Wayward Son

Chapter Sixteen

Lilah lay flat on her back on the mat, panting as Dean's heavy weight covered her. Their time together in Mexico had been a strain on her muscles in more than one way. In the short time she had grown closer to him than she ever thought possible, and yet at the same time she never felt so distant from someone.

At night he loved her thoroughly, laying her back on their king sized bed in their plush hotel room and did things to her that made her soft and wet and lush just thinking about them. In the afternoon's they laughed and played, strolling through the streets of Guadalajara, perusing the shops. They frolicked like teenagers on spring break and Lilah had never laughed so much.

But the mornings were for business. The alpha male inside Dean was driven to see her safe. To make sure that no harm ever came to her. He suffered tremendously at thoughts he may not be there when she needed him the most. He focused that anguish by teaching her how to protect herself. Teaching her how to defend herself against some other random psychopathic attacker, who might have less heroic intentions than Dean had. Time was short, so teaching her long term techniques was useless. Instead he focused on showing her how to put someone down hard and fast and keep them there while she ran for help. Learning how to break a man's elbow or shatter a kneecap was distasteful, but her medical training was actually an asset. She was familiar with human anatomy. She knew how muscles stretched, how far bones could be bent before breaking, and how to dislocate joints efficiently.

Dean also taught her things, she personally felt were useless. How to disarm an alarm. How to pick a multitude of locks. And most importantly he told her, without some bitterness, he showed her how to track someone using the GPS in their cell phone or in their car. Dean loved modern technology. Before On-Star finding someone had taken days of arduous tracking. Now all it took was a phone call and a fake id and he could get an ever so helpful customer service representative to point him in the right direction.

All this activity meant they were very busy. So busy in fact, they never spoke. Not about the truly important things. Not about the fact that in a few short weeks Dean would be gone, and Lilah's heart would be shattered into a thousand unrecoverable pieces. They made no comment on Sam's steady withdrawal from them or how much it hurt Dean. Instead they existed in silence. Silence filled with carefree laughter and erotic whispers. Silence that stretched between them until the distance was nearly impassable.

Dean settled naturally between her thighs, and his warm breath tickled her cheek. She could see sweat gathering at his temple, and she could feel her own wetness through her shirt. Their morning workout had been more intense than usually. Everything had been more intense since Sam's startling announcement last night that they needed to go to New York.

Dean had shut down instantly, and she felt that silence between them snap like a rubber band, coming back and slapping her hard across the heart. Without a word, Dean had nodded to his brother, and began to pack their belongings. It had been Sam who had asked to her make arrangements on her jet to fly them out this afternoon. It had been Sam to tell her how very sorry he was. She tried to ask questions, to find out why leaving immediately for New York was so important, but both brothers had stonewalled her, and once again she was left to feel like the third wheel.

She stared into Dean's deep green eyes, nearly losing herself in them. Words bubbled up in her throat, but she couldn't quite get them passed her lips. She wanted to ask him why he jumped so high when Sam said go. She wanted to ask about the raw, torn expression across Sam's face when he made his announcement. An expression that Dean had briefly mirrored before his shuttered mask slammed down over his features. She wanted to scream at him to tell her how he felt, to tell her about his fears, his plans for their brief future. But mostly she wanted to cry. Because leaving their penthouse haven, meant acknowledging that the end was near and very soon she was going to be alone, without the man she had fallen so deeply in love with.

With so many issues unspoken between them, what hurt her the most was that she couldn't voice her own suffering to him. She couldn't tell him about the loneliness that was spreading through her soul, or the fear that was freezing her heart. She couldn't even tell him that of all the places in the world they could go, New York was the very last place she wanted to be. Because New York was home, and with all their problems, facing her painful past was not something she wanted to add to the mix.

"Lilah." Her name was a whisper, but it jolted her hard. With a start she realized she was crying. Hot tears were sliding into her hair at her temples. She squeezed her eyes closed, blotting out the agony in Dean's jade green eyes. But doing that was like trying to blot out the sun. His face, his sorrowful expression was burned on the backs of her lids, searing into her mind.

"I'm sorry. I wish—"

A sob broke out of her throat, and she couldn't bear to hear anymore of his words. To hear his apology for something done before he even met her. For wishing for the same thing she was. A different life, a different place. She wrapped her arms around his neck, pulling him down to her. He settled his face against her neck, hugging her back tightly. She felt something hot and wet on her throat and another sob escaped her lips.

"Don't you dare say you're sorry or that you wished it could be different. If one little detail had been different then we would have never met and no matter what happens. No matter how much it hurts in the end, I will never regret this. I will never regret us," she whispered fiercely into his short hair, clutching him as tightly as she could, afraid that if she let go he would be pulled away from her forever.

"I love you, Dean Winchester. You made me live again, and I will always love you for that."

Dean's strong arms wrapped around her, pulling her up so she fitted against him. His biceps bulged against her ribs uncomfortably as he squeezed her tight. She heard a strangled sob, and she let her tears come louder to drown it out, to give him freedom to vent his own sadness.

