sanity, I wanted to put proof that they exist out into the world.  It's the end of the year, and this is what I've done with the back half of it (or at least samples of what I've done with the back half of it.)  Hopefully at least one of the five appeals!

This one is called "For the Widows in Paradise," and I think it has the distinction of having the longest, most detailed outline to work off of, so that means it's going to go really fast, right?  RIGHT?!?  Hrm.

Do you want a really long OT3 Lisa/Dean/Castiel alternate season 6-9, from Lisa's POV?  Of course you don't, literally no one was asking for this!  But I'm writing it anyway, goddammit.  It's basically a fixit, I guess, because the way they wrote Lisa out was just so goddamn dumb that I felt like it called for some kind of response, and everything kinda snowballed from there.  I envision it being more on the Grandly Romantic side of my dramatic range, so it might suit the tastes of people who think everything I write is low-key grimdark?  Or people who think I should write more het?

 

INDIANA

 

The first night isn't the worst, but it isn't great, either. It's – what you'd expect.

“Isn't he going to eat with us?” Ben asks when he sees two places set around the kitchen table, the same as always.

Lisa tries to keep her voice casual, like it's totally normal to have visitors who lurk upstairs like Gothic madwomen instead of coming down for pizza. “Probably he's just going to rest tonight,” she says. “He's pretty – tired.” It's not like she's allergic to lying to her kid or anything – you do what you gotta do, when you're on your own – but it still sounds shady as shit when she says it out loud, and Ben is giving her the flat look of a child who knows he's being bullshitted, so maybe casual isn't her move here. She sighs and says, “He might not be as much fun as you remember him being for a while, you know? He's working through a lot of stuff.”

“Because his brother died?” Ben asks, dropping his voice to a whisper even though normal speaking voices in no way carry from the kitchen to the bedrooms upstairs.

“Yeah,” Lisa says. She can't think of anything to add to that; it's not completely true, but it isn't remotely false, either, and it's more than enough to saddle a ten-year-old with. They can tackle Satan some other day – or never. She hasn't decided.

Maybe it depends on how long Dean ends up staying.

“Can I take some pizza up to him?” Ben asks, and the question freezes her up a little, because – it's such a sweet thing to want to do and it kills her to say no, but....

She finally clears her throat and says, “Maybe we'll just let him have a night to himself, okay, pumpkin?”

Mom,” he says.

“Right, right, sorry. Big man, grrr, no nicknames. I remember.” She smiles at him, and he smiles reluctantly back.

“But he's gonna be here tomorrow, too?” Ben asks anxiously. “I mean – we'll see him tomorrow?”

“Yeah,” Lisa says. “He'll be here for – a while. You guys can hang out soon – you know, play poker, chew tobacco, pick up girls, fly fighter jets....”

Mom.”

“Big men, grrr,” she growls again, lower this time, and keeps the rumble going in her throat until Ben breaks up giggling.

So on that front the night goes okay – dishes, homework, Top Chef, bedtime – the usual suspects. Lisa is not without experience in the delicate art of maintaining normal parenting routines in the middle of some dude's emotional drama.

Lisa is, in general, not without experience managing some dude's emotional drama, a skill that kind of comes packaged with having broke and messy as your type. Now, does she have experience doing that successfully? Depends on your definition, maybe. She's still very single, but on the other hand, still single was the best possible endgame for nine out of ten relationships she's ever been in. So from a certain point of view, Lisa is killing the dating thing.

Yeah. Positive thoughts.

Like how she's positive that inviting a bristling ball of trauma who lives out of his car with twenty stolen credit cards and trunk full of guns – that she's known for less than a goddamn week – to stay with her and her kid for some unspecified length of time is a completely rational adult human decision.

Yeah.

She's not even sure if she should knock on the door before she opens it, even though it's her bedroom, because nothing about this situation has rules or boundaries or makes any sense whatsoever. She could make herself crazy, she knows, standing in the hallway freaking out about it, so she's just – not going to do that. This thing is happening, she's done it, it's done, and now the only option is for the two of them to work on making some rules and boundaries and whatnot for themselves. It isn't like the situation has to work for, or even make sense to, anyone but the two of them, right?

That's another thing Lisa has a certain amount of experience in: making up her own damn life as she goes along, and to hell with what her parents or her neighbors or the other soccer moms or her former high school friends on Facebook think of it. And experience doing it successfully, goddammit.

Lisa wouldn't trade the life she has for anyone else's life, messy bits included. After all, some of the messiest bits turned out kind of cute, even if she's not allowed to call them pumpkin anymore.

She compromises by knocking lightly on the door and pushing it open at the same time. All the lights are out, so it takes a second for her eyes to adjust, and even then she can't tell if Dean's asleep or awake, lying curled up on top of her still-made bed, facing the window with the shade drawn. “Hey,” she says softly, and he stirs a little. “You hungry?”

“Nah,” he says, sounding hoarse. He pushes himself up to sitting and rubs his hand down his face and says, “You want me to, uh – I can sleep on the couch, it's fine.”

Lisa pulls the door mostly shut behind her and picks her way across the room in the dark until she can raise the windowshade and let in the starlight and streetlamps and the Larsons' porch light next door. “Is that I can sleep on the couch like damn, lady, would you leave me alone? or like get me, I'm such a gentleman?”

