A/N: Final chapter everybody. Sorry for the delay. I hope you all enjoyed this. This song is Metallica's "Carpe Diem, Baby."
Chapter Fourteen: Carpe Diem, Baby
dirt, shake tree
Split sky, part sea
Strip smile, lose cool
Bleed the day and break the rule
Live to win, dare to fail
Eat the dirt and bite the nail
Then make me miss you
Then make me miss you
So wash your vice away with dirt
It don't feel good until it hurts
So take this world and shake it
Come squeeze and suck the day
Come carpe diem baby
Draw lead, piss wine
Sink teeth, all mine
Stoke fire, break neck
Suffer through this, cheat on death
Hug the curve, lose the time
Tear the map and shoot the sign
Then make me miss you
Then make me miss you
So wash your vice away with dirt
It don't feel good until it hurts
So take this world and shake it
Come squeeze and suck the day
Come carpe diem baby
Dean did not understand. For once in the history of their relationship, not to mention his life in general, things seemed to be working out. Now she wanted to leave him.
"So…run that all by me again." he said, shaking his head in confusion.
Ty sighed. It wasn't his fault that he didn't get it. She really didn't know herself why this was so important. Not well enough to be able to communicate it to Dean, anyway.
"This is just something I've got to do." she told him, her eyes begging him to at least humor her if he couldn't understand.
Ty rubbed her arms, feeling extremely awkward. She suddenly wished that she hadn't chosen to have this conversation in private. She had a feeling that Sam might be the perfect interpreter between her and Dean at the moment. But it felt selfish to drag Sam into this when it was her problem, her issues.
"But why can't I come, again?" Dean persisted.
Ty forced herself to look at Dean instead of at a conveniently placed patch of grass on the ground between them. Her eyes took the scenic route to his face. It gave her time to collect her thoughts and it wasn't like Dean was especially difficult to look at. He was dressed much the same as he always was: faded jeans, T-shirt, leather jacket. It was just that he was so comfortable in them and they suited him. Plus, Ty suspected you could dress Dean up in a burlap sack and he'd still look drop-dead gorgeous.
She was letting herself get distracted. Ty pushed all thoughts of Dean's abs, chest and biceps out of her head and made the visual leap up to his uncertain hazel eyes. Part of her wanted to move closer to him, to try and comfort him so that he would know that her pushing him away this time was in no way a rejection. But another part of her wanted to move even further away from him, away from the temptation of being in his arms because she knew how much harder it would be to leave him if they were actually touching. The end result of these conflicting desires was that she remained exactly where she was, but as tense as a taut guitar string, humming with anxiety.
"It's not that I don't want you to," Ty admitted, "it's just that…look, Dean, this all started because of how screwed up I am. I've got to work that out for myself, by myself."
Dean frowned, "The way I remember it, you not wanting to ask for help caused some problems, too."
"This isn't like that." Ty corrected him gently, "I'm not afraid to ask for your help. I'm afraid that if I do, I won't be who I want to be."
"What?" Dean asked, as if she'd just switched from English to Swahili.
"I know you don't like it." Ty continued, "But I really, really need you to let me do this."
Dean shifted uncomfortably. She was giving him that look he hated, that look that she and Sam used like a secret weapon to get what they wanted. Why the hell couldn't he say no to that look?
"How long?" he finally grumbled unhappily.
He expected Ty to flash him a wide smile, but her expression was decidedly muted. She did smile, but it was small and her eyes still held that mild apology she'd been sending him since they started this conversation. This was serious and that made Dean even less thrilled about the whole thing.
"I'm not sure. Give me a week and we'll see?" Ty proposed.
Dean barely nodded once before he became more interested in kicking the toe of his shoe into the dirt. He didn't look up until he felt Ty moving away.
"Thank you." she said softly, catching his gaze one more time before she disappeared back into Bobby's house.
It seemed like Dean blinked and he was standing on Bobby's front porch instead of in his backyard, watching as Ty threw her gear in the back of Alex's pickup truck. Dean didn't really have a problem with the guy anymore, but it still irked him to see Ty leaving with him. It was like rubbing salt in the wound of her leaving. Dean gritted his teeth and tried to convince himself that he didn't care. Unfortunately, he wasn't buying it.
