theladyscribe: Etta Place and Butch Cassidy laughing. (ironical)
a subtle sort of brilliance ([personal profile] theladyscribe) wrote in [community profile] avandell2008-12-28 03:51 pm

Jimmy the Saint

Title: Jimmy the Saint
Characters: Jim Murphy, others
Rating: PG-13 for some language, disturbing themes, character death
Word Count: 1813
Summary: Five men Jim Murphy saved and the one he couldn't.
Notes: Written as part of the Bruce Springsteen Fic Project. Title is from "Lost in the Flood." Thanks to [personal profile] joans23 and [personal profile] neetha for encouraging me to stick with this idea when I first mentioned it to them. Further notes at the end of the story.

Jimmy the Saint

Steve Wandell

“I was drafted just a couple weeks after my eighteenth birthday. I hadn’t wanted to join up, but I couldn’t afford school or a move to Canada. They sent me to Vietnam almost immediately after I got out of basic. My troop was a good group of guys. One of them was Jimmy Murphy, a real hell-raiser – got into more trouble than the whole rest of the troop. Kind of a nutter, too. He swore up and down that ghosts and shit were real and had all sorts of charms and whatnot to protect himself from them. We all laughed it off, thinking he’d just been on tour for too long, though after a few weeks, we kinda understood why he’d think that." Steve fiddled with his mug, sloshed the watery beer around.

“Anyway, one night a couple of Marines came waltzing into our camp, nice as you please. We were edgy, of course – they’d not radioed ahead or anything. And then they just started shooting. No reason to it, they just let loose. We all thought they’d gone crazy, and in that hell on earth, it was certainly possible. But then somebody shot back at them, hit one guy right in the chest, and he didn’t even flinch. When we realized that they should both have been dead…" He trailed off, took a long draught of his drink, and signaled for shots.

“Jimmy finally started yelling in some foreign language – I found out later it was Latin – and they both vomited black smoke. In the quiet that followed, we realized they’d killed almost half our troop. Needless to say," he chuckled wryly, shaking his head, "after that, most of us became believers.”

*

Joseph Harvelle

Something rustled in the elephant grass outside where Joe and his friends were hiding. He gripped his rifle in clammy hands as dead silence overtook them, even the buzzing insects quiet, as if they could sense the threat headed their direction.

A shout came from beside him as a flash of movement startled the patrol into action. An unearthly scream issued from the man – a blond man, one of theirs, though his eyes are blacker than pitch – running toward them. The man raised his gun and let the bullets fly, uncaring that he was killing his own people. Joe watched in horror as a bullet came straight at him, and then--


He heaved awake, heart hammering in his chest as he turned on the lamp. Joe's hands shook as he opened the drawer of the bedside table and pulled out what he was looking for. He climbed out of bed and padded down the hall, bare feet and wooden cane quiet against the cold floor.

Outside, the sun was just starting to rise over the Georgia coast, a sliver of ruby against a quickly lightening sky. He shut his eyes against the brilliance, trying to still his breath.

It had been almost five full years since the night the black-eyed soldiers had stormed the patrol, murdering half the men and wounding all the rest. Five years since Jimmy took that bullet for him. Five years since he saw Lee and Squash gunned down beside him, felt the warm spatter of their blood on his face. Five years, and the nightmares only got worse, even after he told Billy about what he had seen.

Joe opened his eyes again and stared into the rising sun. He raised his hand to his temple, and for once his grip was steady. He pulled the trigger, and finally there was peace.

*

Bobby Singer

She was already bleeding out as she choked out a mass of black smoke that dissipated into the air (he refused to believe that it propelled itself out the window). When she didn't move for several moments, Bobby finally came to her side.

"Baby?" he whispered, terrified and knowing what he would find. "Meredith? Baby, please, say something."

It was no use. He knew that before the blackness left her. It was no use, and it was his fault, and oh god, how was he going to fix this?

He didn't, he couldn't, there wasn't a way to fix it, so instead he buried his wife beneath the apple tree and threw the knife in the river.

And then, he drove until the truck ran out of gas. Ended up in a tiny little town in the middle of nowhere, Minnesota, and got shitfaced drunk before they kicked him out of the bar, told him not to come back. He wandered through town before coming to a stop on stone steps and finally, blessedly, falling into unconsciousness.

Bobby woke up with a gentle hand on his shoulder and opened his eyes to see a kindly man looking down at him. "Would you like some coffee?" the man asked politely. "You look as if you could use it."

Bobby followed the man – priest, pastor, something, judging by his clothes – inside the church. He drank the coffee, watching the man watching him. "What?" he muttered.

"Nothing. My name's Jim, by the way. Jim Murphy."

He hesitated, but finally said, "I'm Bobby Singer."

