Supernatural: Manic Pixie God Girl Part 14: Carry On, Wayward Father

Supernatural: Manic Pixie God Girl Part 14: Carry On, Wayward Father

Sam didn’t know what Dean had said to Crowley but the demon/angel thing had gulped and the blood had drained from his face.  He half-expected Dean to smite Crowley where he cowered there on the floor and felt a surprising relief when instead Crowley simply disappeared –  seemingly of his own accord.  Dean looked up, a positively cheery expression on his face.  His eyes gleamed too brightly, like he had a high fever.  “Well, looks like we’re going in!  Everybody wear your Sunday Best.  Sam, let’s take a walk.”

They left the angels in conference and moved purposefully down the corridor.  “Going in where?” Sam was none too sure he wanted to know.

“She can’t keep control of her people, Sam.  Crowley showing up here…we can’t have that!  If she can’t keep her end of things running smoothly, it means we just have to step in and do it for her.”

Oh, effff……… “Dean, wait, let’s think for a minute…”

“Sammy, all I been doing for the last few weeks is thinking.  Thinking, and thinking, and thinking some more. Quite frankly I’m kind of sick of thinking.  It’s obvious that Jovi can’t run things.  I get where you’re coming from there, I do.  I acknowledge we have a Jovi problem, I just disagree with your solution.  Jovi just can’t run things.  Whatever part of her used to be able to, it must be that I got it now, and it’s time to stop thinking, and start acting.  I mean, seriously, Sam, making angels out of demons, it’s, that’s just crazy!”

“What about what Cas said…that it made some sense, to make the dangles, and the balance of power…”

“Eh.  She’s giving Lucifer an advantage that he doesn’t deserve, you know, and um, if she and I were together, really together, I mean working together, as a team, instead of this ridiculous separation of church and state…it’s just that we could do so much more if we were together.  It’s so inefficient for us to be separated, it’s just stupid.  It’s a waste is what it is.  Us being together is the only thing that makes any sense.”  Dean stopped walking and then stopped Sam with a hand to his midsection.  His tone went from faux-casual to spookily intense.  “We were made to be together, Sammy, you see, don’t you get it?  She and me were literally made to be together.”  Dean seemed to be waiting for a response so Sam nodded.  Dean resumed walking so Sam did too and when Dean was no longer looking his way, he gulped.  “Now come to find out she can’t even control her own people?  They’re plotting behind her back, behind my back…she needs someone to tell her what to do and make sure that her operation is running according to plan…”

“Whose plan?  Is there a plan?”  Sam suspected pointing out that Dean’s people had also been plotting behind his back would probably go over like a lead balloon.

“Well, of course there’s a plan, Sam.  My plan.  I’m the captain.  I’m steering the ship.  I know where we’re going.  Jovi just needs to get on board.  Smooth sailing.”  And with that, Dean left to go take a shower.  He shaved and trimmed his fingernails and flossed and even put some cologne on.  He didn’t wear his normal Dean clothes, he wore black Levis and a pristine white dress shirt that had a mandarin collar and real mother-of-pearl buttons and a pair of new black boots.  For Dean, that was his idea of high fashion.  While the rest of them scurried around amassing angel blades and holy oil, Dean acted like he was going out on a date and Sam realized with some dismay, that in his mind, he probably was.   

And even though Sam still hated Jovi with every fiber of his being, there was a little kernel of fear in his belly.  

Not of her, not this time.  He wasn’t afraid of God, he was a little afraid for her.

******************

Jovi was waiting for Oriphiel when he got back.  He could see it in her face she already knew what had happened and he was thankful for that because it took that much less time to explain. “Darling, we have to go!  NOW!”  He fought a nearly irresistible urge to start flinging clothing around packing luggage, because they could just make whatever they needed wherever they were going.

“Ori.”  She smiled at him, a small, gentle smile.  He saw both a fatalistic resignation and boundless forgiveness in her face and he wasn’t sure which of them cut deeper.  He had ruined her and she forgave him for it, without question.

He was such a fool.  As they say, when you shoot at the King, you’d best not miss.  And he’d not only missed, he hadn’t even taken the shot.  He wished he had the moment back again.  The gun had hurt Dean.  What might a shot to the brain stem have done?  If it hadn’t killed him outright, maybe it would have knocked him senseless long enough for Oriphiel to cut him into pieces and scatter those pieces all around the world where no one could find them and then toss Dean’s head into the Marianas Trench or something.  Yes.  That would have done nicely.  Thick layer of barnacles on that blonde pretty face.

Even if Jovi would’ve been forever unhappy with Dean gone, at the least she would be alive to be unhappy. “I’ll apologize later, I’ll do penance, I’ll even go to Purgatory if you’d like, but please, please come with me!  He’ll be here any second!”

“Ori, come on.  Be realistic.  He’ll only follow us.”

“We can stay one step ahead of him!”

“Forever?”

“He’ll get bored with the chase eventually, surely!  Dean Winchester has the attention span of a fruit fly!”

“Well, he’s not exactly Dean Winchester any more.”

Oriphiel knew that, of course; if he hadn’t truly known it before, certainly he did now.  “Please, Jovi, darling!  Please.  We have to at least try!  For my sake, please try.”  If he thought begging would have helped, he’d have begged her on hands and knees.

“It IS for your sake, Oriphiel.  If I run, if I run with you now, he’ll kill you.  And I mean forever dead.”

The thought that she might be refusing to run for what she believed to be his sake felt like a knife to his guts.  “If we stay he’ll kill YOU.”

“Maybe.  Maybe not.  I don’t think he will.  Even if he does, I guarantee you, it won’t be forever.  It might be a nice vacation, actually.  Part of me actually kind of hopes for it.”

“Stop talking that way.   I’ll stay and let him kill me, even if it is forever, and you go.”

“No, Oriphiel.  I couldn’t ever manage without you.”

He made a desperate sound.  There was only one other option.  “Lucifer?”  He had a beautiful vision of Dean and Lucifer tearing each other to shreds while he sneaked Jovi off to Outer Mongolia or perhaps the Gamma Quadrant.

“Don’t be ridiculous.”

“But…”

“Oriphiel.”  Her voice was stern and stopped him cold.  “We were living on borrowed time, anyway, you know that, right?  He was already headed my direction.  Maybe you sped it up by a day or two – a week, maybe, but he was already on his way.  It was only a matter of time till something triggered him.”

“I should have gone through with it!”

“No.  You did the right thing.”  The right thing.  Oriphiel hated the right thing.  Doing the right bloody thing would now cost him everything.  One way or the other.  “It’s ok, Ori.  It’s just Dean.  How bad could it possibly be?”

Oriphiel thought about how utterly mad Dean had looked.  Very bad.  He feared that it could be very bad indeed.

******************

Dean, Sam, Bobby, Castiel, and Gadreel burst into Jovi’s castle as soon as they could because Dean really didn’t think he could stand waiting any longer.  He was so delighted to have the excuse finally he was practically beside himself with glee.   

He hadn’t ever been in Jovi’s place before, of course.  He’d never got an invite.  Must’ve got lost in the mail.  He’d only ever seen it from the outside when he just so happened to be passing by now and then on his way to somewhere else.

Not that it mattered now.  Things would be made right.  

The inside of Jovi’s castle echoed with her essence.  Everything was peaceful and tasteful and color coordinated, shades of cream and gold and the classier shades of pink.  It was deserted; wherever the dangles and darkangels were, they weren’t defending the place.  Dean felt surer than ever that he was making the right call.  If he had walked in so easily, what was stopping Lucifer?  Nothing, that’s what.  Jovi was defenseless and she needed protection and he was the only one who could give it to her.  The only one who could keep her safe.  She needed him whether she wanted him or not.

They made their way through empty corridors to a huge, high-ceilinged throne room with a raised set of platforms at the far end.  On the highest sat a queenly throne made from ebony wood.  The blackness of the ebony stuck out like a sore thumb against the cream-gold-pink.  It was hers; he swore he could sense the remnants of her essence coming off of it.  The throne was carved with flowers.  Dean couldn’t see the flowers from where he was, he could only see a distant blur, but he just knew it was flowers.   

A lower platform had two more humble thrones upon it side by side – barely thrones, more like chairs, really, and the lowest still had an even plainer one.  Dean surmised that this throne belonged to the least popular of Jovi’s darkangels, whoever they were.  A set of steps ran up the middle of the platforms, covered with a pale rose carpet.  The carpet looked soft and deep and welcoming and Dean decided later on once he’d won, he’d slip off his boots and walk up and down those steps barefoot in triumph.  

Dean felt a surge of power and got his hopes up, but disappointingly, Crowley and Ruby appeared in the humble side-by-side thrones.  Sam gaped at the appearance of his former demon squeeze.  A moment later Metatron appeared in the lowest throne.  Crowley, Ruby, and Metatron.  Jovi’s darkangels.  That’s nice.  “Really?”

Metatron grinned evilly.  The man was a rodent. “She works in mysterious ways.”

Gadreel seethed, Sam seethed, and Dean found himself seething a little himself.  Crowley he’d been able to explain away as convenience, but Ruby and Metatron?  Darkangels? Jovi had to have done it deliberately just to give him a big ol’ FU.

Ruby and Sam barely exchanged a glance.  She rolled her eyes and cast her attention towards Dean instead.   “What do you WANT, Winchester?

“I’m just here to talk, Ruby.  I don’t want trouble, but I want to see Jovi.  I need to see her.  We can’t just go on like this, working in opposition to each other.  We have to at least be in communication, in case of… I don’t know.  Emergency?”

Crowley, naturally, didn’t want that to happen.  “You can’t see her.  She doesn’t want to see you!”

Dean sniffed, offended.  He was fighting his raging jealousy and the words flew out of his mouth before he could stop them.  “Is she seeing Lucifer?” Grr.  What was the point of being God if you couldn’t even stop words from emerging from your mouth, seriously.

Crowley went ballistic over that.  Apoplectic.  Ruby calmly a sputtering Crowley into silence with a gesture and responded to Dean’s accusation.  “Why do you care, exactly?”

“Curiosity.  I’d like to know if there’s a plot brewing against me.”

Ruby didn’t buy this at all.  “Curiosity. That killed the cat, you know.”

Before Dean could come up with a clever retort, Metatron sniffed disdainfully, as if he found the entire accusation offensive.  “You know nothing about her, Dean, if you think for a moment that she’d plot with Lucifer.”  Weasel.

“Well, I’d like to hear that from her.  You and I don’t exactly have a firm basis for a trusting relationship, Metatron.”

Metatron grinned from ear to ear.  “I knew you wouldn’t stay dead, Dean.  And it was such a good plot twist.” 

Plot twist.  I’ll twist your plot you little…“Crowley, please.  I know you’re still in there somewhere.  Help a brother out.”

“It’s Oriphiel.  We have our orders.  And she has her reasons.”

“Then I’m gonna come in swinging.  And she will lose, and she will have no choice but to listen to me then, whether she wants to or not.”

Jovi appeared beside her throne.  She’d been crying, black trails all down her cheeks from eye makeup.  Dean couldn’t help but react to it.  He didn’t want to make her cry.  Why wouldn’t she just behave herself, why was she making him do this?  Ruby stood up to shield her mistress, as if to shield Jovi from him…from him, why?…and magically fixed Jovi’s appearance by wiping away the tears, carrying the ruined makeup away as she stroked Jovi’s cheeks with her thumbs.  The women exchanged nods and then Ruby stepped aside.  Jovi stepped forward, dejected, defeated, but still the brightest light in the room.  Every eye was drawn to her; after all, she was God, the great and powerful.  She straightened her shoulders bravely even as her hands nervously clutched two fists full of the long, full skirt of her dress, which was so dark green it was nearly black. “Let’s fight.”

The room filled suddenly with Jovi’s dangles, most of whom Dean recognized as former demons the Winchesters had faced in the past.  Dean took it all in.  Even Yelloweyes was there.  How could she?  HOW COULD SHE.  Resurrecting demons at all was bad enough, but how dare she resurrect the demon that had killed his mother, his grandmother, the monster who had killed Jess and fed Sam demon blood when he was a defenseless baby?  He couldn’t even believe she’d do such a thing.  Dean felt himself start to lose control and struggled to regain it.  “You’d rather fight a battle you can’t win, than talk to me for 5 minutes, Jovi?”

“Yes.”

“Well, that’s mature.”  Jovi simply shrugged, helplessly.  Why didn’t she have more backbone?  Or less?  What was wrong with her?  Why did she have to be both so annoyingly stubborn and disobedient, but at the same time so weak-willed that he couldn’t respect her, couldn’t just step back and trust her to run her own life and take care of herself?  Why was she forcing him to control her due to her constant and unremitting ineptitude, and yet holding it against him when he tried?  All he was trying to do was save her from herself, why couldn’t she see that?  “So be it.” Dean focused for a moment and his angels appeared.  He hadn’t gotten creative, himself; he hadn’t had the time.  He’d had Castiel and Bobby remake the old angels who had perished along the way.  It just made sense to him to do it that way, since they already knew how to be angels and he didn’t have to train them.

Jovi apparently found this concept tedious.  “You really have no imagination, do you?  Like, zero, nada, zilch.”

“I don’t need any.”  He disappeared and reappeared in front of Jovi, grabbed both her upper arms in his hands and disappeared again.  They appeared outside, away from the others, in Jovi’s garden where no one could intervene. “…because I have all the power.”

Jovi headbutted him for his trouble, broke away and ran.  Her forehead could only reach up to his chin.  It stung a little.  Dean grinned, finding he was warming up to the idea of this fight in a big way.  He took his time following after her.  Because she couldn’t go far.  When he’d laid his hands on her just then, the waterfall that pushed him towards her became a black hole pulling him and he understood he could simply let go, let the gravity have its way with him, and it would carry him to whereever she ran.  He had all the time in the universe.

**********************************

The angels raised a loud cry and attacked each other.  Chaos ensued as blade met blade and the throne room became a war zone.  Castiel turned to Sam. “I’m concerned for your safety, Sam.  But I can’t leave the fight.  I promised Dean.”  Castiel had to fight, every molecule of glory within his being vibrated with the need to fight.  But Sam was alone, defenseless, and what a coup it would be for a dangle to take out a Winchester.

Gabriel suddenly appeared.  “I’ll keep an eye on him.”

Castiel could not believe that Gabriel still hadn’t picked sides.  “You won’t fight?  Still?”

“On which side, Castiel?  And why?  All this is meaningless.  The real fight has just been moved to a different venue.  And it’s equally meaningless.  Jovi’s already lost.  She lost when she created him.  And she knew that.”

Castiel couldn’t understand.  She lost when she created him? What did that mean?  She wanted it to come to this?  Jovi wanted to lose? “Then why?  Why is she doing this?”

“Castiel, you realize, don’t you? Haven’t you put it together yet?  This isn’t a fight.  It’s suicide by cop.”

It felt true, but Castiel did not want to believe it.  “No? No!”

“Think about it, Cas.  She made him, then denied him, then abandoned him.  Maybe she’s even helping his archenemy, for all he knows.  She’s got him so worked up about her he’s damn near lost his mind.  You’ve been here as long as me, my brother, she doesn’t do things like this on accident.  She never has.  It’s a setup, dude.”

“She’s provoking Dean to kill her?  Sam, do you think this could be true?”

Sam furrowed his brow.  This drew Gabriel’s wrath for some reason Castiel didn’t understand.  Gabriel was always better at reading human faces than Castiel was; to Castiel, human expressions were like clouds crossing the sky.  He might be able to tell when there was a thunderstorm coming or when the weather was clear, but most of the time he had no idea what weather patterns the clouds signified.  “Oh, concerned now, are ya, Sam? A little of that concern, that empathy, somewhere along the way might have made all the difference.  Now it’s too little, too late.”

“Can’t we do something?  To stop them?”

“What could you, or I, even do?  Heard the whole, unstoppable force, immovable object thing, right?  Don’t get in between em.”

“I don’t know, warn Dean!  If he doesn’t understand…”

Castiel was confused.  “But Sam? I thought we…wanted her dead?”  Castiel had never, of course.  He never wanted Jovi dead.  But Sam did.  Or he thought Sam did?  Maybe he had misunderstood.  Humans were confusing.  For his part, Castiel had simply thought eliminating Jovi was the only way, their last, best chance to restore Dean to himself.

“Not like this, Cas.  I don’t think Dean could…come back from this.  We have to…I don’t know…tell him what she has planned!”

Gabriel laughed bitterly.  “How do you know that’s not exactly what Dean’s endgame is, here?  “Thou shalt have no other Gods before me.””

Castiel tried very hard not to find that scenario plausible, but couldn’t, quite.  “Dean…Dean would not do that, Gabriel. Not ever.”

“Because he’s been acting so normal and everything?” Gabriel looked over Castiel’s shoulder and gestured with his chin.  That was a gesture Castiel understood, it meant that someone was coming up behind him.  Castiel turned, finding that Ruby was coming at him with an archangel blade raised.  

Of course Ruby would be the one; surely she would love nothing better than killing Sam Winchester personally.  At the last moment Castiel dodged quickly left and Gabriel, also in her path, disappeared out of the way, reappearing again a few feet to the side.   Her blade plunged into the wall, useless.

*******************************

As Ruby struggled to pull her angel blade free, Castiel took the opportunity to engage her.  Ruby and Castiel began to grapple hand to hand and while Gabriel wasn’t a coward, per se, he didn’t really want to hang out as the sole disinterested party in the midst of a war zone, either.  “Kiddo, I think we ought to skedaddle.  I’m as susceptible to an errant blade as I am one meant for me.  And I don’t know if anyone is going to be here to remake me in a little while.”

“We have to stop him, Gabriel.  He’d never forgive himself.”  The earnestness coming off the guy, sheesh.  It was mindboggling, all things considered.

“One of the things I find fascinating about you Winchesters, both of ya, is how many times you say you’ll never forgive yourself and then 2 weeks later it’s like it never even happened and you never mention whatever it was, whoever it was, again.  Makes me wonder how much you really, like, value, the rest of us bit players.”

“I have to try.”

“I heard tell you were trying to kill Jovi just a few minutes ago.   Changed your mind about the necessity of that?”

“I.  I haven’t, to be honest.  In the long term.”

“Well, he’s the best weapon you’re ever going to have, Sam.”

“Yeah, I know but…But tell me this, Gabriel – if he’s the one who does it, Dean himself…if he’s the one?  How can he ever come back from that?”

Gabriel rolled his eyes, barely able to comprehend the notion that Sam still thought Dean COULD come back, that this was all going to end up with the two of them rolling out in the Impala to fight demons like nothing had never happened.  But convincing a Winchester of anything they didn’t want to hear was like beating your head against a brick wall.  He attempted to disappear with Sam, but didn’t go anywhere.  He tried again, and failed again.  He reached out and explored the energy holding him, even though he already knew it would be Jovi.  “She’s keeping us here, Sam. She means it.”  Gabriel was temporarily overcome with emotion.  Sam closed his eyes a moment.  His lips moved. “What are you doing?”

“Praying, I guess.  Trying to contact Dean.”  

Gabriel examined the idea and found it sound.  “If he hears anyone, it’ll be you.  Keep it up.  I’ll buy you as much time as I can.”  Feeling like a sentimental fool, Gabriel stepped up to engage a couple of Jovi’s angel hybrids…dangles, as the Winchesters called them…headed toward Sam.

*******************************

Dean followed Jovi out of her garden into the deep woods that bordered it.  She was nowhere to be seen but he knew she was there just as he knew his arm was there.  She was an attachment, an appendage.  He called to her, making his voice loud enough so it could be heard for miles.  “You can’t run away, Jovi.  I feel you.  You’re always there.  I could track you down if you were a million light years away.  And it would take me less than a heartbeat.”  Jovi popped out of thin air in front of him and attempted to fight but her blows were absolutely ineffective.  He barely felt them.  Dean grabbed her fist in midswing.  “Jovi, listen, I don’t want to fight. I’m enjoying the hell out of it for some reason, but I don’t want to.”  He was, too, enjoying it.

“I have nothing to say to you.  Just leave me alone!”

With a kick to his shin, she broke away again, disappearing and reappearing behind him, armed with a small, lightweight jeweled sword.  Before she could strike at him, Dean manifested his own sword from nowhere.  It was slim and long like a samurai sword, completely undecorated and utterly deadly.  He was unaware of any conscious thought, the blade was simply there in his hand, and he spun to easily block her blow.  They exchanged a few halfhearted thrusts but Jovi was completely outclassed. 

Even though swordfighting wasn’t even one of the things he’d studied, he was still better at it than she was. 

Dean couldn’t help but find it it all very amusing. “Pretty feisty for somebody so…pitiful.”  He struck at her using a fraction of his strength, really holding back, but even that was enough so Jovi was thrown back onto her heels.  Before she could regain her footing, Dean was already upon her.  Without meaning to, he sliced her cheek open with the tip of the blade.  Careless, so careless, always he was so careless.  He recoiled, shocked, and threw his sword away to the side.  It vanished as it hit the ground and Dean resolved not to call it back again no matter what.  “I’m sorry!” Jovi responded by holding her sword to his throat.  Dean laughed and she pressed the blade harder, enough to hurt.  “Ok, ok!”  He pretended he was putting his hands up in defeat, but instead he grabbed her arm, the arm holding the sword, at the wrist before she got any bright ideas about trying to finish the job.  He heard an audible crack as the bones broke beneath his fingers.  She gasped in pain as he forced her to her knees.   Her sword fell to the ground and he obliterated with a glance. “I’m going to heal you.”

“Don’t do me any favors!”

Dean started to heal her, but then he hesitated.  She sent him a challenging look.  He echoed her words to him the day they’d met.   “I just want to give you a taste of what it means to disobey me.  Pain.”

“My life has been pain!  This is nothing to me! A hangnail!”  Jovi’s eyes narrowed with purpose and Dean felt the hairs on the back of his neck stand on end.  She’d called down lighting from the clear black sky.  At the last second he raised a protective dome around them and the lightning arced around them and into the ground.  As the lightning flashed he realized he was still holding her broken arm in his hand, none too gently.   And he realized he was ok with that.

“What else you got, Jovi?  I’m ready for whatever you want to throw at me.  Water, fire, earth, any other elements you got up your sleeve?  I’d rather talk, though.”  She still refused to yield.  Dean smiled, admiring the moxie, then squeezed her arm so hard he could feel the ends of the bone at the break grinding together through her skin.  He could crush her hand right off if he wanted to.  She gasped, gasped, gasped, but still she wouldn’t surrender.  His heart gave a little twitch, guilt and sympathy and self-disgust, and he realized he had had enough.  It had been fun, but now fun time was over. 

Time to for the ace in the hole. 

He glowed from head to foot, holding nothing back, unleashing his full glory onto her. She had no choice but to worship him and as she gave in she sobbed quietly, defeated.  She tried to prostrate herself, wanted bury her face into the dirt, but he had hold of her wrist and wouldn’t let her look away.  She ignored him long enough, now she would look at him till he said otherwise.

Dean took a great satisfaction in knowing, finally knowing, she’d told him the truth, that she really did have to worship him and he was under no compulsion to return the favor.  “I’m sorry, I know that’s cheating.” He had a thought, a thought he knew he shouldn’t indulge, but it was a thought he couldn’t resist.  “Glow for me.”

