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Krissy is pretty sure she’s going to die. That’s not a nice thought to have, to be perfectly honest, but Krissy has always been a down-to-earth girl, and she knows that, when three vampires have managed to disarm you and are currently surrounding you like a herd of starving beasts, there’s no way it can end well. Especially when she’s killed four of their siblings and there’s a bleeding gash in her side, making escape unlikely.

Still, she doesn’t really feel like going down without a fight. She glances around, hoping to spot something, anything that might help her, but there’s abso-fucking-lutely nothing in this shithole. Why vampires always end up choosing to nest in disused warehouses, she’ll never know.

One of the vampires –a lady vampire, kinda hot now that she thinks about it –starts getting closer, a smirk on her crimson lips. Krissy steps back as quickly as she can, but her progression is stopped when her back hits a wall and fuck she’s going to die, it really dawns on her now. She feels like passing out –and isn’t that convenient. She doesn’t close her eyes, she’s always promised herself that she’d die with her head up and her eyes open.

The vampire is close, now, so close she can see her teeth, inhuman, ready to plunge into the tender skin of her neck. The two others are snickering, their eyes almost black with bloodlust. Her assailant opens her mouth wider and –

There’s the hissing sound of a blade ripping through the air and her head falls on the ground with a wet thump.

She only has the time to hear a female voice yell: “Hey!” before her machete flies her way. She catches it on reflex, and doesn’t waste time looking for the owner of the voice. She spins around a promptly jumps on the closest vampire, who’s looking around wildly. His mistake.

Cutting a head is hard. Krissy isn’t weak by any stretch of the imagination. She can’t allow herself to be, she’s learnt it early on. There are still some assholes who think a woman can’t be a good hunter without a man’s protection, but Krissy? She’s damn good, and she knows it. She’s got muscle where she needs it, she’s fast and, unlike some, she actually has half a brain.

So when the blade rips through the vamp’s neck, slicing the soft skin with a disgusting squelching noise, and is blocked by the hard bone, she grits her teeth and pushes. She feels it give under the machete. The head rolls on the ground and everything falls silent, except for the uneven rush of adrenaline rushing at Krissy’s ears. She tears her eyes away from the lifeless body and looks up.

The girl who –okay, the girl who saved her, whatever –looks like she’s Krissy’s age. She’s got vampire blood smeared on her forehead, a pixie haircut, wears a black shirt, jeans and –Jesus –a thigh holster. And when her gaze meets Krissy’s, she feels her breath catch in her throat because holyfuckinghell, there’s the hugest eyes she’s ever seen, crystalline blue, and she feels like she’s skydiving. She swallows around the sudden lump in her throat when the girl pushes back a strand of blonde hair behind her ear and wipes the knife on her jeans. She smiles, then, and somehow, despite the crimson red blood everywhere and the smell of rot and dead bodies, Krissy still thinks it’s beautiful.

“You gonna help me burn ‘em or what?” she mumbles, voice shaking with adrenaline and embarrassment. The girl’s smile widens into a shit-eating grin as she nods.

They work in tandem, piling the bodies outside the warehouse, soaking them in gasoline and soon the smell of burnt out flesh becomes unbearable and they retreat, stumbling blindly against the thick smoke.

“You got anywhere to sleep?” Krissy asks, going for casual and probably failing completely. The girl shrugs.

“My car, I guess.”

Krissy looks at her, assessing. The words come out of her mouth before she can examine them.

“No way. I’ve got a motel room. You’re coming with me.”

It means thank you, and the girl gets it, because she looks pleased, and Krissy is hit once more with how out of place her smile is. It’s bright, it’s beautiful and it’s dangerous.    

That’s how Krissy Chambers meets Claire Novak.

***

Claire’s weird. She’s fucking weird, and if there’s one thing Krissy hates, it’s weird stuff. Because weird goes hand in hand with not human, and not human means kill it, in Krissy’s book. Of course, there are exceptions. She’s learned the dilemmas of the job and she’s got a fucking moral compass, so sometimes, she’s learned to just look away.

