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Supernatural Gen Fanworks Exchange
Summer 2019
Rae's Diner, for indiachick 
22nd-Jul-2017 06:32 pm
Mod2017
Title: Rae's Diner
Recipient: indiachick
Rating: G
Word Count or Media: digital art and a drabble to go with it; 750 words
Warnings: temporary (canon) character death
Summary: Somewhere in the woods a lonely heartbreak diner stands.




Her name is Rae.

Well, it's much more complicated and convoluted than that, but for humans, her name is Rae, because humans like simple things they can say easy and roll around in their mouths. She's been around for a long, long time, village to town, town to city, city to wilderness.

It's a gift and a curse, what she has. A touch of hands, that's all it takes for her to feed. Thankfully, she's not the monstrous kind of a thing that feasts on flesh and blood and asks for more. These were invented much later on when the Great Maker's fantasy grew twisted and vicious, his fallen angel son taking up the monster masterpiece together with her who they called Eve. Rae was a much earlier design, made to make it easier on humanity, to alleviate their suffering rather than add to it, bloody and gory.

Rae gorges herself on pain and sorrow and heartbreak and licks her fingers clean after. The human who she's been finger-locked with leaves all the lighter for it. Tears go up into smoke at the mere touch of her hand.

Everybody wins.

Rae's seen rise and fall and rise of civilizations and traveled the world. No matter where humanity is, no matter what they're doing, building huts or ships or computers, there's never a shortage of pain. She's never out of food, never starves even when humanity does.

It's only fair she feeds them in return, so she opens places to sell food in: taverns and carts, cafes and coffee shops — but she moves as quick as she comes, because never aging a day can only be blamed on a good skincare routine for so long. They burn witches at some point and she'd really rather not have to deal with that. It stings, chars... takes up your whole day to deal with.

Eventually, Rae opens a diner off the main routes, somewhere in the woods of America. It's nice and quiet and people pass her by which means she can stay for a damn long while, much longer than she would be able to stay in a town or a big city (not to toot her own horn, but her pie is very good). This way, almost no one comes back, all travelers and vagabonds just passing her diner by.

She eats up a lonely man's heartbreak over his fiancé leaving for breakfast and pats a scorned mother's hand for lunch. For dinner, she's going to have herself whatever woe it is that the long-haired man in the corner is having.

Rae introduces herself. As usual. Asks him what he would like. As usual. Reaches out to touch his hand. As usual.

And she chokes, she chokes hard.

It's pain and loss and grief and anger and more pain intertwined in a barbed-wire mesh ball sitting firmly in between the man's ribs. He's lost— yes, he's lost his brother to something with sharp claws and teeth not so long ago and he's blaming himself for it. That nice black car standing outside of the diner's his.

And Rae can't do a damn thing for him. That pain's too big and the man's too well-accustomed to it, too used to cradling it to his chest like a mother cradles a baby. It burns his fingers but he still holds on, revenge running through his veins like fuel, jaw set like a wounded predator animal.

Rae knows, she knows oh so well there are ways to bring what's lost back, yank it from behind the veil and back into this world, and if anyone's ever done anything like that, it'd have to be this guy. It's always messy and earth-shattering and gnarly, when someone opens hell's mouth wide open. She's not looking forward to that.

His plaid matches her checkered tablecloth. His shoulders drawn inward. He doesn't look dangerous, but the most dangerous things never do.

Rae's going to open her next business somewhere far, far from America. Amsterdam sounds pretty nice.

She doesn't want to be in the blast wave when this brother of his is inevitably in his arms again.

Rae sets a plate of pecan pie in front of him. On the house, she says, and he thanks her and drops his head. The plate's left untouched, but when Rae goes to wash it, the drops left over on it sizzle into smoke when she tries to wipe them off.

The door slams behinds him.

Yes, Amsterdam. Definitely.
Comments 
22nd-Jul-2017 10:55 pm (UTC)
This is gorgeous. There's just so much sheer artistry to it. The mod 50s styling of the diner juxtaposes so well against Rae's own ambiguous figure, and the shadowy suggestion of the trees beyond. You can feel the fogcover, and imagine the dew dampness of the copse of trees in the background, hear the buzz of the fluorescent lights. And the words that accompany it just bring it home all the more. I adore Rae as a baku-type spirit, and the idea of her setting up a diner in the middle of nowhere because it affords her more time to stay in one place without anyone noticing. I feel like surely we've all had that thought--like, how do those kinds of places stay in business? The thought of them run by monsters like Rae is very endearing.