"Bye, guys!" Ty called as she moved to stand next to the open passenger door.
"You take care." Bobby replied.
"See you soon." Sam echoed him, waving.
It bothered Dean even more that Sam wasn't bothered by this. His brother seemed completely unconcerned. The fact that Sam was actually completely certain that they would be seeing Ty again because his brother was hopelessly head over heels didn't even register as a possibility.
Ty got in the truck and pulled the door closed after her. Alex was already waiting in the driver's seat. He turned the key in the ignition, bringing the engine to life, but hesitated before pulling the truck out of the drive. She hadn't actually said bye to Dean yet and he knew that had to be coming.
True enough, Ty leaned out the open window.
"Bye, Dean." she said, almost too quietly for him to hear her over the truck's engine.
Dean fought hard to resist the urge to stomp over there, rip the door open, haul her out of the cab and kiss her until she forgot this stupid idea about going off on her own to find herself or whatever. It was hard to restrain himself. She didn't even look right in that truck, he decided. She looked out of place. Like maybe she really belonged on the bench seat of a black, classic Chevy. Dean shifted his weight and tried to find the will to get the word 'bye' past his clenched teeth, but he couldn't do it. He could tell that if he opened his mouth right now, he'd regret it. So, instead, he turned around and went back inside, refusing to watch her drive away.
Ty felt sick to her stomach watching Dean walk away without saying a word, but she couldn't blame him. She wasn't particularly enjoying this either and it was her idea.
This had all started because of her insecurities. She'd worked through some of that with Dean, but in order to really be okay with herself, she needed to figure out exactly who she was on her own. If Dean were involved, she'd always feel dependent and that's not what she wanted. She wanted to want Dean, not need him. Besides, she was a big girl. She could stand on her own two feet and face her fears even if in this case it meant facing herself, something she'd spent most of her life avoiding. Ty nodded resolutely to herself. If she wanted to spend the rest of her life battling demons, she might as well start with her own.
"I really appreciate the ride, Alex." Ty said out loud, partly to distract herself and partly because she knew her silence was making Alex uncomfortable. It was a long enough drive without an awkward silence hanging between them.
Alex shrugged, "No problem. Always wanted to see the Grand Canyon."
"That's kind of on the way." Ty nodded, sending him a smile, "And, you know, I've never actually seen it either."
"Really?" Alex asked genuinely surprised. He grinned back at her, "Sweet, road trip."
Ty almost snorted to herself at the thought, but as she mulled it over, it seemed more and more appealing. She relaxed, allowing herself to let go of some of the tension that had tagged along for the ride since she left Bobby's. She was doing the right thing. She was sure of it.
It took a couple of days before Alex and Ty rolled back into Phoenix. They could have made the drive quicker, but neither of them had really seen any reason to hurry. Ty felt a twinge of guilt over spending this time with Alex rather than with Dean, but she chocked that up to simply missing him. It wasn't like there was anything between her and Alex beside friendship.
When they reached Phoenix, she decided to cut Alex loose, anyway. She'd left Bobby's to spend some time on her own and even though Alex was a great guy and fun to spend time with, he was too closely tied up in the world of hunting which, for Ty, was inextricably tied up with Dean.
"It's nothing against you, Alex. Our road trip was awesome." she said to reassure him that it wasn't because she was tired of him or anything.
Alex nodded and Ty was relieved to see that he didn't seem offended or anything.
"I'll see you around, Ty." Alex said, extending his hand to shake hers, "Call me if you ever need anything."
Ty smiled at him and enfolded him in a hug. Normally Ty wasn't much of a hug type of person, but a couple of life-and-death situations can change how you interact with some people. Alex seemed pleasantly surprised by the gesture, taking a moment to respond, but then squeezing her tightly in return.
"See you around." Ty echoed him as she pulled away.
Alex nodded and slowly backed away, got in his pickup and drove off, leaving her standing outside her apartment complex. Ty sighed, shouldering her bags and heading in. She had a lot of work to do and she wasn't even sure how to begin.
