Watch my back so I’ll make sure
You’re right behind me as before
Yesterday the night before tomorrow
Dry my eyes so you won’t know
Dry my eyes so I won’t show
I know you’re right
The three leave the house at first light, Bobby on the front porch in the wheelchair staring after them. Sam tugs on his shirt hem and realizes with a faint smile they’re a Sam sandwich, bookending Dean down the stairs and across the lawn. Their feet crunch over the over the frost-covered grass, leaving melting footprints in their wake.
Sam drops his duffle beside Dean, going round to the back of the house for gasoline containers, probably the same gasoline she siphoned yesterday. Surprise flashes through him when he turns and she’s there, two more red containers in her hands and a length of hose coiled over her shoulder. He wonders how long it’ll take to get used to her being around, if he should get used to having her around. Sam bites his bottom lip and takes the containers from her, forcing a smile, but her eyes slide away from his.
“We should be good for now,” Dean says, moving aside the bags of rock salt and stuffing the duffels around the containers to anchor them. With a sigh, Sam realizes there’s probably a really good chance his clothes will smell like gasoline for the next few weeks to come.
Following her around the car, they both grab for the passenger side door handle at the same time.
“Oh,” she says, dropping her hand like the metal burns, “habit, I guess.”
“No, its okay,” Sam says, opening the door and gesturing inside. “You can sit up front if you want.”
She shakes her head, still avoiding his eyes. “I didn’t sleep that great last night. Maybe I’ll be able to catch a nap back here.” Opening the back door, she slides in, shutting it behind her.
“What was that all about?” Dean asks, moving to the driver’s side. “Why didn’t you let her sit up front?”
Sam tilts his head and presses his lips together, frowning. He’s not jealous, totally not jealous of the way Dean’s gone uber-protective over her in the last ten hours. Definitely doesn’t want to think about the look on his brother’s face last night when she grasped her t-shirt at the nape of her neck, pulling it over her head and holding it against her breasts, exposing the long line of her spine.
Sam certainly won’t think about the black ink from the Sharpie blurring and bleeding into the scar tissue matching his own riding low on her skin. He won’t think about Dean’s knuckles brushing the curve of her breast peeking under the t-shirt, or the sudden sharp intake of her breath and the rising goose pimples she couldn’t mask, the flush of her skin in the firelight. He won’t think about what it did to him, imagining them together, the fullness of his cock filling out in his jeans.
No, he won’t think about that at all. Sam coughs, “I offered, she refused.”
Dean pulls the door open and slides in without a word. Sam shakes his head and turns to wave goodbye to Bobby. “We’ll contact you when we can,” he calls and Bobby nods.
“—sleep alright?” Dean’s asking when Sam slides in the car.
Shaking her head she says, “I’ll be okay, but do you think we can stop at a store or something if we see one? As much as I’m thankful you guys are sharing, I need some clothes of my own. I’m really not a commando kind of girl.”
Dean’s eyes flick to the rearview and look down at her crotch like he’s got x-ray vision. Sam rolls his eyes, biting his tongue against the words just dying to fall from his lips. It’s like suddenly everything Dean’s ever felt for him is now being projected on to her, just because she’s a girl, and he’s a guy and that’s supposed to be normal.
Normal. In what world is fucking your sister is okay? Christ, for that matter, in what world is fucking your brother okay? Like having her here makes their family dynamic any less fucked up, as if he hasn’t been constantly remembering the things she wanted him to do her in the back seat, the things he did do to her. Things she doesn’t seem to remember. Maybe it wasn’t her, maybe it didn’t happen in her world, Sam thinks, fingers clenching, knuckles pale against his leg. Maybe I’m the only fucked up one who remembers.
Dean starts the car and puts it into gear, rolling down the window to give Bobby a final wave. “So I was thinking maybe we need to find something else to call you besides Sam,” he says, rolling up the window and pulling out onto the road.
“Why?” They both ask at the same time.
Dean looks at her through the rearview. “See, that’s what I mean. If you two are going to be doing this freaky acting like each other shit, I’ll need to differentiate between the two of you. What if we call you Sam,” he points at his brother, “and we’ll call you Sammy.”
The thing is; Sam knows he should just let it go. Knows they do need a way to separate them, and yeah, he’s probably acting like a fucking baby and Dean would totally rip him a new asshole if he knew he was thinking this, but that’s what Dean calls him. Sammy’s what Dean moans when his mouth is hot against his, their naked hips slotted, cocks pressed together.
It’s his and now Dean wants to give it to her.
“Sam,” Dean prompts and Sam can feel him staring at him, feel her eyes on the back of his head.
“Yeah, fine. Whatever,” he says, turning to watch the scenery glide by. He doesn’t think he’ll ever bring himself to call her Sammy.
“Well?” Dean prompts when she doesn’t say anything.
Silence from the back seat and he stares down at his hands clenching against his thigh, wondering if she can read his mind.
Voice rough, she says, “No, that’s not going to work. I’m not your Sammy. I think we’ll be able to figure out who you’re talking to.”
“Fine, whatever,” Dean huffs and mutters, “fucking babies,” under his breath.
Sam turns to the front window trying to hide his smile. Maybe he could get used to having her around.