“No!”

“It’s your game, Jovi.  You made the rules.  It’s not my fault I’m better at it than you are.  That was what you wanted, wasn’t it?  Someone who could actually beat you?”  Jovi said nothing and Dean gave her broken arm another squeeze.  A good strong one with a vicious little twist at the end.  She screamed and squirmed and he still wouldn’t let her look away from him.  “You know what they say, Jovi.  Be careful what you wish for.  Now glow, because I told you to, and I’m the boss of you.”

Jovi didn’t like it, not at all, but she obeyed him because she had no choice.  Dean fell to his knees worshipfully, not because he had to, but because he wanted to, and as he did, he willed that Jovi’s cheek heal.  He could feel the small bones in her wrist beneath his palm knitting together again.  He released her arm and she pulled it to her chest protectively, rubbing it with her other hand.  The glow faded from both of them and as it did they looked at each other and Dean could tell she felt it the same way he did.  She felt it too.  No playing.  Jovi pulled out of the moment and turned away to sit on the grass, hugging her knees to her chest and resting her cheek on her thigh.  Dean stayed on his knees beside her.  Up close he could see her green dress was made of crushed velvet and he wanted to touch it to see what it felt like, imagined running his fingertips across it.  

He grimaced for a moment as the voices in his head intruded.  “Shut up, Sam.” He looked at Jovi and shook his head. “Do they EVER shut up?”

“No.  If you go far enough away, it’s…it’s better.”

Dean considered this as he shifted position from his knees to sit beside her.  It felt like her proximity was helping, somehow, bringing him back to himself again.  With every second that passed he felt more reasonable and tolerant and patient and he he realized he hadn’t felt any of those things for some time.  With a chill, he understood how far gone he’d been.  “Why do you keep trying to get rid of me?  Why do you keep pushing me away?  Pride?”

“No.  I’m…I’m afraid for you, Dean.   And I’m afraid OF you.”  

“You should have come when I called you, Jovi.  And you would’ve had no reason to be afraid.”  

“Not for my sake.  I’m afraid of what you’re going to do to my creation.”

He wanted to argue, to reassure her, but given what he actually had done, Dean realized it was a fair concern.  A different question occurred to him. “Why am I so drawn to you?  Is that something you’re doing to me?”

“No.  It’s happening to me too, Dean.  That’s why I’ve been trying so hard to stay away.  Once…once I realized, I knew I had to stay away from you.  Because if I was with you, I’d try to keep you, even if the price I have to pay for it is Earth.  You would destroy Earth right before my eyes and I…I would let you.  It’s like a compulsion, to be with you.  I thought if it didn’t work out with you, it would be like a bad blind date that I would laugh about later.  Not…not like this.  It hurts so much.”

“I had to attack you…because…because I had to see you.”

For a perfect moment, Jovi was comically oblivious to how twisted it sounded.  “Oh, that’s so sweet.” She gave Dean an adoring look that felt like a treasure and he wished it could last.  But then it faded, as he’d known it would, as she regained self-control.  She had so much self-control, he hated her for it.  Send a little of that my way, wouldya?  “No it’s not, it’s horrible.  I messed up when I made you, Dean.  So bad.”

“Are you sure, Jovi?  Was it really a mistake, or are we…just going about things wrong?”

It was as if he hadn’t even spoken.  “Surprise, surprise.  Something I did went terribly bad.”  She hesitated, trying to find the words to explain. “I always had this duality of nature, Dean.  What a human would call, male and female spirit.  I’ve always been both.  I made the life that I created, in the male or female image but I never…I never fully separated out the energies themselves before.  I never truly divided male from female.  The beings I made are like tiny pieces of me, so they’ve always had elements of both.  My energy, my essence is…it’s not…used to being divided.  It’s been together for over 17 trillion years and…I don’t think it likes being split up like this.”

Dean agreed.   It made sense, what she was saying.  “Doesn’t like it at all.”

“It’s worse than that though.  I think you, well, both of us really, but especially you, Dean, you’re…out of balance.  The part that I gave to you, what you called the dude stuff, is the judge, jury, and executioner.  The vengeance.  The, “an eye for an eye”.  I gave it all to you because I didn’t want the responsibility for it any more.  I gave it all to you because it makes me sad and I’m tired of being sad.  And I kept the other half, the nurturing, the forgiving part, the soft and fluffy, for myself because I’m greedy and I didn’t want to give any of that up.  So who you are now is not being tempered by anything other than just a very cold and inflexible sense of rationality, and your, I mean, Dean Winchester’s, humanity.  Whatever’s left of it.”

“I’m still Dean Winchester.”

“I hope so.  I loved Dean Winchester.  But I don’t know who you are.”

“I am what you made me to be.  What you wanted.  The most dangerous creature you ever made, Jovi, is a human male, and I am that, a million times over.  They are stone cold killers.  I was a killer when I was a human.  They’ve killed so much, and so much of what they kill is smaller and weaker than themselves.  They even kill the people they love.  When I think about it, it amazes me that women would even want to be around men.  You’d have to be insane. Like kissing a loaded gun.”  Jovi closed her eyes and tensed up, as if she was afraid to hear what he was going to say next. “I think women – which, you are, now, Jovi, in case you forgot – are either incredibly brave, or totally crazy.  You must be like lion tamers, you know, the kind that stick their heads right into a lion’s mouth.  Why would anybody do that, unless they wanted to be bitten, a little?” He found the situation amusing in spite of himself and grinned a half-grin.   “If I’m messed up and out of balance, then you’re right there with me, sister. Two halves of the same sick coin.”

Jovi admitted it.  “I know.”

“Can you stop what’s happening to me?”

“You and Sam, always looking for the quick fix.  The magic that will just be like poof, ok everything back to normal.  Yay, happily ever after.  But, Dean, the real work of creation is slow and tedious, and it takes a really long time and a whole lot of effort.  You are going to have to learn how to handle…this.  You have to learn control, not to go all Yoda on you or whatever, but you do.  It’s not going to be easy and I think you’re going to fail more often than you succeed.  And every time you fail, people are gonna die.  Lots.” Dean considered the notion.  Not the answer he’d been hoping for.  But he wasn’t entirely surprised by it.  “When I was where you are now, Dean, I killed off the entire population of the world…repeatedly.  Everybody hears about the flood, about Sodom and Gomorrah, but there were other times.  Plenty of other times.  So I could start over and get it right. But you know what I learned eventually, is that there IS no getting it right.  The humans have to stand or fall on their own.  We can’t fix what isn’t broken.  They aren’t broken, Dean.  They’re just.  Human.”

“They’re so messy, though.  And it’s so tempting to just…clean up a little.”

“I know.  But it never works, Dean.  They are what they are.  They’re good at life.   I made them to be good at life.  It’s just that being good at life has side effects.”

“Everything seems to have side effects.”

“It does, at that.  What we see as imperfection, Dean, is part and parcel of humanity.  And our job is to love them anyway and forgive them for that.”

“But you got that part, Jovi.  The love, the forgiveness?  What if I don’t have enough? ”

“Then we’re screwed.”  Jovi stopped talking and thought for a while.  “I can’t destroy you, and if you destroy me, if you even can, you’ll be too depleted to stand against whatever Lucifer has planned – for thousands of years afterwards.  He will rule the world until you regain your strength.  And there’s no guarantee my energy would go back into you anyway.  It might just dissipate, become part of the universe.  It might even go into him.  Then my creation would be even worse off than it is now.  A world with Lucifer on one side and you on the other. Humans and angels will be crushed between you.”

“Do you think I’ll end up just as bad as Lucifer?”

“No, of course not you dork, but a lot of evil gets done in the name of unbending, uncompromising good.  I’m so, so sorry, Dean.  I can predict so much, but then when it comes to my own behavior, I have this massive blind spot.”  She sighed and plucked at the grass beneath her with her fingers.  Her nails were that same dark green as her dress.  “I’m trying to hang on so I can help you if I can, but I was barely hanging on before.  I just want…to end.  To die.  I think that’s the real reason why I made you.  I’ll help you defeat Lucifer for all eternity, and then I want you to end my existence, too.”    

“I don’t ever want you any further from me than you are right now, Jovi.  Not even that far.  I can tell you right now I will never.  I will never do that and I don’t ever want you to ask me again.  The very idea causes me physical pain.”

“It would be a mercy killing, Dean.  Really.”

“Jovi, hear me.  Never speak those words again.  They are forbidden to you.” Jovi breathed through her nose, disappointed.  “I won’t control your thoughts…”

“You can’t control my thoughts.”

“Well, I haven’t tried.  But I will not hear those words again.”  Dean understood, at least a little, how deep it ran, how tired and sad and defeated Jovi really was.  “Maybe I can help you, too.  This isn’t a one way street.  Maybe I can make you happy.  Let me try.”

“What you feel is irrelevant.  What we feel.  It’s not real.  It’s empty.  Meaningless.  You don’t really have feelings for me.  It’s just the energy pushing us together.”   

“I wouldn’t…I wouldn’t be so sure about that.”  

“You don’t know me, Dean.  I loved you because I knew you, I knew your whole life.  The good, the bad, and the…karaoke.”

“You’re wrong, Jovi.  I do know you. I look around the world and everything in it, everything amazing and beautiful and infinitely complicated, you made it.  A flower, a snowflake, sunrise…the taste of chocolate.  And I and I alone know how you did it.  The time and the care and the thought you put into it.  The effort, and pain, that it took you?  Into making the smallest grain of sand.  Everything in the universe, I can see how you touched it.  I can’t imagine I could know anyone better.”

“You’re justifying it, that’s all.  It’s no different than if I forced you to love me.  And I don’t force people to love me.  I decided that a long time ago.”

“Tch.  We’re all just victims of circumstance anyway.  Who does a guy end up with in the human world, Jovi?  The girl next door, or at work, or on the barstool beside him.    Random chance puts two people in the same place at the same time when they’re at a place in their lives when they’re looking for someone.  Attraction is programmed by genetics and life experience, and a relationship is just attraction plus opportunity.”

“You’re entirely too smart now.  You’re messing with my head.”

Dean felt a rising sense of panic.  “I have to be.  I have to stop you.  I have to keep you.  It’s too much for me to go through without you.  Lucifer’s getting stronger and eventually he could maybe get strong enough to really hurt you.  And maybe you’d even…you’d even let that happen, you’d ask him to do it, if I won’t.  He could get strong enough and you might let it happen.  You’re scaring me with the stuff you’re saying, Jovi.  And nowadays, when I get scared, I get really, really angry.”

“Dean…Let me go, then.  Instead.  It will be easier if I go.  If you don’t want to leave Earth, it’s ok.  I’ll go far away and I’ll make a new world, if this one means that much to you.  I wanted to hang onto it because I’m sentimental, but you can have it.  I guess.”

Dean refused to listen any more.  “No.  No.  I understand what you’re saying and I can control this, Jovi, I swear to you I can, but I need your help.  If you have the love and forgiveness, then help me.  Be my better half.  Tell me when to act and when to lay off.  I will listen to you, Jovi, I promise.  It’ll be, so much better if you stay.  For everyone.”

“You don’t know that.  It may be worse.  Something bad could happen.  It could destroy us both.  It could destroy the entire world for all we know.”

“I don’t care.  We can make a new world.  This was a stupid world anyway.  No offense. We should let Lucifer have it.”  Jovi didn’t approve, tensed up and took a breath of air and cocked her little head from side to side in an attempt to disapparate, but nothing happened.   She started to panic.  Dean gave her a sympathetic look as it dawned on her.  “Yeah, I stuck ya here. Sorry.”

“You can’t…!”

“I just did.  I give you the gift of sleep, Jovi.  Sleep.”  Jovi blinked, struggling to keep her eyes open, overcome with the irresistible urge to sleep.  Dean caught her as she fell to the side.  He was sorely tempted to just stay there for awhile, hold her in his arms, look up at the stars, the smell of the woods in his nose and the sounds of nature in his ears.  Sorely tempted.  But he had a war he had to get back to. 

They reappeared back in Jovi’s fortress, up on the dais where her throne was.  Jovi was cradled in Dean’s arms, limp, looking dead.  But Dean didn’t realize how it looked, so he just stood there dramatically and waited for everyone to react.

At first Sam, the only entity in the room who wasn’t actively fighting, was the only one who noticed.   Dean could see in his brother’s face he was shocked, horrified, disbelieving – but then again Sammy was always  little slow on the uptake.  Let him wonder, Dean thought.  As the battle raged, Dean raised a new throne beside Jovi’s – his throne, taller and larger, and clearly above hers, in every way.  Folks needed a reminder who was really in charge here.  He made the darkangels’ thrones disappear because who wanted those clowns hanging around?   He glanced around and the feminine quality of Jovi’s castle vanished, replaced by dark wood, stone, metal.   It was his castle now.  Theirs, but you know.  His.

He noticed that many of his angels had fallen, so he brought them back to life and healed their injuries.  He even brought back the dangles since Jovi seemed to like them.  As the environment changed around them, before their very eyes, the warriors gradually stopped fighting to gape at Dean.  Believing Jovi dead, all the angels, both Jovi’s and Dean’s, reacted with great sadness.  They keened as one, wailing and crying, and Dean realized finally it must look to them the way it looked to Sam.  In the crowd he spotted Crowley hurrying to Castiel, beseeching him with his expression, but Castiel was equally stricken.  Idiots.

Seriously?  They all really thought he would kill Jovi?  Really?  FFS.  “The war is OVER!   Stop fighting and get out!”  Everyone in the room had a comical moment of hesitation.

Dean repeated himself, inhumanly loud.  “Get OUT!!”  It wasn’t a command, not yet anyway.

After a few moments, angels and dangles start disappearing.  The archangels and Sam declined the request.  As beings disappeared around them, they shrunk together into a cluster in the center of the room, almost as if they were circling the wagons, almost as if they were gonna make a last stand or something.  Against him.  It was pretty funny, really.  Dean wondered what it was exactly they planned to do.  So he listened in.  Sam pleaded with Gabriel. “Did he…did he…he couldn’t have…could he?”

Gabriel seemed stunned himself.  “I don’t know.”

Bobby, faithful as always, was still not ready to believe it.   “He wouldn’t have.  He wouldn’t have.”

Castiel shook his head, sadly.  “You have more faith than me, my friend.”

And that was enough of that.  If even Cas was doubting him, Dean realized, things had gone far enough.  He jumped across the room and landed in their midst, soft as a cat, with Jovi still cradled in his arms, sound asleep.  He was so gentle he didn’t disturb her at all, and that just goes to show he DID have self-control after all.  Crowley snarled at him.  “I’ll kill you, Winchester, I don’t know how, but I will kill you.”  He made as if to rush Dean but Ruby snaked her arm through Crowley’s to stop him.

“Don’t be stupid, stupid.”  Dean despised Ruby, but she wasn’t dumb.  He would have killed Crowley, no hesitation, if Ruby wouldn’tve stepped in.   

“She’s alive, Crowley.  Oriphiel.  And…I’ll take care of her.  I promise.”  Dean almost felt sorry for the guy.  He was really the big loser of the day.

“She’s not breathing!”  Crowley ground his teeth and clenched his fists.

“We don’t always have to breathe.  But she is alive, Crowley, I swear to you.  She’s just sleeping.  I made her sleep.”

“He gave her a roofie.”  Ruby figured she had it all figured out.  And maybe she did.  Dean glared at Ruby for a long and chilling moment and then laughed.

“She’s…she’s tired, Ruby.  She’s been awake a long time.  She needs to rest.  And no one understands that feeling better than me.”  Gabriel sent a querying look Dean’s way. “She asked me…asked me to.  She asked me to kill her…and I said no.  Even if I wanted to, and I don’t, I can’t spare the power.  She’s safer with me than she is on her own, Gabriel.  She could…in this frame of mind, I think she could go to Lucifer.”  Gabriel made a face as he pondered the implications of that.  “I know you guys have concerns.  I understand why.   I understand I haven’t exactly been…my best self lately.  But I think Jovi and me, we need to help each other get through this transition.  I’ll keep her alive and she’ll keep me…human.”  Dean meant it as a joke, but it fell flat.  He looked away for a moment, no longer sure what that word human even meant.  But Jovi knew, and that was gonna have to be enough.  “Get out of here, go far away.  Don’t come back.  None of you come back here again unless we invite you.  It’s not safe to be around us right now, I don’t think.  We need rest.  And peace.  We have to learn to work together, and it’s not gonna be easy.  We’ll be in touch when we’re needed.”

For his part, Gabriel couldn’t wait to leave.  He liked the humans too much, Dean idly thought.  Best keep an eye on that.  He made a mental note.  “Sounds like a plan, Dad.  Take all the time you need.  Catch ya on the flip side.”  And with that he was gone.

Sam was not going to give up that easily, of course.  “Dean…”

“Adam’s waking up, Sammy.  Be the big brother for awhile.”

“What?  You’re sending me away?  Me?  No!”

Suddenly, Dean felt very weary.  His mitochondria were begging him to take five.  “Sam, it’s a lot of energy for one meat puppet to contain and I need…solitude, I guess you could say.  I can’t maintain the level of control I need to be around you plus do all the other things I have to do right now.  Having people around me is very draining, and Sammy, you are the single most draining person I know.”  Sam snorted bitterly and shook his head.  “Please, Sam, just don’t fight me. Not this time.”  Dean turned to Ruby and nodded her direction. “You’re human.”  Then he set his sights on Metatron. “You’re a gerbil.”

Ruby gasped, shocked into speechlessness as her wings shrank away into nothing.  She leapt away from Crowley to grab at herself, catching only a handful of feathers.  “No, no no, no!  Oh!  God DAMN it!” she whined, looking at the remains of her wings with a stricken expression. 

Metatron didn’t have time to say anything.  He morphed into a gerbil in a ball and started skittering around.  Gadreel laughed.

Dean tried to explain to Sam about Ruby.  “I always thought you two made a…” He searched for the right words.  “…a cute couple?”  Sigh. “That expression is beneath my dignity.  The circumstances were not right before, but things are different now.  Maybe you two can work it out.  Or not.  You have free will.  Enjoy it, Sammy.  Surprise me.”

Neither Sam nor Ruby seemed particularly enthusiastic about that idea.  Sam protested. “Dean…”

But Dean had had his fill.  “Bobby, Cas, get him out of here.  Everybody, out.  Aren’t you supposed to obey me, or whatever?  Or do I need to get my wrath on?”  Bobby and Castiel looked a little sad, because it was an ending and endings are sad.  But they obeyed even as Sam started to struggle.  They disappeared, taking Ruby with them.   

Crowley lingered as Dean had known he would.  “I guess this is goodbye, Squirrel.”

“Let’s keep that nickname between you and me, ok Crowley?”

Crowley stifled a bitter laugh.  “It’s Oriphiel.  Take care of her, eh?”

“If I can’t, you’ll be the first person I call.”  Dean could see his friend’s Adam’s apple work as he swallowed.  Crowley was his friend, Dean knew that now.  He felt kinda bad about the whole ear thing.  The darkangel stared at Jovi for a long moment but then he disappeared finally, and lucky for him too since even though Dean had some regrets, he was starting to get pissed off.

Gadreel, oddly since Dean barely knew the guy, was the last to go.  He picked up the hamster ball containing Metatron and peered into it.  “Can I have him?” 

“He’s all yours.”

Gadreel tucked the ball under his arm and disappeared.

And with that, Dean was alone, but not really alone.  Not ever really alone again.

Dean disappeared his boots and socks and carried Jovi up the stairs to his throne on the dais.  The carpet felt just as good on his bare feet as he’d thought it was gonna.  He blinked and It’s Good to be King began to play.   

It seemed fitting. 

He sprawled in the throne, which was uncomfortable as crap, so he turned it into a La-Z-Boy by tipping his head slightly to the left.  Better.  He popped the footstool up with a twitch of his little baby toe. 

He could have done it all without even moving anything but he was wore out.

Jovi slept on his lap, her upper body cradled against his chest.  He buried his fingers in her hair and realized he’d wanted to do that since the first second he’d seen her.  He thought about how he’d liked her pink hair so he switched it back again.   She wouldn’t mind, probably.

His other elbow rested on the stuffed arm of the chair, his forearm sticking up in the air.  Dean had an urge and a cheeseburger appeared in his free hand.  He bit into it, a massive bite, and found it was delicious.  Extra bacon.  Extra cheese.  Extra gooey.

Dean stared into space while he chewed and while he found the responsibility of being God and everything did weigh on him some, overall he was pretty darn satisfied with his new existence.

 

Supernatural: Manic Pixie God Girl Part 13 – Crazy on You

Supernatural: Manic Pixie God Girl Part 13 – Crazy on You

He couldn’t believe Jovi hadn’t come.  Dean had killed 14 million people directly or indirectly, had tried very hard to kill himself, had even finally mastered a freaking dodo for cripes’ sake, and she still didn’t come.  

What more did a guy have to do?

Beyond wanting, which seemed such a lily-livered word for it – he “wanted” a beer, he “wanted” a Kit Kat bar – Dean craved seeing Jovi.  He had never “wanted” something so bad as he wanted to be in the same place as Jovi even if it was for only like 10 seconds. Just a glimpse would be enough, he figured.  If he could only just set his eyes upon her, that he would see she was nothing special.  The feeling of desperate longing that had seized him could surely be alleviated if only he could see her and remind herself that she was not anything special, not at all.  

The irony was, that even though she wouldn’t see him, everywhere Dean looked, he saw her.  Something she had made, something she had touched.  Her fingerprints were on everything right down to the subatomic level and while he tried not to think about her, tried with everything he had not to think about her, he failed miserably because her very essence surrounded him.  

In retrospect he realized the reason Jovi had kept her distance, why she had tried so hard to avoid him.  It was because when he’d kissed her, their connection had sprung to life like a downed power line.  He thought it was strong before but now it was prodigious, stupendous, gigantic, titanic.  It hummed.  It thrummed.  It pulsated with both kinetic and potential energy.  And it didn’t seem to have an off switch.  It was a perpetual motion machine.

Agh.  Dean hated that he couldn’t think of any non-electric, non-nuclear descriptors.  He found his emotions – even the squishy ones – to be exceedingly masculine, all angles and edges, nuts and bolts, cogs and widgets, as if taken from the pages of Popular Mechanics rather than a book of poetry.  His love, because he had finally accepted that’s what it simply had to be, was all pistons and gunpowder.  It was as tender as a cudgel, as welcoming as sandpaper.  Yet beneath the heavy machinery lay a soft underbelly, tender and delicate and fragile.  He felt it exquisitely but he couldn’t express it in words. 

Dean found himself limited by his nature; despite having the universe laid bare before him he himself was tongue-tied and paralyzed, incapable of expressing the thing he wanted to express the most.  He knew every word in every dictionary now and no word in any language accurately described his feelings.  In moments of fierce self-loathing he thought it was no wonder Jovi despised him, because nothing about the way that he felt about the way that he felt seemed at all appealing to a woman.

