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That Old Black Magic - Supernatural Obsessives

About That Old Black Magic

Previous Entry That Old Black Magic Jan. 21st, 2008 @ 08:18 am Next Entry

CHAPTER NINE

John looked at the closed door of Dean and Ladona’s room for a second before he turned and stalked back inside his own room and slammed the door. He pushed past Dean to lean on a small table against one wall. He really didn’t need this, he thought and suddenly wished for a day from years ago when Dean followed every order without question. Those days were long gone, John knew, but that didn’t mean he had to like it.

Finally, John turned to Dean and adopted the same stance: feet planted, arms crossed, eyes narrowed. “What seems to be the problem, son?”

“The plan. Your plan. It sucks.”

John raised his eyebrows not only at Dean’s words, but the low, angry tone. “Well, thanks for your opinion, Dean, but I wasn’t really lookin’ for your approval.”

Dean barked out a mirthless laugh. “My approval? That’s a good one when it’s obvious the only person whose opinion you seem to value lately is Anna’s, though it looks like your wife might not be too happy with you right now, either.” Dean’s tone was mocking, daring John to refute him.

It was all John could do not to rise to the bait. He closed his eyes and counted to five. “There are things you don’t understand.” It was a struggle to keep the tenor of his voice even when inside he was shaking with rage and fear and remorse for not finishing this job years ago.

“Really.” Dean said, the sarcasm nearly dripping off that one word. “How about you make me understand. Make me see why in the hell the mighty John Winchester has put together a plan so … amateur,” Dean practically spit each word out of his mouth as he leaned forward, his body taut with anger and the need to lash out. “This is something I would have expected when I was a kid, but since I’m obviously not a child any more, I’m guessing your caution has everything to do with Anna.”

John recoiled visibly at the venom with which Dean said Anna’s name, but still he said nothing. His pride, and the growing certainty that his caution is indeed about protecting Anna more than anything else, choked back any retort he might have made.

Dean was on a roll, but he never raised his voice. His tone was hard and tinged with a combination of disbelief and disgust. “You’ve been different ever since we got Anna away from that crazy son-of-a-bitch. Sticking around headquarters and sending other hunters – sending me and Sam – out to do jobs you should have been handling, using your poor wife’s experience as an excuse. That might have worked for the first couple months or so, but after that? Everyone was wondering of you’d lost your touch, if you were too afraid.” He paused and took a breath. “But I defended you, Dad. Told everyone you’d been to Hell and knew what it was like, offered to take them there myself if they had a problem with you. So you trained Anna and went back into the field. Great. Only I wonder how many cases you’ve actually solved if every plan you execute is as lame and weak as this one.”

Like he’d done in his own room, Dean paced back and forth. John watched him with his eyes and kept his teeth clamped firmly together even as an angry fire lit his eyes and his breathing became labored with the effort of not biting his tongue.

“You love Anna. I get it. I love Ladona. But my partner,” Dean sneered the word, “doesn’t hold me back. She’s along for each ride, taking the same risks and never asking me to be anything than what I am –“

Something snapped inside John then. He was across the room in two steps with his hand around Dean’s throat, pinning him to the wall, nose-to-nose. “You better be careful, boy, of what you say next about my wife.” The words came in a rush. John had no more control over what he said than he had to stop the sun from shining or snow from falling in the mountains. “You think you’re so smart now because you’re grown? You say you’re not a child anymore, but I don’t see you acting like it. No, Dean, I see you acting like a spoiled brat afraid his daddy’s new wife will take away his love for his sons or that it means I never loved your mother. It’s getting old. I loved Mary more than I’d ever loved anyone until you boys came along, but I’ve been alone for a long time and I deserve some happiness with the woman of my choice.”

Now it was John’s turn to be on a roll, the emotion of the case, of how Anna had taught him love again, of how their fates were entwined, all bubbling to the surface and needing an outlet. John was an honest enough man to admit that until Sam and Skye arrived, which could be days, the plan was overly cautious, but that only fueled his outburst more. Still, like Dean, he never raised his voice. The timbre and pitch letting the younger man know that John Winchester was still a dangerous man.