But Claire is human, that’s one thing Krissy knows for sure. She passes the tests with success. She’s just a little odd, in the way her gaze sometimes loses its sharpness, a heavy veil of despairguiltemptiness falling on them. Krissy knows this look, it’s one she’s seen too often in her own reflection, the grief that plagues the hunter community down to the marrow. But it’s not Krissy’s business, she thinks as she turns off the shower. The wound on her side stings and she clenches her jaw as she slips into clean jeans. She wipes the steamy mirror and tries to get a better look at the injury, but the mirror is too high. Judging by the way it starts bleeding again when she passes her fingers over it, she’s gonna need stitches.

“Great,” she mutters, puts on her sports bra and gets out of the tiny bathroom. Claire is here, sat at the desk with a gun and three knives aligned in front of her. She’s methodically cleaning the gun, and Krissy has to admit the way her movements are assured and precise is impressive. She’s not a rookie and it shows.

“Hey,” she says. Claire glances at her and smiles. There’s still blood on her forehead and Krissy kind of wants to wipe it off. She doesn’t. “You know how to do stitches?”

The question seems to catch Claire off-guard. Her eyes sweep over Krissy’s body, and she tries not to feel self-conscious as they linger on her hips, to finally stop on the open wound. Claire winces.

“Yes.”

Krissy nods and throws her first aid kit on the desk.

“Can you do this?”

She can’t quite believe she’s saying this to a girl she doesn’t know from Adam, and apparently Claire can’t either, because she shoots her a disbelieving look.

“Are you sure?” her voice isn’t hesitant, but firm and questioning at the same time. She must be great with civilians, pull off the whole FBI stunt pretty well.  

Krissy thinks about it –really thinks about it, the way Claire’s fingers didn’t shake once as they cleaned the barrel of the gun –and nods.

“Yep.”

Claire does a quick job of it. Her hands feel the swollen borders of the cut, clinically efficient. There’s nothing sexy about it, and Krissy grits her teeth when the needle pierce her skin, tries to think about something else.

“I hunt solo,” Claire says à propos of nothing as she ties the knot.

“Me, too,” Krissy answers, voice tight.

And just like that, they don’t hunt solo anymore.

***

Krissy saves Claire’s life in Yellowstone, Montana. There are two holes in a witch’s forehead, clean and almost bloodless.

“Now we’re even,” she smirks, blowing slightly on the end of her gun like a modern times Calamity Jane.

Claire just snorts and rolls her eyes.

***

Claire’s anti-possession tattoo is on her hip. Krissy steals a glance at it when she comes out of the shower and, for some reason, the inked fraction of skin becomes an obsession.

She’s not stupid. She’s had sex before –lots of it, actually. There was Aiden, and after Aiden’s death –she doesn’t like to talk about it, she doesn’t want to even think about it –there was Lola, for two blessed weeks during which she played normal life. Then, when the call of the hunt got too strong to ignore, she packed up and left. After that, there are just nameless (faceless) fucks in too-dark bars and alleyways.

So, yeah, she knows why when she gets off in the shower –silently, so silently –it’s always Claire’s face she sees just before she comes, muffling the moan with her free hand. She knows why she wakes up wet after dreams involving short, blond hair, nimble fingers and limpid eyes.

It doesn’t mean she has to make a big deal out of it. So, what? She digs Claire’s body. It’s all there is to it. Nothing else. It has nothing to do with the way the sun reflects in her eyes, the dimples on her cheeks when she smiles, her laugh, her little eccentricities (Claire counts backwards to fall asleep, pulls at her ear when she’s nervous, sticks her tongue out when she concentrates.)

So, yeah, Krissy is sure that it’ll go away soon enough. She just has to wait, right?

Right.

***

Some nights, Krissy wakes up in the middle of the night to find the bed next to hers empty. The first time it happens, she finds Claire outside the motel, sitting cross-legged on the ground and looking up at the sky. She has this faraway expression on her face. Krissy just sits next to her, wordlessly. She knows that there are demons you can’t exorcise. So she stays silent, and Claire doesn’t shy away from her. Instead, she leans in a little, until their shoulders brush. They stay here for what feels like hours, just sitting side by side.

