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OK this story is kind of bad and the set is kind of bad but respect that ok I have respect 4 u IDK I'm not even sure why I'm talking but I like the idea of the set ok ok cool.

-

I’m just sobering up, so I decide that’s not good, and I take another shot. It’s probably like my fifth or sixth or seventh or something – I stopped keeping track after Ruby came into the alley, g-uns blazing, with the rest of our d-mn entourage. I think that I was just happy to see Az, to hear some explanation. Happy to feel his stupid trench coat pressed against my denim shirt. I don’t know. I really don’t, okay?

Sure, it seems crazy, but it’s not. Something about this is ringing with the truth that was always missing when we asked Az questions before. And the fact that Olivier showed up definitely added credibility to his story.

I take my whateverth shot and watch as Ruby’s eyes follow Wes across the room. He’s got two girlfriends – how the f-ck does he do that? – one on each arm, and, as usual, they’re giggling at whatever the hell he’s saying. I roll my eyes and watch as Ruby turns back to Jeff, explaining something to him. I can kind of hear their conversation, but it’s more like an annoying buzzing in my ears. I watch as she gets up – are there two Rubys or one? – and half-stumbles out of the bar. Maybe going to clean the d-mn car, finally. I’m getting tired of sitting in a dried pool of her blood, thank you very much.

“Jess?”

I turn to see Az standing really close behind me, and I squeak nervously, then sort of lose my balance and manage to topple to the floor. “Shiiiit,” I slur. “Warn a girl, ‘kay?”

“Er…um…right. But Jess, I think we have to do so – ”

“Olivier’s gone, so relax, okay?”

“But he could still be coming back, and you’re just sitting here drinking like that’s…” He pauses, unused to confrontation, and doesn’t finish the sentence. Just lets it hang there.

“I,” I say, enunciating each word carefully, “am getting wasted because I feel like it. If you have a problem, you can go f-ck yourself. Please and thank you.” I slam my hand on the bar. “Bartender!”

-

She needs more blood, but Az knows not to broach the subject. With the high alcohol concentration buzzing through her blood right now, she’s an easy target for Michael, and he needs to fix that.

The vial in his pockets is For Emergencies Only, but he thinks that this probably qualifies as something near that, so he pulls it out of his pocket and quietly doses her drink with demon blood when she’s not looking. He slips it up the sleeve of his trench coat, and by the time she looks back, there’s no evidence that it was ever there.

She gives him a sloppy grin. “Cheers, as-shole.”

Only minutes ago, it was like she needed him. But she isn’t drunk like that anymore – she is wasted. Wasted and hopeless, empty and unfulfilled.

Az needs a drink, too. So when she gets her next shot, he orders one right alongside her. He may not be able to help her, but maybe he can forget to try.

-

Az starts going shot for shot with me, and his alcohol tolerance is surprisingly high, since the last I can remember, he had some issues with shots. We end up in a dead tie at Whothef-ckknows and decide to give up, mostly because I’m too drunk to stand. I feel like vomiting, and the whole room is spinning. I can’t even get up.

“Jess, come on,” Az says. I sling my arm over his shoulder and let him guide me out of the bar. I stumble over to the car, where he knocks on the window. How the hell is he still so sober?

Ruby looks up. “What’s up?” Suspicion crosses her face for a moment. Still not used to Az, I guess. She’s just cleaning off the last traces of blood from her pride and joy – the car. The friggin’ car.

“Jess might need to lay down,” Az says, pulling me into Ruby’s line of sight.

I vomit on the ground by the car. Ruby yanks the door open and comes over by us, pushes Az away, and holds my hair back for me. 

“Shhh,” she says. “It’s okay, Jess. Shhhh. It’s okay.”

One of them helps me into the car, but I can’t tell who anymore, and my head keeps spinning into darkness.

-

Ruby looks at him. “You know, you can’t just keep showing up like this. You’re either with us, or you’re out. You should know better.” She sounds pained.

“I know,” Az sighs. “I just…it is more complicated than you make it seem.”

“Everything’s always complicated! I know it’s not simple, but you have to decide. It’s us, or it’s them. You can’t just have both. You can’t just f-ck with us like this. It’s not fair to us.”

“It isn’t fair to Jess,” Az says quietly. But Ruby hears him loud and clear anyways.

“Az,” she says, looking him in the eye, “please.” The elder Winchester rarely has the gumption to address him so honestly.

“I just need someone to talk to right now.” He wants Jess, but she’s passed out drunk in the back seat. And maybe Ruby doesn’t look anything like her sister, but she has that same Winchester persistence.

“Let’s talk,” she says. “I’ll buy coffee if you want.”