They pull into a shopping center a little past noon, sunlight glinting off the abandoned cars scattered throughout the lot. Dean drives to the front of Wal-Mart, stopping the car and putting it in park. “We stay together,” he says, “no hero bullshit. We get your shit and we get out. If there’s anyone alive in there, which I doubt, we’ll find them together, understand?”
Sam glances over his shoulder at her. She nods and opens the car door, meeting them at the trunk. Dean pops it open and hands her a sawed off shotgun and shells. Sam watches her load and cock it, bracing the stock against her shoulder, stuffing more shells into the front pockets of her hoodie. She glances up at him and he’s surprised by the look of annoyance on her face.
“You okay?” he asks.
“Sure, why wouldn’t I be?” she snaps, walking alongside the car, eyes constantly moving across the parking lot. Humans are noisy and it’s eerily silent, no insects humming or bird noise from above. Sound is muffled, like they’re underwater or if they’re holding hands tight against their ears.
“Hey,” Sam grabs her wrist and heat flares between them, sparking where skin meets skin. “Sam,” he says, surprised by his hardening cock, the sudden desire to strip her down and fuck her spilling though his veins.
Like she can read his thoughts, she quietly begs, “Please, Sam, please don’t touch me,” shying away, she pulls her arm from his grasp, ignoring Dean slamming the trunk behind her. She walks to the hood of the car and stares at the ground, the gun loose in her hand.
“What the hell just happened?” Dean asks, coming up beside him and watching her hunched shoulders.
Sam shrugs his shoulders and lies, “I’ve got no idea.” Turning away, he hides his face from Dean, squaring his shoulders and taking a deep breath, trying to figure out why every time he touches her he’s overcome with a need to slam her down and fuck her into the ground.
They step through the shattered doors, guns to their shoulders and ready, careful to avoid most of the broken glass on the floor. No bodies are visible, but the place smells like death and without anything to cover their faces, they suffer the sickly sweet odor of decomposition.
Dean pulls his gun up, motioning with his head to the left, the skylights above illuminating the ripped posters of smiling women along the outside wall. She nods and follows him, hooking a finger in the basket of a shopping cart, pulling it behind her. Rapidly she abandons it when a squeaky wheel echoes through the large, open space. She grabs another and Sam takes up the rear.
Thankfully, she doesn’t waste any time, laying the gun on a low display shelf, her fingers deftly digging through the mounds of discarded clothing on the floor, toeing off her Chucks and shimming out of the borrowed sweatpants, quickly trying on jeans.
Both of them try to not look, keeping an eye out for demons and lunatics, but he catches Dean glancing behind him and he does it too, the curve of her ass flushing his skin a deep red. Dark shadows dance between the racks and a sour sweet odor overpowers them. She sees them first, her fingers pausing on the top button of a pair of jeans, face going comically blank for a moment before sweeping down, raising the gun to her shoulder and shouting, “Down!” in one graceful move.
The shot is loud over his head and he looks up to see something flung backwards, bright red blood blossoming across its body. He turns back to look at her just as two more things come barreling around the corner, racing towards them, growling and foaming at the mouths.
Sam and Dean move in front of her, shooting and taking both creatures down, one of them moaning in pain. “What the hell are they?” Dean asks, stalking towards it, on edge, shotgun at his shoulder, ready for more, but as the minutes stretch and the painful crying continues, he finally aims and shoots one final time.
Sam comes up beside him and looks down, horror striking him deep in his bones. Whatever these things were, they were once human. “Werewolves?” he asks.
Dean shakes his head, “I don’t think so,” he glances back the way they came. “Where’d the fuck she go?”
They run back to where they left her, yelling her name. “I’m—I’m here,” she calls from a few aisles over.
“What the fuck, I told you—” Dean shouts at her, but stops when he sees what she’s staring down at.
She looks up at him, face white, shotgun pointing at her bare feet, the slash of red polish on her toes so vibrant and wrong. “I thought, I thought I heard something—crying—I thought I heard crying.” Sam pulls her away from the rotting bodies, careful not to touch her skin, knowing the small clothes and bloody pile of tiny sneakers will haunt his nightmares for the rest of his life.
“Come on,” he says gently, “let’s get the rest of the stuff you need and get out of here.” He catches Dean’s eye and motions with his head towards the back. Without speaking, Dean covers them while they mechanically gather jeans and shirts, bras and packets of underwear and socks, moving to the back of the store and stopping in the men’s section for an oversized winter coat before heading to the sportsmen section. Sam pulls a tent off a high shelf and snatches an empty duffel bag, dumping them in the cart.
She jumps, hands clenching at her chest when Dean uses the butt of his shotgun to shatter a display case, throwing boxes of ammunition into the cart along with her clothes.
They set fire to the store, using more gasoline then they should and wait against the car with bowed heads until the heat reaches their faces. By the time the Impala is pulling onto the road, huge clouds of black smoke billow above the roof and flames flicker towards the sun high in the sky.
I want to hold you close
Soft breath, beating heart
As I whisper in your ear
I want to fucking tear you apart
The late afternoon sun’s turning the horizon a bloody pink by the time Dean turns the car onto an old fire road, sinking into the soft dirt, back tires spinning once, twice, before catching traction and sprinting forward. They motor through the skeletal trees, leaves mostly fallen, engine loud against the silence outside until they come to a small clearing.