And then, one night, everything’s different. When Krissy sits next to her, Claire stares at her, long and hard and says: “I killed my mom.”

Krissy doesn’t answer. She tries to keep her face a blank mask, despite the storm inside of her. They never talk about their past. That’s a Pandora’s box she’s all too happy to leave untouched, even if she’s sometimes curious about Claire’s life. Claire isn’t like the other hunters. The way she talks, the way she takes care of herself. It talks of a nice little life with mommy and daddy.

“My dad –when I was thirteen, he left and did something that –put my mom and me in deep shit.” It’s blunt, and Krissy is surprised because Claire doesn’t cuss often. “We hid for three years. I had to change names, change life. Then, when I was sixteen, mom got possessed by a demon. I knew what to do, knew the exorcism, but she took me by surprise. I stabbed her once, in the heart, before exorcising her. When the demon got expelled, she was already dead. So I left and I became a hunter.”

She falls silent and Krissy can’t say anything, throat too tight. She feels nauseous. Claire’s hand is between them, so she takes it and squeezes slightly. I’m here.

“I became a hunter so I could –so I could find the son of a bitch who destroyed my family and make him pay.” Claire says, her voice breaking on the last word.

Krissy nods and squeezes again. I’ll help you.

***

There’s a demon. They don’t know his name, only that it’s taken a male meatsuit. They’ve been following his trail for months now, and he somehow always manages to slip between their fingers like a bar of soap. Taunting them, mocking them, leaving behind only pools of blood and horror.

Krissy has never seen a demon act like that. Of course, they’re evil sons of bitches, but this one…it’s almost like he’s playing with them, except they don’t know the rules. He leaves clues, he leaves notes (To Kill A Mocking Bird, he writes on a bathroom mirror with the blood of the teenage boy he had slaughtered. Krissy has been hunting for long enough that she’s seen her share of horror, but she can’t help gagging when she sees the scene for the first time.) Hell, he even leaves them a voicemail once. He calls Claire a ‘vessel’, and though Claire pretends she doesn’t know what this is about, Krissy’s not actually stupid. She knows that Claire is hiding things from her, important things, and it’s starting to piss her off.  

But Claire pretends, she shakes her head and lies. And Krissy tried. She really tried not to let it hurt her, but it does all the same.

Claire doesn’t trust her and it shouldn’t feel that bad, like someone’s twisting a knife in her guts.

***

One night, Krissy wakes up with a start for no reason. No reason, except the fact that Claire’s bed is empty. It wouldn’t be worrying if her gun and her knives weren’t gone, too. Krissy curses. She’s out of her bed and the motel in a blink. The night is clear. Summer isn’t quite here yet, but the temperatures are mild in California. The stars are beautiful. Krissy doesn’t look at them.

The car is still here, and Krissy breathes a sigh of relief. Claire can’t have gone far without it. She tucks her gun under her jacket and walks, fast. The motel is in the middle of nowhere, and she stops abruptly because the wind brings a voice to her ears. That’s Claire’s voice, and she’s yelling.

Krissy starts running as fast as she can, heart beating madly against her ribs. A litany of not her, don’t make me lose her, too, please buzzes incessantly, like a panicked melody.

Then she sees them. The demon isn’t even trapped, for fuck’s sake, what was Claire thinking?

“He’s taken his precautions,” the demon is saying. “I can’t get to him.”

His meatsuit is a skinny black guy with dreadlocks, but the voice is all wrong. Too deep, too inhuman. He reeks of sulfur, it makes Krissy dry-heave on the spot, but Claire doesn’t seem to notice her.

“Why would you help me?” Claire asks and no, don’t, Claire, what are you even doing? Krissy wants to yell, wants to punch her friend in the face, but she just stays here, frozen.

“I’m not helping you, you fool,” the demon sneers. “I’m taking revenge. My brother’s actions during the Civil War got me cast into the pit. Because I chose the losing side, I’ve become an abomination. He ravaged heaven and sent many of us down the pit.”

Claire takes a deep breath. From where she’s standing, Krissy can’t see her face.

“What do you want me to do?” she asks.

No.

