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In Truth (Four Things That Never Happened to Anna Milton, and One That Did)

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1. Anna chambered a round, leveled her rifle and fired. Just like Dean taught her. Perfect headshot: the Croat went down instantly; only so much meat. Castiel shook off the body - once it had been a boy - grabbed his gun, and then Anna's hand.

"The car," he said.

In the distance, Dean sounded the horn again. They ran.

"Did you get it?"

Cas held up the bag of supplies. "Not my blood," Cas said in reply to Dean's stare.

"He's clean." The doors were locked; more Croats were coming. "Please."

Click. Anna pulled open the door, and dragged Castiel in.

 

2. Lise was her first kiss. Her parents were downstairs, arguing over the colour of the master bathroom; the radio drowned it out. Lise cupped her face, and brushed her watermelon lips across Anna's.

She woke one night, to find Lise watching her.

"So this is where you've been hiding."

"Lise?"

"In a manner of speaking." Lise pushed away from the wall, and walked toward the bed. Slow, even steps - like she was drunk and hiding it. "Did you know she was a believer?"

"What-"

"Shh." Lise said, and pressed her hand hard over Anna's mouth. "Go back to sleep."

 

3. "Stay in sight, Jeffrey."

"Yes, mama."

From her perch on the park bench, Anna watched her son toddle away from the swings, towards the sandbox.

"He's beautiful." Startled, she dropped her coffee, only for the man who'd appeared out of nowhere, to reach past her and catch it.

"Nice reflexes," she said warily. He didn't look dangerous, but you never knew. Conservative suit, trench coat, earnest blue eyes.

"You have a beautiful son, Anna." She glanced at Jeffrey then - instinct - then back to the man.

"How did you know..."

The bench was empty, except for her coffee cup.

 

4. The lake spread out below them, a mirror all the way to the horizon. The waves were choppy; wind strong enough that Anna would be shrugging into her coat, if she were still human.

She might pull his arm around her and press close to him, for warmth. If he had ever been human.

"I have always appreciated our Father's creations," he said.

"I know Cas, I didn't expect it to change your mind."

"Then what?"

She took his hand - the vessel's - in hers, traced her thumb over his knuckles.

"Just listen," she said. "With your human senses."

 

5. "Heaven was not always thus."

"I remember."

"Do you remember how beautiful he was?"

"I do." At this she bowed her head.

"Cast out, for so minor a disobedience."

"Not so minor, Uriel," she said, her voice sharp.

"To bow, him, to those creatures."

"They are His favourites."

"You almost sound wistful."

"No," she assured him.

Did he speak of rebellion? Perhaps. She knew only that heaven was cold; too long silent, save for the voices of angels. Despite the crowding, crushing, always-togetherness, she was alone.

She looked to her Father's best creation, and then threw down her grace.