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06 September 2008 @ 10:46 pm
Supernatural Gen Fiction: Even Eden Fell (PG-13, "Croatoan"-based)  
Title: Even Eden Fell
Author: HalfshellVenus
Characters: Sarge, Dean, Sam (Gen)
Rating: PG-13
Summary: The end of the world always happens on a personal basis.
Author's Notes: I started this for super_summer last year, but just couldn't get it to finish until revisiting it a year later. My episode was "Croatoan," and this character was one of my favorite parts of it. Many thanks to deadbeat_nymph, who helped me wrangle through some of the issues with verb tenses once again.
Also for my Switch25 table, this is "Betrayal."

x-x-x-x-x

It's a quiet little town, big enough to offer the basics. Medford's not that far away, and there's the Internet these days. Times have definitely changed.

He didn't grow up around here, of course. Outside Tulsa was where he started, but after the war he couldn't find a way to go back home. He traveled the West for a while, seeing the sights and looking for answers. Crater Lake was beautiful—a glimpse of the hand of God—and Rivergrove had fishing.

Fishing was his second love.

Evangeline married someone else while he was off fighting. She didn't want some soul-sick soldier like him—her last letter said as much. Back then, he was so worn down that he let her bitter words destroy him. He walked away from the reminders of his past and found a new spot to settle in and start again.

When he first came to town he stuck out readily, his color and comfortable drawl alike. People got over it—over him, over themselves. He built a reputation for being a hard-worker and a straight shooter, and nobody cared who'd stopped loving him five states away. After awhile, he almost believed that he didn't care either.

He saved money for three-and-a-half years to set up his own place, a little bait shop. It wasn't anything fancy, but it was a good start. His hand-tied flies and fishing-hole maps of the nearest ten rivers were a decent draw—the business from the tourist trade paid the bills. Before long, he came to realize that if fishing itself was good, then the whole package was better—boat rentals and guided tours.

That would be his future, he decided right then.

Plans kept a man from being distracted by what he didn't have, kept him from the memories of Evangeline's perfume and the way she used to linger on his name (Mark… she'd say, slow and wondrous like he was everything she'd ever wanted or ever would). He tried to focus on becoming the kind of man who was content—never joyful or lighthearted, simply happy to have what he could.

By now, he can certainly admit that he's succeeded. He's built his business up over the years, good and steady, and it's going as strong as ever. He still runs the place himself some six days a week. Nice town, nice people, and they like and respect him. They don't look to him for telling jokes, but that's probably all for the best.

One morning, an odd-couple pair shows up asking questions and claiming to be U.S. Marshals. He doesn't buy it, but there's a whiff of something sincere about them both—even when the short-haired one tries to shine on up to him (like he won't catch on, like nobody's ever done that before). They ask about the Tanners, Duane in particular, and Duane's all right—not the kind to get into trouble. The younger brother is a smug-assed punk, but aren't they all. His own younger brother is God's blessed gift, with Mama always carrying on about it until the whole thing finally just wears thin.

Now, the sergeant doesn't hear anything much about those two young men after they leave the store. People are too busy rushing out of town to have time for gossip, and the atmosphere's gotten more than a little unsettling. Any fool can tell something's going on.

He goes home for lunch around eleven-thirty, but there's a knock on the door before he even makes it to the kitchen.

"Hey, Bob, how've you been?" he asks.

Bob Rogers doesn't answer, just smiles creepily and brings his hand around from behind his legs.

Jesus, a hatchet. Why the hell is Bob bringing me a hatchet?

Suddenly, the hatchet is coming right at him. He reacts quickly, cold-cocking Rogers with a deck chair, but it hardly slows the man down—Rogers is a maniac, incredibly strong. One minute the sergeant thinks he can escape inside the house, and the next there's a hole in the front door and Rogers is coming through it.

Thank god for that hunting rifle.

Back in the 'Nam, there'd been talk about specialized diseases—germ warfare and such. Most people had thought it was pure paranoia. The village locals had talked about curses and enchantments, but that was as ridiculous as manufactured epidemics or mind control.

Up until now.

Having a neighbor he nodded to on the street this morning show up in serial killer mode is the kind of thing that'll change a man's mind.

Bob Rogers has a wife and kids he won't be coming home to anymore, and that thought is just sickening—the sergeant hasn't felt anything like it since the War. The blood on the porch can wait, he decides… he has a widow to talk to, and then he'll be making his statement to the police.

He doesn't even get past Rogers' driveway. The bodies of the man's wife and two little boys tell the sergeant all he needs to know.

Stumbling down to the main road on foot, he ducks behind a tree when he sees Sheriff Trebane chasing Deputy Musgrove with a shotgun. Not following the man, chasing him. Something's loose in this town, and it's definitely not good.