Over the next few days, Ty didn't do anything particularly unusual. Dean knew this because he'd trailed her, watching her the entire time from a safe distance away so that she wouldn't know that he'd completely ignored her request to be without him. Well, not completely. They weren't actually interacting with each other. He was just making sure she was okay. Yeah, that sounded okay when he repeated it to himself.
"Dude, you are so totally lame." Sam complained for about the millionth time on day six while they sat across the street from Ty's apartment complex in the Impala, waiting to see if she'd go anywhere.
"You didn't have to come with." Dean grumbled, debating with himself whether turning up the music would discourage Sam from bothering him. Previous experience had him thinking that it probably wouldn't make a difference.
"And miss you stalking your girlfriend like an emo 16-year-old?" Sam persisted, grinning like any younger brother would when the tables have finally turned.
"I hate you." Dean glared.
Sam just continued grinning and Dean continued sulking as he sat hunched over the steering wheel, gazing across the street for any sign of Ty.
When Dean's phone finally rang on the seventh day, he jumped before answering it. The day had dawned a gloomy, overcast day that had progressed into a persistently rainy afternoon. Sam had convinced Dean to return to their motel room for awhile to see if the rain would let up. Dean had been half-dozing while watching the TV, lulled by the background noise of crappy sitcoms and Sam's steady typing away on his computer. By the time Ty called, the rain was still coming down, although not very hard and the sun was fading behind the clouds in the distance. Dean didn't care. There could be a blizzard raging outside, he was going over to that apartment complex. Although first, he had to make it through this phone call where she could say anything and, knowing Ty, probably would.
With all this racing through his mind, Dean answered his ringing phone with a, "Hey."
"Hey," Ty replied, feeling equally nervous on her end for much the same reasons, "How are you?"
Dean shrugged even though she couldn't see it, "I'm okay, I guess. You?"
"Good." Ty said, fidgeting on her end. Sitting down proved to be too difficult, so she stood up and began pacing around her apartment. She debated making more small talk, but decided it was pointless, "Are you…uh…nearby?"
Dean frowned a little, wondering for a second if she'd seen him shadowing her, but telling himself that she couldn't have, "Yeah, I'm close."
"Good. That's good." Ty nodded, mentally swearing at herself for babbling. It wasn't like she was asking him out or anything, for Christ's sake, "If you could…come by, I…uh…well, I want to see you."
"Yeah, sure." Dean agreed, keeping his voice cool while inwardly he was yelling, 'Finally!'
"How long, you think?" Ty asked.
Dean debated for a second about how long to tell her. He should probably say a couple hours so she wouldn't know that he was in town, but the thought of sitting around doing nothing for another couple hours was pretty hard to swallow. Dean decided he'd rather take whatever hell Ty might give him, "Twenty minutes."
Ty blinked in surprise for a moment at that time frame. Dean was definitely not still at Bobby's. He had to be in town. Ty took a moment to ponder how she felt about that, but shrugged it off. It really wasn't that important at this point.
"Okay. See you." she finally replied and hung up without waiting for Dean to reply.
Ty dropped her phone onto the couch with a relieved sigh at having gotten through that conversation, then promptly followed the phone down onto the cushion. She was fairly certain she was ready to face Dean, that she was ready to dive back into this crazy world that she had chosen to be a part of, but the only way to know for sure was to do it.
Ty's apartment was quiet. The TV was off, there was no music playing. The only sound penetrating the quiet sanctuary was the sound of the rain coming in through her partially opened windows. The sound drew Ty back up from the couch and over to the dripping window pane. Ty pushed the curtains aside, resting a hand against the cool glass. She had never been particularly fond of her desert home, but she loved the cool desert rains. There was something about the way the skies opened up and just released fat raindrops, the way the desert smelled when it was rainy, the way the lightening scorched the skies. It relaxed her, made her feel more connected to nature, to everything.
Ty had imagined a few scenarios for her reunion with Dean. As well as she knew him, she still wasn't totally sure how this would play out. Would he still be pissed? What would he say? Maybe he'd have decided to just accept what she'd done and apologize for his attitude earlier by buying her flowers. Ty laughed to herself at that thought.
Familiar music penetrated the sound of the rain, drawing Ty's attention. She frowned for a second as she concentrated on the sound, trying to figure out what it was. It grew louder quickly and Ty soon realized it was Bad Company's Bad Company. She smiled to herself. That had to be Dean.
