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08 June 2010 @ 03:34 pm
Supernatural Fic: Roadside Connection (The Disconnect Remix)  
Written for Remix Redux 2010 Ficathon - Remix of Roadside Connection by essenceofmeanin
Crossposted to supernaturalfic

Title: Roadside Connection (The Disconnect Remix)
Pairing/Characters: John, Dean
Rating: PG13
Spoilers: Pilot
Summary: John wanted to say he was proud of Dean but he couldn't seem to get the words out (Set pre-series, Stanford era)
Notes/Warnings: Read the disclaimer on my LJ

Other comments are housed at Remix Redux.

Mary never liked the desert - said it looked like death.

A tumbleweed crosses the dusty highway in the rearview as John sweeps away errant thoughts of his wife. He should know better than to turn the cassette off ahead of time when he pulls into a gas station. This one's a ramshackle last chance establishment so old the sign's more based on the shadow of letters that once were more than peeling paint, but he's seen worse.

Dean snaps to it as soon as John stops the car, obedient as ever; doesn't even wait to be asked before he gets out and gets the pump going. John unfolds himself out of the car to stretch, but it's no cooler in the shade than in a black car that drinks up sun like vampires suck down lifeblood. He shakes himself at the analogy. He's so messed up he couldn't even think like normal people if he tried.

He squints across the horizon, but all he sees are grotesque twisted Joshua trees and miles of tan sand that's not the same shade as his wife's skin that summer they spent by the river. His skin feels tight, baked on, and his thick denim jeans - so good for protection against claws - feel like punishment, searing the heat into his skin. Thoughts of clear waters and sparkling laughter don't help.

Dean's inside paying so he has to do something useful. John's never been the type to order his sons around then sit on his ass drinking beer and watching TV. He never asked them to do more than he did himself. So he pops the hood and lifts it, stepping back as a wave of palpable heat assaults him from the engine block. Definitely need more water. And maybe a radiator flush once the job's done.

Grabbing the last remaining blue paper towel from the station's ancient windshield washer station he checks the oil carefully. It looks good: full, clean, and while he can't really tell how the car smells over the sharp odor of the station, he's certain Dean's been keeping his baby in top condition. Maybe he won't have to tell Dean to service the radiator.

Putting the dipstick back, he takes a moment to gaze at the motor he's spent so much time on. He misses the Impala and it's been good to feel her under his hands these last couple of days, purring under his touch like she always did, but she's Dean's now. He earned her and John really does need that big truck even if it gets the same crappy mileage. Let Harold Binghampton's credit card company worry about those charges. He's got to worry about a tire blowing out in the boonies. And the dead creature in the trunk he needs to deliver to the reservation.

Images assail him as he closes the hood with a loud clang: Dean firing his shotgun as the thing lunged at him, John not fast enough in the heat to do more than wound it with his machete, the old man's body splayed out in his hotbox of an Airstream... John's stomach churns, half as a reminder he's had no food for hours and half at the thought that the old man had been cooked from the inside out, as if his trailer had been one big man-sized oven. Another person he failed to save. He'll have to let the local cops scratch their head over that body, Billy and the others on the reservation know how to properly dispose of the real culprit. He owes him.

The pump flips off once the tank is filled, but Dean's not there to take it out. John shields his eyes against the glare and spies him still inside the station, leaning with his best James Dean impression against the counter. The pretty brunette cashier - and of course Dean would be able to pick up a girl in the middle of nowhere - is definitely buying what he's selling, clueless to just how traveling salesman Dean is.

It strikes him, in these rare moments when he can look - really look - at his grown son, how much he looks like his mother. The easy smile, the lashes so long some might dare to call them pretty - as long as they were out of earshot, the way the corner of his eyes crinkle up... He may not be as fair as Mary, but she's his boy. At least in looks. Now Dean's all his: standing by his side washing blood off their hands after the kill with water hot from the trunk, passing the flask back and forth until the liquor dampened at least some of the battle's adrenaline overdose, offering only a wordless apology for how the hunt turned out. Winchester men... They weren't good at words. They just expected each other to understand. Save Sammy, he liked his words, especially yelling them.