“And what do you know of Hell, Dean? You think Ladona’s trip below ground qualifies you as an expert? Not. Even. Close. You want to talk partners, let’s talk partners, son. You say you love Ladona, but do you really love her?” John curled his lip and narrowed his eyes. Dean was pinned in place not only by John’s hand at his throat, but also by the fire in his father’s eyes and the mocking tone he hadn’t heard since the YED had possessed John a lifetime ago. “Could you live if she died or would you just mourn for a while and then get back to your old ways when you were fancy free with a girl in every town? Would you go to the ends of the earth to save her or tie your life to hers so that when you die, she does as well?” John’s voice got hard again. “Would you make that deal, Dean, or are you all talk and hot air? Would Ladona even accept that deal? Are you that sure of her love for you?”

Dean’s eyes widened and John stepped back as if Dean had burned him. “What did you just say?” Dean finally managed, his voice cracking.

“Nothing. Forget it.” John went back to the table and leaned on it again, taking deep breaths to calm down. Nice one, Winchester, he berated himself. Exactly what you didn’t want either of the boys to know, you let slip. Great self control.

“I’m not going to forget it, Dad. What did you mean about tying your fate to Anna’s?”

John didn’t respond and he didn’t look at his son though he felt Dean’s eyes on him like hot, lead weights. After a few more moments of struggling with himself, he turned to face Dean squarely.

“That was the deal with Nemesis. She agreed to take care of certain aspects of the plan to rescue Anna from Hell and we had to agree to tie our lives to each other. Or, more specifically, Anna’s life is tied to mine. If I die, whenever that is, she dies as well.”

All the breath left Dean’s body in a whoosh and he leaned on the back of one of the chairs so he was no more than a foot from his father. “Why didn’t you ever tell us this? Does anyone else know?”

John nodded. “Alice knows. Missouri, too. I didn’t want … well, I didn’t want you boys to worry. You have your own lives with Ladona and Skye. I didn’t figure there was any reason for you to know.”

Dean nodded, trying to understand how John and Anna could have agreed to such a deal. A new respect for Anna took hold of Dean and he flushed with shame over how ridiculous he'd been behaving towards her and around her. Ladona had been right all along, he realized. Anna and John were forever, more so than anyone could have guessed.

His father's questions rang in Dean's ears. Could he live without Ladona? He didn't want to find out. He'd barely kept it together waiting to find her during Anna's rescue and since then, they'd not spent more than a handful of days and nights without the other. If she died while they were on a case, could he go on? He didn't know since he could honestly say he'd never loved a woman before. At nearly 30 years old, even he had to admit it was a little pathetic. Would he make the same deal his father had? More importantly, would Ladona?

Dean shook his head.  "I've really been an ass." Dean took a deep breath. "All this time I've been taking it out on her."

John looked up. "What do you mean?"

"It's hard to explain," Dean began, looking sheepish. "When I told you before the rescue that I didn't object to Anna it was mostly true. The year Anna was gone was one of the best years of my life." John raised his eyebrows and Dean rushed to get the words out. "Not because Anna was gone, but … we were … we were close. I just … I don't know … But then you got back from your honeymoon and things were different. It was like you didn't have time for anyone else but Anna and … well, it really pissed me off. I know I should have just talked to you." Dean looked down at the floor and sighed. He reached out and put his hand on John's shoulder. "I'm sorry, Dad. Really. If I'd known …"

John patted Dean's hand and they both stood. "Maybe I was a little preoccupied," John acknowledged. "And I should have told you." He smiled a little. "I guess we better go next door and work with Anna and Ladona on a new plan."

"If Anna's even speaking to you."

John’s laugh rumbled up from his chest. “Right. Thanks for reminding me.” He followed his son out the door and instantly came up short.

Dean was standing in the chill evening staring into the open door of his and Ladona’s room. John went to his side and gaped disbelieving at the wreckage inside. A window was shattered and the curtains lining it were blackened as if they’d been recently set on fire. Furniture was tumbled about or in pieces. Ladona’s books had been dumped on the floor and the table on which they’d been sitting was overturned. Her knife lay near the bed in a pool of blood.

