Characters/Pairings: Dean, Lily Thurber (OFC), Various minor OCs
Word Count: 11,262
Beta Credit: firesign10
Warnings: Implied Show level violence, animal death (off screen)
Author's Notes: This was written for this year's Supernatural Summergen.
Summary: For Lily Thurber, Life in Cecil, Colorado was average, everyday – boring. That was, until Dean Winchester came to town.
Mondays in Cecil, Colorado were never that interesting. Rainy Mondays were even worse. The only people in Thurber’s Pump and Shop were me, my sister, Janine, and old man Wilson who was complaining about the price of milk.
“Why don’t you go to Wal-Mart then, you old coot,” Janine muttered.
I hushed her with a hiss - “Behave,” - before I turned to Mr. Wilson and rang up his purchases with a smile. The rain increased, thunder following the wind as the sky turned darker.
“I’m bored,” Janine whined, picking at the polish on her nails. “I don’t understand why Momma and Daddy have me working. I’ve got better things to do.” She pushed herself off the back counter and grabbed a nail file from the display next to the register. “It’s not like there’s gonna be a rush of customers, especially with the rain.”
“Momma and Daddy have you working because they caught you with Bobby Miller behind the gazebo at the church picnic.” I wiped the condensation ring from the milk jug off the counter and threw the paper towel in the trash. “Have you refilled the coffee pots like I asked you?”
“No,” she grumbled and sidled over to the coffee station. “I just wish something exciting would happen. This is such a boring place.”
I sighed and began checking my inventory list. Janine’s comment was her typical whine but secretly I agreed with her. Our small town was just that – small.
The only time we got an influx of people was during the rafting, hiking and ski seasons. It was one of the reasons Momma and Daddy built the motel and gas station where they did; it was a perfect distance from the launch points to the Colorado river and right on the way to Aspen for those who didn’t want to pay the costs of a resort.
Any other times of the year, nothing happened. Unless you could consider the high school football team making the State Championship two years in a row exciting.
“Lily.” Janine’s voice interrupted my thoughts. “I can’t find the decaf. I think we’re out.”
“Coming.” I circled round the counter and joined her. Sure enough, the decaf box was empty. Stooping down, I checked that we didn’t have an extra box. “Okay, watch the counter. I’ll go in back to get a new box.”
I flipped on the light to the storage room. The space was cool, boxes of stock up on pallets to keep them dry.
The coffee was easy to reach and I grabbed a box of decaf, hitting the light switch with my elbow as I left the room.
“Here you go. Grab me a pair of scissors.” I placed the box on the counter, took the scissors from Janine and sliced open the box. “Grab what you need.”
I bent over to store the box under the coffee machines when I heard the door chime and Janine inhale sharply.
“Lord, Lily, look what just came in out of the rain!”
I glanced up and mirrored her gasp.
He was tall – at least six foot. His hair was wet, plastered to his head and his brown leather jacket was drenched, its collar turned up to protect him from the rain. He shook himself slightly, sending drops of water everywhere, then looked at us and grinned.
“Lord…” Janine whispered again.
“Sorry to get your floor wet.” His green eyes sparkled as his smile widened. “Storm’s getting worse.”
“No worries,” I stammered, standing up. “I’ve got a towel behind the counter.” I hurried to grab it and give it to him.
“Thanks.” Janine and I watched while he rubbed his hair dry and wiped down his jacket. He winked as he handed the towel back. “Glad to see that you folks were open. It’s really bad out there.”
The thunder echoed his comment with a boom and the lights flickered. Janine squeaked and almost dropped the coffee urn she was holding. The man smiled at her. “Don’t worry, darlin’, it’s just weather. Won’t hurt you.”
“I just hate storms.” She batted her eyelashes and moved closer to him. “I’ll bet you’re not afraid of storms, are you?”
I rolled my eyes and tossed the towel onto the counter. Janine was in way over her head, I could tell, but nothing I could say would keep her from flirting.
