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17 March 2009 @ 03:50 pm
SPN/BtVS crossover - Apocalypse Please (1/2) - Dean/Anya  
Title: Apocalypse Please (1/2)
Author: Tonya (_fullofgrace)
Rating: PG-13
Genre: Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Supernatural, Dean/Anya with mild Sam/Buffy
Disclaimer: The usuals. No own, no sue.
Chapter word count: 7067
A/N: This is AU at season 7 of BtVS and mid-season 2 of SPN. In this world, Anya never died at the final showdown, Dean never made a deal. The girls joined the boys on the road to fight the good fight, and this is the outcome.
Dedication: To ficbitch82 who prompted me to write this and had the first read through.
Summary: AU. Dean has the American dream. Too bad it’s in the middle of a zombie apocalypse.
Awarded @ and





******

Dean and his brother never really stop hunting.

They had averted what they had thought to be the last of the apocalypses, had lived to see another day at the end of all things, and had decided to take some time for themselves for a change.

Sam and Buffy had settled in a small coastal town in Virginia, not too far from Virginia Beach; and on many occasions, Dean teased Sam about how that seemed more like the place he would settle in for a little R and R.

But in the end, Buffy had missed the beach but not-so-much California, and Sam had never really lived anywhere where you could see a body of water from your bedroom window, so Virginia it had been.

Dean had settled down himself, much to the surprise of his brother.

Though really when shacking up with a woman like Anya, it can’t really be called settling down. Not like whatever white picket fence, 2.5 kids, one dog American dream he knows Sam and Buffy are headed towards someday soon.

He’s settled down, but he still hunts. Except now he has Anya along for the ride in the passenger seat of the Impala, and it’s not the big battles like he and Sam used to find themselves in. But it’s enough for Dean to still feel like Dean. He needs the hunt to feel normal, to feel useful, and luckily, he has a girlfriend as unconventional as him when it comes to the things that go bump in the night.

Dean still hunts.

But he never really thinks about apocalypses anymore.

***

He hears talk in local hunter bars, while he drinks beer and Anya plays darts-- because unlike Sam, she hates billiards-- for some extra cash. The hunters mention some voodoo going down a few states over, people rising from their graves in full Night of the Living Dead style.

Bunch of goth teenagers causing trouble, one hunter says.

Doesn’t matter though cause a couple of local hunters got it under control, says another.

Later that night, he calls Sam just to see if his brother is hearing the same ripples in his own hunter circles. It turns out that Sam has heard the same from a few of Bobby’s friends, and the story is unchanged from hunter to hunter.

Bunch of kids causing some trouble. Hunters got it under control.

Dean chalks it up to just another day in the life of hunters and thinks nothing more about it.

***

He forgets the talk of the risen dead until he has to put three bullets in one himself.

The gas station is empty when he pulls in, and he steps out and fills up his tank, paying with a card under the name Dean VanHalen at the pump. When he goes inside for a twelve-pack, there’s no one behind the counter and the bell above the door echoes in the silence. His body goes on high alert as he walks back towards the freezers, quickly grabbing a case of beer and heading towards the front counter.

“Hello?” he asks, knocking against the counter to get anyone’s attention in the back of the shop.

The silence that greets him causes the hair on the back of his neck to stand up, and he backs away from the counter, leaving the case of beer behind. He pulls his gun from the back waistband of his jeans as his gaze surveys the shop.

Everything is in its proper place. No aisles are disheveled. The cash register sits perfectly on the counter, untouched. There’s no blood or signs of any sort of struggle.

It’s all normal, all perfect.

When he turns to push open the door, that’s when he sees him.

The man, dressed in unkempt and dirty clothes, stands near the Impala. He stumbles a bit on his feet like a drunk, and he doesn’t seem to know where he’s going as he walks aimlessly through the gas pumps.

Gun at the ready, Dean slowly exits the shop, watching as the man stops for a moment to stare at the last gas pump in line as if he’s about to have some sort of conversation with it.

“Gotta learn when to stop, dude,” he mutters to himself as he approaches the man. “Hey, buddy, you alright?”

The man’s head snaps towards Dean’s voice, and that’s when Dean realizes that this is not some poor drunk slob. The man makes a hissing sound deep in his throat before charging at Dean full speed, and Dean gets off two rounds before the man is in arm’s reach.

Bunch of kids causing some trouble. Hunters got it under control.

The very undead man with two bullets in his chest twitches and tries to push himself to his feet again.

Dean steps up and puts one round between his eyes.

And as the body finally lies still, Dean realizes just how under control the situation is not.

***

He leaves three messages, one each on phones belonging to Bobby, Sam, and Buffy. He tries home as well, but Anya doesn’t answer, and he tries not to let that worry him as he speeds down the highway.

