Mary Winchester was livid.
Not only was her only daughter leaving only a day after Mary had returned from an alternate world — a world she'd spent nearly a year in — but she was also in a relationship with a witch. And not just any witch — out of all people, you had the audacity to fall for one of the most powerful witches alive, mother of former King of Hell himself.
You could have spat on her as well while you were at it. In Mary's mind, there was nothing worse for a hunter than to get involved with a monster they were supposed to kill. The fact that Rowena, in her current state, was the furthest thing from a monster meant very little to her. She was a witch, a wicked one at that, with enough blood on her hands to drown a city the size of New York. She was a thing, an it, an animal who needed to be put down.
Let someone try. You dared them. Let them try to lay a hand on Rowena. Let them even look at her wrong. You'd killed for her before. Doing so again wouldn't faze you. In fact, you'd sleep better knowing a threat had been eliminated.
Much to your mother's annoyance, you didn't give a damn what she thought. You were an adult, a grown woman who'd lived her whole life without her. You could make your own decisions.
Hell, even if you were a teenager, the woman before you would have had no right to order you around.
"You can't just leave!" Mary argued, throwing her arms up in exasperation.
"Watch me," you said. A few more shirts and pieces of underwear, and you were done; done with the stale air of this bunker, suffocating you with every breath you took, done with Dean criticizing your relationship every single day and Sam playing the mediator to keep the peace, done with hunting and death and disappointment. Done with your mother.
All you wanted was some peace. You weren't a bad hunter, but the life was never something you'd have chosen for yourself. Sam was okay with John practically disowning him. You weren't. Solitude would have killed you; with your less than stellar social skills, you never would have found friends to replace your family. So you stayed. Year after year, you kept telling yourself you'd quit, but you were never brave enough to actually do it. Where would you go? Who would you turn to? Having graduated high school with barely passing grades and so many absences you had to bullshit your way into justifying, and with no working experience (hunting monsters didn't count in the eyes of the law) or friends to help you with employment, you didn't have that many prospects. You never would have made it alone.
You had Rowena now. You had someone you loved, someone you trusted at your side; someone you knew would never turn her back on you no matter what obstacle you stumbled across. The first person you weren't blood-related to that you considered family.
You'd always had a love for magic. Witchcraft, though, was frowned upon in hunting communities, in hunting families. Witches were evil, everyone had said. Right. Of course. There was never any point in arguing, lest you wanted to be accused of being a traitor. Meeting Rowena had changed that. You'd finally gotten a chance to do something you loved, to be something you loved. Witch Y/N Winchester had quite a nice ring to it.
"What about your brothers?" Mary asked.
"Sam and Dean are big boys. They're more than capable to hunt without me." As they'd done a hundred times. You frowned at the empty drawer. "Rowena, did you see my scarf?"
"It's in my bag," Rowena answered from the other corner of the room, packing her own bag. Another thing mother dearest hadn't been the happiest about; her daughter, sharing a room a with a witch? Unacceptable! "You lent it to me last week, remember?"
"Right," you said.
Mary ignored the interaction. "And what about me?"
Four simple words, and they were enough to ignite a spark deep inside you. A wildfire of anger burned through you, spreading through your body like poison in your veins. Fingers balling into tight fists and teeth clenching, you whirled around to face your mother.
"What about you?" Some nerve she had to even ask that. "Are you serious?"
She had been the one to leave last year. She had been the one to join the British Men of Letters behind your and your brothers' backs. Had Sam and Dean not talked her into returning, she would have remained in the alternate world with her new family, sealed away from you for good.
"You almost stayed in that shithole world, and you're giving me grief for going on a road trip?!"
Mary had the decency to look ashamed. Just a tad, barely noticeable, but shame was shame. 'That's different."
Of course. Favorite line of parents all over the world. It was always different when they did it. "Why? Because I'm dating a witch?"
Rowena, having kept her head down throughout the argument to give the two of you some space, looked up at the mention of her. Her eyes traveled from you to Mary back and forth, curious, a tiny bit worried. You'd warned her about your mother not approving of the relationship; if Dean still had a hard time accepting it, Mary would be a hundred times worse.
Your mother sighed. "She's not good for you, Y/N."
"You don't know her," you argued. People always seemed ready to judge Rowena without bothering to get to know her. It was easier to hate her than to give her a chance to prove herself.
"I've heard about the things she's done."
"But you don't know her!"
"I know she's a witch, and she's got blood on her hands," Mary said.
"And I don't? You, Sam, Dean; none of you have any blood on yours?" If she wanted to judge Rowena, she had to judge herself and her children just as harshly. There wasn't a thing Rowena had done that one of you hadn't. All of you were killers. All of you had spilled innocent blood. Let he or she who was without sin cast the first stone.
"None of us have done half the things she has," Mary argued.
At the very least, Rowena had never attempted to participate in genocide. Something that couldn't be said for your brothers and mother.