Sometimes in moments of weakness he tried reaching out.  Because obviously, duh, she wasn’t heartless.  Obviously, duh, she’d come around eventually and he’d get another chance and this time he wouldn’t blow it.  He just had to make her see, and to make her see he had to see her.  It wasn’t a big deal.  He just wanted to see her, a few minutes was all, just enough time to explain how it had been an accident.  He hadn’t meant to hurt anyone.  He didn’t know what would happen and now that he knew of course it would never happen again.  He tried begging her, pleading with her, asking nicely.  He told her he wanted to apologize in person.  He asked if they could still be friends.  He asked if they could start over again and told her that if he had a time machine he’d go back to that day in the meadow when it had been just the two of them and he’d never leave.  She didn’t answer.  No matter what he did, no matter what wild and heartfelt promises he fervently made, she wouldn’t take the bait.

Fine.  Whatever.  He got the message.  Jovi wanted nothing to do with him.  Ok.  Fine.  Whatever.  Thanks for nothing, bitch.  That Dean still wanted to do with her seemed to be a problem dropped squarely on his shoulders.  Not her problem, even though she had made him (cursed him) and conjured the terrible, wonderful connection between them it wasn’t her problem, it was his problem, his and his alone.

He was very alone, by the way.

Why had he kissed her?  If only he hadn’t kissed her!

If only he hadn’t kissed her, he could have endured it, but he had kissed her.  That kiss had broken him, stripped him bare, left him defenseless.  That kiss had unmanned him.  She hadn’t warned him.  She could’ve warned him.  She should have warned him!

He wondered whether their connection had been an accident and he went back and forth arguing with himself over the possibility.  When he was in a charitable mood he understood in his heart, mechanical as it was, that it had likely been an inadvertent side effect of his creation and that Jovi had to be suffering from it just as he was suffering.  And when he wasn’t, he swore in his soul that it had been deliberate, that she was immune, that she’d programmed it into him to ensure his obedience. 

In those dark moments he found it plausible that she enjoyed tormenting him.  Probably she and Crowley were off somewhere cuddling and laughing at his misery and he was taken with such envious fury that he could hardly control himself.

It was in the depths of the blackest of his black rages that Dean summoned Crowley.   

The darkangel appeared in a small room way down in the innards of the bunker, and Dean realized with a rush of pleasure it probably reminded the man/angel/demon/thing of places he’d been held against his will before, occasionally by Dean himself.  Crowley looked around like a frantic trapped animal but what choice did he have?  Dean was the Head Honcho, the Big Cheese.

Crowley still sported a ‘tude, though.  “What is thy bidding, Master?”

Dean got the reference but was unamused.  “Sit.”  There was a chair in the middle of the room.  Hardback.  Wooden.  Looked tailor made for torture sessions.  Crowley considered disobeying, attempted to, but found that he couldn’t.  Heh.  So he sat, not liking the turn events seemed to be taking, not at all.  Dean couldn’t blame him. “Yep. That’s a command, not a request.  Angels gotta obey the Big Guy.  Even half-demon mutts like you.”

“What do you want?”  Dean snapped his fingers and the angel circle lit.   Crowley rolled his eyes. “You could have just asked nicely, Winchester.  I’d have been happy to pop round for tea and conversation.  Remember, we’re all on the same team now.”

“Are we?”  Dean grinned chillingly and turned the radio on with a thought.  There were many things he enjoyed about being God, but the telekinesis aspect had to be one of the best.  As he had planned, Crazy On You played, loudly.  He paced around the room, circling Crowley.  The idea that Jovi might appear, surely would appear this time, filled him with so much nervous energy that he couldn’t keep still.

“Spare me the romantic power ballads, would you?  I missed you, too, Mate.”

“I’m not playing it for you, Crowley.  She’s listening, isn’t she?”

“Standing outside the girl’s window with your pitiful little boom box, are you?  How low you’ve sunk.”

“Is she listening?  Command, not request!”

Crowley didn’t want to answer, struggled not to, but had no choice.   “She’s always listening.”

“Tell me what she’s thinking!”    Dean stopped his pacing to retrieve an angel blade he had stowed on a shelf.  He wielded it threateningly in Crowley’s direction.  Just to intimidate him, of course, not like Dean intended to use it.  “Or I’ll make you tell me.”

“Do I look like a bloody mind reader?  Her mind is INFINITE. Asking me what she’s thinking is like asking the letter Q to interpret the works of Shakespeare!”

“She talks to you.  Doesn’t she?”

“At times.”

“Confides in you?”

“I wouldn’t go that far.”

“What do you talk about with her?”

“What do you discuss with your angels?  Business. She tells me to take out the garbage, and I obey.  I make her angels, and I train them.  We discuss.  The process, the weather. And other ephemera.”  Dean would have loved to pump Crowley for details about his relationship with Jovi, if any, but it seemed so…desperate.

“Does she ever talk to you about me?”  Well, that wasn’t much better.

“This is an oddly personal line of questioning, isn’t it, Winchester?  Don’t you want to know about our sinister plans?” Crowley was desperately clinging to any distraction he could think of to avoid spilling Jovi’s secrets.

“I thought there weren’t any sinister plans, Crowley.”

“There aren’t.  Apparently one of the downsides of your new status is that you lack the ability to understand sarcasm!  Oh wait, you never had that.”

“Tell. Me. The. Truth!  Why are you guys making angels out of demons?”

“That isn’t even what you asked me!”

Without warning he stabbed Crowley in the hand with the blade.  Crowley screamed. “I can make it so she can’t bring you back, Crowley.”

Dean stabbed Crowley in the other hand and even though he knew he shouldn’t have done it, and certainly shouldn’t have enjoyed it, he was getting a good deal of pleasure out of it.  A very good deal indeed.  Crowley screamed again and struggled to speak. “My name is…is…Oriphiel!”  Dean had gone too far, he knew he’d gone too far, but his rage had hold of him and he wanted for Crowley to hurt the way Dean himself hurt.  

“What’s the matter, Crowley, you can dish it out but can’t take it??  After all the people you’ve tortured over the centuries, a couple little pinpricks bringin you to tears??  If you want to cry, Angel Baby, I’ll give you a REASON to cry.” He sliced Crowley’s ear off and was surprised at how fricking amazing it felt.  It felt so fricking amazing the toecurling pleasure of it pushed the small rational voice telling Dean he was going too far to the back of his brain behind a lot more much louder and much less rational voices.  Crowley grabbed at his ear stump with his bleeding hand and cowered.  “I can make you grow your bits back and cut em off again, if I wanna.”  

“I am Oriphiel.  And I am a changed man.  I’m good now!” Crowley stopped talking for a moment, gasping in pain, before recovering his ability to speak.  “Not saying I like it, because I DON’T.  But she changed me…just like she changed you.  Only in my case it was a change for the better!”

“What are you saying?  That I’m not good anymore?  I AM good.  I am THE good.”

“Not good enough for her, obviously.”  And ba-da-boom, the other ear went.  Crowley gave a bloodcurdling shriek.  God, that guy was loud, not that he could hear himself, since he was earless and everything.  “You’re becoming a monster, Winchester!  And it isn’t cute, and it isn’t romantic, the whole star-crossed lovers thing is wearing thin for everyone except you.  You’ve become one of those things you used to kill.  She gave you the gift of the world and you were unworthy of it.  You’ve been judged by the original judge and found lacking.  The worst punishment there is, is when she withdraws her love.  Cut off from the source.”

Dean felt stricken, terrified that it might be true, but allowed jaws of cold rage to swallow the sensation like a snake eating an egg.  He put the angel blade to Crowley’s throat.  Ice. Made of ice. “I’ll cut off your source.”

“You wouldn’t dare.  You’ve gone as far as you can go.”

After a moment of consideration, Dean was forced to concur.  He stepped back, noticing as he adjusted his grip on the sword, that his palms were drenched with sweat. “No, you’re right. I wouldn’t dare.  There are ten thousand reasons why I would LOVE to finish you, Crowley, and only one reason why I don’t.”  He threw his head back to scream at the ceiling, at the sky.  He made his voice shake the very heavens and the bunker reverberated with it. “Do you hear me, Jovi???  Because I know you wouldn’t like it!!!! Answer me!!!” 

Nothing.

Dean turned away and fell to his knees. Even torturing her favorite pet wasn’t enough to draw her out.  It hadn’t worked.  Nothing worked.  He would never see her again. 

The angel blade clattered to the ground, forgotten.  Suddenly Gabriel popped in and kicked the weapon away into a darkened corner far from Dean’s reach.  He broke the the angel trap with another kick, and Crowley immediately disappeared, reappearing just long enough to retrieve his ears with a sour expression on his florid face.  

Gabriel gave Dean a WTF expression.  Dean looked up at Gabriel, trying to keep the hope from his face. “Did she send you?”

“I sent myself.  I’m not with her, you know.”

Dejection.  “Oh.  I thought maybe.”

“…I came with glad tidings of great joy?  No.  But I’m here to help.  If I can.”  Gabriel paused, searching the best way to phrase his next statement.  “Dean, seriously.  Don’t you think you’re a little bit…letting it control you, instead of the other way around?”

“I know.”  Dean climbed to his feet.  “I need help, Gabriel!  I know, but the only person that can help me, won’t help me.  And I don’t know why.  Why won’t she tell me why?  I don’t know how to do this.  It’s too much for me.  I just need some help, that’s all.  Help.”

“Where’s Sam?  Castiel?”

“Hiding, probably.  Everyone’s afraid of me.  They’re afraid of me now.”  

“Do you think they might have a good reason for that?

Dean spoke and was annoyed to detect a petulant tone in his own voice.  “NO!  No, because I can just find em!” Dean got into Gabriel’s face, more than he really intended.  “You should tell her that.  Tell Jovi.  Anywhere she goes, no matter where she runs.  I’ll be there.  I’ve respected the boundaries and I been more than patient.  But I’m getting bored now, and my patience has reached its end.”

Gabriel recoiled and took a few steps back.  “That wasn’t quite what I was going for there, Dean-o.  Do you get that you might be…scaring them a little bit?  Even Jovi?”

“Why would she be scared?  Of ME?  That’s ridiculous!  I haven’t done anything.  I could have.  I could come after her.  Attack her!  Her power is nothing compared to mine.  I just keep thinking that if we go to war, and then when I win and after I totally rub her nose in her disobedience and offer her my forgiveness, maybe she’ll understand that I really really miss her!”

“Ok, uh.  Wow.  How about instead, of, um, that, Dean, how about instead, if I go and talk to her, on your behalf, and see what’s the what?”    

“You’d like that, wouldn’t you?  To be alone with her?”

“Well, see, slugger, the flaw in that logic is that I can already see her whenever I want to.  You’re the only one who seems to be…out of the circle of trust.”  Dean disappeared for a split second and reappeared with his hand at Gabriel’s throat pressing the obnoxious archangel up against the wall.  Gabriel pretended to be unimpressed, but he was scared.  Dean knew he was scared because Gabriel liked having his life back, he liked it way too much.  Gabriel’s thirst to live was a weapon Dean could use, would use, at some later point in time, he decided.  Dean could taste that useful, useful fear coming off of the guy and boy howdy, it was delicious.  Not as good as Crowley fear, but still.  “Don’t smite me, bro.”

“Your childish antics are not gonna play with me in charge, Gabriel.  I don’t think you’re funny, not even a little, and I don’t really quite GET the purpose of you.  I never have, and now more than ever.”

“Me either.  Something to do with free will, I think.  I’d tell you to ask my mom but…I was remembering SHE WON’T TALK TO YOU NOW.”

“And if you think for one minute, Loki, that I forgot allll those times you tormented me, KILLED me for your own amusement, think again.  Cause we could run that game again only with the roles reversed and a hell of a lot more lava!”

Castiel appeared.  He looked bone tired and Gabriel inhaled sharply, apparently shocked by how rough Cas was looking these days.  But Cas was fine, he just needed a little rest from all the angels he’d been making was all.  “Dean.” Dean ignored Castiel and squeezed Gabriel’s throat  – just a little – until Cas laid a gentle hand on his shoulder. “Dean.” Dean let Gabriel go.  Of course he let Gabriel go, he was always going to let Gabriel go.  Gabriel was in no danger, not from Dean, I mean DUH.  Gabriel seemed reluctant to leave Castiel alone with Dean; tch, like Dean would ever do anything to hurt Cas.  Ridiculous.  These people are being ridiculous.  Castiel nodded at Gabriel.  “I got this.”

Gabriel agreed with a tilt of his head and vanished.  Dean looked at Cas and grinned a WTF half-smile meant to reassure, but Cas didn’t seem reassured.  Why were they all freaking out?  Everything was fine, everything was cool.  He was the same as ever.  Why did people act like he wasn’t?  He was good.  Everything was good. It was all good!  He just had to get this Jovi situation worked out and then they’d all poof off to a tropic island somewhere for a nice long vacay.  “I was just having some fun, man.”  Castiel glanced around, spotted the blood on the floor and the blade in the corner, and nodded.

Good ol’ Cas.  He understood.

*******************************

After The Juice Incident, once it became apparent that Dean was not exactly himself, and the shifting target of his instability even extended as far as Sam himself, Sam holed up in the bedroom with Adam.  

Barricaded was such a strong word.  He was holed up, that’s all. 

Over the months Sam had tried repeatedly to get Dean to allow Adam to wake up, but he wouldn’t.  He kept saying they had enough on their plates right then.  So Adam slept on, as he had for months, oblivious to the God-sized nervous breakdown happening around him.  Gabriel appeared unexpectedly and Sam nearly jumped right out of his skin.  He actually yelled a little, “Aaa!” and then felt rather idiotic for having done so.  Gabriel laughed just once, drily. 

Funny, not funny.

The archangel looked around the room, taking in the sight.  Sam realized that because there was several days’ worth of garbage in there it had to be obvious to anyone who wasn’t a complete idiot that he was basically living in the room and had hardly ventured out for days.  And Gabriel may have been many things, few of which Sam liked, but he was not an idiot.  Sam felt an embarrassed flush rise in his cheeks as Gabriel spoke. “Expecting someone else, Sam? Or were you saving all these bottles of pee for a special occasion?  Glad you were skipping the big jobs.”

Sam exhaled.  No point in trying to keep a charade going.  Things were not ok.  Everyone knew it, and this game he and Cas and Bobby had been running where they tried to cover it up, prevent the news from getting out that Dean wasn’t right, giving Dean as much time as they could give him to figure himself out, was over.  Sam admitted it with body language that yes, he was actually afraid.  Of Dean.  “Please tell me you’re here to help.”

Gabriel laughed, not unsympathetically.  “Me?  Do you know me?  I cause trouble, I don’t fix it.”

“Well, everyone else is at a loss.  He’s barely listening to Cas any more.”

“I promised him I’d talk to Jovi for him.  What do you think about that?”

“I think she got us into this, it would be freaking fantastic if she had a solution.”

“But what if she doesn’t?  What if she’s just as scared as the rest of us?  What if she’s ducking and covering for a good reason here?  I mean, seriously, Sam, the way he’s talking, she may be the one who has the most to fear from him.”

“She needs to do something, Gabriel.  He won’t hurt her.  That I know.”

“Why do you know that?  Because I’m not feeling so sure.”

“I just do, ok?  She won’t talk to him.  It is, uh, slightly upsetting to him.”

Gabriel laughed and Sam couldn’t exactly blame him.  Understatement of the year. “Yes, he said that.  At length.  Do you really think it would help, if she did?”

“Can it hurt?”

“Well, champ, we’re in new territory here.  I’m not sure that anyone really knows if it’s a superduperly fab idea to get those two together.  Maybe it will be like peanut butter and chocolate, two great tastes that taste great together, or maybe it will be like Diet Coke and Mentos.  Explosive.  Literally, figuratively, Biblically, explosive.”

Sam hadn’t considered this and the implications caused the pillow fort of denial he had built for himself to come crashing down upon him.  

What if the cure was worse than the disease?

***************************  

Gabriel intended to go home then, back to the welcoming bosom of Middle America where he could motorboat to his heart’s delight.  Screw it, he intended to give them all Gods and hangers-on an angelic middle finger and poof himself right back to his new life working at the diner.  He had met a woman, a human woman, cute as a button and horny as hell.  A single mom with a couple of adorable little kids.  She had a heart of gold and a sex drive of titanium.  There’s one in every town, you just have to know where to look, and Gabriel always knew where to look.  

But he couldn’t.  Damn it, he couldn’t.

He went instead to Jovi’s fortress, if you could call it that.  She had no wards, no protective spells, and she probably didn’t even lock the door when she went to the grocery store.  Dean or Lucifer or both of them together (which was a possible combo no one else seemed to be taking seriously, but Gabriel actually found it most likely) could have walked right into the joint.  She had no defenses other than an army of dangles that Dean could have obliterated with the power contained in his eyelashes.  It was almost like she wanted to be attacked, and he wondered if on some level, maybe she did.

He appeared inside the castle hallway outside a closed door and was immediately greeted by Crowley.  Crowley embraced Gabriel as a brother and Gabriel endured it, holding his body perfectly stiff, overcome with the proximity of that hideous twist of demon Crowley contained.  Not to mention the sheer unadulterated weirdness of being hugged by Crowley, because ew!  “Gabriel.  Thank God.  I hoped you’d come.”

Gabriel tried not to be, but he was completely skeeved out.  Everyone was putting way too much importance onto him.  He wasn’t important.  He refused to be important!  He declined the invitation!  “Things have got to be getting pretty bad when I’m the one greeted as the savior.  Has everyone forgotten, I’m the black sheep of the family?”

“If you thought he was acting strangely…you haven’t seen her.”  Against his will, Crowley started to break down, his voice cracking.  “I’m so worried!  Gah, I hate being an angel. I’m all emotion and feathers!”

He wasn’t an angel, not at all, but Gabriel held his tongue.  “I knew she’d be a disaster…but he…he caught me off guard.  He says she won’t answer when he tries to contact her?”

“She barely speaks.  But she’ll see you, Gabriel, I know it.  Hope you like Streisand.”

Gabriel missed a beat.  “And if I don’t?”

“Sometimes she’ll turn it down when I ask.”

“Good to know.”  Crowley swung the door open and Gabriel entered.   

While Dean had been brimming over with manic energy, Jovi was very still, almost meditative, sitting on a bed in a darkened room.  But like Dean, she had music blaring –  Barbra Streisand singing Evergreen.  Crowley stared at Jovi with a forlorn expression before stalking out.  Gabriel knew the look – the poor guy had it bad.  He almost felt sorry for the former demon; Gabriel understood only too well what it meant to love God so hugely, so bigly, so all-encompassing that it wrecked ya, when all along in the end it was kind of a one-way street.  The song eventually finished and Jovi snapped out of her reverie, turning the music off and the lights on with a gesture. “Hey, Gabriel.”

He contemplated exchanging pleasantries but decided to cut to the chase instead. “What’s going on, Peaches?”

“I guess I’m supposed to be doing something big and meaningful, either starting trouble or fixing everything?  But I’m just sitting here watching the wheels go round and round.”

“Why?”

“I’m looking for peace.  Which is strangely elusive for such a simple thing.”

“I understand.  Everyone’s always after me to intervene.  I’d rather not.”

“But you’re here.”

“People are scared.  Dean’s um, he’s um, pfft.  Jovi, he’s…not right, somehow.”

“Oh, I’m well aware of that, Gabriel.  He and I are connected…all the time.  He has my brain on speed dial.  He’s screaming at me inside my head right now.  That’s what he does.  Screams at me for hours, then he begs me to forgive him, to talk to him, to help him, then gets angry all over again and screams at me some more, accusing me of…all sorts of things.  It happens over and over again.  You guys think I’m not doing anything.  But I keep him busier than you realize.”

“Can you talk to him, Jovi?   If…if you wanted to??”

“Don’t you think that will just encourage him?  He just needs to accept the status quo and fly off and find his own planet somewhere.  This one is mine.”

Gabriel laughed in wry disbelief.  “That’s a little cold, don’t you think?  You made him.”

“It’s not.  I don’t want my creation to be harmed any more than it already has been.  It doesn’t make me happy to send him away, Gabriel.  Quite the opposite.  But he needs to start creating on his own and get his mind off of what might have been.”  

“Can you fix him?”

Jovi laughed.  “You guys act like being God comes with an instruction booklet.  I don’t even know what’s wrong with him, Gabriel.  If anything even is.  It may be that he’s just very…Old Testament.  And I had to grow out of that.  I assume it’s the same for him.”   

Much to his surprise, Gabriel actually found himself caring enough to get annoyed.  “Just a phase?”

“The terrible twos.”

“Well, I think he needs a time out, Jovi.”

“Can you make him stand in the corner, Gabriel?  Because I can’t.”

“You haven’t even tried.  Passive is not a good look for you.”

“I’m not right somehow, either, in case you hadn’t noticed.”  Gabriel paused to consider it.  She’s not right either, could that be?  And it rang true.  Maybe it wasn’t so much that she didn’t want to act, but that she couldn’t.  Maybe she didn’t have it in her any more.  Maybe she’d given that away.  Maybe she was as broken as Dean, just a different kind of broken. “I think the less contact he has with me, the better.”  

“The better for him, or the better for you?”

“The better for my creation.   He has to get away from here, away from Earth…and if I see him…I don’t trust myself.  I could try to keep him here, to keep him close to me.  I love him, Gabriel.  Beyond all reason.”  Jovi nearly began to cry, struggling to keep her emotions in check.  Gabriel sighed.  It wasn’t that he was unsympathetic to her plight, he was, but she had made her bed and all that.  She had made all their beds, without consulting anyone beforehand.  Same as it ever was.  “When I went through…my dark period…there was like a hundred million people on this planet, and most of them were innocent-er than people are nowadays?  And I was used to being…this.  There are 8 billion totally debauched human beings on this Earth right now calling out to him.  The only way he’s gonna make it through without destroying them is if he sets up shop somewhere else.  I can’t let myself stop him.”

“A little late to think of all this now, isn’t it?”

“Yep.”  

Gabriel tilted his head to the side, unsatsified by the exchange, and vanished.  

********************

Once he had gone, Jovi sat for a moment in silence and steeled herself.  She put her guard back down and winced as the screaming in her mind started up again.   It wasn’t fun but at least Dean wasn’t hurting anybody as long as he was busy hurting her.

She turned the lights down with a gesture and the music up with another one.  

Love, ageless and evergreen.

***************************

When Gabriel arrived, Oriphiel had taken the opportunity to travel to Chinatown.   The one in London.  He knew a guy.

A demon, actually.  One of the nicest bits about Jovi having him turn the demons into angels was that he could stay in touch with old friends.  He didn’t have to make excuses, tell everyone about how he was an angel now and the old lady won’t let me perform evil any more.  He could still run in his old circles, keep his old connections, let the word get around.  They were more accepting of his angelic status than one might think, all things considered, and it just so happened that he knew a guy.  

After treating himself one of his favorite meals, lungs (he was enormously thankful that Jovi had seen fit to allow the new angels to retain their earthly appetites and the ability to indulge them) he entered the shop, an unassuming place marked with Chinese-looking characters that only demons…or former demons, apparently…could read.  He entered the shop and was assaulted by odor, incense and spices and magic and dead things. He loved it.  One of the things he desperately missed about his old life was the fragrance of the demon world and he wanted to strip naked and wallow in it like a boar in the mud.

