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07 November 2009 @ 01:08 am
fic, Supernatural: Back Roads Never Carry You Where You Want Them To (Chuck, Castiel), PG13  
Title: Back Roads Never Carry You Where You Want Them To (or how Chuck Shirley taught an angel how to drive)
Rating: PG
Characters: Chuck, future!Castiel; future!Dean mentioned
Words: 4100
Summary: Then again, Chuck remembers that Dean not using safety belts was never his idea and that Cas here really needs to learn how to drive, Dean won’t be up for teaching anytime soon and no one else has, as people generally have put it until now, time to waste.
Spoilers: for 5x04.
Disclaimer: not mine. Not really.
A/N: this is for hopelessfangirl just because I can. ;) ♥ ♥ Though well, er, the idea was that it was supposed to be crack or fun and then it turned angst-ish. I guess that I can't make future!Cas fun even if I want to because he makes me cry so. *cough* Using for sacred_20 #19, writer's choice (fallen). Title from a random Steve Earle song which doesn't have anything to do with this as usual. But I said it already, I can't come up with titles.
A/N 2: I have a love/hate relationship with cars. And driving. It probably shows.

“Okay, not bad... keep on like this, now just a bit… waitwaitwait brake now!!!”

As his head unceremoniously clashes against the dashboard, Chuck asks himself for the thirtieth time this afternoon the subsequent list of questions:

a) Why did he ever think that Dean refusing to put safety belts on the Impala was a great idea when he was outlining the character;
b) Why did he ever start earning enough from his writing (because you see, Chuck once used to actually gain money in order to write and he had ended up a driving instructor, and right now he could use the experience he once had but he’s completely rusty here);
c) Why did he accept to play driving instructor now with Cas, because sure as fuck he has bigger problems to worry about.

Chuck isn’t lying here. The toilet paper is scarce, but apart from that, the water supplies are severely lacking, bandages are even more lacking than water and toilet paper put together and someone wants condoms now and where the fuck he’s supposed to find condoms? Anyway, yeah, Chuck has his problems to deal with.

Then again, Chuck remembers that Dean not using safety belts was never his idea and that Cas here really needs to learn how to drive, Dean won’t be up for teaching anytime soon and no one else has, as people generally have put it until now, time to waste.

Chuck had been slightly offended at that, because hey, it implied that just because he doesn’t go around shooting Croats he has time to waste and that’s indeed not true; then he had thought about Cas who is honest-to-God human now and needs to learn that, no teleporting anymore, and who already got that answer from Dean first and half of the camp later. And yeah. Well. Saying no would have been nothing short of cruel, at least. At least. Cas had looked just so miserable when he met Chuck’s eyes and asked so earnestly, and there was just something wrong in his whole body language: Chuck hadn’t been physically able to say no. Dean has left his car there since Detroit and he has said they can do whatever they want with it, so they’re using it. Chuck doesn’t really want to know what it means, that Dean would just shrug at the prospect of a total newbie using his formerly precious car for driving lessons and Chuck teaching, of anyone.

Right. It wasn’t the Impala first. The first was a random car that had been laying useless around there for ages, but it had a manual gear. They had used it for an hour and Cas had managed to make the car shut down whenever he had to start again after stopping it because he couldn’t coordinate his motions between clutch and accelerator. When Chuck had realized that the whole clutch business was going to drive the both of them crazy, he had suggested Dean’s car; after all, Cas was already familiar with her, more or less. And the Impala is an automatic, so clutch problem? Avoided. It seemed a great idea, half an hour ago.

Not so much, since while at least Cas does manage to start it now, he either goes too slow or pushes too fast and whenever he touches the wheel he barely grasps it as if it was burning his fingers.

Chuck takes a breath and tries to keep his voice even.

“Man, you need to go easy on the accelerator, okay? If you don’t have control of the car while speeding up you’ll just smash yourself somewhere. You want this to be a smooth business. Also, just don’t... you know, be abrupt with that poor pedal. It’s not... hey, what...”

Cas is gripping the steering wheel so hard that his knuckles are white; he mutters something about this whole thing being indeed a real waste of time and gets out of the car. When he doesn’t slam the door Chuck wishes that Dean was here and that he could punch him without risking his life; he should be the one doing this and he should give a damn about this and he isn’t doing either. Ah, shit. He gets out of the car too after checking that it’s properly turned off and joins Cas on the other side. He just looks naked without the trench and with a jacket of Dean’s in which he almost swims. He’s holding it tighter around himself though, and there’s something so sad in the gesture that Chuck has to look away for a second.

