Don't like what you're kickin', son.

(Dean/ofc. Adult. Written with spnhetlove's 'then she appeared' challenge in mind. Spoliers upto 3:05.)

Dean meets God.

Sam wanders off to investigate the little stall they pass on the side of the road when they stop for gas at midday. Dean watches him amble off, walking in the leaf padded gutter, stretching his car cramped legs. He's back by the time Dean's gassed up and taken a leak, leaning against the passenger side and managing a smug smirk even with his scarecrow hair 'cause there's a bag of cherries cradled in his giant hand, a mini sack of treasure.

"What the hell're you smiling at," Dean grouches, shoving his hand in for some fruit. They look perfect; fat and round, red with juice and his mouth waters a little just from looking. "Y'know these're probably full of bugs or pesticides or somethin', right?" he warns, and shoves two in at once. They're seriously delicious like he knew they would be, bursting wet and gorgeous over his taste buds and easing up his hangover instantaneously; the insta-miracle cure and dammit, but guess who just knows it.

Sam 'mm-hmm's, spits out a pip and hands off the loot to Dean as he brushes past, deliberate rough knocking of shoulders and a victorious cat that got the canary glint in his eye 'cause he also knows Dean freakin' loves cherries, the asshole. Knows Dean can't resist and is probably gonna eat'em 'til he's saturated, ill with it.

"You need a haircut!" Dean calls, standard thanking procedure upon the receipt of such a precious gift. Sam gives him the finger; standard younger sibling's you're welcome, jerkoff.

Dean sits with the visor down to block out the sun, spitting seeds out the window, seeing if he can hit the curb, the patch of weeds with the single happy yellow Dandelion that's broken through a crack the tarmac, the crumpled Coke can that's rattling in the breeze. He doesn't even realize what's happening 'til his vision blanks like his brain's shorted out, he's choking on nothing instantly and just for split hair of time there's awful, ugly pain that starts in his knees and blooms upwards and outwards through his bone marrow, paralyzing.

And that's just it.

Something snaps, goes hurtling off out of his reach, gone forever, final and heavy like nothing he's ever felt or imagined he was he was capable of feeling. For a tiny non-existent sliver of a second it's unimaginable loss, so horrifying it crushes every single thing, but then it's release also, like being able to breathe in and in and in, so freeing it feels like his soul just exploded and blanketed the planet. It's both and neither at once. It's more.

But that's all there is.

Then there's nothing.


The house is ancient, it creaks when he walks and it bothers him 'cause he can't seem to learn it. It's random, has a mind of its own, some spots whine and groan one hour and not the next like it depends on the house's mood and it's a temperamental old thing. Of course it doesn't bother her. He thinks it's her house but he hasn't asked, still wary, and she told him he could re-decorate, chirped on about all kinds of shit while he was too preoccupied to pay attention, said she wasn't particularly attached to the colour of the walls as long as he didn't do anything to her bedroom.

She's crazy. He just wants to get out of there.

"Where's my brother?" he asks, probably the thousandth time and he's only been here for a day. Twenty four hours in which he got so panicked he vomited 'til there was nothing but adrenaline searing his pipes, ran from the front to the back of the place over and over like a crazed animal, tore at the wood paneling where the front door should be and kicked and punched and broke furniture against the unbreakable windows, teasing him with the lush greenery and the wide open outside.

Escape, right goddamn there, so close he can smell it through the glass.

She shakes her head, eyes down, up-rights a stool and settles a white tin box on it, little red cross flaking away. And then she backs away without saying anything. He's managed to scare the hell out of her by losing his shit completely for the duration of the night. It didn't help any 'cause she hasn't said a word since.

The hinges rattle when he opens the tin, old like everything else, but it's well stocked; painkillers and bandages, needles and threads. He patches up his shredded hands, finds a mirror and cleans up the cut he got all across his chin when a wooden chair leg snapped off and bounced back at him.

He sleeps eventually, on a bare mattress in one of the old bedrooms. He dreams about Sam driving the Impala onto a ferry, Dean waves his arms, signaling helplessly on the dock as they float further and further away, getting silhouetted by the sunset. They're trying to wave him over, send him messages and they look as sad to be drifting away as he is and it breaks his fucking heart that he left them, that he didn't even fight to stay, was too dumb to know what was going on so he just let it happen. It's all his fault he's stuck here without 'em.

He sits on the dock 'til it gets dark, watching the water change colour. Hoping they'll come back for him.


"Where are we?"

She ignores him, hums louder, kneading bread dough on the floury work top. It's everywhere, in her hair, white dusty hand prints all over the kitchen. Dean sighs and knocks his forehead against the door frame.

There's no way out, he can't get outside and he's just exhausting himself by trying over and over. He even tried to burn the place down but the wood wouldn't catch and the little fire he could get just kept puttering into non-existence, pathetic.