Zhang Yong looked up from where he was measuring something that would have appeared to the uninitiated to be dried mushrooms, but Crowley recognized them as desiccated monkey hands.  Zhang Yong himself would have appeared to the uninitiated as being human, but he was genetically closer by far to a mushroom.  “Crowley, you stink!  You smell like angel!” Oriphiel didn’t correct the name, he never bothered with demons.  It only confused them. “You take shower, then come back!”

Oriphiel laughed.  “I’ve tried, believe me.  Doesn’t wash away.”

“What do you want?  Hurry, you scare my customers!”  While joking, the demon was probably right; if most demons got wind of an angel in Zhang Yong’s shop they’d turn tail and run and probably never return.  Oriphiel decided to hurry for the sake of friendship. He had planned upon dissembling, working his way around to it after a lot of witty banter but he didn’t feel particularly witty.  He sometimes feared the cleverest parts of him had gone along with his demon nature.

He mostly just wanted it over.  “I need to kill a god. A very, very, very strong god.”

Zhang Yong tilted his head back and forth like a curious little bird. “What?  You too?”

“Me too?”

“Yeah I guess everybody want to kill a god this week!!  Two other guys want to kill god, they come in here the other day and ask for something to kill a god!”

Michael and Lucifer.  Had to be. They were back in the present time and he had left Jovi alone.  He felt sweat break out upon his head and down his back, but he needed more.  “Describe them.”

“One real tall, and other one wear coat, even though weather is hot.  One human and one like you.”  Oh-ho.  Not Michael and Lucifer.  Sam Winchester and Castiel.  Wanting to kill a god, you say.  Interesting. “They say they got problem god they need to get rid of.”

“A p-pppr-pproblem?” Oh no oh no ohno ohno ohno ohno ohno nononononono.  Not Dean, of course not Dean, those two would never even think about killing Dean, they intended to…

“Yeah, some god cause a lot of trouble for them.   They want to get rid of it.  Maybe you know same god, heh!!”

“Maybe.”  He mopped sweat from his forehead.   Why had he stopped for the lungs? They shifted uncomfortably in his stomach as if to remind him of those precious minutes, wasted.  Maybe they were already there, maybe Gabriel had been in on it.  And Oriphiel had left her.  Alone, defenseless.  Nononononono.  Couldn’t be, it simply could NOT be.  It took everything he had within him not to leave that very second.  But he must have what he’d come for, now more than ever.  “And what did you give to them, Zhang?  If you don’t mind my asking?”    

“Don’t worry, boss.  I don’t give them good gun.  I give you good gun.”

“You didn’t give them a good gun?”

“Yeah.  I have two gun.  One good, one bad.  I give them bad gun.”

“Why was it a bad gun?”  Please, please, please.  Oriphiel didn’t even know who he was praying to.  Dean, perhaps, and then he stopped because he didn’t want Dean to hear what he was doing.

“Because it only kill little god.  Not big god.  Only little.” Oriphiel relaxed for a moment but then thought of Jovi, how small she was, and his heart lurched.

“I want the big gun.”  He threw everything he had in his pockets on the counter.  He had brought thirteen enchanted demon gemstones with him, unsure as to how much the transaction would cost.  He had saved them up over a hundred years’ time but he was suddenly terrified that it wouldn’t be enough.  He worried that in his eagerness he’d shown his hand to the demon and now the price would go so high that Oriphiel couldn’t afford it without having to go back for more.  He had more, of course, and he would have given every treasure he owned freely, but the bloody time it would take!

Fortunately Zhang Yong was a good-natured sort and Crowley had always been an excellent customer.  Only a foolish businessman tries to cheat a loyal customer.  He took the gems with cheer and fetched a very old box tied with a string.  He opened it for Oriphiel to inspect its contents.  The gun was made of two pieces of bamboo tied together with strands of very old silk and a triggering device on the bottom of carved bone.  It looked very unassuming, which Oriphiel took as a good sign that it was authentic.  

You could always tell.  The Indiana Jones factor.  The fancier something looked, the less likely it was to work.  “Bullet is dragon bone.  Dragon bone kill anything.  Only one shot, only one chance, Crowley.  Make sure you don’t miss!”

“I won’t.  And the god will stay dead?  Forever?”

“Yeah!  Of course!  My guarantee!  Some magic, not even gods come back from!”

Good.

He went first to Jovi.  He was relieved to find her perfectly fine, even better than when he’d left her.  She had eaten something and bathed and dressed.  She looked more…herself…than she had for some time.  Oriphiel’s fellow darkangels – who he’d had his doubts about honestly, but seemed to be working out well enough – informed him Gabriel’s visit had raised her spirits a bit.  Jovi seemed happy to see him and he took her in his arms and smoothed her hair from her face.  “Let’s run away together, Oriphiel.”

“Yes, let’s.  Where shall we go?”

“A galaxy far, far away from here.”  

“I’ll pack my bags.”  He so wished it for a moment that it seemed it could come true and the insanity came over him once more.  “Do you love me?”

“I love everything I ever created, Oriphiel, I already told you.”  Ah.  But then she grinned saucily.  “But some things, I love better than others.”  And he felt a feeling that simply had to be bliss.

The entire time in the back of his mind he repeated it to himself.  Only one shot.  Only one chance.  Only one shot.  Only one chance.  Only one shot.  

Only one chance.

***************

The gun was so lame, Sam thought it had to be a fake.  

It was made of some kind of pressed thick paper, like a toilet paper tube but ancient, and was the size and shape of a Roman candle.  As the demon had explained, that’s how you fired it, too. Held it in your hands like a drunk teenager on the Fourth of July, aimed it and prayed.  But Sam didn’t know who to pray to any more.  Neither option held appeal.

How could you kill God with a firecracker?

He and Castiel sat in the kitchen with the gun on the table between them.  They had agreed it would be Castiel but Sam sensed the waves of doubt coming from his friend.  He sighed and blinked and slumped in his chair.  “I can’t, Sam.”

Sam sighed.  The entire plan had been built around getting Castiel into Jovi’s fortress.   The idea that Sam could possibly get inside without Cas’ abilities, could get in the same room as Jovi without being searched, could get close enough to Jovi to do the deed – the odds felt insurmountable.  “You have to, Cas!”

“I can’t.  And if I try, Sam, I’ll fail.  Because I can’t.”

“You have a better chance than I do!”

“Sam, it is something I cannot do.”

Bobby appeared then.  He must have sensed something amiss because his eyes were already narrowed accusingly upon arrival.  “Well, what the hell is that, then?” Castiel bowed his head, ashamed.  Sam could have throttled him for showing their hand.

“Bobby, it’s…don’t even worry about it.  It’s nothing.”

“It’s something.  Cas?”  Castiel simply shook his head.  “Is it for him, or for her?”

Maybe their cause wasn’t lost.  Maybe they could get Bobby on board.  He had eyes, he could see what was happening.  Sam hoped against hope and rolled the dice.  “Bobby, look, we have to do something, we can’t just go on like this…”  It was obvious what needed to be done, why was he the only one who could see it?

“Is it for him, or for her?”  Bobby had gone red in the face, as red as the bottle of beet juice Dean had recently hucked Sam’s direction, and Sam felt his hopes evaporating.   

“It doesn’t…it isn’t…Bobby, come on…”

“It’s for her.”  Castiel sighed.

“So he’s the problem, and killing her is your solution?  Idjits!”

“She created the problem in the first place, Bobby!”

“So this is revenge, then?”

“It’s not revenge, Bobby, it’s HER, she makes him crazy…”

“And you think that’s gonna stop if she’s gone, huh, Sam?  Everything’s just gonna go back to normal again?  You’re even stupider than I thought!”

“Bobby…”  Sam could hardly bear to see it all falling apart now, slipping away like rock salt through his fingers, not when they’d come so close.

“You’re a Hunter, kid, believe me I understand.  Everything to you, looks like something to kill.  It’s your solution to every problem, is killing.  But I’ll tell you right now, Sam, if you think that killing Jovi is gonna make Dean simmer down and behave himself…you don’t know nothing about God, because vengeance is his, not yours.  His to take.”

“I agree it’s a gamble, Bobby, but there’s no other option…”

Bobby apparently thought there was another option and before Sam could do anything to stop him, he’d grabbed that precious God-killing gun from the table and crammed it right down the garbage disposal and flipped the switch.  In a heartbeat Sam’s last hope of saving his brother was gone with a metallic whine.  A few supernatural sparks flew from the disposal and then that was the end of it.  Castiel looked relieved.  “He was right, Sam. It was a mistake. Thank you, Bobby.”

Sam tilted his head back to stare at the ceiling.  Something was going to have to give, and soon.  No one wanted to admit it for fear of changing the status quo, for fear of breaking this strange tentative truce they were all living under, but it was true.  

Something had to give.

**********************

Oriphiel didn’t have any trouble getting into the Winchester’s bunker.  They hadn’t raised wards against him.  He suspected it was likely the same reason Jovi hadn’t raised wards either – neither she nor Dean truly wanted to prevent the other from coming to them.  They still hoped.  It was sad, really.

Only one shot, only one chance.

But she would forget Dean in time.  Her strength would return and eventually she would have recovered enough to create another God and he would be there waiting.

Only one shot, only one chance.

She had forgiven him everything else, so she would forgive him this, too, because of all the things he had ever done as Crowley, all the horrible, awful, dreadful, unforgivable things, this thing was done from love and not selfishness.  She would forgive him. Eventually.  It might take a few millennia but they had the time.

Only one shot, only one chance.

He decided to become Crowley again, for a moment, to let the demon part of himself free to finish the task set before him.  Crowley wouldn’t have wavered.

Only one shot, only one chance.

Crowley crept down a corridor to a room in which Dean was curved over a desk, writing something.  He raised the bamboo gun before him.

Only one shot, only one chance.

He had a perfect shot.  The back, or the head.  Perfect.  The shot was his to take.  All he had to do was pull the trigger and Dean would be gone and Jovi would be his.  Eventually.  After a few hundred years, maybe some penance, a century or several in Purgatory, Jovi would be his.

But he found that he couldn’t.  He couldn’t pull the trigger.  Not even as Crowley could he pull the trigger.  He thought for a moment it had be some sort of spell, some sort of magic, a ward perhaps, or a precept set into him upon his creation that he couldn’t harm God, but upon closer inspection he realized it wasn’t.  He still had his free will and full control over all his faculties.  He could pull the trigger, he was physically capable of doing so, but he couldn’t pull the trigger because it would hurt Jovi.  And Oriphiel, even wearing his Crowley-suit, didn’t want to hurt her.

He wanted Jovi to have what she wanted and not have to settle for a disappointing traitorous replacement.  He wanted her to have better than him.

Oriphiel lowered the gun and as he did Dean turned around in the chair.  His mouth went dry.  Dean had known he was there all along, of course.  He was never in any real danger.  Dean smiled with cold amusement and Oriphiel knew he was well and truly screwed this time and what was worse, he had taken the only thing he’d ever really loved down with him.  For Dean would not let this stand unanswered, of course.  Of course.  “What brings you by, buddy?”

“I…I…she didn’t send me.  It was me.  I acted alone…”

Faster than even an angel’s eyes could see, Dean moved across the room and had taken the gun before Oriphiel could lift a feather to stop him.  “I know was you, Crowley.  Jovi wouldn’t hurt me.  Because she knows better.”  He looked the weapon over with an appraising eye. “This little thing?  You really think that this little thing could hurt me?”  

“I had to try.”

“You had to fail, is what you had to do.  You can’t destroy me, Crowley.” Dean raised the gun to his temple and Oriphiel felt a sense of dread coming over him.

“No!  You can’t!”

“I thought you wanted me dead, Crowley.  Don’t you want me dead?”

“I thought I did, but…I couldn’t…I didn’t…I stopped.”

“Because you didn’t have the cojones, am I right?  Couldn’t get the job done when it counted.  No wonder she’d rather be with me.”  He closed his eyes suddenly and pulled the trigger.  Oriphiel felt himself give a shout as the gun went off.  But Dean didn’t fall. The dragon bone bullet passed through his skull from one temple to the other and came out the other side and lodged in the wall of the bunker.  Dean reopened his eyes but they were gone, just bloody red sockets where they had once been.  A wave of revulsion rose up Oriphiel’s throat. “Little help?”

His hands…no, his entire body trembling, Oriphiel reached out and healed the vessel of this…thing…whatever it was, that had once housed his friend, Dean Winchester.   He longed for the real Dean Winchester in that moment, wished that the human Dean was still there to help him stop the beast that stood before him.  This monstrous God.  It reached out and seized Oriphiel by the scruff of his neck and they disappeared.

They reappeared in a room, the kitchen, Oriphiel realized, once he got his bearings.  Castiel, Sam, and Bobby stood around a table, apparently having a tense argument.  The Dean-thing threw Oriphiel to the floor at his feet as the three stopped to gape. “Looky what we have here, guys.”   

“What happened?”  Sam.

“Crowley here just tried to kill me.”

“I didn’t…strictly speaking.  I thought about it, but, but, but I changed my mind.  I decided that we could find a better way…to communicate…”  Dean kicked Oriphiel in the ribs. He coughed and tried to catch his breath.  “They…they were…”  He coughed again. “They were planning to kill her, Dean!  They were going to kill Jovi!”  Even though that hadn’t been quite the way the timeline had gone, it was a plausible enough lie and Dean fell for it, hook line and sinker as Oriphiel had hoped he would.

His face went vivid red and his voice shook the building.  “What!?!”

“Dean, listen…”

“I heard through my connections that they…and I assumed YOU, Dean, wrongly, wrongfully, I see that now, had procured a weapon that had been rumored to kill a God.  And I acted, I see now, wrongfully as I’ve stated, perhaps a bit rashly, but you can surely understand my dismay…”

“Shut up, Crowley.  Where is it?”

“Dean, come on, he’s lying…”

“You know, I don’t think that he is.  Well, I’m sure he is, because his lips are moving, but Sammy, I can see it in your eyes, you have it, I want it, where is it?”

“Damn it Dean, come on, we weren’t gonna use it on YOU!”

That idea had not even occurred to Dean.  “Use it on me?  Was that an option on the table?  Cas, Bobby? Were you planning on trying to kill me?”

The old man went red, or redder, since he’d been rather impressively red to start with.  “You can leave me the hell out of this, you pack of lunatics, you all deserve each other.”

Castiel finally spoke up.  “Bobby wasn’t involved.”

“But you two were?  You were plotting to kill me?  You, Cas?  Sam?  Really?”

“No, Dean, come on, be serious here.  Like Cas, or, or, or like I would do that, come on, I’m your brother.  I mean, come on!  It was…it was for Jovi, ok?  If Jovi was gone, maybe, you know, things would be easier on you, is, is what we were thinking.”

“Easier, on me?  Is that what you think, Sam?  Easier on me.  Heh.  Yeah, that would not…that would not have been…easier.”  Dean laughed bitterly. “Well, where is it now?”

“Bobby put it down the garbage disposal.”

“Heh.  Well, good, Bobby, thank you, I appreciate it.”  He seemed so normal in that moment, so Deanlike, that Oriphiel’s hopes rose a little, thinking maybe there would be no truly terrible consequences for his actions, that while he might be in for a lightning bolt or two up his arse, maybe nothing that had happened would blow back onto Jovi.

“Doesn’t mean I don’t think everything is all hunky dory here, because I don’t, Dean.”

“I know.  I know, Bobby, you’re right.”  Dean stared straight ahead without moving for quite some time and it went on for so long that eventually the rest of them all glanced nervously at each other, wondering what to do next.  But then he puffed out his cheeks with air and breathed out and the angel Gadreel appeared in the room with them.  “My third archangel.  Fill him in, guys.”  As the others moved together to form a circle, Dean turned his undivided attention back onto Oriphiel and the casually demented expression on Dean’s face as he stared down at him, caused Oriphiel’s fledgling hopes to disintegrate into dust.  “And you…are free to go.”

“Just like that?”

“Just like that, Crowley.   I am nothing if not…benevolent.”  He smiled a terrible empty smile and Oriphiel knew it wasn’t over, would never be over, this was the new normal, the human Dean was gone forever.  Oriphiel disappeared, praying desperately to no one in particular that he could persuade Jovi to run, far and fast.

Because vengeance was his. 

Supernatural: Manic Pixie God Girl Part 12 – The Gods Must Be Crazy

Supernatural: Manic Pixie God Girl Part 12 – The Gods Must Be Crazy

If you missed Part 11, it’s here: https://atomicfeminist.com/2019/05/15/supernatural-manic-pixie-god-girl-part-11-angles-in-the-architecture/

If Bobby would’ve only been a human still it wouldn’tve been so damn frustrating.  

It happened sometimes with the Winchester Boys, they’d start doing crap Bobby didn’t approve of, things he couldn’t keep his mouth shut about, so he’d take a step back and get busy with his own life for awhile.  After all, he wasn’t their boss and he wasn’t their daddy, and they were grown ass men.  Dumb as balls both of them in their own way, sure, but grown ass men all the same.  Wasn’t his place to tell Sam and Dean how to live their lives no matter how bad they needed for someone to tell them how to live their lives.  So he’d take a step back. 

He couldn’t do that now because he didn’t exactly have a life to get busy with. 

Being Dean’s archangel meant he was a servant, like a butler or a bodyguard, and the expectation was that he would be at everybody’s beck and call.  No one came right out and said it but Bobby knew damn well if he went incommunicado there would be annoyance and snarky remarks, if not wrath.  But he wasn’t any man’s whipping boy, not even God’s.  While Castiel may be ok living like that, Bobby Singer wasn’t.

Bobby decided he was gonna be an angel more in the mold of Gabriel.  More of a doing-his-own-thing kind of angel.  A don’t-call-us-we’ll-call-you kind of angel.  A taking-road-trips kind of angel.  That’s how he came to be standing in front of Sheriff Jody Mills with his hands in the air, looking down the business end of a loaded, cocked double barrel shotgun.  “What are you, because I know you are NOT Bobby Singer?”  She was scared of him, which figured, and he couldn’t half-blame her.  She’d seen loved ones come back in the wrong form before, not that he was her loved one or nothing, but just, you know.  It was understandable.  It might not be him, was all, and he’dve done the exact same had their places been reversed.  “What are you?”

The problem was, he just didn’t know how to explain it.  It just seemed too…stupid.  It wasn’t so much that it was unbelievable, it was that it was plain idiotic.  Bobby found the entire concept of what he was and how he’d come to be, downright humiliating.  “Jody, you wouldn’t believe me if I told you.”

“Well, why don’t you try, and then we’ll see if I fill you full of buckshot, or rock salt.”

“If you need to, that’s ok.  I can’t die though, at least, not that way, so don’t be too shocked when I don’t.”

“I bet it will hurt though no matter what you are.  So.”

She was right about that.  “Ok, well, I’m an angel, apparently.  An archangel, I guess you could say, not to put too fine of a point on it.”  And then to prove the case he unfurled his wings, which felt ridiculous and show-offish but seemed like the fastest way to convince her.  He felt a blush rise beneath his beard as he did it.

Jody was unimpressed.  “I’ve seen better tricks than that at the grade school talent show.”

“They’re real.”

“Real like a Kardashian.”

“What’s a Kardashian?”  The name sounded familiar but Bobby couldn’t place it.  He figured there must be some new kind of demon in town.  “And how do you kill it, because if you need me, Jody, you know I always got your back.”

She lowered the gun suddenly.  “Bobby, it IS you, isn’t it?  Really?  Is it you?”

“Yeah.  It’s me.  Unfortunately.”  He sucked his wings back up.  “I keep pinching myself hoping it isn’t true, but then I say ow.”

“How?”

“I got resurrected, or whatever, and then before I could escape I got angelified.  Heh.  I can’t even get left alone when I die.”

“Huh.  Who did it this time?”

Bobby started talking and then stopped.  The words Dean is God tended to get stuck in his throat.  “You got anything to drink?  Because I think this is gonna go down better with a whiskey or two.”

“Can you drink?”

“Almost as much as I could when I was human.”

“That doesn’t seem right somehow.  Like, morally?”

“Angels ain’t what they used to be.”  

Jody fetched a bottle of Wild Turkey and when they’d got good and drunk, he told her the whole story.  When he was done telling it, Jody sat there in silence for a while and he knew she was thinking about the people she had lost.  Her son, her husband, friends and neighbors.  All of them things that God could have stopped, but didn’t.  “Well, I gotta say, Bobby, I think I’m with Sam on this one.”

“Oh, believe you me, I see that side of it myself.”

“I mean, I guess I always thought that God had some sort of higher purpose, and it would all fall into place someday, once I knew what that purpose was.  I would feel ok about it once I understood that that was the way things had to be.  For things to be as they should be, you know?  For God’s plan to come out the way it was supposed to.  I never really stopped to consider that maybe God is just an idiot?”

“If you met her, you could see.  She means well.”

“Wasn’t she the one who said the road to Hell is paved with good intentions?”

“I s’pose she knew from personal experience.”

“But knowing didn’t seem to stop her from inflicting her good intentions on the rest of us, now did it, Bobby?”

“Like I said, Jody, I do see that side of it, I surely do.  But.  Well, I think she was just in over her head, a bit.  With Dean to help her now, things’ll maybe be different from here on in?”  He didn’t sound convincing, not even to himself.

“Don’t even get me started on that dubious concept, Bobby.  Dean Winchester as God?  I mean, that’s just crazy.  Seriously.  No way that’s not gonna end up going bad in a big way.  Hm.  If I knew back then what I know now, I guess I should have walked away and let him die one of the zillion times I had the chance.”

“Heh.  Yeah.”  He had thought she was joking but she seemed kinda serious.  She poured herself a full whiskey and sipped at it.  Bobby didn’t know what more to say, and so said nothing.  But he couldn’t help but think.  Dean as God?  While Jovi essentially turning her back on Earth for centuries and doing nothing with her omnipotence had been bad enough, somehow the idea of Dean, a man of action who’d spent his life rushing in to hordes of slavering monsters to kill everything he could get his hands on and thought plans were for pussies, seemed worse.  Jody was right, Dean being God was the Bad Idea to end all Bad Ideas, and probably literally.  It was only a matter of time before he blew his cool in some fashion or another.  People would die, people always did. 

And worst of all, if Dean wasn’t real careful, and and who was Bobby kidding, Dean was never careful, people might find out the truth of who they were really dealing with.

What might humans do if they found out God wasn’t all-knowing, that there wasn’t some benevolent plan, that human misery was largely borne from the misery of a higher power who was suffering even more than they were?  That the person they’d been counting on to make things all right, was actually all wrong themself?

Bobby didn’t know, exactly.  He tried to remember being human, the nuances of it, the particulars, but it was fading faster than heaven had faded.  Still, he remembered enough to know that most humans weren’t like Jody.  Most humans weren’t reasonable and sympathetic and decent and slow to react without knowing all the facts.  Most humans were actually the polar opposite of all those things.

