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The Prettiest Star

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It isn’t so much as a fallen star as it is a fallen man, looks like, with green eyes and a dirty mouth, but that part will have to wait.

 

 

*

 

Let us start instead with Samuel Winchester, son of John Winchester, farm boy (son of a farmer, he would hasten to add, aspires to work in law, small town cases, thank you) and the promise he’d made to the lovely Miss Jessica Moore, local beauty of the charming town, who may have been a little tipsy thanks to the copious amount of wine he’d given her in his attempts to woo said lady, all fumbling hands and nervous stammering.

So he’s making impossible lasso-the-moon offers, thousand watt grin, tries to pull out all stops and that’s when there’s a shooting star. Burns bright, a searing line of white light cutting across a blue-black sky.

He promises he’d give her the star and she laughs for a good minute before asking if he’s actually serious. He nods, eyebrows up, bangs in his eyes, brushes the hair away, and says he’ll bring it back, that he’d do anything.

Of course, in order to do so, this Samuel Winchester has to light a damn candle, of all things, even after his dad’s telling him not to start this fire, you don’t know what kind of spell it could—

See. Bad idea, but you can’t say he isn’t that smart because, Sam would ask, what do you mean ‘what kind of spell?’

Doesn’t hear it, the match dips too low, not quite a second where he’s there and then he’s not, his dad almost forming the words, secret guilt he’s kept quiet since a baby was left at his door, Samuel Winchester written on a note tucked inside.

There may have been a whole other story involving John and a young blonde woman he met ‘traveling’, but this one’s about the fallen star.

 

 

*

 

He lands on top of a man, straddling him, face inches away from sweat, faint stubble, says numbly, “Jessica?”

“Do I look like a friggin’ ‘Jessica’? Get off me, you weigh a ton.”

The man starts to shove Sam off, scrunches his face with effort, mutters something about ’course I’m gonna be attacked by an ogre. He’s wearing all white, long sleeved tunic, low-slung white pants, dusky boots—and frankly, he’s a better sight than Sam, who’s clothes are covered in dirt besides being the usual two sizes too small. Much better sight, the kind of strangely, scarily attractive features you’d find in the type of suitors hanging Jessica’s house only, somehow, better, brighter—this one has green eyes, sandy brown hair, freckles and, wait, now that hurts, half-hearted kick to Sam’s side; he’s just about to punch Sam’s shoulder, settles for a smack with his open palm instead. Sam rears back and half rolls, half scuttles away.

Sam’s sitting with his knees practically up to his neck, panting, and he’s looking around wildly at this gigantic crater, the burned black, melted surface, soft hush of crumbling dust the only sound in the night.

All quiet except for the complicated stream of cursing muttered in a low voice, Sam glances and turns around to look at the man, now occupied with rubbing the center of his forehead, looking all around, readying for a fight.

“Uh, did you, um—” Sam exhales, settles on his knees looking down at the man. Fidgets, fingers playing with the edge of his jacket. “Did you happen to see a fallen star around here?”

Yeah.” The man nods quick, irritated, his eyes wide, mouth a little open (lips kinda full, Sam realizes) as he explains, very slowly, “You just sat on him. Christ.”

“What?”

Sam turns around, sees the dark green edge of grass at the crater’s edge, the sky full of little dots of white. He whips his head around and the man’s making a face, rubbing at his forehead still while palming at his hair, scrunching the short hair at the back of his head, it sticks up at a funny angle, ruins the angry glower he’s working. The glowing, uh, that doesn’t help either. “You mean—wait a minute. You’re the star?”

The man rolls his eyes. “You’re fast, genius. ‘Course I am. Pretty obvious. Took you long enough.”

“Well, I don’t know how obvious. You’re not like—” Sam bites his lip. “I thought you’d be more like a rock or something.”

“Nope. And what do you mean, ‘not obvious?’ I’m brighter than all them other bitches up there,” the man says, eyebrows quirking upwards. “Here I am, mindin’ my own damn business, doing my job. You know, shining light, burning hot, in all ways, if you get my drift, illuminating things, and this freaking rock comes outta nowhere and plonks me right in the forehead.”

He lifts up a golden chain with a large, clear crystal. “I keep getting hit here, man,” the star says, rubs at the same spot on his forehead, twists his mouth in distaste, “I’ll get a scar at this rate.”

Sam scratches at the back of his head, winces. “So that thing isn’t yours?”

Strange, how for a split-second Sam almost wants to ask the star for it, but he ignores that little calling in the back of his mind, pushes back to somewhere deep, where dreams are born.

“No. I’m not gonna wear it. Too gaudy if you ask me,” he responds, shoves it into a pocket in his pants. There are no other sounds at all now, just the echo of their voices bouncing against the black walls of the crater. “So, you gonna tell me your name? I like to know the names of people who’ve fallen on top of me for the night. Makes it more respectable, if you know what I mean.”

