The Story So Far...

This is a follow up to my previous story The Crying Game, which I am glad a lot of you liked. You would need to read that to get the plot of this one. You seemed to especially enjoy the ending which saw Dean's softer side, so I decided to explore this further.

It's inspired by the song 'Pain' by Three Days Grace which I was listening to when I thought it up.

It's about Dean dealing with the loss of his wife. Going to bury her in Wyoming he hits the bottle and starts to remember the good times. It's full of angst but also tonnes of humour as we get to see how it feels for a Winchester to need a woman.

There is some language and some sexual reference but it's pretty tame. If you love Dean,I promise you'll like it!

There will be more to it but I'd like to know what you think...Enjoy!

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Pain, without love,

Pain, I can't get enough

Pain, I like it rough,

Cos I'd rather feel pain than nothing at all

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Two and a half years ago.

Dean nursed the bottle of beer in his hands and leisurely took a look around the bar.

Rough crowd

Bikers mainly but some blue collar types dotted around here and there. The only women present were the type that would require a lot more than beer to get a second glance.

Crapsville.

Here he was again in the middle of nowhere, same crap, different town. What the hell?

"Can I get one more?" Dean asked raising the bottle.

"Sure thing." Came the gruff reply.

Jeez, would it have killed them to put a bit of talent behind the bar? something to distract from the smell of gun oil, beer and sweat?

Sighing he threw a note onto the bar and turned on his stool so he could scan the whole room. Tough crowd, but no Hunters, he'd bet his life on it. Taking a swig from his beer he was mid gulp when the door swung open.

His breath caught as a woman paused in the entrance, made a quick scan of the room and shrugging decided to come in anyway, like she needed a drink more than she needed a clean place to sit.

The bottle slipped from his lips and beer escaped onto his lap. Fumbling, he patted his jeans dry with his shirt cuff.

Apparently he wasn't the only one who'd noticed the entrance. Every eye turned to her, the men were open in their admiration, the women were already cutting their losses mentally.

Christ, he couldn't take his eyes off her. Someone wolf whistled as she sauntered toward the bar.

She was a looker alright and she was using it to her advantage. She was wearing a typical Midwest roadhouse uniform of jeans, biker boots and t-shirt but covering her body it may as well have been lingerie and a sign saying 'screw me'. The tight white t-shirt had been knotted just under her breasts to reveal a tattoo below her navel.

God I love tattoos

Following her progress toward the bar along with everyone else, he noted how she flicked her waist length brown hair over her shoulder and licked her lips. He couldn't tear his eyes away from her. He twisted in his seat as she made her way to the bar.

She put a hand in her pocket and pulled out a ten dollar bill slipping it onto the bar in front of the man mountain who tended it.

"Beer please and change for the jukebox."

The bartender opened a bottle and placed it in front of her like he was suddenly working in the Ritz and went to give her change. Instead of dropping it unceremoniously onto the counter like he had for Dean, he placed it in her open palm and smiled.

She raised the bottle to her full parted lips and leaned back to take a swig. He could almost hear the red necks at the pool table gulping from where he sat across the room.

She took the bottle from her mouth and sighed, winking at the barman "I needed that."

Cupping the loose change in her hand she made her way to the jukebox and Dean couldn't help but watch her every move. She definately had confidence he had to give her that. She leaned into the jukebox with one hip jutted out at an angle and Dean shifted uncomfortably in his seat. If he wasn't careful he was going to embarrass himself he thought pulling his shirt further over his lap.

The money went into the juke box and he could hear the whir as the machine collected her selection.

Ok, this is the clincher. If she puts on Celine Dion, I may get some sleep tonight.

Walking back to the bar she took a stool a few along from his and smiled to herself as the opening bars of 'Pour Some Sugar On Me' by Def Lepard blasted through the air.

Oh man, what is she doing to me?!!

Dean groaned and hung his head.

Casting her a sideways glance he could see one of the bikers approach the girl encouraged by his buddies.

The guy was huge and covered in Harley tattoos. Wearing a leather waistcoat and with a mullet that looked like he could be a roadie for Motley Crue in the early days he wasn't exactly George Clooney.

Dude, you better have a dick that sings Christmas Carols and takes out the garbage if you think you're in with a chance!

Dean sat looking into his beer but kept an eye and ear on what was going on.

"Let me get your next drink." The roadie said to the hottie.

Smooth!

The Brunette looked up at the biker. All green eyes and innocence."Sure, why not? Do I get to play with you as well?" She gestured over her shoulder at the pool table.

"Hey babe whatever you want."

"Let's go, maybe you can teach me some tricks."

She was so seductive that Dean thought any red blooded male would have happily chewed off his own arm if she'd asked him to.

She went over to the pool table with the mullet-headed freak and he set up a new rack.

Dean was officially having a moment and would have given anything to have gotten back in the Impala and driven back to his motel room but he knew that was no longer an option.

"Hey, I'll take another." He said to the barman.

"Yeah? Think you're in with a shot?" His eyes indicated that he was talking about the new arrival.

Dean shrugged and raised his eyebrows in a 'yeah maybe' gesture.

The barman smirked and pushed another bottle in front of him.

Turning around again to face the pool table Dean was further impressed when Wind of Change came on over the speaker.

Ah, gotta love the Scorpions

The brunette was bending over the table taking a shot, her ass wiggling much to the amusement of her new friend. She potted the white and shrugged in a girly way. The guys all laughed. The biker patted her on the ass which pissed Dean off. "Don't worry sugar, it happens."

Dean watched as she tried valiantly but failed to win the game.

The guys were loving it.

"C'mon, gimme another chance." She pleaded. "I can't suck that bad."

The biker laughed "Sure thing. Rack 'em up boys."

The next rack went up and he saw her put her hand in her pocket. Pulling out some notes she placed them on the table. The men looked at her, amusement flashing in their eyes.

"C'mon boys, pony up, you know it ain't interesting until someone loses their shirt."

Christ the woman had a pair of balls on her the size of watermelons

Smirking, the biker put a wad of notes on the table and nodded at his pals who swiftly followed.

What the hell? That must be like 500 bucks

In a desperate attempt to appear chivalrous the biker allowed the woman to make the break. As she leaned over the table once more shaking that ass her onlookers barely noticed that she made three pockets with the first shot.