Looking at Jody’s face, the disappointment settling in, the defeat, he realized people finding out that God was a lonely needy little girl who was barely hanging on by her fingernails instead of an all-knowing all-seeing type of guy doling out presents to everyone like Oprah, it simply could not be a good thing.  Let alone if they found out about Dean, that there was a brand spankin’ new God who had been a human up till 5 minutes ago, and that he was none too steady himself. 

When you looked at it from the outside it was clear nobody who ought to be, was in the driver’s seat. All of creation was careening off a cliff at 100 miles an hour with two scared kids who had stolen their parent’s car behind the wheel.  

Humans would rebel like the angels had rebelled, and the funny thing about people is when they rebel, generally they hurt themselves the most. 

In that moment he knew he’d never be able to be an angel like Gabriel, no matter how bad he wanted to.  Bobby Singer had spent his life fighting against evil and it looked like he’d spend his afterlife doing the same, just in a different capacity.  As a PR rep and cleanup man for the two least awe-inspiring Gods ever.

No matter what the price he had to pay, people couldn’t ever know that the lunatics were in charge of the asylum.    

********************

Over the next several weeks Dean tried, he really tried not to use his powers, and had some measure of success with it.   No more frivolous stuff, he’d decided, no more gambling and miracles and magic tricks. The juju was for emergency use only.

Dean quickly learned, much to his dismay, that not using his powers actually started to hurt over time, like having a toothache or an ingrown toenail or one of those giant zits you get that just won’t pop no matter how hard you squeeze em.  The urge was an ever-present, irritating, dull ache.  He felt antsy and squirmy and just a little swollen all over his entire body.  He felt tender and sensitive and bruised.  His ears rang and he felt pressure behind his eyes like there was a monkey in his brain tugging relentlessly on his optic nerves. 

And that was on a good day.  On a bad day the discomfort swelled into insatiable hunger and unquenchable thirst and intense desire all wrapped up with something he now recognized as the creative urge.  On those bad days he longed for release so he could feel normal again, so he didn’t feel like he was climbing the walls and that his skin was crawling. 

He found giving up his powers harder than quitting drinking, which he also did, but easier than quitting Jovi, which would have been impossible if not for the occasional maintenance dose of hot fury.  He would have missed her terribly except for how dare she, how DARE she create him, create this ridiculous, inexplicable, bottomless pit of emotion he felt, and then reject him?  It made his blood boil which was good because anger was the only thing allowing him to function.  If he didn’t have his anger to cling to he thought he might end up curled in a ball crying or something and Dean Winchester didn’t cry over women and he certainly wouldn’t cry over THAT one.

He was fine without her.  Fine and dandy.

Dean decided to look at his suffering as a means to an end.  Because the more he hurt, the more he felt like he was gonna explode from pent up energy, the stronger he was getting.  And the stronger he was getting the closer he was to defeating Lucifer.  Life was pain, Dean was miserable, but it wouldn’t last forever.  It hurt, it hurt bad, but it was temporary.  Endurable.  It was only a means to an end.  The pain would end when Lucifer was vanquished.  Forever this time, no more half-measures.   

That God had been trying to defeat Lucifer for eons, well, Dean preferred to not dwell on that too awfully much.  Accentuate the positive.  He would win, and he would win SOON.  He just had to get strong enough – mentally, physically, metaphysically – to defeat Lucifer and then with that chore off their to-do list finally, surely Jovi would soften.  Once Jovi wasn’t so stressed out, wasn’t so worried about the fate of the world, she’d be more receptive to new things, probably.  Plus, come on, she’d have to be pretty dang impressed that he’d worked the trick that she never could. 

Not that he cared, really, because he didn’t.  All the things Sam said about her were totally right, and besides that, she wasn’t his type anyway. 

Giving up booze made him sleep better, which surprised him since he’d generally gotten drunk so he could sleep.  He got 10 hours of sleep a night and even took naps in the midafternoon like a child or an old man.  He started drinking kombucha, which was awful, and kefir, which was ok, and various fresh squeezed juices, which varied, instead of living off coffee by the pot and the hair of the dog like he had been.  He went Paleo and gave up gluten. He started eating foods he’d never heard of like Acai berries and coconut oil and quinoa.  He communed with his mitochondria and was pleased to find they were full of gratitude for his efforts.  

He did these things even though he knew damn well that it was pointless.  Alls he had to do was have Castiel heal his vessel to be in perfect health.  But Dean discovered value in the effort.  He felt in control, he felt like he was accomplishing something and it was only when he dwelled on it too long that he admitted it was probably all just mental masturbation.  

He could feel himself getting stronger again, but so slowly.  Too slowly.  His glory was like a big empty rain barrel filling up and even though it added up it was still just trickling in a few drops at a time.  Chronos was living up to his end of the bargain and keeping the lesser gods on the move, but it wasn’t a perfect system and Lucifer was still catching an unlucky one now and then.  It was a race to the finish, Dean knew, and it was impossible to con himself enough to believe that drinking a flaxseed/spinach smoothie and sleeping in could really be the key to winning Armageddon.

But he did it anyway.  At the least, getting healthy gave him something to focus on.  It gave him something to hang onto, a vine to pull himself out of the quicksand he felt like he was sinking in sometimes.

Even as he lamented how slowly his glory accrued, he found he had an excess of physical energy so he took up jogging and weightlifting and kickboxing.  He could exercise for hours on end, then have Castiel heal his vessel and exercise for hours more, putting all his anxiety and misery into smacking a heavy bag and with every punch he threw he told himself he was that much closer to proving to Jovi once and for all that she wasn’t good enough for him.

When one sport got boring he switched to another.  He found his body could learn in days skills that it took humans years to master.  He went mountain biking and golfing and bowled every alley in the United States which was a huge source of pride for him.  He took up tae kwon do and krav maga and archery and this weird stupid thing called parkour and he got satisfaction in knowing the next time he encountered Lucifer, even if he couldn’t kick his ass, at the least he’d be able to run away in an interesting fashion.   

And yet the pressure kept building.  God was who he was now and he couldn’t just leave it behind and take up a new hobby.  Just like Dean Winchester had once been a Hunter, now he was a Creator.  Needing to create was like a pebble in Dean’s shoe, a burr in his saddle; it poked at him as he was riding a bike down a rocky slope and tickled him as he was putting a golf ball across a green.  The more he longed to create, the more he resented that he couldn’t do it as well as Jovi could, and the more frustrated got about how bad he sucked at it.  He would look at the trees as he whizzed by them on his bike or the blades of grass under his feet on the golf course and feel extreme awe that Jovi could construct something so absolutely perfect completely out of her imagination.  Along with a surge of burning jealousy that he couldn’t do it himself.

Copying things she had already made wasn’t good enough for Dean.  Not anymore.  He wanted to make his own things.  He urgently wanted to show Jovi that he could create things himself, new and dazzling things, so much better than her creations, so she would feel that same awe of him that he felt of her.

But he couldn’t.  He couldn’t even practice.  Freaking Lucifer.  He had to be strong enough to fight Lucifer.  He didn’t have the glory to waste with experiments that would likely end in failure. 

Dean decided that since he couldn’t make stuff, he would just DO stuff instead.  Fix problems, make things happen.  Perhaps that was where his talents lay.  The things Jovi created were ok and everything, some of them were pretty cool like hummingbirds and watermelon and the Grand Canyon, but surely there was room for improvement.  Just look around, look at the world, what a freaking disaster.  What a mess it all was.  Maybe he could take Jovi’s creations, the things that didn’t work as well as they should, which was most of them in his very humble opinion, and give em a tweak.  Home improvement projects, he thought of them as.  Like training his muscles required small repetitive motions over time, surely he could hone his ability to create the same way.  Little adjustments, again and again, until he mastered creation.

People seemed to be the main problem, thus Dean decided it was people who he’d fix first.  Since he didn’t have the mojo to start kicking some ass and taking some names, he had to work smarter, not harder.  He did the math and calculated that only a very small percentage of the human population committed most of the violent crimes. He could sense them sticking out of humanity like a sprinkling of black pepper on mashed potatoes.  God, how he loathed them.  So he very, very subtly began to change the odds so the worst people would be just a little more likely to die.  He didn’t kill them, exactly, he just made unlikely, unpleasant events a little more likely to happen until eventually they’d either contract some rare, usually incurable illness or manage to kill themselves through some sort of delicious, poetic justice-y freak accident.

It didn’t take him anywhere near the kind of effort that killing them all outright would have done; in fact it took barely any effort at all.  He could do it on the sly and keep gaining strength at very nearly the same pace.  It just…took the edge off, was all.  Of course he was doing it to make the world a better place and everything, but it also took the edge off.  He figured it was like methadone for a heroin addiction.  A pale imitation of the thing you really wanted to do but somehow it got you through.  

More important, it didn’t attract any untoward attention.  

Dean understood instinctively that the concept of a real live God performing real live miracles, particularly killing-people-related miracles, would have a negative effect on humanity as a whole.  Not only would it scare them, but people seemed to need the uncertainty of it all; the “does God exist” question seemed to spur them in ways that absolute faith couldn’t.  He had read that when training animals, intermittent punishment and intermittent rewards were much more effective training tools than consistency.  Which was mighty effed up when you stopped to think about it, but maybe that was one of Jovi’s careless mistakes that he needed to fix.  When he was strong enough he was going to fix all her mistakes.

This went on for a few weeks before Death wised up to the game and paid Dean a visit. 

Dean had been surfing, his latest endeavor.  He’d been at it for three days and was getting pretty good.  He’d had a crowd of people watching him, even.  As he came out of the surf he saw Death appear, and so he sent his admiring onlookers away with a thought.  “Hey, D-Man. Pallid as ever, I see.” Death was a guy who needed to give up gluten and take up mountain biking, for sure.  Dean stuck his surfboard into the sand and shook his head to dry it.  He was pleased to see that a whole lot of small beads of water flew from his hair to pepper Death’s black suit.

“You should see yourself, Winchester.”  Dean knew all too well that despite his best efforts at eating clean, despite having spent the last 3 days in the Australian sun, his vessel was still was a little gaunt, a little pale.  His eyes were still sunken and red-rimmed.  He still had more healing to do before he was ready to face Lucifer even though it felt like the healing was killing him.  “I’m sure you’re aware why I’m here?”

“No.”  He was, of course, but it seemed better to play dumb.

“Been killing rather a lot of people lately, haven’t we?”

“So?”

“I thought you’d learned you can’t disturb the natural order?  Remember?  When you tried to do my job for a day and made such a mess of things?”

“Ah, but that was by saving people who were meant to die, not killing people who were meant to be alive.”

“Semantics.”

“It isn’t semantics.  Your argument is fundamentally flawed, Death, because I can’t go against the natural order.  When I was a human, yeah, sure.  I was subject to the natural order.  But I’m God now.  I create the natural order.  I make the rules, so I can bend em whenever I see fit.  You got a problem with that?” 

“Well, I don’t, no.”

“Jovi sent you?”  Dean found the concept of a messenger sent by Jovi more than a little thrilling.

“Not exactly.   We spoke, and you’re causing her distress.  I took it upon myself.”

“Why?”

“Old friends.  The oldest.” Dean knew that Death and God had been together since the very beginning and just the idea that Death had ever known Jovi so well, had ever had the privilege to be alone with her for a second let alone for trillions of years, caused a flare of jealous rage so great that the earth shook under Dean’s feet.  If Death felt it, he ignored it. “I don’t like to see her that way.  Death is my domain, as her domain is life.  I try to protect her from it, when I can.”

Dean wondered if it had ever been love, as unlikely as it seemed; he wondered if there could be something there still, which seemed even unlikelier.  He realized that even if Death was no more than a friend to her, he did not want Jovi to have a single friend other than him and the earth shook again.  “You have no need to protect Jovi from me.”

“Not from you, Winchester, from the consequences of your actions.”  The concept that Death felt interceding between him and Jovi was even remotely acceptable was infuriating.  Dean wanted Jovi to be for him and him alone, a trillion years in the past and a trillion years in the future.  He knew it wasn’t right and it wasn’t fair to want that but he wanted it anyway.  “What you’re doing is stupid anyway, there’s no bloody point.  You’re making a rookie mistake, don’t you realize that?”

“I don’t make mistakes!  I act, and it’s up to everyone beneath me to react.  Nothing I do is a mistake. I am the Word.”

“She is the Word as well, and she doesn’t like killing for no reason!”

“She’s allowing evil people to live.  And they kill.”

“Once they’re dead, they cannot be redeemed.  She allows the evil to live to allow them every opportunity for redemption!”

“They don’t deserve redemption.”

“Redemption isn’t deserved, it is bestowed!  Redemption is a gift, not a payment for services rendered!!”

“I have no interest in arguing about the finer points of Godhood with the likes of you, Death.”

“Well, you should discuss it with someone, because you’re botching the job!”

“Says who?”

“She does.  And honestly, she seemed a little sorry to have made you at all.”

Dean remembered what Lucifer had said, that Jovi wouldn’t have created him without the ability to destroy him, and he remembered that Death’s Scythe maybe-just-maybe could kill God.  Even if the scythe couldn’t kill Jovi, maybe-just-maybe she had made it so the scythe could kill Dean.  Maybe Death was the failsafe that Lucifer had been so sure existed and he felt goosebumps rise even though he was baking in the warm sunshine.  “Is that why she sent you here? To kill me?”

Death laughed drily.  “She didn’t send me.”  The temerity of it, that Death had taken it upon himself to come here!  That Death thought he was worthy of standing in judgement on the actions of God!  The rage boiled inside Dean then out of him and because he knew he couldn’t kill Death, he reached out with that precious power that he’d been so carefully preserving, that had taken him so much effort to accumulate, that he knew he shouldn’t be squandering, and he snuffed out every one of the evil men (and a not-small group of evil women) that he’d been killing off one by one by one.  Snuffed them in a heartbeat. Death sensed it immediately, of course.  His beady eyes went wide and a flush of red appeared on his pale cheeks. “I had plans tonight!”

“Guess you’ll have to reschedule.”

“I’m trying to explain, what I came here to try to explain, Winchester, you can’t just kill off the evil!  It doesn’t work like that!

“I know, because it looks suspicious.”

“No, because it’s pointless!  You realize every evil person who falls, more rise to take their place?”

“What?”

“Evil is largely about opportunity, you twit.  Human nature and opportunity.  The world is full of people who would simply love to be evil, to do evil, but they just never had the chance yet.  All you’ve done is created millions of job openings that will soon be filled, and the precise sort of chaos in which evil thrives!”

“Maybe, but the world will get a couple good years before they do.”

“You’ll see.”  And he disappeared.

That night, the evening news breathlessly reported millions of inexplicable deaths across the world.  People were saying it was Armageddon.  There were bank runs and all the food in all the grocery stores was gone because people were hoarding it.  Riots and revolutions had broken out around the globe.  People were sacrificing animals and virgins.  There were mass suicides, mass murders, genocide.  North Korea launched a nuclear warhead into Portland, Oregon.  Apparently Death had been correct, there were still plenty more evil people left to take the place of the ones Dean had killed.  Hundreds of thousands of innocent people were dead already and the number kept climbing.  It was like the aftermath of a tsunami where the death toll keeps rising and you’re wondering how high could it possibly go.  

Exactly like a tsunami, he realized.  He had unleashed a tidal wave of divine wrath and the world was drowning in the wake of his temper.  He may as well have made it rain for 40 days and 40 nights.  Dean, of course, didn’t have to watch the news, he already knew everything that was happening.  He knew because billions of people were praying at him, giving him a full accounting of the penalty humanity was paying because he had had faltered for a split second.  He felt each and every one of those prayers like he was being poked all over with small icy needles, millions of them every second. 

It didn’t seem right that you could be good – better than good, great, practically perfect even – like 99.99% of the time but with a single, brief moment of weakness, just like that, boom, everything is undone.  It occurred to him that of all the demons they had ever fought, he had just done worse than them all combined because he was upset that a girl didn’t like him any more.

He knew it already.  He didn’t need the news to tell him, he knew how bad it was.  He had turned on the news so Sam could find out about it without Dean having to actually tell him what he’d done.  Sam and Castiel sent alarmed looks back and forth at each other as they watched the images on the screen but no one said a word.  Dean sat on the couch and stared into space and chewed the inside of his cheek till he tasted blood.  He couldn’t decide if it was worse that they didn’t say anything, or if it was better.

They didn’t even look his way. 

After a while Dean got up and left the room.  He got drunk for the first time in weeks and took sleeping pills at the same time.  A whole lot of sleeping pills.  He figured it didn’t matter, not like he could die anyway, so he took the whole bottle and then conjured up another whole bottle and took that too.  Then he took some other stuff he found in the cabinet, cough syrup and antihistamines and painkillers and he washed it down with whiskey.

There was something symbolic about it, ritualistic, even though he knew he couldn’t die.

If he could have died, he would have, he would have died to take it all back if he could but he didn’t have enough power to undo what he had done and he couldn’t die.  If he could have died he would have died of shame.  Dean was so ashamed of himself, of his anger, of his pride, of his lack of self-control that he wanted to die and so he pretended that he could.  He just wanted to be numb, completely and totally numb for a while.

It worked.

*********************

Sam called Bobby back from South Dakota.  

It wasn’t because of what Dean had done, it wasn’t because everyone on Earth was freaking out and killing each other or that it was all Dean’s fault, because that seemed like such an insurmountable thing Sam just wanted to push it away forever and never think of it again, even though that made him a bad person or something, probably.  

Sam called Bobby back because the bunker was full of animals and Dean wouldn’t wake up.  Dean was making animals in his sleep.  Wild animals.  Lots of them.  He couldn’t create things when he was awake, but apparently when he was asleep he had the knack, and Sam couldn’t get him to wake up.  Castiel had healed him, had filtered the drugs and alcohol out of his system, but Dean still wouldn’t wake up.  It was like he didn’t want to wake up or something.

Bobby already knew what had happened of course and when he appeared he waved off Sam’s apology.  “I was on my way anyways, ya idjit,” he said as he kicked what Sam figured was a Komodo dragon away.  “I saw the news.”  Bobby ducked as a peregrine falcon swooped past his head in pursuit of one of the hundreds of small rodents that scurried across the floor.  “It’s like Noah’s frigging Ark in here!”  

“Tell me about it!  What do we do?”

“Well, put em back where they came from, I guess.”  That’s the way the night went.  They tried to get Dean to wake up, tried everything from cold showers to coffee, but he wouldn’t wake up.  As the animals appeared Sam would Google them and try to find out where they belonged and then Bobby and Castiel would drop them off whereever it was on Earth – an adventure made all too thrilling by the frequent appearances of Bengal tigers and alligators, animals which Dean had a particular affinity for.  Thankfully, Dean didn’t seem to be able to create dinosaurs which he also loved, or, as Bobby said, “We’dve had to open up our own version of Jurassic Park.” When the angels were gone and couldn’t see him doing it, Sam pray-screamed at Jovi to come and help them, to do something, to do anything, and she didn’t answer, naturally.

Sam was so over Jovi it wasn’t even funny.

Gabriel, thankfully, did hear and respond, and a good thing too because Sam didn’t think they could have managed without him.  He seemed to think the entire situation was hilarious and cracked jokes and threatened to give Dean a cocaine enema if he didn’t wake up soon.  Somehow his high spirits were contagious and pretty soon they were laughing even though everything was awful. 

When Dean woke up the next morning, Sam was dozing on the couch finally.  Dean had stopped making animals a couple hours prior and the angels had gone off to see what they could do to mitigate the civil unrest.

There was only one animal left, the last one Dean had made.  It didn’t have a place in the world any more since it was extinct.  Sam hoped against hope that Dean might find some joy in it.

Dean had finally managed to make a Dodo.

Dean shuffled in, holding his body stiffly, like he was sore or injured or really cold.  Sam knew that he couldn’t be hurt because Castiel had healed Dean repeatedly during the night and he realized with a chill that some injuries are on the inside where no one can really see.  Sam sat up as the dodo waddled over to Dean and gazed up at him with an adoring expression on its cartoonish face.  Sam figured if the thing could talk, it would have said Mama.  Dean stared at it blankly.  “You made it in your sleep.”

“Did she come, Sam?”

She hadn’t, of course, and Sam was overcome with a sudden need to change the subject. “The dodo, Dean, you did it, see, isn’t that awesome?  Now you can just copy it and…”

“Did she come, Sam, and if you ask who, so help me…”

“No.  She didn’t.”  Dean sighed, and blinked, and sighed again.  He looked at the dodo and much to Sam’s dismay the dodo disappeared into a cloud of dust and then the dust disappeared into nothing.  “Dean, wait!  What?”

“You can’t just remake old things, Sam.”

“What? Why?”

“It’s against the natural order.”  Dean shuffled in that strange stiff way into the kitchen and stopped.  Since he’d been on his health-food kick the kitchen was full of vitamin bottles and exotic fruits that Sam didn’t recognize.  “It had its chance.”

“But I thought you wanted…”

“I wanted?”  Dean’s voice cracked and he spun around and the expression on his face, Sam didn’t recognize it.  Like, he barely even recognized it was Dean that’s how different he looked.  Like, unhinged, totally unhinged.  If Dean’s eyes had been twirling in spirals, they would have matched what rest of his face looked like.  “I WANTED!?!  Since when has what I WANTED mattered?  In my LIFE?  Never?  I didn’t think so!”  As he yelled spit flew out of his mouth, so much of it that Sam could see it from across the room.

“Dean.  It’s ok.  Who cares, about the dodo, or whatever.  It doesn’t matter.  Just…it’s ok.  It’s fine!  Do you…do you want to talk, or something maybe?”  Sam desperately hoped Dean would say no because Sam didn’t know where to even begin, I mean what could a person say that could begin to make yesterday even remotely ok?  He hadn’t the foggiest notion.  They didn’t exactly make Hallmark cards full of encouraging platitudes for when God gets cranky.

Dean tugged the refrigerator open way too vehemently and everything inside sloshed and jostled in protest.  He bent over to rummage around inside it.  “And what, pray tell, might I want to talk about, Sammy?”

“Uh, I don’t know, yesterday?”

He slammed the fridge shut and turned, his arms full of juices and smoothies and other mystery potions.  “Do I WANT to TALK about YESTERDAY?”  Dean flung a bottle of wheatgrass juice at the wall.  It shattered, leaving a massive green splot on his Van Gogh.  “Hell YEAH I want to talk about YESTERDAY!”  He flung a bottle of something vivid orange at the floor roughly in the neighborhod of Sam’s feet, which were bare because he’d been sleeping.  Sam could feel droplets of icy juice splash his lower legs.

“Hey!  Dean…!?”

“But do I want to talk you YOU, Sammy?”  He flung a yogurt smoothie in a plastic container at the TV.   It went right through the screen and exploded on the wall on the other side and Sam recalled Dean had supernatural strength and didn’t feel particularly awesome about being right in his line of sight.  “I can say pretty EMPHATICALLY…” He threw another bottle Sam’s direction, so fast Sam couldn’t see what it was till it hit the floor and drenched his feet in purple fluid.  Beet juice.  “…That I DO NOT!”  The last bottle whizzed right past Sam’s head and hit the wall with a loud ker-sploosh.