Dean stepped into the room and bent to pick up the knife, wiping it clean on his sleeve. He pocketed Ladona’s weapon and stood before setting the table right so he could gather her books and put them back. Time seemed to stand still and if asked, he couldn’t say why it mattered that the books be picked up off the floor, but he knew Ladona respected her books and the power they contained. Dean couldn’t just leave them scattered.

After the books were put back in place, Dean became aware that John was in the room, too, scooping up papers filled with Ladona’s half-cursive, half-printed handwriting. John looked over the notes she’d made, holding the top sheet in one hand and flipping the other pages on top of the books.

“Looks like Ladona found a way in,” he told Dean. “We have to go.” He grabbed Dean’s arm and pulled him from the room, making sure to put the “Do Not Disturb” sign in place. Together they hurried to their respective vehicles, throwing weapons into bags and grabbing flashlights. John checked his jacket to make sure his journal was in the inside pocket and they moved off into the woods. They blended into the shadows effortlessly as they followed the trail up the mountain and towards the caves to destroy the coven once and for all. 
Leave a comment
From:msunshine
Date:January 21st, 2008 04:31 pm (UTC)
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OK, first off the funny: LOVE this line from last chapter ... “Worse…Winchesters,” Anna adds and they really crack up. That was hilarious and oh, so true.

Second, YIKES ladies. The silence of the devastation was so scary. Knowing the guys were next door and could hear nothing, it made it much more impactful. I kept leaning forward, waiting for the guys to come, and then you dropped the bomb about the silence thing. YIKES!

Poor Ladona's arm! Stupid minion. Poor Anna ... better not carve her up, Celeste! She's endured enough!

Loved the last paragraph, when the Winchesters matter-of-factly get prepared to go kill the coven. No wasted words, no useless worries about the women, just down to business ... their business, hunting things.

VERY well done! NEXT CHAPTER PLEASE!

P.S. Oh, yes the angst ... glad everyone knows the truth now about the deal. Very cool, the way it was done with both Anna and John spilling the truth at the same time. However. Ahem. Do NOT be picking on my Dean! *hairpets Dean and glares at you two*
From:heyheath30
Date:January 21st, 2008 04:50 pm (UTC)
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Oh c'mon ... you didn't find John and Dean's fight even a little bit hot?! 'Cuz I fanned myself several times "hearing" their low and angry voices and "seeing" John get all badass and pin Dean to the wall by his throat ... *gasp* See?! *fans self ... again!*

Suk did a FAN-FREAKING-TASTIC turn with that attack scene with the ladies, didn't she?! I love the line, "her own damn knife" when that idiot slices Ladona's arm and how Anna keeps hearing John's voice in her head to "get the hell up."

Can't tell you happy I am that you're enjoying this ... *claps hands*

From:msunshine
Date:January 21st, 2008 04:53 pm (UTC)
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Well, from where I sit, you're both doing an absolutely fabulous job. I am not attempting to "figure out" who does what part. You are blending together seamlessly, not very easy to do, I'd guess!
From:heyheath30
Date:January 21st, 2008 05:10 pm (UTC)
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*blushing*

Thanks ...

Some serious creepiness ahead ... I'm just sayin'
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From:sukayro
Date:January 22nd, 2008 04:33 pm (UTC)
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Funny you should say that about us blending becuz we were kinda worried using the different tenses would be jarring. Sooooo glad it doesn't! Plus there's seepage becuz we made suggestions about each other's scenes...
From:heyheath30
Date:January 22nd, 2008 04:36 pm (UTC)
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"seepage"

That's kind of an ugly visual given the next scenes, ya know?

And yet ... oddly appropriate, too.

*shrugs*
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From:sukayro
Date:January 22nd, 2008 04:43 pm (UTC)
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Shhhhhh! No spoilers! Go back to being a pile of ash from thinking of low intense Winchester voices!
From:heyheath30
Date:January 22nd, 2008 04:55 pm (UTC)
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*poof*
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From:afleetalex
Date:January 24th, 2008 02:02 am (UTC)
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*falls on floor laughing*
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From:sukayro
Date:January 22nd, 2008 04:35 pm (UTC)
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*blushes*

I think we BOTH do fight scenes well!