“It's definitely not that last one,” Dean says with a rough laugh.

Laughing seems good. Good sign. Lisa sits down with him on the bed, and he slides over so they're both leaning against the headboard. “I think it would be better if we could talk,” she says. “At least a little. I'm sure it's the last thing you want to do, but...”

“But, yeah,” he says, sounding tired but agreeable. “I mean, it's your house. You have a right to-- “ He breaks off abruptly when she slips her hand in underneath his, their fingers lacing together. He looks almost like he isn't sure what kind of Earth custom this is or how to make the traditional response of her species, and suddenly Lisa remembers why she isn't terrified to have this terrifying stranger rattling around in her house.

He's Dean. And yeah, she barely knows him, but...it doesn't matter. She's dated thirty-one flavors of broke and messy, but none of them, not a single one, ever wore this soft, melancholy look around her, like she isn't even something from his reality, like she's probably just the last glimmer of a dream he's about to wake up from.

He's not dangerous – not to her, and not to Ben. He's only dangerous to one person in the world right now.

“Just tell me what you need,” Lisa says quietly. “You can stay here, you can stay on the couch, you can have a friend if you need one, you can kiss me, you can take more time to figure things out if you want. I just want you to be comfortable here, because you can't – I mean, you can't be out on your own in this condition, obviously. So you'll stay until you're on your feet again, and we'll just – make that work, however it needs to work.”

He turns his head, so she does, too. His eyes look dark under so many overlapping layers of shadow; she remembers them being green in the light. “I don't get you,” he says. “Why are you-- I'm no one to you.”

“That's not true,” she says. “You're... I don't know. You're not no one.” He opens his mouth to argue – to make the rational adult human argument, she assumes – and she stops him cold by saying, “I'm not no one to you, am I?”

They sit in the shadows like that for another minute, until finally he drops his eyes back to their entangled hands and says gruffly, “I don't know who you are. I don't know anything about you. I don't know what makes you different from a hundred other chicks in a hundred other nowhere towns.”

“Noted,” she says dryly, trying to ignore the way her heartbeat ticks up a little at I don't know what makes you different, because please, God, she needs to believe that she's not so far gone yet that a dusty old line like you're different from all the other girls is going to work on her like she's sixteen damn years old again.

Still, though. They met each other ten years ago, and here they are now. So that's.... She doesn't know what that is.

He shrugs. “I'm just trying to be straight with you,” he says. “The life I've had – sucks; I've been where I've been and I've done what I've done. I think about you, I guess I – always thought about you, but I'm still me. Bottom line, I'm here because I got nowhere else to go, because there's no one left in the world who gives a damn about me. That's it, that's the whole story. I'm...grateful that you opened the door and everything, that you're giving me a place to crash, but I don't want you to come at me later and say you did it because I led you on or something. You and me, we're not soulmates. I don't believe in destiny. I don't even know if I believe in love.”

“What do you believe in?” she asks. It's not exactly in her first-date-conversations repertoire, but then, they seem to be doing everything about this relationship backwards and in high heels anyway.

“I don't know,” he says, turning the words over slowly. “I don't.... I used to think, family, I believed in family.”

“So why used to?”

His eyes come back up to her face, and yeah, even in the dark, she can see deep green. “Because – if it's not something you choose, how can it matter, you know? And I didn't-- I never chose to be – any of this. I never asked for it. My parents didn't ask for it; they were tricked, or love-spelled, or whatever you want to call it, they were – they were just paired up like show dogs. And I was born, and Sam was born, and they were unhappy – my parents, they were – they were unhappy – and we were only born so we could be killed off, and if that's what all my life I've been calling family – what part of that is worth – how is any of it worth believing in?”

“Maybe it's not,” she says. “It's funny, but...I think it's okay to love something, or someone, who's not really worth it. I mean, does that make sense? Just – choosing to feel that, let yourself feel that – it kind of doesn't even matter who or what you love. Jazz, Richard Pryor, Paraguay, your – your fucking pet turtle, who cares what it is? I just think... there's the kind of person who only knows how to love themselves, and then there's – the rest of us. So if you loved your parents, I think it's okay – I mean, it's not okay that they were fucked up, but also it's – okay.”

Dean reaches his free hand across her and uses it to brush her hair away from her cheek and tuck it behind her ear. “So am I your Paraguayan jazz turtle? That's why you're gonna take care of me whether I'm worth anything or not?”

“Don't get ahead of yourself,” she says. “I'm not devoting the rest of my life to you just because I don't want you wandering around all aimless and homeless and miserable. I'm still me, too, and I'm over the part of my life where I want to save cute, lost boys and fix their lives and make them fall in love with me.” She hopes she's telling the truth. Twenty-four hours ago she would've sworn it was the truth, at least. “Look, I know we don't know each other that well. But you helped me when the worst-possible thing-- when Ben was missing. So if I can help you come back from your worst-possible thing.... I mean, you deserve that. I know you do.”

He turns his head away from her, staring into the dark part of the room where no starlight or streetlight penetrated. “Be careful,” he murmurs. “People who think I deserve to be saved... they tend to.... It never ends well.”

“Noted,” Lisa says again. 

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Hth

December 2018

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