When he finally gets home and pulls open the front door, he’s greeted by Anya, who has a rifle pointed squarely at his chest. His hands raise instinctively in a sign of truce, and she gives him a sheepish look as she lowers the weapon.

“Richard from down the street tried to take a bite out of me while I was taking out the trash,” is her explanation for her armed greeting.

Dean closes the front door, locking it securely, and steps over to the window to pull back the slats of the blinds to peer out. He sees the trashcans toppled over near the front walk, something he had missed in his rush to get into the house. He doesn’t see a body, and he turns back to Anya, who still has her rifle at hand. He takes gentle hold of her forearms as he looks her over for any sign of injury.

“So what happened to Richard?” he asks as he checks her over and finds nothing to his relief.

“I shot him,” she says with a raised eyebrow, as if this should be his most rational conclusion as well. “He’s been dead for three months, Dean, and it seemed like the most logical thing to do considering.”

“Friggin’ zombies,” he mutters as he peeks between the window blinds again and out onto their quiet street.

“You’re telling me,” she huffs as she balances the rifle against the edge of the coffee table. “I had to drag his body into the garage as not to cause too much of a scene. Could you imagine the garbage collector’s face in the morning if I propped a dead zombie next to our trash cans?”

Dean looks over his shoulder at her. “You put a zombie in our garage?”

“I made sure it was dead.” She pauses with a small, dismissive wave of her hand. “Well, deader. Bullet to the brain, the whole nine yards. Just like in those movies we watched that one Halloween.”

Dean nods at that, a small smile of pride on his lips. “That’s my girl,” he says, giving her a kiss to the temple before fishing his cell out of his pocket. “I need to get in touch with Sam.”

Anya stands at the window, keeping vigil in the spot he’s stepped away from as he dials on his phone. “I don’t care for how quiet it is tonight,” she says as she looks out into the night. “Quiet is how apocalypses start.”

Dean frowns as Sam’s voicemail kicks in for the second time in an hour, and though he and Anya are thinking the same unpleasant thought, he really hopes they’re wrong.

But apocalypses usually do start with quiet.

***

Sam returns his call two days later, and Dean is one second away from reaching through the phone and throttling him within an inch of his life when Sam says a sentence that stills him.

“Dude, you’re having zombie issues too?” Sam asks.

Dean learns that Sam and Buffy have been seeing the same as him and Anya, the dead rising and walking amongst the living, feeding on their flesh. And not just that, but Sam notices a trend in those who are bitten but don’t die; they become violent shells of themselves.

“You check with Bobby?” Dean asks, but he knows Sam like the back of his own hand; and even if they can be like night and day at times, they tend to think alike when it comes to hunting.

“Yeah, after the first one we ran into,” he says. “He’s not sure what the hell is going on. He said to sit tight.”

Dean tells him to watch his back, to check in tomorrow, and he can almost hear his brother rolling his eyes in response.

But Sam agrees and tells him to do the same before hanging up.

******

Things seem to go back to normal soon after his encounter at the gas station.

He stands in his local convenience store late at night, a wall of cold medications in front of him, and he’s in the middle of trying to figure out which is best for this damn cold that’s hit him hard when he hears the scream.

One aisle over, he finds the woman pinned to the ground, screaming as a man--once upon a time--holds her down and tries to rip a chunk out of her neck. Without even thinking, he pulls his gun and fires off a shot.

The woman continues to scream as blood and brain matter splatter across her face and the front of her shirt, and she whimpers as she crawls out from under the body. When she stops, hand pressed to the bleeding wound on her neck, he still has his gun raised.

“He tried to…. He was…” She tries to find words as she stares at the body at her feet, but then she looks up at him, and Dean’s finger twitches on the trigger. “You saved my life.”

He watches the blood seep between her fingers as he hears people approaching.

“Thank, thank you.”

He swallows hard before slipping his gun back into its safe place at the small of his back. “Don’t thank me,” he says with a shake of his head as he quickly pushes his way through the crowd that is forming.

Putting down a rabid dog is easy.

But how do you put down a dog that hasn’t turned on you yet?

******

Sometimes he forgets how much Anya knows, and at times, it’s almost like dealing with Sam all over again.

Except Sam has his books.

Anya has her life experiences.

She researches with him into the night-- following up leads of their own as well as some from Bobby and others from Sam and Buffy.

Some nights, she falls asleep first, arms folded across a tattered book with yellowing pages and her hair draped across her face as she snores lightly. He gathers her up in his arms and carries her up to bed. Once she’s settled, he grabs his favorite sawed-off and goes downstairs to keep watch for a few more hours before turning in for the night himself.