And her description of Sam's pain--and even more poignantly, his attachment to it/his expectation that this is something that cannot be lifted, and that he will carry and carry and carry as though it's its own live thing that he's responsible for--is beyond stunning.

Really phenomenal pieces. I adore these. <3333

Also, I know they weren't created for me, specifically, but they totally suit one of the prompts I submitted to a T, so it's like getting a bonus gift!! :DD
22nd-Jul-2017 11:11 pm (UTC)
The pain in this--

I loved Rae's character and was thinking how nice she'll be able to lift a little of Sam and Dean's burden--and then to get a Sam so devastated even she can't help him--man, this was amazing to read!
23rd-Jul-2017 12:29 am (UTC)
Lovely. Enjoyed this 'monster' concept and can fully understand that the Winchesters would be far too hard to digest, what with everything they've been through. Nice colours in the art too.
23rd-Jul-2017 12:58 am (UTC)
Lovely art, the light and details inside the diner are so beautiful. The way Sam sits alone there you can almost feel how much pain he's in just looking at him from a distance.

Examining Sam's state of mind while he's without Dean, how he lives and feels and gets through the day, is one of my favorite subjects to explore. And for Rae to hand him pie of all things...I love all of this.
23rd-Jul-2017 02:03 am (UTC)
very cool
23rd-Jul-2017 03:53 am (UTC)
This is beautiful!!! Both the artwork and the fic :) There's just something so atmospheric about it, so tangible... it looks and feels like an indie video game that I would pay a lot of money to play, if that makes sense.

PS: It just so happens that there is an actual, real-life Rae's Diner not too far from where I live!
23rd-Jul-2017 09:29 am (UTC)
Oh this is so thinky-good. I love the idea of Rae, a monster who really isn't a monster at all, living for eons on pain that people will be glad to get rid of. And then there's Sam - oh, yes. Holding onto his grief and anger like a lifeline and refusing to let it go.

I'm so glad you added the story to the art!

Both are fabulous!
23rd-Jul-2017 12:09 pm (UTC)
This is brilliant! I love the art, but the story grabbed my heart and won't let go.

It's so rare to see something so original after so many years... this contribution of art and fic combo is simply amazing.
23rd-Jul-2017 02:18 pm (UTC)
DAMMIT. This is amazing.
23rd-Jul-2017 04:39 pm (UTC)
The retro feel of the image is absolutely great, as is the character you've created. I wonder if Sam felt what she was trying to do?
23rd-Jul-2017 11:07 pm (UTC)
Oh, WOW. I love this so, so much! How a mere 750 words can say EVERYTHING is just marvelous. And the art? THE ART? Such a brilliantly melancholy accompaniment. <3 <3 <3
24th-Jul-2017 01:00 am (UTC)
Wow. SO GOOD. So simple, elegant and heart wrenching...
24th-Jul-2017 02:32 am (UTC)
Wow, this was so good. Pain intertwined in a barbed-wire mesh ball. Such an image.
24th-Jul-2017 09:59 am (UTC)
What a perfectly perfect fic and art combo!!! I adore this so very hard. The beautiful art and the how you say so much about Rae in so few words. I love the idea of monster so old that it helps humanity, and of course seeing her unable to feed off Sam's pain, the pain he 'cradles like a child' is just heartbreaking.

Thank you so much for sharing this!!! I love it! Take care :)

25th-Jul-2017 06:17 am (UTC)
HI I JUST SAW THIS.

And, seriously, the style of the art? Is absolutely perfect! I love the aesthetic - the creepy (but also melancholy and quiet?) background with the trees, and the retro look of the diner, and the lone Sam figure - just the lights and the darkness and the juxtaposition is absolutely perfect for the warmth/disquiet dichotomy of the story and I really love that! The atmosphere is palpable, and weirdly, I want to BE there with the quiet and the dark and the trees watching over.

