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Title: First Impressions
Dean Winchester, Sam Winchester, Rose Tyler, with brief appearances by Castiel, Gwen Cooper, Jack Harkness, the Ninth Doctor and Martha Jones.
Adopted by the Sidhe as a teenager, Dean Winchester goes out into the world again for the first time with his trusty elvensteed named "Baby" and his adoptive brother "Sam" (Samanderil, a young Sidhe orphan raised alongside Dean at Singer's Grove). They're on their way to Torchwood Grove, hopefully to find work in the rough world of the SouthWest Road Racing Association.

Their first impression isn't exactly what they'd hoped for.

Notes: Written for Fanwork Friday - this time the theme was 'species switch.' I got a crack idea to crossover one of my favorite urban fantasy worlds (from the SERRAted Edge novels by Mercedes Lackey) with SuperWho. The end is a bit rushed, but I got wind of this challenge a little late and wanted to make sure the story was as complete as possible for Friday. Also, I'm mean to Ianto again. I know, I'm really sorry.


Baby made a decent imitation of a V8 Chevy small block. The sound didn't belong to an actual motor, so Dean couldn't call himself a completely satisfied customer. An actual motor would mean it was a car and not a magical construct, though. A car wasn't sentient enough to save his ass on its own steam. Plus, a real Chevy Impala would be a gas hog and contained enough steel to rip the very foundations of Underhill... well... asunder, for lack of a less Seeleighe-court word.

Dean was kinda tired of Seeleighe-court words. It was his first unchaperoned trip out of Underhill since he'd been brought there as a teenager, and for years he'd been chafing to get the hell out of Dodge.

Well, 'unchaperoned' was open to interpretation.

"I thought you wanted a Mustang," Sam ran both hands along the upholstry as their wheels left the grassy downs of Ellen's keep and touched down on solid pavement. Underhill snapped closed behind them like a coin purse, and they were alone in a wilderness of New Mexico cliffs.

Dean shrugged. "Changed my mind. The pun was horrible, I'd never keep a straight face."

Sam shook his head with a chuckle, his long hair sliding back from the sharp points of his ears. "So you picked another four-legged herbivore."

Dean shrugged. "I like this car." From his peripheral vision, he caught Sam's cut-jewel eyes as they drifted his way.

"It's primitive, aggressive and an obvious extension of your dick. Of course you do," Sam smirked, earning himself an elbow in the ribs. Sam's full name was Samanderil, and he was Dean's adoptive brother: a full-blood Sidhe with the Vulcan ears and the grass-green cat eyes. Both he and Dean were orphans of a sort, taken in by Ellenor and her human husband, Bobby Singer. The four of them made up a patchwork family, along with several other orphans of both species.

"Bitch," Dean muttered with a smile.

Sam tossed his head. "Jerk," he replied - which was about as filthy as his profanity ever got. ...Yet. One day the sheer volume of pap TV Dean subjected him to would corrupt that pretty high-court language for good and all. Until then, it was funny as hell. The realization of freedom welled up inside Dean, sweet and clean, and he took a deep breath.

"All right, so who's our contact?" Dean asked, leaning over Sam to dig a pair of sunglasses from the dash. They were there, of course, and real; artifacts from his life before the Sidhe.

Sam consulted his phone. "Castiel."

Fabulous. Another Sidhe, and older than Sam. Way older. Not Dean's favorite by a longshot. "Since when was he a dirt racer? I thought he was too busy being Captain of the Fashion Police."

Sam shot him a disapproving look. "You met him once. You wore jeans to Court."

Dean rolled his eyes. "Well, I wasn't gonna wear the tights, was I? I look like the fat kid at ballet class next to you."

"Ellen wanted to make you a suit."

"All that magic crap makes me itch."

Sam heaved a sigh, but let it be. "Anyway, Castiel heads up one of the SWRRA teams outside Santa Fe. And he must think a lot of you, otherwise he'd never offer you a job."

Dean had a tendency to think the offer came out of pity or pressure rather than any kind of admiration, but a job was a job. "We've got an address? We got time for lunch? I'm starving for an actual bacon cheeseburger."