Dean throws the car into park and kills the engine, exchanging a look with Sam, a whole silent conversation taking place with just the twitch of an eyebrow and a blink of an eye. She worries the skin around her thumb nail, still uncomfortable with their familiarity, with being the outsider.
Pushing open the door with a grunt and groan, Dean says, “We got about an hour until sundown. Let’s get the circle drawn and the salt buried. Got no desire to be caught after dark without protection again.”
She throws Sam a quizzical look when they’re standing outside the car. “All kind of monsters crawled out of Hell when Lucifer flung the gates wide open. Shadow demons like the darkness. They’re lower on the food chain than the regular demons, but more bloodthirsty. They move fast, are ravenous and look like oil slicks with teeth.”
Dean pops the trunk and hefts a bag of rock salt over his shoulder. “We’re too visible at night. Things can see and hear us coming, lie in wait. I hate to say it, but it’s safer to bunker down when it’s dark.”
Later that night she whispers, “Thanks.” The trees surrounding them stand sentry, the eerie silence muffling their voices. “For not leaving me at Bobby’s, I don’t know what I would’ve done if you just left and I was there, alone with him. I mean, I know how weird it must be to have me in the backseat.”
“Just in the back seat?” Dean quips.
“Okay,” she smiles, “how weird it must be for me to be here.”
“Understatement,” Sam remarks, raising a bottle of beer from the few cases Dean managed to salvage from the store.
“I’m sorry for disobeying you earlier in the store,” she raises her eyes to Dean’s, his approval she’s seeking. “I guess I thought by now I’d be used to all this death.” Her battered high tops are softly drumming against the back bumper of the Impala and she stares at the ground like she’s thinking about jumping. “It’s just, I thought I heard kids and they were still alive,” shaking her head, she takes a deep pull of warm beer.
“It’s okay,” Dean says.
Sam and Dean are leaning against the trunk, drinking their bottles in silence beside her, the nearness of their bodies causing her to shiver periodically. She’s about six beers in and definitely flying high. Moonlight shines down on them from above, illuminating their breaths in little mushroom puffs of clouds.
“It’s not. It’s the same shit Dad and Dean used to scream at me about. I don’t think, just let adrenaline and instinct lead me and I’d just go off half-cocked, not prepared for surprises, like nothing bad could ever happen to me.” She presses her palm to her temple, pushing and wiping it across her forehead. “And then it would and I’d be so fucking surprised. I used to think I was cursed, you know? Because it was my fault Mom died. Dad blamed me and I hated him for hating me. Then I’d feel guilty for feeling that way, because you’re not supposed to hate your dad, you know?”
“Sam, your Dad didn’t hate you,” Dean says, snaking his arm around her waist, his weight and warmth comforting.
“I know that now,” she says, pulling the label off the bottle, shredding it in long strips and dropping them to the ground. “I didn’t then. All I knew was he was constantly gone and when he was home and not hung over it was one long, never ending training session. The man didn’t want kids, he wanted fucking soldiers.
“Dean tried so hard to be a parent, a friend, a brother and somewhere along the fucked up path of isolation our father led us on, we just sort of fell into one another, you know? We’d train and train, trying to kill each other every day, our bodies constantly crashing against each other, bruised and sweating and—” she breaks off, taking another long swallow of beer. “It just happened.” She hides a burp behind her hand and gives a mean little chuckle.
“I couldn’t wait to turn eighteen and get the fuck away from them both, you know? Didn’t care I was breaking Dean’s heart. He kept coming back for me. As much as I pushed him away, I could feel him, knowing he was always just on the periphery, watching me and I hated myself because I wanted him to keep coming back. I was so selfish and I hated the idea of him with anyone else but me. I gave him so much shit for it.”
“Dean, can you give us a minute?” Sam asks pushing himself off the trunk and standing before her. She rolls her eyes in the darkness. Dean nods and walks to edge of the salt line, a moment later the sound of liquid hitting the ground is loud in the silence.
“Look, Sam. You’re not alone in this, okay? I know exactly how you feel, I went—”
Sam throws her empty beer bottle at him, aiming for his chest but missing by a mile. “Yeah, yeah, you and me, we shared the same fucked up childhood. We’re the Double Mint twins, not. You’re an asshole, you know that?”
Sam shakes his head, “What? What the hell are you talking about?”
“You and your demon-fucking self got a lot of nerve passing judgment on me. I thought we were sharing a moment on Bobby’s back porch the other day, thought I could tell you about me and the Lucifer connection and you’d understand. Instead you looked at me like I was a fucking monster.”
“Wait,” Sam shakes his head. “That’s not why I was looking at you like that.”
“Bullshit,” she spats, punching her fists into the pockets of her hoodie. “I see the way you look at me and I know what you’re thinking. But you’re wrong. I thought I was going to be the big fucking hero and save the world. I don’t want this,” she spreads her arms, encompassing everything, “I didn’t do this!”
Smiling tightly, Sam looks up at the trees and then glances over his shoulder at Dean’s shadow along the edge of the salt line. The piss stream stopped, but she can see him back there over Sam’s shoulder, watching them. “Look, when we were talking the other day you said the name Rudy and I was startled, caught off guard. You said your demon’s name was Rudy and I remembered.”