Not that I blamed her. He was gorgeous, in that bad-boy-show-you-a-good-time-ruin-your-l
“Nope. I like storms.” He walked closer to Janine and leaned in. “Best way to watch a storm is on the porch, curled up next to someone, under a blanket, all warm and snuggly…” He let his voice trail off suggestively and gazed at her with a knowing smile, making Janine giggle and twist the end of her blonde hair.
Okay, time to stop this. I headed back to the coffee station and murmured, “She’s fifteen…,” as I walked by.
I couldn’t help but chuckle as his eyes widened and he stood straight, all sense of flirtation totally gone. He looked at Janine and then back me and mouthed, “Fifteen?”
I started the coffee machine with a grin. “Yup. And my baby sister, so…” I let the words trail off, but it was obvious he got my meaning. “Is there anything else I can help you with?”
He shook his head with a wry chuckle. “Supplies and a place to bed down for the night. The motel have any vacancies by chance?”
“I think so. Let me check.” I walked back to the counter and picked up the landline. No dial tone. Pulling out my cell, I saw that there were no bars either. “Phone service is down. Janine, go ask Momma if she’s got a room.”
“I don’t wanna go out in the rain, Lily,” she whined.
“Cut through the diner and take the umbrella. It’s not gonna kill you to get wet.”
“But…” Janine started.
“Okay,” she grumbled but went anyway.
We both watched her leave, her last ditch effort to flirt apparent in the sway of her hips.
“Fifteen, huh?” He said with a disappointed tone.
“Yup.” I replied, humor and a bit of pity coloring my voice.
“Oh well,” he sighed and turned to me. “Guess I’ll stock up on supplies then.”
I watched him head to the drink coolers and come back with a 12-pack of beer, a few bags of chips and some candy. “What time does the diner open in the morning?” He nodded his head towards the archway leading to our little restaurant as he put his supplies on the counter.
“Usually about six, but with the rain it’ll depend on when our cook can make it in. If you need to leave early I can have coffee and donuts ready.” I chuckled. “Our version of the continental breakfast.”
“Nah, I’ll wait. Been having road food and could use a real breakfast.” He wandered back through the store and returned with water and a few more snacks. Adding them to the other items, he pulled out his wallet. “How much?”
I rang up his purchases. “Forty Five sixty two. And I’ll need to see your ID.”
He looked at me in disbelief. “Seriously?”
“Seriously.” There was no way I was going to get in trouble for not checking IDs, no matter how handsome the customer.
“Okay.” He handed me his driver’s license. David Gilmour. DOB: January 24, 1979.
“David Gilmour, huh? Your parents must be Pink Floyd fans.” I gave it back and he – David – put it back into his wallet and gave me cash for the tab.
“Yeah…they say I was conceived at a Pink Floyd concert.” David blushed and rubbed the back of his neck. “You a fan?”
“When I was younger. Played my daddy’s vinyl when I was going through my rebellious stage.” I gave him his change and bagged up his groceries. “Don’t listen much any more.”
“Too bad.” David was about to continue when I saw the motel lights flash – Momma’s signal to let me know they had room.
“Hey, there’s a room available – my mother just signaled. It’s yours if you want it.”
“Sounds good.” David grabbed the bags and headed for the door. “See you in the morning.”
I watched him load up his car as the rain slid down the windows. The sleek black muscle car – an Impala, if I wasn’t mistaken – suited him. The car engine started with a deep rumble and he drove slowly across the parking lot to the motel office.
I locked the doors and stared out into the rain. Something told me that our boring little town was not going to be boring much longer.
The rain had stopped overnight and Tuesday wound up being sunny. Gene, our cook, made it in and I was able to open the diner by six-thirty.
Most of the regulars were in their usual spots by eight-thirty. Pete, who swore Momma made the best buckwheat pancakes this side of the Colorado; Andy, the owner of the bar across the road, who always ordered scrambled eggs, rye toast and sausage; Miss Mildred, the motel housekeeper who had a side of oatmeal to go along with her gossip; and Freddie, the courthouse clerk, who came for breakfast every Tuesday since his wife died.
They all froze the minute David walked in.
