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The Other Vessel

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“So I think our first act of teaming up is to find a shower and get some supper,” Krissy declared.

“What about the Ziegevolk? His corpse is still in the tunnel,” Claire reminded her.

“What, you wanna drag that up in the middle of daylight? In the middle of town? I say we leave it, it’ll decompose pretty quick down there. And if someone finds it, we’ll be long gone.”

“If you’re sure,” Claire shrugged. She didn’t particularly want to go back down in the sewer.

“Do you have a motel room, or have you been staying in your car?”

Do I look like I’ve been staying in my car? Claire thought worriedly. She proceeded to worry about why she was worrying. “Um, neither. I’m… I’m squatting. Old house on Elm street,” she explained as they arrived at her car, parallel parked a little ways down the street. She took off her belt and machete before climbing in and turning the ignition. Krissy hopped in the passenger seat.

“Cool. I’ve got a hotel room, we can swing by Elm if you’ve still got stuff there and then go to the motel to wash up. Squatting is nothing new to me, I know there probably isn’t running water, but I recently ‘inherited’ a good amount of money, so hotels it is. Know any good places to eat in this town?”

“I packed everything up when I left this morning, we can go straight to the hotel. There’s a Chinese place I saw this afternoon, it said half off ala carte today,” she suggested.

“Score.”

Krissy directed her to the hotel and she parked and stood nervously with her duffel while the dark haired girl unlocked the door. It felt odd to be honestly social, not just because she needed to question people. And associating with another hunter, she’d only done that a few times, briefly.

“You can take the shower first,” Krissy said, pointing her toward the bathroom.

“Thanks,” Claire said, turning, and whipping back around to face the other way when she saw Krissy had shucked her flannel and was peeling her shirt off, revealing a sports bra and flat stomach.

Claire hurriedly made her way to the bathroom, blushing and unsure why.

She showered quickly, not wanting to make Krissy wait, and emerged feeling much cleaner and less self-conscious. She dressed in one of her few halfway nice jeans that she tried not to wear on hunts, and a purple long-sleeve henley. Krissy had put on a big t-shirt and some kind of boxer shorts. Her legs looked strong and sculpted, and Claire blinked at so much skin.

“I’ll be quick- I’m starving,” she said, getting up and going to the bathroom. Claire nodded and walked over to her duffel, forcing herself not to watch her walk by.

Claire didn’t braid her hair, leaving it down to dry wavy, and even put earrings in and a quick swipe of mascara on, enjoying feeling clean and somewhat social for a change.

“Well, don’t you look pretty. Nice change, from hunter to prep in half an hour,” Krissy observed, emerging from the bathroom in just a towel to collect clothes from her own bag.

“I’m not sure if I should thank you or be offended,” Claire said with a smile, turning and pretending to arrange her duffel to let Krissy get dressed. She wore a plain blue t-shirt with navy flannel and jeans.

“Maybe a little of both. You think you could braid my hair? Yours looked really nice earlier, and I’m awful at braiding,” she requested, sounding nervous.

“Sure.” Her mother had taught her how to braid, and before her cross country races, she often braided all the girls’ hair. “Sit down, you’re a bit taller than me.” Krissy sat on the edge of the bed and Claire kneeled behind her, gently separating her hair into strands and beginning a fairly simple French braid, fingers flying expertly. “Do you have an elastic?”

Krissy passed her one, and she secured it at the nape of her neck. As an afterthought, she separated it again and flipped the tie inside-out so it ended in a fancy looking knot.

“Wow, you’re really good at that! Thanks!” Krissy laughed, looking at her reflection. She flipped the light switch. “Let’s get going before I get hangry.”

“Hangry?”

“It’s when you’re hungry and it makes you grumpy. Angry-hungry. Hangry,” she explained when they got in the jeep.

“Oh,” Claire laughed, knowing what she was talking about. Her dad used to-

She stopped the thought there and put her jeep in drive.

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“You like sushi and you can braid, who are you?” Krissy laughed rambunctiously as they got back to the jeep. “What kind of hunter likes sushi and can braid? And what kind of girl can take down a bluebeard with one hit? Like… what the hell? Do you even own any flannel?” she cackled.

She was a little drunk.

Claire had only a small mixer, claiming that she was driving and was a lightweight. After Krissy offered to take the check and flashed a wallet full of credit and debit cards, Claire partly wished she had drank.

