Disclaimer: I own nothing; just taking the boys out to play a little…
Spoilers: For 2.19: Hollywood Babylon.
This isn't exactly the kind of episode that inspires the usual myriad of tags, but a seed was planted, and this is what grew. And since I was trying out the whole one-shot tag thing... I thought I'd give it a go.
Tree, this one is for you.
Perhaps beneath the scoundrel that I am, there lies a misled poet? Perhaps a mystifier who enjoys mystifying himself? "The Mission," Chapter 2
They were tearing him up.
Marty stood just to his right, holding up Sam's video phone in front of him like a shield. Dean glanced at the image on the phone, then quickly over at Sam. Without the benefit of his phone, Dean knew that all Sam saw was Walter's body bucking, blood flying, pouring, streaming from him; all he heard was Walter's betrayed, guttural screams dying in the uncaring emptiness of the movie set.
And then it was over. Walter was still. The set was silent.
Dean kept his eyes on Walter, his shotgun raised. He shifted his eyes to the phone held in Marty's trembling hands.
"They, uh… they're gone," he panted. Dean shifted his eyes over to his brother, noting the wide-eyed look of horror on Sam's face as he stared at the bloody body.
"You sure?" Sam looked up at him, his eyes young.
"Yeah," Dean swallowed. "I'm sure."
Great vacation, there, Dean, he chided himself. He'd had every intention of getting away, getting Sam's mind off of things, giving him some solace after Madison. As he slowly lowered his shotgun, he wondered if the Winchesters were simply destined to be workaholics because the universe said so.
"Oh, my God," Marty gulped from beside him. "I can't believe that just fuckin' happened."
"Believe it, man," Dean said, sparing him a glance. "We gotta call someone."
"Yeah," Marty nodded, then began to back away. Dean turned and roughly grabbed his upper arm, preventing his escape.
"Yeah, right, call someone," Marty stammered.
Dean shook his head, holding Marty's arm until he clumsily adjusted Sam's phone in his grip and called security. Once he was sure that someone was coming to take care of Walter, Dean released Marty's arm and walked over to stand next to Sam near Walter's body.
"You'd think he'd have known," Sam said when Dean stepped up to him.
Dean rested the barrel of the shotgun on his shoulder. He nodded.
"He had all the facts… all the details, down to the Latin, and yet…" Sam looked over at him. "He didn't know they would turn on him."
"I should've… I should've stopped him, man," Sam muttered, grimacing as he looked at Walter.
Dean clenched his jaw, shaking his head once. "Sam—"
"I was right there, Dean. I could have grabbed it from him, or…"
Dean turned suddenly and grabbed the front of Sam's jacket, pushing him back and away from the body. Sam backed up quickly, surprise in his eyes.
"Enough, okay?" Dean snapped. "I'm not gonna let you do this."
He stopped Sam after they were several feet away from Walter's body.
"You aren't gonna blame yourself for this, do you hear me?"
Dean's eyes were hot, the shotgun held next to his side. He released his grip on Sam's jacket, but pushed against his chest once more for emphasis.
"You are not responsible for every life that we can't save!"
Sam clenched his jaw and tilted his head, his eyes shadowed. "No, just the ones that we have to take."
Dean closed his eyes briefly, lifting his free hand to rub his forehead. He dropped his hand and met Sam's eyes, draining the emotion from his face, from his eyes, as he did so.
"You want to do this now?"
Sam looked away, his mouth turning down into a frown. "No."
"'Cause I'm ready, man," Dean continued. "Hell, I've been ready since we left San Francisco."
A muscle in Sam's jaw jumped and he shook his head, still not looking at Dean. Dean heard Marty's voice from off to his left. He looked over his shoulder and saw him pacing in front of the door they'd burst through just in time to see Walter meet his demise. He was smiling… the dude was actually smiling as he talked excitedly to someone on the other end of the cell phone.
It's a make-believe world, Dean thought. Even death isn't real to them.
Dean turned back to Sam. Sam was still looking off to the side, his jaw working overtime to keep the tears at bay that Dean saw pooled in his eyes. Death might not be real in La-La Land, but it was real to him. And it was real to Sam.
"Sammy?" He asked gently.
"Don't," Sam pleaded, then looked back at him. His eyes were dry and devastated.
"Sam, listen to me."
Sam looked down, shaking his head. Dean grabbed his arm.
"Listen to me, dammit."
