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Birthday fic for fry! ("Necessary Rites" - SPN, het, R)
the arch of the eyebrows gives it away
innie_darling
Hi, everybody!

girl_wonder is a lovely girl and a great writer, and as of today, she's a year older too! fry, kitten, this is as close as I could get to the hooker-fic you asked for. I hope you like it, and happy birthday!

This story was also written for the family_secret challenge (prompts listed at the end of the fic). My heartfelt thanks to marinarusalka, dotfic, janissa11, and ignipes for their insightful and responsive beta-work, and to destina for running such a cool challenge.

It's rated R. It's got John/Mary, OFC/OMC, and John/OFC.


"Necessary Rites"


She's full, pleasantly sated, and the moonlight is sharp. There are overflowing dumpsters on either side of them, but all she can smell is the sweet semen of the man lying on the ground. Always a little left on the pavement, on the wall, somewhere close by, and she can't remember now why that's important, why it feels like a necessary rite to let some spill out of her.

She picks loose gravel out of the firm, unbruised skin of her knees and fluffs her hair with careful fingers. She might be full but the night is still young.

***

Jim is a good man, but becoming a pastor pushed a large chunk of his personality right out of him. Time was, Jim would have argued and maybe thrown a few punches to win a fight, but now he just smiles that goddamn serene smile and spreads his hands like he's at peace.

John knows – he knows – he's picked up the trail of something nasty, most likely a succubus, a word he still has to get used to thinking. But Jim refuses to see it, first talking about the "unfortunate" like the word itself has any meaning, then pretending that all of his concentration's taken up by cooking macaroni and cheese for the boys. John isn't going to argue with him; he's going to go to Millersville and kill that bitch, cross it off the list of shit out there in the world, and then do it all over again the next day.

He leaves the stack of newspapers on the passenger side and buckles Sammy into his car seat. Dean slides silently in and fishes out the cloth-covered book Jim bought for Sammy and holds it up.

"Do you have to go to the bathroom, Dean?" John asks, but Dean shakes his head. At some point John's going to have to toilet-train Sammy, and he can't remember how Mary had managed with Dean.

He'll figure it out. The only fucking thing he's got now is time.

***

It doesn't take her long to find the next one to offer himself up. All she has to do is not work so hard at dampening down her allure, and the men are all over her, pleading as she walks down the boulevard. Her hips sway with the same rhythm as the clicking of a turn-signal; they can drive all night without getting what she can give them, what they want.

She chooses a big man, as always; she likes them meaty, solid. A man like that believes he can treat a woman – a girl, really, that's what she looks like in the moonlight, milk-white skin and dangerously slender – any way he likes, always has a little extra energy for a fight or for a fuck.

He's pleased when she pulls him into an alley and goes straight to her knees. He's making nasal sounds of approval while she laps at him. She looks up at his eyes squeezed shut, feels his thick fingers in her hair; pulling off, she evades his fumbling hands and climbs him, swift and sure.

His hands grasp her convulsively, trying to keep up. She flips her skirt up and sinks down on him before he can say anything about a condom. His breath is labored against her neck and his arms are shaking from holding her up; while he is so open, she squeezes him, milking him dry, then past that point.

When she backs away and tugs her skirt back down, he's nothing but a desiccated corpse. It's all he was before, really; she's just transferred his energy into more useful channels. It buzzes through her, sustaining her.

She leaves his wallet on the ground, next to the puddle of rainwater dotted with semen. It's an offering of some sort, she remembers that much, but the rest of the reason eludes her.

***

John drives through the night, meeting Dean's eyes in the rearview mirror every few minutes. It's only when the book slips from Sammy's chubby fingers and no cry goes up, no scramble is made to retrieve it, that he knows the boys are asleep. It's 2:30 in the morning, and he might as well keep going and stop when it's time for breakfast.

He makes Millersville before six and pulls into the parking lot of a modest-looking diner. Sammy's diaper needs changing and Dean's face and hands could use some soap and water. There's no line, and a white-haired waitress sees him coming and nods at an empty booth.