Today he was dressed in jeans and a t-shirt, a faded red flannel over top, and worn-in boots. No different than any other local or tourist in the area.
Normally they would ignore a newcomer, sizing them up and then dismissing them.
Not this time.
I watched them watch him as I poured to-go coffee for Mister Milton, our route mailman. They stared at David, studying his movements like he was some exotic animal. I shook my head at their whispering. Especially Miss Mildred’s. She was the worst gossip in town.
“Morning, Lily.” David smiled at me. The subtle tilt of his head and raised eyebrow let me know he was fully aware of the diner’s scrutiny.
“Morning.” I finished getting Mister Milton’s coffee ready. “You can sit anywhere except the front booth by the window. That’s reserved for the police chief if he comes by.”
“Great.” He headed to the last booth in the corner and took a seat, his back against the wall.
I walked over with the coffee and a menu. “Want some?”
“God, yes please.”
I flipped the cup and filled it. “Need cream?”
“Nope. Black is fine.” David picked up the menu. “What’s good?”
“Depends on how hungry you are.” I set the coffee pot down on the edge of the table and pulled out an order pad.
“Then get the Southern Platter. Eggs, bacon, hashbrowns, biscuits and gravy and grits.”
David’s eyes lit up. “Sounds perfect.”
I took his order and returned to the counter to put the ticket in the window. Miss Mildred waved me over. “So who’s the hottie in the booth?”
“Guest at the motel,” I answered, rolling silverware into a napkin. Pointing it at her, I said, “Don’t go snooping.”
“Me?” She said in a huff.
“Yes, you.” I took the sting out of my words with a grin and refilled her hot water pot. “You know how Momma gets when you rifle through the guest’s things.”
“How else are we gonna know if they’re drug dealers like that one couple last year. Besides,” she pouted. “He put the ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign up.”
“How in the hell do you know that, Mildred?” Pete piped up. “He came in after you did.”
“Because I can see the little white sign on the doorknob from here!” She pointed at the motel. “And you, Pete Harmon, need to mind your own business!” She presented her back to him. “He’s awful cute, Lily.”
“And I’m awful taken, Mildred,” I replied, continuing our age-old conversation. “You know that.”
“Doesn’t mean you can’t look.”
“Order up!” The clatter of plates in the window gave me an out, thank goodness. I grabbed a tray and set the food and the coffee pot on it. Bringing the food to David’s table, I saw he had it covered with a laptop and several file folders. “Food’s up. Need a place.”
“Shit, I’m sorry.” He fumbled with the papers, shoving everything over into a corner.
“No problem.” I put the food down in front of him and refilled his coffee. “Anything else I can get you?”
“Some decent internet service would be great. The one in the hotel room kept cutting out.” He shook his head and waved at the file folders. “And I’m behind.”
“Yeah. It does that after a storm. Here.” I pulled out my pad again and wrote down the password for the diner. “Use the secure one. It’s more stable.”
“Thanks.” He tucked it under the laptop, inclining his head towards the counter. “So let me guess, I’m the topic of conversation?”
“You know it.” I took a quick look around the room and saw that no one needed anything. Sitting down across from David, I grinned at him. “Miss Mildred thinks you’re a hottie. Watch out for her, she’s been known to pinch.”
“Wow…well.” He looked over at the counter and winked and I heard a giggle. “Not my type. You on the other hand...” His eyes looked me up and down. “… are.”
“Sorry.” I pulled out the chain around my neck to show him the diamond ring nestled next to the pendant attached. “I appreciate the compliment, but I’m taken.”
“Can I see?” David held his hand out. I leaned in so I could place the pendant in his hand. He studied it a moment before letting it go. “Marine Corps. Where’s he stationed?”
“Somewhere in Iraq.” I shifted, my back against the booth again. “Not sure. I haven’t heard from him in about a month.”
“Must be rough. What’s his name?”
David’s voice was laced with understanding and I tried not to tear up. “Dylan. And yeah, it’s been really rough. But he’s supposed to be home in six months. I pray every day that he’ll make it.”