Sam lifted his eyes, waiting.
"This is not your fault. Madison was not your fault."
"Stop it!" Dean snapped, not letting him finish. "Just… just stop it, Sam."
He turned away from Sam, rubbing the back of his neck. He walked a bit away, and heard Sam's boots squeak against the smooth concrete as he turned to follow. Dean stopped, then turned back to Sam.
"This guilt thing has got to stop." Dean took a breath. "It's killing you, man." He looked over Sam's shoulder to Walter's body, then back to Sam. He blinked, weighing his next words. "And it's eating me up."
Sam blinked. "What?"
Dean chewed on his bottom lip. He'd thought that Sam had needed to see his strength, his stoicism. He'd thought that too much sympathy on his part would topple his brother. He'd thought that if Sam saw him moving on, doing the job, living his life that he could get past that moment, could begin to accept that he had truly saved Madison's life.
But he was tired. And Sam was moody. And it wasn't working. So he let his mask slip, just enough. He let it down enough that Sam could see his eyes, see the truth, see that in blaming himself for the deaths, he was also blaming Dean, and it was all Dean could do to hold them both together.
"It's not your fault, and the sooner you realize that…"
"What, the easier it will be on you?" Sam challenged, an eyebrow raised.
Dean squared his jaw. "Yeah."
Sam huffed out a breath, then looked at the ground. Dean could tell he hadn't expected that answer, and he was waiting for the Sam Winchester temper to show itself. Since he was kid, if he was proven wrong, Sam had a tendency to lash out before he accepted the truth. Dean knew it was because Sam was actually rarely wrong, and when it happened, he didn't know how to react.
Sam raised his head and opened his mouth. Dean braced himself. Just then, the door over by Marty opened and three uniformed men strode through, hands on their guns. Sam turned quickly at the sound of the door, then back to face Dean.
"Dean," he said in a tight voice, shifting his eyes to the shotgun. "Get out of here. I'll find you later."
Dean pulled his eyebrows together in a question, then realized what Sam was saying. He nodded, then turned and bolted out through the back of the set. He ambled through the props and smiled pleasantly at the extras until he reached the Impala. Tossing the shotgun in the trunk, he turned around to watch for Sam.
Surveying the busy lot for his brother, he thought for a moment how easy it had been to fit in here. It was all just storytelling. And he'd been doing that all of his life.
Hi, we're federal marshals… Environmental Studies majors… Hello, I'm Father Simmons, this is Father Frehley… We're from the U.S. Wildlife Service… My name is Nigel Tufnel… I'm Dr. Jerry Kaplan… We're reporters from the Weekly World News… We're art dealers… forest rangers… students… fraternity brothers… We're from Homeland Security…
Dean tucked his fingers into his front pockets, his eyes drifting sightlessly over the people and the props. It was like seeing the man behind the curtain. Movies were magic for him – a way to escape, a way to pretend he was just like other people, a way to take off his mask and for two hours, just… be. But after three violent deaths, a video-phone enabled ghost shoot-out, and the reminder that he had once again failed to shield his brother from the pain of death, Dean was starting to feel the magic wane. He was starting to see the wrinkles under the make-up, the tired souls just looking to finish their job and go home.
He grimaced. He wondered what that would be like – to do their job and go home. Leaning against the only home he'd ever really known, Dean thought of Sam's apartment in Palo Alto. Before the Demon, before the fire. Sam had made a home for himself there; Dean was pretty sure he could do it again somewhere, someday. Meet a pretty girl that he didn't have to leave, or didn't suffer from lycanthropy, settle down.
Home…It didn't really even sound like a word to Dean. A zombie walked by eating a meatball sandwich and drinking a soda. Dean nodded at him with a half-grin, amusement plain on his face. The zombie lifted his sandwich in salute and continued on. Dean shook his head. If he did have a home, he was pretty sure this place could be it. Nothing was real, the freaks roamed freely with the suits, and the food… the food was wonderful.
"Dammit," a throaty female voice grumbled from behind him. He looked over his shoulder and saw Tara rounding a corner, holding her arm. He straightened up as she lifted her hand. It was covered in red.
Without hesitation, Dean jogged up to her and gently grasped her arm.
"What?" She blinked wide eyes at him.
"Are you hurt?" He was confused – there was blood all over her arm and hand, yet she acted more annoyed than hurt.
