Layla jumped when the doorknob turned and the brothers burst in. They were laughing and slapping each other on the back, clearly pleased with themselves.
They didn't even acknowledge her presence. She was annoyed. She had sat on the bed, hands clenched, starting at every noise.
She cleared her throat angrily. Not one of them looked at her. She coughed pointedly. They continued congratulating each other. Layla noticed now they were talking kind of loud.
"Oye," She interjected finally. Both Dean and Sam turned to look at the angry teenager standing there with her hands on her hips.
Layla gasped and covered her mouth with her hand. Both of them had a trail of blood coming from their ears.
"I didn't know a Banshee could do that." She rushed forward, grabbed Sam's arm and forced him to sit down. Dean rolled his eyes as she fussed around wiping the blood off his brother's face. Sam always got the female attention. Dead didn't understand. He was totally the hot one.
As Layla used the wet clothe to swab the blood off his face the brothers has explained what had happened.
"I still can't believe you knew anything about Banshees," Dean mused leaning back in a chair.
Layla shrugged. "I didn't mythology in school. You know, not like in the context that anything existed. And it's by no means comprehensive."
"Yeah, you had zero free time growing up did you Hermione?" Dean deliberately baited her. She just sighed and ignored him. Layla didn't have much fight in her; she had a lot of doormat in her.
Sometimes he managed to provoke her into a fight but mostly she humoured him like a delinquent toddler. That annoyed him a thousand fold. He was somewhat surprised when she got a clean clothe and began removing the blood from his face. He jerked away, refusing to be coddled. However she has a hard grasp on his chin and eventually he succumbed to her administrations.
He wouldn't admit but it felt nice having, if not an affectionate touch, than a soft one. The older Winchester would never confess to it but sometimes he felt starved for human affection. He hadn't grown up with much and his mother had died while he was still young.
He wasn't overly comfortable with this coming from Layla, the slightly chubby crazy teenager. She made him uncomfortable, though he had stopped making a huge issue of it.
"So loony Layla, what have you been doing while we were gone?" He asked with a jaunty grin. Alright, he had almost stopped bringing it up. Sam glared at him for a moment.
Layla didn't seem to notice the insult. She had grown accustomed to Dean's taunts and understood they were more of a defensive mechanism than real biting comments.
"Yeah I fretted up a storm," she answered coolly.
"Don't sound like you were very concerned."
"Well if I knew you were going to bleed like this I may have been. You can hardly afford to loose the blood from your brain."
Sam started to snigger and Dean scowled.
There was a small cut high on his cheek which Layla brushed gently. "I should really clean that."
Dean automatically put his hand up and grabbed hers, not aggressively but gently. "Layla, stop fussing."
Their eyes locked for a second before Layla moved away, averting her eyes to the ground and tucking a lock of hair behind an ear.
Sam caught the look and raised an eyebrow. It was so fleeting that it barely registered but Sam noticed. Dean was examining his blood stain shirt and muttering about buying a new one.
Sam cleared his throat. "So Layla? Want to do a training session."
Layla made a face. She had no natural affinity for hunting or violence. The brothers training had made her semi passable and she could have sworn she had lost weight from the combination of activity, lack of food and anxiety. All great recipes for an unhealthy lifestyle and early grave.
Sam clocked the look and laughed. "Should I take that as a no?"
"We deserve a night off," Dean said, shrugging off his ruined shirt. Layla nodded wordlessly. A night off would be great especially with no bogey monsters raining down on them.
"I couldn't argue with that," Sam finally said and stretched. Normally they were being run out of town by some sheriff or trying to protect their identity but this time everything had gone smoothly, or as smoothly as anything to do with occult goes. But more importantly it had gone discreetly.
"Let's find a bar," Dean said enthusiastically.
"Under the legal limit," Layla waved a hand in the air. She paused. "Also no ID." She had nothing but the clothes off her back when she'd been sucked into the TV show.
Dean scoffed. "It's a small town bar, they don't card."
Turns out he wasn't right but a twenty slipped into the hands of the owner dispelled any arguments. Layla had to promise not to drink and he kept a steely eyed watch on her as she meekly sipped a coke.
Layla had no real interest in drinking. She gazed around wide eyed at the bar filled with interesting characters. Her sister had probably gone to bars and clubs despite being younger. E had just been more adventurous and cool in so many ways.
The music was god awful, the room was filled with smoke and every one seemed to be wearing denim or plaid.
Dean ordered whiskey straight whilst Sam settled for a beer. Dean raised his glass in toast.
"Cheers, Sammy, to another job well done."
Dean was used to hard drinking. It didn't take Layla long to figure that out. He should have been drunk by any standards but his eyes were clear even if his movements and speech weren't quite up to speed.
