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- the workings of an easily distracted fangirl

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fic: Paths Crossed - Chapter Three
xover//dean/faith weapons - me
whiskyinmind wrote in fandomsbitca
Julian was headed back home when it dawned on him that he had no idea what he'd done for the last couple of hours or how he had gotten here. All he really remembered was the guy with the muscle car giving him some candy and now he wasn't hungry. If that didn't blow a gaping hole into those after-school specials about not taking candy from strangers, then Julian didn't know what did. He smirked a little at his own joke and tried not to remember the fact he'd barely been able to move he'd been so hungry. There was no way one Snickers bar would have satisfied that.

He as pretty sure he'd gone looking for the Red Cross station the guy had suggested, he thought maybe he'd even found it, but after that… the whole thing was a blank.

It was definitely much later now, the night was darker than he ever remembered seeing it – the street lighting was still out of commission for the most part, and the only lights coming from houses seemed to be from the ones with noisy – and smelly – generators parked out in the yards. He should be upset, or angry, or something. This was where he had grown up and, even though he'd hated it, it had been his home town. This… wreck, this wasn't his home anymore, it was more like a war zone or something.

But he just didn't care. There was nothing about this whole thing that raised even the slightest bit of sympathy or horror in him. The only thing he felt was annoyance.

He'd been left here, with nothing, no food in his house – although to be fair he didn't actually remember checking the kitchen at all – no transport and most of all, no family. His mom had probably been perfectly happy to abandon him there, knocked out in the basement, while she headed out of town in the damn S.U.V. Hell, he'd probably go back and find the trails of the rubber she'd burned in her rush to leave him behind.

Hatred washed over him as he walked down the street, his route home apparently programmed into his feet because he wasn't paying attention to where he was going but he knew he was heading in the right direction. He kicked at a piece of rubble on the sidewalk and watched as it skittered out into the middle of the street. A second later it was crushed into dust as a black truck rolled over the top of it. Julian looked up as the truck slowed to turn the corner he'd just come round and felt a tightening in his forehead. He hissed a little, Mom had claimed she got migraines even though it was clearly just more attention seeking on her part, but this tightening, the furrows his brow was automatically forming, they made him think that just maybe there was something to it.

The truck didn't stop. Typical, he thought, see someone in pain and just keep on driving, just leave me behind, everyone else already has. A pang of hunger flared in his gut and he grimaced. It was back. He carried on down the street, towards his own neighborhood, maybe there had been something in the kitchen after all.

Julian spotted a guy at the end of the street watching him, but deliberately ignored him. The guy was probably just one more do-gooder, here because he wanted to pretend he was helping out, make him feel good when he went back to his family. Dude probably had the whole white picket fence deal that Julian's mom had been so keen on. He snorted out a bitter laugh, yeah, this guy was a real fucking Samaritan wasn't he? Coming down here and forcing pity on the decent folks like Julian who'd been abandoned here before turning back around and going home to his luxury townhouse and his two point four kids. People like him made Julian sick.

His changed his mind. Ignoring the guy wasn't the answer, he was going to say something, he was going to tell this guy to get the hell out of his neighborhood with his fake charity. But before he had the chance the guy turned away and opened the door in front of him.

A swirl of noise escaped out into the street – laughter. How could people be laughing when this place was sinking into Hell? He stopped and glared into the room through the door the wannabe do-gooder had gone through. It was a bar. Way to get the priorities straight, no running water or street lighting in more than half the city but gotta get the bars open again. Not that Julian cared, not really.

As the door swung closed he found himself staring into a pair of dark eyes and he took a step back. The hatred and anger that was flooding through him right now seemed to have been thrown right back at him from the owner of those eyes. A woman, younger than his mom. He fought against the urge to run and saw her eyes widen with some kind of recognition. The door swung closed before he could get a better look and he stood there for a long moment trying to figure out what that was all about.

John watched the rear view mirror as he drove away. Something just wasn't quite right with his eldest son. He knew it was more than just a reaction to the pressure of the situation because if there was one thing John Winchester was sure of, it was that Dean coped exceptionally well under pressure. The boy – no, he was twenty-six now, not a boy any longer. When John had been that age he'd left the corps, and he'd become a father for the first time. And he'd been blissfully unaware of what really went on out in the world. Dean hadn't been so lucky but his son had grown up into the kind of man John was proud to know, despite everything. Despite his influence. Dean was more of a man now than John had been at his age and he thrived on the pressure, he pretty much ate pressure for breakfast with a side order of Canadian bacon.