And she still won't even talk to him.

"How long have you been here?" he tries. She looks normal and he kinda hates it. Hates her normal jeans and her normal flour drenched apron. Normal goddamn ponytail that he wants to yank 'cause there's no way, no way in a trillion years that she's actually fucking normal.

"You finished tryin'a destroy the place now?" she mutters, white clouds erupting as she flips the dough over with a thud.

"Look," he starts, taking a step forward, "I just wanna get out of here, okay? I don't -"

"It's no good askin' me questions," she interrupts, peering over at him. She wipes powder off her nose onto her shoulder, goes back to shoving her fists into the soft mound. "I don't understand your questions. I never can. So you go around yellin' and breaking things all you want but I can't help you - you might as well of been screamin' gibberish at me all night..."

She looks at him again, sorry with her eyes this time, gentle faced, and it makes his throat constrict. "I can't help you," she says, and it sounds like an apology.

The bread ends up gummy, too doughy inside, it's still good and he eats it when she offers it, butter slathered on while it's still warm. It's still good but it's not right. Nothing works right. The shower dribbles, and it either scalds him or it's ice cold, there's no comfortable in-between. The air inside the house is stale, temperature too high but he ends up with goosebumps whenever he takes his over-shirt off. The chairs he broke fix themselves but they wobble when he sits on them and every table in the entire place tips minutely from side to side under the slightest pressure. There's a sharp spring in his mattress that pokes him in the spine or belly.

He never sleeps very well. Always dreams that he's sitting out on that damp wooden dock, waiting, watching things swim about under the black surface.


"I don't think you're supposed to be here," she says on the fifth day, and sits down next to him on the couch. It sags under even her slight weight and he topples into her, their shoulders colliding. He doesn't bother righting himself.

"Yeah, no shit." He rolls his eyes, slapping at the sole of his up-turned boot. There's a pebble or something in there, it's been driving him crazy for days but he can never find it when he goes searching for it.

"No, I mean... You're really not supposed to be here. Hey, look at me for a second-" When he turns his head she grabs him 'round his jaw and he watches her brows pull down in scrutiny as she looks over his face, stares into his eyes like there might be tiny signs in'em. "Breathe," she instructs, and then leans even closer when he does so she can sniff at his breath.

"Well you're not rotten, so you can't be headed down There," she says, frowning, a dramatic note on the end. She releases his face and her gaze sweeps over him everywhere else, assessing. It's a heavy thing, he can feel it like hot air blowing up his arms and down his neck and it would bother him if it wasn't the only thing he seems to have felt in a long time. It's only been a handful of days and it might as well have been forever already.

He senses a but heading his way so he gets in there first, "But?"

"But you are here, and that's probably a sign that you're not headed anywhere better," she informs.

He's not sure what he wants to make of that. She sits back, fiddles with the hem of her shirt, winding a loose thread around her fingertip 'til it turns purple.

"What's your name?" he asks, watching the blood rush back into her fingerprint. She tilts her head at him, raises one eyebrow and he's reminded again that she doesn't understand his damned questions.

"Tell me your name," he tries instead. That she gets, he can tell; the way her lips quirk, the way it crosses her expression. But she still doesn't tell him, she just shrugs, scoots away from him to perch at a politer distance, starts biting her thumb nail.

She's crazy. He wonders if he's gonna end up like her, the longer he's stuck here.


On the eighth day he can't find her anywhere and he rushes around the house, cracks into all the bedrooms, checks everywhere and then starts all over again, pulse pounding in his throat and tears stinging his eyes ridiculously.

He finds her on his fifth sweep through the kitchen, dragging grey sheets out of the washing machine and into the basket.

"Where were you?" he asks, high, adrenaline still racing, then remembers, tries to correct, "Did you go - where - tell me where you went! I was lookin' everywhere - "

She squints up at him from where she's crouching, looks at him with pity, like he's lost it; wipes it off her face quickly though, already learned him enough to know he won't like it.

"I was just hanging the laundry out," she says, soft, holding one hand up to placate. It makes his stomach twitch, guilty that she's still nervous of him. But then she points towards the back door.

A back door that he hasn't seen before 'cause it wasn't there before and it's open, wide open so he can see the green outside, the washed out sheets ballooning from the clothes line. He staggers towards it, through it, down the two stone steps and onto grass, spongy earth under his boots.

He breathes, tries to get his lungs full enough to burst but he can't taste anything fresh in the air. The green stretches out from under his feet in every direction, goes on and on, rolls over dips and hills that he can see forever, the sky one slab of marbley grey-blue that doesn't change, a lid on it all.

She nudges past him with her wide laundry basket and he watches for a second, stunned, as she puts it on the ground, drags a sheet upwards and shakes it out.

Then he starts running.