“Oh!” Sam licks his lips, scratches at his head again. Wonders at the strange tight feeling twisting his stomach all up in knots, figures it’s a case of meeting a star who is apparently something of a surly person. With a tendency to pout, well, um, very convincingly. “Uh. Right. I’m Sam. Samuel Winchester.”

“Name’s Dean.”

That’s your name? That’s kind of plain for a star.”

Dean throws Sam a withering look, dusts off his pants, stretch and bend, Sam glimpses a flash of trim waist, muscular back, dusted with freckles. “And ‘Sam’ isn’t plain? Man, star-wise you’ve got your Sextans’s, your Scutum’s, your Reticulum’s – me, I’d rather be a ‘Dean’ than something that sounds like it’s a part of someone’s family jewels.”

Dean looks up at Sam, narrows his eyes. “Gimme a lift, dude, I think I busted my ankle.”

Sam begins to stand up, shakes the hair out of his eyes. He holds a hand out and Dean grips it, but Sam’s already pulling away, having tied a length of silvery cord around Dean’s wrist. He jumps back when he does, holds up the other end of the cord like he’s made a big discovery.

Dean, meanwhile, falls back on his ass on the ground, winces and clutches briefly at his right leg. He holds his bound wrist up. “If this is your idea for some kinda come-on to your sex dungeon lair, I would’ve expected a little more leather and a lot less plaid.”

Sam looks down at his shirt and rolls his eyes, leans down to grab Dean by the arm, holds his shoulders as he proceeds to help him up. “I promised my true love, Jessica, that I’d bring her a star. You’re it.”

“So you’re kidnapping me. Smooth move, Romeo. Crime ain’t a way to a woman’s heart, I’ll tell you that much.”

“Dean! I’ll—I’ll bring you back! It’s just for her birthday and—”

“And she wants me to do what?” Puffs out his cheeks for a moment, irritably swaying when Sam tries to take some of his weight, encourage him to take a step. “Song and dance?”

“No, I—”

“What, sexual favors? Threesome?”

“Dean!” Sam snaps, eyebrow arches and Dean’s just shrugging. There’s a gleam to him, like this soft light radiating off his skin, from within, not because Dean’s pale—far from it, healthy tan—but like, magic. And it’s the kind of thing Dad would talk about when Sam was young, little fairy tales, superstitions, kept the house filled with salt and holy water when he’d go out for days at a time, Sam was decent with a pistol and sword, never thought twice about the outside word but this.

This is a star.

This is a star that looks like an ordinary—fine, reasonably attractive, okay, fine, incredibly handsome—man who’s cursing and complaining at the silver rope, saying it’s going to chafe and he only likes rope burns when he’s planning for it, and Sam’s cute and all, but he’s not into non-con, whatever that means.

Sam taps at his pocket, Dean looking in that direction before back up at Sam. “Look, I still have half of this Babylonian candle left. If you let me take you to see Jessica I’ll give you the rest of the candle. It’ll take you back, all you have to do is think of home and you’ll be back up there, scowling at other people and doing whatever weird stuff that stars do. Deal?”

Dean sighs heavily before taking one, two steps forward, all wobbling, and maybe Sam should take a look at that leg, waves a hand out before Sam grabs his arm, steadies him. “All right. Fine. We go see your ‘true love’ chick, who better be worth this drama, you freak, and you hand over the Babbling candle, and then I get to go home.”

“Babylonian.”

“That’s what I said.”

“You said—”

“Babby-long, yeah, whatever. I heard you.”

Sam can only sigh in exasperation, feels like this is the first in many, many sighs he’ll do in reaction to Dean.

“So, this Jessica,” Dean interrupts when they start climbing out of the crater, half-pushing away, half-holding onto Sam for support, “Is she hot?”

Dean grins lasciviously, tongue flicking out to touch the edge of his teeth, waggle to his eyebrows. Sam rolls his eyes again and he knows it’s going to be a long journey home.

 

 

*

 

Along the way, they run into a number of adventures, while on the run from a yellow-eyed warlock, like the time they receive shelter from Captain Bobby Singer, or the time Sam is turned into a mouse and Dean keeps him safe in his pocket and gives him a lot of cheese while petting him often, which is one story above the rest that will be buried for eternity, because he has a reputation to maintain.

Stars have reputations. It’s a thing. Don’t question it, just go with the flow.

Or at least, Dean says as much when they pick up this tricked-out black carriage, suspiciously made out of metal, powered by plenty of lightning bolt energy, almost guzzles it down.

Dean isn’t sure, but when he’s riding that thing, he swears it purrs, listens to him, with the soul of an animal and not of an inanimate object, and he glows, Sam notices, leans a little in Dean’s direction and laughs when Dean just grins, skin burning bright but no hotter than the touch of a fever, some kind of welcome madness.

You could say it’s like ‘staring into the sun’, but that it’s another story (and another universe, come to think of it) for another time.

end