The prompt was "Oh the weather outside is frightful..." and I tried to combine a few of your "likes" as well
title: (The Weather) Outside is Frightful
characters: Risa, Sam, (background Dean, Cas, Chuck and Bobby)
genre: gen, R
summary: They all had to do a shift at the lookout tower once a month — that’s just how it worked. But Risa's shift had definitely come up sooner in rotation than usual.
It was a punishment, that’s what it was.
Risa climbed further up the hill, her boots crunching on the icy layer of old snow. They all had to do a shift at the lookout tower once a month — that’s just how it worked. But her shift had definitely come up sooner in rotation than usual. She was up here because they’d gotten in a fight, that much was obvious.
“Thanks a lot, Dean,” she mumbled to herself as she took the last bend around the scraggly trees leading to the tower’s clearing. She blinked up into the over-bright sky, and a snowflake landed on her nose. Another landed on her eyelashes. Awesome. Snow with the promise of more to come was only going to make her boring day that much more irritating.
Dean was rapidly falling out of favor. Depending on how the day went he might fall even lower, into: ‘I don’t care how cute you are, I’m not falling for it again’- land. Though there was that thing he did with his tongue…
She huffed, annoyed with herself, and focused on the tower. Climbing it wasn’t easy on a good day, but with a thin layer of frost covering everything it was going to be even trickier. She rubbed her gloves together and cracked her knuckles before placing them carefully on the ladder. The snow started falling more heavily as she made her way up, and the sky had turned from pale blue to solid white.
At least the platform on top of the tower had a roof and a low wall, so she’d be sheltered from the worst of the snow. That didn’t mean it wouldn’t get damn cold after a while though. Of course she wasn’t an idiot, so she’d brought along a thick blanket and a thermos of hot tea. And her green hat.
Her hat had been Chuck’s once, but it was really warm. Chuck gave it to her a few weeks back when they’d been out on a supply run. She just forgot to give it back because it was super-comfortable. She pulled out the thick, yellow blanket and wrapped it around herself, pulling her legs in close to cover them too. Then she grabbed the thermos out of her pack and opened it carefully, not wanting to spill any.
The tea was better than she’d expected. They’d been running out of tea bags, even though tea had been one of the easiest things to come by in the earliest years after the world went to shit. Coffee had gone quick, but tea…not so much. Today’s thermos was half black tea and half mint and maybe lemongrass or something like that. She wasn’t sure — herbs weren’t really her thing. Cas would know. Or rather, he’d know if he was lucid and awake, which was pretty rare these days. She’d wondered a lot at first why Dean tolerated that kind of behavior. From what Chuck told her though, Cas had been through a lot. ”He’s not who he used to be,” Chuck had said on a few occasions. None of them were, she supposed.
Dean had been happier once, she thought. Just like they all had. They were all damaged, they’d all suffered loss, but something about Dean was worse by several degrees. Even when he smiled, it never quite reached his eyes, like the devastation all around them was a personal thing to him.
She sunk back further into the corner of the watchtower and looked out through the opening with her binoculars. She could see the whole camp and several miles surrounding it on either side. There was nothing to the east, nothing to the west, nothing to the south, and no way in from north of the camp. After a few minutes, she folded the binoculars shut and pulled out a short-wave radio from her bag’s side pocket. “Eagle-eye to base. All clear.”
“Roger that, Risa.” Earl answered. ”Stayin’ warm up there?”
“Yup. It’s a real beauty today. I’m getting a tan and everything.”
“Now that’s a nice image. You got your bikini on?”
“Don’t be a perv, Earl.” She let go of the radio’s speak-button and leaned it against the wall. It was hard to judge the passage of time on days where she couldn’t see the sun, but she had a decent internal clock, so in what felt like an hour, she’d check in again.
She screwed her little plastic cup back on top of the thermos and tucked it back into her bag. The land below was slowly going white as the snowfall grew steadier. Looking from left to right through a pair of binoculars got really tiring after a while, and she let them drop back down into her lap. Her eyelids felt heavy — and the white glare of the sky wasn’t helping. Her eyes drooped shut a few times, and she shook herself awake.
The smart thing to do would have been to stand up and walk around for a few minutes, but she didn’t want to leave the comfort of the blanket. So she brought the binoculars back up to her eyes and started humming to herself, singing along when the wind got particularly icy. “Oh the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful, and since we’ve no place to go—“
“He loves that song. He'd never admit it, but he does.”
Risa nearly dropped the binoculars in shock at the stranger’s voice, and turned to find a very tall man looking down at her.
“Sorry. Didn’t mean to scare you.” He leaned against the wall to her left, awkwardly, since his head nearly touched the roof.
“People can’t usually sneak up on me. I’ve got good ears.” She swallowed down her fluttering nerves and looked at the man. He had a kind face with big hazel eyes and long brown hair. He was also wearing nothing more than a t-shirt, jeans and a worn pair of sneakers. “Jeez. Aren’t you freezing?”
He looked confused for a moment before looking down at himself. “Oh. No, I’m okay.”
“You’re wearing a t-shirt in the middle of a blizzard.” Even stranger, his t-shirt was completely dry. So were his pants and his shoes — impossible for somebody who had to have just trudged through the snow, like she had. He didn't show any Croat-symptoms though, and he hadn't had any trouble crossing the wards around the tower platform. He was human. A whack-job maybe, but human.
“Just looking at you is making me hypothermic. At least, come under the blanket with me, okay? It’s huge.” She shifted a bit and held out the side of the blanket towards him.
For a moment, he looked like he was going to ignore her offer, but then he nodded and sat down next to her. His skin was unnaturally warm, and she wondered if he was running a fever.