“I don’t care about your petty reasons. You want him dead, I want him dead. Kill him. He’s so righteous he probably won’t even defend himself. Then, I’ll drag his soul downstairs myself if I have to, and we’ll have fun for eternity.”

A scroll appears in his hand, and he holds it out.

“Here is his location.”

Claire takes the scroll and, a second later, the demon has disappeared. Claire stands here for a minute, head tipped back, shoulders tense.

“You fucking idiot!” Krissy suddenly yells, her voice wrenched out of her throat. Claire starts, turns around, fists raised defensively, but Krissy couldn’t care less. She steps forwards, eyes burning with unshed tears.

“Krissy…”

“Shut the fuck up, SHUT THE FUCK UP, Claire. I don’t even wanna talk to you.” She’s crying, now, and she hates it, because Krissy never cries. Then she’s taking a fistful of Claire’s hair, jerking her forwards, and she kisses her. She kisses like she would slap her, bruising and furious. At first, Claire doesn’t react, just stands here, arms dangling. But after a second or two, she’s kissing back, just as hard.

When Krissy breaks the kiss, there are tears and saliva on Claire’s face and she wants to shake her, or fuck her, she doesn’t even know what she wants.

***

There are nails, tracing a line on her back. Teeth, when they bite into the soft flesh of Claire’s thigh. Wetness under her fingers, as she crooks them violently, relishing the way Claire trembles and shudders under her. She’s pulling Claire’s hair, she’s licking into her mouth, she wants to take her apart and never, ever leave this bed.

Claire babbles. Says I’ve been wanting to do that for so long. Says you’re so beautiful. Says, Krissy, Krissy I l-.

Krissy still doesn’t talk.

***

“How long are you planning on giving me the silent treatment?” Claire asks. Her hands are clenched on the leather of the shotgun seat. Krissy is driving, lips drawn in a tight line. She doesn’t answer. Claire huffs.

“Dammit, Kriss’, you’re freaking me out!”

Krissy keeps her eyes on the road. Her chest clenches at the desperate note in Claire’s tone, the quavering of her voice.

“I’m mad at you,” she finally says.

Claire chuckles bitterly.

“Yeah, I’ve gathered that much, thanks.”

“Let me finish.” Krissy snaps. Claire falls silent next to her and she sighs, feeling weary all of a sudden. “I’m mad at you,” she repeats quietly. “But I get it. I know what it is to –I know.” She won’t cry. She never does. “Listen, just…gimme some time, alright?”

She feels more than she sees Claire’s body relax minutely next to hers.

“That doesn’t mean I’m not gonna tear you a new one first occasion I get,” Krissy grumbles under her breath.

This time, Claire’s laugh sounds like a sob. Krissy squeezes her knee reassuringly.

***

Honestly, it isn’t what Krissy expected. She expected some dangerous looking place, a warehouse –because it’s always a warehouse.

What she doesn’t expect is your average suburban town in Minnesota, mowed lawns, white picket fences, the whole shebang. Everything’s so freaking calm. Krissy gulps with some difficulties, trying to quell the feeling of wrong that has been bumping in her mind ever since she saw Claire with this demon. She still doesn’t know the story behind it all, and if there’s one thing Krissy hates, it’s not knowing what she’s getting into. A flicker of surprise crosses Claire’s face, but it’s gone in a blink, replaced by a stormy expression. She looks dangerous, almost feral, and Krissy bites her lip while pulling over on the side of the street opposite to the house.  This Claire isn’t the Claire she knows. This Claire is an explosive mix of hatred and vengeful sentiments.

Krissy doesn’t know to what lengths this Claire is able to go in order to appease the monster roaring inside her guts, asking for blood. Krissy’s getting more and more uneasy.

She blinks a few times to try and wash the feeling away.

It doesn’t work.

***

They’ve been waiting for what feels like an eternity. The sun has set half an hour ago, and a few people have come and gone. The streetlights’ glow is orange and yellow, adding to the peaceful atmosphere almost painfully. So far, no one has caught Claire’s attention. She’s silent, staring almost unblinkingly at the house. The lights are on but they haven’t seen anyone, except for a few fleeting shadows on the curtains.