Sam rolled his eyes. "Predator. Can we at least pick a place with caffeine free soda this time? I'm sick of ordering icewater." Among the drawbacks to Sam's unworldly good looks and freakish tallness was a severe allergy to caffeine. Or more accurately, acute addiction.

Caffeine was bad for the Sidhe, whatever court. Full stop. Poor slobs couldn't even enjoy chocolate without going all glazed.

"I'm sure they'd have Kool-Aid on the kiddie menu," Dean teased, enjoying Sam's deep frown as a point scored, "all right, find a place and let's go."


Rose Tyler tore down the canvas netting on the driver side window and hooked her hands under Nine's elbow to haul him out. His face shown with sweat, left cheek and temple smudged by the smoke pouring out of the hood. His eyes flashed up to her, green as grass and flat with frustration, and she knew it was bad when he let her help him out of the cockpit.

"That was reckless," Rose shouted, "you should have waited."

Nine had poured every ounce of available magics into the car to keep it from flying apart. Prototype electronics fried in the intense heat, resulting in a steering failure and a terrific collision with the embankment wall. The car was shattered, but not ablaze, but Nine was singed and clearly reacting to a ton of steel. Gwen Cooper pounded up a moment later, lips set in a dark line of disapproval as she helped Rose limp Nine off the track.

"Nonsense," Nine panted, sharp eartips shimmering into view against his thin hair, "there's been enough testing."

Crew ran by them with fire extinguishers, heralded by the beeping of the tow truck. Gwen huffed. "Not enough, clearly. What happened?"

"Fried wiring," Nine answered, shrug stirring Rose's hair as he draped half over her, "too hot. Nothing to be done for it."

"Nothing now that you're fried extra crispy too, yeah?" Rose retorted.

They reached the railing, where many hands helped Nine over, Jack Harkness and Doctor Martha Jones among them. Rose allowed herself a breath of relief. Besides running the Torchwood SWRRA team alongside Castiel, Jack had been trained by elven healers. Rose wasn't sure how old he was, though rumor said several human lifespans past normal. It took both of them to coerce Nine into the shade for examination. Martha took point, barking orders as she bullied Nine into a chair and all but sat on him to keep him still.

"Do you ever listen?" Jack asked Nine in exasperation. He handed Martha a roll of gauze and set to work on Nine's right side, which was burned a bit less.

Nine spread around a goofy, disarming grin for the benefit of his audience. "Now that's just silly."

"Stop smiling," Martha ordered, glaring at the offending cheek while she swabbed a burn with cream.

"Maybe I just like the attention," Nine suggested.

"And stop talking."

Fifteen minutes later, Martha released a mildly chastened Nine patched over in white gauze and ordered away from the track for the rest of the day. As the crowd dispersed and the chaos eased, Rose collected a few stray items from the first aid kit and put them at Martha's elbow.

"Thank you," Rose tried to infuse the words with as much apology as gratitude.

Martha shook her head. "Not you needs to be sorry. That one's got a death wish," she grumped, wrist-deep in the canvas kit bag. Her eyes flashed up to Rose afterward, shocked at her own outburst. "I mean--"

Rose grinned, gave her the same roll of gauze Jack handed Martha earlier. "It's all right," Rose soothed, "can't imagine it's the first time I've heard that, yeah?" She was Nine's fosterling - or, she should say - his latest. When Nine picked up a human child, word got round. It wasn't that he was dangerous, just... eccentric. A loner. And for good reason - he was the very last of his tribe.

Martha bit her lip, unconvinced. "Sorry."

"I don't know if he's got a death wish exactly," Rose said, "but I bet your regular drivers tick a little closer to sanity."

Their heads bobbed up as Jack galloped past, flight suit folded down around his waist. "IANTO? GARAGE TWO, NOW." He bellowed.

Martha's eyes cut to Rose, wide and amused. "Oh, right," she laughed, "sanity, yeah. Totally."

And then Garage One blew up.


Sam's head lifted just as Baby's motor cut out. Dean wasn't sure why she did that... maybe it was a symbolic gesture. He pushed on the brake and the Chevy-shaped elvensteed rolled gently to a stop. Shimmering in the clear desert air about two miles away was Castiel's team headquarters... and a blooming mushroom cloud. The wind had just begun to take it, nudging it east.