They haven’t had this long a conversation since she was infatuated with him thanks to the angel blood.

He wants to say yes to her, but what’s holding him back is all the things he hasn’t told her. The demon blood – yes, she probably realizes, but he knows all the same that she won’t take too kindly to learning that he’s secretly spiking Jess’s drinks – and the other thing. The thing. It goes beyond Michael and Lucifer, before Lucifer had even fallen.

He can’t tell her about that, either. Even Azrael knows better than to interfere in that mess. 

So instead he says, “I think you should take care of Jess,” and then he strolls back inside. If there’s one thing he knows, it’s that Jess is in good hands.

Inside the bar, Wes is draped over two women who appear dramatically younger than him – barely legal, probably – and who are tipsier than Wes. Not a good combination.

Az goes over and pries him off the two girls, hoping he’ll know when to leave well enough alone. He’s tempted to leave that other human by the bar, drowning his sorrows and wasting time thinking about what might be. In the end, however, he realizes that Jeff matters to Ruby, and Ruby – well, she matters to Jess.

-

I wake up with a pounding headache and the uncomfortable sensation that my head is in someone’s lap. This wouldn’t be so bad if I didn’t know that Ruby has to be driving, and all the rest of our company is definitively male.

Groaning, I manage to sit up (and see Az), but don’t get to stretch very much. I’m in the back seat, squished between Az, who looks just as uncomfortable as I was, and Jeff, who looks, if possible, less tired than last night. If he even so much as opens his mouth, Ruby be d-mned, I will slit his throat.

“Got any Motrin?” I say, my throat raw. The taste of vomit lingers in my mouth, an unpleasant aftertaste, and I add: “And some coffee?” Anything to mask the taste. Ugh.

Wes passes back some lukewarm coffee from Starbucks and a couple pills. Guess they knew I’d be up soon. They prepared. It would warm my heart a little bit if I weren’t so nauseous still. 

I take the pills and then follow them with a swig of coffee. It burns on the way down even though it’s not hot.

When I’m feeling okay enough to talk, I say, “Where are we going?”

Ruby looks back at me from the front, only her eyes visible in the rearview mirror. “We’ve gotta find Olivier. He took the blade.”

“Wait, you mean – ” I’m confused. “When did that happen?”

“Last night,” Ruby says bitterly. She doesn’t add, “When you were drunk,” but it’s implied, almost like it’s kind of my fault. Maybe it is. I can just add that to the list of things I’ve done wrong recently. A list that has, as of late, become of an infinite length.

“Right,” I say slowly. “So…”

Just then, the back seat becomes much roomier. I look over to my right to see that Az is distinctly missing from the car.

“D-mmit!” Ruby hisses from the front of the car. “I told him, I told him…”

After a few minutes of uncomfortable silence punctuated by Ruby’s angry stabs at the radio (which isn’t working), Az reappears in the back seat, but not exactly where he left from.

“Well, hello there,” Jeff says, because what else is there to say when an angel has accidentally transported himself onto your lap?

“Um, hi,” Az says, struggling to get across the car to his own seat.

“Sit down!” Ruby snaps from the front. “You’re blocking my view.”

“There’s no one behind us. Calm down,” Wes says, trying to soothe her.

“Shut it, or I’m kicking you out of the car.” She eyes Az and tries to send the same warning to him.

Wes and Az take the warning and shut up.

“So where did you go?” Ruby says finally. “Consorting with your demonic friends, trying to plan when to stab us in – ”

“Enough!” Wes bellows. Ruby spazzes out a little bit, kind of freaked out by the sudden loud noise, and the car steers off its straight path for a moment before Ruby gets it back under control.

Quietly, Az says, “I was summoned, and I had to go.”

“Who summoned you?”

“Olivier.”

And before Az can say another word, Olivier’s in the car…seated on Az’s lap.

“Oh, come on,” Az says, because he doesn’t seem to be having any luck with this teleportation today. “Get off me.”

“I don’t think so, sweetheart,” Olivier says. “It’s a bit too crowded in here, so you can just be my seat for now. I’ll be gone in a jiff.” It’s only then that I notice that he’s covered in blood.

“There are too many people in this car,” Wes growls.

“Where’s the blade?” Ruby calls, getting straight to the point.

“It’s really quite hot in here. Could you open the windows?” There’s a smirk pasted across Olivier’s face.

“Tell me where the blade is.”

“Open the window.”

Finally, Ruby relents, cranking the front window down. All of us in the back seat sigh with relief as the cool breeze blows over us. It’s d-mn hot back here, and if I weren’t so afraid that Ruby’d kill me, I’d have asked her to open the window myself.

