(The Mysterious Voyage of the Winchester Brothers)
Spoilers: S2, Set after Playthings
Warnings: Violence, Sexual Content, Language
Word Count: 32,500
Summary and Story Notes can be found back in part one
part three can be found here
Part Four: Viva Yemaya
Máximo Gómez Park, Little Havana, Miami, Florida
The man is the same empty eyed man, waiting at the domino table under the canopy. He has all the dominos splayed out but he is not looking at them. He looks up in the direction of Sam and Dean, his teeth momentarily flashing in neither a grimace nor a smile.
Dean wouldn’t mind slugging him but the painkillers he downed have made his coordination a little wonkier than he’d like and he really doesn’t want this bastard to get off with a damn love tap or something.
“She took Rodrigo.”
“That about sums it up,” Dean snarls.
Sam says, after flicking a quick look of worry at Dean, “And you’ve been helping her pick out victims?”
“I can take you to her. It has been too much death.” His anguish almost sounds genuine but Dean ain’t about to fall for it. “So much blood.”
“Well, we were looking to beat your ass for wrangling with a fucking psychopathic mermaid, but now you had a change of heart, huh?” Dean sits down across from Old Creepy Eyes, asking him point-blank, “How do we kill her?”
The eyes focus sharply on Dean and Dean suddenly is uncomfortably aware that his eyes were once like Dean’s, green in color. “You cannot kill her. Not anymore.”
“What do you mean by that?” Sam with the assist, sitting in one of the seats between Dean and Creepy Eyes, hunching over, but this time it’s a sign of strength. Sometimes it helps to have Gigantor as your little brother.
He lets out something between a bark and a sigh. “All these deaths. You have been hunting her and you don’t know what she is.”
“Aycayia,” Sam says, his tone furious. “A voice like a Siren out of the old legends, condemned to the ocean, and apparently murdering all the victims you and other people have been picking off for years.”
“We don’t pick them! She does.” His laugh is a terrible thing. “Sometimes it is no one, but she requires sacrifices. Our own kind. And there is no way to kill her, not now.”
Sam’s got steel glinting in his eyes when he counters with, “Not even by summoning Yemaya to do the dirty work?”
A faint trickle of astonishment crosses Old Creepy’s weathered face. “You know of Yemaya?”
“We know a lot of things,” Dean supplies tersely. “We don’t know your name.”
“Tavi.” He turns his hands over, inspecting both palms for a moment, then asking, “If you know how to kill her, then why have you hesitated?”
“Maybe ‘cause she’s gunning for me now? I tell you, the only thoughts I like knocking around my skull are my own. So she might be picking off people, but I’m thinking that you’re her eyes. Literally.”
A hand passes over Tavi’s eyes. Weary. “I do not pick them.”
“But you sure as well pull the damn trigger,” Dean says. Sam puts a hand on Dean, cautioning him. Dean hadn’t realized he’d been gripping the edge of the table, like he’s trying to snap it off in his hands.
“I can help you. Please, let me. A lifetime of sins can be redeemed, no?”
Dean wants to say no but he isn’t in a mood for the redemption existential fucking arguments that Sam’ll toss around. What he wants is the fucking mermaid out of his head, he can’t take another moment of her singing, sweet promises that contradict the sight of the grisly murders she’s committed right in front of Dean. She might have turned it down to only a whisper, but it’s almost worse that way, forcing him to listen harder to make out the words.
“Okay,” Sam says, not letting Dean give his two cents to Tavi about how fucked up all this shit is. “But if we’re going to do this, then we’re doing it our way. Not yours.”
South Beach, Miami, Florida
Those boy-men, the ones who seek to end this all, will be here soon and the preparations are far from completed.
Tavi lets the candle burn until half his hand is coated in wax. Too much pain has already ravaged his body for this to be unbearable. His hands are the coarse hands of a sailor born in the wrong century, heavily callused and leathered, the price of too many hours spent under the unrelenting sun. These final mutilations are only penance for his revelation of the great secrets.
