moragmacpherson: (discworld)
moragmacpherson ([personal profile] moragmacpherson) wrote2010-05-04 09:10 pm
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Fic: A Grand Sneer - Chapter 3/10 (Supernatural/Discworld BigBang)

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Chapter Three

Dean stepped back. "What? I haven't destroyed any world, much less worlds plural."

The little old man kept smiling. "Perhaps you are a late-bloomer. You've certainly done a fine job of destroying a lot of sensitive equipment, but I'm getting ahead of myself. Please, sit. I've only just arrived myself and could use a bit of refreshment, and you've traveled much farther than I."

All of the confusion and anger that Dean was feeling had settled into an itchy feeling in his fists, and Dean knew just the outlet for it, but he doubted that Vimes would approve of Dean punching out a senior-citizen monk. Trapped in this walled alley, it seemed unwise to alienate the closest thing he had to an ally at the moment. Dean looked to the commander for a cue and when he saw Vimes take a seat by the tea tray, Dean followed his example.

To his surprise, small talk ensued. He learned Vimes was the father of a healthy toddler when the monk asked after a 'young Sam' while pouring out steaming mugs of tea. "Just fine, running all over the place, have to figure out some way to keep him out of the dragon pens. Sybil's looking at schools for him. She's thinking the Frout Academy," said Vimes, adjusting in his seat as he sipped from his cup.

The monk's eyes crinkled even further at the reply. His voice, however, came out evenly. "I think that would be a very wise choice, Sir Samuel. But we ignore our guest." The Sweeper sat down and a hand-rolled cigarette appeared in his fingers, and hell, did everyone smoke in this place? "I interrupted any proper introduction earlier, so allow me to begin. I am the sweeper Lu-Tze, of the Fighting Order of Wen the Eternally Surprised. You may think of us as the History Monks."

Dean straightened his shoulders. "Sounds like a fun bunch. I'm Dean Winchester, hunter and reluctant time-traveler."

"Is that what you think you are?" Lu-Tze lit his smoke and inhaled deeply. "Perhaps it's loosely true, but the question of time in such matters is difficult to define. Regardless, whether or not you've traveled in time has little to do with your presence here."

Both Dean and Vimes blinked. "If he didn't travel through time, where did he come from then?" asked Vimes.

"It's difficult to say exactly. He came from the library, we know that much," said Lu-Tze.

Dean pressed his lips together, fists twitching by his sides. "I could have told you that."

"You might have saved us a lot of time, back at the monastery. You see, Mister Winchester, we History Monks have long known that it is possible to travel between points in space and time using the principles of bibliodistortion. We just didn't realize the distances that L-space was capable of connecting."

Dean and Vimes shared a look. "Come again?" requested Dean.

Lu-Tze sighed. "It's very simple. Large collections of books can alter the fabric of the multiverse. You started in a library in one world, you ended in a library in a different world. This world. The Disc."

Dean shook his head, waving his hands. "No way. If I'm in another world, how come you're all speaking English?"

Vimes gave Dean a blank look. "We're speaking Morporkian," he said.

Lu-Tze tilted his head. "Very interesting. Your English and our Morporkian are the same? That's Just Plain Weird." Dean could hear the capital letters. Lu-Tze paused before ticking off other possibilities on his fingers. "Or it could be Historical Convergence, maybe Narrative Causality."

At that Dean covered his eyes with his fingers. "Oookay. It sounds like English, but when you speak it I can't understand a damn word."

Lu-Tze's smile was kinder now. "The Abbot will be intrigued. But as to your presence here, we're not entirely sure why you're here: when you came through, you crashed our mandalas by dumping the entire history of your world in them in a single instant. We're a little bit clearer on the how you got here-"

Dean snorted. "Yeah, yeah, it was the angels, I know."

But instead of nodding in confirmation, Lu-Tze had a confused look for a moment before shaking his head. "Angels? I don't think so. It wasn't caused by any external influence that we can tell. The Abbot thinks a soft place in the fabric of space-time broke under the stress of your extremely high levels of quantum potential. After we calculated that, I was sent down here to assess the possible damage."

"It's not an explanation if we don't know any of the words you say, Sweeper," said Vimes.

Dean nodded, feeling a little disoriented by the revelation that this whole experience wasn't another exercise in angelic manipulation. "What he said."

