Chapter Ten

Once Aaron was no more, the remaining few vampires tried to scatter but Sam brought one down with a quick slice of his knife and Annie threw the dagger she had imbedded in Aaron's stomach, dispatching the other.

"You fucking bloodsucker," Dean snarled behind her.

Annie whirled around and saw Dean moving towards Randall.

"No!" she screamed. Without sparing a moment to think that perhaps there was a better way, Annie brought the handle of the dagger down against the back of Dean's neck. Dean crumpled at her feet and Annie winced, knowing he was going to completely tear her head off later.

Sam stared at her wide-eyed but not without understanding.

"Yeah, I know," Annie shrugged. Turning back to Randall, she pushed him backwards. "Go."

Randall blinked. "What?"

She grabbed his elbow and pulled him with her towards the door. "You have to go. Now. Before he wakes up."

"Annie-"

"You asked me to trust you and that's what I'm doing. You said you're not like Aaron. You're not a killer. I believe you. So go on. Get out" Annie replied softly.

Randall took a step back, staring down at her with glistening eyes. He raised a hand and cupped her cheek. "Why?"

Annie shivered; feeling her own eyes burning and gave him a weak smile. "Don't you know never to look a gift horse in the mouth? I don't want to know how exactly you and your kind survive but if you promise me that you'll never take a human life then you deserve to live…um…or survive I guess."

Randall lowered his head and pressed his mouth to hers briefly.

Knowing that this was goodbye, Annie cupped his face in her hands and lifted up to kiss him more deeply. He wasn't Jack and he wasn't Dean, but he was one of the good ones and Annie was going to miss him, bloodsucker or not. He'd given her hope that maybe she could feel something in her heart again, that it wasn't completely wrecked because of Jack's death. Odd that hope should come in the form of a vampire. "Go," she whispered.

"What about them?" Randall asked motioning to Sam and then Dean on the ground.

Annie met Sam's uneasy gaze. "They won't stop you."

Sam narrowed his eyes at Randall. "Don't think we won't know what you're up to though. It's kind of our job as you can see. You better go before he wakes up."

Randall turned back to Annie. He took her hands in his then pulled a handkerchief out of his pocket and wiped the blood from her wrists. "I hope I'll see you again." He quirked his mouth upwards when he glanced down at Dean's unconscious form. "Him, not so much." He brushed a last kiss across her lips and then left.

Sam walked up behind her and sighed. "You know Dean is so gonna kill you when he wakes up."

"I don't suppose you could tell him that you hit him and then let Randall go?" Annie asked weakly.

"Uh, no," Sam insisted.

"Right. Well, why ruin a good system? He wants to tear my head off most of the time anyway."

"You should try and cut Dean some slack. He's a pain in the ass most of the time but you know he'll do anything for you."

Annie made a grumbling unintelligible sound that might have been agreement if Sam had forced her to translate. Luckily, he didn't.

"You're gonna miss Randall, huh?" Sam asked.

"I guess," Annie replied, not facing him so he wouldn't see the sadness on her face though he could surely hear it in her voice.

"Mmm. You know it wouldn't have worked out though, right? I mean, Randall doesn't look half as good with your lipstick on as Dean does."

Annie whirled around in surprise, meeting Sam's laughing gaze. Before she could ask if he had really known what happened between her and Dean that morning, Dean began to stir.

"Wha…happ…fuck," Dean whispered, shaking his head to try and clear it as he pushed himself upright.

Annie bent down to help him to his feet, holding her breath as she waited if Dean remembered who conked him over the head.

"Looks like we found our murderer. Aaron was engaged in some kind of war with Randall. Thanks to us, Aaron lost." Sam explained.

"I told you he was a bloodsucker, didn't I?" Dean spun on Annie; then closed his eyes as the movement caused him a no-doubt significant amount of pain.

"You were convinced he was our killer and he wasn't," Annie insisted.