The sergeant goes back for his service revolver before heading toward the shop again. Time to pack up the truck and get the hell out of Dodge, until the crazy's done blowing through.

The roar of an engine coming down the road grabs his attention, and it's that Marshal from this morning—or whoever he is. Seems like the trouble came to town about the same time he did.

"You one of 'em?" the sergeant demands, his gun as steady as ever.

He's not expecting to get the same question in return.

The two of them drive back to meet the guy's partner, guns trained on each other the whole way in case the beast surfaces from behind the mask. The ten-minute drive seems unusually long.

When they get back to the clinic, the partner's news is that the rest of the town's as crazy as Rogers was, and that he's also got someone in custody.

Someone local, so of course the sergeant knows her. At least, he did.

The Marshal kills Beverly Tanner when she 'turns,' and it's the second time today the sergeant has watched someone familiar change over from human to a rabid, homicidal monster. Feels like a dream he ought to be able to wake up from.

Virus, Dr. Lee says, and the Marshals back her up. Something with an incubation period that doesn't strike until hours later. God knows who might be next.

Duane Tanner turns up, asking about his parents. Poor boy doesn't even know. Worse yet, the one kid (the Marshal, or whatever—damn, but he's young) has Duane tried and convicted and on the verge of execution before anyone can make him simmer down. His partner finally manages to get through.

The two of them go off to confer (or gather their heads) while the rest of the people at the clinic sit around eyeing each other nervously. The doors to the outside world are locked, and they're all just waiting for each other to succumb, if that's how the thing works. It's tense and morbid.

Dr. Lee finally clears Duane, but her assistant Pam surprises them all by suddenly attacking one of the boys—the tall, worried one, who looks more like a kid than ever right now, lying there on the floor with that virus-laden gash and staring at it like he doesn't remember how it happened.

The boy's a living casualty now—and it's so much harder than dying outright. The sergeant's seen it before in battle, seen men bleeding-out slowly, or lingering in pain until infection finishes the job.

The other one—his brother, it turns out—is staying to the end. The rest of them leave in a hurry.

The sergeant gives Duane a lift out of town. Funny how neither of them is leaving behind anyone who matters, even though Duane had a whole family here just this morning.

Yesterday, a new waitress at the Crystal Waters Café served the sergeant breakfast. He'd stopped stirring and stirring his coffee—the liquid black was like the wonder of Evangeline's eyes—to notice the blue flecked with gold in the eyes of the pretty woman standing there in front of him. Her name was Marie, and she was five years divorced with no kids. She loved the beauty of the great outdoors, and she had the most incredible smile he'd seen in years.

The first real possibility for something since the last century, and the sergeant knows it's probably gone already—caught up in that whirlwind of destruction back down the road behind them.

He's still thinking about what he lost and wondering what lies ahead, when Duane speaks up suddenly, asking him to pull over.

"I've got to make a call," Duane explains.

They're in the middle of dark nowhere right now, on the side of the road with nothing anywhere in sight. "There's no phone out here," the sergeant protests. His head must still be spinning, because it makes no sense and who's Duane got left to be calling anyway?

"I've got it covered."

Duane's voice is oddly flat and the sergeant looks over, wondering for a second if just maybe

Something slices across his throat. The blood spills hot and wet, seeping through the dizziness and bewilderment.

No… He realizes what it means and knows he can't do anything about it. Evangeline, he thinks, his heart betraying him in the end. Will she ever know?

Then it's too late for the sergeant to wonder anything ever again.



--------- fin ---------

 
 
 
brigid_tanner: dean-people are crazybrigid_tanner on September 7th, 2008 01:17 pm (UTC)
You made the sergeant real. Great backstory. I like that it's about him, and the Winchesters are incidental.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Genhalfshellvenus on September 7th, 2008 05:57 pm (UTC)
I loved that character so much, and I charged into this a year ago and then it just fizzled during the clinic scene and I grew to hate it.

When I re-opened it a week ago, I was surprised to find that it was better than I remembered- and that my love for this backstory was as big as ever. Yay, Sarge!
tabaqui: johnsepiabyangstpuppytabaqui on September 7th, 2008 04:16 pm (UTC)
Ah, man. Lovely bit of backstory on the Sarge, who was really a very cool character.

I love his last thoughts - that she was still with him after all those years.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Genhalfshellvenus on September 7th, 2008 05:59 pm (UTC)
I SO loved that character in "Croatoan," and when Duane got him in the end- after we thought he'd escaped safely- that was one of the biggest NOOoooooos I've had yet for a 1-episode character.

I love his last thoughts - that she was still with him after all those years.
It's such a revealing moment, that in the end that was the thing that came to him immediately even after trying so very hard to forget her.