Finally Lu-Tze's grin faded as his brow furrowed. "How to explain this - there are those people whom history finds, and then there are those who find history. Quantum potential is a measurement of a person's probable influence on the lives of others. You, Sir Samuel, are a powerful figure in this city: you have stopped multiple wars, arrested heads of state, and have redefined the concept of rule of law throughout the world. Very high quantum potential, maybe fifteen or so people alive on the Disc today have more." The Sweeper's teeth gleamed as he smiled again. "If your potential could fill the cup in my hand, then by the same scale, the quantum potential of Mister Winchester would fill this entire garden, up to roughly a foot below the wall."

Vimes' eyes widened. "Huh." Dean could feel Vimes' gaze on him, re-evaluating him, and fought the urge to hunch his shoulders under the scrutiny. After all, having heard Lu-Tze's synopsis of Vimes' life, Dean was looking at the commander with new eyes as well. "What's that mean?"

Lu-Tze took another long drag from his cigarette. "The boys back at the monastery are still trying to process all of the information, so we have only the vaguest ideas, but in general terms, it means he'll have the opportunity to save or destroy an entire world. As I said, Destroyer of Worlds."

Dean leaned forward. "But you said I could save it instead. Why call me Destroyer?"

"Yes, well, I needed to find out if you were a threat to this world. Saying it like that, I wanted to see if it would start you telling me all of your evil plans. Destroyers of worlds tend to be big on that sort of thing. You didn't."

"And if I were a threat?" asked Dean.

Lu-Tze's eyes twinkled. "Then I would deal with you."

It was stated as plain fact, and Dean caught the underlying meaning: Lu-Tze would have had no problem dealing with something he considered a threat to this world. Had maybe faced this sort of thing before. Dean noted the monk's casual posture. Had maybe dealt with this kind of thing several times before. It was a probably a good thing that he hadn't gone ahead and punched the guy. "So, you've decided I'm not dangerous, what now?"

Lu-Tze laughed, a high, wheedling noise. "I decided you weren't a threat, I never said you weren't dangerous." He sucked on the cigarette like it owed him something. "What's next is up to you."

Dean fought the urge to laugh back in Lu-Tze's face. So few things in his life were up to him anymore. "I want to go home."

Lu-Tze shook his head. "Admirable, to want to get back to that responsibility so quickly, but I don't have the ability to send you back." He slurped at his tea, producing the maximum amount of noise. "If you were a time-traveler, that would be one thing, but traveling between worlds," and he shook his head with regret and a trace of something else, "this is a problem beyond the abilities of my order." The monk scowled and set his mug down hard on the tray. "You'll have to talk to someone more experienced with this kind of situation."

"The wizards?" asked Vimes, with a note of distaste in his voice. Dean took this revelation in stride: it was a world where they had trolls and dwarfs and time-traveling monks, why wouldn't they have wizards and witches and God knew what else? He'd have to ask about sasquatches.

Lu-Tze flicked a column of ash away. "It would be a good place to start, I think. The Librarian knows more about L-space than anyone else on the Disc."

Vimes stood, his joints cracking. "I was hoping to avoid them."

"Better you than I, Sir Samuel," said Lu-Tze. "Did you have any other questions, Dean Winchester?"

About ten thousand or so, but now that he tried to choose one they all fluttered away from him. Dean grasped at the ghosts of them: came up with just one. "Did anything else come through here, with me?"

Lu-Tze's eyes narrowed and he gave Dean a look that Dean couldn't decipher before he answered. "There was an entity that came through at the same time, but it died almost immediately. The passage as it existed when you created it was open for mere moments. As far as we can tell, the worlds are now as separate and distinct as they were before." He leaned back. "If there was anything else chasing you, it can't find you here."

Dean rose to his feet, which felt just a little wobbly under him. "Good. Good." The tulpa hadn't hurt anyone and no angels coming here to surprise him with bonus crazy made things less complicated. Dean drank the tea in one gulp, ignoring the sour aftertaste, trying to process everything he'd just been told. If he had that really high quantum-thingy, then his brother probably had it too. If Sam went looking for him, maybe he'd pop up in the library too. And Sam would be looking for him, there was no doubt of that.