Cas just looks like he’s about to cry and Jesus, Chuck has never signed for this. To think that once his main worry was that his editor wasn’t going to pay his royalties because he was too broke. Yeah, well, not what he broods about anymore.

“Hey. Cas. That isn’t a waste of time. You, uh, you really need that, seriously, and... uh... come on, not everyone is a natural, y’know?” he blathers, trying not to cringe at his wording. “You can’t just, er, get it all right at the first try. And...”

“Once I would have,” Cas replies, his voice nothing short of downright depressed. Chuck feels like he’s grasping at straws. Or something. “And before... no one would have said that it was a waste...” Cas trails off as he rubs at his eyes. “I guess I really am useless. And this will not do. Sorry for wasting your time, just drive us back to camp, alright?”

Chuck really doesn’t want it to end this way. He has an idea that it’d just help to depress Cas more and really, no angel-human transition should suck so much. Hell, Chuck could have totally written a better one, back then. Back then.

Ah, well. Not the time to dwell about it.

“Hey. You aren’t. Useless, I mean. Crap, you just joined the club, don’t ask too much of yourself. Just... now we’ll both calm down, take five minutes, you’re getting back on there and we’ll take it easy. I know it’s hard on you but... Cas, shit, the package might change but the content doesn’t. Even if you aren’t an angel anymore. Er. Sorry. That was lame.”

Chuck is sure that Cas is on the brink of tears here, but that’s half a smile he got out of him there, and he’s shaking his head a bit.

“No. It wasn’t.”

“You know it’s just a moment, right? People are nervous, that’s the whole virus crap around, Detroit... er, well. They’ll stop being dicks soon. Don’t think that it’s your fault.”

“I just... I just wish that at least he’d...”

Cas doesn’t finish the sentence and Chuck knows already. He might not be a prophet anymore but it doesn’t take that to realize that Cas just wishes for Dean to give a damn and when the guy is supposed to be your first friend (so what? Chuck totally wrote the whole brothel business down, too, people, and he totally saw that in its entirety), well, Chuck finds it pretty much reasonable. Or if he just doesn’t give a damn about Cas, Chuck wishes he’d give a damn about the car.

Chuck really feels bad for Cas. Really. He feels bad for a lot of people lately, including himself, but Cas is having it worse than pretty much everyone except maybe for Dean and no one is realizing how much exactly. He isn’t taking this whole falling business well, no one’s helping him through it and aw, shucks, when did Chuck’s life become an apocalyptic version of Analyze This where he’s Billy Crystal, except that at least instead of a boss he gets a former angel?

Okay, that wasn’t fun. And it was also unfair.

“Hey. I know that it’s... well, it sucks ass. And... I think it’s the car.”

“... what?”

“Man, I’ve written your POV a couple times too. I think I have an idea about how your head works, more or less. A bit. Anyway. You’re freaking out not only because you need to learn a total human thing, but also ‘cause we’re using his precious baby and you’re afraid you’ll crash it somewhere even if he doesn’t care anymore. And you don’t think it’s yours to drive or to even touch, do you?”

Cas’ silence is enough of an answer. Chuck sighs. This is going to be hard but hey, cool, they know the problem now at least. Something, right?

... Right. Maybe. Fuck this, Chuck is a writer, not a... a shrink. Or well, he was a writer and now he’s a head of inventory. Not the point. And he isn’t a volunteer for angel rehab. He should just go and call this off before he goes crazy and it’s a miracle he hasn’t flipped out already. He should. But then Cas is there looking small and miserable and Chuck can’t just go and say whatever. The guy, ex-angel, whatever, he needs a fucking friend and the only one he has isn’t around because hey, when your brother becomes Lucifer’s vessel than it gives you every right to stop giving a fuck. And while he can’t resent Dean, he really can’t, still... yeah. Good times, when Dean was one of those people who need people to need them.

Shit, did he just quote Barbra Streisand in his head? Except that yeah, he apparently did and he will just pretend it never happened. It’s not like he said it out loud. And maybe Cas wouldn’t even realize exactly how corny it is anyway.