As his brother spun on his heel and opened the fridge again looking for more ammunition, Sam took the opportunity to flee, ignoring the tiny shards of glass burrowing into his bare feet as he did.  He heard another bottle breaking behind him and felt more liquid hit the back of his legs.  As he shut the door behind him, another bottle hit the door hard enough to shake the entire wall and Sam wondered what would have happened if he’dve been ten seconds slower and the bottle had hit his skull instead.

Castiel and Bobby appeared beside him.  They were both filthy and exhausted and they’d only been gone a few hours.  Whatever Dean had unleashed, it was bad.  “What’s the ruckus?”  Bobby asked, but Sam could only shake his head.

From behind the closed door they could hear the sounds of smashing plastic and shattering glass as Dean obliterated the vestiges of his latest self-improvement project.  The destruction continued until he must have run out of stuff to throw.  There was a long moment of silence and then Dean howled in frustration, an inhuman sound of pure wounded animal agony that shook the entire bunker.  Sam clapped his hands over his ears and winced because his teeth hurt, but more than that his heart ached for his brother.  Before Sam could stop him, Bobby opened the door to go to Dean’s aid.

The horrible sound stopped.

There was no glass, no mess.  It was like nothing had even happened.

Dean was gone.

Part 13 is here: https://atomicfeminist.com/2019/05/18/supernatural-manic-pixie-god-girl-part-13-crazy-on-you/

 

 

Supernatural: Manic Pixie God Girl Part 11 – Angles in the Architecture

Supernatural: Manic Pixie God Girl Part 11 – Angles in the Architecture

It’s been awhile, but I finally finished this bit of fluff!!  Link to Part 10 is here: https://atomicfeminist.com/2018/07/20/supernatural-manic-pixie-god-girl-part-10-with-friends-like-these/ and if you want to start at the first one, it’s here: https://atomicfeminist.com/2017/10/31/supernatural-manic-pixie-god-girl-part-1-dean-does-dead/

Dean and Sam and the angels rushed around preparing for World War Three (probably literally) and he frantically called to an unanswering Jovi every second or two but then nothing happened.   An hour passed, and then two, and then three. Dean was thinking about maybe ordering some pizzas when someone pounded on the door of the bunker. It was Jovi and she had Chronos with her. The guy looked pretty rough; Lucifer had worked him over good and he even had a couple bites taken out of him by the looks of it.  But he was alive, which was good, Dean supposed. “Why did you knock?”

“The door was locked!”

“Well.  Ok. But why didn’t, you know, you just show yourself in?”

“It’s warded, you idiot!”

“Oh, I didn’t know that.  Sorry.”

“Who cares, would you help me?”  Dean realized suddenly that Chronos was leaning pretty heavily on Jovi and he leaned in and took the weight off.  He realized with a start that Chronos had only one foot.    

His other leg ended at a bloody stump with a bone sticking out from it.  “Yeah, he ate my foot!! Can you believe that? What kind of a fricking freak eats a guy’s foot!?”

“A fricking freak that’s gonna be defeated very soon.”

“That is only one out of many possible futures, Winchester, virtually all of which end with us facing horrible defeat, death if we’re lucky, but most of the time an eternity of torment and servitude groveling at Lucifer’s feet.  Both of them.”

“Welcome to my world.”

Dean managed to get Chronos over to a couch where he could lay down.  Jovi glared at Sam, who had wandered in when he heard the ruckus. “Get these wards down now, Sam.  We need Oriphiel!”

“Well, actually, Jovi, uh.”  Sam apparently had something he didn’t particularly want for Jovi to know.  “Um. Crowley can come in whenever he wants. Already.”

“Oh, so they’re me wards, and not him wards.  Got it.” She looked up and to the side as if thinking about something very far away and a moment later Crowley heeded the call and appeared.  He was wearing khakis and a weathered t-shirt advertising a band Dean had never heard of, the Stone Roses. He was wearing black Converse high top sneakers and the shoelaces had smiley faces wearing sunglasses on them.  Dean was stunned because it was the first time he ever saw the guy not wearing either a suit or those horrible silk pajamas. “We need some old people, Ori.  Like, super old, doddering if you can find anyone that’s doddering, and sick…”

“Old people taste like cough drops!”

“Shut up, Chronos.  It’s the best we can do.  Oriphiel, seriously, I mean like, practically dying.  And make them kind of bad, maybe, mean people, could you?  That no one likes?”

Crowley nodded.  “The naughty list, eh?  I’ll see what I can do.”  He vanished.

“He’s not gonna eat any people here, Jovi.”

“He has to, Dean.  He needs food and that’s all there is for him to eat!  The apples are gone now and no one worships him any more.  Ok? I know it’s messed up, I get it that it offends your delicate sensibilities, but it’s just like one of those nature shows with the coyote chasing the baby wildebeest, and maybe you’re rooting for the baby wildebeest to get away the whole time but you know in the back of your mind that the coyote has to eat too!”

“People shoot coyotes.”

“That’s gratitude for you.  I saved your life!” Everyone ignored Chronos.

“Dean, um, I hate to tell you, but for all you and I know, if people stopped worshipping us, and the way things are going nowadays who even knows, we’d be right there with him.  Think about THAT.” Huh. He hadn’t ever stopped to consider that could be the case. “If you can’t handle it, leave the room. I’ll tell you when it’s over.”

Dean and Sam went to mull about in the hall, which was fine since Dean had a question or two for his little brother.  “Did you or Cas make a ward to keep her out?”

“Yeah, like, a while ago.”  Sam said it in a defensive way that made Dean mighty suspicious that he’d been left out of the loop on that decision on purpose.  “I mean, it wasn’t a secret or anything.”

“Just a teeny tiny little old non-secret that nobody thought to mention to me, I see.”

“We would have told you if you would have asked.”  

“How would I have known to ask about something I didn’t even know existed?”

Dean, it wasn’t a secret?”

“What if I wanted her here?  Did you ever think of that?”

“She could come in if she was invited.  Just not…randomly.”

“Well I want her off the list, Sam.  No more wards. Lucifer, of course. Duh.  Demons, sure, you bet. But not Jovi, for cripes’ sake.”

“What if we don’t?  Want her here, I mean.  Uninvited.”

“Do it anyway.”

“Oookay.”  Dean could tell Sam was pissed, but what ya gonna do, can’t please everyone.

“Now.”

Sam sniffed and sucked in his cheeks and rolled his eyes all around and stormed off with his hair fully aflop.  Dean snorted a laugh and leaned against the wall to wait, his mind buzzing with prayers he didn’t have the strength to answer.  He blocked them out the best he could and thought about dodos. Maybe he couldn’t make the exact same dodos that Jovi had done but maybe he could mix up penguins and ostriches and a hint of pelican together and see what came out.   He filed that concept away for further investigation at a later point in time.

Faster than one might have thought – Dean shook off the image of a frat boy chugging his way through a case of beer – Jovi poked her head out into the hall.  “It’s done.”

There seemed to be no remnants, no remains of whatever had transpired.  Chronos appeared to be back to his usual self again, healed and perky, the proud bearer of two feet, upon which he stood.  He was complaining. “Horrible, that was absolutely HORRIBLE! Ugh!!” He groaned as if he felt nauseous. “Gawd that was like eating Butter Flavored Crisco!!”  Crowley was gone; Dean assumed he was dutifully getting rid of the evidence. Jeez, might be nice to have an obedient minion for a freaking change. But who in their right mind would’ve ever have bet on Crowley to be the desirable choice?  “Please, Mr. God, Sir, may I have some more?”

“Don’t press your luck, Chronos.”

Chronos extended his regrown foot to the side to peer at it appraisingly.  “I can’t even believe he could catch me in the time stream. He came up behind me, ME??  In TIME, and chomp! That’s…that’s…you guys, he’s really getting stronger.”

“Yeah, tell it to my face.”  

The offhand remark reminded Jovi about the boxing match.  “What were you even thinking, Dean, that was so stupid of you!”

“I know.”

“If something had happened to poor Chronos because of you I would have totally gone medieval on your ass and believe me when I say, I know how!”

“I KNOW.”  Poor Chronos.  Waaahh.

“You weren’t strong enough to face him yet!  And now he KNOWS that!!??”

“Jovi, I know, ok?”

“Is that all you have to say for yourself?”

“Look, I didn’t come after him, he came after me.”

“Oh sure.  Just like you didn’t deliberately answer prayers after I told you not to.”

“All right, I cop to that one, but the Lucifer thing just kinda…happened.”

“Well, it shouldn’t have.  What are we gonna do?” Jovi’s face crumpled; he hadn’t even realized she was that upset about it but apparently she was.  Before he could, you know, offer her a shoulder, Chronos was already there. Geez.  Dean couldn’t even get a half a chance it didn’t seem like.  Somebody was always right there every time.

“Hey, it’s ok, come on.  I’m gonna help you guys, I promise.  I was being an ass before, but he ate my foot.  Some things are just unforgivable.”

“But how can you, Kiki?”  Had she just called him Kiki?  That seemed awfully affectionate-nickname-y.  “You’re not strong enough to take on Lucifer.”

“I don’t need brute strength, Mom, I have cunning.  Personally I think only nincompoops want to stand around whailing on each other to see whichever one of them falls down first…No offense, man.  I just prefer to defeat from afar.”

“You’re gonna get yourself killed again.”

“Nah.  I don’t have to take him on, directly, Jovi, don’t you see?  I just have to beat him to the punch and exit stage left before he catches me.  I’ll buy you guys enough time to…do whatever it is you do…to recover, or whatever.  Recuperate.  Regenerate.  Go to the spa. On the seventh day, He Rested?  And/or she.  That kind of thing?”

“What do you mean?”

“Play keep away.   Keep away from Lucifer.”

“You mean…”

“Yeah, I just keep the gods on the move.  He’ll show up whenever, but I’ll already know that, of course, because the timeline will be all effed up, and I’ll go back and get there just before he does, and evacuate everybody.  So then he’ll waste a bunch of time looking around for a god that’s supposed to be there, but isn’t. And then when the coast is clear I just drop everybody right back where they’re supposed to be.  Lucifer stays hungry, the timeline is safe.”

“That’s…that’s a really good idea.”

“Resurrecting me was a brilliant one.”  Dean believed that that remained to be seen.  “I can’t guarantee that it’ll work, but all we can do is try, right?  I’ll keep you posted.” He pressed a noisy kiss onto Jovi’s hair (grr) and disappeared.

Dean blinked, considering how nicely things seemed to be working out.  “He seems, uh, nicer than I remember.”

Jovi’s eyes widened and she shook her head quickly.  “No, he’s totally up to something.”

“Really?”

“Oh yeah.  Big time.”

“Like teaming up with Lucifer?”

“Uh, no, not quite that big time, I guess.  Small time. But something. He never helped me voluntarily before unless he needed something or had an angle.  Like, in all of history I don’t think. Ever. It’s always been tit for tat with us.” Dean did not love that choice of words.   “Just…don’t trust him, that’s all. He’s very charming when he wants to be and a lot of fun, I honestly think the two of you could be great friends if you take him as he is and don’t expect anything…oh, I don’t know, human…but don’t trust him.  Not even to like, turn your back to pee.”

“Can I trust you?”

“Of course.  But don’t pee in front of me though.”

He laughed and waited for her to continue but she didn’t.  She smiled and swallowed a gulp of air and tilted her head which was her tell, the signal that she was about to disappear.  To stop her Dean felt himself blurting words, a word, actually, before he thought it through. “Pizza!”

“What?”

“Do you wanna, I was thinking about, getting pizza?”

“Oh, sure, I guess.”  But what he had thought would be pizza for two ended up as a three-way when Crowley showed back up.  Then everyone invited themselves and somebody told Gabriel and he swung by for a while bringing a couple of cases of beer along with him, and pork rinds, and cigars.  Dean made a God-size dent in the beer and found himself staring at Jovi delicately crunching salty fried pigskin across a smoky room full of people and entities and pizza boxes and half-drunk 2-liter bottles of Coke products and wondering if she still liked him and how he was gonna make it the next several months without using any of his powers because he really kind of enjoyed using them, a lot.   

Jovi ate only vegetarian pizza and Crowley teased her mercilessly for it, considering that she had just fed several elderly human beings to a hungry god, and she laughed and laughed.  He wasn’t funny at all either by the way. One time he saw them entwine fingers just for a second but it could have been just a friendship thing, maybe. Friends did that, right? He didn’t have any female friends to compare with since the women unlucky enough to pass his way never seemed to survive long enough to befriend.  She flirted with Bobby, sitting on his lap once and stealing his hat and putting it on her own head; Dean figured she probably could’ve had the old coot eating right out of her hand by the end of the performance. Even Castiel seemed to be warming up to her although he still gave Crowley the ol’ stinkeye.  Sam wasn’t, preferring to sit alone in a corner and scowl, but screw him.  

Dean felt happy and sad at the same time and wished everything could be just like it was only with a couple of the places switched around maybe.  There was this beautiful normalcy to it and in his life, Dean had had precious little of that.  It was mindblowing to think that there was a whole planet of people out there who did stuff like this all the time, every weekend, just got together with friends for impromptu pizza parties.  Even more mindblowing, the only reason they could do that and have that life was because of him, because he was looking out for them, keeping the world spinning and the laws of physics in place and the forces of evil at bay.  The latter had always been true to some extent, but the God angle really took the weight resting uneasily on his shoulders to a whole nother level. And he couldn’t even help them, the humans; here they were crying out to him for protection and he could do nothing.  A God who couldn’t use his glory, what was even the point? He was useless.  Just like Crowley had said, he was impotent.

On that cheery note he decided to go out for some air.  Nobody noticed, and he was glad. He slipped outside and walked down the road a ways into the darkness, looked up at the stars and even when he reached out for a moment and connected with every particle in the universe, he felt very alone.  Most of it really was just empty space; he had heard it said before but now he could reach out and touch it and prove to himself that it was true.

It must have been hell for Jovi, outgoing as she was, alone for so long in the endless nothing.  Alone in a way that he couldn’t even fathom, alone for eternity practically, most of the time weak like he was weak now, waiting impatiently for her powers to regenerate so she could cut another piece of them loose to take the next step, set into place the next building block of her creation so that eventually she wouldn’t have to be alone anymore.  He remembered how scared she had been that night she cleavered her arm; how bad it hurt and he’d only done it just on his pinky. And how embarrassing she seemed to find it for people to know, as if she was ashamed of it all. The courage, or desperation it must have required for her to make that sacrifice again and again, innumerable times, to have created everything in the universe that way including his own worthless impotent ass was humbling and heartbreaking and he felt tears sting his eyes just from trying to imagine it.

Dean heard the door open and shut and figured it was Sam coming to demand that he get everyone out of the bunker because he wanted to go to bed or some stupid thing like that since Sam was incapable of having fun, ever, but it wasn’t.  It was Jovi, he could feel her. He said nothing, didn’t move, didn’t even breathe. Part of him wanted her to go away and part of him didn’t. Despite the pitch dark and his silence she approached him so easily it confirmed for certain that she really could sense him just the way he could sense her and he felt all kinds of ways about that.   “Are you ok?” Again it was like she had read his mind and again he wished for the ability to do the same. “Things are gonna work out, Dean, they always do…”

He kissed her.  It wasn’t something he thought through, the urge just took him and he did it.

There weren’t words in any language anywhere for the sensation.  The nearest thing he could come up with was one of those compilation videos where a whole bunch of nuclear bombs went off one right after the other to Rob Zombie music only he was standing at ground zero for every one of them getting the flesh blasted right off his skeleton.  In a very, very, very good way. Very.

Don’t let it go, don’t let it go, don’t let it go…but she let go.  She took a step back and blinked real slow as if in a daze and he thought for a moment that was it, he had her, he won and it could last forever.  But then she stepped forward instead and slapped him right in the face and it was like being hit by Lucifer all over again. He hadn’t been expecting it though, didn’t brace himself, and she laid him out flat, he fell over hard to the side and couldn’t even get his hand up to break his fall.  He actually said oof. His ear where she’d smacked him rang and hissed and throbbed and he saw stars. He worked his jaw to try to shake the feeling.

She stood over him with her tiny fists clenched.  “You had your chance!”

***********************************

Gee, what a surprise, it all blew up in Dean’s face.

Sam would have loved, seriously, loved, to possibly get a word in edgewise with his big brother at some point during that day but Dean was too busy getting in fistfights with the Devil and sacrificing old people to immortals and inviting God over for pizza.  And after dinner he had disappeared, off somewhere with The Flying Spaghetti Monster apparently, since she was missing too.

Looking over at Castiel and Crowley playing XBox and laughing together – he didn’t think he’d ever seen Cas laugh that much in like a whole entire year, let alone a few hours and it sure looked like he was getting over his whole angel-demon hybrid issue – and Bobby who hadn’t stopped grinning since she had buttered him all up and given him a lap dance practically, Sam felt like he was the only being in the universe who hadn’t completely lost their minds over their new addition.  It just added insult to injury when Jovi suddenly reappeared in the bunker, making Sam long for his dearly departed wards. By the look on her face he knew right away something had happened, they had argued, maybe. Good. She tugged at Crowley’s arm. “We’re leaving.”

Before they could disapparate Dean was back.  He had a rapidly blackening black eye but he didn’t look angry, he looked humiliated and maybe…hurt?  Not physically, either. Emotionally, and Sam had never been too awfully sure that Dean even had emotions in the way that most people tended to define them.  “Leaving? How does it feel to be that whipped, Crowley?”

“Glorious.”  Crowley smirked and he and Jovi vanished.  

Dean kicked the nearest chair and it flew across the room and into the wall.  It shattered into a million pieces and he called it back and repaired it inside a second but as soon as it dropped back into place he kicked it into the wall again.  “Dean!”

Much to Sam’s surprise Dean pointed a finger at him.  “This is all your fault!”

“MY fault!”

“If you would have just given her a break then none of this would have happened!”

“What happened?”

“It’s none of your business what happened!”

“Dean, calm down!”

“I could have had everything, everything, Sammy, and you had to ruin it for me!”

“How did I…what did I…what…”

“How many times are you going to completely eff up my life, Sam?  Were you born to do it, or is it like, just the most random string of coincidences ever?”

Sam hadn’t noticed at first, but Castiel had risen and approached Dean.  Sam had always found it interesting how Castiel could calm Dean down when no one else could.  He figured it was because Cas and Dean didn’t have all the brother baggage between them, but it grated on Sam’s nerves when Dean seemed to respond more to Castiel and even Crowley in some ways than he did Sam.  And in the meantime, Sam had no such luxury; no release valve, no wing men, no real friends to turn to when Dean was pissing him off.  All his friends were Dean’s friends first. Didn’t seem exactly fair sometimes. “Dean, come on, let’s, let’s not say anything we might regret here.”

“Tell that to him, Cas, he’s the one that can’t keep his damn mouth shut!”

“Just, just, just…cool off first, all right, kid?”  Bobby. “Sober up. You can sort it out in the morning.”  Something about the way Bobby said it made Sam realize with a start that both Castiel and Bobby blamed him at least in part for whatever was going on too, and that was, just like, so totally ridiculous since he didn’t even know what he’d done to start out with.

“What did I even DO?”  He really literally had no idea, because it was obviously about Jovi, and what had he even done to Jovi, ever, except simply remind people, on occasion, of all the things that she had done in the first place.   A pretty bizarre state of affairs when somehow the person who wrongs everyone again and again gets off scot free with no repercussions because they’re little and cute and look sad and say they’re, like, so totally sorry and everything, while the person who simply, on occasion, brings up those wrongs and says hey maybe we should, you know, keep these things in the back of our minds, here, guys, even if she has boobs somehow gets morphed into the bad guy.  That’s really, pret-ty bizarre when you stop to think about it.   He hadn’t. even. done. anything!

“Aw, Sam, shut up for a change.”  Bobby really did seem to think that he, Sam, innocent bystander, had some part in all this when he was just sitting there like a good little scapegoat.

Regardless of what Sam had or hadn’t done, Cas was able to work his magic on Dean despite that because Dean ground his teeth and swallowed the rest of whatever it was he’d been about to say.  “I’m going to the bar.” Which seemed like the worst idea ever but no one wanted to say that and risk getting Dean all riled up again.

“I’ll go with you.”  Castiel inspected Dean’s eye which was nearly swollen shut and was turning shades of violet that Sam wouldn’tve thought the human body could produce and well, maybe it couldn’t.  “Let me…”

“Leave it.”

“But…”

“Leave it!”  Dean turned and stormed towards the door.  About halfway there he disappeared.  Castiel sighed and looked at Sam, and then Bobby, and Sam again, and followed suit.

Sam turned to Bobby and rolled his eyes.  Bobby raised his eyebrows. “What? You too?”

“I, just…I don’t think you’re that dumb, is all, Sam.”

“Well, apparently, I am, Bobby.”

“He loves her, ya idjit.”

“If he does, it’s only because she forced him to.”

“I don’t know about that.  I ain’t so sure.”

“Well, I am sure, Bobby, and it’s kind of my job, as Dean’s brother, to, you know, point that out?  Even when people don’t particularly like hearing it.”

“I don’t get the two of you, sometimes, Sam, I really don’t.  It’s like each of you exists to screw up the other one’s life.  I mean, dysfunctional don’t even really start to cover it.”

“Bobby…”

“I want you to take a second and think, if the roles were reversed here, and you were sitting where Dean was…”

“He’d be doing exactly what I’m doing, Bobby!”

“You bet your ass he would, and that’s my point.  Just when things start to get good, just when either one of you have a chance at some scrap of a normal on life on your own terms…”

“How is being turned into GOD in any way normal?”

Bobby ignored him.  “…in pops the other one to pull it all down, and drag ya back down into the mud.  He’s done it to you, Sam, you know he has, with Jess, hell, even you and Ruby seemed kind of happy for a while there…”

“Ruby was evil!  And I was miserable!”

“That’s neither here nor there, it’s the same thing is what I’m saying.  Even with that veterinarian lady you were telling me about…”

“Dean had nothing to do with me and Amelia.”

“…just the idea of each other, it keeps you from letting other people into your inner sanctum, you know, your heart, or whatever, and I’m gonna kick your ass later for making me say that.  You can’t tell me that you weren’t holding back some with her, with Amelia, because of Dean. Because you figured he’d come back someday and you knew you’d choose him so you let her go back to her husband because eventually you knew you’d be gone.  It’s not normal, Sam! What you guys got between you, it’s beautiful, it’s amazing, but it ain’t normal. Don’t you think it’s long past time you just, one or the other of you, I don’t know…disengage?”

“Bobby, you don’t understand.”

“I understand that the love of a man’s life ain’t supposed to be his brother.  That much I understand. You’re missing out, boys. You got so focused on each other and on this goddamn war you’re fighting that you’re missing out on the one thing that makes it all worthwhile.”

“What do you know about it?  You’re just as bad as us.”

“That’s cause the love of my life died.  I had her and I lost her and so for me, all that was left was the war.  But you knuckleheads, you never took the chance. Maybe you, for a minute or two, with Jess, had that kind of happiness, I don’t know, but I know that for sure Dean never has.  He maybe thought he tried it with Lisa but I don’t think he ever really did, because if he had, if he jumped in with both feet ‘stead of just dipping a toe into the pool, he never would have let go.”

