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The Angel Room - Vignettes from the Bunker: "Baby"

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Baby:
Makael spends the rest of that first morning (which she realizes, almost a week later, was actually Christmas Day) deep in the Bunker’s archives with Sam, tracking down anything that might be useful in their search for ways to rid Dean of Michael. She and Sam periodically lug up stacks of books and file folders—and a couple of scrolls for good measure—to the main library, where Dean, Castiel, and Jack can look over them in detail.

Mid-morning, Sam calls a coffee break when he notices Makael yawning. “You know,” he says, as they stand next to the percolating machine, watching it slowly fill up the pot, “it’s okay if you need to sleep some more, to replenish your grace.” There’s some tightness around the corners of his eyes that she’s learning to recognize as a sign of his concern. Dean isn’t the only one who’s protective, and Makael finds herself warming internally at being the subject of Sam’s protective instincts.

She smiles and shakes her head, but hesitates before saying anything. She wonders if it will sound foolish, in this modern age. These days, humans don’t often understand the weight of such things. Then she wonders if it will sound foolish, coming from her—the least experienced or capable of all their allies. Finally, she shrugs, and decides to be honest.

“I made a vow, Sam, to help your brother. To do everything in my power to help him. Currently I’m fairly limited in the power department, but … I’m good at research. And if your brother can be working on things with Michael pounding away in his skull, then I can work on things with low grace and a little fatigue.”

Sam looks at her intently as she speaks, listening silently. When she’s done, he nods, almost to himself. “Okay,” he says, finally. He doesn’t say anything else, but he doesn’t have to.

Of course Sam would understand a vow. Of course he would.

She smiles at him again as they pour their coffee, and he waits while she adds cream and sugar to hers.

A few hours later, they’ve moved on from the main archives to a sub-archival room, where an overflow of books were kept after the Men of Letters ran out of room in the larger space. It’s been a good first sweep, and they’ve pulled the most promising-looking sources, but Makael’s sure that they’ll be able to find more during the next check of the main shelves.

She stands in front of a shelf in the smaller room, with Sam at her back, facing the opposing metal stacks. She breathes in the scents of old paper and mustiness and ink and leather, with little hints of shampoo and aftershave and gun oil from Sam. She decides in that moment that this particular combination of smells is her very favorite in the whole world, and then sighs when she realizes that her vessel’s affect is asserting itself again.

She focuses on scanning the titles.

“Uh, Sam?” she says, after a moment.

“Mm?” Sam’s voice is distracted as he runs his finger over the titles on the topmost shelf in front of him.

“Who came up with the filing system in this room? The Prophetess Maria’s History of Archangels next to Industrial Engineering and Chemistry?” she asks, translating the former title from Latin.

Sam lets out an amused huff of air, turning to face her. “Uh, most of that shelving unit was Dean. He just shoves stuff in here that we’ve collected along the way. I keep meaning to organize it, but …” He shrugs.

“Too busy saving the world?” she asks, raising her eyebrows.

He chuckles, ducking his head with self-deprecation.

By the time they’ve stacked up everything they’ve found in the smaller room and carried it upstairs, it’s well past lunch.

“Any luck?” asks Makael, as Castiel stands and stretches, his neck popping. Dean’s already in the kitchen, throwing together something to eat.

“There’s reference to a Sumerian text that may have some helpful information,” says Castiel, “but there are only a couple of very blurry photographs of the tablet, which is missing a few pieces, and apparently the original was destroyed during the bombing of Berlin during World War II.” His frustration is evident in his tone.

The two angels follow Jack and Sam into the kitchen as Castiel sighs and continues. “It may not be anything important, anyway. Angels and archangels were sometimes mistaken for Anzû by the Sumerians—as you know—but sometimes they actually were Anzû, and without further context, it’s impossible to tell.”

Makael nods, then comes to a halt as something incredible assails her nostrils.

“What … is that?” she says, coming to a halt just inside the entrance to the kitchen.

Dean looks up from the cutting board, where he’s slicing up a loaf of bread. “That,” he says, “is bacon, Em.”

Sam glances back and forth between Makael and Dean, his eyebrows raised. “Em?” he says.

“Yeah. Em,” says Dean, moving to pat dry some lettuce that he’s washed. “I figure if she’s gonna be hanging out with us, I need a shorter version of her name. You know, to shout if there’s danger. By the time I get out ‘Makael,’ it’d be too late. Dead.” He grins comedically. Makael tilts her head at him, and Sam sighs.