She laughed softly. "No, no, I'm okay," she said, carefully removing her arm from his hands. "It's stage blood." She licked the tip of one finger. "See?"
Dean took a step back with a shaky, slightly embarrassed laugh. "Right."
"I got my call sheet, only they decided to film close shots on the cabin first…" she shook her head. "Marty got some great idea, I guess."
Dean lifted an eyebrow. "Oh he did, huh?"
She rolled her eyes, her fake-blood-covered hand flipping in small circles through the air. "They change this script every other day, I swear to God."
"So, uh," Dean ran appreciative eyes up her form as she brushed impatient hands on her stained sleeve. "You aren't in this, uh, shot?"
She shook her head, "No, and I just crashed into the make-up guy and, well…" she gestured to her stained pink shirt. "I was just gonna go change."
"Right," Dean said again, rotating away. "Well, I won't keep you."
She smiled at him, and Dean felt his belly heat up. I'd like to do a helluva lot more than keep you…She started to move passed him, then turned. Dean let his smile reach his eyes.
"Hey, do you know anything about mice?"
Dean's eyebrows went up. "Mice?"
"You know… small, furry, creepy little rodents? I seem to have one in my trailer."
Dean's smile slid from friendly to feral in the space of a heartbeat. Tara's eyes lit up. As he watched, her tongue darted out to wet her bottom lip, pulling it into her mouth briefly, then releasing it on the tale-end of a smile.
"Oh, Sweetheart, you've come to the right place," he grinned, stepping up to her. "Mice happen to be my specialty." If by 'mice' you mean hot, naked sex, that is…
"Great!" Tara smiled. "Follow me."
"You got it."
She led the way through the meandering people and Dean followed silently, his mind turning over the various movie roles he'd seen her play, thinking about how the girl on the screen seemed so different from the person in front of him, wondering how she would feel against him, under him…
"Here's me," she said, stopping abruptly. Dean managed to keep himself from crashing directly into her back.
She flipped the handle back and opened the door. He followed her inside, noticing that it wasn't that different from the trailer he'd nabbed for he and Sam to watch the dailies in. He stood in the center of the living area, hesitant to make himself at home as he'd done pretty much everywhere else on the movie lot.
"If you don't mind, I'm just gonna go change really quick," Tara said, heading to the small door leading to her bedroom.
Dean pushed out his lips and waved his hand at her. "No, go… do… whatever."
She grinned at him and he thought of her character in Boogeyman. She'd grinned exactly like that… just before she'd died… He frowned at Tara's retreating back. She left her door open slightly behind her. Walter's ghosts hadn't exactly been vanquished. They'd just… gone away after they'd killed him.
Dean started to feel edgy. Just because you couldn't see a ghost didn't mean that one wasn't around. Wishing for his shotgun he cautiously poked his head in the floor-to-ceiling closet, behind the curtains, in the cabinet under the sink, the bathroom. His quick search brought him to Tara's door inside of two minutes.
He leaned against the closet door outside of her room, then darted his head around the corner to peek in and make sure she was still in one piece. She stood with her bare back to him, the ruined costume shirt on the floor on top of her jeans, panties sitting low on curvy hips, her feet bare. She was starting to lean over and reach for a clean bra when she caught sight of him out of the corner of her eye.
"Hey!" She grabbed the pillow from her bed and held it close to her.
Dean held up a hand, showing he meant no harm. "Hey, no, whoa… it's not what you think."
"I think you were watching me get dressed." She lifted a challenging eyebrow.
Dean waited a beat. "Okay, it is what you think… but not for the reason you're thinking."
"Oh? You're not watching me get dressed because you think I'm hot?" Her hands slid slightly over the pillow clasped against her chest. She stepped closer to him.
Dean took a breath. "Okay, maybe it is for that reason, but that's not why I—"
He stopped. What was he going to tell her? I'm not a PA, I hunt spirits? The only reason I'm here is because my brother saw the article about Frank Jaffey's death – only he's not really dead, unlike Brad, Jay, and Walter…
"Oh, hell," Dean muttered, then reached for her.
She dropped the pillow and stepped into him, slanting her mouth against his as he cupped the back of her head to hold her mouth close.
"Took you long enough," she murmured against his lips. She pulled his jacket from his shoulders and he shook his arms until it fell to the ground. He slid his arms up her bare back to her neck and shoulders.
