Title: Beaten

Author: XsilicaX.

Category: Post-Ep; Angst; HC.

Characters: Dean; Sam; Madison briefly.

Words: 1938

Spoilers: Heart

Disclaimer: SO not mine!


There was a strange silence in the apartment, after. It was as though the rooms stilled in grief. Dean could hear the clock in the hall ticking the seconds; his eyes were drawn to the hand clicking round the face. He had to blink to see the numbers.

He swallowed.

Sounds seemed to echo louder in here. He could hear traffic noises muffled outside, but they were detached somehow. The faucet dripping in the kitchen, the hum of the air-con, they seemed more real. A sudden ping as the light overhead cooled had Dean's heart pounding and his hand reaching for his gun before it closed, empty.

Sam had the gun.

Dean's fists tightened at his sides. The roar of his uneven breaths filled his ears, whistling through clenched teeth. Try as he might he could not suppress the quiver that shook it slightly. He couldn't hear anything from the living room.

He'd flinched at the shot a few minutes ago, seconds, maybe hours. Dean wasn't sure how long had passed. It was some time; not enough and far too long, it just was. He scowled hard at the closed door. After the shot there had been an awful flump – Madison hitting the ground – he didn't want to think too hard about it. She'd been a nice girl.

But after that, other than a few shuffles, a couple of gasping breaths, he'd heard nothing. Dean wanted to push open that door and check on Sam, but his feet felt too heavy to move. Sam had needed to finish this himself. His eyes had begged for that. Dean entering now was the last thing Sam wanted him to do; he had been told to wait here. And he would, even though a part of him needed to be there with Sam. Another dreaded it. If Sam'd wanted him there he would have left the door open. He felt a little relieved it was shut, and he hated that.

Of course that left him with nothing to do but watch the clock hands and think.

"Bloody scissors, never playing that hand again," he muttered to himself, rubbing subconsciously at it. He wished with every fibre that he'd been the one to stay with the girl – and he wasn't wishing for it in the same way that he had been only a couple of days ago. Sam was supposed to be safe here. The company of a beautiful girl was just an extra bonus. He'd liked her, damnit.

That boy was cursed. Dean's chin sunk down to touch his chest. Unfortunately that was probably true. His jaw firmed and head lifted; this wasn't going to happen on his watch.

The clock ticked. He scuffed his foot against the carpet. He didn't wait well.

He could hear a whispering from inside the lounge. It wasn't loud enough that he could make out the words, even holding his breath and leaning towards the door. It was just a murmur, soft and filled with hurt. Dean took one step forwards then stopped, shutting his eyes, and drawing in a deep breath. He was waiting.

That damned ticking clock was getting on his last nerve and chewing away.

His eyes opened. He gave one more hard stare at the door - through the door - trying to imagine what was going on inside, before turning and dragging himself off. He couldn't listen outside any longer without going in; he also couldn't pull himself away. Dean found himself stopping and turning every few seconds to look back at that door each time he thought he heard a noise, turning away disappointed. He tried not to look at the pictures on the wall. The smiling faces irritated the hell out of him, the ones with Madison in stared accusingly at him.

He reached the doorway to Madison's bedroom and took one step in, pausing as his foot crossed the threshold. It felt wrong somehow to go in. He leant on the doorframe, unable to go any further. His head turned back towards the lounge. He could just about make out the door, and it was still firmly shut. He was beginning to hate the colour.

He couldn't hear anything at all now; he was too far away. It tore at him a little, but Sam had wanted to deal with this alone, even though his hands had shaken as they took the gun from his. Dean was going to honour that need without fuss. He turned back to the room in front of him. His eyes were blurred; he was not crying. It was the room; it was dusty.

The bedroom was a mess. The covers were thrown about the bed, half on the floor. The walls had deep gouges etched into them; splinters from the door embedded in the carpet. A mixture of clothes were scattered on the floor, and it smelled.

Dean could smell sex, and sweat, and tears, and underneath all that a hint of perfume. He wiped his hand over his face. The damp was sweat, honest; it was hot in California. From the looks of things Sam had enjoyed himself. Dean was pretty sure this was his first time since Jessica. He sagged against the doorframe. There was pain here. A muscle moved in his throat as he walked in, moving over to open the window when a wave of nausea washed over him. He needed some air. He leant against the sill briefly before moving off.

Dean sat on the floor, brushing aside the splinters. His arms rested across his knees, feeling simultaneously too heavy, and too light. He threw back his head to lean against the mattress. He was so tired of this, why couldn't something just go right for a change?