“It’s really not that long of a name, Dean,” says Castiel, frowning.

“You’re one to talk, Cas,” says Dean, shaking his head as he starts slicing up a tomato.

“When did a nickname happen?” asks Sam, curiously, still casting glances between the two of them as he grabs plates from the cupboard. Jack’s already distributing glasses on the table, and filling a pitcher with water.

“Uh …” Dean stumbles to a halt. “Hey, Jack, can you grab the mayo for me? I forgot it in the fridge.”

“I woke up in the middle of the night last night, and ran into him outside the bathroom,” says Makael. “We chatted.”

Surprise flickers over Dean’s face at her covering for him. “Yeah, nothing like insomnia-induced chats for coming up with nicknames. Thanks, Jack.” He takes the jar, grabs a butter knife, and starts spreading mayo over the bread.

The corners of Sam’s mouth turn down, but he nods as he puts the plates down on the island in front of Dean.

“All right,” says Dean, a moment later, presenting an assembled, sliced sandwich in front of Makael with a flourish, “this is what us humans call a BLT. Basically, it’s an excuse for eating bacon for lunch, in sandwich form, and it’s frigging delicious.” He whisks two more plates in front of Sam and Jack, then grabs one for himself, leaving an empty space in front of Castiel, who has already declared that he isn’t hungry.

Dean watches closely and with anticipation as Makael takes hold of half of the sandwich, carefully raising it to her mouth. She takes a bite, chews, and closes her eyes as the flavors hit her tongue.

Dean is grinning when she opens her eyes again. “You’re welcome,” he says, smugly. “And for my finale: tonight, I will introduce you to the joys of pizza,” he adds, with a conspiratorial smile.

“Pizza is really good,” affirms Jack, which makes Makael smile.

It isn’t until they are cleaning up from lunch, and Dean mentions something about a road trip back to Kansas City to pick up Baby, that Makael realizes that he doesn’t know she’s parked out front. When she tells him, he’s out of the kitchen and practically sprinting up the stairs, before she’s even finished the sentence.

There’s a silence, and then Makael says, “I should probably go get the keys. They’re in my room.”

“Yeah,” says Sam, “probably a good idea.” He looks as if he’s working very hard at not laughing. Makael scowls at him.

By the time she makes it outside, Dean is minutely examining the paint job for any scuff marks or scratches, running hands over the shiny black and murmuring endearments to the car.

Even as insensible to human sexuality as Makael generally is, she feels a bit like she’s interrupting things.

“Keys?” he asks, when he finally notices her. She pulls them out of her pocket and hands them to him.

“I fixed the tape deck,” she says, tentatively.

He shoots her an inscrutable look before he unlocks the driver’s side, muttering something under his breath about people messing with his Baby. Once inside, he leans in and squints at the tape deck suspiciously. It takes knocking tentatively at the passenger side window to get his attention. He shoots her another look, this time laced with annoyance, and reaches across to unlock the door. She slides in.

“I got rid of all the blood,” she says, trying to help allay his concern.

It seems to have the opposite effect. His eyes widen, and he pales slightly, echoing “Blood?” in a thready voice.

“On the tape deck. I used a blood spell to fix it,” she explains. “But I cleaned it all up as soon as I was done.”

But he’s already scrutinizing the tape deck again, running his fingers lightly over the surfaces, peering at it from different angles. After a couple of seconds he nods.

“Okay. You did get rid of all the blood,” he says.

She looks at him. “I’ve watched the show, Dean,” she says. “I know how you feel about this vehicle. I was very careful about getting her here.” She pauses, then adds, “I took a defensive driving class after I Fell,” hoping that maybe that will have more of an impact on him than it did on Castiel.

She gets a “Hmph,” in reply as he slides the key into the ignition and turns it on. The Impala growls to life, sounding absolutely glorious, and he lets out an exhale, tension starting to ease out of his long frame. He smiles. “Hiya, Baby,” he murmurs, patting the dash affectionately.

He takes a deep breath, braces himself, and then flips on the tape deck.

She has the odd feeling that he’s expecting it to explode.

Instead, the speakers come on at the low volume where Makael left them as she made her way down the access road.

Got no time for spreadin' roots / The time has come to be gone / And though our health we drank a thousand times / It's time to ramble on …

A wide smile spreads across Dean’s face. “Listening to Zeppelin, were you?”