It doesn’t feel supernatural. It feels like they’re watching a fucking family home like two psychotic creeps. For fuck’s sake, there’s even a cat flap on the front door.

Krissy rubs her forehead in a vain effort to diminish the headache that beats against her skull. No such luck.

Then, the front door opens. The first thing she thinks is: It’s just a dude. In the dark, she can’t see his features but it’s just a dude with a trash bag in his hand, and this detail, this ridiculous detail makes something in Krissy’s stomach twist. She glances sideways and sucks in a harsh breath. Because the raw, naked pain she sees on Claire’s face is more than she can endure.

“It’s him?” she asks, even if she already knows the answer. Claire nods once, tight. Then, before Krissy can ask what the plan is, Claire has pocketed her favorite knife and is shooting out of the car.

“Shit,” Krissy hisses, fumbling with the door handle, her eyes never leaving Claire. She’s crossing the road, fast as lightning and the guy has seen her, has probably seen the way her face is contorted with fury, but he doesn’t do anything. He just…stands here, and not in the oh-shit-I’m-gonna-die-I’m-paralyzed-by-fear way, either. No, he watches Claire, arms dangling at his sides. Krissy is running before she knows it because it’s wrong, it’s all wrong and she wants to tell Claire to stop, to think about it. Up close, the guy doesn’t look like a civilian anymore. His stance is too defensive, and his eyes, his baby-blue eyes that remind her of –

Oh.

And suddenly, the guy is on his knees and Claire is punching him, punching him so hard Krissy swears she can hear the bones snapping. He still doesn’t react. 

The only thing he says is: “Claire,” a rough, sad voice that only serves to piss Claire off even more. She starts yelling, tears trickling down her cheeks.

“You son of a b –you stole him, you stole him from us. And my mom’s dead because you weren’t even able to protect us and now I’m all alone and I had to kill her – because of these fucking demons. And you’re hiding? You’re playing home?”

Her left hand is holding the guy’s hair and her right is punching, punching, and the wet noises of the blood squelching horrify Krissy.

“Claire, stop,” she begs, because she hates it, she hates that the guy just looks at Claire with his eyes so similar to hers, and that in these eyes there is a resignation, like he’s ready to die, but he won’t lay a hand on her.

“And why aren’t you defending yourself?” Claire yells, hand freezing in the air like she doesn’t know what to do with it anymore. She’s sobbing, now, broken and ugly sounds coming from the back of her throat.

“Claire,” Krissy says in a rush. She takes a step forwards cautiously. “Claire, you’re not thinking straight, please.”

“I can do this,” Claire whispers. Her hand fumbles in her pocket and suddenly, her knife glints in the light of the street lamp. There’s a knot of terror in Krissy’s throat, bitter. It prevents her from yelling, from doing something stupid.

That’s when she feels something hard and cold poke her in the back and she freezes, all her senses going into a full-blown panic because how stupid is she, how gone is she on Claire to have forgotten to fucking watch her back.

“Drop the knife, kid,” says a man’s voice behind her. There’s something familiar tugging at the back of her mind, like an old memory she can’t quite put her finger on. Claire is pale, her face covered in snot and tears. Here, she really looks like a kid, a lost kid, and Krissy feels like she should step forward and shield her from the world with her mouth and her arms.

“You’re not gonna do it,” Claire says, but she doesn’t sound so sure, her voice shaking. Krissy knows she has the barrel of a gun against her back, but she isn’t afraid for herself. Not anymore. She’s afraid of the darkness she saw in Claire’s eyes when she was beating the man up, and she knows that if Claire yielded to it, she might never come back. The yard is silent for a second, eerily so.

“Try me,” the man sneers. It all clicks, where she heard this voice for the last time. She can’t help turning her head to catch a glimpse of the hunter she thought was long-dead.

“Dean?” she asks, voice tight with disbelief. There’s a beat of silence, where the man on the ground looks up at her with a frown that clashes hard with his swollen cheek and his broken nose.

“Krissy?”