Pulling her sweatshirt down over her kneecaps, she stills, suddenly afraid of what his answer will be. “Remembered what?”
“I remembered walking into this bar, drunk off my ass, watching a girl in the corner choose,” he nods his head over his shoulder, “his songs on the jukebox. I remembered a girl trying to pick a fight with me and instead stealing the bottle of Jim Beam from behind the bar and pouring me a shot, making me toast her brother. The same girl whose demon tried to force her to sober up, do you remember?”
Her world tilts, she’s denying the memories racing through her brain, callused hands soft against her face, twining in her hair, pulling her head back and exposing her neck, teeth scraping against her skin.
“I thought I could just forget you after you were kicked out, you know? Buy my bottle of Jack and drink myself to oblivion. But you know what? I was fucking happy when you came out of the shadows on my way back to the car. Because for the first time since Dean was taken, I was feeling something other than hatred, loss and agony.”
“No,” her breath hitches, clarity washing over her like a bucket of ice water, her drunken buzz forgotten. She looks up at him in the moonlight. “No. That night, that night was—I blacked out and passed out in the Impala. I woke up alone.”
Sam looks off in the distance, taking a solid swallow of his beer. “Yeah, I thought I woke up alone, too.”
“No, no, but that’s impossible—”
“Yeah, and you’re here. With us, in our world, remember?”
“Jesus fucking Christ, that was you,” she breathes, remembering the slickness of cold rain, the bricks rough against her skin, the unexplainable scrapes she carried on her back, remembering the feel of him pushing into her, hands spanning her back, the first time in forever her mind overcome with someone else and not Dean.
She looks up past him to the sky, the stars telling her jump, leap off the ledge and freefall towards the ground arms wide, because after all, what the fuck do you have left to lose?
Then one step forward and he’s bringing his mouth down on hers, the taste of wheat and hops bitter on her tongue, history repeating itself. She remembers the rain pouring down over the Impala like they were under the sea, liquid shadows gliding on his naked skin.
Flesh burns where he’s touching her, fire coursing through her veins, and she’s melting against him. Warm and soft, his lips open over hers, his tongue licking into her mouth, tasting her, consuming her. His large hands grip her hips and slide her down the trunk closer to him, snaking his fingers under the back of her shirt, grasping her ass and locking her tight to him.
Wind whips through the rest stop, the salt line planted in a circle for protection forgotten, crystals iridescent in the moonlight, defying gravity. Crumbling dried leaves blow in a wicked tempest around the car. He bends her backwards, hands twining in her hair and she hooks her ankles against the backs of his knees. He lays claim to her mouth, stubble burning her soft skin.
Sam’s breath sweeps across her cheek and she sits up against him, burying her hands in his hair, repaying the favor, pulling his head back, biting the long tendon in his neck. He groans, hard against her.
Gasping, she wraps her arms around his neck; his tongue hot on her cool flesh. She opens her eyes and Dean’s standing right behind him, rubbing himself through his jeans.
Her breath catches in her throat, Dean’s face staring at her, her clutching heart stuttering betrayal, betrayal, betrayal in her chest. Her body wants him so fucking bad, shame burning her skin, realizing she wants them both. She pushes him away, “I can’t,” she whispers, pushing him harder, sliding off the trunk of the car.
He clenches his fingers around her upper arm. “Sam?”
Shaking her head, she takes a deep breath, “I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole,” she says, pressing a palm tight against her temple, “and it’s too much; I need to leave it alone.” She turns to look at both of them, Dean just behind Sam.
With one final look to the sky, she steps back from the edge, his fingers sliding along the fabric of the sweatshirt until she’s free.
“I can’t,” she repeats, sniffing, eyes spiking with tears. “No. I’ll—I’ll sleep in the car,” she says; voice stronger now. “Wake me when you need me to take watch.” Opening the back door, she slides in, shutting the door behind her. She lays her flushed cheek against the cold vinyl, the shivers shaking her body having nothing to do with the temperature. She throws her new coat on and pulls her knees to her chest.
How much more could she be expected to remember, to bear before she’s pushed to putting a gun to her temple and pulling the trigger just to make it all stop? Will it ever stop?
She inhales deeply and collapses within herself.
White stars burst behind her lids, memories of Dean rush by; their desolation, her sin, his grace.
And there he is, sitting just outside on the hood of the car, shoulders hunched against the cold, every breath exhaled in a foggy plume and completely unreachable. Beneath her ribs her heart is tearing, shredding, and mending; becoming something unrecognizable from before, something hollow. Bending her forehead to her knees, she pulls the hood up and over her hair, cradling the back of her head in her hands.
Their voices are muffled outside just before Sam opens the door and slides in, the car dipping under his weight, closing the door behind him.
“I’m sorry,” Sam whispers from the front seat and she watches his back in silhouette against the moonlight outside, “I’ve been going crazy, ever since I remembered, thinking it was just me, that it wasn’t you that night in the rain, just another girl Sam somewhere in this fucked up universe,” Sam pauses and clears his throat, “and I’ve been thinking about it all the time, seeing you and remembering. I think about you and I think about us, what we did. All the time.”
Sitting up, she leans against the back door and pulls the hood closer around her face, chill seeping into her bones.
“And not to mention what happens when we happen to touch,” Sam trails off.
