[personal profile] brightly_lit
Title: Principle
Author: [personal profile] brightly_lit
Rating: PG
Word Count: 1,700
Characters: Dean, OMC
Genre: gen, outsider pov, Winchesters versus law enforcement
Summary: It's never what a cop expects when they encounter a Winchester. Dead body, check. Highly competent criminality, check. Lecture on right and wrong? Uhhh ....



Some punk was creeping around in the underbrush outside an old ramshackle abandoned property. Steve would never have caught him if he hadn’t seen the suspicious-looking black muscle car parked by the road at the head of the path.

“Hold it where you are,” Steve said sharply after taking out his gun and taking off the safety. He hadn’t had to fire his gun once yet, knock on wood, but he’d listened closely to every word at the police academy, both of his instructors and those of visiting active officers who shared personal experiences and advice, and he wasn’t taking any chances. If the guy wasn’t doing anything wrong, no one would get hurt, but if he was bad news, he wouldn’t get the jump on Steve.

The guy’s reaction was nothing Steve could have predicted or prepared for; he brandished a machete, growling, “Come ’n’ get me, vamp.”

“Sir, drop your weapon,” Steve ordered. Surely in the dark, the guy couldn’t see his hands shake.

The guy peered at Steve curiously, then held up his hands--not dropping the machete. “I don’t want any trouble, officer,” the guy said, going for winning. “Sorry. Just, uh ... this is my aunt’s property. She said there’s bats in there; I told her I’d chase ’em out for her.”

“At night, without a flashlight?” Steve asked dubiously, feeling more confident. This guy seemed all right. A liar, but not a psychopath. “Can I see your i.d.?”

“I left it at home,” he lied further. “But my name’s Dean. My aunt lives just up the road. If you want to walk up there and ask her ....”

“If you aren’t doing anything wrong, then you won’t mind accompanying me back to the station. After you drop your weapon,” he added pointedly.

“Jeez, a guy tries to chase away some bats for his aunt and gets arrested? Tell you what; I’ll get out of your hair.”

This guy was dirty all over; Steve could feel it. Machete, nothing but lies, now making his escape; he’d do anything to avoid getting i.d.’d. Steve could get him on trespassing right now, and if he resisted arrest, which Steve was sure he would, he’d have a lot more to hold him while they looked up what Steve was now sure would be a miles-long record of criminal behavior. Trouble was, Steve was alone on patrol and had followed this path on a whim. Backup wouldn’t arrive in time, and Steve doubted he could subdue the suspect without shooting him. What was the right thing to do? He couldn’t just let him go. He’d already dutifully written down Dean’s license plate number, and a description of the car, so when Dean made his break for it, if nothing else, Steve could immediately call it in and hopefully another officer would be able to catch him.

Then suddenly someone--or something--darted out of the building, right toward Steve! Steve turned, cocked his weapon and fired at it, since his gun was already out and ready--Dean’s accomplice, it had to be!--only just as quickly, Dean jumped forward and--and chopped off their head! Steve wouldn’t have believed it if the head didn’t come to a rest right at his feet, looking up at him with a now vacant stare. Steve looked slowly up at Dean, huge-eyed.

Dean nodded at him, as if sure somehow this would square things between them. “There’s more of them--” he began, before Steve pointed his gun again at Dean.

Dean danced back. “Hey, hey--I just did you a solid, man! He would’ve killed you! Look, I’mma level with you. That thing was a vampire, and I’m a vampire hunter. Just like Buffy, eh? But cuter. In this abandoned building is a whole nest of ’em. Is-- Was. Fuck,” he growled as he watched several more figures shoot out of the far door of the building and disappear into the night. “Great,” he grumbled.

“Sir, you’re going to have to come with me,” Steve said. It didn’t matter if Dean could hear how his voice was shaking, because he was the one holding the gun, and the position of authority. Steve carefully removed the handcuffs from his belt and held them warily toward Dean. “Please. Before somebody else gets hurt.”

“You’re the one that tried to shoot him! And why do you think it didn’t work? Because he’s a vampire, I’m telling you!”

“Exactly how he died is for forensics to sort out. Sir, come with me. I don’t want to have to shoot you ... but I will.” He set his trembling jaw, taking another step toward Dean.

Again, Steve was startled when Dean didn’t surrender or attack, but suddenly made a break for it, into the building. Steve could hear his footsteps pounding against the creaky wooden floorboards as Steve gave chase. Dean burst out the still-open far door the other people had escaped through and ran into the forest, only when Steve burst out seconds after him, all was still, no tell-tale footfalls to let Steve know the direction he was headed. Unsurprisingly, Dean had experience running from the cops. He was hiding somewhere nearby, just out of sight.

Steve radioed for backup. “One suspect beheaded by the suspect I’m pursuing on foot near Windmill Falls.”

He heard the hesitation in the dispatcher’s voice. “... ‘Beheaded’?”

“Affirmative.”

He’d just requested backup and reholstered his radio when he heard a click by his ear. “Sorry,” came Dean’s increasingly horrifying voice. How soft and genuinely apologetic it sounded made it only the more horrific out of this cold-blooded killer. “But I just can’t let you take me in. More people will die if I do. I know you don’t believe me, but I’m one of the good guys.”

“It doesn’t matter if you’re one of the ‘good guys,’” Steve spat. He’d followed procedure to the letter! His back was even still to the building! And nevertheless he’d somehow ended up on the wrong end of the gunbarrel. “You’ve committed a crime, sir, and you must pay the price.”