"Restroom?"

She points to a door at the back, stepping out of his way as he goes, holding Sammy with one arm, his other hand on Dean's tangled hair.

Sammy starts crying the minute he's set on the oilcloth laid between two cracked sinks; he always makes a fuss when his diaper's being changed. His bottom is red, the skin dry and hot. John closes his eyes and counts to five, opening them to find Dean holding the jar of diaper rash ointment out to him. Damn Jim for teaching his kid to be a better dad than his old man.

He steps back and lets Dean finish up, making sure he washes his hands when he’s done. John scrubs his own hands before picking up Sammy and the diaper bag.

He sits at the booth and Dean eyes him for a moment before standing on the bench and turning his attention to the window. "Dark," he says carefully, waiting for Sammy to mimic him. "It's dark outside."

He's right; it's dark everywhere, too damn early for little boys to be up, too damn late for a guy who has no clue how to be a dad when he's not even a husband anymore.

"Sit down, Dean," John says, just as a hot cup of coffee is put in front of him. One long gulp and he's drained it, feeling it like a kick in the head. A wrinkled hand pulls the cup to the edge of the table and fills it right back up. He feels like he can see again, and tilts his head up to discover who his benefactor is.

She's got faded hair that was once probably an eye-catching strawberry blonde, and the skin around her pale blue eyes is wrinkled and dry. She looks vaguely familiar, but it's only when her gaze shifts to the boys, softening and growing indulgent, that he recognizes her. She looks just like his Aunt Ruthie, whose lap was his throne and whose pockets held a never-ending supply of butterscotch candies. Ruthie, who died of throat cancer two months after he put a shining ring on Mary's finger, and he needs to stop thinking of his dead when there are mouths to feed.

He orders pancakes for all three of them, milk for the boys, and lets Dean go wild with the butter and syrup. He feeds Sammy dry little bites and Dean keeps one eye out to make sure Sam's not going thirsty. He should thank Dean, show some appreciation for his unstinting efforts, but when the Ruthie-waitress comes back and Dean shrinks suspiciously away from her and Sammy starts wailing, he snaps instead.

***

There is so much that has been lost to her since her family was scattered and hunted down. The forms of the rituals linger, but the meanings, the essence, have vanished, sliding through her fingers like jellyfish tentacles, stinging and slippery.

She does not even know what form she would take if she were totally free.

She is the last, unknown and unknowing. She is alone with the memories of nights and the brittle bones of her tribe's dead babies; they insist that she feed for them too, enough to fill them all.

She draws this pale, tender skin around her and sets out for prey.

***

He can't do this, he just can't. The hell was he thinking, dragging Mary's babies behind him like tin cans tied to a bumper while he ran off to play Superman? Not a day goes by that John doesn't want to just shoot himself, give the boys to someone who'd treat them right.

He's here, though, fighting for her, and it's time.

"Dean," he says sharply. "Wake up." He moves around the motel room, gathering the things he'll need.

"Dean, I mean it; get up now."

Dean blinks awake and looks up at him uncertainly after one agonized glance at Sammy.

"I need you to stay awake, watch out for your brother. You're going to lock the door behind me and let me in when I do the secret knock. Off the bed now, I don't want you falling back asleep."

He grabs his jacket while Dean shuffles over to the table and climbs into a chair. "You can watch TV if you want," John says, remembering the way Dean used to plead for one more cartoon, one more story. But Dean just sits there and watches his little brother sleep, so John puts a hand on the boy's hair, tumbles it as paternally as he can.

"Put the chain on when you lock the door," he says as he steps out into the chilly air, hearing Dean's light footsteps behind him.

He swings the backpack onto his shoulder and sets out for the site of the last kill. He reaches it in five minutes flat; the motel's not exactly in the best part of town. The chalk outline is still bright and the air is rank with the smell of garbage. There's nothing about this alley that suggests a supernatural hunting ground, but the descriptions of the corpses – shriveled, powder-dry bones with not much flesh left on them – say that the killer can't be human, not if it can do this in a matter of minutes. The cops must be willfully blind.