John had wanted to say something then: maybe to tell Dean it wasn't his fault the man died, to say he did a good job, to let him know that he was proud of him... But as usual the words didn't come. He tried. He clapped his hand on Dean's shoulder, had the word "Dean..." ready on his lips... Nothing. Just his son's expectant face looking up at him. So he just passed the flask back with a knowing nod, hoping he'd understand.

He takes a step towards the pump, but then Dean's there, pulling it out and replacing the gas cap with practiced hands. He holds up a slip of paper, smirking: the girl's phone number no doubt. It's not a coup for him, just enough of a victory to help wipe the bad thoughts away for a moment. John's found dozens of those papers, wadded up and forgotten, usually in the laundry. Their journey is always one way so Dean's not in a position to really use these numbers, but he's a hunter through and through and this is just a more pleasurable prey for his efforts.

John catches Dean's face falling slightly when he goes to get back behind the wheel; he misses driving her too and John's glad for that. No way he would have given his baby up to anyone who loved her less than he did. It's only sixty more miles back to the reservation where the truck awaits, then she's Dean's baby again.

Mary hadn't thought much of her when she first saw her, but she understood how John felt about her. Mechanics love cars and when they find the one - their baby - it's like nothing else. Dean would have made a good mechanic. A momentary fantasy flits past fast as a black bird flies across the windshield in the distance: Winchester and Son Automotive Repair...

Zeppelin... John pushes in the cassette as Dean climbs in wielding two ice cold colas in real glass, just like in the 50s. He turns up the volume nice and loud. Nothing like Plant and Page to fill his head with music and empty it of memories.

He turns the key and the Impala roars to life around him. This is his world now and he needs to keep his head in the game.

Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on June 8th, 2010 10:37 pm (UTC)
This fic is a remix of the original fic by essenceofmeanin for the Remix Redux 2010 Ficathon.

There once was a time when I would have been excited about getting assigned to remix Supernatural and even more excited to have my own Supernatural fic remixed. That time is long over and it's not because the show lost my interest (I haven't watched all year so no spoilers in the comments please). It's because I lost track of how many people had been mean-spirited and amazingly intolerant in the fandom. I was warned away from the fandom and I stayed away for ages, just posting fic and living with the fact that if you're not a BNF your fic really doesn't get noticed. But then I just had to dip my foot in. Wow, what a way to become an amputee fast. So yeah, the fact that I've not written an original Supernatural fic since last October [ETA: I should have said published as that fic was actually written in July.] (and that was only as a birthday gift for someone) is pretty telling. (I have published SPN related fic since then, but only crossovers and fic that I had started long ago and only got around to publishing more recently to get it over with.)

It's sad because so many of my N3 F-listers are/were SPN fans too and as much as I wanted to please them with SPN fic I'd by lying if I said I didn't hope that others would read my fic as well. And it's not all sour grapes, I have gotten a few recs and some nice comments from people whose work I admire, but the signal to noise ratio is such that it's not worth it; complaints are always louder than praise and as such far easier to remember, or shall I say harder to erase from memory.

Still, I'm diligent; I write what I am assigned. I found a John-centric fic in my assigned author's catalog and while I knew I couldn't write it better I just went about writing it differently knowing that would be sufficient for the remix requirements. /shugs/ I added my own spin on it, I did try to do a good job, but I think my heart's just not in it anymore, which is a pity because I used to really adore writing John.

I think if I sign up again I'll leave SPN off my fandoms list. I've got 21 fandoms so if I write more in some of them I'll have more qualifying fandoms to choose from.

As it is I got one of my Torchwood fic remixed this year. A Different Kind of Shiver was remixed as But Guard the Spark (The Baby, It's Cold Outside Remix) by wojelah. This is the second year in a row my remixer has picked a drabble to remix. /scratches head/ I do write longer fic, don't I? /seems to remember five big bangs last year/ Still, as much as I make toddlerfists at RTD, I haven't lost my affection for the old days of Torchwood. The remix goes beyond a simple POV shift so go read it and get a nice insight into who Jack is and who he once was.