"We're stopping?" Sam asked, puzzled.

Dean thumped the steering wheel with the heel of his hand. "I don't know. Baby? What's with the brakes all of a sudden?"

Baby edged a few feet forward, before the 'radio' shrilled static like a digital horse. Sam and Dean both winced.

"Something hurt her," Sam growled, out of the car before Dean noticed he was moving. He hurried to follow, sweeping his fingertips along Baby's fender to comfort them both. Sam dabbed at the air in front of them with his fingertips. "It's a repelling field," he reported. As Dean approached, he could feel the magic too, scuffing along his skin like sandpaper. The more he leaned into it, the harder it bore down. He was used to magical shields by now, but being stopped by one was new. Where Dean grew up, Ellenor and Bobby never put up the 'keep out' signs for anyone but the Unseeleighe.

"Can you break it?" Dean asked. Sam shot him a disbelieving glare.

"Or we could knock," Sam retorted, and spread his fingers against the shield again. He closed his eyes and rainbow energy arced up and away from his fingertips in lazy fractals, like the sheen on a bubble. Pure, bright red snapped back to meet him, and Sam leaped back.

Dean grabbed his shoulder. "What was that?"

"They're on lockdown. Nobody in or out." Sam rubbed the bridge of his nose, wincing as if the red energy gave him a headache.

Dean blinked. They'd been invited. Hell, they had the invitation stones keyed to Castiel's shields sitting on Baby's dash. He shielded his eyes from the glare and scanned the distant compound again. Thick black smoke continued to chug upward, and as he squinted Dean could see licks of flame.

"One of their buildings is on fire," Sam observed. He seemed unbothered by both the distance and the glare. Fricking elves.

"On fire?"

Under Dean's hand, Sam was perfectly still. "Worse. It's... rubble. A shell. There's people..." Stress leaked into his voice. "Dean, we can't just sit here."

"That's what I'm saying! Can we break in?"

"It's not permitted. This is Castiel's grove, it's his territory."

Dean clenched his fists. "Screw the court rules, Sam!"

Sam glared until Dean swore he could see the pointy kitty ears folding back. "It's more complex than just 'court rules,' and you know it."

Dean did know it. He thought it was crap, but Ellenor and Bobby both drilled the Laws of Hospitality into his head from a tender age. The lady or lord of the grove was master - Castiel could extend them the hospitality of his home, but as he agreed not to kill them on sight, they agreed to stay in marked boundaries and not screw with his stuff. The laws were a pain in the ass, but not stupid, not with creatures as powerful and old as the Sidhe.

Sam shifted. "It's a repelling wall. It's not impenetrable unless our invitations have been revoked. It'll hurt. But if we make ourselves small around the stones, we might not bounce off."

"How small?" Dean asked, not relishing the idea of walking three miles in the sun to put out a fire.

Sam glanced at him, then at Baby. He shrugged. "Horse small?"

Baby gunned her metaphorical motor.


Rose's hands felt skinned, her arms trembling and limp as noodles. She and a dozen others manned the water pumps nearest Garage One. The heavy canvas hoses weren't built for comfort, and nobody had time for gloves. A haze fell over the compound, hiding everything but the constant hot glow of burning wreckage. Rose was no mage, but she'd grown up around magical fire in Nine's care. It burned hotter and faster than real fire, and water could only stop it from spreading. It would burn even inflammable things, and continued to burn until its supply of magical energy 'fuel' was exhausted.

Or someone bigger and nastier than the arsonist put it out.

All the biggers and nastiers had been inside Garage One when it went up.

Except Nine. Rose didn't know where Nine was, and tried not to think about it. She hadn't been at Torchwood long, but she cared deeply for these people, and already knew how well Nine could manage on his own.

"Lower!" Gwen shouted, arms around the head of the massive firehose. Rose and the rest of her crew compensated, and the arc of powerful water lowered, aligning with the spray of the other three hoses. Their purpose wasn't to put out the fire, but to keep a cool tunnel clear out of the wreckage.

Rose felt her muscles giving way, but clung to the hose with sheer will. Nobody was coming. Every pair of hands was full with saving what they could; none could be spared to relieve her from this post. She saw Gwen up ahead, feet spread, barking orders, every inch the hero. Rose was no hero, but she leaned on the hose, trying to give her weight at least, if she could no longer support it.

