Takes place after season 2 finale.

Part of the Impala 'verse. See also Lady in Black and Queen of the Road.

Road Song

The road hums beneath her wheels, miles ticking steadily away, and she hums along with it, a soft little sound that humans can't hear beneath the roar of her engine, not unless they know what to listen for. She's reasonably content at the moment. Her boys are in the front seat, where they're supposed to be. Dean's leaking a little bit but he'll be all right. Sammy wouldn't let him drive if he wasn't, even though they both know perfectly well that she's fully capable of driving herself. Course, Sammy's not at his best right now, either; he has that telltale furrow of pain on his forehead.

They don't like to give her control, though they will sometimes, when things get crazy. Like after that prison stunt, when Dean and Sammy had to hide from everybody for awhile. The three of them made it from Arkansas to Washington State in 24 hours, the boys sleeping while she drove. Sammy worries about what will happen if the cops catch sight of them asleep in a moving car. Beeps and light-flickers and wiper-waving just aren't enough to communicate that she (being a car and therefore superior, even without opposable thumbs) can smell a speed trap ten miles away and adjust accordingly. If she'd been free to drive herself after that mess with the demon last year, no semi would have come close to hitting her, possessed driver or not.

Dean nearly scared the muffler off her with that prison escapade. She still doesn't understand how he could leave her in that lonely impound yard, with a bunch of rednecks from the Arkansas Department of Corrections running their greasy hands over her hood and making lustful remarks about her, and if it wasn't that he and Sam had talked about a plan where she could hear them, she would have charged out of the yard and busted into the prison until somebody explained to her what in the name of Goodyear was going on.

John would have killed him over that. She wishes she could communicate that to him, that she knew John that well. Dean doesn't understand his daddy half as well as she understood hers. But her daddy was a simpler man, an assembly-line worker with a wife and ten sons and a longing for a daughter so intense that it instilled souls in the cars he built.

She never knew her daddy's name. John was the first name she learned, in those fuzzy days when she was still new to the world, and the prized possession of a man with nothing else to call his own. Cars have difficulty with names. Only if a car stays with a single owner for a long time is it able to conceive of the importance of names at all. Otherwise people just get labeled with descriptions, the way other cars do.

Dean shifts behind the wheel, groans a little bit; she adjusts the seat until it's so comfy that he starts to doze off, and gradually, gently takes control. After a few miles, when she sees that Sammy's starting to look at her speedometer suspiciously, she pulls the same trick on the passenger side. She normally doesn't. Cars hold grudges, hold them deep in their frames with memories of metal, and he's ruined her seats five times, rammed her into a house, backed her into seven mailboxes in six states, and gotten her crushed by a semi. He doesn't take care of her the way Dean does. She has to watch him every second when he's driving.

It's not that she doesn't love Sammy. Sammy's part of the family, John's son and Dean's brother. Sammy was born in her back seat because he was too impatient to wait till the hospital, the same back seat that served him as cradle and crib after Mary's death and sometimes still holds his oversized frame in its cramped confines when the boys can't afford a motel. But...

Dean is hers, and she's his, heart and soul and engine. John bought her, and she knew him well, down to the way he had far too many mates in her back seat before he took up with Mary (and then, honestly, humans were supposed to want to mate in beds!), but not until Dean was born did she know what it was to bond. The day they brought him home, Mary cradling him securely in her arms because they hadn't found a car seat that John could put into her yet, she was lost. She spent the next four years as a playhouse; the next four as a babysitter; the next twenty as home.

And now she has to protect Dean from Sammy, because something isn't right.

Sammy was okay before he died. Even after he died, though the stink of dead flesh lingered around him and made the skin of her back seat flinch away when Dean and the junk man put dead Sammy into it.

Then Dean drove her recklessly to a crossroads and summoned the dark-haired woman who stank of evil, and when they came back, Sammy was awake and walking and he no longer smelled of dead flesh but of badness and taint, like an engine burning its last quart of oil.

The road hums beneath her tires, and she worries. Sammy is tainted, and she heard them talking before they left the cemetery, heard them talking about deals and deadlines and a year to live. She worries about Sammy only because she knows what losing him will do to Dean, and she worries about Dean because without him, she has no heart, just awareness.

Most of all, she worries about what will happen if it's Sammy that hurts Dean. Because every car with awareness knows that when the bond is broken, weird things happen. A car with a broken heart is dangerous, maddened with grief. A car with a broken heart can kill.

She forces herself to keep humming, thinking of shinier things—Dean's weight in her seat, the way he runs his hand possessively over her hood, the warm voice he uses to call her "Baby."

She loves Sammy. But if he hurts Dean...

No amount of tainted power is going to be enough to save him from her.

the end