"She's leading you down a dangerous path!" Mary said.
"She's changed!" you said. Rowena had redeemed herself, and you would never tire of saying it out loud. Not until people got it in their thick heads. Your girl wasn't a wicked witch anymore.
Mary gave you a dirty look. "If that was true, she wouldn't have tried to drag you into her… practices." She spat the word 'practices' as if it was dirty, as if the mere thought of witchcraft made her stomach churn with disgust.
Rowena shot her a glare as deadly and sharp as a knife, the kind that had to have killed before. "If you knew your daughter at all, you would know she's always had a fondness for magic." She'd promised to be on her best behavior, but enough was enough. You'd asked her to be nice, to not start anything, and she'd done a splendid job. Whatever followed, Mary had brought on herself.
Keeping the peace was important, but you'd never ask your girlfriend to bow her head like a dog in the face of insults — even if those insults were thrown by the members of your family. She deserved respect, as a person, as a woman, as your girlfriend. Dean had learned that, sort of, and so would Mary. And if she refused… Well, it wouldn't be the first time that you'd cut a toxic person out of your life.
"This doesn't involve you!" Mary said.
"It does when you bash me and my craft!" Rowena shot back.
"Your craft?" Mary scoffed. "You make it sound like an art."
"It is an art. A beautiful, fine one not many have natural talent for." She gave you a look of pride, of admiration. No one had ever given you that look before. "Y/N was born for it."
Marty's features twisted into a look one made when they smelled something disgusting. "My daughter was born human!" she insisted, and looked ready to fight to prove her words.
"What are witches, if not human?" Rowena asked, though she knew what the answer would be. Nothing else could be expected from a bigot.
"Monsters! You're monsters!" Mary said. "I'm not letting you turn my daughter into one!"
"Don't talk to her like that!" you barked. Rowena was a lot of things, but she wasn't a monster. Not anymore.
Your mother turned to you. "Can't you see she's manipulating you, Y/N? Maybe she even cast a spell on you!"
You shook her head. "She didn't do anything." You took a deep breath. "I want this. I've always wanted it."
How would she know? She'd been dead for over thirty years, and when she'd come back to life, the first thing she did was run away. She didn't know you. Rowena did. Rowena knew you to your core, to the bottom of your soul. She never judged you, never looked at you wrong. Even when you were enemies, not once had she said a bad thing about you. She respected your decisions. She loved you as you were, and didn't try — or want, for that matter — to change a thing about you.
Something that couldn't be said for your mother.
She may have given birth to you, but she wasn't your family. Not really. Rowena, on the other hand, was.
The realization made your stomach twist with unease. Your own mother, and she knew you — wanted to know you — less than the woman who used to be your enemy.
"How would you know? You were dead!" you said. The reminder hurt; your entire life all you wished for was your mother. If only you'd known what she was really like. Your father had made her out to be a saint. Maybe she was, once upon a time. Or maybe John had fed you lies. It wouldn't have been the worst thing he'd done as a parent. You took a deep breath. "And when you came back, you ran away! Not once did you try to get to know me!"
Mary sighed, a look of hurt passing over her face. From a certain angle it might have looked like guilt. Might have.
Tears pickled at your eyes, but you held them back. You wouldn't break in front of her. You wouldn't let her see you at your weakest, at your most vulnerable. You could be strong for just a little more, until you and Rowena were safe and, most important of all, alone in your tiny car, ready to start the next chapter of your lives.
"I want this, mom," you said after a few moments of silence, giving her time for your words to sink in. "I want to be a witch."
"How can you want that?" Mary asked, tone as anguished as the look that settled on her face. She didn't understand. She didn't want to understand.
You shrugged. "I just do. It's my decision. Respect it."
She shook her head. "I'm sorry, but I can't."
The words stung. "If you really loved me, you would." A real mother would.
"I love you and your brothers more than anything in the world."
"As long as we're obedient little soldiers, right?"
"That's not what I meant and you know it," she said, stare pointed, expression firm.
"Right." A slight chuckle escaped you, memories of your childhood flooding your mind. "You're just like dad. I thought you were different, but turns out, you're just like him."
He, too, put his wishes above yours. His love, just like Mary's, it seemed, was conditional. You either lived by his rules, or not at all. His word was law. He knew best. He knew you better than you knew yourself. He knew what you wanted, what you needed and dreamed and aspired to. He knew it all.
Sam had made the right decision when he'd decided to get out.
And so had you.
"John made mistakes—" Mary tried, but you cut her off.
"I don't give a damn about him and his 'mistakes!'" you exclaimed, forming quotation marks with your fingers to emphasize the last word. "And…" You took a large, deep breath for courage. Your eyes trailed downwards, then met hers once more, strong, determined. "If you can't accept this, then I don't give a damn about you, either."
Mary gulped. "What are you saying?"