Well, if Dean is the problem then Chuck might have a solution.

He grips Cas’ shoulder again like he did once in his kitchen; Cas doesn’t shake it away. A-ha.

“Hey. Y’know what? Now, I’m driving us back to the camp and leave her where we found her.” And Christ, is Chuck referring to the Impala as a she, not an... right. Force of habit. “We won’t get anywhere if we keep on using it. There’s that truck of Bobby’s which no one uses, he won’t mind if we go for that. Now you’re going to take a breath, uh, maybe even two, I’m going to take one too, we’re getting the other car and starting all over again. So. Deal?”

“Deal,” Cas agrees, his shoulders still slumped. Chuck removes his hand, sits on the driver’s side, tries not to panic because seriously, he’s still driving a thing which, in his books, was in Dean’s fucking erotic dreams almost, and he’s just relieved when he realizes that there’ll be silence in the ride back. Right, on one side he wishes he could fill it someway, but it’s not uncomfortable and he doesn’t know what to say, so he keeps his mouth shut. When they’re back, he parks the Impala with a certain carefulness, which he’s pretty sure is unnecessary, but whatever. He’d like to stay alive a while longer in case, you know, Dean becomes a normal person again sometime before the next century.

Well, as much as normal person means for Dean, but that’s not the point.

They get out and Cas looks a bit less tense, but when they get near the other car, a Ford station wagon that might have been white once and now is gray, he looks definitely nervous again. Chuck glances inside the car and you know what, he’s thankful to a God that isn’t in the building when he sees that the car is an automatic, too. Considering that seventy-five per cent of Cas’ driving issues consist in his hate-hate relationship with the clutch and the other twenty-five per cent consist in him freaking out for using Dean’s car, maybe a random car with an automatic transmission could ease things for everyone.

Some. Thankfully the keys are already in place.

Meanwhile, Chuck decides that what the fuck, there’s no one else around, he’s the one dealing with this whole thing and he only knows a good way to help with unnecessary tension. He sighs and takes a small flash of whiskey out of his jacket, then hands it to Cas.

“Man. You need to relax, okay? Just, take a drink. Two if you really need that, but since I already know that you’re a lightweight and I don’t really wanna get you drunk here, no more than that. You need to, er, drive.”

Cas nods and takes a couple of sips. Chuck cant’ help noticing that he kept his face straight. Because well, Chuck was there the first time Cas got drunk (exactly two nights after Detroit) and there had been a lot of grimacing, spitting alcohol, throwing up and... right. Not. Going. There.

Whatever. Chuck takes the flask back and puts both of his hands on Cas’ shoulders, looking at him straight in the eyes. He just hopes he can hold the stare.

“Okay. Now, you’re gonna take another breath, just ‘cause you can, get on that car and listen to me for five minutes. Then you turn on the engine, do as I say without pressure and then you can show that bunch of idiots and our fearless leader that you’re fucking good at this. And don’t say that you know you aren’t, no one gets it after ten minutes. Alright?”

Cas nods and his cheeks are a bit more flushed and his shoulders a bit more relaxed; Chuck figures it’s as good as it goes and climbs into the passengers side. Then he waits for Cas to get in, when he has adjusted the seat and the rearview mirrors, Chuck raises a hand.

“Okay. So, since I’m pretty sure that the only thing you grasped in the Impala was that there is no clutch and the transmission is automatic, I’m going through all the gears again. Just listen to me, okay? P is parking. When you need to stop the car or turn it off you put it there. R is reverse. N... it’s unnecessary. You just need to pass from there anyway. D is driving. Which means, when you’re starting it now you’re moving the transmission from P to D. And then you leave it there. L here sort of locks the car into first gear.”

Cas looks at him like he has just grown two heads. Right, he totally hadn’t been listening to him before except for the part where D stands for driving.

“Okay, scratch the last one. You only put L if you need to go very slow or there’s snow... or some crap like that. Right now all you need to know are P, R and D. And you already know how to start it, so I’m not going through that all over again.”

Cas’ hand reaches for the key but Chuck stops him.

”Wait. Waitwait. Now before we go, you tell me the whole ordeal.”

Chuck is almost sure that Cas is almost pouting at him.

“Yeah, it’s necessary. Break it down.”