But the romantic in my understands that very well. You can't choose whom you love, and you certainly can't choose to stop loving them even if you'd like to.
cindy: the dean show - spn love overwhelmstsuki_no_bara on September 7th, 2008 05:32 pm (UTC)
this is some good backstory. i love how you gate the sarge a name and a history and fleshed out his personality, and i like that he's not swayed by dean's mention of john's service.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Genhalfshellvenus on September 7th, 2008 06:01 pm (UTC)
The character did have a name (I think someone used it once in that episode), and I had to find it off of imdb.com or Superwiki or something, because to me he'll always be "Sarge."

and i like that he's not swayed by dean's mention of john's service.
I loved that in the show-- Sarge was really sharp, and that little moment showed that about him immediately. :)
happy is as happy does: Sam (Long Distance Phone Call) - SPNhappywriter06 on September 7th, 2008 05:39 pm (UTC)
If they had written a backstory for Sarge, it probably would've been similar to this.

I just love the images you create.

I love the title. It's perfect.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Genhalfshellvenus on September 7th, 2008 06:04 pm (UTC)
If they had written a backstory for Sarge, it probably would've been similar to this.
I sure hope so. I loved that character, and I would have loved to find out more about him.

The fact that he ran that fishing/boat-rental place, and clearly (by his dialect) hadn't come from the area were what cemented most of the details of the backstory. So the question of why he ran so far from where he started became a great story to tell.

I love the title. It's perfect.
Thank you! I was ready to post this yesterday morning, but I'd been wrangling with the title for days. I spent probably 3 hours total looking around the Internet and Bartlett's trying to find something related to Betrayal, Cain and Abel, Kill Thy Neighbor, anything like that.

And then suddenly, late last night, I re-read the beginning of the story (with that idyllic setting), and that title came to me. It kind of implies everything I was looking for, without saying it directly.

Sarge... what a totally awesome secondary character you were. Darn Demon-Duane!
happy is as happy does: Dean smiling - SPNhappywriter06 on September 18th, 2008 10:25 pm (UTC)
The fact that he ran that fishing/boat-rental place, and clearly (by his dialect) hadn't come from the area were what cemented most of the details of the backstory.
I never noticed his dialect. I have a habit of glossing over that stuff unless the person's accent is so obvious. My ears don't pick up on stuff like that.

I spent probably 3 hours total looking around the Internet...
Oh man, I hear ya. Sometimes I can spend as much time looking for a title as I did writing the first draft.

Sarge... what a totally awesome secondary character you were. Darn Demon-Duane!
I know.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Johnhalfshellvenus on September 19th, 2008 12:32 am (UTC)
I never noticed his dialect. I have a habit of glossing over that stuff unless the person's accent is so obvious. My ears don't pick up on stuff like that.

Mine definitely do, and since I'm from Oregon (and that area of Oregon is pretty much a "dialect-free" zone like where I grew up), it stands out to me.

Similarly, I saw via imdb.com that Jeffrey Dean Morgan grew up in Seattle. That means he should sound like me, but on SPN he has a drawl of some sort. So now I wonder if he does in fact talk that way (where are his parents from?), or if that's something he put on because the Winchesters are from Kansas.

Sometimes I can spend as much time looking for a title as I did writing the first draft.
That's happening to me a lot lately, and it's pretty much driving me crazy. I'm all ready to post, BUT... no title! Or not a good one, anyway. :0
nghthwk8nghthwk8 on September 7th, 2008 06:32 pm (UTC)
I love your stories. I'm glad that you didn't give up on this character and the plot. Sometimes you need space and time to get a good grasp on where the story is going. I always wondered what happened to the doctor. Duane mentioned something about everyone being taken care of, did that include the doctor? Or did they plan on someone taking care of her? Obviously, a number of people survived even if they disappeared, what is going with them? I think I heard that the virus will be a factor in this season, will these people show up?
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Genhalfshellvenus on September 8th, 2008 03:26 am (UTC)
Thank you so much for your kind words. :)

I'm glad that you didn't give up on this character and the plot.
Oh, me too. As soon as I started re-reading what I'd already written, it came back to me why I'd chosen that as his backstory and how much I still wanted to tell his story.

When a one-episode character dies and you feel like mourning him, that really says something.

Duane mentioned something about everyone being taken care of, did that include the doctor?
That's a great question-- because like the sergeant, she was fine when everyone left the clinic. But it could be that something latent rose up in her, or that another demon took care of her (I have the impression that Duane was never infected, just possessed- and that he was one of the agents spreading the killing fever through that town).

I think I heard that the virus will be a factor in this season, will these people show up?
Ooh, if the idea does resurface (because they never really 'resolved' that episode at all), then I'd really like to see some of the people from the original episode return. Lots of potential there!
katya23: Deankatya23 on September 7th, 2008 11:16 pm (UTC)
I really like this. The Sarge living there (in that "small Oregon town") was always a little incongruous for me in that ep, and you've placed him nicely.