“Boom,” she whispers, not knowing how else to describe the sickly pull of their bodies swinging towards one another in orbit around a shared sun. Dean. Wiping a hand down her face, she remembers the sensations of his skin sliding against hers, his mouth opening over hers, addicting and erotic.
He turns his head towards the driver’s side door, stony face in profile, “Yeah, boom.”
Her breath fogs the window before her, index finger tracing the words loss, fear, agony.
“I’ll go back outside,” he says when the silence stretches and swells between them.
“I’m a living dead girl,” she finally breathes, forearm wiping the words away. “Why would you even want to touch me?”
“Sam,” he chokes, turning, arm spread across the back of the seat.
“Don’t,” she says, holding up her hand, eyes burning but dry, nothing left to spill down her cheeks. “Please, just sit with me for a little while?”
He turns back around and slides down in the seat. “For as long as you need me to.”
She blinks and white noise fills her head, wishing she could close her eyes and be anywhere else but here when she opens them again. With a sigh, she drops her feet to the floor and leans forward, resting her chin on the front seat, breathing in his scent, recognizing his stillness.
“A few months ago,” she begins, staring at Dean through the windshield, her heart aching, remembering, “Dean and me, we had this fight, this huge blowup about Rudy and whose responsibility it was to stop the Apocalypse, mine or his. We were so angry at each other and so fucking stupid, not careful at all,” she opens her mouth and closes it a few times, the next words sticking in her throat, “and then I left and after Lucifer rose, I found out—I was pregnant. I don’t know who told Dean, I mean, I barely knew myself. Dean thought it—the baby was Rudy’s, so I’m guessing either Lucifer or one of his demons spilled the beans.”
She swallows and takes a deep breath, pushing her cold hands into her pockets, spreading them over her covered abdomen, sliding across the vinyl, opposite of him. “But someone told him I was carrying the Anti-Christ, the child whom Lucifer would be reborn into; destroyer of the world, annihilator of mankind.”
Sam’s eyes rest on her, can feel the weight of his stare as she continues to watch his brother through the windshield. “So Dean loaded the Colt and he must have,” she breaks off and knocks her head against the window, reliving this now so fucking painful, watching Dean turn his head at the noise, “it must have killed—I wonder who told him the only way to kill the child and save the world was to kill the mother. Who told him he needed to kill—me?”
Dry eyes, dry mouth, her heart’s flayed open and bleeding, “I mean, I wonder. Was it our side or theirs?”
“Jesus Christ, Sam,” he breathes, twisting in the seat towards her, but she turns her head away from him, ice forming deep in her chest, cold radiating through her limbs, staring out the side window.
“Dean never knew it was his, that the baby was his.” His hand is heavy on her shoulder, sliding up and gripping the back of her neck tight. “Sometimes, I think what if –” She can’t even finish the thought.
“Don’t,” Sam’s breathing is ragged beside her, his fingers steady and strong. “Don’t do that,” he says.
“I just—just don’t let me go,” she barely whispers, “I’ll fall and never be able get up again if you do.” The silver landscape outside the window blurs until she’s blind.
Later, after she pulls away and drifts on the edge of sleep he whispers, “I’m scared out of my fucking mind.”
Maybe he thinks she’s asleep already and maybe that’s the point. Turning her head to the ceiling, she opens her eyes.
“Suddenly, there’s so much he can take away, so much Lucifer can use against me to force me to say yes. How will I stay strong enough to keep saying no?” Can you help me stay strong enough to stay sane?
She sits up, pulling the sleeping bag tight around her. Tasting his fear, bitter and metallic on her tongue, she lays her head against his shoulder and whispers, “You’ll stay strong because you’re Sam Winchester. I have it on good authority you’re a stubborn motherfucker and don’t like being told what to do. You’ve got a kick-ass older brother, an angel and a freak from a parallel universe sharing your DNA-girl-type thing helping you save humanity. Lucifer and the angels don’t stand a chance. One of us will get redemption if it kills me.”
Rapping on glass awakens her sometime after dawn. She pushes the sleeping bag down from her face, disorientation pulling her into a sitting position. Her back cracks and she yawns, fingernails scratching against her scalp. Thumbing the hood back, she shakes her hair free and wipes the sleepies from her eyes.
“Let’s go, pretty princess,” Dean’s voice is muffled through the glass, “you got fifteen minutes to do your thing then we’re on the road. Move it up front, Sam’s driving. I need sleep.”
She steps out of the car, wisps of early mist curling around her ankles and up to her knees. The western sky is filled with roiling, low hanging clouds, gray green and purple, a storm wall moving fast in their direction. Her skin tingles, a reaction to the power building in the air. Dropping her arms to her sides, she shakes out her fingers, releasing little crackles of static electricity. Thunder echoes in the distance, a cold breeze ruffling her hair and carrying the scent of rain. Sighing, she resists the urge to soak it all in and trudges to the trunk, stopping short at Sam standing tall behind the popped lid.
He turns to her, a balled up shirt held outstretched and clenched in his fist. “Does this smell like gasoline to you?”
Struck dumb, she stares at him like she’s never seen him before, head spinning and a flash of blue-white lightning landing distantly in her periphery, a rush of wind clogging her brain. Every molecule in her body is urging her towards him, against him, on him. Desire rushes through her like the first steady fat raindrops falling, landing with solid splats against her uncovered head and shoulders.