"Thought you said there was a mouse," he muttered, pulling her bottom lip into his mouth and walking her backwards into the small room until the backs of her knees hit the edge of the bed. Like so many other women, she felt small in his arms, but unlike those women, he didn't feel like she belonged there. He decided to keep his eyes closed. She could be anyone then.
"There is a mouse," she said against his ear as he trailed kisses down her jaw line, then traced the curve of her neck and back up to her earlobe.
When she moaned low in her throat, Dean tickled the edge of her ear with the tip of his tongue. Tara lifted her leg and wrapped it around Dean's knee, trying to pull him off balance, trying to topple both of them to the bed.
I want you to do it…
Dean jerked back, looking at Tara with surprise.
"What?" she panted.
He could have sworn… but, no…
"Nothing," he said, his voice a low growl as he captured her mouth again.
She tugged on his hair, trying to pull him closer to her, and Dean let her tip them backwards, catching himself with one hand on her bed before his whole weight came down on top of her. She was aggressive, pulling at him, reaching for him, wrapping around him. She made him feel like a virgin on prom night. He tried to keep up with her, but quickly found that she was more comfortable in the driver's seat.
She pulled at his T-shirt, loosening it from his jeans, and began to tug it over his head.
I'm asking you to save me…
Dean jerked back when her fingers trailed down his belly.
"Come on," she pouted, "don't tease…"
He swallowed, grabbing her hands and pulled her roughly from the bed and up to her knees to face him. What the hell… He was hearing Madison's voice. Madison pleading with Sam. Madison begging Sam to kill her. Dean twisted Tara's arms behind her back so that she fell against him. She chuckled low in her throat and darted her head in for a quick kiss. He obliged.
I want it to be you…
"Dammit," Dean muttered.
He pushed Tara away and stood up from the bed. She sat, slumped, on the bed, surprise etched on her face. He turned away from her, shoving his T-shirt down with one hand and running the other over his face.
"What is it?" She asked, sounding more pissed off than concerned.
"Nothing… it's…" Dean shook his head. "It's nothing…"
"Well, then get the hell back over here," she said. "I'm not finished with you yet."
Dean heard in her tone a woman who was accustomed to having her needs met, her wishes granted. It ran sideways across his spine. But what the hell? Madison? That had been about Sammy… Sam was the one scarred by her death, by her life. Dean was alone, in the trailer of a beautiful actress, who was sitting nearly naked just behind him. He knew his role here. He knew how this story was supposed to end.
Setting his expression to one of focused determination, Dean turned to face her. He crossed the space in one stride and grabbed Tara by the upper arms, pulling her from the bed and to her feet. She gasped when he crushed her to him, capturing her breath in his mouth and turning her so that he could easily press her back against the wall. He ran his hands down her arms from her shoulders and grasped her wrists, pressing them against the wall next to her ears.
He pulled away, allowing them both a moment to breathe.
"It's about time, cowboy," she panted, leaning in for more.
He gave her more. He pressed his leg between hers, taking a small amount of pleasure in feeling her knees go weak, her weight slide down to rest on his thigh. He slid his tongue into her mouth, teasing her, tasting her. He ignored the ashy taste of cigarettes that came with deepening the kiss. This wasn't about pleasure anymore. This wasn't about the thrill of being with a person he'd watched in the movies. This was about Dean controlling Dean. This was about banishing that voice, about it not mattering to him, about playing the right role in the right moment.
I got this one, man. You don't have to do this…
Yes, I do…
Dean felt a whimper building in the back of his throat and turned it into a growl. Tara used his growl and wrapped her body around him, using the wall as leverage to press closer. She kissed him harder and he threaded his fingers through hers. He kept his eyes closed, kept his emotions locked safe inside, behind his wall.
He couldn't let this swamp him. He couldn't let it get to him – he had to be the rock. He had to be. So he slept with a Bowie knife under his pillow. It didn't mean the job got to him. So he made sure he got the bed nearest the door… so he was usually the one to drive… so he'd had nightmares every night since hearing that gunshot, since seeing the last vestige of innocence seep from his brother's eyes as he paused in the doorway, since pulling the gun from Sam's stiff fingers, since taking care of Madison's body because Sam could only breath, since telling himself that it wasn't the same… he wouldn't have to kill Sam… he could save Sam. It didn't mean the job got to him.