The knife, handle carved of bone and the blade oxidized bronze, honoring metamorphosis, the change of elements from beautiful to eerily strange, the curse of the ocean, is brought to his exposed wrist, where the wax has yet to run. It is a dull knife and he must flay his tough skin in a sawing motion, watching the hardened veins underneath finally open. Blood drips in the water.
She does not accept his humble offering.
Tavi’s knee is artificial now– he’d nearly lost his leg back in Vietnam but by her graces, his leg had healed to leave him only with a severe limp – yet that doesn’t stop him from sinking to his knees in a fluid movement. The water hits him so hard in his legs that he has to shove his hands into the water, into the sand, holding on for all that he can, letting the suction keep him rooted like tenuous seaweed at the bottom of the ocean. The pressure in his legs builds but he ignores it. The salt burns his flowing wound and this, he realizes, is what she wanted.
He must give it to her willingly.
It is by her graces whether he lives or dies – he has served her since before Vietnam, before the Revolution, since forever. When he was young, the bastard son of a businessman, raised by a girl barely out of her teen years, he’d looked out to the waters, listening, listening so patiently, for a miracle that he knew must be out there.
One day, so many years ago, he heard it, coming from so far away and it had only gotten closer, when his family, then just his grandparents and he (his mother being dead for all he knew, a prostitute most likely), had escaped to Miami before they lost everything. They lost everything despite this, their gods did not listen to their prayers and penniless, Tavi sought to find the song lost in the ocean, until finally, she crept into his mind, nestling there to tell him all that she could offer him. He has survived on a false identity that has never been broken in over forty-five years, in as long as his Lady has been satisfied by the offerings. She has been the one entrusted to guard his secrets.
All she has ever asked of him is that he abides with her simple need – sustenance. Food and worship, the words that sound equally hungry when she whispers them in his mind, in her beautiful voice offset by the watery echoes of the ocean’s depths. It is not much to ask. Just a few simple murders every now and again to let her survive bit a little longer, to wait until the time when the world forgot her, no longer fearing the sweet promise of surrender, offered by the honeyed whispers of her exquisite voice.
But her demands have changed and he has betrayed her, fool that he is, to deceive her chosen final sacrifice, the one that she whispers tastes of pain and unfilled promises. He will not die by the hands of humans in their righteous causes and for this, she is furious, her angry radiating in sound waves.
He has felt guilt over the sacrifices, has almost mourned them as though they were worthy of being missed.
He will redeem himself, he is bringing her the final sacrifice, the one she has seen through his ruined eyes.
Her power has grown stronger, in a moment, a second of clarity, where the waves do not hit him as high, there is sudden silence of the waters, nothing save the distinct sound of two pairs of feet, still clad in boots, an awkward haphazard sound of sand kicked up as they approach him.
This is his part to play. “She is coming! You must be prepared. I cannot hold her—”
His Lady rises out of the water, her arms so close to as they once were, the color of sunburnt copper, barely tinged with green, she brings her hands towards him, asking for an embrace but he unable to move. She means to shame him, to tell him that this is all he ever was, but through this, he has survived. He does not know whether it is his thought or hers that he is grateful for his servitude. He thinks it is his. She has so many other worthy subjects, anxious for her release, that he is nothing to her.
But she is everything. Naked as the day she escaped, body still twisted, unable to decide between human or fish.
Your eyes are useless to me, she says, her voice only at a tremor of its full power, I’ve used them all up, but your death, yes, that I need. I can always eat the other one after I tear out his eyes.
The wave carries her to Tavi, her lower body, still unchanged, more serpent than fish, that long tail, the spikes now metal-sharp, ripping into him as she squeezes. Laughing, she says, I release you, but she does not mean a release from life or from this torture, it is a release from the cloud, the poison she has feed him since the first time he obeyed her call, the submission of his will, you die belonging to me, but you may have this, the knowledge that all this was a lie.