And Krissy lets out a frantic burst of laughter, torn from her insides by this twisted situation, because Dean hasn’t dropped the gun like she expected him to, is still threatening to shoot her, but the only thing she can come up with is:

“Good to see you.” 

Dean doesn’t answer, just pokes her harder with the gun.

“I said, drop the fucking knife and get the hell away from him. I don’t want to do this, but I will.” Krissy recognizes this voice. It’s the voice of someone cornered, the voice of someone trying to protect the ones they love. Krissy’s blood turns to ice as she watches Claire’s eyes travel back and forth between her and the kneeling man. Slowly, so slowly, she lets go of him and the weapon falls on the damp grass with an anticlimactic thump. Krissy releases a breath she didn’t know she was holding.

Dean is helping the man to his feet in a blink, muttering as he goes, fussing over his face. Krissy hears “selfless bastard” and “daughter” and “let her kill you”, and she doesn’t have a clue what’s going on, but Claire is swaying like she’s going to pass out any second now, so she does the only thing she can think of, rushes towards her and throws an arm around her waist, holding her tight.

“I got you,” she says, and Claire is shaking like a leaf. Krissy whispers sweet nothings against her neck until she hears her draw in a breath.

“Claire.”

It’s the other man’s voice, and Krissy tenses, expects Claire to lash out. But it’s like all the fight has been sucked out of her by this voice, and she slumps even more. She looks defeated and exhausted with her pallid skin and the dark shadows under her eyes.

“Yes,” she says. Just that.

“I would like to talk to you. And we should go inside before the neighbors call the police.”

Claire nods against Krissy’s shoulders, but the man can’t see her, so Krissy mimics the gesture and gently pries Claire’s fingers from her t-shirt.

“Come on,” she whispers. “It’s okay.”

***

The inside of the house isn’t really what Krissy expected from Dean. It’s cozy, for lack of a better word. There are framed photographs on the walls, and Krissy recognizes Dean’s brother on one of them, smiling next to a woman, it’s clean and smells like coffee and lemon. They follow Dean into the kitchen while the other man, ‘Cas’, as Dean calls him, disappears to wash away the blood and find a first-aid kit, so matter-of-factly that Krissy guesses that being beaten up doesn’t really faze him.

Krissy guides Claire to a chair and gently tugs at her arm to make her sit down. She obeys without a word, eyes hollow and worn out.

“Fuck, I need a drink,” Dean groans.

Krissy lifts a hand tiredly. “Seconded.”

Dean quirks an eyebrow at her. “Aren’t you a bit young for that?”

“I’m twenty-two, asshole,” she snaps without heat. Dean mocks-whistles with a small smile and fills four glasses with amber-like whiskey, sliding two of them across the table. Claire stares at him, eyes red-rimmed and so sad. She takes the drink and gulps it so quickly Krissy almost expect her to cough and choke. Claire doesn’t like whiskey. But she just blinks down mournfully at her empty glass.

“Hey,” Dean says softly, “Claire? That’s your name, right?”

Claire tears her gaze from the glass to look at Dean, and Krissy has to give it to him, he doesn’t flinch. Claire can be unsettling when she looks at you like she can see through the layers of skin to look directly into your soul, but Dean? He just stares back until Claire nods.

“Don’t be too hard on him,” Dean says. “I know how it is, but you’re…you’re blaming the wrong person. Cas has been through hell since you last saw him.”

“Who can I blame, then?” Claire asks, and it’s not defiant, it’s confused and shaky. Dean shrugs.

“God?” He shakes his head and snorts, and Claire tries a tiny smile, like it’s an inside joke that Krissy doesn’t get. “No.” Dean says. He takes a deep breath. “I’mma tell you something. My whole life I looked for people to blame for all the shit that happened to me. I blamed myself, I blamed my father, I blamed my brother, I blamed Heaven and Hell. I blamed Cas, too, more than once. But, truth is, Claire, blaming people won’t get you nowhere. Revenge won’t give you back what you’ve lost, and believe me, I speak from experience.” His gaze loose some of its sharpness, turns wistful and distant. “It’ll just feed your nightmares, give you more stuff to regret.”

