Big thanks to winchestergirl for this fic's adorable artwork. She battled through technical problems that would try the patience of a saint to bring me this wonderful piece - be sure to give her lots of love!
Original Prompt: There's a reason nobody's looked through that giant telescope ...
Warnings/Spoilers (if applicable): None
Characters: Dean Winchester, Sam Winchester
Summary: Dean's determined to get the bunker's giant telescope to work, but why has he suddenly developed an obsessive interest in astronomy?
Set around season 8/9 but not particularly canon. Written from Sam's POV.
You see, the thing with Dean is that he has to touch stuff.
Honestly, he’s like some gigantic five-year-old; can’t leave crap alone. He has to fiddle and prod and rummage. If he walks past a lever, he has to pull it, and if he ever saw a big red button that had ‘do not push’ written on it … I dread to think.
So, taking that into account, when we first set up home in the bunker, it was pretty much a given that it would be Dean who was the first one to go and check out that badass giant telescope at the end of the great hall
We’d been settling in maybe a week, maybe less, before he was there on his hands and knees, messing about with the damn thing …
“Getcha nose out of that book, and come and help me here.”
I was still trying to find my way around the library, so I wasn’t very impressed when I hauled myself out of my chair and headed into the great hall to see what was so damned urgent.
“Dean, what the hell are you doing?”
“Trying to get this thing to work.”
“Duh, well, why not, bitch?”
“Because we’ve kinda got other stuff going on at the moment, Dean; you know, angel tablets, locking the gates of hell, civil war in heaven … ring any bells?”
“Nothing that won’t wait a couple of hours while I figure this out; now are you gonna help me, or are you just gonna stand there with your hands on your hips looking like you’re sucking a lemon?”
*sigh* “What’s wrong with it?”
Dean stood up and rubbed the back of his neck. “I don’t friggin’ know,” he snorted, scrunching his nose in the way he always does when he’s frustrated and annoyed with himself.
“It won’t move.”
“Well, it hasn’t been used for sixty years,” I replied with an indifferent shrug; “it’s probably just seized a bit. Nothing that a squirt of oil won’t fix.”
“I’ve tried that already,” Dean replied, holding up a grubby can of WD40 to reinforce his point. “It hasn’t made any difference; all I can see is some dead lump of rock somewhere in space. That’s all it’s fixed on.”
“Have you tried loosening any of the nuts and bolts?”
“Duh, of course!” Dean snorted; “and I’ve tried dismantling all the mounting clamps, but it’s well and truly jammed.”
“Have you tried reading the instruction manual?”
“Don’t be stupid Sam, there isn’t a stupid instruction manual; this thing’s about two hundred years old.”
“Fine, please yourself … I don’t know what’s wrong with it and I’ve got work to do.”
I decided to leave Dean to it; there was a whole raft of research to do on the shitstorm that was brewing around us, and the chances of Dean getting down to any of that while he was otherwise occupied with that goddamn monstrosity in the great hall was non-existent. So the sooner he figured it out, the sooner I’d have a chance of grabbing some small portion of his miniscule attention span.
But as the evening went on, and I could hear the clink and clatter of tools as well as Dean muttering and swearing to himself, I knew that I was never going to be able to concentrate on what I was doing. To be honest my own attention span was dwindling fast – there’s only so much enochian crap you can plough through before you lose the will to live - and so partly out of curiosity and partly out of self-preservation, I decided to have a trawl through the Men of Letters’ files to see if I could shed any light on the telescope.
It was surprisingly easy to find the information I was looking for. Maybe because it was all written down not long before the Letters’ demise in 1958, so the file was one of the last ones they documented, but whatever, I figured it would help Dean, so I took the file through to the great hall.
“Hey Dean …”
He was sprawled face up on the floor between the legs of the tripod on which the telescope was mounted, a screwdriver between his teeth, tapping the main tube of the telescope with a hammer.
“DEAN,” I yelled; “what the hell are you doing? That’s a precision instrument.”
“And …?” Dean grunted past the screwdriver through clenched teeth.
“Well, you don’t hit precision instruments with a hammer, asshat.”
“Well, how about I hit you with the freakin’ hammer instead?”
Dean was losing his patience, apparently.
“Well you can, but then I won’t be able to tell you what’s wrong with the stupid telescope,” I grinned, waggling the file enticingly over Dean’s face.
He frowned, eyes narrowing curiously.
“It’s the answer to your problem,” I replied with a smug grin; “some of us don’t need to resort to brute force to solve our puzzles.”
Dean grumbled something unintelligible and no doubt obscene as he wriggled out from under the tripod, nearly garrotting himself when the screwdriver between his teeth jammed on the framework.
The file explained how the Men of Letters had been tracking a witch. Hundreds of years old, profoundly evil and so immensely powerful that there was no magic on earth that could kill or contain her. Sam could see Dean’s eyebrows take a march upwards as he read how the Letters had made a pact with Death to spirit her out of this world and deposit her onto a remote planet where she wouldn’t be able to hurt anyone else.
The file went on to explain how it was believed that being isolated on that remote planet had stifled her powers, leaving her unable to practice any magic and therefore, more importantly, make an escape and find her way back to earth.
Not taking any chances, the Letters had set their powerful telescope on that fixed point in the galaxy in order to keep an eye on their exiled witch, and then bespelled it so that it could never be moved.
Dean looked up at Sam, then back at the giant telescope. “Wow,” he remarked absently, scratching his head; “so she’s up there on that dead rock I keep seeing.”