Laughing to himself Dean drained his beer and ordered another.

Moving around the table with a mixture of grace and nonchalance the woman rapidly cleared the table to the astonishment of her companions.

"What the...?" The biker was stunned as she straightened up from the last shot and leaned on her cue.

"Beginners luck?" She shrugged.

"Hell no." He was incredulous, suddenly not so smug "We play again and this time I break."

"Double or nothing?"

Narrowing his eyes the biker gestured to one of his buddies and the money went down.

Man, don't you know when you're getting hustled?

The biker was no longer joking and broke the next set sending an almighty crack through the room. The girl stood watching casually.

Finally the guys luck ran out and it was her turn.

Dean felt the beer hit his system and putting down his empty bottle he regretfully retreated to the john.

Feeling refreshed he came back out through the swing doors just moments later and he was hit by a palpable air of tension. Automatically he was on full alert and his eyes snapped to the pool table where he saw that things had gotten nasty.

"I won it fair and square, you don't like it Jackass then bite me."

Shit, this can't be good

"I ain't getting hustled by some two bit whore!" The biker was squaring up to the woman. He towered over her but she didn't back down.

Dean paused, wondering how soon he would need to get involved. There were six of the guys and a room full of red necks.

I'm good but...

"Honey you could get hustled by a retarded Albanian chicken farmer."

...Oh yeah, that'll do it

Furious the biker took a swing but too much beer and a life spent sitting on his hog made him slow and the woman easily ducked the blow. With lightening speed she swung the cue up and with an audible crunch broke his nose.

Awwwww shit!

One of the other guys grabbed her by the throat and threw her against the wall.

Before Dean could react he heard a strangled cry "Dean...a little help?"

Women!

With a roar he ran across the room grabbing an empty beer bottle along the way and vaulted over the barrier separating the pool table from the rest of the bar.

He took out the first guy he came to with the bottle but another was soon there to grab him by the shoulders. Spinning around he took a punch to the jaw but recovering quickly he countered with an uppercut making the second broken nose of the evening.

Three down, three to go.

He glanced up and saw that the hustler was holding her own. She had her guy by the hair and on his knees.

Ok, maybe only two

The next to come along was agile but not fast enough for Dean and he was going to have a hell of a headache the next day after Dean delivered a headbut and sent him crashing to the ground.

Holding his head Dean yelped.

Hell what's a few more brain cells?

There was just one more left but when he turned around still holding his head he saw that the last member of Motley Crue had hit the deck and had a very small foot where his windpipe should be.

There seemed to be bodies everywhere and the rest of the bar didn't seem to be taking too kindly to the two of them. When the bartender came toward them with a shotgun Dean thought it may be a good time to get the hell out of there. He obviously wasn't the only one. Grabbing his hand the girl started running.

In the parking lot they ran toward the Impala and she instinctively jumped into the passenger side.

Gunning the engine he pulled away from the bar at a screech as the barman discharged his shotgun into their tails.

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Present Day

Feeling the cell phone vibrate against his thigh he didn't have to check the display to know who it was.

Reaching into the pocket of his muddy jeans he retrieved the phone and flipped it open wordlessly.

"Dean? You there?"

"Yeah, I'm here Sammy."

He heard a relieved sigh on the line and felt bad. "I've been trying to reach you all day man. How are you?"

Taking the bottle of tequila that had been resting next to him he took a swig.

"I'm fine Sam."

"Where are you? You shouldn't be on your own."

"Sam, you gotta rest up. Don't worry about me, I'll be ok."

"You're not ok Dean, you need me. I'm coming to get you, just tell me where you are."

"Sammy no!" he almost shouted feeling bad instantly. "You've been stabbed and shot. You gotta take it easy."

"Screw that Dean, you're my brother. How would you feel? How did you feel when it was Jess and me? I need to come get you."

Taking another swig from the bottle Dean's eyes moved to the fresh grave in front of him. "I know you do Sammy but I need to be alone, just gimme three days, that's all I'm asking. Bobby's friend says you're doing ok, that you'll be better by then. Just three days and I'll come get you."

"Dean? Are you drunk?"

Taking another shot he couldn't help but laugh to himself when he thought about Sam's concern for his liver.

"Three days is all I'm asking Dude, call me if you need something but all I'm asking for is three days."

He heard Sam huff. "Ok, well you know where I am. And Dean?"

"Yeah."

"Please, I've been there. You're not to blame. It's not your fault ok?"

"I know that Sammy, but thanks. Look, I gotta go. I'll see you soon."

"Yeah, I guess."

He flipped the phone shut and stood up from the wet ground that he was sat on heedless of the cold in his bones. It was already daytime and he hadn't slept or eaten in days and he didn't need to.

Walking over to the grave he thought of Holly in the ground all alone and he felt his heart breaking all over again. Sam was hurt and Holly was dead and all because of some madman. The injustice of it made him seethe and he could feel the anger pour through his veins as though it were a physical part of him.

How had Sam ever dealt with this, how had Dad?

The pain was worse than any physical injury and he felt sick with guilt. All he had to do was protect her and he couldn't even manage that. She was alone most of her life with no family but him and he'd let her down. It had been a responsibility he hadn't taken lightly, joining his life with hers.He knew he underestimated her like most men did but he couldn't help wanting to look out for her and to make up for the times in her childhood when she was all alone and scared. Fact was, he'd never admitted it to her when she was alive but she'd gotten him out of more scrapes than he could remember. She'd patched him up, saved his life and although she never judged him, she kicked his ass on a daily basis with her put downs. Shit she was fun to be around,

He had been remembering that time in the biker bar when they'd gotten into the brawl. Christ, she'd blown him away. She'd faced up to six huge men without a thought, but then why would she worry when she had him looking out for her at the bar? He could still remember the bet. He didn't think she could hustle and it was like red rag to a bull. Determined to prove him wrong she'd made his life hell til he'd driven her to that goddamn bar and dropped her off in the parking lot.

He'd been so damn smug. He was the King of the hustle. Poker, darts, pool, you name it. He'd kept them both in money for months.

So they stayed in cheap motels and ate crap? He was providing like any husband would.

Hey, a woman thinks she can do better? He'd not been convinced but she'd gotten more money in two hours than he could in two weeks.

"I guess you proved me wrong didn't you Holly?"