Sam glared at her and Annie cringed. He was trying to cover for her and she wasn't making it easy. "But yes, he was a vampire," she offered, giving Sam a weak smile and trying to look effectively meek to Dean.

"I knew it. Where is that son of bitch? I've got some iron rounds here with his name on them." Dean's eyes glittered with purpose and he scanned the room.

"He's gone. He must have escaped in the confusion," Sam explained and Annie could have kissed him.

"What? How the-Never mind, he won't get far." Dean stormed towards the door.

"Dean. Dean, wait." Annie grabbed him by the elbow. "Why are we gonna bother with Randall? We've killed the thing we came to kill. Case closed, right? Don't we have bigger fish to fry?"

Dean looked down at her blankly.

"The demon?" Annie shoved at him, biting her lip and hoping that he would get distracted from his current course.

"Right," Dean said reluctantly.

He rubbed at the back of his neck and Annie felt a guilty pang in her chest.

"Right. But we can't leave that fucker just walking around. He's a vampire."

"Why the hell not?" Annie protested but Sam shook his head emphatically at her.

"We're not just letting him walk out of here. We can still keep an eye on him but he did help us out on this job, man."

"How?" Dean burst belligerently.

"Bloodsucker or not, we've got bigger problems to worry about don't we? He didn't kill anyone. If anything, we've got an in now that we didn't have before. We let Randall go, he owes us. A favor like that can come in damned handy down the line." Sam reminded him. "The goal here is find dad, kill the demon."

Dean narrowed his eyes at his younger brother and then poked him in the chest. "I don't like it and I bet my car that this was Annie Oakley over there's idea." He turned away from them and stormed back out through the door.

Now the case was officially closed, Annie thought with a snort. John was the same way. Never one to give in an argument, the elder Winchester simply walked out and let that be interpreted as his acquiescence. Like father, like son indeed.

Annie was just getting back from grabbing a few last minute food items for the drive out of town when she heard Sam and Dean yelling at each other on the other side of the motel room door.

"What the hell is up with you two?" she asked pulling open the door. "I could hear you almost clear across the parking lot."

"You!" Dean's face was a blazing mask of fury as he stomped towards her. "You're the one that knocked me out. You little bitch!"

"Whoa! Hang on a second! Whoa!" Annie backed up clutching the paper bag to her chest like a shield. Sam stepped between them and she risked a glance past his arm. "Dean, look. I didn't mean to hit you. I just-"

"You didn't fucking let Randall escape. You knocked me out and then held open the goddamned door for him. Sam get out of my way," Dean hissed trying to get to Annie

"You were going to draw and quarter the man for chrissake! He was innocent," Annie reminded him.

"This is exactly what I'm talking about. You still don't get it. You're too fucking soft for this job. He wasn't a man. He was a vampire. A monster, one of the things we kill."

"Soft? Why because I don't believe in killing for the sake of killing like you and dear old dad? You want to go off half-cocked and just kill anything that moves? That is not how we are going to win this damned war. I went in there and I did my job and don't you dare say that I didn't. Aaron was our killer. Aaron was the monster and he is dead."

"Well than I guess we should all start praying you don't develop the warm and fuzzies for the demon too."

"Dean!" Sam snapped.

Annie reeled back as if he'd slapped her and then the fury inside of her boiled until she saw red. "You fucking son of bitch!" Dropping the groceries, Annie charged, now pushing against Sam to tear off Dean's head.

"Oh no you don't. Both of you stop!" Sam shouted grabbing Annie and keeping her behind him. Over all the yelling he began to make out the ringing of the phone on the night table between the two beds.

He pushed Annie on the bed and sat on her to keep her down. He stretched a long leg out towards Dean, keeping his older brother away from the squirming, furious woman beneath him.

"Good morning. You've reached hell. How may I direct your call?" Sam asked with feigned brightness. Then he went very still and his look stopped Dean in his tracks. His voice was choked and soft when he announced, "It's dad."

The End