But there was something still bugging him about leaving him there though. John knew his son, Dean didn't get nervous about hunting, not for a long time, but tonight he had been uncharacteristically antsy and then there was the whole deal where he just would not leave the past well enough alone. John sighed, he knew his boys had been close – there had been far too many times when all they'd had was each other, so it wasn't really a surprise. What was a surprise was Dean pushing the issue. Up until tonight he'd kept his thoughts more or less to himself. That he wouldn't stop pushing like that was raising a warning flag for John.

He drove on for a few blocks sorting his thoughts in silence. He realized that the further away from the center of town he got, the easier it was to explain Dean's – and his own – actions. The city was more or less destroyed and although there were signs here and there of reconstruction, seeing it like this was bound to affect anyone. And then there was the fact that he was going to be on his own. Dean had taken on some hunts solo before, but John had always been around for them. He knew his son was more than capable – it hadn't been an empty platitude when he'd said he thought Dean could handle this in his sleep – but maybe it was long past time for Dean saw that for himself.

Yeah, he thought, that's all it was. Dean was just lacking a little bit in the self-confidence stakes, that's all.

John laughed a little and chose to ignore the fact that suggesting Dean needed more confidence was quite possibly the most ridiculous thing that had ever crossed his mind. His son put on the brash act and he carried it well, to the extent that John wasn't a hundred per cent clear on whether even Dean realized it was an act now. He had every right to be confident, cocky, self-assured, but now and then there would be a glimmer of doubt in his son's eyes. A pain that John would do anything to get rid of forever.

Recognizing his mood was heading towards the kind of maudlin introspection that had, in the past, sidetracked him for days at a time and pushed him towards the bottle, he gave himself a mental shake. Dean was probably right at this moment back in that bar flirting with one of the girls. John smirked a little as he pictured the brunette shooting Dean down in flames. He figured that his son might just have met his match with that one – and maybe it was about time.

There was something strangely familiar about that girl, he had never seen her before, that much had been true, but a spark of recognition had tried to ignite as he'd spotted her. Something that…

He slammed the brakes on as he realized what it was she'd triggered in him. John knew he wasn't psychic, but years on the trail of the things that went bump in the night had developed a kind of supernatural-radar in him. That was what she had triggered

He pulled over to the side of the road, a little surprised to see that he was clear of the city now – had he really been driving for that long? He stopped to think about the situation. His mind strangely clear of the fog that had been dogging him for a couple of days now, it was probably something that he should wonder about but right now there were more important things on his mind. He would not see his children die. Especially not because of something he himself had missed seeing.

He could turn around and head back, let Dean know he had another threat on his hands, back him up maybe. But would that be the best plan right now? He honestly had not picked up a threat from her but that didn't always mean much, especially if she really was some kind of supernatural being. Maybe he should call; warn his son… John forced himself to think analytically, to stop the near panic in its tracks. It was something he'd gotten horribly good at, separating the personal from the important.

It was then that he realized what she was, and a grin spread over his face. Oh yeah, Dean had definitely met his match this time, but at least John now knew this girl wasn't likely to be a danger.

John did have a call to make, to confirm things, but it could wait until he got to Jericho. It had been a long time since he'd been in touch and he wasn't even sure if the contact details he had were still up to date. Still, it couldn't be too difficult to track down someone with the kind of reputation Rupert Giles had built for himself amongst the circles they both moved in.

The contrast between the dark street and the bright interior of the bar was huge – looking in at the busy room Dean could almost believe it was just a normal night in a normal town. The darkness outside spooked him though, and that was something he definitely wasn't used to. He honestly couldn't remember a time when he had been spooked by the dark – sure, he was wary, hell he knew what was really out there so that only made sense, but spooked? No. That was a little too close to scared and that was such an alien concept to him that he was starting to doubt his own thoughts.

He pinched the bridge of his nose and tried to clear the fog in his head. Almost as soon as he'd gotten near New Orleans his brain had gotten fuzzy and he'd started to get the unmistakable feeling that someone was watching him. It was… disconcerting, to say the least.

A shiver ran up his spine – like cold fingers trailing across his soul, and oh my god could he sound any more melodramatic? Even inside his own head that was just… so over the top! And so unlike him. Again he came crashing back to the idea that his thoughts weren't exactly his own and he frowned.

He needed a drink, that's all this was. Alcohol was required – potentially in copious amounts and – he grinned – perhaps in the company of a smart-ass brunette who was currently grinning in his direction having made herself comfortable at the table he and his father had left vacant for all of a minute at most. Well, maybe a little longer than that, but not that much more.