She drags him under, to her prison, these many centuries, a watery grave that she defied. Her claws are still sharp, perhaps she will keep them always so sharp, it is easy to forget the claws when she sings so sweetly in his mind, but it is perverted now, her sweet, sweet lullaby of all that he has done in the name of her. The murders of innocents that he has bearing down on his immortal soul, the blood he has spilt when she called for it.
Urging him, she says, scream for me and though no sound issues from his mouth, he screams just for her, obedient at his last moment of consciousness.
South Beach, Miami, Florida
Now, onto her final sacrifice, green eyes that she will take for her own, the rage and hatred that she needs for final sustenance, the one that calls himself Dean.
She is beautiful and knows this, knows it in words that could drive men and women alike into madness if she didn’t offer her words in a voice so sweet no man could resist. But they had found a way to silence her, not long enough to kill her, no, she could not be killed by a mere man. They took away what makes her human, transformed the woman-body that they could not resist, created the monster they were so sure was always there waiting inside, the Bitch Queen, Aycayia.
So she has waited. And there were selfish people, still are selfish, waiting for her. They have listened to stories about her and only heard that she had power and because she knows this, she has offered them the world and they have taken it, at the price of a few deaths, a snack every so year.
And when she told them that all it took was fourteen souls of her choosing for unlimited gifts, they gave to her gladly.
Now it is time for her last taste, insolent boy, thinking he could dare find a way to kill her. No man shall ever find a way and now, now she shall bring him to his knees, begging for death.
She shall give it gladly. It is time to rise back to the surface, this time, forever, and claim her sweet victory.
South Beach, Miami, Florida
His brain is saying c’mon, it’s okay and he wants to, God, he does, but there’s a flash of silver in the dark waters and the only thing he’s got left is this little pang (call it reason, but Dean’s never been one to survive on reason alone), kinking up his stomach something awful. Nothing like a muscle memory. Sure as hell ain’t hope. But it’s enough.
“Sorry, I don’t do MILF’s. Monsters I’d Like to F-“ he adds, attempting to smile as the face rises from the water’s surface.
Barely time to register that mix of human and fish and what the fuck is that?, when there’s a sharp hit and he goes down with a grunt when the mermaid, Aycayia, knocks him into the water with one sound blow. Those hands of her are more claws than anything else, still not gonna pass for human, which is why she’s angling to tear out his eyes, and fuck, those claws pack a hell of a punch.
“Fuck,” he wheezes after a minute, trying to catch up since he nearly just got the wind knocked out of him. That shit hurts.
She says something in her beautiful voice, not in English or in Spanish, but in her native tongue, her taloned fingers reaching out towards Dean. Grasping, and it’s like he can’t freaking move, the way she leaves ripples through the water and his name on her lips, words he doesn’t understand and doesn’t want to understand before and after, a command, a prayer, whatever, this can’t be good.
Dean never thought of his bones have much give, sure, his muscles and ligaments, they have all the give until they don’t, but bones? Nah man, he never even thought he’d have to test that, but winding up as bait for some sea bitch? It’ll give ya a new perspective on things.
But you have to hand it to Sammy. You tell a goddess that one of her charges is trying to break from her prison and she takes that seriously. Summoning Yemaya is like calling the ocean.
And the ocean is a bigger bitch than Aycayia. No contest.
Sure, it hurts like hell and he has some nasty cuts over bruise and goddamn, he’ll need a pharmacy’s worth of meds to knock him out of this pain, or some serious booze, but this time, Dean got the playing bait thing down stone cold.
There’s no spirit conjured up that looks like all the images of Yemaya, no it’s just water and fury and a crack that sounds like thunder but there’s no lightning bolt striking across the sky.