The other sites are close by, just around a few corners, and he stands in each dark and narrow alley, looking for something, anything, that will tip him off, tell him how to find her. When that doesn't happen, he starts walking again, up and down each street in the area, wondering if he can possibly catch it in the act. Dumb luck is the only luck he's got left.

***

She's drunk one man deep already, thinks maybe a second might be a good idea, and as she's searching she sees the fire. A few men are huddled around the trash can, all dressed in haphazard layers, painted in glowing colors by the dancing light. They are the untouchables, both to the world around them and to her; there's not enough of what she needs in them, caught up in the struggle just to survive with no time for pleasure.

When she approaches, they shuffle quietly to make room for her, no questions asked. She stands there in her thin clothes and thin skin and remembers the savage, satisfying heat of a fire built on bones, ages ago, when there were enough of them to stand in a circle around it. The firelight had danced for them too.

The moment it had been her turn to stand in the fire is mostly gone from her memory, though a feeling of triumph sizzles in her mind as she thinks. She puts her hand in the flame, and the men mutter and shift uneasily as they watch her through narrowed eyes. It fills her up with warmth, enough to satisfy, and she turns away, not needing to feed again after all.

***

The sound of a siren gets him running, instinct overriding everything else, until he stops and considers the situation. He doubles back, crouching low, and stumbles into the scene of the latest attack. He can smell spunk, sharp in the air, and the bundle of bones in front of him still has ropey-looking skin stretched taut across it.

She's had her fun and moved on. Dawn's coming soon, so she'll have gone into hiding to wait for the next reign of darkness. She's not hitting the same spot twice, and it looks like she's running out of dark alleys in this part of town. He might be able to find her after all, catch her before she notches another kill.

John walks back to the motel, bracing himself for his sons' utter neediness, the way he feels drained after just a few minutes with them, looking to him for every answer.

He raps out the beat of "Do You Know the Muffin Man?" against the door and hears the chain sliding out of the way and a chair being dragged away from the door. Dean peeks around the open door, a mistrustful look on his small face.

"It's me, kiddo," John says, but Dean doesn't smile, just backs up dutifully and locks the door again. In the narrow space between the beds, Sammy's sitting on the floor with his stuffed octopus next to him, working intently to color the pages of the Bible.

"Dean! You don't . . ." John wants to admonish him for desecrating something holy, but Dean startles at the sharpness in his voice and Sammy looks up, eyes wide and ready to fill with tears. "Sorry, sport," he says instead. "You boys need coloring books?"

Dean shakes his head, maintaining eye contact like he's been taught. "Sammy likes this one," he says, voice just barely more than a whisper.

Dean's stomach growls before he can respond, and John checks his watch. "Give your old man a couple hours to sleep and then we'll go get some food, okay?"

He kicks off his boots and lies down, hearing Dean murmur something to Sammy as he closes his eyes.

***

She always feels exposed during the day, as if the sun can strip her bare. She's slower, sluggish, reduced to warming her hands by wrapping them around mugs of coffee, wishing it would warm up her insides too if she were to take a swallow.

When the bell above the door rings, she looks over to see that man with the two children, pure and so small. He's scanning the place, maybe looking for her, so she steps forward and beckons him to a table in her section.

"Thanks . . . Estelle," he says, reading her nametag.

She remembers that she doesn't have to leave room in the cup for milk, so she fills the mug to the brim with coffee, envying the way his eyes flutter shut in pleasure. The babies are right there, watching their father quietly, so much energy and emotion radiating from them that her skin is an inadequate shield; she feels her features start to slip into a younger visage, her hair to take on a lighter, brighter tint. Their need is familiar, painful; they don't know how to mask it yet, though their wariness belongs to much older children. The man's gaze recaptures her attention and she snaps herself back into the skin she's chosen, the one he likes and expects.

It's eggs for the three of them this morning, juice for the boys, meat on the side as if to show control over their bloodlust.