He runs and runs and runs, 'til his feet sting and his knees are jarred and his lungs are burning, heart racing like something skittish in his chest, like it's turned lunatic. He doesn't look back, he runs flat out for as long as he can, minutes bleeding into one another and he loses count in his head, numbers just fizzling into a frantic escape escape escape escape every time he tries to focus.

There's still nothing on the horizon when he has to slow and then eventually stop, bending at the waist and resting his hands on his knees, sucking in oxygen. He squints, looks for something, a change, a tree, a blip, anything.

There's nothing, just a carpet of more grass for as far as he can see, sky dim like it's gonna rain. He starts walking, stretching, preparing to run some more when he finally looks over his shoulder, curiosity getting the better of him.

"Fuck!" he yells. "No, no, nono -" he moans, dropping to his ass. The house is right there, not twenty feet away. She's looking over at him, startled to a pause in her meticulous laundry duties.

"You know you can't go anywhere," she tuts, disgusted, when she must realise what's going on. He can see it in her face; she thinks he's an idiot, a total slack-jawed no-thumbed numb-skull.

"You know what, whose fuckin' sheets are these anyway!" He's back to yelling as he scrambles up, tries to brush the damp off his ass. "Is this all you do? Stupid laundry?" He grabs the corner of one, shakes it at her. "You can't even get'em white, why the hell are you even here?" he sneers, and is horribly gratified when her face pinches up, little nose and eyebrows offended by him. Upset.

"Hey! Don't be an asshole, it's not my fault you're here. It's not my fault you don't know why!" she shoots back, and that's good, he likes that she's annoyed but it's gone too fast, replaced when she glances at the sheet billowing between them.

"I do my best," she says, running her fingers over the material. "I wash'em over and over but they never turn out good enough," she looks up at him then, hurt. "That's just the way things are. I wish you weren't here just as much as you do, okay? At least when nobody else was around there was no one to point out how shitty everything is all the time."

He thinks he should apologise, maybe, but he can't bring himself to.

"You know, you people wanted free will, you wanted to be in control of yourselves and the first thing you did when I let you have it? The very first thing you did with your world? You invented hell," she spits the word, chuckles sourly. "Invented a fuckin' hell for yourselves."

She picks up her brimming laundry basket, turns to regard him. "Morons," she laments, sniffs a laugh. "And there's nothing I can do about it now 'cause you have your free will and you don't want me anymore. So that's why I'm here, 'cause I love you and you're all just ruining everything and I'd rather not watch that, alright?"

Dean nods. Can't believe his eyes or his ears but he nods like he understands. Turns and wanders after she goes back inside, testing how far he can get.

He sits out on the steps 'til it's dark.


On the ninth day he sees a cow.

He's sitting out on the steps again, listening to her dither around inside; humming a constant tune, on a loop as she cleans the oven, waters the tomato plant on the window sill. He tips his head back to assess the sky (it hasn't changed) and when he rights it on his neck, there's a cow eating grass peacefully about fifteen yards to his left. He gets up, gets closer, barks out a laugh when it looks up and him, bored, then gets back to its lunch. When he reaches out to touch it he's trying not to grin like a lunatic, 'cause truth be told? This cow is the most entertaining thing he's seen for what feels like an age.

He yelps when his fingers get burned, jumps back and sucks them into his mouth.

"Don't touch it, stupid ass -" he hears her warn, high but muffled by the window, turns to see her appear in the doorway. "It's on fire! Why would you touch it?"

When he turns back he notices, sees the little blue and orange flames for himself, almost invisible, but there, flickering in a non-existent breeze. He backs away, fingertips throbbing, watches the cow move on, disturbed by their noise.

"Shouldn't we put it out," he wonders, running his hand under the tap in the kitchen, watching the cow through the window. She joins him at the sink, turns his hand over under the soothing trickle of cold water.

"What's the point," she says.

Dean sighs. She's right, what is the point? The cow's fine the way it is, apparently. Fine with the way things are here.

But he tries anyway, can't not, ten minutes later with a pan of water, more curious than anything else. When he tosses the water, the cow snuffs and snorts, swats in his general direction with aggravated swishes of its tail. The fire spreads back over the wet patch in no time at all.

Was worth a try though.

When Dean turns back to the house, she's smiling, shaking her head at him through the window. Fond.


On the twelfth day, they play Snakes and Ladders at the kitchen table.

"Maybe I'm here 'cause I had sex before marriage," Dean muses, and rolls the die in her direction. Gets a five, short of a ladder by one square, damn it.

"Nah," she dismisses, smirking, and rolls a two, has to slide down four rows on the back of a baby cobra. "Maybe you're here 'cause you were ashamed when you shouldn't have been."

And he pauses at that, feels his brows elevate. She sighs, scoots back and gets up.

"When you were fourteen you cut your eyelashes with a pair of nail scissors," she states, and reaches up for two glasses from the cabinet.

