Characters: Dean, John, Sam (Gen)
Spoilers: Up through mid-Season 2.
Summary: Lives upon lives pass by, sensed, gone, and renewed.
Author's Notes: Written for spn_outsidepov, where I chose the POV of Dean's amulet. I started this months ago for a 60_minute_fics prompt of "Inanimate POV," but couldn't make it go anywhere in its original context. Changing the approach finally did the job.
It lives close to skin—close to sin. Gathering warmth from the flesh that glows behind it, it witnesses all that come and go, every danger and dalliance that haunts its owner’s life.
It comes off for showers, but little else. It is a part of everything, of every meeting of flesh, every moment of passion, every battle of blood or brutality or betrayal.
It is both ward and warden, prevention and protector. And the things it has sensed are as terrible as what it prevents.
Born in forge-fire, it was stretched and spun in turns until its shape alone gave power. It hummed from within as immersion became cooling became air.
It was reborn with the words—the sounds spoken over it granted it strength beyond its form. Then it waited—displayed, hidden, moved, revealed… Finally, the talisman was owned.
That first flesh was dark as earth and smoky with the scents of fire and incense and burning herbs. Beings were brought forth by The First, beings whose power filled the room with conflicting energy.
One of those beings took the essence from The First. The force that simmered under the surface of the skin that touched the talisman ebbed away.
The talisman still held its own magic, but The First had summoned something much too powerful to defeat. The being left in turn, and the talisman gleamed quietly against the stillness of silent skin.
It was found and moved again— not worn, but carried with noncommittal caution. It journeyed to a hot, dry world where the sounds changed once again. Traded and touched, it came to rest under cloth that was tinged with sweat and spice.
Rarely brushed by the sun, it remained hidden in its fabric prison. No answering power came from the wearer, and a single pair of threats challenged its purpose. One was the rough taint of a hex from an unknown source. The other was the metal-crush spinning blacktop blood-crash that claimed The Second.
Wet. Sticky. Tarnished with grime and gore. The talisman traveled with the empty wearer one time further, and was taken in the darkness by unseen hands.
Cleaned. Polished. Presented. Exchanged. Hidden away in a soft cocoon of cloth, it was moved so very far away and left forgotten.
An eternity passed, as it drifted in the muffled seclusion of secrecy. One day, it came out to the open air— to be stroked and scrutinized in a musty room. Sounds formed and then it was bespoken— tingling again with a renewal of its original power.
The talisman floated weightlessly until it slipped up against The Third. Nestled against the warmth of living skin, it went out into the world once more.
There was no magic in this Third one either— there were forces, but that was all. The Third was fiercely determined, undaunted by danger, and pulled by the quiet strength of sorrow. There were pleasures— all the transient temptations in turn— but above all there was intent.
The Third did not summon the dark beings. Sought them and destroyed them, yes— but was never the cause of their existence.
There was another much like The Third. That presence slipped in and out of orbit, more often in. The talisman could hear the rattle of The Other's breathing in the night, over the hitch-smooth rhythm of The Third. The nights were long.
The days were sometimes nights, were even longer— every atom of energy inside the talisman was focused on protecting The Third.
Protection is not absolute when the challenge is excessive. Uninvaded from within is one form of protection. Survival is another.
The talisman deflected death again and again those long years. It could not prevent loneliness or injury. After a time The Other went away, and the energy of The Third dimmed down.
Another joined them.
This new energy was slow and heavy, sometimes absent though its owner had not yet left. This Other lifted and broke the pattern of The Third in a jumble that defied description. There were moments of bright excitement vibrating in a flutter. There were periods of despair that slowed everything to the dull, listless throb of those nights at rest.
The talisman's time with The Third was the longest of all the wearers. There were changes swift and subtle in the patterns of their partnership.
A glow can be sensed if not seen— there were times of radiance with the new Other. There were level points and lows as well. Above all, there were failures.
A fierce, fizzing jolt was the first. The wearer vanished, wavered… and returned. That was not the talisman's doing. The wearer was weak and faded under the warmth of that shell. Another entity re-powered its presence.
The second time the enemy sidestepped the talisman's abilities— smothering and liquefying The Third from underneath it. The wearer hung by a thread.
The third time felt much like the end of The Second. The talisman could not guard against the corporeal… it could not guard the wearer when it was removed.
Bound in plastic, bagged and binned it waited while The Third went unprotected. Drifting unclaimed, it went dormant in the dark. Time passed before an unknown touch brought it back.
Careful hands placed it in position.
The flesh was chilly underneath it— colder than the frigid aftermath of water. The force was distant, almost silent.
The talisman could not heal that. It had no part in the magic that brought that essence back.
Strength returned quickly to the being underneath it, but the spirit was different. There was white-hot devastation, and then everything went dull.
That was new.
Never before had it felt warm skin over a silent spirit. The Third could not be dead, but neither did it thrum with the energy of life.
Sensations came in bursts and floods, erratic surges hot as birth-fire, depths of monotony as cool as the grave. Time heals all things toward the center.
The center is not yet found.
There are stages of equilibrium, of focused purpose, of fleeting joy. All of these are outside its influence, but its special power is demanded more and more as the months go on.
It has its challenges once more— to lessen the threat of all the evils The Third seeks out again.
The second Other remains, though that doesn’t affect the talisman-- it has no capacity to protect beyond its wearer.
But the Evil they find has gotten darker over time.
And something in the presence of The Other… has changed.
-------- fin --------