This is a short story set right after 'Forget Me Not'. I hope you enjoy it and let me know what you think. Phoenix

Taking Missouri Home

"You can have the front seat," Sam Winchester graciously offered the older black woman as they left the church house and moved down the front stairs. Father Jim Murphy followed closely, laden down with the last of Missouri's bags. Sam had offered to help but the priest immediately dismissed him, not wanting the young man to put any strain on his healing body. The knife wound in his side was doing much better now that the dark witch, Bruin, had removed the spell-induced infection, but it still bothered Sam more than he cared to admit.

The bullet graze to Missouri's arm, however, had fared much better and it didn't seem to slow the feisty woman down at all.

The black 1967 Impala had been pulled close to the house, the trunk was open and definite muttering could be heard coming from the rear end of the vehicle. Dean was definitely not happy about something.

A smile twitched Sam's lips as he knew exactly what his brother was grumbling about. Their father had left only a few hours earlier on the hunt for a demonic witch killer while Sam and Dean had been given shuttle duty. Their job: take Missouri Mosely back to Lawrence… It sounded simple enough...

"It's okay Sam, honey," Missouri protested as they reached the vehicle. "I'm fine in the back." She was already reaching for the rear passenger door on the four-door car.

"No I insist," the young hunter cajoled. "The seats are much more comfortable up front… not so lumpy - "

"Hey!" Dean protested as Jim put the last of the luggage in the trunk and the hunter slammed the trunk closed. "Respect the ride, bitch!"

"Well they aren't," his brother shot back.

"The back seat is fine," Missouri insisted after giving Dean a pointed look.

Rolling his eyes, Dean stalked towards the driver's side. "For the love of God – would you just get in the car!" He paused to glare at Sam.

Sam gave him a helpless look. He held Missouri in high esteem and was not okay with the idea of her riding in the back. "Dean - "

"Sam."

"The backseat is fine," Missouri repeated as she reached to open the door again. "Child, take a look at those long legs of yours – it'd be a devil's own punishment to ask you to pretzel yourself back here. I'll be fine." She slid into the rear seat, effectively ending the discussion.

"Freakin' hallelujah," Dean proclaimed, opening his own door.

Father Jim put his hand on the door before Dean could get in. He cast a glance at Missouri – safely absconded in the back – "Now remember son," he said. "We're all very fond of her."

Dean snorted and then slewed a glance towards his brother. "What about him?"

The priest winked as he gave the hunter a quick pat on the back. "I'll leave that one up to your better judgment-"

From across the roof of the car Sam snorted and then slid into the front passenger seat. Dean just sighed and gave the older man a long suffering look. "Why do I have a feeling that this is going to be a very long ride…"

Jim chuckled and moved away from the car so Dean could get in and close the door. "Drive safely - " He leaned down and smiled at Missouri. "And you call when you get home."

"Yes Dad," the woman smiled and than added. "It's been nice seeing you again Jim."

Reaching through the opened window, Jim squeezed her hand. No words were needed to express his similar sentiment – the gesture said 'until the next time' and that was enough.

Stepping back from the car, the man watched as Dean started the motor, put it in drive and began backing away from the house. Only when the Impala cleared the driveway did he turn and go back into the house. Unable to keep a grin off his face, Jim wondered if Dean knew the woman packed a wooden spoon in her purse…

Ten minutes later:

"Oh my," Missouri's soft voice from the backseat, followed by a chuckle made Dean glance back at her.

"Is something wrong?" he demanded. Beside him, Sam did the same thing.

"Umm… not really, I guess," the psychic admitted carefully, "I'm just not sure I want to know the answer to this - " Dean turned an interesting shade of red as he recognized the item the woman was now holding up. A piece of black cloth dangled from the tips of her fingers. "A pair of silk boxers… in the backseat?"

Sam burst out laughing.

"Hey!" Dean cried out indignantly. "Give them here-" He reached back with one hand and the car swerved across the road.

"Hands on the wheel, boy," Missouri ordered as she dropped the boxers and grabbed the front seat to steady herself. Once the car had evened out again, she mused. "Funny, Dean. I always figured you as a briefs man…"

Sam grinned and piped up. "He has a silk shirt too!"