The memory pops up from a lake of murky dormant things, a balloon full of air breaking the surface, suddenly and awfully buoyant; there's himself, hovering in front of a cracked, warped motel bathroom mirror, cold sink edge gouging into his belly and his nose running salty over his lips 'cause he's trying like hell not to sniff or move or blink or stab himself right through the pupil. Little spikes of his eyelashes ended up everywhere, stuck to the porcelain with damp.

She hands him a glass of milk, shakes her head.

"You remember why you did it?"

And those memories creep slower, take a minute to fully formulate. Was a bad week, three separate occasions. Some fucking bimbo from his history class giggling with her jock friends and what they'd said hadn't bothered him -

Fuckin' fag. Think he wears makeup? Yeah. Seriously, what a freak, you hear what Stacey said about him?

It was old fiddle to him, barely caused him to raise a lazy middle finger in their direction. He'd forgotten about it less than ten minutes later. But then two days after that there'd been the couple who owned the grocery store, a little tougher to shrug off that time:

Lookit this one, Lynette. Think he's one of them rent boys like that crime show was talkin' about? He's got that look - Oh, Earl, he's just a boy, you're embarrassing him, is this all you want, honey? That'll be a straight five bucks - Nonsense, look at him, he knows what I'm talkin' about don't you, kid? Coming in here, fluttering them girly eyelashes like a goddamn beauty queen. They're all pretty boys, you seen'em on that show, Lynette. Wrigglin' they asses and preyin' on old drunken fools'at don't know any better, suckin' on old men like - Jesus Earl! You just ignore him, sweetie - That's right ain't it, kid? You wanna come over here and suck my pecker, don'tcha? Lickin' yer lips like that, I know your game.

And Dean'd finally re-tracked his voice, managed a disgusted "What the fuck?" before he'd gotten the hell outta there.

See, Lyn, they don't like it when you expose'em for what they are, little con artists. Little boy-whores. Hey, don't lemme catch you around here again, kid!

And neither of those had been so bad. Not really. But then there'd been his dad at the weekend, a tad tipsy after a hunt gone good and a successful hustle. He'd reached over and patted Sammy's sleeping head, waved Dean into the drivers seat and handed him the keys. Dean'd been conscious of his dad staring at him the whole drive back to their motel, figured he was being assessed on his steering skills up until Dad'd grabbed his wrist, slapped his cheek gently, affectionate like he never was, said, You got your mom's eyes, Dean. 's why people're always gawkin' at you the way they do.

"Oh, Dean Winchester," she interrupts, holding up one hand and wincing slightly like she can't take anymore, like his thoughts are mega-phone loud and intrusive to her eardrums and shit, it's not like he wanted to remember or asked her to listen in. She's the one who brought it up in the fuckin' first place.

He scowls at her, picks up his milk and rolls a two. A nowhere move.

"You misunderstood him," she says 'round a mouthful of bread crust.

She beats him three games outta five at Snakes and Ladders.


On the fourteenth day, she walks in on him in the bathroom. He's looking for stubble in the mirror, (he should have a goddamn beard by now, he definitely feels grizzly as hell) about to get in the shower and she stumbles in, bleary eyes, hair askew. She has her top half off, one arm still through an over-sized sleeve when she realizes he's there and stops dead.

He catches a glimpse of black at her middle, out of place here, something intriguing and lacy lookin' inked into her skin but then she's gone. It's fast, just a glance, but it's enough, it opens a window, lets a draft in that stirs embers in his belly, a burn that's always there and always welcome, a thing that's been weirdly suffering his neglect 'til now.

He tut-tuts at his reflection, smirking, 'cause it's just so unlike him to forget to sniff out the good in a screwed up situation like this. He should remedy that, ay-sap.

So on the fourteenth night, he walks in on her in her bedroom.

Her bed's softer than his, it has sheets and pillows and she's wary, he'd guess shy but she kisses him back like she's been waiting years for it, lets his hands wander and feel and squeeze wherever they like, plundering what she's got clumsily and hurried, a little drunk on the pleasing familiarity of another warm pliant body to play with. She wriggles out of his grasp whenever he makes a serious attempt to push her top up and get it off though, and eventually distracts him by getting on her knees and pushing between his.

She takes her time, unlike him. Unlaces his boots and removes'em, runs her hands up his shins under his jeans, massages back down his calves and into his socks, firm, humming that thing she's always humming to ease the tense quiet. It works, and she grins at him when he jerks, tickled suddenly by her fingernails scoring gently along the bare soles of his feet. He grins back before he eases down and lets his elbows brace him on the mattress, appreciating the slow build. Always did prefer it that way if he had the time.

She pauses to let her hair down before she sucks his cock, like she knows he's gonna wanna tangle his hands in it. It's real slow to start out, long licks and sloppy kisses 'til he's more than ready; leaking on her lips and grinding his ass into the give of the mattress to stop his hips from stuttering, trying to hold together his patience while she tastes at him like he's something unusual, something worth savoring.