They slipped into easy conversation about past hunts and challenges. Layla listened, enthralled, absorbing anything she could. If she was going to last long in this world she had to know everything. Luckily for Layla, taking in information and retaining it had never been much of a problem.
Eventually Sam said he had enough and returned to the hotel room. Layla was still enjoying the spectacle of drunken middle aged farmers.
Dean, having decided there was no woman worth pursuing in the bar had settled back to get very drunk. Layla's company wasn't as intrusive as he would have imagined. She sat more or less quietly and observed.
"Never been in a bar before?"
She shook her head. Almost as surprised at Dean making conversation as he was at himself. Must be the alcohol, he assumed
"No. I didn't do anything really rebellious or interesting."
"You got struck by lightening and sucked into a TV show," Dean pointed out.
"Yeah but that was by accident and you don't even really believe that happened."
"It's not too far fetched…I mean alternate universes, spells etc. But I just can't believe me and Sammy are fictional characters." He poured more alcohol down his throat and relished the way in burnt.
"Guess I wouldn't want to believe it either," Layla said, turning her attention back to the throng of people.
"So tell me more about the show," he prompted.
Layla laughed. "I didn't watch it. I just know because Melanie talked about it all the time."
"Is your sister hot?"
"Very," Layla answered, deadpan.
Dean shook his head at the stoic expression. Sore spot. "You can ask whether my brother is hot," he offered.
"I've seen Sam. I know he's hot," she replied without thinking.
"Ah ha! So you think Sam is hot." He had a triumphant look on his face.
Despite herself, Layla started laughing. "Clever."
"I thought so."
"Can I ask you a question?"
Dean looked a little uncomfortable. "That never leads to places that are good."
"I was just wondering, I know you have some sort of problem to do with your dad. I was just wondering what it was." She broke off and when the silence lingered longer than necessary she assumed he wasn't answering. Great, she thought, I've offended him and we were actually acting civilised. She berated herself for being nosy or not at least waiting to ask Sam, the infinitely more stable of the pair.
Layla looked up startled. "I thought he was missing."
"He was. Then he was found… then he died."
"I'm sorry," she breathed.
"Not your fault," he sipped at his drink. "He traded his life for mine."
Layla didn't really have any words for the situation. She was a sheltered teenager so she said the only thing she could think of. "Shit."
She opened her mouth to say more but realised his face had closed off. To Dean's relief she didn't push any more questions. Maybe he could be friends with her after all.
"'Scuse me, wanna dance?" A huge drunk hairy man loomed in front of her.
"Me?" Layla squeaked out. Men never approached her. She was mediocre.
"I don't think he's asking me," Dean murmured.
Layla did not want to dance with this man. Layla very much did not want to dance with this man. But she didn't know how to say no. She stuttered a bit and Dean quickly realised she was adept to deal with this situation.
He slipped an arm protectively around her shoulders. "She's with me," he said hoping this would satisfy and the man would go away.
The man shook his head. "Woman like this needs a real man, not a boy like you."
Dean smirked and raised his glass to his lips, refusing to deign the idiot with a response.
Layla mumbled something about "not being a woman at all."
The man was irritated at being ignored and went one step further to illicit a response from Dean. He roughly shoved his shoulder.
Dean turned calmly and professionally punched the man in the face. He went down cold.
"You punched him," Layla observed uselessly.
"Yep," Dean said, casting a quick glance around the bar realising most of the men here were friends. He downed the remainder of his alcohol, grabbed Layla's arm above the elbow and steered her out. "Time to go, trouble maker."
Layla still seemed a bit stunned by the encounter. "But I'm not that attractive."
"You are bloody annoying," Dean snapped so Layla shut up and followed him.
The next day Dean showed no signs of a hang over and Sam was talking animatedly about a poltergeist in a neighbouring town.
Layla asked a thousand questions in the car. "I've only seen the movie and only when I was little. It gave me nightmares," she confessed.
"I'm not surprised," Dean said. He had hardly said two words to her today and she was relieved for this statement even despite its mocking purpose.
They found the house easily enough. Every body was talking about what had happened. A brother had been murdered. No one knew why they just knew it had happened. The brothers set their mouths in grim determination and knocked on the door. Layla had been made to sit in the car but she had seen the pretty girl answer the door.
The brothers returned half an hour later. They looked more sombre than before if possible.
"Definitely a poltergeist," Dean agreed. "I felt that bad energy."
"What happened?" Layla piped up.
Dean was too distracted to answer her, let alone look annoyed at her questioning.
"Turns out the brother may have been having an affair with a married woman. Her husband fell down the stairs when he came to confront him."
"Murder," Dean fake coughed.
"Maybe," Sam conceded. "But he had stopped the affair with the wife."
"So plan of action?"
"Standard salting and burning of the body," Sam said casually.
"That's uh standard for you boys?" Layla said.
"Pretty much yeah."