When she comes back with the food, the man has papers spread out over the table, and the older boy is keeping the little one occupied by pointing to his features and waiting for the proper word to be spoken. She watches the younger boy's struggle to remember "ears" and waits for the father to see her and make some space for the plates. He's got bold handwriting, dark and easily legible, like he's trying not to write but to burn the words into his brain. They make their way into hers as well.

He's noted the places where the men gave themselves to her. He is aware of the power of gold to trap and strip her down to bone; he knows her weakness. This man is hunting her. She's going to have to kill him.

***

Even pawnshop gold is beyond his price range, but he can't go up against her completely unarmed. The library in a nothing town like this won't be any help; all he can do is trust in the incantation he looked up in Jim's church basement and hope that it's enough, that she hasn't mutated into something that requires more faith or energy or heart than he's got right now.

Sammy's napping, worn out from spinning in circles, his round cheek pressed against the stuffed octopus. But Dean won't close his eyes, instead looking unhappily at his father. John can't look at Dean and not see Mary, so he turns his back and focuses on the paper with the incantation. He mumbles the words to himself, falling asleep to their rhythm.

Dean's sitting by the window when he wakes up, a small sentinel limned gold against the dark sky. John washes his face, brushes his teeth, and turns just enough to see Dean keeping watch, still as a statue.

When he gets to the alley, the succubus is already there, looking small and dark and painfully young. She steps forward.

***

She gets closer to him, knowing exactly what he wants, where his weakness lies. Her eyes stay open as her limbs lengthen, her hair turns to blonde, and her body takes on more weight. This new figure tingles under his disbelieving gaze, like the love in his eyes can be made tactile.

His hands are empty, no golden blade anywhere, nothing in his eyes except her as she keeps stepping forward. There's something in him that's pulling her closer, saying that he wants to be drained, relieved of life, as much as she craves taking it. She's got her arms around him and he's leaning into her rather than away.

He's not even struggling, saving all of his energy for her. "Mary," he whispers before he catches her mouth with his.

She can feel how well he knows this mouth - the length of the lips, the quickness of the tongue. His eyes are closed. She wants to take her time with this one, this hunter reduced to a man, and she closes her eyes, fitting this body against his like a homecoming.

Blinding pain slices through her and she chokes on a scream. He's whispering the names of the angels into her mouth, his arms unyielding around her. The words, the holy names, are a fire being set on her bones, eating her from within, and in a flash of brilliant white light there is nothing more.

***

He stumbles away from the wall to vomit helplessly on the spot where she stood, then presses his back against the rough brick again. He has to get back to the boys, but the way to the motel is lined with liquor stores, and he needs that fire, something to wipe out the image of that thing becoming Mary for him.

The first swig of whiskey washes his mouth clean, and after that it's all just a golden warmth. He hammers on the door of the room, sinking finally into the chair as Dean locks it back up. He should call Jim, but first he just needs to get through the bottle.

When he stumbles into the bathroom, he sees that the scratches along his neck and back look vaguely green under the fluorescent light. His eyes are rimmed with red, pouchy and miserable.

"What, Dean?" he bites out when he hears soft taps at the door. The noise stops immediately. John sighs, closes his eyes, and braces his hands on the edges of the sink. "I'm fine, buddy, okay? Just feeling a little slow this morning. You want go back to that diner, get some more pancakes?"

There's no answer, and he showers until he feels human again. When he comes out of the bathroom, Dean's got Sammy dressed and both of them packed. Sammy squirms until John picks him up.

In the car, he can hear Dean playing "This Little Piggy" with the stuffed octopus's legs, keeping his brother occupied with the quiet chant. The drive to the diner is mercifully short.

"Can you seat us in Estelle's section?" John asks the girl at the cash register.

"She ain't in today," she tells him hurriedly, trying to figure out the change on the bill she's been handed, and points at an empty booth.

The table's still damp with cleanser, and Sammy slams his hands down excitedly, leaving smudgy prints behind. Dean pushes the octopus underneath his brother's hands, stopping the noise, and John looks up to see a young waitress come by with a mug and a pot of coffee.