Claire’s lips are a thin, white line. It’s her I won’t cry expression, and if she can pull it off now, it means that she’s beginning to get a hold of herself. Krissy’s hand finds her knee and squeezes gently.

Claire nods tightly and screws her eyes shut, fingers coming up to pinch the bridge of her nose.

“Okay,” she breathes. “I’ll try.”

“Right,” Dean says. He looks relieved. “Moment over, okay? We need more booze.”

Claire smiles a little at that, and for a second she looks more peaceful than Krissy has ever seen her. It’s gone in a blink, and when she speaks again, her voice is blank.

“He’s not here anymore, is he?”

“He’s not.” Krissy starts when Cas pads back into the kitchen. Krissy wonders how much of Dean’s speech he heard. Judging by the soft look he sends Dean’s way, he hasn’t missed much. “He passed away a long time ago. He’s in Heaven, now.”

It should sound cheesy, but there’s something about the way he says it that speaks of absolute certainty.

“What about you?” Claire asks. “Why aren’t you upstairs?”

Krissy blinks and eyes her now empty glass, wondering if more alcohol would help her find some sense in this conversation. Cas looks at Dean and sighs. There’s no blood on his face anymore, and Krissy can see that there’s a bump on his nose where the cartilage has snapped. It must hurt like a motherfucker, but his face doesn’t betray anything.

“I fell. Someone –someone stole my Grace. I’m human, now. Have been for the past six years.”

Claire looks horrified. Krissy fills her glass with a groan.

“I’m sorry,” Claire whispers eventually. “I didn’t –I didn’t know. I just wanted to…” her voice breaks and she shakes her head. “I don’t know.”  

“For what it’s worth,” Cas sighs. “I’m sorry, too. I don’t know if you will forgive me one day for what happened to your family, but I want you to know that…I wish I had done things differently.”

Silence settles over the room. Then Krissy bangs her glass on the table.

“That’s all really great,” she says, words a little slurred. “But can anyone tell me what the fuck does any of it mean?”

***

After Dean stops talking, Krissy stays silent for a long time. Claire is asleep in the spare room and Cas –Castiel –is washing the dishes and pretending not to listen.

“Angels,” Krissy says. “Huh.”

She’s sure she should be freaking out at the thought that angels actually exist, but for now she contents herself with her sixth glass of whiskey. Then, a thought strikes her and she tries to stifle a giggle in her palm. Dean raises an eyebrow at her.

“What?”

“Dude, you’re gay for an angel.”

Cas makes a noise halfway between a cough and a snort. The tips of Dean’s ears turn bright red.

“Shut up,” he mutters. “You’re gay for a vessel.”

Krissy hums.

“Nah,” she muses. “I’m gay for Claire.”

Dean looks at her, something in his eyes turning soft.

“Okay,” he says.

“Okay,” Krissy says.

Castiel choses this moment to turn and pluck the bottle from Dean’s hands.

“You two have had more than enough to drink. Dean, you have to go to work tomorrow, and it’s three in the morning.”

Dean makes a face dangerously close to a pout and Krissy giggles some more. She may be a little bit drunk.

“Dude, you’re so whipped,” she quips, but some of the sass is lost when her words are drowned in a heavy yawn. “G’night,” she mumbles, shuffling over Dean to kiss him on the cheek, an old gesture that she finds oddly reassuring.

The hallway is dark and silent, and she tiptoes to the room where Claire is –hopefully –sleeping. The door opens silently and she doesn’t even bother trying to work up the courage to brush her teeth, just shrugs off her jacket and wiggles until she manages to take off her bra without having to take off her shirt. Her jeans fall on the floor and she slips under the sheets, smiling when Claire gives a little sigh and scoots closer in her sleep.

“We’re gonna fix this,” she whispers in the dark. “I promise, Claire. I’m gonna fix us.”