"Fuck Sam – ow!" Dean tried to shift away from the woman's reach. "Hey! No hitting the driver!"

Missouri huffed. "Be grateful I don't use the spoon. That mouth, boy, is in some serious need of soap!"

"Won't do no good," Sam offered helpfully, purposely moving just a little closer to his side of the car. "I'd suggest an exorcism myself."

"I hate you," Dean muttered under his breath. "I hate all of you."

"Now. Now." Missouri consoled. "Don't be like that - " and then, innocently, "don't you think you're getting a little too close to that car in front?"

He was less than five miles from Father Jim's when Dean started to count…

One… two… three…

Another ten minutes later:

"Dean - " Missouri leaned towards his seat. "Can you pull over the next chance you get?"

Glancing at her through the rearview mirror, Dean shrugged. "Okay-" he paused and then asked. "Everything fine?"

"Oh yes," the woman assured him as she settled back against her seat again. "I just need to attend to some business."

Dean glanced across at his brother but Sam was looking out the window, a grin still plastered across his face.

Seeing a service station on the right, the young man pulled in and then waited as Missouri got out of the back and hurried inside.

"What do you think that's all about?" he asked. Sam shrugged and leaned back against the seat.

"Don't know. Why don't you ask her?" he smirked and Dean resisted swatting him, this time.

"Hey," Dean protested a few moments later as they continued to wait and he saw Sam close his eyes. "No sleepy time. You gotta stay awake and keep me company."

"Missouri can do that," Sam answered without opening his eyes.

The older man looked absolutely horrified. "No," he yelped and then quickly recovered, shoving his 'too cool for words' mask back on when Sam looked at him. "I mean no. We got nothing in common - " Dean scowled. "Dude, you're better at that whole talking thing. Me and Missouri, well…" he faltered and then just said firmly, "No sleeping."

"Okay. Okay," Sam straightened up, wincing slightly as he did so. He really was tired and had hoped to sleep most of the way but he took sympathy on his brother, knowing that Dean didn't do 'small talk' very well. "But you owe me."

"No problem," Dean assured him with his best shit-eating grin. "First town after Lawrence, I'll hook you up with something. She mighten' be pretty cause the cash is running low but - "

"Dean!" Sam was abhorred but before he could say anything else, Missouri hurried out of the service station.

"Well I feel much better now," she said as she moved into the backseat again. She looked at the men. "I hope I didn't keep you waiting too long."

"No, it's okay," Sam assured her glaring at his brother. Dean grinned as he restarted the car and they pulled out of the service station. The younger man paused and then added. "How's the seat? We can trade anytime you want. Just say the word."

"Sam, honey, I'm fine," the woman assured him and then added, "But it's sweet of you to offer."

In the front seat, Dean rolled his eyes but didn't say anything.

Eight minutes later:

"Oh poop!" Missouri's distressed voice broke the silence.

"What's wrong?" Sam twisted slightly in his seat to see the woman. She was sitting back with an unhappy frown on her face.

"I left my compact in the bathroom - "

"I'm sure Father Jim won't mind mailing it to you," Dean offered.

"- of that service station," Missouri continued and then sighed miserably. "It was my favorite one too…"

"Dean-" Sam spoke his name softly.

"I'm turning. I'm turning," Dean muttered as he slowed the car down and then pulled a U-turn and drove back…

Another Eight minutes later:

"This means a lot to me," Missouri gushed as she got back in the car and closed the door. She held up the compact and smiled.

"No problem," Sam assured her.

Dean just nodded and pulled away from the service station, again.

He'd only gone about a mile when he heard a loud sigh from the back seat. He grimaced almost afraid to ask but Sam beat him to the punch.

"Is something wrong?" and then, "Do you want to sit up here? Ow!"

This time Dean did smack him and almost immediately Missouri smacked him.

"Hey!" the hunter protested as he rubbed the back of his head, "Stop hitting me!"

"Then don't hit your brother," she chastised before her voice softened. "I was just thinking about this car… It's been a long time since I was in your mamma's car."