He would've liked to see Estelle's eyes once more before he put this town in his rearview mirror. Instead he drinks his coffee and watches his sons and tries to figure out where to go next.


+++


prompts
22 Sex appeal is fifty percent what you've got and fifty percent what people think you've got. - Sophia Loren

64 John lies to the boys about how he got injured on a hunt.

90 "Caught in a trap of what we're taught to believe...When night overcomes day, life's so hard to perceive..." - ("Wonder," Megan McCauley)

101 naked woman in front of bonfire

102 creepy mummified baby


++++++++++
As always, I'd love to hear what you think.

  • 1
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Oh, thank you, sugar! I'm so pleased you liked this! And that the reveal was a surprise - I wasn't sure how obvious it was.

As always, I just end up saying, "oh, Deeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaan."

Oh wow. This fic was really amazing because of how well it didn't pussy foot around what the early days of hunting were like and also how *human* it made the succubus! So much love for this.

I'm in love with this John - beaten and overwhelmed by his children and not doing a good job even as he loves them so much.

Jim is a good man, but becoming a pastor pushed a large chunk of his personality right out of him.

Ha. Oh, Jim. I love him too much.

It's all he was before, really; she's just transferred his energy into more useful channels. It buzzes through her, sustaining her.

I still can't get over how much I loved her, with all of this implied backstory and ache.

Damn Jim for teaching his kid to be a better dad than his old man.

Oh, John. The way in which he blames Jim and Dean for filling the void he's quickly leaving...

but when the Ruthie-waitress comes back and Dean shrinks suspiciously away from her and Sammy starts wailing, he snaps instead.

This is *so* important to me. Because, yeah, that's how it goes with family a lot: you want to say, "God, I love them" but instead you end up yelling. And here, how John just can't balance that even with his kids!

She stands there in her thin clothes and thin skin and remembers the savage, satisfying heat of a fire built on bones, ages ago, when there were enough of them to stand in a circle around it. The firelight had danced for them too.

I still love this image of a past with her and her people.

John walks back to the motel, bracing himself for his sons' utter neediness, the way he feels drained after just a few minutes with them, looking to him for every answer.

This... I just am completely speechless at it. SO GOOD.

but the way to the motel is lined with liquor stores, and he needs that fire, something to wipe out the image of that thing becoming Mary for him.

That line from the first episode fits so well in here, with John really being that much of an ass, and yet...

SO MUCH LOVE for this fic. Thank you, babe!

I loved that you made a kindly matronly waitress the succubus. Dean is amazing and John beautifully flawed. Great job.

Oh wow. All the little child-details are so heartbreaking--I feel like I can see Dean's solemn, little eyes.

And the juxtaposition of John's grief with that of the succubus is really interesting.

Awesome.

Yes! Solemn eyes! Solemn doe eyes!

I was going to call this fic "Symmetry" or something like that, but that was a little too on the nose.

Thank you kindly, miss!

Oh, wow, awesome story!

Not a day goes by that John doesn't want to just shoot himself, give the boys to someone who'd treat them right.

John. *sigh*. I absolutely believe that would have been tempting for him at that point.

Thanks, sugar!

I just kind of can't get how John kept going at this point, you know? How intensely painful everything had to be for him.

I love how you've got John down here. World-weary, grieving still, trying to soldier on for the sake of the boys and not managing too great.

Dean, picking up the slack, John's IMTOD speech brought to life before me. That was amazing.

The succubus, just surviving, maybe she's done only that for too long and is as world-weary as John.

My Mum was talking about a couple on Holby City and how much they adored each other to the point where my Mum thinks they alienated their children slightly. That's very much John and Mary. In her death, he's idolised her more than Dean has, to the point where he alineated his children.

You got that down.

Dean, picking up the slack, John's IMTOD speech brought to life before me. That is very kind of you to say!

Yes, everyone in this story is tired and hurting. Totally inappropriate birthday material.