Shaking her head, she rubs her hand against the back of her neck, not sure where this sudden flush of need and hot want is coming from. “What?”
“Does this shirt smell like gasoline to you?”
Leaning forward, she sniffs the fabric delicately, her eyes meeting his and holding. Licking her lips, she takes a step, hand outstretched, reaching for his. “No, it’s not bad. We won’t have to drive with the windows open if that’s what you’re asking.”
His expression melts from quizzical to understanding when she drops her eyes from his, coyly tucking a strand of hair behind her ear and biting the side of her lip. “Sam, I—” she breathes, looking up, their fingers just about to touch and she so desperately wants to touch him. Needs to touch him—
“What the hell you two doing back here?” Dean barks, coming around the car, grumpy from lack of sleep. “Let’s get a move on it before we’re fried by lightning.”
The storm breaks five miles down the road, light rain becoming a downpour like driving through a curtain. The wipers flick rapidly back and forth across the windshield, the car buffeting against wind gusts. Lightning flashes, blinding her, everything over exposed and backwards against her closed lids.
Awkwardness sits between them and she stares out the window, watching rivulets of water glide by, trying to ignore Sam so close. She’s failing.
“Hey,” he says, voice quiet, respectful of Dean sleeping in the back seat. She turns to look him, her breath catching in her throat. Before, it was his touch sending her heart beating erratically. Now that she knows what his mouth tastes like, what his hands on her skin feels like and how he feels deep inside, she’s really not prepared if just his glance will continue to send her spinning.
“You wanna talk?”
She shrugs her shoulders, tucking her hands under her thighs. “About anything except last night, okay?”
Sam smiles, his eyes flicking to her and back to the road, rain and wind buffeting against the car. “Okay, not about last night. Tell me about your Jess.”
A brief flare of panic ignites in her chest when she tries to bring Jess forward, his face a blur in her memory. Seeing her discomfort, Sam takes a hand off the wheel and digs in his pocket, handing her a worn leather wallet.
“Go on, open it,” he says and she looks up at him in surprise. “She’s in there, my Jess.”
The gorgeous blonde staring beneath the plastic sheath is smiling, long curls hanging over her shoulder, blue eyes clear and laughing. Her thumb slides over the worn circle in the center of the sleeve, the smooth plastic soft. They looked nothing alike, but it’s enough. Her fingers trace the curve of the girl’s jaw and she sees Jess, remembering his arms around her, the feel of his heart beating against her chest, the soft kisses he traced down her brow, his hands steady and strong against her back. She remembers how when he looked at her she felt like she was drowning in him, how she was the luckiest girl in the world. She slowly blinks, remembering him teasing her on the green, bending her backwards and blowing raspberries against her neck.
“He was tall, almost as tall as you,” she whispers, a soft snore breaking the silence from the back seat, “and so much smarter than me. He was going to be a doctor, a surgeon,” her throat tightens. “He was funny, kind and generous. Everyone loved him. I loved him.”
“My Jess wanted to be a pediatrician. She loved kids.”
Sam nods her head. “He bought a ring; I found it putting clothes away about a week before Dad disappeared, before Dean came for me. Afterwards,” her voice breaks, “his family never forgave me.”
Closing the wallet, she hands it back before turning to the window again, heart sore. “I was going to say yes.”
The fabric of your flesh pure as a wedding dress
Until I wrap myself in your arms I cannot rest
The saints can’t help me now the ropes have been unbound
I hunt for you across the
They put the storm behind them as they drive into Wisconsin, the rain suddenly stopping, the clouds still heavy and overcast above. They stop at an abandoned rest stop to stretch their legs and pee, smiling behind Dean’s back when he wakes complaining and bitching about the lack of diners in an apocalyptic world. He takes over driving, grumbling about no coffee and instantly shoves a Metallica tape into the player.
Later, during a tape break, Sam turns around in his seat and asks, “Are you humming…Elvis Costello?”
“And you have a problem with Elvis because?” she asks aggressively, meeting his eyes and Dean’s in the rearview mirror, “I like Elvis Costello. He’s my comfort music.”
“Do you listen to Elvis Costello?” Dean asks Sam, searching for another tape to shove in the player.
“No,” Sam chuckles, turning forward, “not really. Must be a girl thing.”
“Really,” she says from the backseat, voice going soft. Sam looks over his shoulder; she’s leaning to the left, grabbing something from the floor behind Dean’s seat. “I guess this little green iPod filled with Kings of Leon, Iron and Wine and oh, look: Elvis fucking Costello belongs to Dean, huh?”
Dean throws his head back and laughs, slapping Sam on the shoulder with the back of his hand. “Just think,” Dean says, looking over his shoulder at her, “she could be humming your favorite song: ‘what's so funny 'bout peace love and understanding.’”
“Fuck you,” the two Sam’s say in unison, their eyes catching and holding over the seat separating them. Heat flushes down his chest and he shifts in the seat, suddenly conscious of his hardening cock. Finally, she breaks eye contact, leaning forward and punching Dean’s shoulder before punching his. “Jerks,” she says and they both start to laugh. The insult sounds weird falling from her lips.