“You’re not sick, are you?”
He shook his head and a few strands of his hair fell across his face.
She looked at him again, and from this angle he suddenly looked strangely familiar. “Wait…I know you.” She narrowed her eyes and tried to remember where she’d seen his face. It was in a photo — a folded up one and he’d been standing next to— “You’re Sam. You’re Dean’s brother, right?”
The man looked down at the floor and chewed on his lip for a second before nodding. “Yeah, that’s me.”
“Oh my god. You have to come back with me. He’ll be so happy to see you!” Despite what Dean had told her about Sam — the little he’d told her, she knew she was right.
Sam shook his head. “No. I can’t.” He paused for a minute and ran his fingers through his hair, tucking the loose strands back behind his ear. “And he doesn’t want to see me. Trust me.”
“He said you two had a falling out,” She nudged Sam’s shoulder with hers. “But come on, seriously? It’s the end of the world. You two can’t let bygones be bygones? What happened between you that could possibly be that bad?”
At the look on his face, she almost regretted asking the question. Sam swallowed hard. “I made some bad choices. Very bad choices.”
“Everybody makes mistakes.” Men were so dense sometimes. “No matter what you think, I’m sure he’s forgiven you. He’s your brother.”
Sam rubbed his knuckles against his nose and sniffed. “How is he?”
Risa stared at Sam in disbelief for a second before answering. “He’s good. I mean — he’s a great leader. Keeps us all busy. Keeps us safe. He taught me things I never thought I needed to know. I even learned Latin.”
“Who else is with you? Is — is Bobby there?”
“Bobby Singer?” She smiled. “Yeah. He’s good. Hell of a shot for an old guy in a wheelchair.”
Sam laughed, and smiled, and for just a minute he looked even more like the younger version of himself Risa had seen in the creased photograph in Dean’s drawer.
“There are eighteen of us altogether. Dean, Bobby, Earl, Derek, Keith, Cas, Chuck—“
“Wait — Chuck Shurley? And Cas?”
“Yeah. You know them?” Risa could feel her eyebrow creeping up just a bit. “Those two are both a little…”
He laughed again, hard enough that she could have sworn she saw dimples. Dimples. Christ. “Yeah, they’re a little strange, but they mean well. How are they doing?”
“Chuck is really good at what he does.”
“Dean has him in charge of supplies. He’s like…this little master of rations. And if somebody takes something they’re not allotted? He just knows. And Cas…well, he’s Cas.” Risa pulled her thermos out and offered it to Sam.
“No thanks, I’m not thirsty.”
“Your loss.” She poured herself another cup and blew over the steam. “You should come back to camp with me. I’m sure they’ll all be happy to see you. And if you can’t bring yourself to do it today, then fine — go back to whoever you’re holed up with and bring them too. How many survivors are in your group?”
Sam smiled awkwardly and then turned away, averting his eyes.
“No. You can’t be— you’re not alone, are you?”
“It’s better that way. Believe me.” The tone of his voice made it clear he wasn’t going to discuss it further.
They sat in silence for a few minutes and Risa brought the binoculars back up to do another sweep. She focused in on the camp’s main building and paused. “Do you want to take a peek?”
Sam looked at her, hazel eyes wide, and reached his long fingers out towards the binoculars. He looked through as she guided his gaze gently towards the right with her hand, aiming at the main building.
“You see him?” she asked.
She watched him watching his brother. He didn’t say a word, but he swallowed a whole lot, and when he lowered the binoculars down, his eyes were glassy. He handed them back to her silently, and closed his eyes.
"Whatever you did — however badly you think you fucked up...he'll forgive you. I know he will,” Risa said, feeling Sam's pain coming off of him in waves.
"You don't know what I've done. He shouldn't forgive me. No one should." Sam slid out from under the blanket. Then he stood and turned away from her, towards the ladder. Looking back over his shoulder he said, “Thank you.”
“Where are you going?”
“My time's almost up, I have to go.”
“No, wait. Just—” She stood up and grabbed his arm. “What do you want me to tell him?”
Sam looked back at her sadly and said, “You won’t tell him anything.”
“You want me to keep this a secret? Sorry buddy, not gonna happen.”
Sam’s eyes were even more watery, and his voice choked as he said, “No, I mean you won’t tell him anything, because you won’t remember any of this.”
“What are you saying?” The air around them grew bitterly cold, and the wind whipped snow under the roof, and into her eyes. She held her hand up to her face, trying to keep out the snow.
When she could see again, Sam looked different. He was wearing the same thin grey t-shirt, the same jeans. He still had the same long hair and the same hazel eyes, but they were cold — colder than the frosty air. His smile wasn’t warm like Sam’s had been. It was wicked. He took a step towards her and she moved away from him, without even intending to.
“Risa, don’t be afraid. I’m not going to hurt you.”
But she was afraid. She was very, very afraid at the most basic, primal level. She couldn’t even pinpoint exactly why. “I never told you my name.”
Sam (not-Sam) smiled, a mimicry of pity. “And I never told you mine.” He brought his hand up to her face, stroking her cheek gently with fingers made of ice.
She tried to move, she tried to run, but she couldn’t do a damn thing but stand there and look into those cruel eyes. She felt his two fingers press against her forehead.
It was a punishment, that’s what it was. A boring, lame punishment. A whole day alone, with nothing but her binoculars.
She pulled her pack closer to her, pulled out her thermos of tea, and settled in for another uneventful hour alone.
As she watched the others at the camp, she sang to herself, “Oh the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful, and since we’ve no place to go—“