“I turn on the engine.”

“Yeah, but where’s your foot?”

“On the brake.”

“Alright. Then?”

“I pull the handbrake down. Then I switch from P to D and I keep the brake pressed.”

“Good. And?”

“I push on the accelerator to start it.”

“Yeah, but when you do that, don’t... uh, don’t just push on the damn thing. Do it... do it very slowly. Go along with it, don’t... don’t just go heavy on it. I mean, you don’t go from zero to a hundred miles in a second flat. Also, keep those hands of yours ten to two. You don’t go along with the wheel, it’s... uh, the wheel that goes along with you. Clear?”

“... clear.”

“Then do it.”

Cas nods and Chuck would almost find the carefulness with which he moves the handbrake and the transmission gear adorable, if it wasn’t sort of heartbreaking instead. Cas actually does start the car without much trouble this time (right, no clutch and no Impala) and proceeds slowly, very slowly, but this time instead of freaking out he’s kind of controlling the car at least. Five minutes after they are out of camp, Chuck decides that twenty miles per hour became old three minutes before.

“That’s good. Very good, actually. Try speeding up a bit now, okay? Not at once. Gradually.”

Cas follows to the letter even though he doesn’t dare surpassing seventy miles; but point is, even if he’s being so careful that Chuck thinks he’s driving like his grandmother did back then when she was alive, years ago, at least he isn’t crashing anywhere and he isn’t grimacing.

“Okay, good. That’s good. Stop here one second. I should probably teach you how to do u-turns. I’ll save the parking for tomorrow morning. Now, you’ve been doing great so far. Just keep it up, okay?”

“I have?” Cas asks turning towards Chuck after he has carefully moved the gear from D to P and pulled the handbrake up. Fuck, Cas is looking at him with such hopefulness that it just about breaks Chuck’s heart, and dammit, he had thought that three years in this madness had hardened him. Some.

Yeah. Maybe not, if it just takes those two enormous eyes that Cas has. If only Dean could see this, he thinks, and then... well, he should be here but Chuck is and he hopes he’s enough.

“Yeah. Yeah, best out of every angel I’ve ever taught driving.”

“Case is that I’m the only one, I think?”

“Cas, don’t be anal about my not-so-great humor and go on R. Then push very lightly on the accelerator and... right, we need to get to the left so you need to turn the wheel to the right. Opposite direction. All the way.”

Cas raises an eyebrow but does as Chuck says; his surprised expression when he realizes that the car is now in a vertical position is so priceless that Chuck has to laugh. Not loudly. But.

“Right. Now go on D again and turn left. All the way again. Keep those hands ten to two. Go slow with the accelerator.”

He’s pleased with himself when Cas goes through the whole ordeal with a certain confidence.

“Good job,” he remarks when they’re on the way back. “Was it so hard?”

“No,” Cas agrees looking in front of him. “It wasn’t.”

“Well. Parking is kind of a bitch, but really. I’ve worn you out enough for today, we’re going for that tomorrow morning.”

Cas stops the car then, gear and brake into the right position, before turning to Chuck again.

“No, it was me wearing you out. Sorry for that. Really. You probably had more important things to do than...”

Chuck raises a hand to stop him. True, he had a ton of shit to stock, ration the last toilet paper, finish a couple of inventories and something else he’s forgetting and therefore probably wasn’t important, but come on. He might be a former writer turned prophet turned head of inventory, but his head is still mostly working. And he hasn’t gone crazy yet. And he doesn’t have it in him to do the whole fearless soldier that doesn’t need anyone business. Not that he needs anyone but well, you got the drill.

“Cas, things never get more important than people. Or so I like to think.”

There’s a moment when Chuck thinks that it’s a fucking great line and maybe a life ago he’d have written it down in his notebook where he put small details and lines and stuff and then given it to Dean or maybe Sam in the early books. Wait. Maybe not, it’s totally a Dean line anyway, except that... right. At this point it’s more of a former-prophet-Chuck line.

Right. Times are shitty and he’s pretty sure they’ll get worse, and dammit, he can’t fucking believe that after Barbra Streisand his head decided to quote fucking Rent, and it’s wrong, too. He’s pretty sure it said they can’t get worse. Whatever. He doesn’t even like Rent, what the fuck. Right. Time to stop the nonsense.