She stares out the window and softly sings, “Sometimes I wish that I could stop you from talking, when I hear the silly things that you say.”
“She sings better than you do,” Dean says with a smile, glancing away from the road at his brother.
Sam presses his lips together, frowns and nods wisely, “Yeah, yeah, she does. But not as good as you.”
“Still not deaf, I can hear you,” she says. “Shut both your cake holes or I’ll start singing Dream Police.”
Dean raises an eyebrow at her in the rearview mirror, “I could get behind a little Cheap Trick. How much of ‘I Want You to Want Me’ do you know?”
“Dean,” Sam says, low and rough, not liking the look on his brother’s face or the double meaning of his words.
“Slow down,” she says, moving forward, crouching on the edge of the bench, hands against their seat. Thick, black smoke obscures the sky in the near distance, blotting out the sun. Debris litters the side of the road, abandoned cars and trucks pushed to the side, firebombed and useless. Wire fences strewn across the road are torn apart, strings of barbed cable stirring in the breeze.
Sam cranks the window down, sticking his head out and scanning the black rings of carbon pock marking the road. “Hand grenades,” he says. “They tried to keep something out and failed.”
A lone traffic light strung from a wire blinks red and sways forlornly in the breeze. Battle scarred cars are upside down and littering the road, scorched and windowless. Empty store fronts line the road, exterior bricks blackened from fire. Bullet holes litter every surface and glass glitters along the road in the afternoon sun.
Her breath hitches behind him and Sam glances at her. “Jesus fuck, what happened here,” she asks, voice soft, eyes trailing a tattered ‘Celebrate 150 years!’ flag flying outside what used to be the town hall.
“God only knows,” Dean says, steering the Impala around the wreckages in the middle of the road. “This could’ve happened because of demons, hell, it could have just as easily been people being crazy. The demons took over domestic terrorism and ran with it. Nobody was ready for the infrastructure to fail. People took their Y2K plan from a few years ago and threw it in the garbage once New Year came and the lights didn’t go out. Nobody had extra food and cases of water stored in their basement,” Dean tilts his head and raises an eyebrow. “Well, except for the crazy militia people in Idaho and Bobby.”
Dean catches her eyes in the rearview. “And until Lucifer is dead it’ll just get worse.”
She grabs his shoulder and shouts, “Watch out!”
Dean looks back in time to wrench the steering wheel to the right, narrowly missing an old man covered in blood shuffling across the road.
He breaks hard, laying a line of rubber down on the pavement. “Son of a bitch,” he shouts, hitting the steering wheel with his hand before looking out the back window. “Where the fuck did he come from?”
Sam opens the car door and the others follow, slowly approaching the back of the man, tufts of sparse gray hair standing on end and swaying slightly as he stumbles towards the other side of the road. “You got the knife?” Dean asks, covering them with a shotgun. Sam nods, pulling it from a sheath at his side and turning it so Dean can see it.
Her face is wrinkling up in disgust, the back of her hand covering her nose and mouth. They’re downwind and the blood and shit smell is overpowering.
“Hey, mister,” Sam calls, motioning with his hands for her to stay behind him. “Mister, you okay?”
The old guy turns around and falls to his knees, eyes wide and terrified, grasping fingers useless against the blood gushing from the hole where his throat used to be.
“We need to get out of here,” she breathes, grasping Sam’s arm. He turns to her, catching sight of the carnage behind her, the creatures feeding on the dead bodies at the curb, their blood stained snouts curled into silent growls. The size of ponies, their hides are brindled with crimson and black stripes. Thick, bony spines protrude from their shoulders, long fangs hanging over their bottom jaws, razor claws curving over their paws, horrific goat eyes blinking vertically instead of horizontally.
Sam grabs her arm and shoves her towards the car. It’s the signal the pack is awaiting and snarling, they jump over their feast, eager for more blood.
Dean’s shooting, yelling, “Hellhounds! They’re motherfucking Hellhounds!” The boom of the shotgun is loud in the silent town; the hound hit yelping and crying out in pain. “Get in the fucking car,” he shouts, shooting again, a few of the decaying hounds falling on the one shot, blood spraying high and raining down upon the blacktop.
Demonic baying comes from everywhere and nowhere at once, the howling like nails screeching down on metal growing louder, more hounds rushing to the center of town, smelling blood and fresh meat. The faint sounds of gunfire drifts from somewhere farther in town on the wind.
People are gathering in doorways and wandering onto the street, anticipatory smiles on their faces grotesque and wrong, their eyes bleeding black. Five and ten become twenty, then thirty. The hounds aren’t the only creatures wanting to shred, maim and kill. Guns and clubs, knives and swords fill their hands, waiting, waiting, waiting.
She turns and screams, jerking backwards in surprise and slamming into Sam. There’s a hound on the top of the car and Dean rapidly reloads, firing rock salt at the creature, but as soon as it falls, another takes its place.
“Dean,” Sam shouts, wrapping an arm around her middle and pulling her back tight against his chest. Dean cocks the gun, joining them and firing again, aiming for the closest hounds. “We’re surrounded.”
Dean frantically digs in his pockets for more shells and yells, “I know! You don’t think I know that? Jesus Christ, Sam! They’re corporeal and we got more problems now besides them just having our scent! Fucking Lucifer’s growing stronger!”