A stranger slotted himself between Rose and the person in front of her, broad shoulders blotting out Rose's view of Gwen and Garage One's inferno. The hose in her arms lightened considerably.

"You okay?" The stranger asked.

"Yeah," Rose replied, redoubling her efforts now that the weight and strain on her arms had halved, "thanks, who are you?"

"Dean Winchester," Dean introduced himself without turning back.

"Rose Tyler," Rose replied, and tightened her grip on the hose, determined not to waste the extra help. They battled the fire for several more minutes, carving a hissing portal into the rubble. Then Rose heard shouts travel up and down the hose brigades beneath the water's roar. Dean listed left, and Rose caught a glimpse of the reason for commotion: three figures limped out of the building. She recognized Jack, borne up between Castiel and Nine. Their faces were black, creased with red like cooling lava, and though Jack was clearly fainting from the smoke, he fought them with a desperation Rose had never seen before.

Time slowed down. She heard Gwen screaming as if from a distance. Jack broke free, staggered back towards the wall of flames, and was thrown off his feet as the ground heaved up. A sonic boom rolled over the Torchwood compound, and a massive black horse exploded from the fire. She leaped, arcing like the firehoses, like the water, and hung in the air on a cascade of brilliant green energy. Rose, halfway to Nine, stuttered to a halt.

When the horse - no, elvensteed - came to earth, her hooves tossed up a fountain of earth and sand. She carried someone, who in turn had someone else slung across their lap. Still shedding green sparks, steed and rider arrived at the edge of the crowd. The rider - and his burden - promptly toppled off the elvensteed's back. Rose leaped forward, not sure what she'd do, but certain it had to be done.

From behind her, Rose heard the stranger who'd come to her rescue on the hose brigade. "Sam? Sam!" Dean pushed out of the crowd, running for the fallen Sidhe.

Sprawled on top of Sam was Ianto's grimy body - unconscious, but breathing.

Thank Danaa.


The next day, Castiel summoned Dean and Sam to his office. His skin was still red and shiny in patches, Dean noticed, but healing far more rapidly than the unfortunate humans caught in the fire. More fortunate than Ianto Jones, who'd suffered severe internal burns from smoke inhalation and was barely clinging to life. He was the only human survivor from the fire, if he survived the next forty-eight hours.

Sam was hoarse and tired, but otherwise all right. He'd thrown most of his personal magic reserves into that fancy move, Dean knew. Despite his relative good condition, Sam had on the guilt-ridden expression he saved for occasions of only the deepest self-loathing. Like he expected Castiel to smite them both on the spot.

"Hello, boys," Castiel said, voice serious and rough with smoke, "I believe you must be from Singer's Grove."

"Yes, sir," Sam replied. He kept his eyes down. Dean, seeing the wisdom in this, followed suit.

"I believe you also broke through a very clear repelling wall to reach us," Castiel continued.

"We saw the smoke," Sam explained, "and we were worried."

"Torchwood Grove is my jurisdiction," Castiel replied, even and cold as lake ice, "I put the barrier in place to avoid further danger and distraction while I controlled my security breach. I did not think it necessary to revoke all open invitations as well."

Sam flinched, and Dean knew they were fucked.

"Your breach of the wall caused me to waste precious minutes determining your intent," Castiel continued, moving around his desk to enter their personal space, "had I not been so scrupulous, I could have had you killed on the spot. Which I would then have to explain to your guardians. Reparations and counter reparations could have taken decades."

Castiel's tone indicated clearly that the potential for reparations was a higher priority than their idiot lives. Dean's hackles raised.

"Easy, Sparky," Dean drawled, "we just thought we could--" He didn't finish, as Castiel weaved adroitly into his face like a cobra, green eyes narrowed into slits. The Sidhe lord was maybe an inch shorter than Dean, but his presence filled the room. Hell, maybe the county.

"Your intent," Castiel murmured, velvet on polished wood, "means nothing if you cannot follow the law."

"It was my fault, sir," Sam volunteered hastily.

"I doubt it," Castiel replied, "you, at least, seem to understand the nature of your offense, Sam."