Also because Cas is looking at him with such gratefulness that it hurts. It’s all there, written in his eyes and in the way his lips are quirking slightly up, not quite a smile but close enough, and well, humanity does things to fallen angels, he figures.

Chuck stutters something about it being time to head back and Cas nods before starting to drive again until they reach the camp and leave the car more or less where they found it.

When they get out, Chuck thinks that in order to get a grip he should just bolt, that was too much for him, but instead his legs don’t go where his brain orders them to go and goes back on Cas’ side. The gratefulness is still there. Chuck wishes he knew what to do with it. He’s so not cut for this.

“Chuck, just... thank you. I wish I could do something for...”

“Hey. Cut that. It wasn’t a problem. That’s... uh, that’s what friends are for, right?” he shoots, hoping that this doesn’t mean that he’s going too far. He puts his hand on Cas’ shoulder again, and he isn’t exactly surprised when Cas relaxes a bit into the touch. That’s when it really hits Chuck. It’s so much of a human thing to do, and maybe until now he hadn’t fully realized what it means. It means that Cas is just as mortal and frail and needy as all of them are. Maybe more than all of them are because most people around here might be mortal but can’t afford to be frail or needy, while Cas? He didn’t even fucking choose it, it just happened and who blames him? Shit, he almost wants to hug him now, but it’s not the place or the time. There are people around and just, not really. And...

Oh, whatever. It’s not like Chuck was going to get much work done today.

“Hey. Y’know what? It’s getting late, tomorrow I need to show you how to park that thing and do the whole marvelous lesson #2 business anyway. You could... I dunno, come over? We can have a beer, you can spend the night on my spare mattress and then we can go next morning. What about it?”

There’s a certain glint in Cas’ eyes, it makes his stare warm and soft and downright fucking angelic.

Which is, if you ask Chuck, pretty much wrong. Considering that he isn’t an angel anymore.

“Alright,” he answers, his voice even lower than it usually is. “Thank you. For everything. Really, I...”

“Don’t sweat it. I’ll just wear you out for good tomorrow and...”

Chuck bites his tongue just in time. He isn’t sure if he should finish the sentence. He isn’t sure if he should push Cas’ hopes too high here.

“... and?”

“... then you can show our fearless leader. Maybe he will actually get out of his holy funk for a moment and be impressed. Why not?”

After all, if it had all happened before Detroit, Chuck knows that Dean would have at least clapped Cas on the shoulder. If it was before things got out of hand he might have offered him something in a diner. And he’d have thrown a smile his way.

Except that Dean? Doesn’t exactly smile much lately.

“Do you really think he would?” Cas answers, his voice so fucking hopeful that Chuck can only hope that what he’s about to say won’t turn out being a lie.

“I think it could be.”

“Then I hope you are right,” Cas says, a tentative half smile which actually reaches his eyes gracing his lips for the first time since Detroit; then he moves away from the car, going towards Chuck’s cabin.

If Chuck had known what was going to happen in a year’s time, or in two years’ he’d have probably shut up. (If he still had those godforsaken visions of his, he’d have probably seen more than he could wish for.)

He doesn’t know, though; for now he figures that this is as good as it gets and follows Cas back to his own place. Maybe something good can come out of this fucked up driving lessons business, if he manages to take Cas’ mind off the reason why he has to take them for a while.

Even though... well. When this whole mess started, Chuck still hoped that one day he could sit and write a book about it. And he would just say what happened after seeing it and before writing the end at the bottom of the page he would have had a sort of happy ending to finish the story with.

He doesn’t know why it is that he still hasn’t lost all hope that one day he’ll do it. For now, he clings to it.

feeling: productiveproductive
(Deleted comment)
the female ghost of tom joad: supernatural the prophet chuck <333janie_tangerine on November 7th, 2009 12:36 am (UTC)
Glad it fit! ;)

(and I want to see that thing when I wake up tomorrow morning, lol. ;) No, seriously, no pressure. But yay!!! XD)

I probably feel sorry for poor Cas more because if it was for Chuck only this would have been the crack I had in plan but then f!Cas makes me cry and it ended up not crack, but yeah. That. Thank you!!