“That was for her protection, Bobby, he had no choice!”

“There’s always a choice, Sam.  You make the choice and you make it work.  No matter how much it costs you.  But you and Dean, you two keep choosing each other. You boys are like goddamn Siamese twins, stuck together.  Someone needs to come along with a hatchet and give you a good chop down the middle and force you to live on your own.  Whether you want to or not. Cause this…this ain’t healthy.”

Bobby got up and left and Sam just sat there thinking for a while.  

Later that night Sam went into the closet and took a long look at Jess.  He tried to remember what it had felt like, being with her. He tried to remember what it had felt like to be in love, not cautiously, not like it had been with Amelia with both of them guarded and scarred and looking over their shoulders every moment waiting for ancient history to rise up and clobber them over the heads, but new and fresh and exciting, like everything in the whole wide universe, like their love was the only thing that mattered.  He couldn’t remember any more. He could remember experiencing an emotion and academically he comprehended that emotion was what people called love. But he couldn’t remember what that emotion felt like and he wondered if love was another thing he had sacrificed on the altar along with his parents and his life and his soul.

For what, for what?  Who even knew. So Dean could have, as he said himself, everything.  Magic powers, an eternal lifespan, supernatural creatures fighting over who got to be BFFs with him, and a hot chick to bang.  And love like a big fat cherry on top of the “Dean gets everything” sundae.  Sam couldn’t even remember what love felt like and yet Dean had it handed to him on a silver platter.

Ok.  That seemed totally fair.

Dean came rolling in around 5 am.  Castiel had come in hours before looking worried and defeated.  Sam knew all this because he hadn’t slept. He was waiting for Dean to come home and the sheet covered lump that had once housed Jess stood nearby.   They looked at each other carefully, cautiously. “Where have you been all this time?” There was no reproach in his voice, only curiosity. He was over the worst of it by that point.

“Waitress.”  He made it look so easy, to forget that way, but Sam had tried that path a time or two himself and he found that it didn’t work.  By the look on Dean’s bruised face it hadn’t worked for him, either. He seemed embarrassed and Sam had the distinct feeling Dean would have much rather no one witnessed his walk of shame.  Even though he didn’t particularly want to, Sam felt a rush of pity for his brother.

“Get rid of her.”

“What?”

Sam gestured at Jess.  “I don’t…the person who was with Jess…is dead.  Or gone. Or something. That part of me is…broken, I think, Dean.  And…I don’t think it would be fair…to Jess…to bring her back for the sake of somebody that doesn’t exist any more.”

Dean said nothing, but he understood.  He nodded slowly and on the 5th time he nodded Jess was gone and the sheet fell to the floor, empty.    

standing up by backing down pt. 2

standing up by backing down pt. 2

A couple weeks ago I had a blog entry  about how conservatives should, like, STAHP with the appeals to the Founding Fathers and invoking the ghost of Davy Crockett and work at humanizing ourselves to people in NON-political ways.  This is a necessity because Republican leaders both political and cultural have seemed to go out of their way to embrace their role as the Black Hat Evil Darth Vader Society in some weird faux pageant put on for the benefit of the American voters.  The trouble is, the Republican leaders both political and cultural did not realize that somewhere along the way a whole lot of liberals started to believe in the weird faux pageant and that the Democrats really actually hated us, no more playin’.  They have come to see us as real live unremorseful unrepentant bad guys who wanted to turn back the hands of time to a 1932 or something while evilly laughing mwah-ha-hah.

Liberals have come to see conservatives as evil villains who need to be eradicated, either by waiting around for old people to die, or maybe even by taking some steps to hurry the #winning process along a bit (such as, letting 16 year olds vote, for instance.)

It’s a good piece, probably better than this one will be LOL, but it got long and philosophical and as sometimes happens I had to set aside some of what I wanted to say to allow my argument space to breathe.  But my brain keeps coming back to the stuff I left out, and so I think I gotta take a moment to lay it out for everyone again, just from a slightly different angle this time.

As some of you know I occasionally write stuff for Ordinary Times which is a kind of online news magazine where people across the political spectrum come together to talk about political stuff, cultural stuff, and all sorts of other stuff.  The philosophy of Ordinary Times is meant to be “there is more that brings us together than separates us”, a cause which I’m fully on board with.  Mostly, I think the real live point of Ordinary Times is more a place where some very tame or very foolish conservatives show up to be tag teamed into submission into by some really aggressive liberals – and a few nice ones – who don’t seem to have jobs or something (or have super flexible ones) since they have what appears to be endless amounts of time to argue online.  But I digress.

So to my dismay, through no fault of my own since I have no ill intent towards liberals whatsoever, I find I’m pretty quickly becoming one of the main conservative baddies at Ordinary Times.  I may even be growing into a role as the actual ringleader of the bad guys, a situation which is both astounding and mindboggling to me, a person who really mostly just wants to write about sandwiches.  But that’s kind of the point of my thinkpiece, here, right??  That liberals, even nice ones, seem to really and truly think, that conservatives – even people who are pretty reasonable and fairly liberal in a great many senses of the word and if you’d only stop to listen I could explain all my opinions but ok I guess we’re making this about the Confederacy instead ok whatever jeez louise – are actually real live villains who want poor people to die and like to put children in cages and we all hate anyone who isn’t like us.

They think we are a stereotype.  And it’s not even an accurate stereotype.

Over the past few weeks I’ve been told that I should be able to relate better to a liberal (who I wasn’t having any trouble relating to either by the way) because they’d “gone to a tractor pull and made their own bullets”.  I’ve been told that the only possible example of a movie with a “conservative message” was Top Gun a movie which doesn’t even HAVE a message that I’m aware of.  I’ve been told all other movies other than Top Gun simply had to be liberal in origin because conservatives only care about Jesus and jet fighters.  I’ve been told that conservatives hate cities and only live in the country and that yes, actually, liberals do hate people who live in the country.  I’ve been told again and again in numerous ways how these people see me and it’s as a patently false stereotype – an extremely Christian, extremely militaristic hick who hates cities and art and good food and gay people and loves guns and Twinkies when none of those things are true.

As it’s dawned on them (slowly, so very slowly) that I don’t fit too neatly into their expectations for a person who calls themselves conservative, now they’ve switched gears and are telling me I’m not an “actual” conservative because adjusting their concept of of what a conservative is was too painful for them.  They prefer to continue to believe that the middle of the country is populated by hordes of Bubbas and Beulahs who are living on high fructose corn syrup and hate.  These are very thoughtful, seemingly normal people otherwise.  Yet rather than admit that their stereotypes of “conservative” were possibly incorrect or probably way too narrow (because there are some Bubbas and Beulahs out there, of course there are, although even the most Bubba-y Bubba who ever Bubba-ed is more complicated and 3 dimensional than my liberal peeps would acknowledge) instead they told me that I’m not really a conservative after all.  LOL.

I am a conservative though.  I promise.

I’m telling you folks, the vast majority of liberals have NO CLUE what conservatism is even about.  NO CLUE.  They’re not bad, they’re not stupid, they just don’t know what we’re even about so it makes it very, very, very easy for them to think the worst of us.

That brings me to Juno.  Most people have probably seen Juno by now.  It’s a wonderful story of a winsome and clever girl who gets pregnant and decides to give the baby up for adoption rather than have an abortion.  She becomes overly involved with the prospective adoptive parents and the adoptive dad – one of those guys who refuses to leave the sex, drugs, and rock and roll phase of life behind – decides he’s in love with Juno and wants to leave his wife and set up housekeeping with Juno and the new baby.

During the same conversation in which I was informed Top Gun was the pinnacle of conservative filmmaking, someone (who I felt was actually making an effort to understand me) asked me “Well, what do you think of Juno?  On the one hand it has an anti-abortion premise, on the other, it shows teen sex and it has an LGBTQ star!!”  I found it an utterly depressing question.  It shook me, not gonna lie.  Really brought it home to me how deeply liberals believe that conservatives are incapable of being reasonable, incapable of watching fictional situations that don’t completely confirm and verify their priors every second of the entire story.

Even among conservatives, the entire point of fiction is setting up conflicts and then seeing those conflicts get solved in ways that speak to you on an individual level somehow.  Fun fact, if you agree with every person’s behavior in a movie every single frame, you’re not watching a movie, you’re watching propaganda.  Maybe this is why some liberals get so bent out of shape by movies that aren’t balls-to-the-wall PC every second of every day.  Maybe they want propaganda.  IDK.  But personally I don’t need constant conservative rah-rah when I watch a movie, and in fact I think preaching of any flavor, even flavors I like, gets in the way of a good movie.

And no, I don’t care about an actor’s sexual persuasion, actually.  I don’t care a whit if a writer has had a chequered past like Diablo Cody, the writer of Juno has had. (Feminist alert – note how this kind of thing only applies to women! as if anyone thinks Hemingway was sexually pure, LOL.)

Juno is in fact 100 million billion kajillion percent a conservative movie.   The teen sex is not glorified and it has consequences.  The pro-life protester was a relatable character (a young, attractive minority girl who was legitimately caring about the fate of Juno’s baby, rather than an old, white, mean Christian bully stereotype).  The good people in Juno all behave responsibly.  The good people are treated sympathetically even in areas where they may have flaws (for example, it would have been very easy to demonize Jennifer Garner as a shrew who pushed her husband to act badly from her drive to succeed professionally and/or her fertility struggles – and indeed, a “liberal” movie would have done exactly that – would have painted Jason Bateman sympathetically, or even told the story entirely from his viewpoint).

Juno’s dad and stepmother are endearing, caring, and wise even though they’re blue collar (Juno’s dad is an HVAC technician but still was super into learning about Greek myths – which I find more accurately represents what blue collar people are about than assuming we all go to tractor pulls, LOL).  The villain is a person who refuses to grow up, refuses to behave responsibly, is completely self-absorbed and obsessed with coolness, and is willing to screw over his wife and a teenage girl for his own (mostly sexual) gratification.  In the end, the good people are rewarded and who cares what happens to the bad guy, I can’t even remember what happens to him.

It is OBVIOUS to me that Juno is completely and totally a conservative movie.  It’s actually stunning and to be honest, extremely dismaying to me that anyone could watch Juno and ever assume “oh boy I bet the cons HATE this movie.”  It’s depressing how wide a gulf there is between conservative reality and what liberals think they know about conservative reality.  The fundamental problem we have as conservatives is that people do not understand our worldview. We can’t communicate with those who don’t even understand where we’re coming from.

This in no small part because our conservative worldview is at present in flux, being transformed from primarily rooted in religion to being rooted in other ethical philosophies and in real world outcome (more about that another time), and in no small part either because conservatism is a big tent and we’ve got a lot of people with different beliefs within it.  But in not-so-no-small part it’s because we, the everyday normal conservatives, haven’t been good at getting out there and selling ourselves.  We let the people running the Republican movement – both politically and culturally – carry the banner for us and they did a freaking terrible job of it.   And we sat silently by and let them, and what’s worse, we let the liberals in charge of Hollywood and the media define who we are!

Hey, I get it.  I know why.  It’s because we’re busy working and raising families and we don’t have the time or the energy to push back on this 500 foot tsunami of liberal culture that’s been washing over us the last 60 years.  But if people don’t understand our worldview because we never told them what our worldview even was, they’re just gonna fill in the gaps and what they fill the gaps in with is gonna be the vision of us that best serves their interests.  Many liberals, and ALL liberals in position of political and cultural influence, WANT to see conservatives as bad guys because they need a bad guy so they can continue to play the good guy.  Their narrative is that they are The Good Guys and if we aren’t Actually Bad, it undercuts that narrative.  They have a vested interest in keeping us fulfilling the Bad Guy role.  So they’re gonna fight and fight hard to keep us shoved into that Darth Vader costume even though it doesn’t fit and never actually did.

We have GOT to start pushing back, and we’ve got to push back in ways that don’t continue making things worse.  Too often (and I understand the temptation) in attempting to push back, conservatives start to embrace and celebrate the negative stereotype.  Some of us have learned to take delight from being the bad guy.  Some of us troll and insult and offend and trigger.  Some of us have even started to buy into the us vs. them dichotomy and become ever more “US” even though we were never “US” to start out with!  This accomplishes nothing and is simply allowing the liberals to continue defining us in the way that most benefits them.

I am a person who is not into tractor pulls.  I’m not gonna let someone tell me that I am into tractor pulls.  I’m not gonna get sucked into an argument in which I defend the greatness of tractor pulls just because they’re a thing “my side” is supposed to be into!  I’m not gonna get sucked into arguments in which I defend child beauty pageants or Kevin Sorbo movies or calling people “snowflakes” or the shenanigans of Jesse Kelly or saying “cities are cesspools” or the Young Earth Theory or The Noble Cause or Pizzagate or conversion therapy just because those things are supposed to be “my team” or whatever (if you believe in those things, by all means, carry on, but if as a lot of cons do, you find you’re repeatedly getting sucked into arguments in which you’re defending things you really don’t even believe because you think you’re supposed to, just stop.)   I am not gonna continue making things worse because it only makes things worse.  Please, please stop making things exponentially worse because you want to “own the libs”!

Owning the libs is temporary.  Saving America is forever, hopefully.

We’re better than the stereotypes.  By far.  All we have to do to prove it is share our actual conservative beliefs.  The things we really believe are awesome and self-evident, we just gotta let people know what they are.  We don’t have to be assholes, we just have to stay true to the things we actually believe rather than buying into what people who directly profit from us playing the bad guy are telling us we are.

So given that, how DO we push back, anyway?  If I’m saying (and I am) that we shouldn’t go too deep into politics and philosophy because it turns people off, and if I’m saying (and I am) that we can’t go all in on “conservatives pounce ur triggered lulz” either, how do we push back?

Your path may very well be different than mine, but I believe the key is a one-two punch of humanizing those of us on the right while simultaneously illuminating the underpinnings of conservative thought without trolling or preaching.  We have to both convince our opponents that we are not the bad guys, while simultaneously bombarding them with positive, informative, educational examples (both in reality and fiction) of what conservatism really is about rather than leaving them to blindly accept the Hollywood interpretation.

For me, this is doing things like writing articles about sandwiches in which I celebrate how amazing it is that a group of people from many different walks of life have come together in peace and friendship to make a country that while not perfect, is still pretty damn awesome.  For me it’s about writing reviews about movies and TV shows that, like Juno, reflect a conservative worldview WITHOUT being overtly Christian or ridiculously patriotic.  For me, it’s joking around with people who expect conservatives to have no sense of humor and being kind to people who expect conservatives will be cruel to them.  These things work.  I believe I am making inroads with people who are no longer willing to immediately write me off as being Eva Braun Junior just because I have  a different way of looking at the world.  And then when I hit em with the occasional political argument, they’re way more receptive to me than they’d be otherwise.

It takes time, and it takes a willingness to swallow my pride that isn’t always easy, I admit.  This hasn’t been an easy path and I haven’t always lived up to my highest standards in every interaction.  But I do think it’s helping create some paths of understanding in my little corner of the world.

We tend to look at history as a Big Picture.  Big People doing Big Things and making Big Choices that have Big Effects.  But history is made up of billions of people, like you and me.  What we do matters because even though our individual acts may be small, the effect of a billion small acts outweighs even the biggest act of an individual.

We have the power to turn the tide.  Spread the word.

And be good.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mata Hairy

Mata Hairy

Or, why do conservative men feel such a burning need to tell the world who they would prefer to fuck?

Oh sorry, did I curse?   It’s because I just read this tweet and it irritated me

Screenshot 2019-04-02 at 12.20.01 PM

I’m such a bitch sometimes.  Because that guy is nice!  He is really and truly nice.  I like following him, I like reading what he has to say, and he’s far too nice to deserve some creeptastic Internet rando like me screenshotting his tweet and using it in a thinkpiece.  I would actually love to blank out his name that’s how nice of a guy he is, but I don’t know how to do that.  Fucking technology.  😦 Anyhoo this is something that’s been much on my mind of late and it so perfectly encapsulates a particular mindset being espoused by a large number of conservative men that I just had to use it (and please forgive me, my dude, it’s for the greater good I promise).

Because there is this whole thing lately where conservative men feel the need to share with the world what they find attractive.  I have seen conservative men repeatedly declaring to the world – uninvited and unsolicited – who they would fuck and who they wouldn’t.  No pottymouths, as we’ve already established, and then there was this:

Screenshot 2019-04-02 at 12.40.49 PM

and this

Screenshot 2019-04-26 at 7.54.13 AM

Now, as you may know already Jesse Kelly has a surprising amount of influence on Twitter (I was off Twitter for a year, during which time he went from being a seemingly normal guy I actually joked around with a couple times to some kind of Twitter superstar, which is entirely bizarre) and while his schtick – sort of a funny sexist Neanderthal – is meant as humor and often is quite funny at times, I think it resonates with a lot of conservative guys a little TOO much.  Women – especially conservative women – are meant to be demure, modest, classy, highly accomplished, well dressed (sexy but not too sexy), heels only, no flat shoes, perfectly groomed (and this means BELOW the equator, you know what I’m talking about) moisturized, manicured, and thin.  But they need to do all those things while simultaneously being frugal, sensible, a demon in the sack, and eschewing plastic surgery as well because that is not natural.  BTW could you make us a sammich while you’re at it?  And don’t talk during the sportsball match or you’ll be told to shut up, woman.

Well, that is one hell of a narrow window we’re supposed to hit, now isn’t it, ladies?  It is as if these guys took the absolute worst elements of the liberal media’s overly narrow beauty standards and coupled it with some sort of Hollywood fantasy about the way women acted and behaved during the 40’s and 50’s when in reality they probably did nothing of the sort.  It’s like a fair number of conservative men have totally dropped the idea of honoring and respecting all women regardless of their appearance.  Instead they seem hell-bent on enforcing the impossible-to-achieve and highly sexist beauty standards that liberals have inflicted on women while coupling it with a desire to maintain control over women in an outmoded way that really was in many ways oppressive for women.

(helpful hint: the liberals were right about some stuff)

Something very cruel I’ve witnessed on several different occasions involves the childish shaming of overweight liberal women, usually activists who’ve chosen to appear in the nude publicly for some reason.  Now, would I choose to do that personally, no (never say never, but it would have to be one hell of a point I was making).  Do I choose to look at those type of things voluntarily?  No.  But a lot of conservative men seem to delight in posting these graphic pictures for their conservative buddybois to mock and ridicule, quickly devolving into a race to the bottom with every poster trying to outrude the rest.  It’s disgusting by any metric, but these conservative men are behaving this way in full view of conservative women some of whom also happen to be overweight, or who may become overweight at some point in the future.  How do you suppose that makes them feel?  These are your sisters, wives, daughters; these are your friends, neighbors, coworkers.  These are your comrades in the good fight!  How DARE you go out of your way to declare it to the world, in front of their very faces, that overweight women make ur peepees sad.

NO ONE CARES WHO YOU’VE DEEMED FUCKABLE.

I got into it not long ago with some conservative male friends over an issue of Cosmopolitan that had Tess Gallagher on it.

tess

Their whole argument hinged on the fact that Tess Gallagher shouldn’t be on the cover of Cosmo because they didn’t find her attractive.  But where is it written that people on magazine covers have to be attractive??  You know how many people on magazine covers I don’t find attractive?  A lot.  I’ve seen Bradley Cooper on tons of magazine covers and I find his beady sunken eyes, too-narrow lips, weird square peppermint Chiclet teeth, and hatchet-sharp features very unattractive.  George Clooney physically repulses me and I see his smug sallow jowly round head everywhere.  People are on magazine covers for all sorts of reasons other than attractiveness.  This “law of magazine-cover attractive” only seems to apply to women.  You can see Jonah Hill and Seth Rogan on magazine covers.  You can see Jesse Eisenberg and Michael Cera on magazine covers.  You can see Mick Jagger and Keith Richards on magazine covers for cripes’ sake.  Attractiveness is not a prerequisite for being on a magazine cover!  Tess Gallagher, a famous model, has every right to be on a magazine cover regardless of whether or not any given person finds her attractive.

This goes back to the argument about cursing women we started out with.  A lot of men (and it’s not just conservative men, let’s be clear about that) go through life with the unspoken but firmly held conviction that women’s life choices ought to be governed to great extent by what dudes find attractive.  Women’s behavior and appearance should be subject to society’s, and particularly men’s rules of attractiveness at any given point in time, despite the fact that “attractiveness” especially when it comes to women, especially especially when it comes to women in this shallow modern world in which we dwell, is a capricious and cruel master, largely dependent on the winning of a genetic lottery, and carefully calculated to sell shit to people.

And punishing real live women for lies that global multi-national corporations told you, my dudes, is stone cold bullshittery.

One of the most fundamental parts of my personal conservatism is the idea that all human life has intrinsic value and worth.  Babies in the womb have intrinsic value and worth.  Handicapped children have intrinsic value and worth.   People who are terminally ill have intrinsic value and worth.  And yes, believe it or not, women who are less attractive than other women also have intrinsic value and worth.

You know why I’m pissed at you, Jesse Kelly, and all your ilk?  It’s not because you don’t think I’m attractive.  It’s because YOU’RE NOT ACTING LIKE CONSERVATIVES.  It is no fucking wonder liberals roll their eyes about conservatives being “pro-life” when they see you act like porcine hooligans towards your fellow human beings because they have more junk in the trunk than you personally happen to prefer.  You’re betraying the most fundamental precept of conservatism – the right to life – so you can remind the world that sometimes you have boners.

NO ONE CARES.

One of my things is that I have hairy armpits.  (If you look close you can see it in my avatar.)  I started this little experiment for my husband because he was into it.  That’s a mondo conservative dealio – a wife doing something for her husband because he’s into it, right??  Then it turned out once I tried it, I actually preferred it.  I have sensitive skin and the ability to go through my day without my armpits being in constant pain was a revelation (and I am not exaggerating about that, either – imagine a raging and non-stop case of the worst razor burn you ever got, in your pits 24-7).  I didn’t even know how much it bothered me until it wasn’t bothering me any more.  Because I’m a conservative I believe in personal freedom and the ability to make one’s own choices as long as they don’t hurt anyone else, and I PROMISE no one is hurt by the presence or absence of hair in my pits.  My right to swing my armpit hair ends at the other guy’s face, not his line of sight.

Body hair or lack thereof is not a political issue, it’e a personal choice.  Body hair is NOT a liberal-conservative issue!  It really isn’t, I promise.

There’s a model named Sofia Hadjipanteli who has really super hairy eyebrows that she doesn’t pluck.  I think this is pretty freaking clever of her; after all there gotta be a kajillion girls trying to make it in the Instagram game, why not capitalize on something that makes you stand out?

sofia

Personally I think she’s stunningly gorgeous.  I mean really, is this type of eyebrow any better?

pamela

A few weeks ago the Jesse Kelly Branch of the He-Men Women Haters Society got hold of a news story about Sofia Hadjipanteli and started ragging on her ruthlessly because, you guessed it, they don’t find her attractive.  And it’s SO STUPID because this chick is a conservative icon, or she should be in a better world.  She took a look around her, sized up the competition, thought “what do I have that no one else does”, saw a spectacular set of eyebrows and thought “I’m gonna roll with what God has given me.”  Sofia Hadjipanteli is pretty much a walking breathing ideal of free market success and yet a good chunk of conservative men felt fully entitled to scream at the sky “DO NOT WANT” on behalf of their penises when they should have been fighting for the honor of this lovely and damn clever young woman.