Ty immediately turned and strode swiftly for the door. She didn't even think about grabbing a jacket, didn't pause to rethink about what she would say or do. She just moved. Soon enough she was down the stairs and in the parking lot. She saw the familiar headlights on the other end of the lot. It would have been dark if not for all the apartment lighting. As it was, she could make out the shadowy outline of two forms in the vehicle, the driver clearly Dean just as the passenger was obviously Sam. Ty felt a wave of relief at seeing them again and a twinge of nervousness right in her gut at the same time. She ignored both feelings and started towards them.
Dean got out of the Impala when he saw Ty appear at the bottom of the stairs. As he watched Ty walking towards him through the rain, he felt his breath catch in his throat. The rain was flattening her bangs against her forehead, turning her blonde hair brown, but she didn't seem to care. He mentally went through numerous songs that could have been playing at that moment, as if this was a poignant scene in a movie. He finally settled on "Rock You Like a Hurricane" by the Scorpions.
Dean didn't know it, but Ty's thoughts were in a similar vein, distracting her from the potential levity of the moment. However, in her head the background music for this moment was Metallica, "Carpe Diem, Baby."
Ty paused just a few steps from Dean, silently waiting for him to make the first move, to give her some indication of how this encounter was going to progress. Dean saw that she was putting the ball in his court, which he thought was just like her to leave him and then make him initiate the conversation when she let him come back, but he took it anyway. He'd always been a take-charge kind of guy.
"So…how are you?" he ventured.
"I'm good." Ty nodded, waiting for more.
"That's good." Dean nodded, too. Sighing a little in frustration at this pointless small talk, he pushed a hand through his swiftly dampening hair, "So does that mean you'll come with us?"
Ty smiled slightly, "I missed you, too."
Damn it! He was screwing this up! Dean frowned. He could see what she wanted from him. She wanted an open admission of feelings, she probably wanted some kind of commitment. Hell, she deserved as much, but everything in him balked at the idea. Still, the last thing he wanted was to call it quits with her. He wasn't ready to do that. Why wouldn't she just get in the damn car? They could put this town in the rearview and figure out all the rest later.
"Look, Ty…" he began.
"No, you look, Dean." Ty interrupted him. She could see his growing frustration, his continued confusion, and she mercifully decided to cut him a little break, "I know you're probably still mad about me leaving Bobby's and coming back here. I know you don't get it and that's fine. Just know that I had my reasons and it was for the best, really. I don't know if you can tell, but I think I'm better now."
"Great, so let's go." Dean said, turning back towards the car.
"Go where?" Ty asked, stopping him, "Find a hunt? You know I want to be a hunter, but this is about more than that, Dean. Don't pretend that it isn't. How do you see this playing out, huh?"
Dean kicked at the Impala's tire before meeting Ty's eyes, "I don't know. I could be dead tomorrow for all I know. That's how this job is. You of all people know that. I just want you to be there, okay? What else do you want from me? If you want the flowers and chocolate boy-toy, I'm not that guy."
"I don't want that guy. I don't want you to show up at my doorstep with flowers and take me out to dinner and a movie. I just want you to get to know me." Ty said, crossing her arms resolutely, "And I want to get to know you. I mean, I know who you are, but I don't know about you."
Dean's eyes lit up and Ty quickly cut him off. She knew exactly what that cheeky expression of his meant.
"So help me God, Winchester, if you make some smartass comment right now…"
Dean raised his hands in surrender, "Alright, alright. Like what?"
"Like…" Ty paused and her mind immediately went back to all the things that demon Ty had done that were so unlike her, "Like I don't drink soda or coffee, I can't blow bubbles with bubblegum and besides that I hate bubblegum flavored gum, and I would never, never blow off a hunt to go shopping."
"Yeah, I thought that was a little off." Dean admitted. He moved closer to her, gently pulling Ty into his arms as if he could move her closer without her knowledge if he just did so subtly, "But I do know some things."
"Oh, yeah?" Ty raised her eyebrows skeptically, "Wow me."