Other nights, he falls asleep before her, his face stuck to a page in a book stolen from the now vacant library. When he wakes, a blanket is tossed across his shoulders, and Anya is curled up on the couch, her rifle just within reach as she reads from a tabloid magazine.

“Go back to sleep,” she says, not even taking her eyes away from whatever new gossip she’s found.

He rubs a tired hand across his face. “I’m fine. Just need some coffee is all.”

“Go back to sleep,” she says again, closing up her magazine and turning to him with a raised eyebrow. “You’re going to be useless for sex tomorrow if you’re dead on your feet.”

Dean thinks on that for a moment, closes up the book to push it aside, and lays his head back down to catch a few more minutes of sleep.

******

He listens to hunters communicate over CB radio airwaves, like truckers on the lookout for speed traps and a rest stop with good food.

It’s hitting every town, every city, and no one knows why. Everyone has their theories, but no one can seem to put two and two together.

One thing becomes apparent though.

Even the hunters are going on lockdown.

******

The news calls it a viral epidemic, a disease spread through blood and saliva.

“The dead rising from their graves is an epidemic?” Anya asks one morning as she watches the morning news.

She walks into the kitchen where Dean is cleaning his guns at the table, and she hands him her half-finished coffee. He takes the mug, taking a long sip, before responding. “Zombies tends to be a hard word to work into the morning broadcast between traffic and weather.”

She sits across from him, frowning as she reloads a magazine into one of the guns he’s finished, and Dean remembers a time when she couldn’t even do that without him worrying she’d accidentally shoot one of them in the process.

“Why do they do it?” she asks as she pulls back on the barrel of the gun, loading a round into the chamber.

He raises an eyebrow at her. “Why do they rise from the dead to eat our brains?” he asks, confused by where this conversation is going.

“No,” she says, giving him her classic ‘you sweet pretty silly man look. “Why do humans always ignore what’s right in front of them? They have to rationalize every little thing that doesn’t fit into their perfect mold of what’s normal. It’s unreliable and stupid and usually ends up with people getting killed by the things they claim don’t exist.”

And it’s times like these when Dean remembers that the pretty girl sitting across from him hasn’t always been just a pretty girl.

“I don’t know,” he says with a shrug. “I guess the lie’s just easier to accept than the truth sometimes.”

You don’t accept the lie,” she points out.

He frowns at that. He grew up with the lie as truth. He and Sam always knew about the things that went bump in the night; their whole lives had revolved around three simple facts.

Ghosts exist. Demons hunt. Evil lives.

It hadn’t been a lie for them. It had been an unfortunate truth.

“I’m a whole ‘nother breed, babe,” he says, putting on his best cocky smile.

She smiles at that, but then shakes her head as she gets to her feet. “After all these years, I still don’t understand how the human mind works.”

“Sometimes, Anya, neither do I,” he says truthfully as he finishes off the coffee and goes back to cleaning the guns.

It’s called a viral epidemic at first.

Then it’s called nothing.

Cause the news stops.

******

He watches neighbors pack up and move, everyone thinking they can outrun the dead.

Dean wants to tell them that they’re wasting their time, that nowhere is safe, but he doesn’t. Instead, he lets them all live in their worlds of denial.

David from two houses down stops by one night during the first week. “The military is setting up quarantine areas. Safe zones. Me and Becca are getting the hell out of here,” he says as he sits on Dean’s stoop, sharing a couple bottles of beer. “You and Anya should do the same.”

Dean nods in agreement and sips from his beer, but he doesn’t tell David that leaving isn’t part of their plan.

The next day, Dean stands on his front porch, rifle in hand, and watches as David and Becca drive away, a small trailer hitched to the back of their sedan.

“I really enjoyed David and Becca,” Anya sighs from over his shoulder. She rubs his back gently before turning to head back inside. “They were nice people.”

Dean doesn’t say anything, but he can finish the thought she leaves hanging in the air.

They were nice people.

Too bad they’re already dead.

*****

The night is silent when she sits down next to him on the stairs of their porch. Her feet are bare, her hair is pulled into a unruly ponytail, she’s wearing cotton pajamas with musical notes on them, and she’s carrying a shotgun.

She settles down next to him, resting her shotgun across her lap as she reaches over and takes a sip from his beer bottle. “You know,” she says after a moment of silence, “I’ve seen many an apocalypse in my day.”

“Considering we’re both sitting here very much alive, I assume none ever came to pass.”

“Nope,” she shakes her head, “humans always win.”

He sits for a moment, picking at the peeling label on his beer bottle. He looks over at her, bottle to his lips. “Think we’ll win this time?”