He used the tangled mess of confused thoughts and hot emotion to deepen and intensify his kiss. He barely allowed Tara a moment to breath, held her hands tight against the wall, held her body tight with his hips. He almost didn't feel the shift in Tara. She began pressing away from him, pulling her mouth from his. Confused by this switch in gears, he paused, pulling away, keeping her against the wall with the lower part of his body.
He opened his mouth to ask her what the hell was going on, when she let out a screech that McG would have paid her a million dollars for on the spot. Dean stepped back quickly, looking around wildly, trying to figure out what she'd seen, what was after them.
"It's there it's there it's there!" Tara screeched again, jumping from her position against the wall to stand on the bed. She grabbed up a blue terry cloth bathrobe and held it up to her nearly-naked body.
"What?! What is it?!" Dean spun in almost a complete circle, his eyes tracking the floor, the walls, even the ceiling.
"M-MOUSE!" Tara screeched, then pointed to the floor.
Dean resisted the urge to jump on top the bed with her when he saw the small blur of grey dart along the floorboard.
"Shit!" He cried out. "You weren't making it up." He backed away from the mouse and stopped only when the backs of his legs hit her bed.
"No I wasn't making it up!" She swiped a hand at the back of his head. "Do something!"
"What the hell do you want me to do?" Dean asked.
"Kill it catch it stop it…something!" Tara pushed at the back of his head.
"All right!" Dean snapped, stepping away from the bed and her hand. "Uh… okay, I just need a… shoe box or something."
"Right. Closet. Where there are no spirits," Dean muttered.
"What?" Tara yelled, looking wildly over at him with her bathrobe still pressed against her naked front.
"Forget it," Dean called back. "Don't let it out of the room."
"WHAT?! How the hell am I gonna keep a mouse in the room?!"
Dean grabbed a shoe box, dumped the shoes and started searching for the lid. "I don't know… call it or something."
Dean found the lid, then ducked out of the closet.
"Where is it?"
"It's still there," she pointed to the corner of the room.
Dean turned in the direction of her finger. "Okay, Mickey," he muttered, approaching the corner slowly. "Here's the deal… You just stay right there… that's it…"
Holding the box in one hand and the lid in the other and crept toward the small grey creature.
"Don't worry," Dean said softly. "I'm more afraid of you than you are of me."
As he was about to drop the box over the mouse, it darted in a grey flash from the corner, between Dean's feet, and headed across the room toward Tara and the bed. Dean ducked his head, watching the mouse run between his legs and as it approached the bed, he straightened up.
With a yelp, Tara leapt from the bed and landed with the grace of a gazelle directly on Dean's back. He staggered a bit, catching her smooth legs and shifting her so that she wasn't strangling him. The trailer rocked a bit with his motion.
"Hang…hang on a sec," he gasped, backing her out of the room.
He dropped her unceremoniously onto the couch and she scrambled up so that her feet weren't on the floor. She hastily wrapped the bathrobe around her shoulders and shoved her arms through the holes. Her hair was tussled and her eyes were large as she stared back into the bedroom area.
Dean caught her eyes. He tapped the air with his hands. "No, no. You stay there. I got this," he nodded at her. She glowered at him.
Picking the box up once more, he stepped into the room, his eyes scanning the floor for the small, grey menace.
"Here Mickey," he crooned. "Let's get you out of here and… y'know… back to your little woodland creature friends…"
He saw it cowering at the base of the bed, just under the edge of the quilt.
"Ah, you're so sly, but so am I," Dean quoted. "Easy there… easy… easy… and… GOTCHA!" As he pounced, he felt the trailer rock forward and back.
He felt the mouse's tiny body bounce around inside of the box and waited until it had scared itself still. Sliding the lid quickly over the top of the box, he stood, turned and grinned at Tara. She held a roll of duct tape and wrapped it twice around the box.
Dean set it on the counter, lifting an eyebrow at her.
"Well, now that we caught it…" she shrugged. "Seems kinda cruel to kill it."
"You gonna keep it as a pet?" Dean asked, picking his coat up off the floor.
Tara grinned, "Nah. But I'll have someone let it go off the lot."
Dean nodded and stepped toward the door.
"You leaving?" Tara asked. Dean smiled at her, letting its warmth hit his eyes, watching as her eyes met his and melted slightly. He knew which smiles to use to draw the desired response.
"My work here is done," he said. She chuckled and leaned forward to kiss his cheek.