Now you see the crazy fucking mermaid shrieking in surprise and for once she ain’t digging her claws in flesh but feebly in the sand, at foam, like it’ll hold her back and prevent this, the strong tow of the ocean. And now, all there is left is the sound of the ocean, of the water, washing the monster back to the briny deep.
“Any way to promise that she’s gone for good?” Dean asks as he collapses next to Sam, finds himself shaking the sand and grime off his hands, almost resting an arm on his knee but decides the better of it. Sea monsters are hard on the hand-eye coordination and he’s perfectly fine with lying down for the next month.
Sam blows out the candle, a votive for Yemaya, and leans back into the damp sand. “She’s a protector spirit. Once she’s called for her duty, she’ll never stop.”
“Kill a mermaid by asking the ocean to lock her back up. Nice,” Dean acknowledges, nods at the shoreline. It’s peacefully calm, the furrows from nails wiped clean from the lapping ocean.
They sit there for a good few minutes, and Sam’s the one who says, “Freaking mermaids.”
Dean grunts, like about time, and flops onto his back with, “Wake me up in a week.”
I-95, twenty miles to Georgia
Leaving isn’t the problem. Packing up their stuff at the Tower Hotel had taken less than twenty minutes.
Dealing with what they saw, with what they uncovered, that’s the problem.
Dean’s shoulders are so tense that Sam just knows he’s trying to reconcile that kill. Monsters growing more powerful as they’re left to stew over time. A community banding together and picking off the right sacrifices.
The perfect kicker is when they had passed by a billboard just as they were leaving Miami, one of those weirdly random signs that must be designed solely to stick in a person’s mind for a long time after. The sign had proclaimed the wonders of the manatees, saying, Stay for the Manatee Sightings, Mermaids of the Ocean! There’d been a flicker of a faded grey tail painted on the billboard – manatee skin, nothing at all like Aycayia, not a transmutation of the beautiful into the monstrous.
“Okay, next time? We get in and we get out.”
“If we do it that way, we’re doing something wrong,” Sam weakly offers.
“Yeah.” The promise of getting to Georgia , of getting out of this state hasn’t picked up Dean’s mood, still healing from bruises and whatever pull Aycayia had on his mind. Sam’s final research on the matter had suggested it was pretty damn unpleasant. Dean shifts in his seat and floors the accelerator, zooming to a speed that causes a sick lurch in Sam’s stomach, momentary adjustment needed and he has to blink in order to take in the blurry world around the car. As though it’s his final say on the matter, case closed, Dean says, “Hell. I freakin’ hate Florida .”
“But we go where the job takes us, right?”
Rolling his eyes, Dean says, “Oh, man, throwing back what I said to you? That’s so unfair.” A sigh and Dean admits, “Yeah. If we gotta keep on comin’ back to Florida and dealing with their fucked up crap then them’s the brakes.”
“Which you could think about using, the brakes,” Sam mutters, quiet enough that Dean’ll ignore him even though he heard it.
“So let’s head someplace colder. Less crazy.”
“Crazy’s not just regulated to Florida, you know,” Sam says, a little streak of bitchiness edging its way around the words.
“Yeah, I know that but Florida’s the freakin’ Mecca.”
Sam starts seeing a few more Georgia license plates mixed in with the Florida plates and quietly he has to agree with Dean’s estimation there. Hopefully wherever the job takes them next, it’ll be to a landlocked state, he can do with avoiding water for a long time.
Still, he has to do it, force out at least one good thing out of their whole time in Florida. Prodding Dean, Sam says, “The food was really good. There’s that.”
“Oh, you need to end this whole trip on a good note? Here’s the only thing I got going in my tally of why Florida ’s decent: without it, America will be dickless.”
Sam screws up his face, in hopes of scrubbing out the mental image, failing miserably. Sarcastically says, like a cheer, only he doesn’t have a glass to raise, “To Florida.”
Course it’s Dean, and he takes it serious, actually reaching over to bump fists with Sam.
Feedback is truly appreciated.