Lu-Tze stubbed out his cigarette as Vimes and Dean moved towards the door. "I'll be keeping an eye on your situation, Mr. Winchester, so long as you're in my world. Good luck." Dean met the monk's gaze as he said this and nodded, understanding it to be both reassurance and warning. He was being tolerated, even assisted, but he was far from being trusted. Seeing Lu-Tze's smile, Dean couldn't help but wish he had his weapons back, even if he wasn't sure how much they would help.

Vimes and Dean left the shop wordlessly, returning to the streets, streets that were on a whole other world - a Disc, apparently, and Dean wondered what that meant. The monks seemed to know an awful lot about time, almost like the angels back home if slightly less bent on destroying humanity: wouldn't they know that planets were round? So much about this place was familiar, and Lu-Tze had been right, that was just plain weird, but now that Dean knew it was a different world all together he was seeing more and more things that were just a little bit off. And then there were the big things like the trolls and the dwarfs and wizards and other strange-looking people that he saw on the street. Was that a trash heap pulling a wagon full of garbage?

Dean grabbed at the wall and stopped, pressing his forehead against the relatively clean brick. A few moments later, Vimes had returned to his side. "Dibbler's pies?" he asked, his voice crisp.

"No," murmured Dean. He risked another glimpse at the street, then shook his head, his voice rising. "It's just - another world?"

Vimes swallowed. "Yes, I, uh, can see how that would be a lot to handle." He leaned up against the wall a few feet away, pulling out another cigar and giving Dean the space that he needed, and if they were other people, Dean might have thanked him for it. But they weren't, so Dean just stayed there, face to the wall, trying to pull himself together, listening to the sound of blood rushing through his head and the alien noises of Ankh-Morpork. After a few minutes, the set of his shoulders moved back, and Vimes straightened. "Let's get back to the station, eh?"

Dean nodded and they started walking. "I thought we were going to see the wizards," said Dean, allowing himself a quick chuckle at the phrase even as it escaped his lips.

Vimes grunted. "I'll send you off to them, lad, but I've already had my fill of insanity for the day, and anyways, I have paperwork to attend to." He flicked some ash away and gave Dean a sideways glance. "So you can destroy a whole world, can you?"

"Don't want to. I've been trying to avoid it," said Dean with a shrug. "That's the angels' thing, not mine."

"Angels, right." Vimes' hand returned to its rest on his truncheon. "So there's no danger of you doing it here, then?"

Dean glared at Vimes for a moment. "I don't want to cause any trouble, I just want to get home." Where he could get back to causing trouble, but that was none of Vimes' business.

"Fine, fine, had to make sure. Best to nip that sort of thing in the bud." Vimes bared his teeth in an expression that wasn't quite a smile. "How do you get into the world-destroying racket anyway? I had you picked out as more of the petty-mercenary type, small potatoes. What is it you do on that other world?"

Dean sighed. "I'm, uh, well, I kill monsters. Hunt evil. Save lives. At least, that's what I used to do. These days, I dunno. All of this destiny bullshit, feels like I'm more trouble than good."

"How's the pay for that?"


"Hmm." Vimes didn't say anything else for several blocks, and Dean felt even more exposed. He didn't know why he'd said all of that: he wasn't in the habit of voicing his insecurities to anyone, much less to cops he'd just met. But Dean realized that he liked Vimes: liked the man's straight-forward manner, liked that he'd actually heard Dean out, liked what Lu-Tze had to say about him. Stopping wars? Arresting the assholes in charge? If there'd been cops like that back home, Dean might have joined the force.

About a block from the station, Vimes stopped. Dean froze but didn't sense anything wrong, so he turned to face his guide. Dean couldn't make out the meaning behind the solid set of Vimes' jaw and shoulders, so he tilted his head. Vimes took another puff from his cigar. "Hunting evil? Sounds like good work. But the problem with hunting evil is knowing what it looks like. Like that gonne of yours. I'd say that was evil, you seem to have a different opinion. Worst thing of all is when evil looks like the man giving you the orders." His jaw worked around. "Among the things it doesn't look like is Sergeant Detritus." Dean looked down at this, felt embarrassment burning at his cheeks. Vimes puffed at his cigar. "But I understand how you could have gotten confused at first. So we'll get you home, Winchester, where you can blast away at the evil you know. Until you get back, however, check with one of us to see if it's evil before you start shooting." Vimes nodded to himself and proceeded on towards the station. As Dean followed, he had a smile on his face.

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