Anna looks up at the soft knock to see a
She smiles and nods. She’s still thinking over her conversation with John and basking in the afterglow of their love making. It drained what little energy she had but it was well worth it. She wishes he could have lain with her afterward, maybe held her while she slept, but the small bed and the IVs made it impossible. So he went to get something to eat at her insistence, leaving her with the taste of him on her tongue and his words of love lingering in her ears.
Realizing Dean’s still standing awkwardly in the doorway she says mildly, “I won’t bite.”
He steps into the room and approaches the bed slowly. “You look better,” he finally says.
“Thanks.” But she can’t think of anything else to say. It saddens her that she could never make a connection with Dean. Especially since he’s so much like his father. And that’s probably why he’s here, she realizes. He’s looking for John. But he proves her wrong with his next words.
“I saw Dad downstairs. He said you’re doin’ lots better.”
She can’t help but wonder why he’s here if not to see John. He must’ve promised his dad he’d stop by, she thinks wryly. Duty call. “Yeah, I am. How’s Ladona? Her arm…?”
He waves his free hand. “Eh, she’s fine. They set it. It was a clean break. She lost a lot of blood too but…” He grins. “I think the two of you cleared out their blood bank.”
She can’t help but smile. He’s obviously trying to be friendly and she’s more than happy to play along. “That’s good. That she’s doing all right, I mean. I’m glad.” She searches desperately for something else to say, not wanting to waste this opportunity. Pointing to the flowers she says, “She’ll love those.”
He flushes slightly. “Uh, actually they’re for you,” he mumbles.
Trying to hide her surprise she says, “Oh. Well, thank you. I love them.” She looks around for something to put them in. “Maybe use the water pitcher?” she suggests.
He deposits them in the pitcher. Great, they look pathetic next to the roses, he thinks.
As if she can read his mind she says, “It’s good to have different kinds of flowers instead of just one. Reminds me of my garden back home.”
“Yeah, I remembered there were daisies. So I thought you might like some.”
She has to blink away tears. He remembers she has daisies planted? It’s probably just because he’s so observant but it still touches her deeply that he even went to the trouble of thinking about them, let alone buying them. “They’re beautiful,” she says softly. “I really mean that.”
He’s a little horrified to realize she’s on the verge of tears. Ladona didn’t say anything about the flowers making her cry! Did he give them to her wrong or something? Sheesh, he hates when women cry! Desperate to distract her he blurts, “Thank you for savin’ Ladona’s life.”
She looks startled. “I didn’t save her life,” she protests.
Now it’s Dean who looks startled. “She said you did. She said you offered yourself to the god in her place.”
Just like his father, she thinks, shaking her head. “I didn’t do anything special, Dean,” she says wearily. But she can’t bring herself to tell him how she fell apart in the darkness. She doesn’t need to give him any more reasons to dislike her.
He looks at her thoughtfully for a moment. Something’s not right. He puzzles over it as uncomfortable silence fills the room.
Anna looks down at her hands. She’s too tired to deal with Dean’s animosity right now. “I’d like to be alone,” she finally says softly.
“Um, okay. Well, I hope you feel better,” Dean responds feeling like there’s something more he should do or say but not knowing what. His brow furrows as he turns to go. Anna’s quiet voice stops him at the door.
“Can I ask you a question?”
He turns, not sure he could feel more uncomfortable than he already does. “Sure.”
Her green eyes search his. “Did I almost get everyone killed?”
He’s taken aback by the question. “Of course not. Why would you even think that?” he asks curiously, returning to stand by the bed.
Her first instinct is to think that, like John, he’s just trying to make her feel better. But she knows that’s not true. Dean’s the last person who’d coddle her. She hesitates before answering him but decides if nothing else there should at least be honesty between them. “Because I don’t belong here. I have no idea what I’m doing and nothing to offer. I’m just…a distraction.”
Her words sting him because they so closely mirror his own thoughts of a few days ago. He knows he should probably just say it’s not true but his instincts tell him that would be the wrong answer. A memory of himself saying something very similar to his dad after his first big hunt flashes through his mind. And ironically that makes everything click into place. He smiles.
“If you’d said that four days ago I would’ve agreed with you,” he responds. “And I’ve been pretty shitty to you from the moment we met so you know I have no reason to sugarcoat the truth.” He hesitates, searching for just the right words. “But after watchin’ you and Dad together and after what you did to save Ladona…it looks like we were both wrong.”