You know, putting it that way, you make a really interesting point. I remember that in The Mists of Avalon, which I read years ago, a similar situation occurred. Arthur's mom was so wrapped up in her husband that she neglected her children, and I guess that idea stuck with me. I wonder if John would have stayed so single-minded about Mary had she lived.

I'm so glad this worked for you!

I really, completely love this story. It's so, so sad and weary, and you can just feel that John's burdens are so heavy, but it's all so very human -- even the woman who isn't human. Wonderful job.

Thank you, honey! You know how much of this I owe to you.

John's grief and weariness are so palpable in this and I like the way that parallels with the succubus. And the boys are so heartbreakingly young here, and sad. Lovely.

Thank you very much! Nobody can catch a break in this story, huh?

Echoing everyone else here. John's utter weariness in this is palpable and excellent. Your Dean breaks my heart, and little Sammy too. I feel as overwhelmed as John in this. Brilliant writing.

I feel as overwhelmed as John in this. It's all crushing down on him, isn't it? And Dean is trying to hold it off, but he's just a baby himself. God, Dean!

OW. That's what I think. OW OW OW. Man, I LOVE THIS. I love the sharp, short scenes that manage to convey so much. I love the interweaving points of view. I love that the creature was Estelle and that John still didn't know that at the end of the story. I LOVE LITTLE DEAN. He makes me hurt a little inside but so much love. I want to gather them all up and hug them and give them cookies and a place to stay. *sighs*

Just beautiful.

Hee! And sorry!

I love that the creature was Estelle and that John still didn't know that at the end of the story. Give John a few years to develop his hunting skills, and he'll be able to spot the succubus inside any future Estelle. But now? He's hurt and tired and completely unsure of what he's doing.

But, ah, it's Dean who breaks my heart. Again. Some more.

Thanks so very much!

Oh wow, heartbreaking and beautifully written. I love how John and the succubus's stories weave together and reflect off of each other. The sense of loss and struggling to find a way to go on - to fulfill the obligations they carry with them - is really amazing.

The sense of loss and struggling to find a way to go on - to fulfill the obligations they carry with them Oooh, that's beautifully phrased! Everyone is just so worn down here, even little baby Dean.

Thank you so much!

::makes excited seal barking/clapping sounds::

Wow. Just... wow.

Hee! You're such a cutie-pie!

Thank you!

Lovely writing as always. Creepy and really rounded look at the supernatural being, a heartbreaking John trying to be a good father and so broken up about Mary, poor little grown up child Dean and even good Jim with just some throw away lines. Thanks so much for sharing.

Thank *you* for reading!

I just ache for this little Dean.

Nicely done. The alternating POVs worked really well, and I particularly liked how you used little moments to communicate just how different (and difficult) the Winchesters’ lives are now. Poor, broken family. *hugs them*

Favorite lines:

He'll figure it out. The only fucking thing he's got now is time.

Oh, John.

Her hips sway with the same rhythm as the clicking of a turn-signal;

Good description. I really like how you fleshed out her character.

John closes his eyes and counts to five, opening them to find Dean holding the jar of diaper rash ointment out to him. Damn Jim for teaching his kid to be a better dad than his old man.

This moment really strikes me, and makes me ache for both John and Dean, who are growing old far before their time.

The hell was he thinking, dragging Mary's babies behind him like tin cans tied to a bumper while he ran off to play Superman?

Great analogy.

remembering the way Dean used to plead for one more cartoon, one more story. But Dean just sits there and watches his little brother sleep

Oh, Dean.

This man is hunting her. She's going to have to kill him.

Love how simple and matter-of-fact and deadly this is.

John can't look at Dean and not see Mary, so he turns his back and focuses on the paper with the incantation.

This hurts, and I can totally see it happening. Poor littlel Dean. *hugs him*

I'm so glad you liked this story! John's hurt seems boundless to me, until I think about Dean's. God, Dean!

Thank you, as always, for the lovely feedback!