Sam and Dean back up to her, surrounding her, trying to protect her from the hellhounds. The abominations step ever closer, teasing, howling, just staying far enough away so Dean continues to shoot, wasting the ammunition he has left before they can move in for the kill.
“You scratch my car fucker and I’ll send you back to Hell with my bare hands!”
Thunder booms somewhere close, the percussion rattling through his bones, ringing in his ears. Huge cumulonimbus clouds stack upon each other, rolling, purple black and angry, promising violence. He can feel the storm in every cell of his body, stalking him, sucking energy and power from his veins, channeling it away.
“Sam,” she cries and he ignores her, keeping an eye on the hound tracking him, pacing back and forth a few feet away, disregarding the buzzing along his skin. Wind gusts down the street, lightning cracking somewhere close, the smell of ozone harsh over the blood and shit. A vortex of violent air circles around the three of them, pulling leaves and debris off the street and swirling up into the sky.
The hounds stop pacing and the menacing smiles fade from the mouths of the demons in the street. The hair on the nape of Sam’s neck and arms stand on end, an electrical humming filling his head. Something’s gathering power.
“Sam, take my hand.”
He looks down at her, realizing the feeling of bleeding energy is coming from her. She’s doing it, controlling the storm, funneling his power and the energy of nature into her. Her eyes are staring forward, a serene, half-smile on her face. She grabs the back of his hand and a massive electrical shock jolts him straight, free arm flying backwards and dropping the knife.
“Sam!” Dean shouts; trying to keep one eye on them and the other on the growling hellhounds. After the initial shock the feeling tearing through him is almost pleasurable. Time slows and the beating of his heart grows loud in his ears, matching hers, echoing the rush and swish of blood flowing through his veins, the same blood flowing through hers.
“Almost,” she murmurs; eyes forward and unseeing. She entwines her fingers in his, tightening her grip, her other hand rising slowly, palm out, five fingers gracefully pointing to the sky. The power builds and rushes to a crescendo and just when he thinks he can no longer stand it, that he’ll need to let her go to stay sane, she blinks and it surges outwards, an invisible shock waving through the town, slamming into and flattening every demonic creature in its path. Flames erupt from the screaming mouths of the survivors, the demonic smoke crackling and burning to ash, falling to the ground.
A headache the size of Alaska crashes into his skull dropping him to his knees, filling the void of power and Sam grabs his forehead, grimacing against the sudden, sharp pain. A sigh escapes her lips as the hounds explode outward, burnt gristle and white bone raining downward, black ichor sizzling and staining the road.
As suddenly as the pain comes, it’s gone and he looks up. Her eyes roll up into the back of her head and she starts to collapse, unconscious. He catches her, two thin lines of red running from her nose to her upper lip. “Dean,” he cries, kneeling on the ground.
“What the fuck was that?” Dean asks, fingers seeking and finding the pulse at her throat. He catches Sam’s eyes and nods. “Did you do that?”
Sam shakes his head and stares down at her; already her eyes are flicking open. “No, it was her. I--I might’ve just helped magnify it or something.”
“She’s you,” Dean rises, holding the shotgun by the stock, turning slowly and surveying the carnage. “Son of a fucking bitch, of course she’s got powers. Are they all dead?”
She opens bloodshot eyes and grabs Sam’s hand for leverage to stand. Wobbling, she holds her arms out to steady herself, clutching Sam’s shirt for balance.
“Are you sure you’re okay?” Sam asks.
Nodding, she puts a hand on her chest, closing her eyes.
“Hey,” Dean leans down, touching a hand to her chin and she opens her eyes. “Are they all dead?”
“The demons and hell hounds are dead,” she says, shivering, raising her face to the sky as if for looking for warmth or benediction. “And pretty much anything spawned from Hell lingering in a mile radius around us.” She opens her eyes.
Dean walks back to her and gestures at the bodies lying in the street. “What about those people, are they dead?”
”If the possessed were still alive and not mortally wounded while the demons rode them, they should be okay.” Absently, she wipes her sleeve under her nose, smearing the blood across her cheek. Her breathing’s ragged and uneven, shivers shaking her entire body.
“You sent them all back to hell?”
Eyes slowly blinking like she’s about to fall asleep on her feet, she sways and says, “No. They’re dead. If demons can die, I guess. They’ve ceased to exist on this plane of existence.” She giggles, her eyes rolling into the back of her head.
“Whoa, whoa, whoa” Sam says, catching her before she hits the ground. “She’s out cold again.”
Dean pokes at the carcass of a dead hellhound with his gun, jumping back when the body decomposes to dust it front of him. “What about you?”
Sam lifts under her legs, standing and cradling her to his chest. “I’m okay. Got a bit of a headache, nothing like before when I had the visions. I think she did most of the heavy work.”
Dean nods, staring at the people beginning the stir in the street. “You know we gotta talk about this right? I mean, a mile radius of dead demons, Sam. Not right,” Dean shakes his head, scratching at the back of his neck. “Not motherfucking right at all.”
“We gotta do this now?”
People are moaning behind them, sitting up and staring at their surroundings in horror.
“Christ, no Sam. Put her in the car or something, let her sleep it off. We gotta get these people prepared. Something wicked is definitely heading their way and the demons are gonna have some questions these people can’t answer.”