She just stares at him, speechless.
“I’ve been doin’ this so long it’s easy to forget I had to learn from experience too. And I still screw up. Everyone does.” He shakes his head. “I didn’t have trouble cuttin’ Ladona slack for bein’ inexperienced when we first partnered. And it doesn’t bother me when we run up against somethin’ new to her that she has trouble dealin’ with.” He grins sadly. “So it’s pretty hypocritical of me to think you should be able to do stuff as well as me or Dad or even Ladona.” He drops his eyes. “I really am sorry for bein’ such an ass, Anna. You did nothin’ to deserve it. I was just jealous…” His throat constricts with emotion and he can’t go on.
Anna doesn’t bother to wipe away the tears flowing down her face. “Thank you, Dean,” she whispers.
He nods. The silence between them this time is a comfortable one.
“Your dad wants me to keep hunting with him,” she adds after several minutes.
“You’re good at it,” he says softly. “And you’re good for him.” He surprises himself with that last but immediately knows it’s true. Then before he can think too much about it he adds quietly, “He told me about your deal with Nemesis. It kinda slipped out when we were arguin’. But…” He shrugs. “I think you made the right choice.”
She smiles through her tears, feeling like her heart might burst. John mentioned telling Dean just before he went downstairs and she was relieved to be able to confess to telling Ladona as well. They laughed about it, deciding it made no difference. But maybe it did, she thinks as she looks into Dean’s steady green eyes. “Thank you.” After a moment she adds, “Any hunting tips from an expert?”
He grins. “Keep the rock salt handy.”
Ladona’s smiling face flashes through his mind. “And don’t forget to have fun. There’s more to life than hunting.”
She nods and a comfortable silence descends on them once again, filled with a new understanding and appreciation and promise.
John turns and walks away from the door not wanting to get caught eavesdropping even if it was by mistake. He was about to enter when he heard Anna say he wanted her to keep hunting and was surprised into stillness by Dean’s response. His heart overflows with pride and love for his son as he strides up the hall and he thinks that maybe, just maybe, he wasn’t such a terrible father after all.
Then there’s Ladona. He popped in to see her on his way up from the cafeteria. Before this week he hadn’t really considered how he felt about her other than to be happy for Dean. But then he realized he’s spent the last few days worrying about more than just his wife. Ladona’s really somethin’ else, he thinks, smiling. A perfect match for Dean. She confided how relieved she’d be to leave the hospital so she could spell her injuries away. Anna’s too.
He didn’t stay long because she was tired but he did make a point of telling her (if a bit awkwardly) that she means a lot to him and he’s happy to have her as part of the family. He thought about adding that she’s like a daughter to him but didn’t want to sound like he was pushing for her to marry Dean even though he’s sure it’ll happen. Eventually. He saw it in his son’s eyes and in hers too.
He looks up to see Sam and Skye standing by the nurses’ station holding hands. Smiling wider he goes to hug them both and share the good news of Anna’s and Ladona’s recoveries.
“Sorry we’re late,” Sam mumbles but John brushes it aside.
“You’re here now and that’s all that matters,” he answers. It saddens him a little that Sam looks so surprised at his words. Obviously he still has a lot of work to do with both his boys. But when has he ever backed away from a challenge?
They turn toward the hospital rooms but John pauses when he hears the song floating softly out of the radio at the nurses’ station. How appropriate, he thinks, his eyes gleaming. After a moment he follows Sam and Skye, not wanting to miss the joyous reunion of his family. But the words stay in his mind, a fitting tribute to the future.
That old black magic has me in its spell
That old black magic that you weave so well.
Those icy fingers up and down my spine
That same old witchcraft when your eyes meet mine.
The same old tingle that I feel inside
And then that elevator starts its ride
And down and down I go, round and round I go
Like a leaf that's caught in the tide.
I should stay away, but what can I do?
I hear your name and I'm aflame
Aflame with such a burning desire
That only your kiss can put out the fire.
For you're the lover I have waited for
The mate that fate had me created for.
And every time your lips meet mine
Darling, down and down I go, round and round I go
In a spin, loving the spin I'm in
Under that old black magic called love.