|our roads may be golden, or broken, or lost (elliemurasaki) wrote,|
@ 2013-01-05 04:26 pm UTC
|Entry tags:||fic: supernatural, spnpairingbingo|
Summary: This is how a prostituta became a demon. This is how a psychology student remembered she was always an angel. Written as Team Anna/Ruby's entry to srs2012_r1; also my Anna/Ruby square for spnpairingbingo.
Warnings: referenced non-con, referenced suicide
Word Count: 1500
Ana Paloma Costa Sandoval. Ana Paloma Costa Sandoval.
Memory is a slippery thing in hell: most demons no longer know or care who they are, where they came from, what they have done. Ana has lost the small fishing village of her birth, cannot remember her parents' faces, and her name in the language of her mother's mothers has slipped away. But she remembers the Spanish name her parents gave her, and she remembers Monterey.
Oh yes, she remembers Monterey.
Ana cannot bring herself to regret anything of Monterey, even knowing how what she did there doomed her. The packets of money she brought home every month kept her family fed even with another hungry sibling every year or two, what she kept for herself let her eat well and dress richly, and the clients she chose were always careful that she enjoyed herself as much as they. (When she could choose her clients.) Yes, and if being a puta is a sin, surely visiting one is a worse sin: these men all had, or could have had, wives with whom they could satisfy their lust in a manner permitted—encouraged—by the Church, and like so many others, Ana, at least in that first year, had no other way to buy food.
Somehow the sermons always blamed and condemned the sellers of sex, never the buyers.
This isn't any different, really. Ana didn't choose Sam, exactly, but from the gossip, he was always the best of Azazel's children; not a bad choice had she had one, though she has to admit she was hoping for, expecting, Azazel's vicious little Ava. Ana has never heard why Azazel wanted Lilith dead, but Ava would have done it for her father's approval alone. Sam, since Azazel (unlike with Ana) never saved him, takes more motivation. It's a shame about Dean, but Winchesters always do seem to fall in mud and come up clean.
Ana would kill Lilith without that being Azazel's dying wish, anyway. It's mostly Adam's fault in the end, but Adam is long dead and thus hard to kill, and transforming Lilith into something undeniably stronger than Adam was her idea though the nature of the change was Lucifer's.
If Lilith hadn't been the first demon, there would be no demons. Hell might be crowded, but it wouldn't be tortuous. Certain of hell's inhabitants deserve torture, no question; most, as always, are just ordinary people who were trying to survive and to enjoy a little bit of life, and who made a few more wrong choices than right ones, whose lives were marked more by the disapproved-of things they did than by the good things. No one's ever managed to explain to Lilith why this is a problem, and she's...powerful. Compelling. Containing her isn't enough to contain the damage she does and never has been.
So Ana drags Sam along with her, feeding him bits of her power to catalyze his own. She can see the way it contaminates his soul, but he's alive, he has a grounding in the physical world (this flame-haired gringa Jane Doe gives Ana something like it, but not near enough, nothing but the restoration of Ana's first body from the dust to which it returned could do that, and she's not sure that would be enough), and for garnish he has his brother back. Unlike Ana, he can gather enough power to tear Lilith to shreds, and unlike Ana, he can let it all go again.
Dean Winchester is saved.
Ruby Driscoll doesn't mention this to anyone at first. Auditory hallucinations are a classic sign of schizophrenia. Not everyone with auditory hallucinations is schizophrenic, or mentally ill at all—this is Ruby's field of study; she knows this—but, by way of experiment, play word association with anyone at all. Hearing voices? Crazy.
The voices name names, though. Some are their names. Some aren't. Ruby finally, after two months of putting detailed descriptions of the hallucinations in her journal, looks up some of the ones that aren't, the ones that have place names and time references attached.
Olivia Lowry. Murdered in her home, holding a gun from her collection that she never had the chance to fire, within a day of Dean Winchester's salvation.
Carl Bates. Murdered in his backyard, within two days of Dean Winchester's salvation.