But she lets him force his way deep eventually, just like he wants, iron-hot soft throat clenching and swallowing around his dick as she strains not cough him out. She holds him around the base lets her nails scratch through his hair, lets it get messy-wet and lets her fingers drift lower while she sucks up and down, slick little hoover on repeat, fucking him with her mouth, and it's enough. It's more than enough.

He falls asleep right after. Sleeps pretty good in her bed, dreamless for once.

The toilet flushing wakes him up in the night and he squirms all the way out of his jeans, yanks his shirt off lazily and settles back in, cooler and more comfortable.

"Why do you really think you're here?" she whispers when she's climbed back into bed, smoothed down the gap between them. "You think you did things that were so bad?"

He's too tired for it. "Dunno," he mutters. Never was one for thinking much about that shit. He did what he needed to, good, bad and ugly all got to be the same thing after a while. Breaking the law was always something reassuringly unchangeable, like the car, like the monsters. A requirement.

"I think -" she drops her voice to something he has to strain to hear, "I think maybe you're here because of that - that thing you did..."

He shifts onto his side, lets his eyes adjust so he can see her. "What thing?" She's definitely gonna have to narrow it down.

"The pool hall in Newcastle, and the - that time under the bridge in Swan Hill - "

He freezes, feels his heart flap behind his ribs and a clammy sweat break out along the back of his neck but she just keeps on talking, oblivious.

"-And that time in Clifton when your dad was missing... You were too young for that. I don't think there's ever a good age for that, but you thought - you thought you had to, you didn't -"

"Shut up," he manages, but she keeps on talking right over him.

"You did it 'cause you thought you had to, but you knew. You knew it was wrong, that's why you didn't tell anyone -"

He's up, wrestling his jeans on, when she lays a hand on his shoulder. Her thumb brushes up the back of his neck and it's warm, radiates heat through him; across his collar bones and down his chest, absorbs into his belly like relief for an instant, something syrup-cozy that catches in his senses and smells like home, just for a second, it's heaven. Perfect. It's like forgiveness and he wishes he could drown in it.

He lets her pull him back down, lets her tuck the sheets back around him, cocoon him in and jostle down next to him.

"I wasn't that young," he starts, throat tight and aching 'round the words. He swallows the saliva in his mouth, trying to soothe. "And it didn't - I mean, we needed - and it didn't -" But he gives up on trying for anymore, any explanation. Yeah he knew. Knew anything that made him so ashamed had to be wrong. Wrong enough and bad enough never to tell anyone about.

But it's not like it's serious, it didn't fuck him up any more than he was headed for anyway.

He sleeps pretty good, in her bed. Knows he dreamt of Sam 'cause he wakes up with a wet face and clogged sinuses. He remembers some of it; the dock and the water, it was choppy, stormy, and the ferry was back waiting for him this time... But it was too far away.


On the fifteenth morning he wakes up as the little spoon and it's good. She must have finally taken her shirt off 'cause he can feel her tits, excellent bare skin on skin, plastered to his back. She already has her fingers 'round his cock, a hot loose wrap, thumb teasing 'cause there's all the time in the world. He lets a slow hand drift down to feel over hers, basks in it all a little.

"You were talking in your sleep," she mumbles to his spine, loaded.

"So?" he blurts, pulls on her hand and blankets it with his own 'til she's gripping him snugly, adequately.

"You were dreaming about your brother," she whispers, "and I... I figured out why you're here... I think it must have been him. He sent you."

He hums, interested but not nearly awake enough for it, falls back to sleep accidentally with the buzz of unfinished business thrumming a bass string down his spine, has dreams about sex, familiar yet unclear scenarios that he doesn't know anything about. He wakes up sweaty and unsatisfied, lets his arm sweep out across the mattress like a feeler and finds himself alone.

Smiles to himself when he hears the dull splatter of water in the tub through the walls.

He has to pin her to the tiles to keep her still so he can get a good inspection of the ink work. It goes all the way around, a rope around the narrowest place at her waist. It's only fair, if he's got no secrets here then she shouldn't be allowed any either and she goes crimson, struggles to cover up and get away while he looks, gives up the fight when he bends to feed himself one of her nipples, melts into something willing when he takes her hand, presses it to himself to show her how hard he is.

The fucking starts right there in the shower, her hooked around him awkwardly, shoulder blades slipping roughly on the tiles, hissing when he loses purchase on her weight for a second and it forces him deeper than's strictly healthy, chuckling into each other's necks when she arches too far, shifts and pushes him out. It's a collection of clumsy bumps and fragile grips and it's fun for a little while, the wet sliding, the stretching burning exploring of new territory, but it's not gonna cut it.