And the story! I love, love New Weird, and Rae definitely fits that. I like how ancient she is, and how she lives on pain but ALSO wants to give back to those she takes it from. I love that she is this powerful creature that can pull souls from the veil if she wants to, but she also likes quiet diners in the woods and just wants to be left out of all this apocalyptic madness that's sure to follow. LOVE how you wrote Sam through her eyes as well: sparse and simple, but telling so much. Her absolute certainty that he WILL be reunited with Dean, and there WILL be fallout; this line: He doesn't look dangerous, but the most dangerous things never do. which is quite Sam ;____; And it just describes everything in a really economical and beautiful way - thank you! This is perfectly my thing. So atmospheric and cool. I love it <3333



25th-Jul-2017 06:50 am (UTC)
What an amazing story - Rae's character is just perfect and I was hoping she'd help lift a little of the boys burden but *clings* Thinky-thoughts goodness.

And this line - His plaid matches her checkered tablecloth. His shoulders drawn inward. He doesn't look dangerous, but the most dangerous things never do. - BRILLIANT!
26th-Jul-2017 03:25 am (UTC)
This was stunning - both the art and the writing. Beautifully crafted in every way.
30th-Jul-2017 03:19 am (UTC)
The story and the art are both SO gorgeous!
30th-Jul-2017 11:52 pm (UTC)

This is awesome, in every sense of the word! I love the idea of a monster who runs a diner in middle America just so she can feed the humans she feeds off -- her reasoning is so creepy good! And Sam -- wow, you really nailed it when Rae says he doesn't look dangerous, "but the dangerous ones never do." So well- conceived, this!

22nd-Aug-2017 06:28 pm (UTC)
Holy fucking shit! SHE CAN'T DO ANYTHING FOR HIM!!! Nooooooo *sobs* I hoped and feared it would end up there, with one of the Winchesters crossing her path.

She doesn't want to be in the blast wave when this brother of his is inevitably in his arms again. LOVED THIS SENTENCE!!!!

The art is gorgeous. The words are gorgeous. I really loved this!
23rd-Aug-2017 11:29 pm (UTC)
Ah, such wonderful warmth and coolness to this image, the orange a coziness inside the diner and marks of guidance on the road, the blues all fading into shapeless night behind the misty trees. Very engaging atmosphere, and such an appealing style! (Those colours! Those shapes!! Those colours and shapes!!! <3) I love fantastic little Sam and fantastic ghostly Rae facing opposite directions.

And the wonderful story. I do like the concept of “monsters” adapting to life among humans, though I don’t always like the way in which said concept is handled. But it’s handled brilliantly here, and I absolutely love it. The piece is simple and effective, and also elegant and affective. Rae’s knowing yet no-nonsense voice really makes it. (They burn witches at some point and she'd really rather not have to deal with that. It stings, chars... takes up your whole day to deal with. I like her so much.)

And as for Sam (♥), this is a beautiful, haunting outsider POV that feels so very true to post-S3 Sam. I adore how his pain is described in ways entirely non-melodramatic yet still monumental: his pain isn’t just “too big, omg” for Rae to take, it’s twisted up in other things and he’s holding it too tightly to himself; and she can tell he’s capable of ripping the world apart, and it’s not just because of how much he’s hurting—it’s the roots and branches of that pain, the way it grows out of and into desperate impetus inside him. The guy wearing tablecloth plaid; the guy with hellfire in his veins. It’s so Sam (and it’s so good). <3

The story is so perfectly-pitched and the artwork is so distinctive and charming and I love all of it. :D
4th-Sep-2017 02:43 pm (UTC)
The light and shade and the use of colour in the picture is stunning, and I love how you told the story from Rae's point of view; that Sam was too much in pain even for this creature who feeds on it. The fact it was so short worked fantastically. What a lovely combination.
8th-Nov-2017 06:15 pm (UTC)
Oh wow, this is GORGEOUS. It's so simple but layered, and so, so well done. I adore the art, for starters - the style is clean, the scene a great mix of comfort and mystery, and completely fits the description about it being an out of the way hole for passers-by and vagabonds.

I LOVE how this unfolded, how we learned about Rae an her powers. Everything flowed so smoothly, and I was wondering if she'd meet Sam or Dean (or both) and how that would go down. The meeting was perfect, the description of Sam's pain PERFECT, and I love how her reaction is pretty like "annnnd we're done. Bye America!" XD

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE.

Edited at 2017-11-08 06:16 pm (UTC)
21st-Nov-2017 01:17 pm (UTC)
Wonderful character study of Rae. I can see how she's lasted so long. And yeah, never underestimate Sam.
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