He nodded to her returned the grin with one of his own – one that had served him well in situations like this in the past. He gestured to the bar. He was feeling generous, and besides it was only polite to buy her a drink after she'd bought him and John one – and hell, he was sort of looking forward to finding out just what it was she'd done to inspire the reaction (and slightly bruised area on his chest where the bottle had hit him unawares) in the barmaid. The barmaid who was currently glaring at him with barely concealed contempt and turning her back pointedly.

Yeah, Dean thought, maybe buying a drink wasn't going to be as simple as all that. Still, he did like a challenge, there was no denying that…

And apparently tonight was going to be even more of a challenge than he first thought. The brunette – whose name he was really going to have to find out before too much longer – pushed past him, heading for the door with an intense expression and a definite purpose to her movements. She was like a cat, poised and ready to strike. He turned as she yanked open the door – which had only just closed behind him – and saw her staring out into the street. Looking for something – or someone?

He didn't quite know why – or how – but he was beside her before he registered he was moving, his hand reaching for the gun in his waistband as he too looked out into the street. Maybe his earlier thoughts that the darkness outside was somehow threatening weren't that ridiculous after all. His instincts were usually good – he wasn't infallible but something like this, something that had been bugging him with its subtle 'wrongness', he would never normally have ignored that.

Again he found himself trying to blink through the fog as he faltered. He was operating purely on instinct – heading towards a potential threat and ready to protect the folks in the bar against it – but when he let himself think about it, on analyzing it, the nervousness was back. The fear.

Something was definitely seriously screwed up here.

The girl hadn't acknowledged his presence beside her; she was scanning the darkness of the street outside with a professional eye that again made him wonder just who the hell she was.
"Did you see him?" she said finally, eyes still firmly focused on the street outside.
"Huh? Who?" he asked, cursing himself as he realized all the suave first lines he usually relied on would be completely useless now that he'd appeared to be some clueless idiot.
She glanced at him and he shifted a little uncomfortably in the brief scrutiny that he thought was probably pretty similar to the one she would give to a cockroach. Her eyes narrowed a little and she gave the street one last look before turning and heading back into the crowded bar. "Thought I saw someone, doesn’t matter." She said before grinning at him again, "So what does a girl have to do to get you to buy her a beer then?"

He tilted his head to one side, wondering at the sudden about-turn in her attitude, at the things she'd left unsaid. She was a lot more than she seemed, but then everyone had their secrets. He sure as hell did, and was quite possibly the last person in the world who should be calling anyone on putting on a mask to face the world.
"Not pissing off the barmaid so that she's going to be ignoring me 'till hell freezes over might have been a good start." He kinda hoped his smile tempered the words because there seemed to be something seriously wrong here and he was actually snarking at her as if he'd known her all his life.
She flashed those dimples again and nodded agreement, "Yeah, but you gotta admit – that was hella fun."
"What'd you tell her anyway?"
"Nothing much, just that I was real excited that she'd agreed to meet up later and I'd be sure she got a copy of the tape."
He shrugged, "You sure have a twisted sense of fun – me, I don't normally go for the ritual public humiliation angle till at least the second date."
She laughed, "You? Second date? You surprise me, didn't get the impression you'd know what one of those was…" She turned to the bar, suddenly all sweetness and light and Dean fought the flood of memories. Yeah, so he knew he wasn't exactly the kind to go for the commitment thing, but the image of the cute-as-all-get-out, sexy, intelligent, and funny Cassie would not leave his mind.

"Okay… that wasn't supposed to be a case of foot-in-mouth, but obviously I should just shut up now. Here." He looked up to see her watching him with a concerned look on her face and offering a beer. She smiled and he was struck with the difference that came across her. When she grinned it was with the promise of wicked things to come, but her smile, it was sweet and almost innocent. Definitely a puzzle inside a mystery wrapped in an enigma, or whatever that damn phrase was.

And here he was, dumbstruck and lost in nostalgic memories instead of taking things in his stride. This needed sorting out now before any one else thought he was part of the emo generation. God, next thing anyone knew and he'd be listening to Coldplay or Snow Patrol or some other kind of European emo crap. He took the proffered bottle and clinked it against the one she had for herself.
"And here I was trying to impress you with my sensitive side, see, I should know better than to believe what those damn magazines say." He sighed dramatically, "I dunno, you do what you can, you follow the rules about how to be the perfect man and now it turns out that it's all lies." He took a pull from the beer and winked to her as he did.
Her smile widened into that wicked infectious grin. "Hell, you can read? Puts you higher in the ranking than a lot of the guys I've known."
"Known a lot, have you?" He couldn’t quite believe he'd said that, this whole encounter was starting to turn into a nightmare example of how to make damn sure he was going home alone tonight. Or would, if he had a home to go to. Implying she was easy was probably not the best pick up line he'd ever tried.