Dean started to pull his coat on, opening her trailer door as he did so. He nearly clocked Sam with the edge, his brother was that close. Dean looked at Sam, surprised, then saw the expression on Sam's face and knew exactly what Sam was thinking. He couldn't help himself. He grinned, shrugging his coat the rest of the way on.
Tara leaned against the doorway, tightening the belt of her robe.
"Hey," she called. Dean turned. She smiled at him.
"You're one helluva PA," she said.
"Thanks," Dean grinned, then glanced back at Sam. Tara smiled at Sam, then shifted her eyes to Dean.
Sam looked… confused. Dean grinned and snagged a burrito from a passing tray as they walked away from Tara's trailer and toward the Impala. A sunset back drop was being wheeled across their path and the irony was not lost on Dean.
"Ah, I love this town," he sighed, taking a big bite of the burrito.
"I don't get you, Dean," Sam grumbled as they reached the Impala. "How can you just… just eat and…"
Dean glanced at Sam over the top of the car. "And what, Sam?"
"I can't believe you slept with her, man." Sam shook his head, his eyes shifting over Dean with incredulity.
Dean stuffed his instinctive reaction down deep. "Why not, man? She's hot! And, ooh, boy, she wanted me…" He shifted his head to the side.
"She totally used you, Dean."
Dean shrugged. "So?"
He stepped into the car, closing the door a bit harder than was necessary.
"So?" Sam repeated, mirroring Dean's actions. "Three people just died, man."
Dean looked at him out of the corner of his eyes. "Yeah, and we stopped the thing – er, well, things – that did it. We finished the job."
"And two seconds later, you're bangin' the leading lady," Sam shook his head.
"Dude, untwist your boxers," Dean said, forcing a smile on his face, then leaning forward and starting the car. He soaked up the heady feel of the Impala's rumble. "We just have different ways of relieving stress is all."
"You? You're stressed?" Sam turned to look at him as Dean pulled out of the lot. "You're stressed. Dean, all you did was play! You ate their food, and played PA of the day and—"
"And saved your ass and Mr. Marty Big Idea's precious Armani suited ass while I was at it!"
Sam closed his mouth and turned around in his seat, facing the front.
"This job was your idea, Sam," Dean reminded him, taking the exit toward the freeway. "I wanted a vacation, remember? Help you relax a bit?"
"Yeah, well, the job helps me relax," Sam grumbled.
Dean snorted. "Yeah, I can see that."
Sam crossed his arms and shook his head. "Sometimes I think I know you better than anyone… and sometimes it's like… like you're a stranger to me."
"I'm always me, Sam," Dean said, wary about the direction Sam was taking the conversation.
"I don't get how you can just… just shut it all off. It's like you flip a switch or something."
It's exactly like that, Dean thought. He sighed.
"Look, Sam, I'm sorry you are hurting, man." Dean looked at Sam out of the corners of his eyes. "I'm sorry we couldn't save Walter. I'm even sorry you didn't feel like eating, 'cause, dude, I'm telling you… the food—"
"Was wonderful, yeah, I got it the first ten times you said it."
Dean pulled his lip in and looked out his side window. Telling Sam that their lives haunted him did him no good. It would only cause Sam to worry. It was better that Sam saw him as invulnerable, as hard, callous even. Sam knew he cared, knew he would do anything… dammit anything… to keep him from hurting if he could help it.
Leaning over to push the black cassette tape into the player, Dean grinned. "Listen, Sam," he said. Ozzy's Crazy Train filled the car. "Next hunt, I promise, we'll go someplace where you can have three squares a day, zero fake-out death stunts, and no bad scripts."
Sam slid his eyes over to Dean, a small grin tugging at the corner of his mouth. "Yeah?"
"Sure. Straight up ghost hunt. Salt and burn. Promise."
"Yeah, that sounds okay," Sam said. Dean saw him relax slightly.
"I still can't believe you slept with her," Sam grumbled after a minute.
"Jealous?" Dean teased.
"Not really… her eyes kinda weirded me out," Sam said, lifting an eyebrow at Dean.
"I wasn't paying much attention to her eyes, Sam," Dean said, his big-brother-can-handle-anything-and-still-get-the-ladies mask firmly in place.
"You're such a slut, man," Sam chuckled.
Dean grinned and slouched into a comfortable position in the seat. What Sam didn't know wouldn't hurt him. And Dean knew better than anyone that there was plenty of hurt to go around. Masks were designed for protection, for stealth, for deception. Dean's were just designed to protect from both sides.