"Mom's car?" Dean swallowed hard, his eyes catching Missouri's gaze for a moment in the rearview mirror. He saw her nod, and blinked back the burning in his eyes at the melancholy on her face. "Don't you mean Dad's car?"

"No. This car was your mamma's," the psychic said. "Your granddaddy bought this car when she was just a little girl and he gave it to her as a graduation present."

"We never knew that," Sam said and then glanced at his older brother. "Or at least I never knew that."

Dean cleared his throat. "We didn't."

Missouri leaned forward and placed a soft hand on his shoulder. At first he flinched, expecting a reprimand, but then he relaxed as she gently squeezed.

"She loved this car and this car is what brought her and your daddy together," the woman continued as she sat back again. "Oh yes. The first time John Winchester heard the rumbling he was in love… and when he saw the beautiful young woman behind the wheel – well the rest is history, as they say." And then she added briskly as Dean pulled out around the car in front of him and accelerated to pass. "Mind you, I'm not sure she'd approve of the way its being driven right now…"

"Do the words 'backseat driver' mean anything to you?" Dean grit out.

"No," Missouri admitted, her voice just way too sweet.

Four… five… six…

Sam reached out hesitantly and then ran a finger along the gleaming black dash, his own vision swimming as he thought of his mother owning, driving and loving this car. Mary's car… He glanced at his brother. Dean's car.

A warm tingling in his fingertips made him draw back with a start. Behind him Missouri shifted. "You felt it didn't you?" she asked him and he nodded.

"What was it?"

"It's Mary," the psychic's tone was reverent and Sam shivered. "Or her essence, rather… the power of love leaves a residue and it's those residues that a psychic senses."

Dean glanced at his brother. He saw Sam look down at his fingers and then turn to stare out the passenger window, his brother's chest hitched suspiciously and the next few miles were driven in silence.

"I never felt anything before," Sam said suddenly breaking the quiet that had fallen over them. "Not like that… and definitely not her…"

Missouri offered him a small smile. "Sometimes we never see anything until it's pointed out to us."

"What's that?" Dean spoke up, growing uncomfortable with where this conversation might be heading. This last thing he wanted to talk about right now was his brother's blossoming powers. They unnerved him more than Dean would ever admit.

Not that he was afraid of them. No. That wasn't it… What he was, was afraid of what they did to Sam. He hated how they painfully crippled his brother leaving him vulnerable and hurting in their wake. The cost of their particular knowledge wasn't a price Dean was willing to pay. "Something you got from a fortune cookie?"

Instead of answering him, Missouri fixed him with a scowl, and just stated. "I gotta pee."

Seven… eight… nine…

Two hours later:

Dean hated his life.

Most days he didn't think it was so bad. But today. Today was just a bitch.

Sitting in the Impala outside the third service station in the last two hours, Dean waited for his brother and Missouri to come out of the small store. At the rate they were going, they'd make it to Lawrence… in about a week!

Leaning his head back against the seat, the man rubbed his tired eyes. Maybe he'd just let Sam drive and he could get some sleep…

Tapping his fingers impatiently along the steering wheel, Dean didn't understand what was taking them so long. They'd been gone for over ten minutes now and this was getting ridiculous.

Cursing under his breath, the man undid his seatbelt, shoved open the door and got out of the Impala, groaning lightly when his body reminded him that he hadn't been out of the vehicle in almost three hours.

Working the kinks out of his back as he walked, Dean pushed open the door of the small service station store and stepped inside intending on hollering at his passengers to get their hiney's in gear… but everything changed when he saw what the holdup was.

A large man was yelling obscenities in Sam's face as the young hunter stood protectively between him and Missouri. The black woman looked furious and Dean got the impression that the only thing that kept her from going aboard the monster of a man was Sam's arm held out behind him, effectively restraining her, for now.

And as Dean took a moment to reconcile the scene, the man unexpectedly punched Sam… right in his injured side.

Ten…

That was it. Infuriated, the older hunter had no care for what was going on – this guy was going down.

The man never knew what hit him as Dean grabbed his arm, whirled him around and landed a powerful clip off the guy's jaw, knocking his head back with a snap. The man was out cold before he hit the ground.