She didn't seem to mind too much though, people at the other side of the room turned to see what the laughter was about and again he found himself the center of slightly humiliating attention. "I figure about the same number of guys as you've known girls."
"Uh huh, and I take it you're using 'known' in the biblical sense of the word, in which case I gotta say I'm deeply offended. I'll have you know I'm pure as the driven snow." He had to admit he found it near impossible not to laugh at that.
"And just how yellow is that driven snow there?" She came back with her grin growing ever wider.

He smirked; this was way past the usual cute girl encounter in a bar. This had become a match of wits and dammit if he wasn't running out of come-backs that would be considered safe for someone whose name he still hadn’t gotten – never mind the phone number he'd normally be tucking away in a pocket only to throw out a couple of days later when he left town. It wasn't that he used women, well, no more than they used him anyway, but this girl had a point – second date was anathema to him. Not just because of Cassie, but she was the perfect example of why. This life he was living wasn't the kind with a future.

Even so, he was sort of glad this wasn't going to script, nothing about this night was normal – whatever the hell normal was – and having the opportunity to match wits with someone new felt good. Plus, she was definitely much cuter than his regular verbal sparring partners.

"Okay, how 'bout we call a truce just for a minute?" He said. "We've done the ritual humiliation – of me anyway - the jokes, the insults and the besmirching of reputations, which is a pretty neat trick since I have no clue what kind of reputation you have and I'd be seriously worried if you knew about mine." He held out his free hand to shake hers. "Good to meet you. I'm Dean."
She laughed again, damn he could get used to hearing that, and took his hand in hers. "Hi Dean, glad to know ya." She put a serious expression on her face. "I'm Faith." He thought his cheeks were going to start cramping up soon as he grinned again, he opened his mouth to speak but she tightened her grip on his hand until he thought he felt something crack. "Lemme guess," she continued. "You were about to say something hilarious like 'gotta have some', right? Trust me, I've heard them all."
"Again with the me being offended. After everything we've been through together you really think I would come up with some hideously unoriginal pun on your name? I'm disappointed. Surely you have more faith in me than that?" He shook his head, hamming it up for all his worth and he wasn't surprised when she punched him on the shoulder. What he was surprised at was the strength behind that punch, it genuinely rocked him back – although of course he exaggerated it for comic effect.
"That? Was lame." She looked around the bar apparently oblivious to the hate-filled stare the barmaid was still shooting at them – although Dean could not help but notice that the majority of the blonde's animosity was aimed at him still. "Looks like we lost the table."
Dean looked over and saw the crowd had indeed oozed over the empty table… where he had left the file folder

Kicking himself for his stupidity he started forward only to find Faith had her hand on his arm. "Looking for this?" She was holding the folder up and he gaped at her for a moment before grabbing it and checking everything was still there. "I spotted it when you and the other guy stepped out. Who is he, your boss or something?"
"Something like that." he said, trying to gauge how much she had read – or how much she knew.
"Relax, I didn't look at it – just figured I'd hang onto it 'till you came back. So are you guys, like, government spies or something?"
He nodded again, "Yeah… something like that." He sighed, this was turning into a mess and his head was starting to get really muggy. How could he have been so stupid as to just leave the folder sitting there where anyone could pick it up? It was out of character, it was so far from the norm that he knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that something was seriously screwing with his judgment.

He needed to get out, get this job done and get out of this city and away from whatever with fucking with him before he got himself – or anyone else – killed. Dean looked up at Faith and smiled a little regretfully, "Listen, I hate to do this – and you really have no idea how much I hate to do this – but I'm going to have to bail. And yeah, I know this sounds like a brush off but it really isn't. I just have something I need to do and…" He tore a piece off the corner of the folder and scribbled down his cell phone number. "Here, maybe you could give me a call sometime." Had he really just given his number to a girl? This city really was getting to him.
She took the slip of card and nodded, "Hey, no hard feelings." She smiled again – that slightly innocent smile that made him feel like something inside was melting a little. "Good luck with… whatever it is you've got to."

He smiled back, noting that she hadn't said whether she would call or not and realizing how many times he'd done the exact same thing in her place. Nodding once more he finished his beer and put the empty bottle back on the makeshift bar.

He could feel her watching him as he left and couldn’t believe he was actually heading out; maybe once the hunt was over he could look her up again. He shook his head a little sadly as the door closed, knowing the opportunity was gone and knowing that once the hunt was done he would leave town without looking back.

It was probably for the best. Yeah, he wasn't even managing to convince himself with that one.

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