She studies him for a second, her head tilted. “Do you want the truth or a well-crafted lie?”

“You choose,” he shrugs, feigning a casualness he doesn’t actually feel in his bones.

She exhales slowly, lips thin, before nodding once. “Yes, I think we will.”

He doesn’t ask her if she’s lying for his sake, just throws his arm around her shoulders, pulls her close, and kisses the top of her head.

He needs the lie right about now.

******

By the fourth week, they are the only people left in town. Houses stand abandoned, stores stand empty, and yet they remain.

They raid stores during the daylight, stocking up on supplies--canned goods and other nonperishable foods, batteries, flashlights, the basics of living.

Dean’s in the middle of throwing canned goods into his duffel bag when Anya approaches, and she’s not alone.

She holds onto a tattered lead, and at the end stands a large black dog, some sort of shepherd mix as far as he can tell. His instincts tell him to reach for his gun, but the smile on Anya’s face makes him hold off on putting a bullet in the creature just yet.

“Look what I found wandering in the meat department,” she muses, stooping down to pet the straggly-looking beast. Its tail wags as it happily licks Anya in the face.

And Dean is still itching to pull his gun.

“Anya,” he warns.

She looks up at him, and he wonders if she can read his mind because she rolls her eyes and stands. “Don’t be such a freak,” she says, wiping at her cheek where the dog has laid one on her. “He’s fine. Not a mark on him. I checked.”

“We’re not keeping him,” he says with an air of finality, zipping up his bag.

“Why not?”

And suddenly Dean wonders if this is what his Dad felt like every time he and Sammy brought up the idea of getting a dog.

“Because it’s… it’s another thing we have to protect,” he argues, not even believing his own defense.

Anya scoffs at him. “Look at him,” she says, pointing at the eighty pounds of dog happily lying at her feet. “He’s like the perfect size for a guard dog. He’d be more likely to protect us than the other way around.”

Dean can only sigh.

“We can’t just leave him out here to eat scraps,” she says, ignoring his quiet protests. “Besides, I already named him.”

Dean snorts at that, amused. “You already named him?”

“Yes. His name is Paul.”

The snort turns to a full blown laugh, and it’s worth the death glare he gets from Anya in response. “You named the dog Paul?”

“What?! It’s a good name!”

“Not for a dog,” he smirks.

“Well, I like it, and so does he.” She looks down at the dog. “You like Paul, right?”

The dog lifts his head at her voice, tail wagging.

Anya grins triumphantly at Dean. “See, he enjoys the name Paul.”

“I’m not calling him Paul,” Dean says with a shake of his head as he walks away.

Anya quickly joins him in stride, Paul trotting beside her. She leans over and kisses him on the cheek, and Dean wonders how she always seems to get her way out of him.

******

He has a perfect view of the street below from their bedroom window, and it makes the perfect spot to watch and wait. Most nights are quiet, but sometimes, he can see a stumbling figure or two coming down the street, wandering aimlessly from porch to porch.

Dean wonders if they’re looking for survivors, for a meal, and that thought makes the hair on the back of his neck stand on end.

“I never got it,” he says, eye pressed against the sight of his sniper rifle, peering six houses down where a figure tries to enter a long abandoned home. “In the movies, on TV shows, they always come out at night. Never during the day.”

Anya sits on the edge of their bed, fresh from the shower, a large terry towel wrapped around her body as she dries her hair with a second, smaller towel. “Better to creep up on us and eat our brains?” she replies.

Dean gives a small nod at that, watching as the figure--a man, he can tell from the height and build--moves off the porch of the house, stumbling over his own feet in the process. “Point,” he agrees.

“Then again,” she says as she stands and goes over to the dresser, stepping over Paulie who has positioned himself between the door to the bedroom and Anya’s side of the bed, “they’re pretty basic creatures. Food and survival are probably their only real drives.”

“Like me,” he grins, never taking his gaze from the street outside.

Anya grabs one of his faded t-shirts from a drawer and pulls it on over her still damp hair, tugging it out from under the collar. “Yes, but you enjoy sex as well.”

“Point.”

He doesn’t look up as she joins him at the window, leaning against the frame as she peers out into the night. “Night is generally the safest time in nature to be active. Predators can’t see you, and you can’t see them. It’s almost an even playing field.” She hitches a shoulder as she continues, “It’s a pretty good strategy, actually.”

He watches as the man gets ever closer into his range of fire. “I think I liked it better when zombies didn’t strategize and just ate my brains.”

“Evolution’s a bitch,” she agrees with a nod.

He fires off a round, and the man drops in the middle of the street. Dean watches through the sight a moment longer to make sure the body doesn’t move, and when he’s finally satisfied, he pulls the rifle from the ledge and closes the window.