Taking one last look at the grave he had just dug he poured the rest of the tequila into the ground, grabbed his jacket and walked away.

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"Where you going Dean?" asked Holly sitting up in bed.

"I got a tip on that girl. I found out where she worked. Some bar downtown, I'm gonna go and check it out, find out if any of her work collegues noticed anything weird about her."

"Like?"

"Oh spewing pea soup and masturbating with a crucifix, the usual." He grinned taking time out from holstering up to sit back down on the bed next to her. Taking her in his arms he kissed her.

"Hmmm, the smell of cordite always did turn me on." She laughed.

"You're one twisted woman, you know that?"

"And that's exactly why you love me."

"Whatever," But he kissed her again.

She wrapped her arms around his neck. "I could use a drink. Want some company?"

He squinted his eyes thoughtfully. He hated Holly coming with him when he was hunting but she'd been without a good serial case in a while and he could tell that she was itching to get back in the game. Hell, he was only going to a bar, what could possibly happen?

"Sure, but you're buying." He said kissing her again.

"You're such a tightass." She grinned kicking the sheets off and jumping out of bed.

It didn't take her long to get ready, especially when it was almost one in the morning and that's one of the things that he loved about her, he couldn't bear a woman that took hours to get ready, life's too short.

Within minutes she'd emerged from the bathroom having washed the sleep out of her eyes and put on her usual uniform of jeans and tee shirt.

Christ it's the Hooters one I bought her for Christmas. Man, she looks good!

"Ok, let's go!" She slapped him on the ass cheerfully and opened the door.

Pulling the Impala up against the sidewalk Dean turned off the engine and checked the screwed up piece of paper in his jacket pocket.

"Yep, this is it: Frankie's."

Looking through the window it looked nice enough, maybe a bit classy for his taste but pretty good. It didn't have a big window like most bars but he could see through the glass front door and the place was filled with chicks. Tasty bartender too.

My kinda joint

Holly interrupted his thoughts. "So, you're going to go and just chat to the staff? That the plan?"

"Er, yeah, not exactly rocket science, You know I have done this before right?"

Holly was smiling "Yeah, I know, I was just kinda wondering what tactics you're gonna use, you know to get them to open up."

What the hell's her deal?

Dean grinned..."Sweetheart one look at this face and they'll be eating out of my hand."

Holly laughed out loud.

"Hey what's so funny? Don't you think I'm a handsome devil?"

Reaching across the front seat she planted a kiss on his mouth.

"I think you're adorable, but I also know you're retarded."

"Excuse me?" He asked affronted.

Holly laughed. "Dean, when will you get a clue? It's a gay bar."

"Huh?"

"You know, a place where lesbians hang out and have a drink?"

Dean shot a glance out the window and then back at Holly.

"Awesome!"

"Yes, I know little Dean must be very happy right now but I believe that you may have to rethink your gameplan."

"Whaddya mean?"

"That the good old Winchester charm ain't gonna get you anywhere this time hon. But..." She leant forward and removed her jacket. "...there is one Winchester in this car that might be able to open Pandora's box. So to speak."

"I'm not going to let you just walk into a lesbian bar on your own!"

"Why the hell not?"

"Because they're lesbians!"

"Aww that's cute Dean, but you do know I went to college right?"

Dean frowned "What does that mean??!"

Laughing she reached to open the passenger door of the Impala. "Don't worry, you're the only bitch for me Dean Winchester, now watch and learn."

She slammed the car door.

He watched as she walked towards the bar and he couldn't help but wonder at what might be going on behind closed doors.

"Man, I gotta see this."

Standing outside a bar full of women fondling each other should have been a dream come true but in reality it left him slightly uncomfortable, especially when a woman twice his size gave him the evil eye as she stepped outside,

"Hey, how ya doin?" he asked cheerfully as she found him peering around the door.

"Bite me,"

Charming. Maybe this wasn't such a good idea

Undeterred he carried on watching as Holly worked her way through the throng and reached the bar. A few eyes turned her way and he felt a surge of pride.

Hey, if a guy hit on my girl I'd cap his ass but a chick...woooo bring it on!

He saw her chatting to one of the bartenders, a tall blonde with a body to die for.

Even though they were busy at the bar, he saw that Holly looked like she was deep in conversation with the bartender. He'd talked to her about his case and he knew she was smart but he couldn't help but wonder if she was asking the right questions, after all, you didn't mess with demonic possessions.

The blonde said something to her collegue who was a tattooed Korean in overalls that Dean assumed had turned to lesbianism because she terrified any man within a ten mile radius. Kull the conqueror nodded and said something back to the blonde, which he assumed was a go ahead for her to take a break.

The blonde ducked under the bar hatch and took Holly by the hand leading her to the dancefloor.

Dean had to step back suddenly as the door reopened letting loose a gaggle of drunk women who laughed at him as they walked past, obviously assuming he was a pervert. Trying to seem casual he could hear the strains of Sophie B Hawkins coming from the bar.

As soon as the door closed he assumed sentry duty. Scanning for Holly he caught sight of her.

NO WAY!

His life had been crappy at times but he'd had some high points. Being given the Impala, succesfully completing a solo hunt and dealing with his first gunshot wound had been moments to treasure. They all paled in comparison though when he spotted Holly slow dancing with the tall Scandanavian chick.

With wide eyes he watched as they moved slowly with the music, the blonde bending slightly to whisper something in his wifes ear.

He was in awe. How had he snagged such a cool girl? And did she have any idea how laid she was getting tonight?

His mind was in turmoil, hardly processing the fact that when the song finished the blonde ran a hand over Holly's hair and gave her a long kiss.

Holy Mother of...

Job done, He saw Holly say goodbye to the hot Blonde and then make her way to the door.

Opening it she walked past without a glance in his direction.

"Close your mouth Dean, you'll swallow a fly."

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The screeching of a bird woke him up.

He'd been dreaming about those crazy ass lesbians in Dallas and he was reluctant for the images in his head to fade.

With his eyes closed he couldn't remember where he was or what had happened. Then in an instant reality came crashing in around him as he recalled the last two days of his life.

Opening his eyes he sat up. He was still in the Impala, hadn't bothered getting a motel after the trauma of having to bury Holly. How could he?

He stank of stale tequila and dirt but he didn't care.