David took my hand and squeezed it. “With you to come home to? I have no doubt he’ll make it.”
“Thanks.” I wiped the corners of my eyes.
“No problem.” He began to eat his breakfast.
“So…” I needed to change the subject so I waved at his papers. “What’s all this research for?”
“I’m with the Fish and Wildlife Division and we’re checking out the recent bear attacks in the area. My boss sent me down to liaison with the local office and I’m trying to get caught up before I meet with them.”
“Fish and Wildlife, huh? Does that make you Agent Gilmour?” I chuckled.
“Yeah, it does.” David grinned and took a drink of his coffee. “So getting the Internet to work was a big thing. Thanks.”
“If you’re Fish and Wildlife, why are you driving that,” I nodded my head towards his car in the lot. “Instead of a truck?”
“Cause I was already on my way out for ten days of vacation before my boss tagged me to hop on this since I was close. It was easier to just come here than turn around and get a company truck.”
I nodded. “Makes sense.”
“So you’ve heard about the bear attacks, right?” David grabbed a notepad as I nodded again. “Anything you can tell me?”
“First of all, they’re not normal.”
“Not normal in what way?” David pulled a notepad close and started writing.
“We don’t usually get bear attacks around here. One or two every five or ten years or so, maybe. Then starting about 3 years ago we’ve had four or five attacks every year right around this time.” I paused, thinking.
David kept scribbling. “Again, why is that weird?”
“How much do you know about bears?” I didn’t want to lecture him since he worked for Fish and Wildlife, but I knew that some agents specialized. For all I knew, David’s specialty was fish or raccoons.
He chuckled. “Actually, I deal with deer more than bear.” He waved at the papers. “That’s why all the quick research.”
“Okay, as a rule, bears are only interested in protecting their food, their cubs or their space. As long as you stay away from them and give them room, most of the time they’ll leave you alone.”
“You’re making this easier than Google,” David said with a smile. “Go on.”
“From what I’ve overheard from the rangers that stop by for lunch, the attacks only happened at night, during or close to the full moon at a place we call Rainbow Bluffs.”
I grabbed a map that was on the table and showed him. “Folks usually go up there for camping and ‘stuff’.” I air-quoted the word with a grin.
“Stuff?” David raised an eyebrow.
“You know…things you don’t want your parents or your neighbor’s wife to find out.”
“Yeah.” I ran my finger over a section of the map. “The attacks happened here – it’s a section of the bluffs that’s kind of hard to get to with your vehicle, so it’s not as popular with the folks who park. Mostly campers hang out there. Before three years ago, there’d never been a bear sighting in the area.”
David was about to ask another question when the door chimed.
I smiled at him as I got up. “Gotta go work.” Picking up the coffeepot, I added, “You’ll want to talk to Wally McMillan. He’s the head of our local Fish and Wildlife office.”
“Will do. Thanks for the information.”
The diner got busy with the morning rush that would soon bleed into lunchtime. I kept an eye on David’s booth and made sure he always had a full cup of coffee.
He spent most of the time on his laptop, with an occasional call to someone named Bobby. Soon he packed up and stopped by the counter to pay.
“Thanks for the information. I’m gonna head out and talk to Wally.” He handed me the cash for his bill. “Keep the change.”
“Thanks. Oh and tell him I said to treat you nice or no Dutch apple pie.”
“I will. And save some of that for me. It’s my favorite.” He winked and headed out the door with a smile.
I didn’t see him for the rest of the day.
Wednesday morning came and went, and I didn’t see David. Not that I was looking, but even after only two days he had started to feel like he’d always been there.
When he did show up, he barreled into the store like a whirlwind, complete with a frown on his face, and headed straight for the little hardware section in aisle three.
“Lily, you got any rope?” I heard him rifling through the display.
“‘Good morning, Lily. How are you, Lily? Did you sleep well, Lily?’” My tone was playful as I left the counter to go help him.
“Yeah, yeah, all that.” He moved a box of duct tape to look behind it. “I don’t see any.”