Dean opened his mouth to speak. Castiel's face was a still mask, still as only the Sidhe could manage, but his eyes flicked from Sam to Dean. Threatening, openly.

"If I have to school you on that lesson, Dean," Castiel's voice was deceptively gentle, "I will kill you where you stand, and it will be within my rights. You know as well as I that ignorance is no excuse among the Sidhe."

Dean closed his mouth. Under protest. Castiel watched him, a cheetah waiting for the prey to run. After a few minutes of silence, Castiel sighed and dropped his gaze to the blinking cell phone on his desk.

"But. As I sincerely dislike incurring the ill will with the murder of others' fosterlings, and you have been useful, it comes to this." Castiel folded his arms. "An agent of the Unseeleighe court is among us. They are responsible for the explosion today, I am sure. But my crews and drivers are thoroughly vetted prior to signing; I know where they came from, and none of them have Unseeleighe affiliation.

Samanderil," Castiel turned as Sam lifted his head, "you kept the flames at bay long enough to rescue Ianto. Let me see how good you are - help me find them."

Sam nodded, jerky, too eager to placate. Dean rolled his eyes. All his years in Underhill, and he still didn't want to play the intimidation game with these stuff shirts. Sometimes he did it, just to get by, but it grated. Just because you had the magic didn't mean you earned the respect.

Castiel was looking at him again, still, wide-eyed. Predatory. "Fail, and I send you both home with full disclosure of your behavior yesterday. It's highly likely that after review, you won't leave Underhill unchaperoned again."

"So you're gonna blackmail us into helping you, instead of just asking?" Dean scoffed.

"You breached my grove against my direct request," Castiel's voice was glacial, "I don't need to ask."

"We'll do it," Sam said quickly.


"Dick," Dean muttered on the way out. He had to stretch his stride considerably to keep up with Sam, whose angry march had warning signs written all over it.

"Excuse me?" Sam spat, "Who just saved your butt in there? Castiel could have made a fluffy Bavarian waffle out of you just for being rude. And gotten away with it."

"Not you," Dean clarified impatiently, "Him. Castiel. He doesn't like me, thinks I'm ignorant, why the hell did he offer me a job?"

"'Cause he likes the tough cases," someone interrupted. A woman. The woman from the hose brigade, only cleaner. And smiling. "Thanks again. Dean, wasn't it?"

Dean halted, Sam a moment later. "Yeah," Dean smiled back, not feeling his sore arms and raw patience for the first time in hours. He searched his memory for her name. "Rose?"

Rose beamed at him. "Very good," she replied, "you staying round?"

"At least until we get bored," Dean said.

"Or Dean gets himself killed," Sam added.

Rose laughed. Dean tried not to stare at her mouth, which was full and pink and reminded him of all the dirty things he used to think about Julia Roberts. "At least the first one's not gonna happen, guarantee you that," she said, then sobered. They all sobered. The flames were still present, probably would be, until the earth where Garage One stood was nothing more than a rectangle of slag and scorched earth.

"Well," Rose humped up her shoulders, leaning a little towards the track, "I probably oughta go. And Sam? Nice steed."

Sam grinned. "Thanks."

Dean shoved him when Rose was out of earshot. "Baby's my steed. Mine."

"You suck at sharing."

"That's because you do things like ride my stuff into burning buildings!"

Their bickering carried them out to Garage Two.

Date: 2014-03-07 12:53 pm (UTC)
ilyena_sylph: picture of Labyrinth!faerie with 'careful, i bite' as text (Default)
From: [personal profile] ilyena_sylph


(I don't watch/read/follow SPN, so I can't actually comment on the story, but EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Date: 2014-03-11 12:54 am (UTC)
ilyena_sylph: picture of Labyrinth!faerie with 'careful, i bite' as text (Default)
From: [personal profile] ilyena_sylph
*shrieky squeals of glee and spinning you around*

Oh, Eric's books can go hang, I think I screamed and threw book two, too. :) I knew you had good taste!

But I love Tannim and Keighvin and the entire world, and Alistair and...

I have officially not read these in too long, I am losing names, so, I will have to go re-read --

And damnit woman now that fusion is talking in my head!!!!
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