Tangible Schizophrenia


The Other Phone Call

Author: Guede Mazaka
Rating: PG
Pairing: Stephen/Sybil. Gen on the Winchesters’ end.
Feedback: Good lines, typos, etc.
Disclaimer: The Supernatural characters and set-up belong to the WB, not me.
Notes: Sybil and Stephen are original characters from my Nanowrimo novel, so they’re mine. Set after episode 111 (Scarecrow). Sequel to The Other Woman in White. For alethialia on her birthday.
Summary: Dean wants a second opinion on something.


Ring, ring.

“Sybil…’s your phone.”


“Sybil. C’mon. Answer the damn thing.”

“Fuck. I know, I know, I…where is the fucking…there.” Click. “Dean, you goddamn piece of shit. What month is it?”

*April? Nice to hear you again, Sy—*

“Fuck off.”

“Wha…who’s that? Dean? That guy from—”

“From when you went off and were an idiot about the Bai She thing, yeah. Go back to sleep, Stephen. And get off my leg; you’re smushing the bones. Dean, what did I tell you?”

*Burkitsville. Indiana. Ever hear of the place?*

“…out-of-season apples and a scarecrow anyone but you idiots need to stay the hell away from. Fuck, what week is it? Oh…so that’s what you did this week.”

[Awkward pause on Dean’s end. Sybil rolls over and flops with face in pillow.]

*You knew about this place?*

“It puts out award-winning cider. I got dragged down one weekend by some former friends and got to watch them get embarrassingly drunk. Then I got to evil-eye the goddamn sheriff till he knew damn sure that I would fuck his shit up if he didn’t graciously let me haul my moronic, comatose buddies out of there.”

*You. Knew. About. This. Place.*

[Stephen turns over and nuzzles Sybil’s shoulder. Sybil shrugs him off. He comes back and she lets him stay.]


*They sacrifice people here! For apples! To a scarecrow! Doesn’t that bother you any?*

“Oh, great. It’s way too late for this.”

*Sybil, you hang up and I will—*

“What, call me again and again to express your righteous indignation? For fuck’s sake, Dean. You know what they have down there?”

*A bloodthirsty Vanir and serious family issues?*

“…more like a funky interpretation of communism, but you don’t get that joke, do you? Nope, you don’t. It’s a spirit. Somebody’s ancestor called it up and bound it to the town in exchange for blood. Are you starting to get the idea now?”

*Not really, Sybil. Are you sure we shouldn’t pop up there and make sure you don’t take up baby-eating and riding brooms at night?*

“Dean, I’m Chinese. If I had a broom, the only thing I’d use it for is to beat your stupid culturally-inept skull into mush. Look, Burkitsville was founded, like half the towns in the state, by settlers that came in the nineteenth century. That’s a lot of sacrifices by now. That’s a lot of pissed-off ghosts.”

*Funnily enough, we didn’t get any of that.*

“You wouldn’t because the Vanir fed off the sacrifices. He kept down the ghosts…oh, shit. He’s not there anymore, is he? Shit. Note to self: avoid Indiana for the next four fucking decades and eight years. God, I feel sorry for whoever’s county coroner down there.”

*So you didn’t deal with him because you were afraid of the ghosts? Pull another one.*

“Fuck. Off. Yes, I’m afraid of ghosts. I’m afraid of them because they’re fucking selfish bastards and sometimes they make it difficult to stay sane if there’s enough of them around. Stephen. Stephen, wake up, goddamn it—here, take the phone for a second. I need to go tweak the wards.”

[Sybil claws off the bed. Stephen blearily blinks at the phone in his hand, then puts it to his ear.]

“…hello? Dean?”

*Dude, do you know you’re dating a sociopath?*

“…Dean, last time I cut you some slack because it was the first time you’d ever met Sybil. But she’s my girlfriend. Give that a little respect, would you?”

*Hey, I’m just trying to be helpful here. I mean, if push comes to shove, I wouldn’t want you to lose out to her self-preservation instincts.*

“She’s got good reasons for those. She can wreak a lot of damage if she wanted to.”

*Maybe she should wreak a little more damage than she does.*

“…and now I’m not jumping in the car to go over and punch you senseless because you’ve never seen her afterward. The feedback’s just…it justifies her temper all by itself. Look, she scares me. I’ll admit that. But that’s because someday the ghosts might get too much, and she’ll just lose it. She…you know, if she doesn’t think about it, she moves wrong. Too quiet. It’s scary as hell because it looks like she should be floating through walls.”

*What are you saying? She might get possessed if she does too much?*

“If she just got possessed, it wouldn’t be too bad because then somebody could exorcise her. It’s more like she might forget what century this is. Think it’s the Dark Ages when it was okay to kill everyone that…oh, hey. You want the phone back?”