Rubbing his face with his hand he thought of Sam and how he was. How could he just abandon his brother like that when he was hurt?

He was ashamed but also knew he'd do the same again if he had to.

After the run in with Craven he'd put Holly's lifeless body in the backseat of the car and tried his best to stem the bleeding from Sam's wounds. God, Sam, that was the only reason he'd been able to stay sane after what had happened. Concern for his little brother had put him on the phone to Bobby.

That was a conversation he never wanted to repeat. How do you tell the man you most respect in the world that you managed to get your wife killed and your brother hurt?

Bobby knew better than to judge and had taken control of the situation giving him the name of a contact less that a hundred miles away who was capable of fixing Sam up and being discreet about it.

Dean had held it together pretty well all the way there because of his concern for Sam but once he had made sure that he was settled and well taken care of he wasted no time in high tailing it out of there.

He'd had to drive carefully, didn't want to attract any attention when he had a body in the back seat. It had taken him most of the day but he had finally arrived.

Bobby had told him about a cemetary in Wyoming created by the family of a Hunter on a remote plot of land. The thought that there was somewhere to anonymously bury Hunters had disturbed him but he had to admit now that it was a good idea. Without sleep or food in what seemed like days he shrugged off the fatigue and set to digging the hole.

Putting her into the hole had been almost as hard as watching her die but there was no relief for him when it was over and he had been glad of the numbing effect the tequila had on him as he watched the sun go down. He had no stone to mark the grave so eventually he had fashioned a cross himself, painstakingly carving her name into it.

Now, sat in the car nearby he wondered where he went from here. He couldn't go back yet, not in this state but he had nowhere else to go and he realised for the first time of just how pathetic his life was.

It had been bad enough when Holly had left him, but then after he had gone to get Sam from Stanford and they had hit the road he had felt better about things, he had a purpose. That was gone now. If he couldn't protect Holly and Sam from a random human then what chance did he have of successfully completing their crusade of hunting evil?

His mind couldn't focus on anything but the past. Memories of the times they'd had together, even the fights which were so damn frequent haunted him. He thought he would go mad with it, there was definately no way in hell that he could think about the future. He needed to collect his thoughts and pull himself together before he went back to Sam. Dean couldn't let his kid brother see him like this.

His mind wandered unbidden to a cheap hotel in New Orleans when a hunt he thought he was over with came back to haunt him. Holly and he weren't married yet, had been too busy hunting to see each other much and he had missed her like hell.

Turning the key in the ignition he drove away in search of a drink.

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New Orleans had seemed such a good idea at the time but during the worst heatwave they'd seen in thirty years, Dean thought it was damn near unbearable.

He'd been there for a week investigating a series of mysterious deaths. Four people had come down with sudden ailments and had later died in hospital leaving doctors baffled. One guy had gone mental before shooting his wife, another was struck down by a wasting disease that would normally develop over years, the third was a woman who got a really gross skin problem. Man that had been rough! The last one before Dean could stop it had been another man who had simply fallen into a coma for no reason. After a lot of digging it was evident that he was dealing with a voodoo curse and he had identified the source to be the delivery of flowers to their home or work place. The connection was a business deal gone sour. Luc Truffaut had been sufficiently pissed off that he had hired a voodoo witch doctor to do his dirty work for him. After paying Truffaut a little call with a tire iron and some gentle persuasion Dean had gotten the address and headed down to the waterfront in a seedier part of town.

He found the witch doctor who wasn't going to go down without a fight but he had managed to dispatch him without too much trouble. Job done.

Now he was finished he longed to leave for somewhere cooler he thought to himself as he sat in the dusty, airless hotel room. The air conditioning was shot to hell and he was struggling to cope with the oppressive atmosphere, he couldn't leave town though as he was waiting for Holly to join him for a couple of days. She'd never been to the city and had always wanted to come. He wasn't convinced the room would make it a pleasurable experience but she wasn't the type to complain about stuff like that.

Flicking through the channels on TV he threw the remote down when he hit on an adult channel and smiled to himself.

Ha! Things are looking up.

Going to the fridge in the small kitchen he retrieved a beer, unscrewed the top and with a sigh he crashed onto the bed to enjoy 'Kitty's House of Pain'.

Half an hour later there was a knock at the door and he stood up to check the spy hole. Grinning he opened the door and Holly launched herself at him. Thinking fast he caught her to him and she wrapped her legs around his waist before landing a rain of kisses on his face.

Kicking the door shut he turned and staggered into the room.

"I take it you missed me then?" He laughed.

Looking down at him she smiled. "You have no idea!"

Secretly he was really happy to see her too. It had been a long few weeks since they had last seen each other but it wasn't his style to be mushy and she knew that. Despite this he didn't make any effort just yet to set her on the ground and he was really enjoying the feeling of her ass in his cupped hands.

Looking over his shoulder, she did a quick scan of the room.

"Beer and porn Dean? You know how to make a girl feel special."

Dean quickly turned on the spot so she was facing away from the TV.

"That's not porn," he shrugged. "That's the history channel...ancient torture techniques. It's research, you know."

Holly laughed, kissing him once more and hopping out of his clutches

"You're so full of shit Dean. So next time you face up to a Chupacabra, you gonna put on a gimp mask and spank him with a feather duster?"

"Yeah, maybe." He quickly turned off the TV and went back to the fridge where he retrieved a beer for Holly.

"Everything go ok in Florida?" He said tactfully changing the subject.

She shuddered involuntarily. "That was one twisted mother but we got him."

"They're all twisted. I dunno how you do it."

She took a long swig of beer and he tried to control himself when she pressed the cold bottle to her throat.

"It was kids though."

That was enough to take the wind out of his sails. "I don't think I wanna know do I?"

"Best not, I did get you a present though."

He grinned sitting on the edge of the bed eagerly.

She placed the bottle of beer on the coffee table and unhooked a small knapsack from her shoulders.

"I told you I got a waitressing job while I was in Tampa?"

"Yeah, you get some good tips?"

"Oh yeah." She opened the bag and pulled out something orange.

He was puzzled for a moment until she unfolded the garment and pressed it to her. He stood up quickly, his throat going dry.

Dean was serious as cancer. "Don't toy with me woman. You were a Hooters girl?!"

Holly laughed. "Sure was. And I got the whole uniform here. You want me to put it on?"