*fans self at angry intense John*

*isn't working*

*bursts into flame*

*doesn't care*
From:heyheath30
Date:January 22nd, 2008 04:38 pm (UTC)
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*all a-tingle*

It's all 'cuz I can't get the low, angry, rumbly voices out of my head ... and I keep seeing Dean's green eyes get dark and John's flash ...

*poof*

Heath will no longer be available for comment today because she has spontaneously combusted.
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From:sukayro
Date:January 22nd, 2008 04:41 pm (UTC)
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Dean realizing he's been an ass is picking on him? *shakes head in confusion*

Yeah, Dean and Ladona knowing about the deal seriously adds to the tension. *said entirely too gleefully*

Glad you liked the silent attack. It was the perfect juxtaposition to the fight going on next door. Plus extra creepy. I originally messed up by mentioning the crack of Ladona's arm breaking...editing is our friend! LOL

And you KNOW stubborn Winchesters are WAY worse then regular stubborn guys! That's why we love 'em.
From:msunshine
Date:January 22nd, 2008 07:29 pm (UTC)
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Suk, when will you learn that Dean is almost perfection in my book? He can do no wrong ... even when he's wrong! Hee.
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From:sukayro
Date:January 22nd, 2008 10:59 pm (UTC)
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*rolls eyes so hard they stick backward*
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From:sukayro
Date:January 22nd, 2008 05:00 pm (UTC)
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Poor John. Of course, if he'd just TELL people why they need Skye's help in particular... *sigh*

Soooo glad Dean got his issues out in the open. Finally. *mutters about Winchesters*

Dean offered to take people to Hell if they didn't believe him? *falls on floor laughing*

The timbre and pitch letting the younger man know that John Winchester was still a dangerous man. Gah! And pinning Dean to the wall! *thunk*

...the mocking tone he hadn’t heard since the YED had possessed John a lifetime ago. What an EXCELLENT touch! That cabin scene is still one of THE BEST ever IMO.

Anna and John were forever, more so than anyone could have guessed. *another thunk*

"If Anna's even speaking to you." LOL. Yeah, thanks for the reminder!

Then they find the devastation... *sob*

I don't know why but it touches me deeply that Dean picks up Ladona's books. It's such a sign of his love for her that he doesn't even want her things to be mistreated. *swoon*

Excellent! They found the counterspell! Time to go kick some coven ass!

And the "Do Not Disturb" sign made me giggle for some reason.

*standing ovation for a hawt argument, reconciliation, and transformation to full on hunter mode*
From:heyheath30
Date:January 22nd, 2008 05:06 pm (UTC)
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He can't tell ... he promised Skye he'd keep her secret, remmeber?! Though I am starting to wonder about the wisdom of keeping all these secrets ... they undoubtedly come back to bite them all on the ass one way or another!

This fight can STILL make me swoon and I wrote it how long ago?! *falls off chair to melt into pile of goo*

You didn't think the line about the YED was too much ... *wipes brow* SO glad for that ... I loved that scene and could totally hear John's voice. It was low and rumbly and had a sing-song kind of quality ...

Dean's line about Anna not speaking to John was my attempt at some levity now that the guys have their issues (for the most part) out in the open and are ready and able to move on. Can't you just see John grin in spite of himself and kind of chuff out a laugh?

*returns the standing ovation*

I hate sounding like we're just patting each other on the back, but I do feel it's appropriate to comment on what each other wrote since we do for every other story. And besides ... my sections are only stronger for having your feedback involved.
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From:sukayro
Date:January 22nd, 2008 06:34 pm (UTC)
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I know John promised...actually, he didn't technically promise. But he's smart enuf to know that if someone learns Skye's immune to magic that they can use that against her/them. Anyway, it really is Skye's secret to tell.