“Evolution can bite me,” he says, leaning the rifle against the wall and standing.

“We’ll salt and burn in the morning,” Anya says, giving the body outside one last glance before pulling the blinds.

And before Dean can protest, she takes his hand and pulls him towards the bed.

******

The last girl he met named Tessa ended up being the grim reaper in the body of a young woman, death personified.

Ironic then, that this little girl is the first living person other than himself and Anya he’s seen in weeks.

He finds her hiding behind an overturned display of pastries. The girl, who can’t be any older than seven or eight, is curled into herself, knees pulled up to her chin and arms wrapped tightly around her head.

He almost thinks she’s playing opossum, and he has to give her credit. They only go for living flesh; a dead body they would simply walk by.

“Hey,” he says quietly as he kneels to her level. “Hey, kid, it’s alright, I’m clean.”

She flinches but her arms don’t lower.

“I’m not one of them, promise,” he says, and he reaches out a hand to touch one of her arms.

Her arms lower and she peers at him with dark green eyes hidden behind strands of straggly blonde hair. She eyes him suspiciously, and even though he’s not looking to eat her brains, he realizes what he must look like.

He’s standing in a deserted town, a deserted grocery store, a rifle strapped to his back and a handgun at hand. He’s armed to the teeth for an attack that hasn’t even occurred.

He places the handgun at the small of his back, tucking it into the waistband of his jeans. “I’m not gonna hurt you,” he reassures, and he wonders how long this kid has been on her own, hiding and surviving like a street rat.

She uncurls herself, sitting up completely. She brushes at a smudge of dirt on the side of her face but says nothing.

“Been on your own for a while, huh?”

The girl nods.

“You got a home?” he asks, ignoring the burning in his calves as he continues to stoop down in front of the girl. “Parents?”

She hesitates, and before she even shakes her head, he already knows the answer. And he wonders if her parents tried to kill her after they were turned.

His lips curl into a frown. “You got a name?”

She stares at him, unsure.

“Mine’s Dean,” he offers with a small smile.

“Tessa,” she says after a moment, her voice nearly a whisper as if she’s scared to be overheard, scared that the dead will come for her if she gives away her presence, her location.

Dean nods and offers out his hand, which she stares at but doesn’t take. “Me and my girl have a safe place if you want to come. I promise they won’t find you there.”

She chews on her lip before slipping her smaller hand into his. She’s shaky on her feet, tired, and he tucks an arm underneath her to scoop her into his arms.

When he returns home with the girl, Anya greets him at the door with a gun, and he’s really starting to wonder when this will stop being the normal greeting between the two of them.

Tessa is holding onto his hand, and when she sees the gun being drawn, she ducks behind Dean, her grip on his hand tightening.

Dean holds up his free hand. “Anya, sweetie, this is Tessa.” He nods towards the girl still cowering behind him. “She’s not a zombie.”

Anya stares at him for a second, taken aback by this new development, before glancing around him and at Tessa’s blonde head. “Oh!” she finally exclaims, lowering her gun and grinning sheepishly. “Sorry about that. Never know, you know.”

Tessa slowly steps out from behind Dean, and before he can even stop her, Anya reaches into the pocket of her jeans, removing a small vial, and tosses holy water on the girl.

Tessa wipes at her face, droplets clinging to the ends of her bangs, and Anya seems satisfied. Dean shakes his head at her as she tucks the vial back into her pocket.

“You can never be too careful,” she shrugs at him before turning to the girl. “So, Tessa, seems like you’re a lucky survivor of the zombie apocalypse. Would you like a sandwich? I’d offer you alcohol cause that always calms my nerves, but you’re young and tiny.”

Anya smiles that bright smile of hers, that smile that makes it easier for Dean to get through these days, and offers the girl her hand. Tessa glances up at him for reassurance before taking Anya’s hand. He watches as Anya leads the girl into the kitchen, telling her the types of sandwiches she can make.

The last girl Dean met named Tessa was death.

This girl is nothing but the opposite.

******

Tessa doesn’t speak much the first few days. Just snippets here and there, an occasional yes or no. Most of the time, she speaks to the dog, Paulie--because Dean’ll be damned if he calls a dog Paul--becoming her second shadow around the house.

“She’s obviously traumatized,” Anya says one night as she and Dean stand in the doorway to the living room, watching Tessa color in a coloring book that Anya had snagged on their last trip out of the house for supplies.

“Who knows what she saw,” he agrees with a frown, leaning against the doorframe, arms folded across his chest.

“Probably her parents being eaten,” Anya states matter-a-factly.

Dean can only look at her with a raised eyebrow.