Dean's eyes were on stalks. "Does Dolly Parton sleep on her back? Hell yeah!"

Winking Holly turned on her heel and went into the bathroom to change.

Dean sat down with a satisfied smile and drank his beer.

Moments later she emerged in the tight white vest and orange shorts, she even had the little white sneakers. Dean gulped and Holly struck a pose in the doorway.

"You know, you're officially the coolest chick ever!" He said walking towards her wide eyed. Holly squealed with delight when he hoisted her onto his shoulder and went back to the bed throwing her down roughly. Taking off his tee he looked up at the ceiling offering a silent prayer of thanks to an unknown God, "No magic fingers for Dean tonight!" he cried hurling himself on top of her.

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In another hotel room a lifetime away Dean had swapped the beer for whiskey direct from the bottle and there was no porn and no Holly, just the shell of a man.

He sniffed and took a long pull on the bottle. God he was wasted and he still couldn't stop his mind from replaying the past.

His eyes were glazed and he still stank but slumped in the chair at that moment he couldn't have cared less.

They'd been so happy that day, they'd fooled around all afternoon but finally they got so hot that they retreated to a cold shower where they stayed until their skin wrinkled, just enjoying being with each other.

Dean had been with some pretty cool girls in his time but Holly was by far the best and as far as he was concerned always would be.

Drinking more he recalled how after a day spent in bed and in the shower he couldn't imagine how it could have possibly gotten any better but it did when Holly cooked the most amazing meal. It was rare that he ever got a home cooked meal now but back then he always made sure that he had a kitchen when she was there. God, her roast chicken was unbelievable he thought to himself with a smile. Almost as good as the sex.

At the end of the night they had taken a walk. He had his arm round her and felt the most regular guy in the world. Damn he was even unarmed!

There was no indication then of how quickly that would change.

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Dean awoke slowly, it was still hot and his naked body was covered in a thin film of sweat that made the crisp white sheet stick to him uncomfortably. He patted the other side of the bed and groaned. Holly was up already. She was always up early whereas he could sleep all day when he didn't have a case. He would have loved to roll over right now and have his way with her. Maybe when she came back he thought.

Sighing he kicked off the covers and made his way to the shower. Passing the coffee table he saw she'd left a note.

Gone for breakfast. Love you

Walking into the bathroom he stood in front of the mirror turning to check out his abs, he gave his reflection a wink. Who the hell could blame her for loving you stud?Ha!

He took a cold shower but couldn't be bothered to shave. Pulling on jeans and boots, he left his shirt off. Too damn hot!

He looked at the clock on the wall. Where the hell did she go for breakfast? Oregon?!

There was a knock on the door and Dean went to open it expecting it to be Holly. He was embarrassed when he found it was the old guy from the front desk. Holding up a hand apologetically he disappeared for a second and grabbing a grey tee he pulled it quickly over his head.

"You with the brunette? The stunner in the shorts?" The old man asked.

Dean had no idea what Holly was wearing but he smiled when he thought of those orange shorts. "That's me."

"Someone just took her." He said simply, actually looking quite bored as he did.

"What?!"

"Saw it myself, she was coming back with groceries, this banged up car pulled up, guy gets out, hits her and puts her in the car."

Dean's heart almost stopped but his mind was racing. What the hell?!

"Did you see the guy? What did he look like?"

Dean had turned back to the room and was throwing his belongings into his duffle bag.

"Yeah, sure did, big black man, scary. Had those things..."

"Huh?"

"You know, like Bob Marley."

"Dreads?" Dean paused. How was that even possible?

"Yeah, that's it. They sped out of here no more'n five minutes ago. Woulda been here sooner but I ain't as young as I used to be and those stairs..."

Dean grabbed his automatic and releasing the magazine he checked it, banged it against the butt and with the heel of his hand reinjected it. He turned around to see the man looking at him quizzically. "You call the cops?"

"Uh uh, came straight here."

"Good, cos I am a cop. Listen man, thanks. I'll take it from here."

Shouldering his bag he made to leave the room slamming the door behind him he was halfway down the corridor when he heard.

"But you're paid up for three days!"

Ignoring him Dean was already flying down the stairs two at a time.

Out on the sidewalk he saw a paper sack of groceries on the ground where they had been dropped. He took a second to pause, the sun beating down on a smashed carton of eggs almost cooking them on the spot. His heart hammered wildly in his chest and his head hurt.

Ignoring the dull ache he fumbled for his sunglasses as he turned the corner and found the Impala in the shade of the alleyway next to the hotel.

Parked just behind him he saw Holly's red Corvette. Spurred on by the lonely sight he jumped in his car and roared away.

His mind was reeling. He knew who had taken her and where she was likely to be but he couldn't quite believe it. I killed that guy, he thought to himself. Saw him with my own two eyes take a bullet to the brain. Dead as a doornail. What the hell was he doing snatching my girlfriend in broad daylight?

Dean drove the Impala towards the waterfront. He had no idea what was going on and with a pang he realised he missed his Dad and Sam. There was no time for research and he had no clue what he was dealing with. Spirits don't just take people in the middle of the street and they don't go around by car. He'd heard the legends of zombies but wasn't that in Haiti? Could he be dealing with the living dead? If so, how the hell do you kill that? His head was hurting even worse and he squinted his eyes through the windscreen straining to focus. What's up with that? He paused to think as he pulled his cell phone out of his pocket.

"Dean, how the hell are you son?"

"Hey Bobby, listen, I don't have much time. What do you know about Zombies?"

"Are you serious? You're hunting a Zombie? Where are you?"

"I'm in New Orleans. I dunno what the hell that thing is, all I know is I killed the dude two days ago and now he has Holly." His speech was coming out in bursts as he dodged cars. The headache was getting steadily worse.

He heard rustling in the background and could imagine Bobby rummaging through his dusty old books. "Ok son, calm down. You'll get her back. OK, here it is. Ok so a Zombie comes from the Kongo word nzambi which means 'God' It's usually a dead person who is reanimated by bokor which is a powerful voodoo sorcerer. The reason is usually to get revenge on whoever killed them."

"Great! You ever heard of them actually existing?"

"There have been whispers, rumours but nothing on this Continent. You'd be the first Dean."

"Lucky me. Any idea how to kill it?"