*gets distracted by thought of ass biting*

Gawd, I can still hear John's rumbly voice in that cabin scene: "How'd you like it if I killed YOUR family? Oh. That's right. I did." Talk about twisting the knife! *sob*

Yeah, they needed a little levity. Too bad it lasted all of 30 seconds. Sigh.

Hey, we didn't really have time to comment on each other's parts (*snicker*) while we were writing! This took us, what, a week? 10 days? There wasn't TIME! So now we get to do that. It's perfectly appropriate. Sniff.

And that feedback was mutual, missie, so stop tryin' to imply otherwise!
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From:afleetalex
Date:January 24th, 2008 02:00 am (UTC)
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Interesting how John still really sees Dean, in some ways, as a child, but in other ways as a man. I don't have kids, but I suspect that's a very parental thing to do (judging by my dad still asking me if I need groceries, when I have a good job AND a car - bless his heart). Again, he's pragmatic about his son no longer taking his orders. It's like he's very much picking his battles, stubborn or no. Maybe that's what he learned from Anna's time in Hell.

I love how Dean calls his dad out and describes it all so clearly. (Plus I can hear Dean getting all angry, which sounds so sexy coming out of him.)

OUCH, John throwing Ladona at Dean in that way. I think there may have been a time when that was true, but our Dean wouldn't just go back to loving and leaving! We know better! But I do love the way the two just unleash on each other. Angst! Angst! And now both Ladona and Dean know about the deal with Nemesis, which, I expect, means Sam and Skye will know soon too.

Just like men. They fight, they're fine ten minutes later. *grin*

I love how Dean picks up the books because he knows Ladona would want them taken care of. And because it's a connection to her, and sometimes we do those silly little things in a moment of shock because they bring a feeling of order to disorder.

And the men are on the hunt! Let the witch-kicking commence!!
From:heyheath30
Date:January 24th, 2008 02:20 pm (UTC)
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Okay - maybe it's just me (and Suk) but I thought John pinning Dean to the wall by his throat and calling him, "boy" was pretty freaking hot.

Both their voices all rumbly and deep and dangerous - no yelling - which is downright sexy *shivers*

ahem. Sorry ... got a little carried away.

John does see Dean as a man, but as his father, it's hard to remember that Dean is not only grown, but a full-fledged hunter with good instincts and a certain level of badassity all his own. John still sometimes sees the young, inexperienced kid with the missing front teeth. And as a leader, being questioned is probably not going to sit well with John no matter what.

Lots of witch-kicking hunting to come ...
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From:afleetalex
Date:January 24th, 2008 08:53 pm (UTC)
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Yes, all very good points. And I've thought the tension between Dean and John as to who is in charge has always been interesting and worth getting into. And parents always have a hard time watching their kids grow up and do things on their own. Sometimes as the kid you've got to push your way past.

And of course the two of them tangling is hot! Rumbly angry voices no less. Whew! That's enough to make a girl break out in a sweat. And other things.
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From:sukayro
Date:January 24th, 2008 04:26 pm (UTC)
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I actually think it's very healthy that Dean can now stand up to his dad. He's taken him off that pedestal. Finally. *rolls eyes*

Your dad asks if you need groceries? That's sooo funny! But definitely parental. My mom warned me well into my 20s (maybe even 30s) not to rip my fingernails off opening car doors. Why she ever thought I would in the first place I have NO idea but... *shrugs*

Sam. Skye. These names are vaguely familiar... hee hee

I'd say John learned a lot from his own time in Hell. Yes, I know *I* wrote it but still... Sniff.
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From:afleetalex
Date:January 26th, 2008 02:56 pm (UTC)
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How often were you ever at risk of ripping off your fingernails from a car door?? *grin* Now shutting a finger in the car door, THAT, I've done.

I do like it that Dean can stand up to his dad, and you're right, he's now seeing him as a person, not as an icon or hero, so to speak. I think that's another reason maybe that he's upset with Anna's presence. Her presence means John is very much human, can fall in love, can have weaknesses and passions, when he's tried to be so stoic, cold, businesslike prior to her. I can see that throwing Dean for a loop, whether he'd realize the reasons or not.
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