"I'm saying I love Rowena, and I want to be a witch." Rowena gave you a proud, encouraging smile. You responded with a small smile of your own. "I love you, mom, but… I love her more. I love me more. I'm done letting other people make decisions for me. This is my life."
"You can't be serious," Mary said, startled by your words.
"Deadly," you said. It was honesty hour. You were done playing good, obedient little girl.
"I'm your family!"
"Rowena is my family, as well." A more loving, supporting family than your blood one.
"She'll stab you in the back the first chance she gets!"
That wasn't her anymore. Rowena had changed. She still had a long way to go, but she was working on her redemption.
"She won't," you said. "She's changed."
"You're willing to bet your life on that?"
"I am." Because you knew there was no threat. Your life was safe in Rowena's hands. Safer than it would have been in Mary's.
"Despite everything she's done?"
"Despite everything." Checking to make sure you packed everything, you zipped up your bag, then took hold of Rowena's hand and squeezed tightly.
"You're a fool," Mary said.
You shrugged. "Says you."
"You're throwing your life away."
"Quite the contrary; my life is only just beginning."
"And what about our lives? Are we just supposed to accept losing one of our own?"
"You're not losing me, mom. We can talk on the phone every day, if you want."
"But it won't be you." A tear slid down Mary's cheek. "It-it will be a witch."
"Witch or not, I'll still be me," you pointed out. It wasn't like your soul would disappear and a demon would take its place in your body. You would be you; with a few magical abilities and an allergy to iron added to the mix, but still you. You would still be that baby your mother held when you were little, still that little girl she used to dance with in the kitchen while preparing dinner.
Mary shook her head, adamant, defiant. "You won't. Once you dabble in magic, there's no going back."
"Maybe I don't want to go back," you told her.
"You have to make a choice, then." She looked at you, eyes wounded, hurt, as if the entire world's grief and sorrow settled in them. She looked to be on the verge of falling apart. "Us or her."
Your eyes widened, shock spreading over your face like a splash of paint. "What?"
Mary swallowed, then cleared her throat. "Your family or the witch. You can't have it both ways, Y/N."
Your family or the witch.
Your family or the witch.
Your family or the witch.
She wanted you to choose.
Your own mother, who supposedly loved you more than life itself, had given you an ultimatum.
You knew it was a possibility, but never, in your wildest dreams, have you thought she would actually do it.
Rowena loved you as you were.
Mary loved the idea of you.
Rowena accepted your flaws.
Mary made up flaws where there weren't any.
Rowena encouraged you to follow your dreams.
Mary wanted you to suppress your dreams if they happened to not align with hers.
Rowena knew your favorite songs, books, movies, and TV shows by heart, even though your interests greatly differed from hers.
Mary could list two cartoons and one song you liked when you were a child.
Rowena answered when you called in need, and held you when you cried, and did everything in her power to get you back on your feet.
Mary had been too busy planning genocide with the British Men of Letters to even answer a text message.
Rowena, despite centuries of building walls and hiding her emotions, had opened up and allowed you to see her as she was. She was terrified; terrified of betrayal, of being taken advantage of, for that was all she'd ever known. And still, she let you in, let you get to know her, let herself love you even though it went against all the principles she'd held for centuries.
Mary had wanted to stay in a war-torn world with a bunch of strangers, principles over family.
With Rowena you had a future.
Mary, on the other hand, brought nothing but pain and disappointment into your life.
Mary may have brought you into this world, but she didn't understand you. Rowena did. And when she didn't understand, she did her best to try. Because she loved you. She wanted to know everything about you, about your life, about you most beautiful dreams and worst fears. She wanted to know it all.
Mary didn't even pretend to try. She was convinced she knew better, convinced she knew you despite never even bothering to get to know you.
Your grip on Rowena's hand tightened, half instinct and half intent. Ignoring the hammer-like pounding of your heart and steadying your breathing to get the words out without stumbling, you said. "That's an easy choice to make."
You and Rowena grabbed your bags and, looking around the room one last time to make sure you packed everything of importance, you left.
You left the bunker.
You left the memories, good and bad, behind, hoping to never revisit them again.
You left your life.
You left your family.
You left your mother.
As soon as you were in your car, far away from nosy eyes and ears, you collapsed into Rowena's arms and cried. You cried and wailed and sobbed, let everything aching and bad out, emptied your heart of all the pain that had gathered inside it. Rowena held you to her, hands gently tapping your back, words of comfort slipping from her lips in tender, soothing whispers.
"Are you sure about this?" she asked when you calmed down.
Pulling away from the embrace, you straightened up in your seat. Tears had finally stopped flowing, their remnants drying on your puffed up cheeks. You looked at Rowena, and the truth of the words you were about to say pooled in your eyes before you managed to utter a single one. "I've never been more sure of anything in my life."
Rowena beamed. You smiled, bright as a sunshine. Starting the car, you drove out of the garage, onto the open road, on your way to a brand new life. The life you'd always wanted, with the woman you loved the most in the whole wide world.