Cassie looked at her partners resting on the bed and smiled, wearily. Jo was sitting with her back to the headboard, with Bela's head on her lap. She was slowly running her fingers through Bela's long hair, trying to get her calm enough to sleep, even though nightmares of her time 'down under' were likely to come. Cassie climbed into bed next to them and let out a sigh of exhaustion.
"She seems nice," Cassie said of the woman they had met that day, "I think we talked her into participating in the local chapter."
"It's weird, though," Jo said, "I mean, another one who's met the Winchesters."
"You mean another one who's been dicked over by the Winchesters," Bela muttered, "And there are so many, it shouldn't even surprise us at this point."
Cassie smiled at this, but didn't comment. It was strange indeed, she knew, that there was some truth to Bela's statement. Not that any of them blamed the brothers (well, maybe Bela harbored some resentment, but perdition wasn't known for making one generous). But none of them had been the same since meeting them. And when all three newbie hunters met at the Roadhouse one night - a rescued woman trying to atone, a daughter of a hunter trying to find her path, and a woman who could have gotten away from this world if only she could forget what she saw -- it was that trunk of similarity in their stories that had given them their idea.
It had started as something so revolutionary. The idea that 'saving' people from the supernatural meant more than just killing monsters and telling people to buy salt. They were going to go around, finding people who had been affected by -- who had been changed forever by - a supernatural attack. And they would make sure they wouldn't feel alone, that they wouldn't be burdened with silence and constant fear.
They had a real plan. Long-distance support groups online, and in larger cities, in-person meetings. Mental health professionals who knew about the supernatural and wouldn't try to institutionalize sane people with unbelievable experiences. And, most of all, empowering people to keep themselves safe from monsters, giving them more education and community-building than just a homemade weapon and a promise of "If you see something like this again, call me and I'll try to show up if I happen to be alive."
Basically, they had planned a total transformation in what it means to be a hunter.
And for some reason... it kind of ended up also being a support group for people who had come in contact with the Winchesters.
So maybe that was why it was so hard. Because all the people out there weren't just disappointed by the cold truth of reality. By the fact of monsters and the failure of the rational worldview. But, just as they learned that there was real, literal evil, they learned that there were people out there fighting that evil. But right after, they learned that the only people you now felt safe around were leaving ASAP. Your knight in shining armor is not sticking around to be your guardian, and he's sure as hell not sticking around to be your friend, your ally, or your boyfriend.
Maybe it was too much cynicism to take on all at once. Believing in evil at the same moment you stop believing that people will stick around. Maybe that was why the people they tried to help seemed so very, very lost. And why their 'movement' seemed to always end up being all about the recovery side of the plan, and hardly at all about the empowerment side fo the plan.
So now their radical new idea of what it means to be a 'hunter' was eroding into a series of compensations for the failures of other hunters.
Cassie tried not to think of it as a demotion, tried not to think of it as exchanging their new world order for a job as cleanup crew.
And, lying there in silence, as Jo tried not to think about Ellen, and as Bela tried not to think about anything, Cassie tried not to think of all the mistakes they were inevitably making despite their best intentions. Of the people who might someday have to travel around to help all the people the three of them dicked over in their quest to save the world.
None of them had much luck that night clearing their thoughts.