Disclaimer : According to the restraining warrant, they aren't mine

Set many months after DT and follows the events from my previous story 'Brothers in Arms' so might be worth reading that first (shameless plug but hey, what can ya do!)

Many thanks to my friend LuvableRogue for the inspiration for Nicki. Couldn't have her without you! xxx


Chapter One

The clouds moved slowly across the night sky like a pack of lions stalking prey. Blanketing the hidden Winchester brothers in their place on the brow of a steep hill over looking a warehouse complex long since abandoned by the companies who promised to build up and take care of the town they'd deserted at the first sign of a market crash. A low grumble made it's way slowly across the long grass which served as a hiding place for the brothers. Sam turned his head toward the elder man.

"Dude, was that your stomach?"

Dean suppressed a smirk as another grumble came filtering through his skin and clothes.

They had a message from their father, well, if you call a text with co-ordinates a message. The family had almost lost the battle that long ago night, but now, so many months later, the Winchesters had found a way to continue the fight in the only way the Winchesters knew how, hunt the evil sons of bitches and kill every last one of them until they found the demon again.

After John had abandoned the brothers at Bobby's he'd only waited a few weeks before making contact. Which, in the world of John Winchester, was a blink of an eye. He was on a trail, he would call when the scent was stronger. Until then, they still had work to do, people to save, families to unite. Until then they were to follow their orders. But this time was different, this time when they called they no longer had to leave unanswered messages, this time they could speak to their father, communicate, catch up and stay in the loop. If they were to see this through to the end each one knew they'd need each other to do it. That didn't mean all was forgiven, far from it. It was more a grin and bear it until the source of all their pain, hardship and torture was dead. A means to an end, although in Sam's mind, once that end came, there'd be a few choice words he'd be sharing with his father. His father who had left them, left Dean bleeding in his arms, who hadn't had to watch over the ailing man in the hospital, who hadn't had to help nurse him back to health. Who hadn't had to watch him build up those walls again and shut out any mention of those events. Those words which tore him in two, the abandonment , yet again. Sam had done his best to get Dean to open up, to talk. He'd hear snippets, a crack in Dean's voice, but any time the emotion threatened to boil over , Dean would simply smile and say he was doing fine. Really Sammy, no need to worry. Sam would allow him the retreat, knowing that he'd heard a little more than before, each confession allowing Sam a deeper insight into his heart. It was slow going and he knew he needed to be patient, but at least Dean would let him in just a little, even for a short while, and for Sam that was just going to have to do.

They'd received the co-ordinates from John three days prior, made their way to this sleepy backwater town, so run down that the only source of purpose for most of the inhabitants was a trip to the local dive bar, where the day would be spent grumbling about closure of the factories, the lack of business interest in the area, the need to move on to something better. Yet the motivation of the people had gone, they'd been abandoned so many times before, companies would come in, see a town in need, promise so much. Build factories, provide jobs, yet when the product failed, or they found another town willing to work for less money per hour, the companies pulled out and left behind a beaten down and disappointed town behind them. Cockroaches destroying the crop of hope as they moved across the country in search of a cheap ride.

The co-ordinates hadn't come unaccompanied, the message gave the location and then five small words . Call me when you're there.

The brothers had driven through the night, booked into the only motel in the area, a motel inhabited with a few families who had lost their homes to the recession sweeping through the town, living off welfare and the outstretched hand of the motel owner, a kindly women who had a smile to ease the most troubled soul. She was in her early fifties with a forties styled hair cut and enough floral dresses for each day of the week. Grace refused to go out into public unless she was dressed in her Sunday best and looking presentable enough to great the president. Her mother had always taught her that presentation was everything. Grace had been lucky enough to marry one of the factory owners in the seventies, when the town had been so full of life and hope, when the town had stood proud. She had grown up here and loved every person, animal and blade of grass. No matter how bad things had gotten she refused to abandon her home. When her husband had died of complications from heart surgery in the late 1980's, Grace had taken the money left to her from his insurance policy, a sizable sum, coupled with the sale of the factory , when things were still going well, and had bought the motel. Since then she'd lived a simple life which allowed her to take pity and offer her Christian hand to any lost soul in need of a roof over their heads. For the three families currently living there, she asked for no more than twenty dollars a week until they were back on their feet. She understood pride, she knew the men needed to feel they were paying their way, so for twenty dollars and help around the motel, she kept those families from starving on the streets.

She smiled at the young men in front of her, while both were tall, one towered above the other, yet Grace, with her 5'4'' frame didn't feel intimidated in the slightest. The taller of the two had such kind eyes which told of a soul full of compassion, the shorter, yet older man had a sorrowful look, although he tried to hide it well behind his charming smile and easy manner. He signed her guest book and flashed one hell of a killer smile at her. 'If I was only a few years younger' she thought, and smiled her fullest, most welcoming back at him.

"Will you boys be staying long?"

"We're not sure yet ma'am, we're on a road trip, just taking a break ya know"

Dean handed over the credit card and smiled again at the woman behind the counter. She seemed so kind and mothering. She reminded him of Missouri, although without the chastising and harsh looks.

God he missed Missouri.

"Well, you boys sure picked a strange place to take a break from your trip"

"Why's that?" Asked Sam as he stepped forward.

"Well honey, there's nothing around here, not much of much you know"

"Well that's perfect for us" Dean took the keys and smiled again before turning away.

"If you boys need anything just give me a holler"

"Thanks" They both called over their shoulders as they left the office and went to their room.

Sam stood unpacking while Dean opened up the laptop to search through the local area's news stories. Sam watched his brother from the corner of his eye, careful not to let Dean catch the scrutiny, he needed to feel like he was strong and operating at full capacity but Sam knew different. Occasionally Dean would admit to fatigue, would let Sam see his weariness. But those times were becoming few and far between. Dean ran a hand over his face and gazed longingly at one of the beds.

"Hey man I can do the research if you need to take a break. You were driving all night"

Hoping the 'out' he'd given his brother would ease the guilt Dean would no doubt feel for needing a break, Sam moved over to the table and stood behind his chair, clearly showing he was ready to begin the research.

Dean wanted to help, he really did, but since his stay in the hospital he found he got so tired so quickly. The Doctors had said it would take time, but that just wasn't right. Surely once a person left a hospital and rested for a few weeks they should be ready for anything? Up to full strength and barrelling ahead. Right?

The yawn he'd been ignoring suddenly surged to the surface and his muscles argued his need to help. He had to admit, he was dog tired and could really do with a nap.

Without a word Dean stood and gave a small nod to Sam, who took his place at the computer.

Sam smiled as Dean laid down on the bed, curled to his side and within minutes the gentle sound of deep breathing accompanied the low whir of the computer.


So what do ya think? Good beginning? Need more?