They lay like that for a few minutes, until sounds could be heard of other people making their way in to use the hotel gym. Dean pulled away from her, getting easily to his feet. The whites of his eyes were tinged red, but there was no other sign that he may have cried. In one strong fluid motion he pulled her up, making sure she was steady before turning to lead her out. As she followed his broad shoulders something inside her cracked just a little bit, and a cold bitter wind made its way into the crevices of her heart to freeze what was left of the warmth there.

As she glared holes at Dean, she couldn't help to be hurt at the fact that not now or even once during their carefree courtship through winding cobblestone streets, had he told her that he loved her back.

8888

Lilah watched Dean's cell phone rattle across the table for the umpteenth time. They were ensconced in a suite on the upper floors of the Windsor in New York, having just arrived a few short hours ago. Dean had been pissed when they had taken off from the airport in Mexico, realizing they were bypassing Kansas. When he had complained about his baby having to stay in long term parking even a second longer, Sam had snapped out they could come back later to pick it up.

The silence that had crashed down like a cannonball had been suffocating. Sam had been on edge since his announcement that they needed to go to New York and it was even more blatant when his mouth thinned mutinously at Dean's shuttered look at his thoughtless comment. The brother's were locked in a battle of wills that Lilah was struggling to understand. And frankly she didn't want to. Their relationship was so deep that they could communicate without words. She could only hope to have something like that in her life. She could only dream of having something like that with Dean. A dream that ended nightmare bloody with his empty soulless corpse lying at some backwater crossroad.

They had flown to New York without another word. Only the constant ringing of Dean's unanswered phone to keep the company. The first time it had rang, Lilah had recognized her solicitor's number and she had answered it expecting to engage in a short chat about her funds. Instead it was a plea from Roland to call her mother. Unsurprisingly, her Marilyn Greene had found out that her wayward daughter was returning to New York and she had issued an imperial order that Delilah present herself at her Manhattan penthouse for a cold, civil and bitter dressing down for her defection from her family and career.

Delilah had been running from her mother's voice for a year. Now that she was back in New York it sounded louder than ever. Even though miles of cement and steel, thousands of cars and millions of people separated them, Delilah could practically here her mother calling her home inside her mind.

After Roland's single call the number that appeared on the display was her mother's. Undoubtedly Roland had reported Delilah's refusal to acknowledge Marilyn, and now in a nearly unheard of maneuver, her mother was actually taking matters into her own hands.

"Maybe you should talk to her now. You know. While I'm still here," Dean told her softly, his eyes not quite meeting hers.

Lilah's eyes sharpened on Dean. He shifted nervously, his eyes dropping to his feet.

"Why?" She asked harshly, far more harshly than she intended.

"I don't know. So maybe, if you wanted someone to talk to after."

The silence returned to the room. Even the soft clicking of Sam's laptop ceased. It was not for the first time that Lilah realized that silence was not her friend. She had lived in silence in the last year since the incident and it had slowly devoured her. This silence was far worse, because at the tail end of it was a ticking clock that reminded them every second that it was T minus two weeks and then Dean would be gone forever.

Dean shoved his fingers into the pockets of his worn jeans, pulling them down until she could see a sliver of bronze skin. Their time in Mexico had darkened his skin to a healthy caramel color that made her salivate just to see it. She shifted, flattening her hand over her stomach to still the fluttering that was half nerves half desire. She knew Dean's offer made him uncomfortable. If there was anything she had learned about Dean the last few weeks was that he was very good at saying a lot of words without actually saying anything. He could fill the silence with useless chatter that deflected emotion. But when he did expose his heart, he did so with a certain vulnerability that made her soul ache.

"You would do that? Listen?"

Dean looked up at her hard and fast. His green eyes showing a razor thin sliver of hurt.

"Yes."

A little of the weight that had been pressing the air out of her lungs for the last year lessened. All this time. After listening to the pleas of her family to just forget about it and move on, the assurances from her colleagues that mistakes are made, and the platitudes from her therapist that the pain would eventually fade, hearing a genuine offer to actually listen to her made her want to weep.

"Would you come with me?"

Dean's withdrawal was swift and instantaneous. He even actually took a step back towards his brother who was sitting at a nearby desk doing some research. Behind him, she could see Sam watching them intently, like they were the newest soap opera on day time television.

"I don't think—"

Lilah was turning away from him before he could even finish. The pain in her chest renewed itself, bursting to life until it felt like it was going to burrow a hole through her heart. From the corner of her eyes she could see Dean's raised hands in pleading. She heard a rattle and a loud thump from behind her. She whirled around just in time to see Dean stagger as an office chair on wheels hit him from behind collapsing his knees. He caught himself before he fell, spinning around to glare at his little brother.

"Fuck! Sam! You fucking shit!"

Sam was seemingly casually leaning against the desk where he had been typing, but she could tell he was ready to leap up and meet his brother head on if he had too. His face was drawn into hard frown and his expressive eyes were unreadable to Lilah, but Dean must have seen something there that made him pause.

Lilah was heartily glad she didn't have siblings, especially brothers. The whole experience just seemed painful.