She pushes at him eventually, unlatches and drops her feet and he stumbles, has to let her down. He dips his fingers between her legs while she's trying to rinse out her hair, relishes the way she feels; hot and slippery, open from his cock already, burning up. Laughs against her shoulder when she groans and gathers her thighs shut around his hand, plucks it away from herself.

He feels like he spends the entire day hard.

"Turn over," he pants and she pauses, just looks at him like she's trying to figure somethin' out. He back off, gives room, clasps her hips to help. "Turn over, wannit like this," he tells her and she blinks at him twice, then starts to move, agreeable. Easy under his hands, malleable 'til he's got her in the right position. Exactly the way he wants her with her knees braced wide, pulls her back 'til his cock bumps, slicks, testing the mechanics of it.

Thinks she might chuckle at his methodicalness but he's too busy, too distracted to be sure. He feels a little spoilt for choice, spreads her open with his hands and looks, listens to her whine and try to squirm out of his grip. Wants to stick his tongue in so bad, see if she tastes as good as she looks, wants to know what it's like on his taste-buds; how red hot and bitter he's gotten her already. He tells her so, whispers it into one of the dimples above her ass and watches her ripple, clench in front of his eyes and it's too much of an invitation for him to hold off any longer.

He pushes in slow, through the cooking, static shock way her muscles grab around him. Groans at how it looks, how she can almost take all of him from that angle. Fucks her meanly, takes a fistful of her hair so he can get a look at her face, digs his fingers into her shoulder and pulls her back onto his dick over and over 'til she gives in, begs with her face and her nails denting the pillow.

He licks his thumb, filthy, drags it up through her ass crack and makes her jump, one last tease, all he can stand before he reaches under, barely has to touch her clit and she sparks, shrinks around him impossibly, pussy pleading and squeezing and the sound she makes is every kind of porn he's ever indulged in. He follows after, helpless, comes like a freight train.

It wipes them both out for some time and he plays around in the mess he's made, she makes lazy attempts at slapping his hand away, ends up holding onto his forearm like her existence depends on it when he dips two fingers back inside, rubs and twists'em in the slimy snug heat, lets the cushiony palm of his hand slip around on the outside. Brings her off again slow, like a kettle boiling, watches it all, his shiny knuckles in her raw cunt, her thighs clamping, her grabbing at her own tits and her bottom lip turning white.

Thinks to himself that it's like keeping the motor running. Better off if he just doesn't let her cool down at all.

They doze and drift in between, and she talks about him, knows everything he's ever done: you saved a kitten from a rooftop when you were nineteen, late for your date but you made Sigourney Premier's month. She still has that cat, y'know? She still thinks about you sometimes.

But wonders about why he did some of it, tries to quiz him about what his motivations were for his after-actions: You made that girl so happy. How come you never told anyone?

He doesn't have any answers for her and conversation fizzles out pretty quick, replaced with napping, with tickling, cold toes nipping the hair on his calf and a heavy sigh signaling that she's about to get up.

"Mmmn, don't. Don't. I have things to do," she moans, trying to roll away. Dean traps her easily, one arm barring her freedom and he worms a knee back between her legs for good measure too. Pinning her under him.

"Fuck it," he suggests, and nips along the curve of her shoulder, down across collar bone 'til his nose is all but buried in her armpit, nuzzles up the side of her breast and deems his mission accomplished when she puffs out a laugh, starts scratching gently over his scalp, encouraging.

"Oh, just let it rain, huh? You know what happened last time I did that?" she complains, but she's bluffing, opening up for him, letting him burrow back into her ready body even as she puts up the last token verbal protest. He grins against her throat, enjoys the bolt of delicious heat that slinks down his spine and flourishes through his hips and groin when he presses himself in as far as her body'll let him, 'til he's flat on top of her, sticky sucking skin on skin and she hisses, whispers, 'ouch,' in his ear 'cause he's not careful and he's been fucking her for hours already by inches and creases salty and achey and hungry and he's still got room for a little more. Impressing even himself.


That night on the dock it's windy, gale force, the water spray hits him like glass sheets shattering, ice cold. He can't see a fucking thing but he knows the ferry's out there somewhere, past all the buzzing and anger of the weather.

"Your brother's a smart guy," she yells, on his right and it shocks the shit out of him. "Sending you here. The one who wanted you? He wants your brother really. Most of all. Figured if he could collect your soul then he might as well have Sam's onside too."

"What're you talkin' about?" he shouts, and she glances at him. She looks more impressive out here than inside the house, stronger.

"He'd be right, too. If he'd gotten you, Sam would've yielded. Sam would kneel to him for you and you'd hate that, you'd regret everything but there'd be nothing you could do about it... It was smart plan," she muses, ignoring him, and he finally gets the gist of what she's saying.

"Yeah well, Sammy's smarter," he defends, true, and when she looks at him this time it feels like a reward.