Shaking out the tingling in his knuckles, Dean turned to check on his brother. "You okay?" Sam was doubled over, gasping against the pain. His eyes were closed but he managed a little nod.

A small, wire-framed glass wearing counter clerk hurried towards them. "You better get out of here," he said shifting nervously. "I called the cops!"

Grimacing, Sam gently shrugged off his brother's help as he carefully straightened, his arm wrapped protectively around his side. "M'okay," he mumbled and then started towards the door.

Dean frowned but didn't say anything.

Missouri opened her mouth to say something but before she could, the hunter grabbed her arm and steered her out the door, following Sam as the younger man weaved a path towards the Impala. His frown deepening, Dean hoped the dickhead back there hadn't busted Sam's stitches…

"Front seat," Sam grunted to Missouri as he managed to pull open the back door and slump down on the seat, curling slightly so his legs were inside.

Shaken by what had happened in the store, the woman didn't argue but just got into the front seat and then turned around as Dean tried to check Sam's stitches but the younger man protested and pulled away.

"M'fine," Sam insisted. "Just go… okay?"

The sound of sirens in the distance influenced Dean's decision to do just that, even as he resolved to take a look at his brother the next time they stopped.

"What happened back there?" he demanded as the service station became a speck in the background.

"The guy was an asshole," Sam grunted from the back seat. "He was being a rude ass to Missouri-"

"Sam," the psychic's voice was guilt laced. "You should have just let it go, honey. It wasn't worth getting hurt over."

"It was to me," came a muffled reply.

Dean didn't say anything. He just continued to drive knowing he'd have done the same thing…

One hour later:

Sam's stitches weren't burst but he was sore so they let him sleep.

Finally Dean couldn't take it any longer. "Music?" he asked – or rather pre-warned. He glanced over the seat at his sleeping brother, knowing it wouldn't wake Sam. Missouri nodded. But before Dean could make a move, she had whipped her purse open, pulled out a cassette and promptly began ripping the wrapper off.

"I saw this in that last horrid place… It was on sale and I just couldn't resist," she was proud of herself. "Disco's Greatest Hits!"

Dean balked, his mouth opened to protest but before he got one word out, the woman assaulted his stereo. And as disco blared out of his car, the horrified young man thought it couldn't get any worse. But it did.

"Disco, disco duck" Missouri started to sing.

'Someone… please… shoot me now…'

Four hours later:

Dean was brain dead. Somewhere between Father Jim's and Lawrence, Dean Winchester had mentally committed suicide.

Between pulling over six more times for bathroom breaks, and being reacquainted with a form of music that Dean considered cruel and unusual punishment, he had lost the will to live.

It was only when he pulled up in front of Missouri's house and turned off the car, did he realize just how bad off he was.

After walking Missouri to the door and seeing her luggage up to her room, zombie-Dean let her hug him, said something pleasant and then, without any further thought, tossed the car keys to his brother, walked back to the Impala and climbed into the passenger seat.

Closing his eyes, he sank down in the seat and gave a bone jarring shudder.

"Dude?" Sam looked at him with concern. "You okay?"

"Drive Sammy, okay?" Dean forced the words from his mouth. "Just drive-"

Shrugging, the younger man did just that, taking only a moment to pop in an IV of AC/DC first.

Dean exhaled slowly, the stress ebbing from his body as mullet rock filled the car. 'Thanks, little brother -' he thought as Sam effortlessly navigated the backstreets away from Missouri's house and towards the edge of town. They wouldn't be staying in Lawrence tonight.

"You gotta admit," Sam said after a few minutes, his voice rising to be heard above the music. "There is no one quite like Missouri Mosely."

Dean chuckled as he folded his arms across his chest; his eyes still closed. "Damn good thing too, I say-" he reached up and absently rubbed the back of his head. "I'm not sure I could survive more than one…"

Opening his eyes, he grinned and added. "Bitch." He waited and then his grin widened. "Fuck."

Sam glanced across at him, his gaze questioning but Dean didn't care.

He was back. Unchecked. Untouched. Unneutered…

And damn it all. It felt good.

The End