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Not a Victory March

Title: Not a Victory March
Fandom: Supernatural
Rating/Pairing: PG/gen
Summary: Victor Henriksen is not a stupid man. Coda for 3x12 Jus in Bello, and therefore spoilers for that episode.

Victor Henriksen is not a stupid man. He got where he is by being smart, often smarter than those he was competing with; he got where he is by being quick on his feet in a mental sense as well as a physical one.

It's what allowed him to shift gears on the Winchesters, once he found out what was going on. It wasn't that his perception of the two had changed, really: Dean was still smart-mouthed and smug, Sam more quiet and refined, both of them as hard as steel underneath, both far too devoted to each other. Both were as dangerous as anyone Henriksen had ever met, and that was saying something.

None of that had changed.

What had changed was Henriksen's perception of the world. Funny thing, really: twenty-four hours ago, if anyone had asked him whether he'd be believing in demons and ghosts, he would have thought them crazy. Only the satanistically warped or the truly gullible would believe in things like that.

But Henriksen is not stupid.

And he knows what he is now.

The last person Dean expected to see sitting on the motel room bed was Henriksen. Dean yelped. "Jeez, don't you knock or anything?" he demanded. A part of him noted with amused detachment that he had already reclassified Henriksen from enemy to friend; there hadn't even been the remotest thought of going for a gun.

Henriksen looked up and shrugged, saying nothing.

"Wait," Dean said, blinking as his brain caught up. "I thought you were dead."

Henriksen's mouth quirked in a wry smile. "Why would you think that?"

"The news reports--" Dean gestured lamely at the TV, even though it was turned off. "The explosion--" He stuttered for a moment more, then shrugged. "Anyway, I'm glad I was wrong."

He was, too; that wasn't just small talk. Dean could fight side-by-side with just about anyone, in a pinch, but fighting next to Henriksen had felt somehow comfortable. Something he could get used to -- not that particularly he wanted to get used to being around FBI, but if Henriksen maybe decided to retire and become a hunter, now that he knew what was out there...

Henriksen said, quietly, "You weren't."


"You weren't wrong. About what happened."

Dean took a moment to process that, with Henriksen watching him intently.

"Shit," he said finally. He came over to the bed, squinting, looking for any hint of transparency or the telltale flicker of a ghost, but Henriksen seemed real enough. "So you're..."

Henriksen lifted his hand and passed it through Dean's hip. It would have been a strangely intimate gesture if it had connected. There was nothing. "You did tell me ghosts were real," he said wryly. His expression said, /I just didn't think I'd be one./

"I... oh man." Dean sat down on the other bed. "I'm sorry."

"Yeah, well. I figured I should warn you." Henriksen's gaze had more weight than his fingers had. "You know how that one demon mentioned Lilith? And that she's after you? She is."

"So Lilith was there," Dean said. "Just after we were." It was less a question and more a confirmation of what Ruby had told them.

"Pretty much." His gaze became unfocused for a moment, like he was seeing something other than the motel room. "--and she's a bit creepy, too."

("I'm looking for two boys," she'd said, her voice sweet with a child's innocence, but there had been no innocence in grey milkiness to her eyes, in the way she'd lifted her hand, in the burning heat that had followed.

Henriksen isn't quite sure how long he'll remain himself -- he'd never been much of a believer in an afterlife anyway -- but he knows that as long as he does, he won't ever forget that moment.)

"So what happens now?" Henriksen asked, finally.

"We hide, I guess." Dean shrugged. "Sam and me, we need to ... figure out our next move."

"I mean about me. This can't be normal."

Dean looked at him. "Normal," he echoed, voice breaking with laughter despite himself. "For us?"

Henriksen almost smiled. "Good point."

"It's not normal, though, no. I mean... ghosts happen, but not like this, and..." Dean shrugged, feeling a bit helpless. He didn't really want to say that most ghosts were evil. "Also, normally the next step would be to get at your remains, salt them and burn them, but I don't think there were any remains."

"Oh." Henriksen's expression shifted to one of sudden comprehension. "That gets rid of ghosts? I guess that maybe explains the grave desecrations."

"Maybe," Dean agreed, smiling a little. "Hey, uh, thanks."

"For the warning, or for figuring out that you're one of the good guys?" Henriksen's voice was tinged with irony, like he was willing to trust Dean when it came to dealing with demons but not when it came to being a good guy.

"Both," Dean said, and grinned a little. "But more the latter. Took you long enough."

"What can I say," Henriksen said, "I'm a slow learner."

No, Dean thought, you're not; but he looked down without saying it, and when he looked up, Henriksen was gone.


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