I glanced through the display. “Daddy must have sold it. Let me check in the back.” I hurried to the storeroom and found two lengths. Bringing them out, I called, “I have a twenty five foot and a fifty foot. Which do you want?”
“Both.” David dumped his other items onto the counter. More food and water and a tarp. “Can you find me an address?”
“For who?” I rang up his purchases.
David pulled a piece of paper from his pocket. “A Missy Evans?”
“I know where she lives. It’ll be tough to find it, even with GPS. Hang on.” I bagged his items, then picked up the phone and quickly dialed the number for the motel.
“What are you doing? You’re not calling her, are you?” David looked frantic.
I covered the mouthpiece. “No. Don’t worry.” My mother answered after a few rings. “Momma? Listen, I need to run Agent Gilmour up to Barrett’s Ridge so I’ll need someone to cover the store for a bit.” I listened to her for a moment. “Okay, I’ll lock up ‘til you get here.”
I hung up and smiled at David. “So, ready to go?”
“No!” His face was stormy. “I am NOT ready to go. You’re not coming.”
“David,” I used the tone I’d learned from my mother when she would convince my Daddy to do something he didn’t want to. “I told you, you won’t be able to find her place by yourself. Roads are tricky things out here in the mountains.” I smiled at him, knowing I’d won and he just didn’t know it yet.
“Fine,” he grumbled at me, just like Daddy grumbled at Momma when he knew he’d give in. “But you stay in the car when we get there.”
“Of course,” I replied, knowing full well that wouldn’t happen. “Let me lock up and I’ll meet you by your car.”
David grumbled some more and headed out. I locked the front door so that anyone who wanted something from the store would have to cut through the diner. Waving at Gene on my way out, I told him Momma would be by to take over the register.
I detoured to our apartment at the end of the motel and changed into a pair of hiking boots, then met David at his car.
“Can’t wait to ride in this.” I opened the door and slid into the passenger seat. The solid ‘thunk’ of the door closing made me smile.
“Okay, where are we going?” David was still annoyed, but I could see him beginning to relax as we pulled to the edge of the parking lot.
“Turn left, then go about 10 miles till you cross the stone bridge. Turn right at the faded red barn.” I put on my seatbelt.
He looked at me. “You’re kidding, right?”
“Nope. That’s why I needed to come with you. There are no road signs or mile markers. You’d have gotten totally lost, and since there’s no cell service out there it would have been tough to find you.”
He pulled onto the road with a crunch of gravel. “Okay. I’ll give you that.” He glanced at me. “Do me a favor, grab a cassette out of the shoebox at your feet. I need tunes.”
I picked up the box and rifled through it. AC/DC, Kansas, The Doobie Brothers…. “Anything from this decade?”
He made a face at me. “Cute. Just pick something.”
I dug deeper and pulled out a tape labeled Sam’s mix. “How about this one?”
“Pick something else.” David’s tone was curt and I looked over at him. He was staring out the windshield in a casual manner, but his hands were gripping the steering wheel.
“Okay…” I put the tape back in the box and grabbed Creedence Clearwater Revival and popped it into the dash. The guitar intro of Bad Moon Rising filled the car.
David looked at me with a raised eyebrow and we both burst into laughter. “Maybe not such a good song.”
“Want me to change it?”
“Nah, it’s fine.” He relaxed against the seat and started drumming his fingers against the wheel.
“So why are we going to see Missy?” I settled in more comfortably in my seat. The leather felt warm against my back and made me want to doze. “What’s she have to do with the bear attacks?”
“It seems as though she was a witness to the last one.” David made the turn past the barn.
“Go a mile and a half to the white fenced house with the green roof and turn onto the dirt road,” I quickly directed. “It’s the third house on the left.” I returned to our conversation. “I thought there weren’t any witnesses. That’s what the rangers and the police said, anyway.”
“According to the report, she was listed as a witness to the last attack.”
“Huh.” I shook my head. “That’s strange. The officials said that none of the attacks had witnesses.”
“It seems they were mistaken.” David turned onto the dirt road and slowed down so the rocks wouldn’t ping. “The report I got a chance to look at listed Missy. I figured I should go and see what she had to say.”