"He wants you back. Sam, I mean. This is his last chance 'cause you're dead y'know, Dean?" And she waits for him to nod, yeah, he'd kinda put two and two together on that one. "And your dead body won't last forever," she says, coming in crystal clear over the ruckus, the waves and the whistling and the precarious old wood underfoot groaning and shaking its disapproval.

"I... I wanna go back," Dean says, cautious.

"I knew you would" she says, and shakes her head. "But you might not make it. The weather's awful up here tonight," and she leans in close, whispers, "And there're monsters in there just waiting to drag you under."

He squints down at the surface, tar black and swirling and giving away nothing. Wonders why he's never thought of it before, jumping in. Going to them if they can't come to him. Christ, he's an idiot.

"Are you sure you wanna go back to all that?" she wonders, and slips her hand into his, warm and dry, steps up near the edge with him. The wind slaps his face, sways them, there's so much mist he can't even see the water anymore. "It'll hurt, Dean, there'll be doubts. You can just stay here if you like."

He listens carefully, feels his neck burn, his cheeks blaze when he hesitates, punch to the throat kind of embarrassing that he's even considering staying here with her

"I can't," he says. "He's m'brother." And she smiles at him, takes a step back. "I gotta go," he says, and jumps.


"Dean! Dean? Dean, you with me, man? Hey, please. Please -"

That's Sam. Oh Jesus, it's fucking Sam - no one else has ever said his name quite like that. Love and desperation and anger, kindness and understanding and you and please all colliding in that one word and shit, he's missed it. He's missed it so much.

Overwhelming relief explodes through his chest but it's dampened instantly, 'cause there's always been more jealousy than he'd like to admit, more of a bitter taste left in his mouth than he'd like to think about and he's still fucking terrified, clogged with water. He feels like his bones are swelling, like they're made of sponge and they'll never work right again.

He's drowning in it, the too much of it and it's damaging him beyond fixable measures and it hurts and god no. No. He doesn't want it, doesn't want the clean sharp panic enough and he can't fucking bear it.

Coming alive. Thought it was what he wanted but it hurts so much, unfair and unholy. It hurts worse than anything he's ever known, worse than five thousand volts shocking through every single nerve in each one of his teeth, worse than burning fire poker singing into his muscle, worse than a reaper smothering and squeezing his heart with an ice fist. It's worse than dying. It's unnatural upside down burning violation, wrong on a level he can't even begin to understand without longing to claw his own throat out first. Doesn't want it and doesn't need it and he knows it's not too late to go back. She'd let him back.

But; Sam.

So Dean breathes, sucks in air.

Cold air, fuck it's cold 'cause they're outside, on... a beach? A cold beach 'cause his tears scorch his eyes, burn trails down his cheeks but Sam's warm behind him, solid and substantial, radiating relieving hand-prints on his sternum, his neck, still cupping his pulse, arms around him tight.

"Dean, talk to me - hey, hey man, it's me. I gotcha. Dean?" Sam rushes, kissing the words back into the skin at Dean's temple, rocking them both a little.

"Yeah," Dean croaks, pats automatically at Sam's hand. "Yeah, I hear ya, Sammy."

He gets a sob for his trouble, snotty and warm right into the back of his neck and a hard, long squeeze, before Sam de-tangles himself to fetch a blanket from a pile of stuff a few feet away, stuff outside of the goofa dust circle they appear to be neatly inside. Dean watches a candle blow out in the breeze, lets Sam envelope him in heat. God, Sam.


Dean fills himself with the stinging fresh air, can hear waves breaking somewhere nearby. The pain's receded, rushed back out like a tide when he made his decision to live but it leaves streaks all over him, hauntings of hurt that're gonna stay, unfortunate and permanent fixtures, medals to remind him. He breathes again and wonders if it's gonna ache everytime he does it from now on, wonders whether he'll get used to it.

"Sam," he says.

Sam nods, wipes at his face with his sleeves. Nods. Knows. Says, "Lets get you to the car, man."


"So. What'd you do?"

The sun's up by the time they get back, lighting Sam up in stripes as he paces, wearing a strip in an arch around where Dean's sitting, thumb stuck between his teeth. "Sam -"

"What do you remember?" Sam asks suddenly, dragging a poor wooden chair away from the table, sealing his ass to it. Hasn't moved more'n six feet away since they got back to the room.

"I asked first," Dean complains, trying to think, but there isn't anything missing. He was in the car, waiting for Sam to finish up in the men's room at the gas station, then he woke up there, in that house. And she was there... and it's been weeks and weeks and fucking weeks, a lifetimes worth.

"We were at the gas station, " he starts, arranging things out loud, "and then... I was, uh..." in a big house with some crazy chick who I'm pretty positive was the All Mighty and I was freaking the hell out 'cause you were gone and it wasn't heaven or hell but you weren't there and it scared the fucking shit outta me 'cause it nothing was right.