She shrugs innocently. “What? It’s true, and you were thinking it just as much as I was.” She tilts her head as she studies Tessa. “I don’t know to deal with traumatized children. Adults are easier. You just shake them and tell them to grow a pair and deal with it. Perhaps hug them if the moment calls for it.” She turns back to him, her lips curled into a frown. “Children are more complicated.”

Dean nods, thinking about all the times he had to play surrogate Dad to Sam growing up. “She’ll come out of her shell, I’m sure,” he shrugs.

“Don’t talk to strangers,” Anya says with a small nod. “Something every child is told, I’m sure. Seems like a silly rule to stick by when everyone is being eaten by the undead.”

She leaves Dean in the doorway as she goes upstairs to take a shower.

He leans in the doorway a little longer, just watching Tessa. She seems normal enough, just a kid doodling in a coloring book with a dog lying at her feet. And he starts to wonder what her life was like before everything. If she had a dog of her own. If her parents fought a lot. If she had a favorite book or game.

“Hey, kid,” he says as he finally pushes away from the doorframe, “time to hit the sack.”

She looks up from her coloring book, where she’s nearly finished coloring in an ocean of tropical fish, and nods. Dean helps her clean up her mess, and he leads her upstairs by her tiny hand to go to bed.

She’s dressed in stolen pajamas and tucked comfortably into her bed, Paulie curled up at the foot like the watchdog Anya claimed he would be on that first day, when she finally speaks.

Not just a single answer or word, but an actual full-blown sentence.

Dean nearly has the bedroom door pulled shut when he hears her voice, and he has to glance back at her to make sure he’s not hallucinating. The light from the hallway illuminates her room, casting shadows in the corners.

“Can I have the light on?” she asks when he hesitates in the doorway.

Sammy used to sleep with the light on, too.

Dean walks back into the room, turning on the lamp at her bedside. “Better now?” he asks, and she nods and settles back into her pillow some more. “You need anything, and we’re right down the hall, alright?”

She nods again, watching him through half-closed lids, and he starts to step away when she speaks again.

“My dad used to read me bedtime stories to help me sleep.”

He turns back to her, and he suddenly wishes that Anya had been the one to put the girl to bed tonight. He’s not good at this parenting thing. Sure, he managed to skate by with Sam, but that had been different. He had been just a kid forced to be an adult to take care of his little brother, and at the end of the day, Dad had still been around.

This is different. This is him being Dad. He doesn’t have an adult to fall back on because he is the adult.

He swallows hard, giving a small nervous laugh as Tessa continues to watch him from her spot under the covers. “I’ve never been a big storyteller, Tessa,” he admits with a small smile.

He sees the look of disappointment on her face even as she nods again and tugs her covers up closer to her neck.

He watches her a moment before sighing and going to retrieve a chair from the corner of the room. The kid needs some sort of reassurance that things aren’t all bad, and as much as it puts him on the spot, he knows what he has to do.

“Don’t hate me if this sucks, alright?” he teases as he sits down at her bedside, and Tessa smiles at him, the first time he’s seen her truly smile since he found her curled up in the grocery store.

The few memories he has of his mom are bedtime stories. She never had a book, just recited them from memory, and even when Sammy had come into the picture, she had always made time to tuck him in and read to him.

But he doesn’t have his mother’s memory.

So he just does what he does best, telling the story of two orphaned boys who grow up to save people from the nasty things that go bump in the night.

By the time he is done, Tessa is sound asleep. He tucks her in tighter, watching her sleep peacefully, before turning to leave her for the night.

He’s stunned to see Anya leaning in the doorway, one of his t-shirts on as a nightgown. “How long have you been there?” he asks quietly as he steps up to her.
“Long enough,” she grins, and from the amused look on her face, Dean can tell that she’s been there for his entire attempt at a story.

“You could have saved me, you know,” he says with a raised eyebrow.

“I could have,” she hitches a shoulder. “You are a horrible storyteller.”

“Gee, thanks.” He smirks as they both continue to linger in Tessa’s doorway, both watching her sleep.

“She’s a girl. Girls enjoy stories about princesses and families of bears that eat porridge and little girls that outsmart the big bad wolf.”

“Point taken,” he nods. “Next time, you have storytelling duty.”

She gives him a reassuring smile. “You did fine.”

“I thought you said I sucked,” he teases with a smirk.

“You do, but you did fine. She’s peacefully asleep and unaware, isn’t she?”

He simply nods in agreement, watching as Tessa snuggles deeper into her blankets. He’s not his Dad and he’s not his Mom; hell, he’s not sure what he is, but he’s trying.