“I’m afraid I’ve taken it and put it somewhere for safekeeping. You won’t be needing it now, and it’s the least you can give me after I’ve done you such a huge favor.”

“What the hell? You didn’t do anything for us.”

“That’s what you think. But it’s not true. I’ve taken care of everyone’s favorite angel in the garrison.” He pauses for dramatic effect. “Michael.”

“You ganked an angel with his own blade? How…considerate.”

“That’s not exactly the word I was gonna use,” Wes says, rolling his eyes.

Before someone can ask the obvious, Olivier says, “I’ve got proof, too.” He turns around and shoves his arm at Az’s face. “What do you smell, angel boy?”

Az seems to think he’s joking for a minute, but then he catches on and he actually smells Olivier’s sleeve. “Archangel, definitely,” he says. “Probably fresh.”

“Good, good,” Olivier says. “And since no one’s reported Metatron missing or anything, I think we can all safely assume this blood belongs to the one and only Michael.”

“I’d really have preferred you brought us a body,” Ruby mutters.

“In this car? I think not. We can’t fit any other people in here.”

“Maybe you should take a hint then,” Ruby snaps. She’s not in a very good mood – not that I can really blame her. “Take a hint and get. The f-ck. Out of my car.”

Olivier rolls his eyes. “Well, I know when I’m not welcome.” And then he’s gone.

-

Ruby tosses a newspaper back to me at some point, and despite my constant inability to read in the car without getting nauseous, I need something to distract myself from the fact that I’m squished between Jeff and Az. I skim over it quickly. The only things that catch my eye are the number of strange deaths and the town.

The town.

It’s /our/ town. Our hometown. Our friggin’ hometown.

-

It’s like an awkward date in the back of the car, Az notes. There’s Jess, which is completely fine with him, but then Jeff’s there too, sort of awkwardly tagging along and staring at the wrong times. Az finds his hand sort of drifting over towards Jess’s, but she moves her hand away before he even manages to make any kind of contact.

She becomes quickly engrossed in a newspaper article, and Az watches for the subtle signs of damage as that look crosses her face again. She’s hurting, and this time, he really doesn’t know why. Not even when he picks up the newspaper and reads through the article.

“So,” he says slowly, trying to distract her, “I noticed that you were unconscious for a few hours this morning.”

That sounded a lot better in his head. Jess turns to him. “Um…what?”

“Well, seeing as how you are incapable of sleep, I just – ”

Wes decides that now’s the right time to join the conversation. “Oh, Jess, next time you need some rest, I’ll just beat the sh-t out of you. What a f-cking great idea.” 

So apparently Az is not on Wes’s list of favorite people right now, either. And since Wes, besides Jess, is Az’s best friend, hurts a hell of a lot more than he’d thought it could. He still remembers what it was like when he didn’t care. Couldn’t care.

Jess doesn’t look at Az. “It’s not funny,” she says. “I’m just tired.” She leans forward and puts her head in her hands, staring blankly out the window. Az can feel how tired she is, but she’s not quite all right anymore. Not quite the same as she was before Hell.

The feeling came earlier, right when he’d pulled her up, but he ignored it, figuring it was just a side effect. But now, it’s been getting stronger and stronger, and he doesn’t know what it means, doesn’t even know what to do about it. Now that she doesn’t have to drink demon blood, her black eyes, nasty temper, and ability to exorcize demons will quickly disappear, but this…nagging feeling? It’s not going anywhere. It’s the reason Jess doesn’t – can’t – sleep anymore, and Az has a feeling that he knows why. It’s on the tip of his tongue, but he just can’t quite…

-

We pull up in front of a café, much to my chagrin, because what I’m really looking for is a bar. As usual. It’s been, like, twelve d-mn hours in this car. I want my alcohol. I f-cking deserve it, really. My hangover hasn’t subsided, but a cure for a hangover’s always more drinking, right?

Inside, the five of us squash into a booth. Ruby, Wes, and I are on one side, and Az and Jeff are demoted to the other side, which is kind of for people that we aren’t very thrilled with right now. Az seems uncomfortable with Jeff’s total blatant disrespect for personal space, but it seems only karmic retribution after Az’s multiple problems respecting my personal space.

“Can I take your order?” I hear the waitress say. Not, unfortunately, to us, however.

“Yeah. I’ll take coffee –black – and a slice of the apple pie.”

Ruby and I shoot each other panicked looks. That voice…it couldn’t be, could it? Slowly, we peer over the top of the booth into the next one and see a familiar figure sitting there.

“Mom?”

-

@caity-is-a-timelady
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