Remember that whole thing where conservatives are gentlemen, gentlemen??  Remember how unfair it is when liberals act like conservative men are a bunch of depraved hooting frat boys because as we all know conservative men take care of women, they protect and elevate them, they put them on pedestals, they don’t objectify and treat women like disposable sex objects like liberal guys do.

Except for the women who don’t fit this incredibly narrow definition of the word “attractive” that was mostly invented by the Hollywood whose shallow, hollow, debauched values we purport to hate, right?  Then it’s game on I guess.

In the interest of full disclosure let it be known I rock a pretty substantial set of brows myself and I always resisted the temptation to pluck them even when my friends would sweetly tell me “but maybe just clean them up a little around the edges why don’t you” because I think they’re kind of my best feature.  (There’s actually quite a lot more brow there in the middle that wasn’t picked up by the camera.) I also have a cold sore in this pic, I was way overdue for a tooth whitening treatment, I was not wearing heels, and I have a messy house.  Not the ideal woman according to the Jesse Kelly Gang to be sure.

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And none of it matters because in the words of Amy Schumer, “I can catch a dick whenever I want.”  It’s true.  Despite being old, heavily-eyebrowed AND armpit-behaired, and fat (my girth hidden strategically behind a Poultry Farm sign) if my husband keeled over dead tomorrow God forbid, after a suitable mourning period I don’t think I’d lack for companionship.  Because that’s the way it’s supposed to work, dudes.  Men are not supposed to be going through the world all choosy like choosy moms choosing Jif or something.  Men are supposed to navigate the world of women like Terminator, lurching along till the words “Presence of Vagina Confirmed” flash red on the screen and then going in to chat up the lady attached to the vagina in question to see if they hit it off.

All this shit that is supposedly supposed to be soooo important to being “feminine” in the way that many conservative men are very publicly defining it lately – wearing heels (I never wear heels, another personal choice that hurts no one, least of all Jesse Kelly, and has zero to do with politics and a lot more to do with not caring to be in pain constantly), being super fit and waif thin, having a great manicure, always wearing makeup, rubbing ourselves with thousands of dollars of goo trying to stave off the ravages of aging ever so slightly, not wearing eyeglasses (that is the fucking weirdest, Jesse Kelly) and manipulating their body hair – even the stuff no one ever sees – in highly painful ways like YANKING IT OUT BY THE ROOTS BY HAVING A STRANGER SMEAR HOT WAX ON YOUR PRIVATE PARTS FFS – that is not normal.  No women ever in human history have had to do all this stuff that gals nowadays are supposed to HAVE to do to be seen as a “real” woman.

Some beautification is normal and fun.  We like it, gents, and we like doing it for you.  We like you to take a nice long look and we like for you to like what you see.  But you’ve set us up to fail by asking too much.  What is being demanded of women in terms of beauty – even just to be considered barely adequate – here in 2019 is completely excessive.  At least liberal men kind of pretend to see through it all.  Conservative men on the other hand, many of them, have decided to view it as a moral failing if a woman declines to chase the beauty dragon to the nth degree.  A healthy chunk of conservative men have apparently decided they’re entitled to rest their glorious manly eyeballs upon nobody but the prettiest of pretty pretty princesses even if the princesses are in constant pain, starvingly hungry, and miserably wasting millions of dollars on beauty products.  It’s not normal!  This stuff is NOT organic.  It’s not innate.  It’s totally coming from external influences – Hollywood, the media – and conservatives, we don’t even LIKE those guys!!  Why are you buying into this shit that they’re selling hook, line, and sinker?

It’s stupid and more than that, it’s beneath you.  You’re better than that.

So if you see a girl online and you think she’s repulsive and she makes your peenie shrivel up into a fetal position and sob, I’m sorry you had to endure that terrible affront.  I would never want to force you into sexing up someone you didn’t wanna sex up.  No one is saying you have to think every girl you encounter is Hot Tamales.  But you don’t need to then crawl up to the highest point you can find on the Internet to scream from the rooftops to everyone, “Hey!!!  Now that I have your attention, I’d just like to let everyone know that I would not ever fuck this chick because she’s gross in several ways that I would now like to elucidate over the course of several dozen tweets and I’d like to open up the floor to any other guys out there who would also like to tell the world how they would never ever fuck this girl and what their reasons for that are.”  Because it’s not only mean to the girl, it’s also mean to all the other girls out there who happen to share those physical characteristics which they cannot change.

At least the guy bitching about swearing women being unattractive was attacking a behavior he disliked and not an unchangeable characteristic of who someone is.

But don’t do that either.  Whether or not something is “attractive” to you is not ever grounds for criticizing a woman.  Because women have a right to exist in the world independent of whether any given man finds them “attractive” or not.  And we don’t necessarily want to hear about your opinion on the topic any more than you probably want to hear about how unattractive we find it when you burp and remark in amazement, “That totally smelled like Doritos, but I didn’t even EAT Doritos!!”

It’s enough to make a girl want to swear a blue streak.

 

standing up by backing down

standing up by backing down

I’ve found over the past two years that I have grown less interested in political confrontation.  I still have the appetite and every now and then I’ll write angrily about something or the other, but maybe I’ve finally learned how meaningless it is.

Cause the truth is, any time anyone comes out swingin’ hard in favor of a particular political philosophy – even when they’re totally right and are making tons of good points – everyone just puts their fingers in their ears and says ‘nananana’ till whoever it it shuts up and goes away.  Nobody wants to hear it.  They pick out the stuff that confirms their priors and they ignore anything they don’t have answers for.

Arguing politics is a pointless endeavor.  There are so many better uses of my time.  Like alphabetizing cans of soup in my cupboard or maybe watching paint dry.

But still.  I believe in the idea that people who can stand up, should stand up.  For whatever reason, God granted me an ability to string a couple words together that is slightly better than average, a memory that lasts longer than a news cycle, and I occasionally have a few moments of time I can scrape together now and then to write something.   A lot of people don’t have that ability, or the luxury of time for political agitation.  They’re just people whose talents lay in different areas than mine do, doing the best they can.  They know what they think but they can’t always express why they think the way they do.  They count on others to carry the philosophical torch for them.

I believe that for those of us on the right, even just slightly right like I am, if those who can stand up, don’t, then there will be no one there to speak for, and even protect the innocent people who are just trying to live their life.  They don’t want to fight any more than I do, they don’t want to argue, they just want to be left alone and not demonized and maybe show up to vote every few years or so.  Most of the people on the right tend to fall into this camp.  They don’t want to agitate, they don’t want to organize. They don’t want to make waves, they just want to live their life.  They need people to carry the conservative torch for them so they can continue doing just that.

I want to do my part but at the same time, it feels useless to do my part.

And yet…and yet.

I remember one time I saw Lynne Cheney, Dick Cheney’s wife, on The Daily Show back when Jon Stewart was still hosting it, and she brought along a doll of Dick Cheney dressed up like Darth Vader, and the joke was that Republicans really ARE evil, yukyukyukyuk – and that they’re shamelessly proud of it.

Seriously??

It sometimes feels to me like the strategy of the Republican Party since the first Bush administration if not maybe even longer, was to play the role of the bumblin’ bad guys in some sort of elaborate 3D chess match, in which it’s been predetermined that the right shall eventually lose.  All that is left is the hope that lefties will let the more powerful conservatives exist a little longer once the Glorious Socialist Dawn breaks.  No pushback, no making the philosophical or economic case for conservatism, just a flopsy, mopsy rollover for a tummy scrub by any liberal mouthpiece no matter how odious or wrong they are.

I don’t know why this is, but I have a theory.  Freddie deBoer writes about the idea that on some gut level, many perceive it as more important to have position within one’s own movement than to see your movement succeed – even at the COST of seeing your movement succeed.  Even though Freddie is a liberal and was making a case for liberals, I find that many conservatives – the most powerful, even – appear to have placed higher premium upon jockeying for social cred not only among their fellow conservatives, but among powerful liberals, than actually trying to achieve anything for the conservative movement.   The most powerful, well-known conservatives in existence have been actively refusing to challenge liberal orthodoxy for decades not only because they don’t want to risk social censure from their fellow conservatives, but because they don’t want to be criticized by LIBERALS.

We can sit around and discuss why this is, because it’s fascinating.  I could even try to write a piece about the history of it all, but luckily for me Varad Mehta already did it way better than I could.  Long story short, a whole lot of pretty darn important Republicans left fighting for conservativism behind em long, long ago, ceding point after point in the Culture War to the Left after putting up only the lamest, weakest, most inept of token fights (just enough to placate the evangelicals, LOL).  And they did this because they were never conservatives anyway, preferring instead to play the part of center-leftists in a 2 party system…”Leftie and Leftier”…as long as it kept them walking the Halls of Power and getting invites onto The Daily Show.

Please clap.

Too many powerful Republicans are more worried about looking good for their fellows – and by fellows, they mean “popular political figures and celebrities, including a goodly number of liberals”…not you, and not me – than in doing what it takes to win.  Well, that’s not me.  I want to win, and if I can’t win (which I probably can’t) at the least I want to force a compromise that will at the least preserve SOME elements of conservatism.  In fact I think that it’s imperative for the greater good of everyone, that conservatives if not win outright, at least push back as hard as we can against the liberal movement – which up till quite recently was ascending pretty much without opposition.

Thanks, Mitt.

How do we do that??  How do we conservatives make inroads NOT with each other but with the other guys?  How do we score political ground against liberals when they, and sadly too many of us like Lynne Cheney, have been steeped in the idea of conservatives as Inhuman Bad Guy for the better part of my lifetime?

Freddie DeBoer believed that what liberals needed was more internal critics.  While I agree with him there because liberals have such massive blind spots they may as well be Mr. Magoo, I don’t think that’s what conservatives need.  Conservatives have so many internal critics that it’s sometimes hard for outsiders to understand what is even holding us all together in a single movement.

Conservatives need something different.

This past week CNN ran a story about the Jayme Closs kidnapping.  “Murder, kidnapping, and escape in RURAL America”  the headline screamed.  Can you imagine the outrage if CNN had run that headline about an urban kidnapping?  Making it sound like murder and kidnapping was somehow inherently part of the setting in which it occurred?  The very next week there was woman abducted in a bar and held prisoner for a couple days in a city before she escaped, and it had none of the same dog whistle-y type headlines as the Closs kidnapping did.  In fact, when I tried to look the second abduction up the very next day to include a link for this article, I couldn’t even find it anywhere on CNN.  They were still covering the Closs abduction and plastering pictures of the perpetrator (whose appearance confirms just about every liberal stereotype you can possibly imagine about the sort of people who live in Middle America) everywhere.

This is one of the ways that liberals are winning the culture war.

They’re pigeonholing conservative and/or Red State Americans into the Bad Guy slot not only on The Daily Show but on the everyday show that is our regular life.  We’re weird, we’re creepy, we’re pervs, we’re molesters, we’re racists, we’re judgmental prudes, we’re troglodytes, we hate poor people, we hate cities, we’re unevolved reactionary monsters and we deserve to die.  (yes that’s right we are somehow both simultaneously sex-obsessed perverted child molesters and also super uptight sexually-repressed prudes)

A lot of conservatives want to respond in kind (and let’s be honest here, historically some of these techniques of demonizing an opponent have been utilized by conservatives) and while at times I can’t totally blame them, I don’t want to win that way.  I don’t WANT to live in a world where a stranger is NOT a friend you haven’t met yet, but is instead guilty of unspeakable horrors until proven innocent.  I do not believe that voting for someone with an R instead of a D beside their name on an election ballot makes someone a monster and I don’t believe the reverse is true, either.  I believe that humans are walking bundles of contradictions, that none of us are fully good nor fully evil, that even the “bad” among us are redeemable, and I want to believe the best in everyone I come across.

I guess it’s just the liberal in me.

But again, what can we do?  Real people?  You and me and that guy over there?  Should we blanket social media with long diatribes invoking Bill Buckley or Ayn Rand?  Repost the Sockdolager essay or I, Pencil or maybe don a 3 corner hat and stand on a street corner and hand out small versions of the US Constitution?

Yeah.  All those things have worked out pretty well for us so far.

I didn’t get to be a conservative overnight.  It took time.  A LOT of time.  What started me on the path to where I am today was simply noticing “some of these things I believe do not make any sense given other truths I’ve learned about the world.”  And those things I noticed were NOT always or even usually in the political arena.  They were in real life and they were things that happened in movies and tv shows and books that reflected real life.  I had to have an entire paradigm shift based on real world observation before I realized wow ok it is just plain stupid to hand over scads of power to a bunch of politicians and trust them not to misuse it, because people are not good guys and bad guys, we’re fallible guys and self-interested guys.  I honestly learned far more about the philosophical underpinnings of conservatism from fiction at least to start out with than I did from reading The Federalist Papers or whatever.

We are barking up the wrong tree with the lectures and the diatribes and the appeals to the Founding Fathers, my con chums.  We are barking up the wrong tree prattling about history and natural rights.  And let me tell you why.  It isn’t because lectures and diatribes are off-putting, even though they are, hugely.  It’s not that.

This past week or so I’ve been…fortunate, I guess you could say, although as someone who is not super interested in political confrontation, it doesn’t feel like good fortune LOL…to have the opportunity to interact with some decent and thoughtful liberals who are, well, not sympathetic but at least open to hearing some of my opinions.  And so they’ve listened to me, very politely, very considerately, with what seems to me to be a legitimate desire to understand.

They listened.  They really did.  They just didn’t know what the hell I was talking about.

Up until this week I have truly believed that liberals completely misunderstanding and misrepresenting where conservatives were coming from had to be some kind of an act.   I figured they were just playing dumb, feigning ignorance out of political motivations.  But I have to say that after this week I’m really starting to doubt my previous conclusion.  Liberals, even the decent ones not prone to hyperbole and exaggeration, really DO think conservatives are insane evil bad guys like Darth Vader and Lord Voldemort.  And it’s easy for them to believe that because they don’t understand where we’re coming from, like seriously, at all, because they don’t know anything about us other than what they’ve been told by people who do not have either of our best interests at heart.

Liberals’ vision of conservatives is like this twisted version of the blind men and the elephant where one liberal wise man feels a tail that’s made of racism and another feels an ear that’s made up of hyperjudgmental church ladies and they go out and tell people that’s what conservatism is, even though they only ever felt this tiny terrible part of it.  They don’t see anything else, they certainly don’t see everything else.  They don’t see a living entity at all, they see this isolated fraction (and they don’t even see it, because they’re blind men; they just poke at it with their fingers for a minute or two).  Based on this momentary inspection of a couple of very small and unimportant parts of the conservative movement, they assume they now fully understand the whole.

The author David Foster Wallace once gave a famous speech in which he relayed this story:  A couple of young fish are out for a swim one beautiful morning and they happen to pass an old grizzled fish swimming in the opposite direction.  “Good morning boys,” the old fish says with a grin, “How’s the water?”  The two young fish nod politely and keep swimming.  Once they’re out of hearing range, one of them turns to the other and asks, “What the heck is water?”

We don’t see what we’re in when we’re in it.  The waters of our philosophy are transparent to us.  It takes a lot of work and a lot of effort to learn to see what we’re swimming in.  Think of how tough it is to explain to a small child about air – it’s all around us, all the time, but you can’t see it and you can’t feel it even though you’re sucking it down your lungholes and it’s keeping you alive.  In order to get a child to learn the nature of air, first you have to prove to them that air even exists (and no, I’m not comparing liberals to children, ok?)

Conservatives have something of an advantage in this regard.  We perceive the water, at least a little bit.  Conservatives navigate in a largely liberal world – liberals are in charge of the school system, the media, Hollywood, a lot of government agencies, a fair number of religious organizations, and the tech industry.  As such, these organizations are flooding the world with liberal philosophical water constantly.  Since conservatives are not of it, it’s easier for us to see that.  Now, liberals would argue against this notion but that’s because they don’t see the water.  We don’t see what we’re in when we’re in it.  It’s hard for them to see because it’s the medium we navigate through all the time and if you feel comfortable in that medium, you can’t see it unless you really try.  Liberal water is invisible to most people like conservative water was probably invisible to most people living in Middle America in 1952.  Things were they way they were because that’s the way they were and if you tried to tell them they didn’t have to be that way they not only wouldn’tve agreed, they wouldn’t have even understood what you were talking about.

What the heck is water, anyway?

The job of conservatives is to explain to fish about water and it’s impossible unless we can get them to accept that their water exists and has a certain nature to it.  We can’t assume they see and understand the water the way we do, because they don’t.  It’s their water and they’re comfortable in it and we don’t see what we’re in, when we’re in it.  So making arguments to liberals about any particular characteristics of this water before we’ve convinced them it even exists are useless.  We’re trying to describe something that is to them, invisible.  And making arguments assuming they are swimming in conservative water instead, is worse than useless.  You can’t make an argument to them based on how great things were in 1952 because they don’t think things WERE great in 1952.  You can’t make an argument to them invoking the Founding Fathers because they hate the Founding Fathers.  (and they have sound and sensible reasons underlying both those opinions.) These arguments accomplish nothing and in fact often stir animosity because it gives liberals more data points regarding the tail of an elephant, rather than encouraging them to see the whole animal.

In my marriage, I tend to be a person who never complains until I’ve gotten furious about something.  When I try to explain why it is I’m so upset, I often end up feeling like an idiot because the straw that broke the camel’s back is seemingly small, even petty if it had been taken in isolation.  My husband will roll his eyes and add it to his file of “times Kristin overreacted” – but I’m not overreacting.  My anger was fully justified, it was just that in the past, I’d been underreacting, so any reaction at all feels like an overreaction.  The reason why I feel the way I do is because of a series of true wrongs and legitimate grievances that occurred over time, that I, in a desire to keep the peace, didn’t bring up at the moment they occurred.  Any one of them, taken alone, seems minor, like a nothingburger.  But when you’re handed enough nothingbacondoublecheeseburgers to choke down, even just a nothingslider begins to look like a volley fired in a bigger war.  It’s tough to explain that to the person throwing burgers at your face when you haven’t been pointing it out to them all along.  They don’t even remember most of it and it didn’t seem like a big deal anyway, because you didn’t say anything at the time.  It appears to them like you’re making mountains out of molehills, like you’re the one playing dirty.

Conservatives pounce.  That’s what liberals see.  Us pouncing for what appears to them to be no reason whatsoever because Republicans in leadership for the last 30 years have been playing the part of Darth Vader and we said nothing at that time.  During that last 30 years the rest of us were busy working and raising our families and not only did we not want to fight, we didn’t want to hold our leaderships accountable for fighting badly on our behalf.  And the chickens have come home to roost.  A whole lot of people who came of age during that time know nothing of us other than the story they were told, that we’re Darth-freaking-Vader and proud of it.  We have a lot of ground to make up before liberals begin to realize that we pounce because we feel we have reason to and not because we are faceless maniacal villains dressed in black who hate everything that is pure and good.  That is their worldview, it’s the water they’re swimming in.  Them good, us bad.  It’s because it’s the only thing many of them have ever heard about conservatives, and we didn’t say anything to disabuse them of the notion.

We all have a set of assumptions that are the foundation for our politics.  These assumptions largely don’t come from dry political tomes or the rhetoric of politicians.  They come from everyday experiences and even fictional ones because fiction is a way to allow others to get inside the heads of other people and see where they’re coming from.  Political philosophies appeal to us because they fit into our worldview, because they set nicely upon the foundation of experience that life has already laid.

We cannot talk politics with liberals until we’ve convinced them that we are not the bad guys in a cartoonish morality play, any more than you can build a castle on a foundation of sand.  And the way to convince them is NOT to blab historical factoids and poli-sci philosophy at them because they’ll just put their fingers in their ears and say “nananana” till we shut up and go away.  Instead we must forge connections and regain the trust that was squandered by Republican politicians and pundits thinking they were playing some sort of game with Jon Stewart for social brownie points, and that everyone was in on the joke.  Game over, man, game over!  Dudes and dudettes, these people actually think we’re Darth Vader!  We need to demonstrate to liberals that we are human beings with life experiences that have led us to conclude certain things that are different than the certain things their life experiences have led them to concluded, so that we become more than just a disembodied elephant’s tail of racists to them.

My goal, in doing what I do, wasting time hollering into the abyss, is first and foremost to rehumanize conservatives as the thinking, feeling, goodhearted, sometimes-even-wise people that we are and pushing back on the stereotypes.  I have found cracking jokes into the abyss to be far more effective than hollering.  I have found writing about apolitical things like romance novels and tv shows and Batman does far more to accomplish my goals of making liberal people understand where I’m coming from than droning on and on about states’ rights ever could.  Because there are so many things that inform our politics that are not at all political, and in these arenas, people are still receptive to our messaging.  These things, people immediately don’t drown out.  Conservatives, we’ve got to reconnect with our liberal counterparts via our shared human experience and build a new foundation for our society together, before it’s too late.

Some of you guys don’t make this easy for me, conservative peeps.  And I get it, I do.  I understand why you’re so prickly and mean sometimes.  I know why some of you take delight in confirming the worst stereotypes of conservatives.  When you feel under assault, when you feel attacked and dehumanized and belittled, it’s only natural to lash out and the best way to lash out is to say things you know are guaranteed to get under another person’s skin, to pay back in kind the offense you feel you’ve received.  But we can’t expect liberals to see things our way because they don’t see the water.  You’re asking them to do something that is impossible for them, to believe in something they truly cannot see and getting angry with them that they don’t.  They’re clueless like my husband when I lose my temper with him over something that seems to him to be minor and meaningless when really I’ve lost my temper over the 999 minor and meaningless things he’d done over the past 6 months and I just didn’t say anything those times.  Lashing out without purpose, in a fury over things that other people really truly do not see or remember, does not accomplish anything other than making us look insane.

Conservatives pounce.

The best path forward is to stop responding in anger, turn every cheek in our body and then some, and focus instead on making connections in as many ways as we can.  There is a whole world out there aside from politics and even though a good many people are trying to politicize even the most benign things in the name of divisiveness, we don’t have to accept that.  Make friends, form bonds, find some sort of common ground.  Share your life and listen to others tell you about theirs.  Share the things you love with your enemies, you might be surprised to find they love them too.  Instead of lecturing each other, laugh together.  Write and talk about other things than politics once in a while, even if those things seem silly, like sandwiches and superheroes and short stories.  It isn’t pointless.  By engaging with those who see you as an enemy, you may make a friend, or at the least, become a person to them where before you were a Sith Lord.  In the long run you’re laying a foundation for an effective method of persuasion based on common experience, one that is based upon the waters we’re both swimming in.

It is far more productive a use of time to spread a conservative worldview  – or at least tolerance for that worldview – through kindness and camaraderie rather relying upon heated political debates and philosophical preaching that falls on deaf ears.

To save conservatism, stop pouncing and be a friend.  That’s what I’m trying to do, anyway.