To anyone who bothered reading this all the way through, my apologies for the whinging. I had an appointment at 9:30 this morning I had to cancel because as of 5:30 this morning I was still awake. I was still awake at 8:30 too, but after a point you kind of realize it's not safe to drive and you have to accept facts. Ergo cranky. Ergo not caring if the SPN fandom wanks over this post. Odds are no one there will give a crap enough to read this so I'm finding myself - in my sleep-deprived state - really not caring. It's oddly freeing in a way, but when it comes down to it? I'd rather have the sleep.

Very special thanks to beta melissima and to penguingal for their assistance with this fic.


Emma DeMarais

Edited at 2010-06-08 10:47 pm (UTC)
laurel: castielsailorhathor on June 9th, 2010 03:28 am (UTC)
Re: Confession
I'm kind of stunned by this comment. I don't get widely read but I've had tons of great experiences and met lots of great fans through SPN fandom. In fact, it's one of the most tolerant I've ever found. I've never seen such a range of pairings in one fandom, where they all have their support, and if someone shits all over that pairing, people will come out of the woodwork to support your right to love it. This just leaves me wondering who you've been encountering in the fandom who have left you with such a bad impression; mine is overwhelmingly positive. The contrast is distressing for me. :(

My problem is, even if people were crapping all over my SPN stories, I'd still have to write them because I love these characters too much to give them up.
Re: Confession - emmademarais on June 9th, 2010 04:01 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Confession - sailorhathor on June 9th, 2010 04:49 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Confession - emmademarais on June 9th, 2010 05:07 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Confession - sailorhathor on June 9th, 2010 05:24 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Confession - emmademarais on June 9th, 2010 06:30 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Confession - sailorhathor on June 9th, 2010 07:01 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Confession - emmademarais on June 9th, 2010 07:28 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Confession - sailorhathor on June 9th, 2010 07:40 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Confession - emmademarais on June 9th, 2010 07:45 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Confession - sailorhathor on June 9th, 2010 07:49 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Confession - emmademarais on June 9th, 2010 07:51 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Confession - essenceofmeanin on June 9th, 2010 05:40 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Confession - emmademarais on June 9th, 2010 06:38 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Confession - tkdbbelt on June 9th, 2010 10:19 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Confession - emmademarais on June 16th, 2010 10:50 am (UTC) (Expand)
deangirl1deangirl1 on June 9th, 2010 02:32 am (UTC)
Your comment makes me sad. Which your fic did not - your writing is beautiful, poetic, and incredibly visual. I am hopelessly enthralled by SPN, so I stick out the fandom - and I have a wonderful group of close friends who simply avoid the crap. I certainly hear you about who comments though. I seem to get lots of hits and positive comments on ff.net, but after a year of posting here, I am still virtually ignored. But then, I'm not interested in writing J2/RPS...
I hope you will re-consider writing SPN again - or at least watch Kripke's last season - if only for your own closure. I'm also a Torchwood fan - but it lost me with the death of Ianto... that said, I've recently come into some spare time and am hoping to delve a bit more into Torchwood fic....
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on June 9th, 2010 04:09 am (UTC)
I'm surprised you read my comment, but thanks for your thoughtful response to it.

I do plan to catch up on SPN this summer. I wound up with a concussion this spring and had to take quite a few weeks off from school which left me in a man panic to complete a full courseload before final exams so I let almost every show I watch fall by the wayside and since I hadn't bothered to catch up on SPN since it went off for the Xmas hiatus, it was the first one to get dropped in favor of studying.

I did manage to finish my SPN big bang last year so I kind of feel like I did a major contribution to the SPN fandom fic wise (and as expected didn't get read much - mostly because my artist blew her deadline and I lost my prime posting date, that and my fic was marked as Het at first instead of Gen which is the kiss of death in such a Sam/Dean and J2 happy group). I have a table claimed for SPN drabbles from like two or three years ago, but I haven't written a single one yet. There doesn't seem to be a decent drabble comm and the fandom, overall, doesn't seem to appreciate drabbles so it feels like a waste of time as a project. /shrugs/ I don't know. I might still do it.

As far as Torchwood goes, Ianto never died in my world so you're welcome to dive into that fandom if you like my fic. I'm a big Janto fan, but I've written Gen as well. I may be colossally brassed off at RTD for killing off damn near everyone on the show, but I can keep them all alive in fic should I so choose and I usually do.