We pulled up in front of Missy’s house to be greeted by two large dogs. “Don’t worry – they’re just loud.”
As we got out of the car, Missy came out of the house and onto her porch. “Hey, Lily. What are you doing here?”
“Missy, this is Agent Gilmour with Fish and Wildlife. He’s here to ask you about the bear attacks.” I gestured to David who was bent and petting Missy’s black Lab.
“Pleased to meet you, Ms. Evans.” He straightened up to greet her.
I leaned in to hug her. “I’m so sorry. Why didn’t you tell me you saw something?”
She was pale when I let go. “I didn’t say anything because I didn’t see anything.”
I could tell she was lying. I glanced at David and he was frowning. “Ms. Evans, the Rangers have a report that says you were witness to the last attack.”
“No, no…I didn’t see anything. I told them…” Missy wrapped her arms around herself and shivered. “I didn’t.”
“Let’s go sit down.” I guided her to the bench on her porch.
“Ms. Evans…Missy.” David sat next to her. “It’s okay. You can tell me what you saw.”
“The Rangers and the Sheriff…they didn’t believe me. Said I had been drinking.” Missy took a shuddering breath. “They told me not to say anything to anyone.”
“Well you can tell me. I swear I’ll believe you.” I could see David’s smile putting her at ease.
“It…it wasn’t a bear,” she began, then stopped. “I don’t know what it was. I’ve never seen anything like it before.”
“Um…Lily, maybe you should go and wait in the car.” David motioned toward the driveway. “You may not want to hear this.”
“NO!” Missy grabbed on to me. “Don’t leave, please.”
“I won’t.” I perched on the arm of the bench. “Go on.”
David didn’t look happy. Whatever Missy had to tell him, he didn’t want me to hear. He glared at me and jerked his head towards the car. I shook mine and didn’t move. He widened his eyes and did it again. Again I shook my head. I was not going to budge.
He finally sighed and turned back to Missy. “Okay, tell me what you saw.”
I sat there with my mouth slowly falling open as she told David about going up to Rainbow Bluffs to park with Billy, her boyfriend; about seeing a monster that was half man, half bear; how it attacked Billy and dragged him into the woods; and how it had looked at her with intelligence in its eyes and left her alone.
What was even more shocking were the questions that David was asking her and the fact that he was taking her answers seriously. Could she estimate how tall the creature was, did it have a smell, was it completely covered in fur or just its arms, legs and head, were there fangs in addition to claws. All legitimate questions with completely fanciful answers.
When the interview was done, he reassured her again that he believed her and that he wouldn’t tell anyone what she’d said. We got into the car and headed back to the motel.
David didn’t turn on the radio this time and we drove in silence, my head spinning with the things Missy had told us. We were almost to the motel when I couldn’t keep quiet anymore. “What was that?”
“What?” He kept his eyes on the road.
“That…that…interview!” I whirled around and faced him. “Asking her if she saw – what? Some monster? Bigfoot? And you believed her?”
“A werebear.” David’s voice was flat. “And yes, I did.”
“Werebear,” he repeated. “A creature that’s part bear, part human, that only manifests during the full moon.”
“Yeah, right.” I started to laugh until I saw that he wasn’t. I felt my stomach clench as realization flooded my body. “You’re serious.”
“Dead serious.” David pulled into the motel parking lot and parked in front of his room. “They exist and I hunt them.”
“You hunt them.” I felt like a parrot, repeating everything he said, but rational words weren’t coming.
“Yeah.” David opened his mouth to continue but I held my hand up.
“No…I can’t. Just don’t.” I threw open the Impala’s door and began to climb out.
“Lily, you can’t tell anyone.”
I laughed harshly. “Who would believe me?” I made a beeline towards our family’s apartment. I heard David call my name, but I ignored him. There was no way I was going to talk to him right now. I needed to be by myself and absorb what I’d just heard.
Taking the stairs two by two to our family apartment, I ran into my room, closed the door and threw myself on my bed. Pulling a pillow over my head, I blocked out the world, if only for a little while.