"Doesn't say, decapitation's gotta be a safe bet though."

"Thanks Bobby, I'll call you later."

"Oh and Dean,"

"Yeah?"

"Watch yourself. Whoever reanimated the guy is working some pretty powerful magic. They're gonna be gunning for you. Are you sure you wanna go in on your own?"

"Haven't got a choice Bobby, I'm all she's got. Listen thanks, I'll let you know how it goes."

Flipping the phone shut he was getting near to his destination. The warehouse when he saw it looked no better in the daytime than it had when he had been there the other night. Abandoned long ago it cut a desolate figure on the old docks.

Getting out of the car he went round to open the trunk, his eyes swimming. Taking off his glasses he felt the sun hit them and he groaned. He didn't need this. Propping open his arsenal he wondered what he'd need. Grabbing a machete he swung it to his left shoulder. His automatic was still in his waistband but he picked up a couple of extra magazines and stuffed them into his back pockets. Finally palming a flashlight and checking that it was working he was ready.

Slamming the trunk down he looked up at the warehouse which was slightly blurred. "Bring it on bitch!" He muttered striding over to it confidently.

The warehouse was gloomy but he'd staked it out the previous week and was quietly confident Holly would be somewhere on one of the lower floors. Shoulda torched the place when I had the chance.

Making his way through the ground floor with the gun stretched out in front of him he ignored the pounding in his head.

He made it to the metal staircase and everything went dark.

Shit!

Grabbing the torch he flicked it on. Nothing. Banging it against his hand he felt the batteries rattle and frowned. What the...?

Then it hit him.

Goddamn voodoo whack job!

They knew that he'd come for Holly, they just didn't want to fight fair and had blinded him with a spell. He waved a hand in front of his face experimentally. Nothing. Sighing he considered his options. Should he leave, try to get help? Thinking furiously he decided that a blind Dean was better than no Dean at all. Besides, he would have to break the spell before he could regain his sight. He'd staked out the joint and was pretty sure that he could find his way round the place. He just prayed that Holly wasn't hurt, he wouldn't be in much of a position to protect her if she was.

Taking a breath he held the gun up in his right hand and leaned that side of his body against the wall. Straining his ears for every sound he slowly made his way down the stairs trying to be as quiet as possible.

At the bottom he laid out the basic floor plan in his head. Two ways to go, left or right. Keeping to the wall he moved very slowly to his right trying not to let his breathing interfere with his hearing. He knew that after a few metres there was a smaller room coming up, the boiler room he remembered. How many steps were there? Two? Three? He'd soon find out he thought grimly.

Feeling his way carefully he found the doorway and ran his had along the metal frame.

God this sucks!

Inching his way forward with his right foot he descended three stairs.

Lurching into the abyss he barely had time to catch himself before he heard a big crash as he fell into a steel drum.

That'll be four steps then

As the clamour died down he shook himself and stood up. Tensing, he heard a whispered voice coming out of the blackness surrounding him.

"Jesus Dean! You wanna be any louder? I think there's someone in Guatamala that didn't quite hear you!"

"Holly?! You ok? Where are you?" He hissed.

"I'm right here dumbass, come and untie me!"

"Easier said than done." He muttered under his breath.

He stumbled again as he tried to locate where her voice was coming from. Somewhere near the floor he'd guess but with the echoes in here it was hard to tell.

"What the hell is wrong with you?"

He sighed, exasperated with the woman already. "I can't see ok?"

"What?!" She exclaimed in a stage whisper.

"That Rasta freak must have put some mojo on me. I can't see. Now, tell me where the hell you are."

She didn't say as much but he could tell she was seething at his piss poor rescue attempt. She didn't like him in danger any more than he liked her being tied up by a voodoo Bob Marley.

"Walk straight ahead, three yards, I'm sitting on the floor tied to a pipe."

"You still wearing those shorts?"

Holly yelped painfully as he stood on her. "Don't you know what a yard is?"

Dean put the gun into the front of his jeans. "I swear woman, I should just leave you here."

Squatting down, he reached out in front of him and felt a knee. Moving up he felt over her body. She seemed in one piece.

"My hands are about two feet north of there Dean!"

Worth a try

Sighing he reached up running his hands up her slender arms until he could find the ropes on her wrists, he began to untie her.

As he managed to get her free he heard a sound behind him.

Like lightening he felt a hand go to his pants and remove the gun with a tug,

Another small hand went to the nape of his neck and pulled him off his feet. "Down, Dean!"

The sound of the shot was deafening under the ground and his ears rang as he felt Holly extract herself from beneath him and jump up. Dazed, he got to his feet. "You get him?"

"Yeah, for what it's worth. He ran off again. What the hell is he?"

Dean shrugged. "A zombie. C'mon we have to go cut his head off and break the spell he has on me, I think we need to find his altar and destroy it. Oh, and watch out for the bokor. That's a witch doctor" He added helpfully as he put out his hand for the gun.

He thought he should be glad that he couldn't see the look on her face.

"Number one, you're deluded if you think I'm giving you a gun. Number two, what!? We have to get the hell out of here and call for backup."

"No way, we have to get this sucker now, I can't stay blind! Now gimme the gun and hold my hand."

Sighing she took his hand but kept a tight hold of the gun. "C'mon Helen Keller, let's go get you a zombie."

She led the way out of the boiler room and bypassing the stairs they continued on in the basement to where she had seen him run. Dean tried not to stumble but her grip on him was solid and she kept him from falling.

When they got to the other wing of the buiding he couldn't hear anything.

"See him?"

"Oh shit." she said under her breath.

I'll take that as a yes...

Before he could react he felt a gust of wind on his face and with a whoosh Holly's hand was wrenched from his. Hearing a crash he raised the machete in his hands.

"You ok?!?"

He heard a groan from somewhere behind him.

"He's coming up to you. Two o'clock!" She shouted.

He spun the huge blade in front of him.

"Your other two o'clock Dean!"

Too late, he was sidelined by the weight of the big witch doctor and knocked to the ground. He braced his arm against the zombie's chest and tried to fend him off. Saliva dropped onto his cheek. "Gross!"

He heard the sound of metal against concrete and a loud thwack before a shower of blood rained down on his face. The dead weight of the Zombie fell on him. Panting he pushed him off and stood up wiping at his face.