"I know your eyes are blue without even looking, which you should know is not usually the case for me. I know you know all kinds of crazy historical shit like Sammy. I know you smell kind of like vanilla for some reason. And I know…you like motorcycles." Dean paused after he recounted that little factoid, frowning as he recalled the incident with the Ducati guy at the bar the last time they'd been in Phoenix.
Ty smiled a little, meeting Dean's eyes briefly before looking away with a coy twist to her lips. His hands were warm on her cool, rain-kissed arms, "I do like motorcycles, but you know, I think the Impala is cooler. Regardless of whether or not you're in it."
Dean barely restrained himself from punching the air as he silently thought, 'Take that, Ducati jerk!'
"Alright," Ty said, drawing his attention back to her, "that's a pretty good start, Winchester. That mean you agree with me?"
"About wanting to get to know you? Yeah! Of course! Jesus, woman, of course I want to know you." that mischievous grin returned to his face as he leaned close to her ear, his warm breath bringing out goosebumps on her skin, "I want to know you inside and out."
Ty shivered and not because she was now thoroughly soaked. She looked up, her eyes pausing briefly on Dean's lips, "Don't call me woman."
Dean chuckled softly before leaning down to kiss her. Ty's heart ached with that kiss. She loved him. She was pretty sure he loved her even if he was too scared of his emotions to tell her. That didn't matter. She wanted to be with him, to make him happy. And she was starting to think that she might actually be capable of doing so.
The last few days had been mostly introspection for Ty. She'd evaluated herself as objectively as possible, weighing the pros and cons of who she was. She still wasn't completely sure why a guy as gorgeous as Dean had even looked at a girl of such mediocre appeal, but for whatever reason, she'd gotten his attention and kept it this long. That had to mean she had something going for her. And physical appearance aside, she knew she was a good person, usually a smart person, with a fairly wicked sense of humor, a quick wit, and a willingness to face just about anything. All in all, she wasn't such a bad catch. So, she should just quit doubting herself, quit wondering when Dean was going to cut her loose and focus on being more productive. She wasn't such a terrible hunter either, just inexperienced. Besides, she was a quick learner. She'd figure it all out in no time with the Winchesters, maybe even manage to help them out. She'd figured all of that out. It had just taken a couple more days to get it to stick, but now…with Dean kissing her it was starting to seem even more like truth.
Dean was oblivious to Ty's thoughts as he kissed her. He was more concerned with the moment, with convincing her to stay with him, and ultimately, he was just enjoying the feeling of it.
The pair slowly pulled apart, Dean looking down at her expectantly.
"Okay, let's go find something bad to kill." Ty said, flashing him that wide smile he loved.
"Finally!" Dean exclaimed, happily grabbing her hand and pulling her towards the car.
Ty let herself be pulled for a moment, let her face show the way she felt inside. She was surprised at how honestly and simply happy she felt. Things weren't exactly perfect. In fact, everything was kind of insane, but she was content for maybe the first time in her life.
"Dean!" Ty finally stopped, pulling her hand free from Dean's, "I need my stuff!"
"Oh, yeah." Dean said, smiling sheepishly, "Hurry up."
Ty nodded and quickly ran back upstairs. Her stuff was actually still mostly packed, so it didn't take her long to gather everything she needed and run back downstairs. Dean was leaning against the bottom of the staircase, waiting for her.
"Those the boots that demon chick bought?" he asked, one eyebrow raised.
Ty paused, "Yeah. She may have been evil, but the boot's are kind of cool."
Dean look surprised for a moment before a thoughtful expression crossed his features. Ty rolled her eyes and moved past him to slide into the backseat of the Impala, tossing her bag down on the seat next to her. Dean joined them in the car and the trio was silent for a second as Dean put the keys in the ignition.
"I know you smell like vanilla." Sam snorted.
He'd tried not to eavesdrop, but it had proved impossible. Besides, he had to make sure his brother didn't go and do something stupid. Dean deserved to be happy even if he and Ty were the only ones who thought so.
Dean whipped around in his seat to punch his brother sharply in the arm while Ty unsuccessfully attempted to stifle a laugh. The engine revved a couple times before Dean steered the Impala back towards the road. He glanced back at Ty once in the rearview mirror before he leaned forward and turned the radio up. Yeah, this was right where she was supposed to be.