banner art by beckieb
Fanfic: Tessa Takes a Holiday
Wordcount: 7,969 in 4 chapters -- complete
Spoilers: Set in Season 5. No specific spoilers. References In My Time of Dying and Death Takes a Holiday
Genre: Casefic, Het, Angst
Characters: Sam, Dean/Tessa
Disclaimer: I don't own Supernatural or any of its characters. They belong to the CW and Eric Kripke -- who'd best treat them well.
Summary: When tracking a Shtriga, Sam and Dean meet an unexpected old acquaintance.
Rating: [R] Mature themes. Language.
A/N: This is my love song to Dean. Because his soul burns bright.
Chapter 1 of 4
You’d think it would be easier when they were old. Life lived fully. Memories. Relationships and binds that at least left the illusion of continuity. Immortality. Wasn’t though. The old ones had the most to lose. The life they clung to had deep roots that pulled and struggled not to let go.
So Tessa was actually happy to be assigned a child ...
A boy who weighed so little now the angels themselves would have to look to be sure they were holding anything at all. His tiny face moved almost imperceptibly as she approached, lips trying to smile but too weak to form the shape. She saw it anyway. It was her gift to see things others could not. Made her one of the best at helping people pass.
Her concentration wholly on the waning heart pitter in front of her, she didn’t see the door open. Didn’t see the two tall men that stood shock-stricken in the doorway.
“Dean? You see her?”
“What’s it mean?”
“Damn if I know.”
“I don’t think she’s, um, noticed us yet. It’s not a Shtriga. We should go.”
“Dean. Seeing her is never good news.”
That’s when the taller one, Sam, turned and met Tessa’s cool blue gaze. “This is a private room,” she spoke firmly but calmly. “You can’t be in here.”
Sam yanked his partner’s arm and walked backward the way they’d come.
The other one said, “What the hell?!”
And then they were gone.
Tessa immediately turned back to her little charge. “You’ll be resting soon,” she whispered moving close. “Your parents are almost here. I know that’s why you are waiting. Such a good boy. They are so proud of you.”
Eyes too weary to cry held hers. She touched his small, bird-like face and left to find his parents. Time was short. They needed the right whisper to bring them back. And let him go.
The hallway was empty but she knew they were near. There were so many things she just always knew. A gift and a burden. Huddled together, walking slowly as if facing the ultimate penalty themselves, the boy’s parents turned the corner. They looked right through her as she knew they would. She was death. Who wanted to see that? Still, she had a job to do. This wasn’t about the parents. It was about a little boy who’d fought so hard, for so long, and really needed to rest now.
She nodded to them as they approached and followed them wordlessly with her eyes as they entered their son’s room. She knew she only had a few minutes before returning to the boy’s side. Taking a deep cleansing breath she took one step forward before a deep gruff bark made her jolt.
“Okay. Why the hell can I see you?!”
She turned slowly. Faced the fiercest green eyes of her existence and said, “Dean?”
From around the corner the other man appeared, talking before he saw them and stopping short.
“Damnit Dean, nobody in their right mind goes looking for a freakin’—”
“Sam,” Tessa said, in the same deliberate voice. She did calm well. Another of her gifts.
“Enough with the meet and greet,” Green Eyes barked. “What gives?!”
She looked from one to the other assessing.
Of course. Obvious once you looked just a little.
Dean squinted his eyes in anger, while Sam’s face muscles twitched. There wasn’t more to say so Tessa simply returned to her task, leaving the boys standing open-mouthed behind her.
The scene in the room was as familiar as the sun rising after a long, cold night. One parent on each side of the bed, the speck of withering life lying between them. Tessa absorbed as much of their grief inside herself trying to help in any small way. She approached the bed from the front and touched the boys stick legs gently through his blanket. “Rest,” she said softly as the monitors blinked a final time.
It was over and so she left the parents to their heartbreak. She knew how sad they were but it was better for the boy. That’s the only thing that made this job tolerable.