"He dead? Again?"

"Well if he isn't he's gonna have a problem wearing hats for a while. See anything yet? How many fingers am I holding up?"

"Nah, I got nothin'"

"Good, cos it wasn't my fingers I was flashing."

"Huh?!"

Ignoring him she bent to pick up the gun. She was fully armed now. He felt her tug at his shirt and with the bottom she wiped some of the gunk off his face.

"Gettoff! What are you? My mom?"

Sighing, she took his hand. "Sometimes I wonder Dean."

They had checked all of the basement but found no sign of an altar.

"What now?" She asked.

Rubbing his face, he was getting really frustrated with himself. Thinking hard, he had a thought. "When I looked at the plans last week there was an outbuilding, somewhere they used for offices. I never went there cos the dude was lying up in here."

She had a fire under her. "Ok, let's go!"

Guiding him slowly she led him back up to the empty ground level. Seeing a door at the far rear corner she made her way over.

Hearing a rattle, she turned to him. "Padlock."

Now this was something he could do with his eyes closed, he thought reaching into his pocket to get his lock picking tools.

Whilst that kept him occupied, he felt her remove one of the magazines from his back pocket and with a quick series of movements she'd reloaded.

Damn she's getting good

The door swung open and the sun poured in but to Dean it was just a flash of white light and the searing heat on his face.

"Ok, I see the office. Bingo. There's someone in there."

Taking his hand again she was silent as they took a few steps. She pulled him into a crouch as they approached. Stopping on his haunches he leant against the wall, his balance off. He felt Holly move next to him, probably looking through the window. Next to him again, he could feel the warm breath on his face.

"Ok, we got your baker."

"Bokor." He corrected.

"Whatever, we got the altar and some guy wearing a really gross animal skin. It's all bones and blood and stuff, I can't believe you think my job is twisted!"

"Ok, now I don't want you taking any risks so I'm gonna distract him and then you shoot him."

"Will that work?"

"You got a better idea?"

"Feather duster?"

He laughed inspite of everything and felt her hand cover his. "Sorry for giving you a hard time. You're one crazy idiot Dean."

"Takes one to know one. Ok, where's the door? I'll go in high, you come in low and shoot. Got it?"

He heard the click of the safety going off in response. Turning around he felt for the door and was just about to go when he heard a thud. What now?

"Holly?"

He could hear a gasp. Crouching down again his hands found her lying on the floor. "Holly? What's wrong?!"

She was struggling to breathe. "My heart...shit... it feels like there's a vice around it."

His hands went over hers to where they were clasped to her chest. He felt the gun and took it from her grasp.

"I'm going to get him ok?"

"Not...alone...stupid!"

Ignoring her Dean stood up and without hesitation he felt for the door. Opening it the musty smell of herbs washed over him. He could hear the Bokor chanting. The heat was overwhelming and Dean felt sweat trickle down his back. Now or never. He tried to concentrate on the sound of the voice and let off a shot.

Missed, dammit

From behind him, he heard Holly "He's facing you Dean...aim up...slightly to the left...shit...too far...stop. Ok go!"

He felt like one of those crazy arcade games as he fired the gun four times in quick succession.

The air cleared.

"You got him..." he heard her sharp intake of breath. "...altar...shit...shit...shit..."

"Where? Goddamn it?" he made his way across the room and found the makeshift altar. Tensing his muscles he flipped it over and stomped hard on anything that he could find. His energy was gone and the heat overtook him. Sliding down the nearest wall, he collapsed on his ass exhausted closing his eyes, breath coming in rasps.

After a moment she came to him. Opening his eyes, he felt suddenly a million times better upon seeing her again.

Cupping her face he turned it to the light and frowned at the bruise on her jaw. Then suddenly grinning "I knew you were wearing those shorts. Ha!"

She pulled his hand away with a roll of her eyes. "Nice moves Winchester..." She stood up and helped him to his feet, pulling his arm over her shoulder for support. "...but you pull anything like that again and I won't be responsible for my actions."

"I had things under control."

"Yeah? Cos from where I was standing it looked like you were getting your ass kicked."

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She hadn't been wrong when all said and done, he thought as he shook the empty whiskey bottle and let it drop to the floor at his feet. He wouldn't have made it without her. Not that he ever would have admitted to it. What amazed him most was that she never panicked, didn't scare easy. He'd seen her in some tight jams and, sure she'd been hurt too but never on his watch, he wouldn't allow it.

They had just been so in synch back then, she could read his mind and he thought he could read hers though she always ended up surprising him on a daily basis. Like when he found out she could speak French, or when she won 350 bucks in a karaoke bar.

Bonnie Tyler, good times...

Perhaps the reason it'd all gone sour this time was that after two years apart they had lost their mojo, that spark that kept them ticking. Sure, he still loved her and he knew now that she had never given up on him, but how could he not blame himself for not protecting her in the end?

She'd told him it wasn't his fault and so had Sam but there was no way he could believe that. They'd vowed never to leave each other and they'd both broken their promises thanks to this stupid goddamn job. Ha! The job.

He thought of Sam with a knife in his leg and a bullet to his shoulder expecting his big brother to look out for him, to take the pain away. That's what was expected from him and he always delivered. Always. How would he ever have the confidence now? He'd messed up in the worst way possible and it was those close to him that paid the price, Dad, Sam and now Holly. He was a curse to all those he came into contact to. Sure, Sam, had lost people too but it wasn't his job to look out for everyone, it was Deans. That was his destiny and without it, he was nothing.

Dean stood up on shaky feet, swaying slightly he went to the bathroom and leaning over the sink he splashed some water on his face.

Looking up he caught sight of his reflection.

Leaning forward he took in the bags under his red-rimmed eyes, the white crust in the corner of his dry mouth and the five day growth of beard. Suddenly his eyes filled with tears and raising his hand he slammed a fist into the mirror.

Ignoring the broken shards of glass and the blood dripping from his balled hand, he sank to the floor and burying his face in one arm he began to cry.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

"I'm bored." He said looking out the windscreen to the tail of the red Corvette ahead.

He heard a laugh over the phone. "You sound like a petulant child Dean. What you listening to?"

"He could see her looking in the rear view mirror. "Metallica, you?"

"Destiny's Child. And before you say it Dean, bite me!"

