Dusty walked down the long stretch of road. She was living up to her name today as the grime from the highway seemed intent upon covering her with each gust of wind. She'd left the small Midwest town she'd grown up in three months before and hadn't looked back. She couldn't stay there anymore; not after everything that happened. Not after everything she'd lost. A truck pulled up next to her and rolled down its passenger side window.
"You need a ride honey?" the man drawled. He hoped she said yes. Pretty little thing like that might be some fun on an otherwise boring drive.
Dusty sauntered up to the window and gazed at the man from behind her dark sunglasses. "No thanks." she answered politely. "My ride's coming pretty quick here."
The man looked puzzled, but shrugged and pulled away from her. Dusty watched him drive off and smiled sardonically. Men looked at her and all of them pretty much had the same thoughts. It was natural she supposed. Her body was womanly and could have graced the cover of any magazine including Playboy. Masses of honey blonde hair tumbled down her back, and she'd had highlights of magenta liberally scattered throughout. She had a delicate and very feminine face with an almost perfect nose, just slightly crooked from being broken once, full rosebud lips, and large eyes that were the color of deep purple pansies. Her mother had always compared her looks to those of what most people considered angels would resemble. Thinking of her mother brought bittersweet memories into her head, and Dusty pushed them aside quickly. No time for that, she thought to herself.
When the black Chevy Impala pulled up beside her she smiled slightly to herself. The window rolled down and in her peripheral vision she saw a young man, approximately her age, with brown hair past his ears and chiseled features. She stopped walking and looked at them. "We normally don't do this, but did you need a ride?" he asked in a polite and educated voice.
Dusty looked at them and was glad her eyes were hidden. They were both handsome men, and it was easy to see they were siblings. The other man addressed her with a cocky smile. "We aren't psychopaths are anything. If you need a ride we can take you to the next town and drop you off."
She cocked her head to the side as if considering and then nodded. "I'd appreciate it." She answered in her husky voice. The passenger got out of the car and flipped up the seat for her to scoot behind. Dusty knew that both men admired the view of her backside as she slid into the back and placed her duffle on the seat next to her.
"I'm Dean." the driver told her. "This is my brother Sam."
"Dusty." she introduced herself.
"Well Dusty, it's a pleasure to meet you. Where are you headed to?" Dean asked.
Dusty looked out the window for a moment before answering. "Wherever the wind takes me. Don't really have a destination."
"Well, we're headed to Houston." Sam said.
"Then I guess you can drop me off in Houston." Dusty shrugged.
"Hope you don't mind Sabbath." Dean said with a grin.
Sam chimed in. "Yeah, Dean has particular music likes."
Dusty sat back in the seat and shrugged again. "I like an eclectic mix of music. Classic metal is fine by me."
Sam turned and looked at the girl in the back seat. It appeared that she had fallen asleep. She really should be more careful. Getting into a car with two men she didn't know, and then falling asleep wasn't the safest thing to do. She'd been lucky they'd happened upon her. He'd been telling the truth when he'd told Dusty that they didn't normally pick up hitchhikers. In their business they couldn't afford to have someone overhear them, and well, with their luck they'd probably pick up a psycho or a monster of some sort. But it was like they hadn't been able to pass the girl. They'd seen her walking on the side of the road and had both said the same thing simultaneously. She needs a ride.
From the back all they'd seen were curves, an old black tank top, long blonde hair pulled back in a ponytail, faded and grimy jeans, and beaten up boots. A duffle bag that looked heavy was hung casually on one shoulder, and she moved with grace and purpose. There was just something about the girl that called to them so they'd stopped and offered her the ride. When she'd looked at them he'd had the distinct feeling that she'd been reading them somehow. Maybe, he thought, just maybe they'd seen something in her walking alone down the highway that had reminded them of themselves. She shifted slightly and Sam realized she was still awake.
Dean and Sam looked at each and Dean shrugged slightly. "So, where you from?" Dean asked.
"Originally I'm from Houston. However I've been living in South Dakota for the past ten years." she told them.
"Oh." Dean was slightly surprised. "So you know people in Houston?"
The girl shrugged. "I did. At one point maybe." Dusty stared out the window before speaking again. "I guess I still have a few connections there."
"Family?" Sam asked.
She smiled slightly. "In a way I suppose they are. But not by bloodlines. More business or social acquaintances I suppose."
"What made you leave a nice place like South Dakota?" Dean asked wanting to know more.
Her smile faded quickly. "There was no reason left to stay." The girl removed her glasses and looked at them both. Both men were startled by her purple eyes. They'd never seen eyes that color naturally, and could tell these weren't contacts.
"Sorry, we don't mean to pry." Sam told her.
Her smile returned, and she flashed even, white teeth at them before continuing. "Pry all you want Sam. If I don't want to answer I'll tell you."