“You’ll be a fine dad,” Anya says, reading his mind like she has a tendency to do as she pats him on the chest. “I did the rounds. Everything is secure and locked. Come to bed.”

Dean watches Tessa sleep a moment longer before pulling the door closed only halfway and following Anya down the hallway to their own room.

******

The first time Tessa has a nightmare, Dean thinks someone is being murdered. He instinctively grabs his rifle as he and Anya run out of their bedroom, nearly tripping over each other as they run down the hallway.

He’s ready to take out whatever has entered their home as he hits the light switch to Tessa‘s room.

But instead of a zombie ripping into the little girl‘s flesh, there’s nothing.

Tessa sits upright in her bed, screaming like she’s being murdered, her eyes closed so tightly together that her entire face is scrunched up on itself. Paulie has his front feet propped up against the edge of her mattress as he stares at her, a faint whine heard under her screaming.

Dean sweeps the room, checking the closet, checking out the window, checking under the bed, as Anya takes hold of Tessa’s shoulders and shakes her. “Tessa, stop,” she says, her own voice having an edge of panic. “Tessa, please stop!”

Tessa finally stops her shrieks at Anya’s voice, slowly opening her eyes. Anya raises a curious eyebrow at the girl as Dean steps over to them, and Tessa doesn’t say a single word before flinging herself at Anya.

Dean shares a look with Anya, who looks like a deer caught in oncoming headlights as the girl clings to her midsection. She cautiously pats the girl on the back as Dean kneels down to their level.

“Tessa, you have a nightmare?” he asks.

She doesn’t answer for a second, her face buried against Anya’s chest and her hair hiding her face. “They’re here,” she finally whispers between hitched breaths.

“No one’s here, Tessa,” Anya says to the top of the girl’s head. She reaches down and smoothes the hair back and away from Tessa‘s face, trying to get a good look at her. “Just me and Dean.”

With the fan of hair pulled back, Tessa’s wide eyes finally meet Dean’s. “I saw them.”

Dean frowns, and it doesn’t take much imagination to figure out the them Tessa is talking about. He just hopes the nightmare was about random zombies, and not her parents, trying to eat her alive.

“Tessa, it was just a nightmare. I promise you you’re safe right now.”

She shakes her head, even as she holds steadfast to Anya’s waist. “I saw them,” she repeats, fearful tears making trails down her flushed cheeks.

Dean looks up at Anya, who hitches a shoulder in response. The cautious patting from earlier has turned to a soft rubbing of Tessa’s back as she relaxes in the girl’s grip. When his gaze travels back down to Tessa, she has her eyes squeezed shut again.

“Look, I’ll go make a round through the house, okay?” He waits until her eyes open again before he continues. “I’ll check every closet, under every piece of furniture, every cabinet, everything. I’ll make sure you’re safe, alright?”

She nods but says nothing as he stands upright. “I think I’ll hold down the fort here,” Anya says, Tessa still sprawled across her lap.

He knows that he doesn’t need to do a perimeter check. The house is safe; there’s no one here but them and the damn dog. And he knows that if it had been his Dad dealing with him or Sammy, he would have just told them to stop being scared of their own shadows and start being prepared.

But he isn’t his dad, and this girl isn’t a Winchester.

She’s just a kid.

And sometimes a kid needs to know everything will be okay.

He knows everything is safe, but he checks every room like promised. He checks every closet, checks all the windows and doors. He checks everything until he runs out of things to check.

Fifteen minutes have passed by the time he comes back into the bedroom. Anya sits up in the bed now, her back resting against the headboard and Tessa lying beside her, her blonde head in Anya’s lap.

Anya looks up, absently continuing to stroke the girl’s hair as she speaks. “She just fell back asleep.”

Dean nods, sighing quietly. “House is clear.”

“Of course it is,” she says as she slowly eases herself out from under Tessa and out of the bed. She pulls the covers over the girl before stepping over to join him in the doorway. “It was her parents.”

Dean looks over at her.

She returns his look with a frown. “She saw her parents being eaten. She was hiding under the bed when it happened.” She reaches up and adjusts her messy ponytail as she continues. “I told her in not so many words that we weren’t going to be eaten by zombies.”

He snorts a bit at that. “And that helped?”

She shrugs. “I also told her that I feel my safest when you’re around because you never let anything bad happen.”

He smiles at that, wondering when exactly everyone started to put blind faith in him and his ability to keep people safe. He watches as Paulie jumps up onto the bed and settles at Tessa’s feet.

“She’s going to be damaged the rest of her life,” Anya says from beside him, pulling his attention back to her.

“Maybe not,” he shrugs, leaning in the doorway. “I saw some pretty messed up shit as a kid, and I turned out okay.”