She was surprised to see the brothers again as she stepped out of the hospital doors. They started silently trailing after her, not hiding their presence but not approaching her either. Fleetingly she wondered if she should be worried, except that she sensed they wouldn’t hurt her. Still, how long could she allow this to continue?
Not wanting to turn around and tip her hand she approached a young man walking in the opposite direction. “Excuse me. Do you see those two men? Are they still walking this way?”
The young man nodded yes. “Is something wrong?”
Tessa felt around her, reaching out. “No. I don’t think so,” she said. “Thanks.”
She moved on but slowed her pace enough to hear the one called Dean bellow, “What the hell Sam? Is everybody dying around here?”
“Don’t know. Maybe it’s like the last time. A slow down and now she needs to catch up.”
Enough, Tessa thought. Her instincts were right most of the time but she wasn’t infallible. At least here out in the middle of a public street she would be as safe as she was going to get.
She spun abruptly and asked with her steadiest voice, “Can I help you both?”
“Oh, so now you’ve decided to speak with us?” Dean said.
“It seems I have no choice. What is it you want?”
The taller one, Sam, avoided her eyes. Dean took a deep breath and met hers head on.
“Oh, I don’t know, to know why the … why we can see you for one?”
She blinked. That stare could burn. “Are people often invisible to you?” she asked.
This time he blinked. “Cut the games Tessa. What’s going on?!”
She filed away the fact that he knew her name. Eyes moving rapidly up and down from one to the other she assessed with all the arsenal at her disposal. There was a lot going on. None of it spelled danger. At least not to her.
“Why don’t you tell me Dean, what is going on?”
She’d spit his name out at him in retribution for knowing hers.
“Dean …” Sam began. “There’s something wrong.”
“King of the blatantly obvious, Sammy.”
“No, I mean, I don’t think she’s …”
“C’mon Tessa. You and me could always … talk. Are you in any trouble here?”
“We’ve spoken before?” she asked.
He looked at her puzzled. “You don’t remember? We saved you in Greybull.”
She smiled at him. “Really. I think I’d remember you.”
She expected another comeback but instead got the start of a blush she knew only she could sense. This softened her. “Dean. Sam. I’m sorry. I can tell you both think you know me but I believe you have me confused with someone else. We haven’t met.”
Dean turned to Sam. “Could it be another one? You know, using the same, um, form?”
Sam gestured maybe and then got a gleam in his hazel eyes. “Tessa,” he started out slowly. “Why were you in the hospital?”
“On a job.”
The brothers looked at each other warily.
Sam continued gently. “Are we a job?”
Tessa’s brow furrowed. “I hope not. Are you dying?”
Dean smirked, “Darlin’ that’s what we’re trying to find out here.”
She looked up at the heavens a moment before returning her gaze to the two impossibly handsome, hopelessly confusing men in front of her. “Maybe someone told you … it’s not like that. I don’t see the future. I don’t see disease or impending accidents, nothing like that. I just help people clearly close to the end pass. It’s what we do. Our jobs. Doesn’t make us fortune tellers. People don’t usually recover once we get the case. It’s the end.”
“Except for me,” Dean said with an edge to his voice.
Tessa questioned him with her eyes.
“You said … well, one of you said, that I was the one that got away.”
His eyes were bright and searching. It hurt to look at him too long. His soul was battered, destroyed and put back together. Images crashed through her of unbearable pain. Of its own volition her hand came up to gently touch his stubbly cheek. She sensed his miniscule tilt into her palm. He was so tired, so lonely.
His brother’s voice broke the spell. “Dean. Maybe we should go.”
“If you’re not her, why do you have her name?” Dean asked. “And how did you know us?”
Tessa struggled to quell the flood of emotions that touch had given her. “I don’t know you. I heard you use your names when speaking to each—”
The singing of her cell phone distracted her. Abba. Made her happy and she didn’t care if others thought it silly. She dug in her handbag until she found it to check the caller ID.
As she went to answer it she heard Sam say, “Uh, Dean, since when do reapers have cell phones?”