Prompt: you deify me, from raise_the_knife for salt_burn_porn
A/N: Sam/Ruby; character study of Ruby. Title from the song “Hurt” by Johnny Cash. Hearts to kalliel for the read-through. Set post-5.01, in vague early S5.
Summary: Ruby doesn't die. She just doesn't quite live, either.
Ruby wakes up a goddess. She died a girl with sooty cheeks, flames licking her clit until she sublimated in pleasure, but she wakes up a goddess.
Flash forward eight hundred years, give or take, and she dies a goddess, knifed in the back, and wakes up a girl.
The Winchesters have long since departed when she gasps, sharp ribbons of pain lacing through her ribs. She thinks hard, then forces her hand to move, and feels underneath her shirt. She lifts the thin fabric with effort, and blinks at the shiny pink scars. Running her fingers over them, inching the shirt higher, she sees a pattern. Her vision starts to go dark, stars begin to form constellations and whole damn galaxies, but she forces herself to focus.
The scars form a perfect Devil’s Trap, over her heart and a large portion of her side. Ruby’s tongue explores the terrain of her teeth, and then she opens her mouth wide, in a silent scream that could deafen this whole city.
Nothing happens. She closes her mouth, swallows dryly, and screws up her face again. Not even a wisp of smoke.
Ruby shuts her eyes again, thinks frantically. Concentration, that’s all. She focuses on the one place she knows that they’ll be eventually, a place she can hole up for a while and get her strength back, be ready with a serrated smile and a spell.
She almost thinks that she can feel the dirt underneath her body, the sharp gravel digging into her bare skin, taste the South Dakota air.
When she slivers her eyes open to the ruined ceiling of a church, she realizes the significance of her new, organic body art. She’s stuck in this body, for good.
The next few weeks are a blur of cheap motel rooms that remind her too much of (Sam) what happened before.
It’s not like she’s never done this, woken up in a new body, acclimated herself to walking gaits and hair texture, wriggled into skin like putting on gloves, or pretending to be Ed Gein. But this is different. She can feel it, in the way the hair on her arms stands on end when she passes a church. The way she wakes up tasting earth and ash, her last kingdom this empire of dirt and sloughed-off skin.
She brushes her hair in the morning, finds blonde hairs mixed in with the brown. Sometimes she can swear that one of her eyes is a different color, but only for a second, and never long enough to be certain.
This is it, she thinks, this must be what happens when you go to hell—and aren’t allowed to stay.
When she starts looking things up, burning maps and dangling crystals (she still doesn’t trust the Internet, and the old ways never lie), it’s as if her fingers are doing it of their own accord. It takes longer to drive, but she almost appreciates it. She hot-wires an obnoxious little Camaro, and doesn’t ever use her turn signal.
Ruby finds them in a bar. She waits in the bathroom, pacing around, hoping that it’ll be the tall one, and not the obnoxious one with the Empire State Building on his shoulder.
She blinks in the mirror, mascara and memories. Dark hair blonde dark blonde. Hello, David Lynch. She takes a deep breath, gets herself ready. Finally, the door swings open, and a man enters without seeing her. He positions himself in front of the urinal, and Ruby hops up on the bathroom counter, leans back against the mirror. She waits until the man has zipped up his pants, and then lets the words fall lazily out of her mouth.
“Hiya, Sam.” She pauses. “You could’ve left that undone.” Sam stares at her blankly, and she gestures to his crotch, a smile warming up on her face.
“In the flesh.” She keeps the smile, now burnt on, and then contorts her fingers quickly, demonstrating just how permanently she’s stuck in this particular contusion of cells.
“I thought you were dead.”
Sam tugs at his ear, and Ruby jumps back down from the counter, and gives him a push back towards the wall. She hooks her fingers in his belt loops and says, “You were dead once, too. Or is it twice by now?”
Her fingers are agile spiders, and Sam’s belt buckle drops to the floor with a satisfying noise.
“Does that door lock?” Ruby asks Sam, not looking up from where she’s unbuttoning his pants.
Sam swallows. “Uh. I don’t know…”
Now is a time when Ruby could really use some of that demon mojo, but for now she’ll have to make do.
“Never mind,” she tells him. “We’ll be quick.”
Sam tastes like Jack and guilt, two of Ruby’s favorite flavors. It takes him a little while to get into it, but then he’s the one pressing her up against the wall, and the one she’s got her leg wrapped around. She comes viscerally, and when Sam looks into her eyes, he does a double take, before she blinks and they’re brown again.
“Yeah, I know I’ve got a little Lost Highway thing going on,” she whispers in his ear, “but don’t worry. I’m taking care of it.” She shakes her hair back, and then grips the collar of Sam’s shirt, tugging him back in.
She’s biting his neck, fingers digging into his back, when the door bangs open, and she catches a glimpse of dark spiky hair and a glowering expression.
“Sam, if you’re in here banging some chick…”
Just then, Ruby catches his eye for a second, and relishes his look of complete surprise.
“Dean.” She lets the word hang in the air and then drop to the floor, the letters spilling out, skittering around the room, chasing each other.
“Sam”—Ruby pulls back from him, but keeps directing her words to Dean, through the gap between Sam’s arm and his side—“why don’t you make yourself decent, so that we can have a little chat with your brother.”
Dean just stands there, one hand behind his back, probably fingering his gun, as Sam readjusts his clothing with an air of sheepishness and Ruby stands with her hands on her hips. Sam takes a large sideways step away from her once he has his belt re-buckled, and Ruby laughs.
She moves back over to stand next to him, and drapes her arm around his waist, resting her head against his arm.
“So, Dean, what do you say?” She tips him a wink. “You got room for one more in that car of yours?”