Makael nods, solemnly. “I’d never really listened to it before, but it seemed … appropriate.”

“Whaddaya think?”

Makael smiles. “I like it. It’s fun to harmonize to. Plus, it’s very you.”

“Very me?” There’s confusion on his face now.

“Yes. Very … authentic. I like how unprocessed the recording style is. And how unrehearsed and fresh it feels. And they’re very loose with the rhythms and music—very free. That’s very … you.”

“Huh.” Dean’s expression shifts from confused, to thoughtful, to appreciative. Then a worried expression flits across his face. “Will it stay fixed? Or does the spell have a limited shelf life?”

“It’ll stay fixed. The spell is completed; it’s permanent. There was just a glitch in the electronics. Otherwise—” She’s about to go on, but realizes that Dean has stopped listening. He’s already adjusted the seat (after calling her legs “hobbit sized”). Now he focuses on the rearview and side mirror, rolling down the window to adjust it.
He puts her into gear, then throws her a look. This time, it’s a bit sheepish.

“So, uh, thanks for getting her here in one piece. And fixing the tape deck.” He pauses, then adds, “And saving me a drive to Kansas City. Really don’t want to go back there any time soon.”

Makael smiles. “You’re welcome,” she murmurs.

Dean executes a flawless three-point-turn, and they start driving back down the access road, past the hulking, abandoned plant that used to harness the river’s power to generate electricity. It still does—it’s just that it’s only used for the Bunker, now. Makael takes a moment to appreciate the Men of Letters’ ingenuity, using a public works project to hide the construction and existence of their main base and to generate free power in perpetuity. Then she frowns.

“Uh, where are we going?” she asks.

“Garage entrance,” says Dean.

Makael’s eyes widen. “Oh. Oh!” She leans forward in her seat, feeling her excitement rise.

“What?” says Dean.

“It’s just … I’ve never seen it before,” she breathes, as he turns the car to the left, onto a faint set of tire tracks that circle around behind the power plant.

“Seriously? We park in there all the time now,” says Dean. “I’d have thought that you would’ve seen it on the show.”

Makael shakes her head. “No. They’ve never shown you guys driving into the Bunker’s garage. Just interior shots. Probably so they can save some money on set design—and it’s not like it’s central to the plot, or anything.”

Dean shakes his head. “Still weird,” he mutters, as they skirt the building.

Behind it, they come back to the steep embankment, which had been cut into to accommodate the building of the plant. The embankment has been stabilized with large stones, which, by this point, are almost completely hidden by plantlife. However, one part is cleared: vertical concrete slab, set right into the embankment and framed with huge, squared granite stones. Makael looks at Dean in confusion as he pulls to a halt and gets out of the car, leaving the Impala idling. He grins, pulls out the Bunker key, and inserts it into a little metal square in the slab’s frame.

He turns the key, and the concrete moves, the entire slab sliding sideways, making an entrance large enough for the Impala to drive through. There’s not even so much as a grating sound as it opens, just a soft hum from the hidden machinery operating it.
Makael realizes that her jaw has dropped, and makes an effort to close her mouth as Dean slides back in and slams the door shut. “Pretty cool, huh?” he says, with satisfaction, as he puts the car in gear.

Makael nods vigorously. “It really is like the Batcave,” she murmurs as they pull into a concrete tunnel, white-blue lights flickering to life ahead of them on the tunnel’s roof, guiding the way forward.

“Hey, look at you, all pop-culture savvy,” says Dean.

Makael feels a bubble of emotion in her chest at that. After a moment, she identifies it as pleasure. “I did work very hard after the Fall to learn the idiosyncrasies of American culture,” she murmurs. “And pop culture is very crucial to it all.”

Dean huffs a laugh as he negotiates a rather abrupt turn to the left, the Impala’s engine amplified and directed back at them by all the surrounding concrete, until it sounds like there are five of them making their way down the tunnel. Finally, the tunnel widens substantially. Dean executes another three-point-turn, and backs Baby into the Men of Letter’s garage. Makael’s seen it a dozen times on the show, but she still can’t contain the grin that breaks forth. Dean catches it, and returns it.

“Yeah,” he says. “It’s so frigging cool.”

She watches as a second door closes in front of them, shutting them into the garage.
Dean shuts off the engine, taps the steering wheel. “Good to have her home,” he says, sliding a look at Makael and giving a brief nod.

Makael beams.

END SCENE.