[Sybil climbs back on the bed. She looks at the phone with a mixture of exhaustion and irritation plus a little hurt. Then she takes it and lies down on her side. Stephen rests his face between her shoulderblades and she doesn’t resist.]

“Dean? Look. I have nothing morally…morally or emotionally against the idea of human sacrifice. I bet if you were told your brother was dying of poison and the only way to cure him was for him to eat your heart, you wouldn’t say no. And I know if there was an army coming to destroy my town and I knew I could save it by drowning one person, I probably would.”

[Stephen stiffens a little. Sybil’s eyes flick back, but she doesn’t move.]

“I tend to have intellectual problems with it because usually people aren’t doing it for survival. It should always be a last resort because the consequences? Are hellish for the people doing the sacrificing. And there always are those, though sometimes they take a while to get around to appearing.”


“That Vanir is a spirit, not a god. It can only do so much, you know. The more you want it to fix, the more blood it’s going to demand. If it doesn’t get it…well, hell, it gets pissed. And the weather’s been getting worse and worse in that area for years. It’s pretty much fucked up all the farming towns around Burkitsville.”

*Sybil, are you telling me you were going to leave it up to global warming?*

“They’re shifting the interstate to try and bring more industry to the area. In a couple years the traffic through that town is going to be a lot higher. It’ll be harder to do things without somebody noticing, plus all the extra people are going to really fuck with the local environment. Human sacrifice is expensive. In the old days, you only did it every ten years or—no, it was probably thirteen, since it’s the lunar calendar. Of course, back then that was enough. The rest of the time you could get by with sheep or whatever.”

*…that’s pretty coldblooded.*

“Me or them?”

[Silence. Stephen puts his hand over Sybil’s waist. After a pause, he pulls slightly at her. She relaxes a very little. She looks a tiny bit surprised, but only for a second.]

“Dean, it’s late. Why the hell are you calling, anyway? It’s not about Burkitsville, since you’re alive.”

*No, not really. Sybil…you like us, right? I mean, I don’t think you give out your phone number to too many people…

“Answer the fucking question. I’m tired.”

*What do you know about demons? And why did you tell me that something big was coming our way, and to remember I love Sam? Did you know something?*

[Sybil bites her lip and looks seriously annoyed, though it isn’t all directed at the phone.]

“Dean, sometimes I’m going to be vague. And I’m going to do that because while I don’t hate you enough to kill you for calling when I fucking said not to, I don’t like you that much. I don’t feel like getting into your fight. I don’t feel like doing more research when the useless little I know is telling me it’s serious shit that probably would get me killed. You’re not worth a self-sacrifice to me.”

*…anyone ever tell you you’re blunt?*

“Fuck off.”

*How about a hypothetical situation? Say a demon—a really big one—is after some people. One guy knows more, and so he sends off the others to track it down by himself. Does this make sense to you, or is it a stupid thing to do?*

“Demons aren’t omniscient. Dividing its attention isn’t completely moronic.”

*And say the others are supposed to go off and not sit at home in the middle of a bunch of protective spells, but instead do…go save people. Risk their necks for the sake of innocents. You know, what you don’t do during your free time.*

“Funny, Dean. Anyone ever tell you you’ve got a great way of convincing people to help you?”

*Answer the question, Sybil.*

“…offhand, completely hypothetical, and without me knowing all the details? It might help hide the others. If they’re going after unconnected supernatural happenings, the energies surrounding those would make them harder for anyone to track. And if the demon wants them for a reason—he’s not just fucking with them—then it’d help protect them. He wouldn’t want them to die before he got to play with them.”

[Long pause. Sybil reaches around and pulls Stephen’s hand down so it’s resting on her stomach. She looks moody.]

*That’s what I was thinking. Hypothetically, of course. Thanks, Sybil. I’ll just…fuck off now.*

“Smack Sam on the head for me. And don’t ever fucking call me at three A. M. again.

[Sybil clicks off the phone and tosses it onto a nearby table. Then she turns around and tucks herself under Stephen’s chin. From the look on Stephen’s face, this doesn’t happen often, but he isn’t going to turn it down now.]

“Burkitsville? The cider place?”

“Stephen? Did you ever drink any?”

“Nah. Cider’s not my thing. Why? Do I need to drive you down there? Because I’m not free this weekend, but…”

“…no. Actually, I will kneecap you if you ever suggest a trip there. Or drink or eat any apple products from there. But I might need a gallon of pig’s blood. Depends on if anyone from there’s attending this university…check in the morning…should be fine till then.”

“’kay. I guess I can ask Jack for you, since I see him before you do tomor…Sybil? Never mind, I guess.”

[Stephen brushes the hair out of her face before going to sleep himself.]