The car was silent for several minutes. Both men were beginning to become slightly uncomfortable. There was something different about this girl. Something very different. Sam was beginning to wonder if somehow they had picked up a monster after all. Maybe another doppelganger? "What do you do for a living?" Dean asked, giving Sam another look.
She relaxed back against the seat again. "I suppose you could say I was a teacher of sorts, and sometimes I worked in the entertainment industry."
Dusty almost smiled widely but stifled it. She wondered what they'd say if they truly knew what she did and what she was. She knew that these two men would definitely believe her. They wouldn't think her crazy, or think that she was just trying to get attention. No, because they'd seen and known more than most people. She had a feeling that's why she was to meet them. Now she just had to decide if she would tell them. In her heart she wasn't sure it was the best thing to do.
"So, are you visiting family in Houston?" she asked, already knowing quite well that they were not. "Or are you going for business?"
"Business." Sam answered and hoped she wouldn't ask for more information. "How old are you?"
"I'm your age." she answered. When he turned to stare at her she elaborated. "I just turned twenty-two."
Her face was somber as he stared. "How did you know how old I was?"
"Maybe it was a lucky guess." She answered thoughtfully.
They traveled in silence after that each absorbing the limited information they'd managed to get. Dusty felt guilty. She hadn't meant to make them uncomfortable or suspicious. Hopefully she would be able to stay with them long enough to pass on the information that she had for them. Then they could go their separate ways. Whether they realized it or not, these two men had formed an extremely tight unit. More than brothers, more than friends, they were true partners. Each one brought something different to the union. Yes, she would help them with what she could, and then she would take her leave. Move on to the next occurrence.
After several hours Dean finally spoke. "Is anyone else hungry?"
"Yeah." Sam sighed, coming fully awake.
"I'm starving." She admitted. Honestly she couldn't remember the last time she ate. She'd been so attuned to making sure she was in the right place at the right time so as to meet the Winchester brothers that she was pretty sure she'd missed lunch and breakfast.
"Where are we?" Sam asked rubbing the sleep from his eyes.
"Well, we just drove Dallas, which was a real treat let me tell you, and now we're almost to Corsicana."
"There's a great little Mexican restaurant in Corsicana." Dusty spoke. "If you like Mexican food."
"Yeah, we love it." Sam answered. Odd, he thought, I'm totally in the mood for Mexican food.
"Lead on." Dean smiled.
The trio had lunch in companionable silence. When Sam went to pay the bill Dusty stopped him. "Please allow me." She said.
"We couldn't." Dean responded.
"No, seriously. It's the least I can do considering yall are driving me to Houston." She responded logically. They watched as she took the bill and headed to the counter to pay.
"Something odd about that girl Sam." Dean murmured.
"I agree." He muttered back. She seemed almost serene. As if she had been taking a short walk along the beach when they'd found her, but there was something else in her eyes as well. Something that told him that she'd seen far more in her life than most people. "Like, how'd she know my age? She didn't say about my age, she said it matter of fact."
"You think she's one of them?" Dean asked. He looked at Dusty speculatively.
Sam shook his head in the negative. "No, not quite, but there's something odd there." They looked at the girl again and frowned. They hadn't realized that a larger man had approached her as they spoke.
"You get your ride there little girl?"
Dusty turned to find the man who'd stopped for her. She smiled slightly. "I did. Thank you."
The man wiped a hand across his mouth. "That's too bad. Would've liked the company." He practically leered.
Dusty tried to step around the man, but he moved with her. Sam and Dean must have noticed because they approached them. "You ready?" Sam asked her quietly. The man turned to look at the intruders.
"I was busy talking to the little lady son." He said rudely.
Sam smiled at the man. "Sorry about that, it's just that we have to be on our way." Dean stood quietly behind him ready to back him up.
"Well, maybe you boys outta just run along then. I can give the lady a lift." He sneered. Sam noticed the man's face turning red, and his hands clenching at his sides and got ready to take the hit.
Dusty felt the situation escalating. This was all wrong. She hadn't wanted to do this so soon. She took a deep breath and placed her hand on the large man shoulder. Her voice was low and soothing. "Fighting isn't necessary. These are my friends and they're going to make sure I get to where I'm going safely."
Almost instantly the man's hands relaxed and the red tinge of anger disappeared. "She's right." He said congenially. "I don't know what I was thinking. I mean, you boys are her friends. It was real nice meeting you all."
The man ambled away and the three walked out to the car together. Before they got inside Dean stopped abruptly. "What was that?"
"What do you mean?" she asked innocently.
"Don't give us that act. That man was ready to pound Sammy. What'd you do?"
Dusty looked at them both for one moment and then nodded. "Will you accept that I'm not all that I seem but hold no danger for you?"
The brothers looked at each other and seemed to communicate. Finally Sam turned to her. "Ok, get in." he told her and held the door open.