***

When they wake up, they are tangled together, legs and arms entwined. It would be hotter if Krissy didn’t feel so gross. Claire yawns and scrunches up her nose like a grumpy kitten when Krissy slips out of the warm bed to go to the bathroom. She pisses and tries to brush her teeth with her finger and the toothpaste she found in the closet. Then, she eyes the two clean towels folded next to the sink and decides that a shower is a great idea. She stays under the hot water for far too long, basking in the way her muscles relax and the water stays hot for more than five minutes. Claire storms into the bathroom as she’s drying herself, arguing that she needs to pee now. When you live in close quarters with someone for so long, there’s a moment you stop giving a shit about stuff like privacy and self-consciousness, especially when you’ve already slept with said someone.

The house is empty, as it turns out. There’s a note on the kitchen table saying that they should help themselves to the fridge, that they have to whack the coffee-maker twice for it to start actually making coffee, and that they’re welcome to stay for as long as they want but if they leave, please make sure to leave the key under the doormat, and take the envelope under this note (but don’t open it before you’re gone). Under it, someone –Dean if Krissy has to take a guess –has scribbled and no weird stains on my couch.

“Smartass,” Krissy mutters, but she’s smiling.

***

“So,” Claire says once they’ve taken their breakfast and washed the dishes. “What do we do, now?”

Krissy grins. “I’m all for hitting the road, sweetheart.”

They scribble a thank you on the note and take the envelope.

They leave in a roar of engine, leave behind the white picket fences, the hot showers and a life that will never be theirs.

***

“Hey, Claire?” Krissy asks. The road is spreading in front of them and she’s not really sure where to go. There’s no hunt, no directions, and an idea is starting to nudge its way through her mind.

“Mh?”

“What’s in the envelope?”

“What envelo– Oh. Wait.” There’s a rustling, the sound of wrinkled paper. Then, a soft “Oh…,” almost like a sigh.

“What?” Krissy asks, glancing sideways to find Claire’s wide eyes. She quirks her lips, and it softens the shadows around her eyes, the wary lines of her forehead.

“There’s a letter for me. And, um. Four hundred dollars.”

Krissy almost slams her foot on the brake pedal, only barely managing not to swerve off the road.

“There’s what?”

She’s trying to choose between being pissed off and laughing, because Dean is a sneaky bastard, has always been, but this time it might be for the best.

“Hey, Claire, you ever been on a road trip?”

A pause.

Duh.”

Krissy snorts and shakes her head. The sun is shining and the sky is blue and it’s so freaking cliché, she wants to turn up the volume, open the window and sing her head off.

“No, moron, like, a real road trip. Sightseeing, having sex on the backseat, watching the stars. Guaranteed poltergeist free.”

Claire laughs, and it’s a little shaky but Krissy will take what she gets.

“No, Kriss, I’ve never done any of that.”

“You want to? I think we deserve a little vacation.”

There’s a pause, filled by The Killers assessing that the stars are blazing like rebel diamonds cut out of the sun. Eh.

“Yeah.” Claire says, and if her voice is a little watery, Krissy pretends not to notice. “Yeah, I’d like that. I’ve never been to Ohio.”

This time, Krissy does swerve off the road.

“Why the hell would you want to go to Ohio?” she asks disbelievingly, because she’s been to Ohio, thank you, and she’d rather not repeat the experience on a vacation.  But, who is she kidding, if Claire wants to go to Ohio, she’ll go with her and pretend to love it. That’s when she hears the giggles, and she turns her head just in time to see Claire hide her mouth in her palm.

“Oh my god, you’re such a bitch,” she mutters, trying really hard not to smile. That’s her Claire, and it’s good to see her smile again, even if she knows that they’re far from being okay. She’ll just have to be patient.

“You should have seen your face,” Claire hiccups.

“Yeah, yeah.” Krissy says, and she’s trying so hard to keep a straight face, but it’s not enough. Soon, she’s laughing like she hasn’t laughed in weeks, and fuck, it feels good.

***

“Hey, Kriss?” Claire asks as she finishes her sandwich, sat on the hood of the car. Krissy smiles at the nickname.

 “Yeah?”

“Can we have sex on the back seat, now?”

Claire’s eyes are blue and they shine under the midday sunbeams. Krissy wants to wax poetic about her smile and the way her fingers shake a little as they trace the scar on her side. As she kisses away her tears, she smiles against her cheek and thinks we’re strong enough.  

 

The End