Very moving, showing how John is struggeling, to learn the ropes of a hunter while trying to care for the boys as best he can.

Wow this was great - very clever tie together of all your prompts. I loved the detail of Dean keeping Sam occupied while John works at the diner, and Dean sitting there and watching Sam sleep.

Great insight into John's weariness and the reality of balancing two small children with the hunting life. The succubus was really made to feel human - that was awesome. Thanks for sharing.

Thanks, sugar! Glad you liked!

This is simply fantastic. And I think a lot of that comes from the fact of how real her POV felt and how you built the "canon" of her bit by bit.

Beauuuuutiful work.

Ha! Her canon was completely made up, so I'm still a little surprised it made sense to anyone except me. So, thank you!

I'm so pleased you liked this.

whew. amazing and painful. I love the human and hunter in John. poor boys, all three of them.

Glad you had a good time at AngstFest 2007!

Thanks so much for the kind words!

Wow, this is really terrific. I like seeing these little snippets of John's humanity. Poor guy.

Thanks so much for saying that - I really appreciate it!

You are amazing, baby!

I love how you show how hard it is for John to raise 2 boys and do this at the same time. I want to make him a pot of coffee and let him do something else while I stay with Sammy and Dean.

Yay!

Oh, thank you so much!

I'm getting so interested in John, what his life must have been like, but after all is said and done, it's really Dean that it all comes down to. Poor sweet baby.

I put this into memories to read later and wow, I am SO glad I came back to it. I loved that there wasn't a 'villain' as such, that she had her own (untold) backstory. It just gives the story so much depth and resonance. But I particuarly loved the little glimpses into John's daily life.

"Do you have to go to the bathroom, Dean?" John asks, but Dean shakes his head. At some point John's going to have to toilet-train Sammy, and he can't remember how Mary had managed with Dean.

I've often wondered about this - how did John deal with the day-to-day mundanity of bringing up a baby and toddler? But this is what really sealed it for me:

John walks back to the motel, bracing himself for his sons' utter neediness, the way he feels drained after just a few minutes with them, looking to him for every answer.

I don't think there's a parent in history who couldn't identify with that feeling. *g*

Great job.

Thank you so much! I'm very pleased that you liked this totally painful story!

I have to admit, I was kind of hoping that the Origins books would cover some of this ground, but from the online bits I've seen, that doesn't seem to be the case. Too bad - I'd LOVE to read about John at this time.

I really love this! How you've sat down and thought out how hard it must have been to cope with everything, how it wasn't just the hunting that made their lives messed up. Usually I don't have much sympathy for John (I'm very much a Shutup!Daddy type myself) but I really felt for him here.

I love my nephews, but being with them really makes me wonder how John did it. No doubt about it, John got lucky that his boys were Dean and Sam, but he had to have done something right. I wanted to see him try at least.

Thanks so very much for the kind words!

Superb. The beautiful reverb between John's loss and the creature's, between the boys' innocence and hers: gorgeously handled. The compassionate way you write them all just makes the tragedy stronger. Great answer to the challenge.

That is such a generous and kind comment! Thank you so much for the lovely words.

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This . . . was totally inappropriate for a birthday. However, this is what poor fry got. I just - I want to smack John for forcing Dean into this horrible role, but at the same time I'm kind of amazed at the fact that John's actually keeping it together enough to feed and house himself and the boys.

It's always lovely to get such wonderful, thoughtful feedback, so please do let me say thank you. And I'm tickled pink to think you love my Dean most! Dean is just the best, isn't he?

Also, no obligation, but I wanted to make sure you were aware of these two posts: http://innie-darling.livejournal.com/33046.html and http://community.livejournal.com/spnroundtable/23408.html.

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I really liked this, they way you capture all the family dynamics of John and Dean, overwhelmed, but doing the best they can, even if it's not ideal, and the succubus, doing what she's driven to do.

That sense of compulsion was supposed to be mirrored in John and the succubus; I hadn't thought of it cropping up in Dean, though, so thank you for that reading. Glad you liked this!

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