"I came back from the restroom and you were dead," Sam says, grabbing Dean's attention like a gunshot. "Just... right there in the driver's seat, man. Cold and pale and... gone. A month early."

"Jesus, Sam," Dean manages. But they should have been expecting it to go down like that, Dean did make a deal with a fucking demon, after all, it's not like they have to respect the rules or even keep rules. He's lucky he didn't start dying of something slow and painful the day after he made the goddamned deal.

"I used a spell... to hide you. I was - I figured I'd be able to find you again, just... anything was better than letting her have you, Dean, I couldn't -"

"You know better than to fuck around with that kinda shit, Sam. You didn't even know what the fuck you were doing, did you?" He's not angry, not really. Tired, mostly. Still too relived and grateful to be anything else right now. "How long was I -"

"Three days," Sam supplies, getting up to search a pocket in one of the duffels. Dean's. "Four nights, if you include last night."

"Christ, it felt like a forever," Dean mutters, rubbing at his sandpaper chin.

"You remember? Like, where you were? I didn't think -"

"Yeah," Dean says, distracted when Sam deposits his amulet and ring in his hand, both of them skin-warm on the leather cord.

"But you weren't in hell," Sam says, sure, of course he' sure, but it's still a question. Dean looks up, watches his face, remembers it; can't imagine ever forgetting his brother. Shakes his head when Sam's eyebrows twitch and give away his anticipation, always was kind of a shitty poker player.

"No," Dean agrees, "I wasn't in hell."


He doesn't sleep. He lays in the bed, and it's a good bed; soft and comfortable, no fuckin' ninja springs. He just can't sleep. Listens to Sam dither around, listens to him make calls just outside the door, quiet and tired. He flicks through the meager channels, finds the news hasn't changed all that much. He hasn't missed a lot. The world carried on without him and he's having trouble translating his thoughts and keeping'em in order, they spill around everywhere and make him nauseous like his brain's turned to water.

Floods in Mexico catch and hold his attention for a minute. Government reaction, pre emptive, successful. Rained, 'til the river banks burst and he's heard enough, thanks, switches over to mindless sports, quickly and guiltily.

Takes a shower, perfect temperature that makes up for the non existent pressure. Tries to sleep again.

Sam gets up to take a piss at around ten, washes his face then stands in the bathroom doorway staring and dripping 'til Dean sits up, gives up faking.

"You didn't sleep any?" Sam asks, concerned the way Dean despises. It physically hurts his eardrums to hear Sam's voice pitched that way and directed at him, that frightened-victim-can-you-tell- us-what-happened-ma'am? way. Dean stares back, telegraphing his annoyance with what he knows is an unfair dirty look.

Sam rolls his eyes. "You hungry then? That burger place you drag me to every time we pass through this town is right down the street."

Dean could definitely eat and the grin that opens in Sam's face when Dean tells him so is worth the headache the sunlight awards him when they step outside in search of lunchtime breakfast burgers.

Their waitress looks around nineteen and her name-tag says 'Pan', she tongues her bottom lip every time she looks at Sam, bites her pen cap when Dean looks at her and laughs out loud when she comes over to collect their plates and instead of asking for the cheque they both just order the same again, please. She has a nipple ring, Dean can see it through her white blouse and knows Sam's noticed too 'cause the kid can't stop blushing.

In the booth across from them there's a guy who looks like he just came in off a construction yard, concrete dust and paint and sand, battered yellow hard-hat on the table top. He's helping the little girl on his lap colour their place mat. Totally immersed in what they're doing, humming and nodding along with the tale she's telling of the time last week when Angela Sherman let the class guinea pig escape and Miss Hoover screamed like Grandma's old kettle when it ran under her desk.

Everyday shit, pieces of things he's used to looking at; crowds and noise and chaos. Life, and Dean feels the smile tugging on his face, glances at Sam and watches him frown in distaste at something in the paper.

He sips his coffee, tries to think of something to say about everything that won't make him wanna bite his tongue off ten seconds after, but it turns out he doesn't have to. Sam pushes the paper towards him, dances a finger over one article.

"Think that might be something worth checkin' out, not far from here... I mean, if you're upto it."

Dean scans it, broken water pipes, scalding, infant, near miss, new housing development, lawyer's field day.

"Poltergeist?" he hypothesizes.

"'s what I was thinking," Sam concurs, and eases back into his seat, arms folded. Determined in that way that never bodes well for Dean.

And just what the hell? Dean's pretty sure there're bigger fish to fry out there right now. There're still asshole demons traipsing around and he knows what this is, Sam and his goddamn reasoning. Dealing, and he doesn't even know he's doing it. Been a fuckin' law student since he was knee-high and Dean rolls his eyes.

"Fine," he concedes. Pretends not to notice the self-satisfied twitch of Sam's mouth.

The cherry stall's closed, all boarded up with ply wood when they pass it on the way out of town.