(Also, Barbra Streisand was totally a DT reference. *cough* But it worked so well. *cough*) ;) <3333
(Deleted comment)
the female ghost of tom joad: dark tower roland/eddiejanie_tangerine on November 7th, 2009 12:48 am (UTC)
(AAAAAAAAAAAAH AWESOME. I can go to bed fluttering in anticipation. AND YAY FLUFF!!)

That. I mean, I was like 'it'd be fun!' and then I was like 'no, f!Cas is depressing'. :((

LOL YEAH IT WAS. Also because if it wasn't for that I doubt I'd know any Barbra Streisand lyrics, lol. ;) If it's me and there's the chance it probably is a DT reference. *cough* <3333
scarletsherlock: Chuck sucks assscarletsherlock on November 7th, 2009 04:16 am (UTC)
This is just lovely. It's heartbreaking to read about the breaking of the relationship between Cas and Dean, but you've presented it in such a realistic way. I really felt Cas's pain here. You've got Chuck's voice down pat. I really like him on the show, but I love him, here. I would quote my favorite lines but I think I'd end up quoting the whole thing.
the female ghost of tom joad: supernatural the prophet chuck <333janie_tangerine on November 7th, 2009 12:18 pm (UTC)
Aw, thanks so much! I had really started this thinking it was going to be some humor thing and then it went and took another whole direction, so it's awesome to know that the whole Dean-and-Cas breaking relationship thing worked for you. Aw. Those two. :( And I'm so glad you liked Chuck here! He's kinda fun to write I have to say. ;) Thanks again, I'm really glad you liked this!
xterm: Thinkingxterm on November 7th, 2009 04:33 am (UTC)
Wow!! Great story!!
the female ghost of tom joad: supernatural future!cas ;___;janie_tangerine on November 7th, 2009 12:01 pm (UTC)
Thanks, glad you liked it! <3
srs bsns: can't touch casibroketuesday on November 7th, 2009 04:52 am (UTC)
This was both adorable and so heartbreaking. Oh, Cas.
the female ghost of tom joad: supernatural the prophet chuck <333janie_tangerine on November 7th, 2009 12:01 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much! And... yeah. Cas. :(((
Sir Horace Ignatious Tiddlywink III: i need a drink (or 12)kaylbunny on November 7th, 2009 12:41 pm (UTC)
Oh god I love Castiel and Chuck, I don't understand why there isn't more fic about them. But anyway, this was lovely, especially how Chuck is the only one who has time for Cas and can see how hard he's taking being human and without Dean. Sad, but I really enjoyed it.
the female ghost of tom joad: supernatural dean/cas ANGSTjanie_tangerine on November 7th, 2009 02:15 pm (UTC)
I love those two sharing fic space too! And I'd really like to read more myself actually. But apart from that, thanks so much! I'm really glad that you liked it, and the whole Cas-Chuck sorta-friendship thing worked. And damn, f!Cas makes me cry. Thanks so much, I'm so happy that you liked it! Despite the sadness, but that's all f!Cas' fault.
Louquantumdoll on November 7th, 2009 01:29 pm (UTC)
This was so damn awesome, but so depressing *sniff* Honestly, I find future fics and Future!Cas so difficult to read because they upset me so much!
the female ghost of tom joad: supernatural future!cas ;___;janie_tangerine on November 7th, 2009 02:16 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! Yeah, I wasn't exactly going for depressing when I started it, but then again it seems like I can't make f!Cas work in any sort of crack setting. He makes me upset to write him, dammit. :(
Fangirlage like WHOA.: SPN // Chuck - Needs Hugshopelessfangirl on November 7th, 2009 05:03 pm (UTC)
Aw, this definitely went in a totally different direction from our capslocky crack conversation, but I love it! Poor Cas being so frustrated. I absolutely loved the bit where Chuck tried to relate to him by saying that he had once written his POV. XD BRILLIANT. ♥ This is awesome so, hun!
the female ghost of tom joad: supernatural the prophet chuck <333janie_tangerine on November 8th, 2009 02:50 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much! ♥ Yeah, I had totally started it wanting it to be crack, but then f!Cas just didn't want to cooperate. ;__; And yeah, poor baby. Add the frustration on top of all the crap, lol. And that totally was one of my favorite bits to write. XDD Thanks so much again!! ♥
eaconwell on August 10th, 2011 09:37 pm (UTC)
;-; poor cas