"Mary said his buried in the cemetery on the outskirts of town," Dean said.
"Mary?" Layla inquired.
"The sister. The girl who answered the door."
"Uh the pretty one."
Dean flicked his gaze to the rear view mirror to examine the girl on the back seat. She looked wholly unimpressed with the situation. Yeah well so was he.
They found the grave easily enough and dug up the jealous husband. The cemetery was not that far from the house actually. When the brother hit wood Layla took a step back.
"Is it going to smell?"
"Yep," Dean grunted as he opened the coffin. His mouth dropped open.
The remains had already been burned and salted.
"It's already been done." Dean sounded shocked and a little disappointed. Sam, however, was shaking his head.
"This was done a while ago. Before the brother was killed."
They exchanged worried glances. "Whose in the house than?" Layla demanded.
Dean rummaged in his pocket and pulled out a cell phone. "Go back to the house and find out what happened to the mistress. The wife. And whatever you do, don't go into the house." He tossed the phone to Layla.
Layla ran as fast as she could. Her legs ached and burned but she made it. She pounded on the door trying to slow her breathing.
The pretty girl answered the door. "What… happened… to … mistress?"
Mary looked taken back by the appearance of her and tried to shut the door in the face. Layla grabbed her arm to pull her back but Mary was stronger. Her movement pulled Layla inside the house. The door shut ominously behind her. There was a small click.
Layla didn't bother looking. "We're locked in, aren't we?"
Mary nodded wordlessly.
"Ok Mary. I need you to tell me what really happened here. And quickly if possible." Her finger hung over the call button and she tried to keep it steady. She was so scared she could barely breathe.
There was an unearthly cackle from above and the furniture started shaking.
This seemed to settle things for Mary. "She pushed him down the stairs. The husband and then she killed herself. Said if my brother didn't love her life wasn't worth living. He had ended the affair you know."
"Her name!? Her name!?" Layla pressed.
Layla slammed her finger down and the phone dialled. Sam answered.
"Jillian Swanson. And hurry!"
"Did you get Mary out of the house?"
"Um I kind of got pulled in and the angry bitch locked the door."
Sam repeated it to Dean who swore. Layla winced.
She didn't hear much more. The phone went flying out of her hand and there were footsteps on the stairs. Layla grabbed Mary's hand and back against the door.
Layla shakily pulled up a gun. Dean had thrust it into her hand without comment earlier. "I hoped I wouldn't have to use this."
Mary scrambled behind her, wrongly thinking that Layla knew what she was doing.
Layla saw the hideous figure, face contorted by rage and death.
She fired an unsteady shot into its shoulder and felt like her arm was thrown back a hundred feet. It gave a screech and disappeared but all manner of objects began to hurl themselves at the pair.
Layla pushed Mary into the kitchen and as soon as she was there she realised her mistake. Kitchen tended to equal knives. She was about to leave but Jillian appeared before her more horrible than before.
She was holding one of those knives Layla hadn't thought about in advance.
Layla didn't know what else to do so she shut her eyes and prayed to anyone that might hear. The creature gave one last caw and then silence. Layla dared to open and eye. She was gone. Layla slumped to the floor relieved.
Mary started crying and Layla gripped her hand. Trying to comfort her but needing it desperately herself.
The brothers came soon. Sam hastily helped Mary up, he pulled her into the lounge room, saying soothing things. Dean looked at the younger girl on the floor. She looked severely shaken but she wasn't crying. Dean privately approved. Good girl, brave girl he thought but couldn't bring himself to actually say it.
He squatted near her and put both hands on her shoulders. "She's gone. You're safe now."
"For now," Layla amended.
"For now, until I am not around to help." Dean felt like hitting himself in the head for saying something so ridiculous. Layla seemed to appreciate it and pulled herself upright again.
Later the pair of them sat in the car, watching Sam talk with Mary. She leaned forward and kissed his cheek. Dean stopped looking then and stared at the road in front of them.
"They always do that don't they." Layla made it sound more like a statement than a question.
"Kiss him, thank him. Like it was only him." She didn't sound offended but was studying Dean with a critical eye.
"I don't care," Dean said.
"I think you do. I think you're suffering from younger sibling syndrome."
"Younger sibling syndrome," she repeated.
"Whatever," Dean dismissed but was a little curious. "What is that?"
"Your younger sibling gets more attention, is better looking, is smarted and is better liked."
"Sam is not better looking," Dean argued. But was forced to consider her words. They had the uncomfortable ring of truth.
"I think you're a hero too," Layla said looking out her window, refusing to meet his eyes.
Dean didn't respond. Because he didn't care and her words therefore had no effect. Hardly any effect at least.
AN: well I updated. It's been forever but I am in more of a position to regularly update these days. So hurrah for regular updates.
- funny blog I found, which I am shamelessly promoting.