He paused for a moment; “although, I haven’t seen her yet. You don’t reckon she’s escaped, do you?”
I shrugged; “Shouldn’t think so, if she’s lost her magic powers, then she’s not going anywhere.”
Dean shuffled through the papers again without, it seemed, a great deal of enthusiasm, now that he’d found the somewhat disappointing answer to his riddle, when he found a small scrap of folded paper which I’d missed, tucked away in a pocket of the folder.
Dean unfolded it, and I saw a grin spread slowly across his face as he read the words. I know from experience that could only be a bad thing …
Then he read the handwritten note out loud:
My name is Thomas Bruton and I have been charged with this task of monitoring the telescope to make sure that the witch who we banished mere weeks ago is still trapped on that barren planet so far away, and will remain so. I am to watch her from time to time for any signs that she may be scheming or plotting or attempting an escape. Sometimes I can peek through the telescope and she will walk across its field of view within moments. Other times I sit here and wait for hours for her to appear.
The thing is, I understand that I am the least experienced and youngest member of the chapter, and as is the case with every workplace, it’s the new guy that gets all the unpleasant and boring tasks. However, I can’t honestly say this task is unpleasant …
Morwenna, the witch is a beauty unparalleled in my eyes.
Her copper-bronze hair tumbles down over her slim shoulders, and seems never to end. The haughty arrogance in her heavy-lashed feline eyes is mesmerising; like two amber jewels glimmering with defiance. It is the key to her power; her beauty draws others to her; transfixes them, and then they are lost – like hapless flies trapped in the diaphanous beauty of a spider web.
But moreso than this, she practices naked …
Dean actually let out a quiet whimper at this point …
… She believes the closeness to nature sharpens and strengthens her power, and having been the very epitome of the darkest of dark magic for over five hundred years, one cannot disagree with her.
All I know is that I relish the sessions I spend sitting at the telescope seeking her out. My colleagues think I am bored to tears, but nothing could be further from the truth. I am not looking forward to the day that they decide I have served my apprenticeship and they want me to undertake more ‘challenging’ tasks within the Men of Letters.
I will miss my magnificent copper-haired enchantress as she lives out her melancholy exile in the black and desolate emptiness of space.
Thomas Bruton, Man of Letters – Kansas. Twenty Seventh of April, the year Nineteen Hundred and Fifty Six.
I think I might have shot myself in the foot here.
It’s been three days and Dean’s been camped out at that goddamn telescope. Any chance I had of securing his help for the small matters of Heaven, Hell or anything in between, is well and truly gone.
Apparently Thomas Bruton, the pervy ass, has piqued Dean’s curiosity, and now Dean’s not shifting his ass away from that stupid telescope until he’s got a look at this freaking Morwenna. According to Dean, telescopes are ‘supposed to be used for looking at heavenly bodies, aren’t they?’ Oh yeah, ha – freakin’ ha, jerk!
I suppose, on the plus side at least he’s not downloading Casa Erotica on my laptop at the moment; there is that; but even so …
I’ve given up. It looks like I’ll be resolving all the problems of the universe on my ownsome until Dean’s upstairs brain re-engages at some point in the dim, distant future.
It happened on the fourth day.
I was sitting in the library poring over some Etruscan texts when Dean walked into the room. I looked up and – holy crap – I’m tempted to say he looks like he’d seen a ghost, except that when he sees a ghost, Dean usually looks stoked and excited and slightly deranged.
“Sam,” he croaked.
“What the hell?” I asked, immediately jumping out of my chair. Jeez, the man looked like he’d just run over a puppy.
Dean was shaking as he sat down opposite me, and looked for all the world like he was going to puke.
“Uh, do you need a bucket, man?” I asked gently.
He shook his head and swallowed deeply.
“I just saw her,” Dean eventually managed to choke out.
“You just … what the hell? Is she trying to escape?” My mind whirled as I tried to process Dean’s reaction; “’cause we really don’t need some evil-as-heck witch prowling around while we’ve got all the rest of this crap going on.”
Dean shook his head again.
“I saw her,” he muttered again; like some kind of pitiful, hollow-eyed torture victim who’s been conditioned under duress to say the right thing.
“And …” I prompted, getting increasingly concerned. This really wasn’t the reaction I’d expected from Dean after copping a look at some naked raving beauty.
Actually I’d been trying very hard not to think about what his reaction would be.
“And, her magic powers started wearing off sixty years ago,” he replied cryptically.
“Yeah,” I prompted.
“And she’s six hundred years old.”
“Yea … aaah …” I was starting to get a picture in my mind now; and it wasn’t a pleasant one.
“And she’s naked.”
It took a few seconds for my mind to process the information.
“I can’t unsee it, Sam,” Dean wailed; “it’s there, forever … seared across my eyes!”
I walked round to Dean, and helped him up out of his seat; “okay there dude, let’s just try to forget about the whole thing, shall we? There are a few copies of Busty Asian Beauties and a bottle of Jack in your room; that should help.”
I guided him out of the library and through the great hall toward his room, tactfully pulling the curtain across the alcove which housed the offending telescope as we went.
“BURN IT,” Dean shouted; “BURN IT WITH FIRE!”
“There, there,” I sighed; “a few shots of Jack and a lobotomy and you’ll be fine.”
I let him go as I opened the door to this room, and watched him totter, weak-kneed into its welcoming space.
Heck, I need a beer.
As I walked back through the great hall toward the library, I glanced across to the closed curtains and shuddered …
And that, right there, is why no-one ever looks in the Men of Letters’ giant telescope.