"I'm going to pound your face in," Dean growled, and Lilah shivered. Dean's reaction seemed to be blown out of proportion to her, but perhaps he was embarrassed at nearly being knocked off his feet or maybe he was just using it as an excuse to deflect his attention from her. Either way, the angry look on his face had her wondering if she should interfere or call a bellhop or something.

"I'm calling it. Red Lodge." Sam growled back, and Dean came to an immediate halt. "Now stop being a prick."

Lilah could see Dean's entire body vibrate with rage, until suddenly it leaked away and was replaced with something she couldn't quite name. If she didn't know better she would say it was fear.

"Next time it's a fair swap. A punch for a punch, little brother. No more throwing fucking chairs at me."

Sam didn't reply, just rolled his eyes a little and waved his long-fingered hand towards her. Dean hunched his shoulders, shoving his fingers in his pockets, before turning slowly to face her.

She waited with baited breath as he screwed up the courage to speak. She had never seen this Dean before. Nervous and uncertain. He had always been filled with a deep calm that she found reassuring. A sense of purpose and easy predatory grace that screamed self-confidence and an ability to take care of himself and those he cared for. His awkwardness made her feel awkward, and she had to cross her arms across her chest to make herself stand still.

"I just don't think--I mean, you're—Your mom, or a mother, I mean—she's not—"

Dean's inability to articulate his feelings was nothing new, but he being at a loss of words was mind blowing. Dean always had words. Words upon words and even more words. Dean was a talker. It was what he did. How he functioned in the world. This was a whole new revelation to a side of him she never expected to see.

"What are you trying to say, Dean?" She crossed the distance between them, soothing her hand down his arm.

"Delilah."

"Lilah," she corrected, startled when he pinned her to the spot with his green eyes.

"No that's what I'm trying to say. You're Delilah here. You are someone I shouldn't be talking to, much less be in the same room with. Your mom is gonna take one look at me and call the cops."

From behind them, Lilah heard a distressed growl and she knew Sam was just as hurt by Dean's words as she was, but she couldn't deny the kernel of truth in them. She had been born to a certain station in life. As a child she had the best over everything, including the best nanny to watch her while her parents flew to Milan or attending the latest charity ball. There was no question that she would attend an Ivy League school and become a doctor, a lawyer or some other high powered professional. She had certain advantages in life that Dean could never imagine, and those advantages set her apart. And in some eyes, in Dean's eyes, it set her above. It set her on a pedestal she didn't deserve, and she refused to seat herself upon it. She refused to allow her mother to force her there as well.

"No Dean. I'm Lilah. That's who I am now. And I refuse to let anyone else dictate my life to me. Either your or my mother. I can't continue to be someone I was never meant to be."

She dropped her hand, and moved away, staring hard at the champagne carpet.

"You're right. I have to go to my mother. I need to tell her that I'm not her perfect little girl anymore. That I've made mistakes and I need those mistakes to be acknowledged. I need her to let me go so I can have my own life."

When she was a few steps away, she looked up at him, her heart in her whiskey eyes, and her hands clenched into tiny fists.

"I can't do it alone, Dean. I need you to come with me. To stand beside me. You're the only person I have in this world."

She knew what she was saying, and how unfair it was. But it was the truth, and the truth was something she had to stop hiding from. When Dean was finally gone she would be alone. There would be no one to stand next to her. No one to stand as her shield between her and heart ache. Tears dripped down her cheeks and fell off the point of her chin. It was hard, but she forced herself not to look away. To stare him straight in the eye until he could see her very soul.

She heard the front door close with a soft click and she knew that Sam had disappeared from the room. But all that mattered to her was Dean. He was staring back at her, his hazel eyes turning jade green.

"Lilah—"

She shut her eyes. Shut him out. Shut out the remorse she saw inside him. She couldn't handle his rejection. His excuses. His truth. The truth that he couldn't be there for her. That he couldn't be the man she needed because he was going away. He was going to be torn away from her and there was nothing they could do about it.

Suddenly he was there, his heat wrapping around her until it crept into frozen heart. He gathered her up into his arms, and she could feel his warm breath feather on her cheek. She kept her eyes tightly closed, but she tilted her chin up, offering her full lips up to his.

"I would do anything for you. I will stand anywhere you want me to. Protect you from anything, supernatural or not that threatens you. I will wipe away your tears and kiss away your pain. I will do all these things and more for as long as I live," Dean's vow to her ended with a growl of conviction that vibrated down to her very core.

A sob swelled up her throat and escaped her lips, but before it could escape he covered her mouth with his, licking away her tears and swallowing her pain. He melded her body over his, holding her tightly, soaking up her agony so she was left feeling cleansed.

He sunk his fingers into her hair at her temple, angling her head back further. His thumb pressed at the corner of her mouth, opening her wider to receive him so he could kiss her deeper, devour all her pain until all that was left was pleasure, want and raw need.

Her eyes rolled back behind her lids and she knew that she would take everything he could give her. She would love Dean until the day he died and beyond. Because that was how love was supposed to be. Even when it broke your heart.