Anyway, thank you for your lovely and thoughtful comment. I'm not normally a visual writer, though many of my more successful experiments in visual writing have been in the SPN fandom so I'm glad this one pleased you.

/still considers herself a Dean girl even after all this/
(no subject) - deangirl1 on June 9th, 2010 05:11 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - emmademarais on June 9th, 2010 07:40 am (UTC) (Expand)
borgmama1of5borgmama1of5 on June 9th, 2010 04:24 am (UTC)
This was a lovely capture of a moment in the Winchesters' journey. The sensory descriptions were exceptional, and I loved John's musings as he studied Dean.
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on June 9th, 2010 07:41 am (UTC)
Thank you. I still think the original did it better, but I enjoyed trying to reach such a raised bar. I wish there was more John and Dean gen fic like hers.
(no subject) - borgmama1of5 on June 9th, 2010 05:33 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - emmademarais on June 16th, 2010 12:41 am (UTC) (Expand)
laurel: dean 11sailorhathor on June 9th, 2010 05:03 am (UTC)
Aw, I really wish that you would write more SPN because this was really good. Everybody's totally in character beyond perfection and there are so many great lines that fit in with the Winchester world so well. You really get in John's head very well here. I can picture it all and really feel John's melancholy. Very nice.
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on June 9th, 2010 07:52 am (UTC)
Thanks, but I think most of the credit goes to the original author. I just remixed. The wonderful John vibe was already built in.

Still, I did like spending that time in John's head. His loss and his melancholy really resonate with me.
ash_carpenter: SPN John ash_carpenter on June 9th, 2010 11:24 pm (UTC)
Really enjoyed the story, and I think it works really well as a remix. A lot of the same stuff was in there, but it was...from a different angle, I guess. It's a very rounded picture of him in a few words, as a father, widower, man and a hunter.
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on June 10th, 2010 01:13 am (UTC)
Thank you. And you've hit upon something that was key to me - he is a man and a widower, not just a father and a hunter, but that tends to be how we define John in canon. He's a very private man so this chance to get inside his head was really appealing.
Awash in Ennuifaunaana on June 15th, 2010 10:13 pm (UTC)
Just to let you know, we've recced this in this week's crack_impala found here. =D
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on June 15th, 2010 10:25 pm (UTC)
I just saw! /is bowled over/

Apparently lightning can strike twice! I thought it was a miracle when you guys recced my Cake and Presents ages ago, but a second rec is certainly welcome.

Thank you!
devon99 on June 15th, 2010 10:45 pm (UTC)
Sweetie!! I must have missed this while I was on hols. I just followed a rec on crack impala, it made me smile to see you on there. This was lovely as always my dear. I wish you would write more SPN stuff, you know I loved last years BB fic, your spn work is always very moving.

You feeling any better now? I do hope so.

*hugs you gently*
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on June 15th, 2010 10:57 pm (UTC)
/hugs back/

Thanks, hon. I'm feeling a little better, but it's slow going.

I was pretty much stunned to see Crack Impala pick this up. It's only my second rec from them ever (and come to think of it the last one was gen too LOL) and the last one was years ago. (Do you remember Cake and Presents?)

The original for this remix was really good so I think credit probably goes mostly to the original author, but it is ironic that as soon as I give up on the SPN fandom they decide to honor me this way. /shakes head in disbelief/

I am glad that you read my SPN Big Bang. I was seriously bummed about losing my prime posting date thanks to my artist so I don't think many people read it since it came at the bitter end when people were no longer jazzed about fresh big bangage. Ahh well. It probably had too many het pairings in it for the average SPN fan even if it was truly a gen story. /grins/
(no subject) - devon99 on June 15th, 2010 11:09 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - emmademarais on June 16th, 2010 12:44 am (UTC) (Expand)
harriganharrigan on June 16th, 2010 01:41 am (UTC)
This was lovely! I've been wanted someone to take me inside John's head for a bit - this fit the bill perfectly!
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on June 16th, 2010 03:07 am (UTC)
Thank you so much! I hope you read the original - it's definitely worth the time. Same premise, but we had slightly differing ideas on what would be in John's head.