muir_wolf: (Default)
muir_wolf ([personal profile] muir_wolf) wrote2012-01-02 01:44 pm

FIC: Life's a One-Time Deal | Supernatural fic for <lj site="" user="staringisca

Title: Life's a One-Time Deal
Rating: PG-13
Word Count: 1500
Disclaimer: Supernatural isn't mine, etc.
Summary: Bela Talbot, ages 14-19. It’s a Thursday when, for the thrill of it, she nicks a pack of cigs.

A/N: All the apologies in the world for this being so ridiculously late. This is a WFR fic for [ profile] staringiscaring, and mostly I'm the worst for only now finishing it. Thank you so much for the generous donation and your patience. ♥ ♥

Also, thank you [ profile] ishie for the beta! You're the best ♥

Life's a One-Time Deal

Abby is fourteen years old.

This is her parents’ funeral.

One by one her mother’s and father’s friends press her hand between theirs, and give her their condolences, and Abby nods, her lips pressed together, her eyes shining with what look like tears.

Abby isn’t crying, though.

Abby is fourteen years old, and she is finally free.

Abby is sixteen when she leaves home. Two years chafing under the bit of her aunt and uncle, and she’s had enough. Had enough of all of it.

She dyes her hair bleach blonde and wears too-red lipstick. She’s a pile of money burning a hole in her pockets, and it’s easy to spend it. Easy to get what she wants.

Abby kisses like it’s her last night, and this moment is all she has left.

It’s a Thursday when, for the thrill of it, she nicks a pack of cigs. She doesn’t get caught, and the adrenaline rush of it stays with her. She steals a necklace a few weeks later, and then a few CDs slid into her messenger bag. It’s easy when people are watching her smile and her low-cut shirt and the frank way she has of meeting their eyes.

She meets a boy, Tom. Tom is blond and laughs like he’s better than everyone else. Tom is rich, and she lets him think he’s slumming with her, so when she leads him into the limo, she gets to see the flash of shock on his pretty face. Tom presses hot, open-mouthed kisses along her collarbone, and she straddles his waist, relishing in the way his moans vibrate along her skin, relishing the way she feels alive.

Sometimes at night she gets tangled in the sheets and wakes up gasping for breath, sure that he’s after her. Her pulse runs too loud in her ears, and it takes her a minute of agonizing concentration to get her breathing back to normal, to pretend it all away. It never leaves her, though. In the harsh light of day it’s easier to push her past away, but the name Abby on her lips is enough.

She changes her name the day she turns eighteen.

When she was seven-eight-nine, her father would watch horror movies, and she would perch on the stairs, peering through the banister, the metal cool against her forehead as she watched over his shoulder. She was always careful to stay hidden. Even at that age, she’d known who the real monster was in the room below.

Every Sunday morning, her mother would insist they go to church, and Abby would sit, letting the words wash over her, sandwiched between her parents—the one who was a monster and the one who’d married him. Lot’s wife turned to salt because she looked back, and Abby would think--know--that if she ever had the chance, she’d never look back. She’d run and run and run. She’d flee so far, no one would even know where to look for her, let alone catch her.

The city of Bela was close to Sodom and Gomorrah, but it survived the wrath of God, and Abby…Abby, all this time later, still feels that sharp flash of need to run, that push to survive no matter what. She thinks of Bela Lugosi and monsters and the faces that people wear, the faces that she has worn.

She opens up a closet and examines the people that she could become. Bela, she thinks.

I survived, she thinks.

Two months after her birthday, a man with a too-sharp smile pauses next to her in a café. He leans in close and inhales, brow crinkling a little at whatever he smells on her skin.

“You’re marked,” he says.

She’s wearing snug jeans and a green blouse and her hair is back to brunette. She looks good, just like she always looks good, and she’s no stranger to pervs.

“Marked?” she asks.

“You made a deal with the devil,” he says, cocking his head a little to the side. “I can smell it on you. You signed a contract you shouldn’t have signed. Hope it was worth it.”

He inclines a bit at the waist—bowing, she realizes, still standing quietly in shock—and then moves away. She’s left standing in the middle of the café.

Bela goes to psychics and seers and all those purported wise men.

She falls in with a rougher crowd, jacking cars and selling them for parts. No one ever questions the pretty, posh lady. She’s always been good at hiding who she is.

The people she asks questions of have no answers, and the people who ask her questions get even less.