He could still hear that clock. How the hell did Madison sleep through it? He gave a sour bark of laughter; her time ran out. He pinched at the bridge of his nose, squeezing shut and opening his eyes again.

It wasn't a typical girl's room. Dean couldn't see any flowers or candles. There were a few pictures, a fireplace, but mostly the room just was. Functional, friendly, warm; he gave a sudden shiver. Dead people's houses were cold; it was the living that warmed them. He couldn't be sure if it was this room that was really cold, or if he was. He hoped that Madison wasn't going to become a spirit. He didn't think he could handle seeing what that would do to Sam.

He stared at the door again, willing it to open. When he shut his eyes, it wasn't Sam with the gun he pictured; it was he. And it wasn't Madison begging to die.

Restless, he stood up and began gathering together the scattered clothes. He chucked them on top of the bed sheets, tugging the edges out from underneath the mattress, and bundling the pile together. Someone was bound to hear that shot and come to investigate, soon. He had to try and erase all evidence of their presence here. He didn't need Sam wanted for murder as well as him.

Dean's hands stilled as he saw blood on the sheets. Sam hadn't looked hurt, he hadn't said anything about any injury, but Madison had been in bed with him when she'd turned. He'd got that much sense out of Sam. Grabbing his bundle, he hurried back down the hall, which suddenly seemed twice as long as it had before.

He paused outside the living room door, breathing heavily. It was still shut. Dean rested his palm flat against the varnish. It was the closest he dared get for now. He could hear Sam's irregular breaths echoing in the room, and he gritted his jaw.

His fist clenched where he leant against the door. If he'd just thought to phone Bobby earlier and ask if this killing-the-werewolf-sire-thing would work, Sam wouldn't have gotten in nearly as deep.

He pushed lightly against the door with his fist. He was half-hoping it would open, half-praying it wouldn't, and mostly wanting to punch his hand through it. It didn't open. He played with his top lip, holding it between his teeth, before sighing – quietly so Sam didn't hear him. He pulled away, heading towards the kitchen.

This room was probably the tidiest in the house; none of them had felt very hungry last night, waiting and hoping for the unthinkable to not happen. There was a sink full of dirty coffee mugs, but hardly any dishes. He stuffed his burden in the washer, chucking in some powder and softener. It had to look like Madison'd done it just before…he slammed the dryer shut, stabbing the on button with probably more force than was necessary.

The rumble of the machine sounded far too loud in the apartment. It still didn't drown out the hitch in Sam's breathing, nor the occasional rustle as something scraped across the floor.

He couldn't stand to hear it.

Dean strode over to the sink, rinsing the mugs out, washing them by hand even though the dishwasher was two steps away. He needed to keep his hands busy or he might be tempted to smash something. Lipstick on the rim of one caused him to pause, before he savagely scrubbed it away with a dishcloth. The water was cold; it was taking too long to warm up.

He left them to one side, draining, sparkling clean and white in the sunshine outside, which didn't have the sense to stay in. He rested his hands against the counter, bowing his head.

His fists tightened hard on the cloth, wringing it out until it was only damp. Dean turned his head towards the lounge but it was still barred to him. He wiped down the top, the window latch, the faucets, the kettle, the button on the washer, anything he could think of that Sam or he might have touched. The cops would look at this as a murder scene, and he didn't want either his or Sam's names suspected.

He looked through the cupboards before finding a duster and some spray under the sink. Sam would have known which one to go for straight away, but Dean hadn't spent as much time in Madison's life or her apartment. He regretted that. He started wiping down all the surfaces and door handles in the hall, the bathroom and finally back in the bedroom. Even the mirror got polished until he could see his face, grim, in it. He scowled; his eyes were still a little red.

That damned door was still shut, so Dean found the linen closet and remade the bed. He smoothed the quilt out thoroughly over the top, making sure there were no lumps in it. It made the room smell fresh, and clean, and new. Madison's scent faded under the onslaught. He fluffed the pillows violently.

Moving back to the kitchen he stared at the machine churning the washing. He straightened the chairs underneath the table, sitting down briefly before rising. He rinsed the cloth through and wrung it out. He shook out the duster before putting it and the spray away. He opened the window; it was too dusty. He closed it again, too cold. He opened it, unable to breathe.

There was nothing else left to do apart from vacuuming, and he didn't think his nerves could stand the noise. He looked at his watch. It had been twenty-two minutes since Sam had told him to wait.

The door was still shut. He could hear that clock ticking.

"Screw this." He'd waited long enough.

He opened the door.