“Dean,” she pats his arm, “you’re not exactly the epitome of normal.”

“Wouldn’t be with you if I were normal,” he smirks.

“I’m just an added bonus.” She grins at him, but it slowly falls away as she looks back at Tessa’s sleeping form. “I really hope she’s not damaged. Kids are supposed to be like these blank slates you can just mold into whatever you want. Her slate? It’s already full of dead parents and big bads that eat you in the middle of the night.” She looks back over at him. “This is how children grow up to be arsonists and thieves.”

“Anya, she survived out there without parents and with zombies around every corner for who knows how long. She’s seen the things that go bump in the night, and she’s stood up to them.“ He pauses with a shrug. “I think that makes her a lot tougher than she looks.”

“I think that makes her a Winchester,” she says with a small nod before turning and heading back to their bedroom.

He watches Anya walk away, her words sinking in, before turning to study Tessa. She continues to lay peacefully, her night terrors gone for the moment, and it hits him how much it’s almost like taking care of Sam all over again.

I think that makes her a Winchester.

He leaves the light on and the door open to her room as he pushes away from the doorframe, heading back to his own room.

She‘s survived her parents‘ deaths. She’s survived on her own without anyone to fall back on, and she has survived it all while in the middle of a damn zombie apocalypse.

If that doesn’t make her an honorary Winchester, nothing does.

******

CHAPTER 2
 
 
 
Christie: {anya} i'm a working galficbitch82 on March 17th, 2009 11:20 pm (UTC)
“Could you imagine the garbage collector’s face in the morning if I propped a dead zombie next to our trash cans?”

LMFAO. Is it wrong that I want to see exactly that? ;)

“Well, I like it, and so does he.” She looks down at the dog. “You like Paul, right?”

The dog lifts his head at her voice, tail wagging.

Anya grins triumphantly at Dean. “See, he enjoys the name Paul.”


*dies laughing* Paul. She called the dog Paul. I just--Only Anya, I swear.

I have loved this fic from the moment you started writing it - loved seeing it in snippets and getting new bits from you at random (and squeeing!) but reading it again is like reading a new fic all over again.

I forget how punch-y your lines are, how utterly blunt (and brilliant) your Anya is. And you stay true to the boys without making them anything different to what they are on the show. And some of the lines... It's like the apocalypse has just become second nature to both of them. Like seeing a zombie stumbling down their street at night is just--

Yeah, okay, we'll salt and burn it in the morning. Sleep first. It's as natural as breakfast, lol.

*runs to the next part* And I so very much NEED a Dean/Anya icon, LOL.

Also? You dedicated it to meeeee! *beams and squishes you*
Tonya: Lady and the Tramp. Good times FTW!_fullofgrace on March 19th, 2009 11:07 pm (UTC)
*cuddles you* Of course it's dedicated to you! Without your prodding this thing would have never been written!

....I really need a Dean/Anya icon lol
Dulcedecorumestdulcedeusex on July 24th, 2010 11:19 am (UTC)
Ficbitch Recc
“So what happened to Richard?” he asks as he checks her over and finds nothing to his relief.

“I shot him,” she says with a raised eyebrow, as if this should be his most rational conclusion as well. “He’s been dead for three months, Dean, and it seemed like the most logical thing to do considering.”

“Friggin’ zombies,” he mutters as he peeks between the window blinds again and out onto their quiet street.


- I could totally see this scene and conversation happening.

“She’s obviously traumatized,” Anya says one night as she and Dean stand in the doorway to the living room, watching Tessa color in a coloring book that Anya had snagged on their last trip out of the house for supplies.

“Who knows what she saw,” he agrees with a frown, leaning against the doorframe, arms folded across his chest.

“Probably her parents being eaten,” Anya states matter-a-factly.

Dean can only look at her with a raised eyebrow.


- I love the way you blend Anya and Dean's personalities in this fic. Very in character.

- I also really loved the bit about kids being a blank slate.

- Its a very interesting premise and different pairing but I think you make it work, even though I would love to read the story of how those two met and ended up so well, domesticated.

Tonya: Breakfast Club. The gang. Bonding time._fullofgrace on August 7th, 2010 10:29 pm (UTC)
Re: Ficbitch Recc
Thank you for the feedback! I had a lot of fun bringing Dean and Anya's personalities together for this story. They're so different but so alike at the same time. And I've been pondering doing a prequel to this for a while - hopefully the muse will agree and let me start writing it. :)
Dulcedecorumestdulcedeusex on August 11th, 2010 02:59 pm (UTC)
Re: Ficbitch Recc
OMG... MUSE pleasseeeee cooperate!! I'm gagging to read that story...