Smells Like Trouble

Well, here you have it all finished up… Thanks once again to you nice reviewers who let me know someone out there was enjoying this.

Chapter 6

The motel, such as it was, had no sprinkler system and had no fire alarm as far as Dean could see. They threw their bags into the back, climbed into the car and he backed it up to the far edge of the parking lot to give them the best vantage point. Dean noted that there were several cars parked in the lot, but they were all grouped at the other end of the motel. He guessed the clerk had arranged for the other customers to be in the rooms on the other side of the building just in case he needed to take care of business in their room.

They sat watching until the flames had spread from their room into the rooms on either side and up into the roof. Sam was frowning, unnaturally still as he watched the fire, pain written on his features to such an extent that Dean actually gave him a quick once over to make sure he hadn't been burned. Sam looked fine, so Dean assumed he was doing what Sam did best. Brood. He shrugged. Everyone had to have a hobby, he guessed.

Dean didn't want the police to have his cell number, so he left the car long enough to go to the pay phone on the wall outside the office. He made a quick 911 call and then hurried back to the car, settling in with a sigh.

"They'll be here in a few minutes," he said, watching as the flames burned the curtains away from the windows as the fire spread to yet another room. It would take ten more minutes for the fire to reach the occupied part of the motel. The fire department would get the people out before then and no one would ever remember two brothers who had been staying on the other side of the motel. "We should get going." He made no move to put the car in gear, however.

"So go."

Dean turned slightly to look at his brother. "You ok?"

"We never even knew her name," Sam said blankly.

Dean thought back and realized it was true. "I'm sorry about that," he replied honestly. They didn't know the clerk's name either, but that didn't bother him. The victims' names, they were etched in his mind. But the monsters… they all got lumped together and thrown in a corner of his brain somewhere. He didn't like thinking about them. If they came out to play, Dean mentally kicked the crap out of them and told them to go sit in their corner again. But the victims… they were why he fought. He didn't like to think he would forget one. Granted, this little trip was just freaky enough, he doubted it would be easily forgotten.

"What she said about you…" His brother still didn't look at him.

Dean shrugged. "Hey, she also tried to kill me. I'd take anything she said with a grain of salt."

Sam glanced over at him. "I'm trying to be serious here, man. No salt jokes."

Surprise, surprise. Sam was feeling serious. Dean so did not want to discuss this. "Sam, you know I love the ladies, but if there was ever a woman to ignore, it would be the homicidal ghost of a dead prostitute." He nodded to punctuate the statement. "And feel free to quote me on that."

"Dean." Sam was using his, 'I'm warning you' voice.

Dean sighed and fought back a groan. Hello, kids. It's time for the Sam Winchester Touchy-Feely Flower Power Hour. Today's topic? Let's discuss our insecurities! For crying out loud, if he wanted to talk about his feelings… well, that really wasn't going to happen, so why pretend. "Sam, she… What she said doesn't matter."

Sam only raised an eyebrow. "I think it does."

"Yeah, well I'm in charge of this little operation, so what I say matters. This doesn't." Dean nodded again to say that the issue was closed.

In truth, he'd thought he was having a heart attack when he woke up to see the ghost staring down at him. And when she'd spoken… You fear solitude as a child fears the darkness.

Just thinking about it made his breath catch in his throat… which was the reason he didn't want to think about it. He certainly didn't want to talk about it. He knew he was a screwed up mess. What good did it do to dwell on it? None that he could think of. Why did being a screwed up mess mean that he should have to talk about it all the time?

Dean heard the sound of sirens in the distance. He put the car in gear and pulled out of the parking lot, in the opposite direction of the approaching engines.

As they drove away from the burning motel, Sam sat back in the seat and cast sidelong glances at his brother. Dean's expression was stony. As usual he didn't want to talk about what had happened. He didn't want to talk about the fact that the ghost had taken one swipe at him and left in confusion to go after a more certain target. He didn't want to discuss that he, of all people, had passed some test. That the ghost had known without a doubt that Dean would rather be alone, a thing that terrified him more than anything, than go to a woman who had to be paid to stay with him. If no one wanted him, then he would remain alone and abandoned, even though it might break him. Sam tucked it all away to mull over later, yet another piece of the puzzle that was his brother.

"I'll tell you what does bother me," Dean said suddenly.


"I slept on that bed two nights in a row, dude!" he said, twisting up his face in disgust. "That is nasty."

Sam had to laugh, the tension surrounding them fading. "It's what you get for stealing my pillow."

"You gave it to me… And thanks for having my back, by the way," Dean frowned. "How long had Psycho Chick been staring at me while I was sleeping and you didn't shoot her? She could've ripped my face off!"

"About that, Dean," Sam said, turning so he could see him completely. "While you were sleeping… you mumbled something."

Dean grunted, wrinkling his brow in worry. "What?"

"Who's Marigold?"

Dean's expression cleared, like the sun coming out after a storm, laughter welling up from deep in his chest. It was such a rare and beautiful thing that Sam had to smile in response. Finally, Dean reached over and turned on the radio.

"Never you mind, Sammy," he laughed. "Never you mind."

Well… there you have it. It's been swell. I always enjoy spending time with the boys. Hope you did too!