“Wh-- what?” Dean said, sounding baffled--and disturbingly, amused. Amused! At a time like this! “What do you mean, ‘it doesn’t matter’? It’s all that matters.”

“No, what matters is the law.”

“The spirit of the law, sure, I follow that. But the letter of the law ... everyone knows that’s stupid. Come on. I saved your life. Why do you still have it in for me?”

“I don’t have it ‘in for’ anybody. I’m an officer of the peace, and I do my duty, whatever the cost.”

“So we’ve got a lot in common, except that I don’t try to screw over someone who helped me out. Hell, even if if they just didn’t do me any harm. Look. I saved your life, you let me go; we’ll call it even. Sound good?”

“No!”

“Why not?” Dean sounded baffled.

“It’s the principle!”

“The ‘principle’?” The sneer in Dean’s tone was unmistakable--and maddening. “You think any good ever came from doing things ‘on principle’? I’ve even let vampires go, when I was pretty sure they weren’t going to do any more killing. I’ve--I’ve let all kinds of monsters go. Sometimes I regretted it. But I didn’t just kill every last one of them on ‘principle.’ You sound like the British Men of Letters or something.”

Since they’d talked all this time and Dean still hadn’t killed him, Steve dared to turn to face him, bewildered to find Dean’s expression more soft, more understanding, more human, than he’d expected. Steve tapped his badge pointedly.

Dean looked relieved, and tapped himself in the same spot, only he didn’t have a badge. It was only when Dean said, brightening, “Exactly! Like that,” that Steve realized Dean thought Steve had been tapping his heart. “Look, I know how it is with us ‘save the world’ types,” Dean said conspiratorially. “It gets rough. But you’re not gonna do any good if you don’t know saving the world is about saving the person next to you. It’s about two guys here having an understanding, right? You can’t just follow the law; you have to think about what’s right. The right thing to do.”

“If we don’t have the law, then what do we have?” Steve snapped.

“Our humanity,” Dean said, as if it was the most obvious thing in the world. Steve eyed the gun in his hand pointedly, then looked back at Dean. Holding a guy at gunpoint? Not the most ‘human’ act. If Steve were to just listen to his heart ... sure, he’d let him go. He seemed like a swell guy. A naïve guy, maybe, believing if everyone just listened to their hearts and helped out every criminal who was capable of a (perhaps accidental) good deed, the world would be saved. But clearly, this guy knew nothing about saving the world. Everyone had to be treated exactly the same, or some people would be at a disadvantage, and Steve wouldn’t let that happen if he could help it. He’d punish everyone exactly the same for the same crime. How could he live with himself otherwise?

Dean went on, as if he really thought he the criminal was schooling a cop about right and wrong. “We both walk away, nobody loses. But if somebody here has to pull a trigger ... nobody wins.”

Two cars pulled up at the top of the path in rapid succession. Steve’s backup.

Dean started backing away carefully, his gun still trained on Steve. Dean pointed to himself with his other finger. “Good guy,” he repeated, before disappearing into the woods. Pretty certain that Dean would shoot if he pursued, Steve stayed where he was until his fellow officers arrived. He apprised them of the situation, whereupon they began a manhunt, sweeping the woods.

Steve knew Dean was surely already long gone, though they’d impounded his car. But this was procedure, and he was sticking to it. He had to. There was a dead body on the ground, and he’d lost the perp. It was the principle.

Date: 2017-05-26 02:55 pm (UTC)
caranfindel: (Default)
From: [personal profile] caranfindel
Dean pointed to himself with his other finger. “Good guy,” he repeated, before disappearing into the woods.

Ha! This is so very Dean! <3

Date: 2017-05-26 03:09 pm (UTC)
kalliel: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kalliel
Aw, Steve. <333 My favorite moment is when Steve taps his badge and Dean misunderstands the gesture. I think it does a good job of encapsulating the complexity of where Steve ends up at the end of this fic--he doesn't just take Dean at his word and go along with Dean's version of things, but he also doesn't discount him entirely. (I wouldn't be inclined to trust him immediately, either! Both because I feel like both context and general demeanor don't often work in Dean's favor and also because YOUR AUNT'S BATS, REALLY DEAN. REALLY. XDDD Classic!) Happy to see writing from you, bb! <3333

Date: 2017-06-02 12:51 am (UTC)
kalliel: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kalliel
I just threw out the first thing that came to my mind

And that's why it's so perfect! And lol, you're totally right. In spite of the fact that you should probably have go-to explanations for these kinds of things, that pre-planning has clearly never happened. Perfect the FBI guise, sure, but remember to have a stash of decent explanations for skulking around with a machete? NEVER. Maybe Dean thinks he's better at improv than acting... THESE THINGS HAVE GOTTA COME FROM THE HEART, THE MOMENT, THE--UH... no, I don't have a good explanation for why I'm here with this sharp implement. XD
Edited Date: 2017-06-02 12:52 am (UTC)

Date: 2017-05-26 03:50 pm (UTC)
madebyme_x: (Default)
From: [personal profile] madebyme_x
Wonderful!!! I loved Steve and his letter of the law principles, and how Dean persuades him with his humanity argument. I always enjoy an outsider POV, so this was such a treat. Take care :)

Date: 2017-05-29 04:52 am (UTC)
ladygreytowers: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ladygreytowers
Awesome, Loved this. So very Dean and the poor officer trying to do everything right. LOL Nice to see you writing again. missed you. Thanks

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