*

Billy Harvelle

Things changed after his brother's death. Billy's mother became a nervous little woman, flinching at any old sound. His father went silent, drinking more than he used to. Billy didn't know what to do with either of them. He was climbing the walls in a house that had once been full of a loving family.

After four months, Billy announced that he was taking a job as a trucker. It was a lie, but it was better than telling his parents the truth. His mother wasn't happy about it, but he promised to write and to visit when he could. His father just nodded silently.

It took Billy three days to drive from Georgia to Blue Earth. Finding the church and the pastor's cottage was simple, but walking up the front steps and knocking on the door of the cottage was not. Billy knocked once, waited two seconds and turned to leave, deciding this was a bad idea after all.

"Joe?"

Billy stopped and turned back to face the door. The man on the other side of the storm door was not what he'd been expecting. Joe's stories had made Jim Murphy seem larger than life, but in reality he was a short and tired-looking man.

"You're not Joe," the man said.

"Joe's dead."

"I'm sorry to hear that. Would you like to come in?" He pushed the door open, allowing Billy to step inside. "I'm Jim Murphy – Pastor Jim, now – and you must be Billy." Jim smiled at his confusion. "Joe talked about you a lot."

"Of course." He followed Jim into the living room and sat on the worn couch. Jim offered coffee, but he declined. "I want you to teach me about demons," Billy said, figuring he should get right to the point. "And whatever else you know about shi – stuff like that."

"You don't really want that life," Jim told him. "There's nothing in it. No money, no happiness, no longevity. You should honor your brother in better ways."

Billy thought of how frail and weak Joe seemed after he came home from Vietnam, how he was never the same after the war, and how he might've been okay if it hadn't been for the demons.

"I can't do that, Jim."

*

John Winchester

It wasn't until after he visited Missouri that John thought to look up Jim Murphy. He found him through the record of war veterans during the summer after Mary died. He told the neighbors they were going on an extended vacation to visit a family friend, packed up everything important that would fit in the car (tossing or storing everything else), and drove through the night to Blue Earth.

Jim welcomed him with open arms, though John could see the mild shock on his face when he saw a solemn-faced Dean clutching tightly to Sammy's blanket.

"Haven't seen you in years, Johnny-boy," Jim said with a smile. "Didn't know you and Mary'd had another kid. What brings you and your boys here?" And then his face fell. "And where's—"

John was quick to cut him off. "I'd rather not say out here. Can we--?"

"Yes, of course, come inside. Bring your boys."

They talked in the kitchen for several hours, John telling Jim everything he knew about Mary's death, while Dean silently drew pictures for a grinning Sammy in the parlor.

After John had finished, Jim drew a deep breath. "I have a friend by the name of Bobby Singer might be able to help. He lives out in Deadwood, South Dakota. I'll give him a call, tell him to expect you. If you like, if you're willing, your boys can stay with me while you're gone."

John set his jaw. "I don't want charity."

"It's not charity, John." He spoke so softly, John had to strain to hear him. "It's friendship."

Dean didn't make a fuss when John left (much to John's relief), just watched him with hollow eyes. Jim told him later that the boy followed him around like a silent shadow for the entire week that his father was gone.

*

Jim Murphy

It was a Thursday in late spring, and there was no reason for anyone to be coming into the church that day. But Jim had heard the creaking door from his little office off the sanctuary, so he came to investigate. A girl stood in the vestibule.

"Can I help you?" he asked calmly, though a nagging fear prickled against the back of his neck.

She told him she'd been a bad girl, and he assured her that there was salvation for everyone, even the greatest of sinners.

"Well, I’ve lied... a lot. I’ve stolen. I’ve lusted. And the other day I met this man – a nice guy, you know? And we had a really good chat... sort of like this. Then I slit his throat and ripped his heart out through his chest." She blinked and her eyes turned black, and Jim Murphy knew that it was over.

He ran, but it had been years since he last hunted, and he was in no shape to outrun a demon as powerful as she. Still, if he could make it to his basement, he'd be safe. Or so he thought. The girl followed quickly and calmly, unperturbed by the hallowed ground or the wards on the door.

"What do you want?" he asked, stalling for time, his mind racing.

"The Winchesters."

Jim frowned. "I haven’t spoken to John Winchester in over a year. You’re wasting your time. Even if I did know where they were, I’d never tell you."

The girl smiled wickedly. "I know."

A knife gleamed in her hand as she stepped forward.

***

A/N: This story is the direct result of the seminar class I took on Vietnam last spring. I'd tentatively sketched out the idea that the older generation of hunters met – somehow – through the war, and my class only made me more sure of that. Joseph Harvelle is my own creation; he was first mentioned in From Small Things [Big Things One Day Come].

Lyrics to "Lost in the Flood" are here.

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