“What are you doing in this game, anyway? Girl like you should be at Uni,” Drew says. Drew’s the mechanic she’s dropping the Jaguar off to, and his hands were grease-stained when she handed him the keys.

“Girl’s gotta have a little fun,” she says, flashing him a smile.

That night she dyes her hair red and picks up a girl in a bar, kissing her until both their mouths are kiss-swollen and Bela can feel the world stable beneath her feet.

Bela meets Parker at a bookstore.

Parker is funny and outlandish and can steal Bela’s watch from her wrist without her noticing. Parker is impressive, and it’s heady for Bela to have a lady like Parker notice her, flirt with her, show off for her.

She teaches Bela cons, and for a time it’s easy for Bela to be infatuated with her. Parker is just so good, and Bela wants to learn all of it, wants to have all of it—all that the world has to offer. All that Parker has to offer.

She buys Bela her first disguise, cropped black wig and all, and coaches her through dinner with their mark, an easy whisper in her ear through the mike.

And Bela gets better, and better, and better.

Parker dies because of Bela.

The job is too big for the both of them, but Bela insists they try anyway.

It’s a book, locked away in an eccentric’s private collection. A book that’s old and priceless and unique, a book on Hermeticism and magic and all those things Bela insists she doesn’t believe. But she insists they steal the book anyway.

(Late at night, when she’s lying in bed alone, she can hear the clock ticking her life away, and it’s all she can do to keep herself together.)

Parker sketches out floor plans and Bela seduces her way to security codes, and it takes them three weeks of prep, but they finally have a workable plan. Bela wears a short, curly strawberry-blonde wig and a push-up bra under her demure all black server outfit. She blends in to the crowds as the charity party gets underway, and slips away around ten, hiding underneath one of the many guest beds.

A little after two am, cars start in the driveway and voices carry from outside. A little after three, the cleaning crews finally start to leave.

It’s almost four am before Bela slips out, wig secure in her bag, black outfit an added benefit. It’s a slow crawl around corners and through darkened hallways, but she doesn’t want to turn on her torch quite yet.

The security codes work on the foot-thick steel door, and she slips through it, stepping delicately on the tile, eyeing the glass display cases and the artwork that decorates the walls.

Her father had a private museum like this; he liked to lock the things he loved away from the rest of the world. Bela is a patriot, she thinks, giddy; she’s a hero. She’s rescuing the lady in the tower; she’s Robin Hood and Joan of Arc all wrapped up into one. Except with less hearing voices and being French. And less giving things away, come to think of it.

She’s wearing gloves when she slides the book into the bag at her side.

Parker picks the book up with her bare hand.

Minutes later, when Parker’s coughing up blood, wide-eyed and trying to beg for help with words that won’t come out, Bela knows it’s nothing normal that’s killing her. She can see the shades of supernatural that color the room, that give Parker that unnatural tint, that harbor in Parker’s lungs and seep into the air. Bela knows, and can do nothing about it.

Not yet.

Parker’s funeral is the first time she’s stepped in a graveyard in five years. It’s easy to remember that night on the swing set, easy to remember the coffins as they were lowered into the ground.

The name Abigail means Father of Joy in Hebrew, but Bela changed her name. She tore down Abigail, and what Abigail stood for—she willed it all away and it went, screaming and thrashing, into her nightmares.

Bela stands from where she’d knelt next to Parker’s headstone, wiping damp dirt off of her knees.

She has a book to read and a contract to break, and she’ll turn herself inside and out to do it. She’s always been a good thief, but she can get better, and she’ll steal her way to freedom.

She’s done it before.

Still, she lowers the white lilies to Parker’s grave. She’s never like to be in anyone’s debt.


[identity profile] 2012-01-02 10:21 pm (UTC)(link)
This is all kinds of awesome. I love the look at Bela's early life and how she became a thief and evolved into an even greater thief. And I love the insight you gave into her character. Amazing, amazing job!

[identity profile] 2012-01-02 10:44 pm (UTC)(link)
Thank you so much! I lovelovelove Bela, and it was fun getting to flesh out some of her backstory. I'm glad you liked it! =)
ext_418434: (Default)

[identity profile] 2012-01-09 07:55 am (UTC)(link)
This is wonderful! It was well worth the wait. I just love the backstory and the rawness of Bela's transformation. Parker was a great character as well. I enjoyed their relationship while it lasted.

[identity profile] 2012-01-10 02:01 am (UTC)(link)
Thanks, I'm glad you liked it!