And,” she said with great gravity, “you don’t have an antipossession tattoo. How are you not demon lunch? We’ll get you a tattoo. First thing tomorrow. I actually know the guys who first came up with the idea of that, instead of hex bags. They’re the best hunters in the U.S. They keep fucking up my life,” she snorted as Claire listened, amused. “Goddamn Winchesters.”

Claire’s foot slipped off the gas for a second and her hands clenched around the steering wheel.

“Course, I’d probably be dead without them- my Dad was a hunter and he went missing, they found him- but he died eventually anyways. Bought me some more time with him, though. And then I was happy, settled into a house and killing bad shit, and they came along again and trashed everything. And Dean tried to help this guy hook up with me, can you believe it? So awkward. Sucks enough to tell someone to give up, sucks even more when he didn’t know I’m queer.”

Claire’s foot slipped again, and Krissy laughed.

“Sorry, guess you didn’t know either. You sure are a lightweight, you didn’t drink shit. Your driving sucks.”

“Sorry. What are they up to nowadays, the Winchesters?” she asked casually.

“No clue. Rumor says they’ve got some bat cave or something, one hell of a base. They’ve been running around collecting angels. You know about that whole cluster fuck?”

Claire did- she’d waken up in the middle of the night to the most awful screaming, and when she’d realized nobody else could hear it, some intrinsic part of her knew exactly what had happened, but not how or why.

“No, nothing,” she said as she parked and turned the jeep off.

“You know about the angel that hangs out with the Winchesters? Castiel?”

Claire had been bracing herself for it, she knew he had something to do with it, so she didn’t flinch. “No, but go on.”

“Well, the three got hold of some ancient tablets. The word of God, apparently. One of them was about demons, and Sam and Dean got it translated and found out how to shut Hell for good. But they had to do these trials to do it, and Sam tried, and they were going to kill him so they had to stop halfway through the last trial. And this Castiel, he got the one about angels, and he and this other angel, the one who wrote the tablets, they set out to do something to do with Heaven, different trials. I don’t know what Castiel thought they were doing, but what happened wasn’t what he’d planned.

“The writer angel cut out his grace- that’s what an angel’s power is called- and finished the last trial for Heaven, and all the angels fell out of the sky. Wham, human. Last I heard- this was a few months ago- they were trying to round up the angels and get them safe and settled in as humans. Word went out for all hunters to look for them and to look for anything that could help get them back angel’d up. Garth says that Sam is still recovering from the trials. And I can’t find the room key,” she finished, fumbling through her pockets.

“You gave it to me earlier,” Claire reminded her, stepping forward and unlocking the door. Krissy all but fell inside.

“Have you ever met an angel?” Krissy asked. “I haven’t.”

“Yes, once,” Claire said, and her tone was cold enough that even in her drunken state, Krissy didn’t prod.

“Oh, cool. I’m beat,” she said, yawning massively. “Bed?”

“I’ve got a sleeping bag,” Claire said quickly.

“Screw that, when’s the last time you slept in a bed? We can share. It’s just us girls here,” she laughed. “I’ll even sleep with pajamas on.”

“If you insist.” Claire stepped into the bathroom to change, and Krissy again changed in the open without shame. When Claire came out, Krissy was already tucked into the bed. Claire gingerly crawled on top of the duvet and lay down.

“Hey, no. It’s cold. Get in, don’t be stupid,” the dark haired girl groaned dramatically, making her newfound teammate smile and slip into the sheets, though careful to leave lots of space between them, and reached up to turn off the light.

She lay there for a long time, silently waiting to fall asleep.

When she woke, she slipped into consciousness peacefully and stretched her arms above her head before sitting up. No night terrors, that was a neat change. Krissy was still asleep beside her, and she carefully slid out of the bed. She was still deeply asleep, so Claire decided to go get some breakfast before she woke. She jotted a quick note on the hotel notepad, dressed, and left.

Krissy was just waking up when she returned, sitting on the side of the bed with her head upside-down between her knees, scratching her scalp with both hands.

“Ugh. I’m born-and-bred a beer and whisky girl, don’t let me drink vodka ever again,” she grumbled, sitting up and pushing her hair out of her face. “Oh god. Breakfast,” she cooed, jumping up. Claire passed her a brown paper bag and a foam cup with a smile.