By the time Anna Milton was four, she had learned to fake normal for the psychologist and her parents, at least for the most part. She didn’t tell her parents about the dreams, or the voices she sometimes heard. She remembered how hurt her father had been by her insistence that he wasn’t her real father, and that her real father wanted to kill her. Anna remembered the loud arguments and confusion, the fights when her parents thought she wasn’t listening, how they’d held whispered conversations with the psychologist.
Anna learned to not flinch away when her father reached for her, and not to speak of the voices she heard, or the dreams she dreamed. She learned not to stare off into space as she listened to angels.
Anna smiled even when she was frightened, and she hid her sadness.
Once, Anna told another girl about her “imaginary friends” in grade school, but Rebecca told everyone that Anna was a baby because she still had imaginary friends. She was miserable for a few weeks as the other children teased her mercilessly, but the other kids forgot after a while.
Eventually, pretty much everybody thought that she was bright and well-adjusted and normal. Even her parents forgot that she’d been crazy.
Anna forgot for the most part, but there was always a part of herself that remained hidden, private, apart. There was a piece of herself that she did not share.
When she was sixteen, she had her first boyfriend. Robbie was sweet and gentle, and he went to her church. Anna believed that he loved her; she thought she could tell him anything at all, and he would still love her.
Anna thought she might be able to share that piece of herself with someone for the first time.
“So, when you were two, you had to go see a psychologist?” Robbie sounded skeptical. “We all go through phases, Anna.”
She knew she shouldn’t push even before the words left her mouth. “It wasn’t exactly a phase.”
He frowned. “But you’re normal now.”
Anna sighed. “Sometimes I have these dreams, and I hear—it’s like I can hear other people talking.”
“Anna...” Robbie pulled back, distancing himself from her. They had been cuddling on the couch, Anna leaning against Robbie’s broad chest. She immediately felt chilled. “That’s not normal. Have you told anybody about this?”
She could see the concern masked by fear in his eyes. “It’s not a big deal. Most of the time, I don’t even notice.”
“But if you’re hearing voices--”
“It’s hard to explain,” Anna said impatiently. “It’s not like that.”
“And the dreams?”
“It’s like I’m living someone else’s life,” Anna replied. “I can’t describe it very well.”
He smiled and tried to lighten the moment with a joke. “You don’t seem all that crazy.”
She found a smile. “Very funny, Robbie.”
He avoided her after that, though. He’d pretend not to see her in the hallways, and he wouldn’t talk to her during classes. He wouldn’t answer her phone calls, and then he wouldn’t return her messages. She wasn’t surprised when he broke up with her the following week.
Anna learned her lesson after that. She ignored the voices completely and trained herself to forget her dreams as soon as she woke up. She thought she was doing just fine until the angels—she knew they were angels now—started talking about the apocalypse, about Dean and Sam Winchester. She couldn’t go to classes, and she couldn’t hold a normal conversation, and all her carefully constructed lies came tumbling down.
She felt as though it was her responsibility to tell everyone that the end is near, and yet it was almost a relief when her parents took her to the psychiatric ward.
It was a chance to tell the truth when all her life had been a lie.
Anna felt so alone, in spite of the constant voices in her head. She knew the end was coming, and she knew that she was probably insane, and had been insane her whole life. The doctors told her over and over again that she had schizophrenia, and that if she would just take the medications they gave her, and worked hard at getting better, she could live a happy, productive life.
Anna told them that there’s no point, because the apocalypse was coming, and she wasn’t going to have a chance to get better.
She didn’t know she could move things with her mind until the demon came to her room, until she had to fight for her life.
And, while she’d believed what the voices told her, she had never quite believed that Sam and Dean Winchester were real.
But right now, Anna was draped across Dean Winchester’s naked body, feeling warm and a little tingly from really good sex.
Her life had taken a strange turn.
“You okay?” Dean asked.
She smiled. “More than. Thanks.”
“I should be thanking you,” Dean replied, and even though Anna wasn’t looking at him, she could hear the smile in his voice. “I usually have to work a little harder to get a girl into the backseat of my car.”
There was a pause. “That didn’t come out the way I meant it to.”
Anna laughed. “So, you’re not saying I’m easy?”
“I’m saying thank you,” Dean replied. “You sure you’re okay?”
Anna was quiet for a moment. “I always thought I was crazy, you know? I mean, there were always the dreams, and the voices in the background. Sometimes I could forget, but there was no one I could ever tell.”
“But you weren’t crazy.”
“I kind of was,” Anna said thoughtfully. “I was hearing voices and having weird dreams, where I lived someone else’s life. I think that meets the definition of crazy.”
Dean pulled her closer. “I don’t know about hearing voices, but I know that if I ever talked about my life to a civilian—they’d think I was insane. It wouldn’t take much to get checked into a psych ward. All Sam and I would have to do was tell them about hunting.”
“Yeah.” Anna remembered Robbie in that moment; she hadn’t thought of him in years. “The last person I told was my boyfriend. He didn’t stick around much longer.”
“He was an idiot,” Dean replied.
Anna smiled. “He was normal.”
“You say ‘normal’ like it’s a bad thing.”
“What do we know about normal, Anna?” Dean asked. “I’m a hunter who went to hell to save my brother, and got dragged back to life by an angel. And you--”
“Used to be an angel.” Anna pushed herself up so that she could see Dean’s eyes. “We don’t meet anyone’s definition of normal. I used to be better at pretending, though.”
“Anna.” Dean touched her face. “I know you don’t think you’re going to make it, but we’re going to try.”
In that moment, Anna thought that Dean might be the only person who’d ever really seen her.
“That’s more than most people would do, Dean,” Anna responded, and she kissed him one last time—for luck, for love, for gratitude.
Tomorrow, she would probably be dead, but Dean had made her last night on earth pretty damn good.
And, for once, Anna felt like any other college-age woman. She was just a girl who’d had sex with a really hot guy in the backseat of his car.
“Can we stay here a moment longer?” Anna asked.
“Sure,” Dean said softly. “We’ll just stay here for a while.”
Anna rested her head on Dean’s shoulder and let the tension seep out of her. For a moment, she felt normal. She wished she could stay there forever.