I, too, love the title.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Genhalfshellvenus on September 8th, 2008 03:31 am (UTC)
The Sarge living there (in that "small Oregon town") was always a little incongruous for me in that ep, and you've placed him nicely.
He was for me too, but I really liked him and thought, "Why not explain how he came to be there rather than write it off as capricious casting?"

Lots of people arrive 'late' to a place and it becomes part of them. Given the fact that he didn't start out in that town and had been through the war... and yet was sane and smart and comfortable with himself... it made me curious as to the how and why of it all. What better way to answer it than to write a past that makes sense?

I, too, love the title.
Thank you so much! I was really surprised when that came to me late last night, because I'd wrestled since mid-week with that title and in earnest (and through lots of research) the past two days.

It arrived 'sideways,' you might say, and yet it seems to suit the story (and any background ideas) very well.
not so secretly sybariticallivrelibre on September 8th, 2008 03:54 am (UTC)
I really liked this. Outsider pov on a situation is always cool and Sarge was a good character. I was liked this fleshed-out backstory for him and it was hard to see him go again.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Genhalfshellvenus on September 8th, 2008 05:12 am (UTC)
Thank you so much!

It was interesting to rework "Croatoan" to show his parts of the episode from his own perspective, partly because he quickly caught on to something being wrong and he also immediately began to react to the situation. He was the sharpest secondary character in that episode, and you could see him becoming a hunter himself someday had he lived, now that he'd seen the previously unbelievable.

it was hard to see him go again.
It was hard for me too-- that's part of where I stalled in writing this a year ago, because I didn't want his story to feel like it just faded out so unexpectedly. That little flash of rememberance of the woman he met the day before and those hopes of what might have been, now gone-- and the strength of looking toward a new and unknown future-- made that better.

He was convinced of his own survival up to the end, and you know he'd have made something of it as well.

Just makes you mourn him all the more, doesn't it?
vanillafluffy: Metallicarvanillafluffy on September 8th, 2008 04:24 am (UTC)
Wow, this story hits on two of my biggest loves, backstory and bystander POV. (And you did it with a character I really liked.) I'm so glad you cross-posted it to bystanderfic!

Edited at 2008-09-08 04:27 am (UTC)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Genhalfshellvenus on September 8th, 2008 05:17 am (UTC)
I used to be so incredibly uncomfortable with writing off-canon backstory, but now it kind of intrigues me!

Especially with a character like this, where you can tell that somehow life transplanted him into that little town (most likely in adulthood) and you wonder how that came to be. Those are interesting questions to try to answer!

And you did it with a character I really liked.
Me too-- he was my favorite character in that episode, and one of my favorites overall from S2. I was dismayed not to finish this last year for super_summer, simply because when I think of this episode I think of Dean's almost-revealing the Big Secret to Sam, and then right behind that I think of Sarge. :D
vanillafluffy: Yellow-eyed bunnyvanillafluffy on September 8th, 2008 05:50 am (UTC)
Croatoan was a great ep, but it bugs the snot out of me that they didn't DO anything with the whole Demon Virus angle. Unless maybe somehow it'll have some bearing on how Dean survives Hell....
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Genhalfshellvenus on September 8th, 2008 06:54 am (UTC)
I loved Sarge, and I like that Sam's visions led them to that town (I miss the visions), but the whole thing was virus-virus-virus-nevermind, and I have a big epic secret I've been holding back.

It's as if they were running the Demon Virus story, and then "Oops, we're at about 38 minutes worth of episode-- better wind it up so we can get to the cliffhanger scene with Sam and Dean and the Big Issue."

The ending of the Demon Virus storyline was very disjointed. What had the demons proved with their little experiment after all? That Sam was immune via being part-demon? That Dean would sacrifice himself rather than abandon Sam? The idea of a Demon Agenda surfaced there, but was never satisfied.
vanillafluffy: Winchester phonevanillafluffy on September 8th, 2008 07:21 am (UTC)
the whole thing was virus-virus-virus-nevermind

Exactly. And they never referred to it for the whole rest of the season---and still haven't. Whiskey tango foxtrot, people! Proper storytelling technique suggests that it should have been a key plotline from season two onward. Instead, they went with the "special children" subplot to the exclusion of all else. Was it one of Azazel's machinations, or another faction? We want answers, damn it!

Becky: SPN Dramaewanspotter on September 10th, 2008 08:01 pm (UTC)
Lovely.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Genhalfshellvenus on September 10th, 2008 09:30 pm (UTC)
Thank you!

Finally, my love for Sarge has been put to pixel and satisfied. :)