Rachel Adams. Murdered in her car after an apparently hasty departure from her home, within two days of Dean Winchester's salvation.
(Dean and Sam Winchester. Dead months ago, in a blown gas main at a police station where they wouldn't have been if they weren't wanted for many crimes. The voices speak as though they live.)
The voices' names: some are recognizable, some aren't. Ruby tries to figure out how to spell the ones that aren't, with help from the almighty Google, and when she gets one right, she has to stop and stare. She looks over the list she's found, and the names she's having trouble with are all on there.
Given the theme of the names she could already spell—
Ruby goes down to Our Lady of Fatima. She hasn't been to church in a while—tell the truth, not since Easter, and before that not since Christmas. It's Saturday, and she times her arrival for when Father Patrick hears confession.
Ruby sits in a pew, repeating the Act of Contrition. I dread the loss of heaven and the pains of hell—one of the reasons Ruby has avoided church for so long is where that suggests Catholics fall on Kohlberg's scale. Behaving well out of fear of punishment: stage one. Behaving well in order to gain a promised reward: stage two. Ruby is probably not a consistent stage five the way she likes to believe, but how can she trust Catholicism to be her moral compass when she knows she is more moral than Catholicism requires Catholics to be?
It doesn't help that absolution of sins, while it assures the ex-sinner that all is forgiven, does not actually undo the harm the ex-sinner did or heal the pain the ex-sinner inflicted. Sometimes the assigned penance has the intent of fixing what the penitent broke. Sometimes it's ten Our Fathers and ten Hail Marys.
Finally the confessional is free. In this church, the confessor is face to face with the confessor (the contrary meanings of the word amuse Ruby), so she can watch Father Patrick's face as she says "Bless me, Father, for I have sinned," as he recites his blessing over her, as she says "I didn't come to confess—that too, of course, it's been years, but I need your advice and I need it under the seal of the confessional."
"I would never betray a confidence, even when not bound to keep it," Father Patrick says.
"Forgive me for not being sure of that about this," Ruby says. She hesitates a moment. "I'm hearing voices," she says. "I think they're angels."
Father Patrick smiles, ugly, and his eyes flash black.
The angel formerly known as Ruby Driscoll finds Ana on the outskirts of St. Louis, several days after the reangeling. "¡La verga!" Ana says, and pulls over so she can fix her hex bag.
"The hex bag is fine," the angel says from the shotgun seat. "Sorry for startling you. Traffic cameras caught your car."
"Oh." Ana puts the car in park anyway. "Why are you here?"
"To thank you," the angel says. "And to ask if there's any way I can repay you."
"Tell that cabrón to stop convincing Sam that demon blood makes him a monster," Ana says. "Don't," she adds. "He won't listen."
"That would be a thank-you gift to Sam," the angel says. "I don't know what would be a thank-you gift to you. I asked Pamela if she wanted me to heal her eyes," she adds. "She said no."
"She doesn't trust angels, or she doesn't trust you?" Ana asks, turning off the engine.
"I left," the angel reminds her. "I killed myself so I could stop being the thing Pamela hates. I didn't realize it wouldn't take." She looks down at herself, at the blue-white glow just contained by her human skin, and back up. "She said no," she repeats, as though that's all that matters. Today, maybe it is.
Back in Monterey, it hadn't mattered at all.
"Can you bring back the dead?" Ana blurts out.
"If I know who I'm looking for," the angel says. "And where to find the body."
"I don't know exactly where anymore," Ana says, "but I can find it. And who..." She meets the angel's eyes. "Me."
The angel considers this. "I don't know if it'll work the way you want," she warns. "And it'll be a while before I figure out how to make it work at all."
"That's fine," Ana says. "I want Lilith dead first."
The angel nods. "Take me there," she says.
Ana starts the car again. "What's your name?" she asks, realizing she doesn't know. That's an important thing to know about someone she plans to spend a lot of time with, and it's a long way to Monterey.
"They called me Ramiel," the angel says. "I'm Ruby."