He laughed and said it anyway "Chick music."

They had left New Orleans and were driving aimlesly through Louisiana heading in the general direction of Oklahoma. There was no hunt and nowhere special to go, and he hated it. He needed some excitment in his life and the way he saw it, the only thing remotely exciting at the moment was driving the car in front. How could she be so close he could see her but still miss her?

"So what do ya wanna do? We can stop off in the next town and have a beer or five?"

"Nah, let's just carry on to Vegas."

She snorted. "That's all the way across the country Dean! Why'd you wanna go to Vegas? There a gay revue you wanna see?"

"Very funny, no the Little White Chapel."

"And what's there? You wanna exorcise the ghost of Elvis?"

"That's blasphemy! No, I just thought we could go. The two of us, maybe hook up with Bobby."

"Dean, it's too far. We can find a casino in Texas if you want a game of craps and a two dollar steak dinner so bad."

He sighed, exasperated. "Woman, I swear you'll be the death of me, can't you just shut up and let a guy propose?"

He watched as the car in front swerved dangerously on the empty road. Dropping the phone he hit the brakes "Jesus!!" The Corvette spun one eighty and came to a stop facing him in the middle of the road. Holly looked white as a sheet and was clutching the steering wheel in one had and the phone in the other.

Opening the door to the Impala he got out and trotted over to the other car. Yanking the door open he leaned in.

"What the hell you trying to do Holly? Get yourself killed?"

She was staring blankly through the windscreen ignoring his outburst. Slowly she started moving and got out of the car.

"What did you say?"

Dean was fuming, "I said, are you trying to get yourself killed Colt Severs?"

"Before that?"

He looked at her and shrugged. It was so much easier on the phone.

Awkward

"Did you ask me to marry you?"

"Well, errr, I..."he stuttered.

God, I am such a retard

Holly spun on her heel and started pacing the highway.

"Where did that come from? I mean you've never mentioned it before! What the hell?!"

Stopping, she bent down resting her hands on her knees head low down. Her breath was coming in big heavy gulps.

This can't be good

"You ok?" He asked feebly shoving his hands in his pockets.

"Just...gimme...a...sec..." She held up a finger without looking at him.

Still fighting for air she eventually straightened and looked at him, her face flushed.

"Is this your way of stopping me from hunting?"

Dean leaned on the bonnet of her car. Was it?

"No, I dunno, it was just a thought."

"It's not just a thought Dean, this is a feeling. You either want to do it or you don't."

"I guess then that I do."

"What?"

Was she going to make him beg? Christ!

He shrugged, hands still buried in his pockets. "Yes, I want to marry you. Satisfied?"

There was a tug at the corner of her mouth but she tried to control herself. "How would that even work? I mean, we don't have a home and our jobs take us all over the country."

Dean knew he'd won but he also knew she needed some reassurance. Sighing he stood up and went to her, taking her by the waist.

"I don't know about you but, I don't need a home as long as you're with me and for the rest we'll work it out. We'll hunt together, I think we'd make a pretty good team."

"So, if I had to hunt, you'd come with me and cook my food and wash my clothes?"

"Maybe not, but I can do plenty of other stuff."

"Like?"

Christ she's impossible!

He bit his lip thinking then raising his eyebrow with a smirk. "I know one thing I can do that you like, huh?"

That was the clincher.

Putting her arms around his neck she screamed then letting him go she kissed him.

"Is that a yes to Vegas then?" He laughed.

"You got yourself a deal Winchester, now let's get out of here and go celebrate."

After hopping back in their cars they stopped in the nearest town they could find that had a gas station, motel and roadhouse. Following a couple of hours spent christening the most garish motel room in history they hit the bar.

A little while later they were on their second beer and had the remnants of two burgers sat in front of them.

While she was so happy, Dean thought it a good time to broach another prickly subject.

"Ya know, if we're gonna be doing this, there's no point in having two cars." he smiled

She eyed him suspiciously over her bottle as she swigged her beer.

"Hmmm What you getting at Dean?" There was menace in her voice now.

Jeez she's scarier than half the stuff I hunt

He shrugged trying to sound casual. "I was just thinking that maybe we only need one car and seeing as mine has more trunk space..."

Her beer bottle hit the table with a clunk and he actually flinched.

"I am not selling the Corvette, forget it."

"Holly, c'mon, it's just a car."

"Fine, you're right so we'll sell the Impala."

He laughed and then realising from her face that she was serious stopped immediately. "No chance. The Impala stays."

"But it's just a car right Dean?"

He was getting nervous. "Yeah, well, it's still a car with extra trunk space."

She let out a deep breath and sat back in her seat.

"Wow, barely four hours since you proposed and I already want a divorce, that's gotta be a record!"

Mirroring her body language on his side he shrugged. "So what do you suggest?"

"I'll fight you for it."

"Are you crazy? I'm not fighting you"

"Why? Scared I'll beat you?"

God, she's serious

"You wish! No but a contest isn't a bad idea. We can think of some other way of settling this."

Leaning forward, she was suddenly interested. "Like what? We're both too good at poker,it could last all night and if you put a dart in my hand right now I'd probably stab you with it."

Dean frowned at her uncomfortably then had an idea.

"Why don't we go to the motel and hit the sack? The first one to, you know..." he said winking "...wins."

"Christ Dean, gimme a competition where I at least stand a shot of winning. That's like me challenging you to a dance off!"

"What? I have skills!"

"What you have Dean is the self control of a two week old puppy. Especially after a few of those." She pointed at the beer.

"I'm offended!"

"Look I got no complaints but we both know you were built for speed and not for stamina,"

He shrugged conceding defeat. "So what does that leave? A pie eating contest?"

"Again, Dean, I need to be in with a chance here."

They both sat back in silence.

One of the barmaids passed their table and Holly stopped her.

"What can I get ya?"

Holly's eyes never left Dean's face. "Two shots of tequila, and you can leave the bottle."

Dean's eyebrows shot up as the waitress walked off. "You're challenging me to a drinking contest? Ha! You're more whacked out than I thought. You're so going down."

She cocked a brow. "That part of the deal too?"

He laughed as the waitress put down two shot glasses and a bottle of Jose. He filled their glasses and raised a toast. "To the Impala, and going down."

She smiled "To the Corvette and to you eating your words, amongst other things!"

Their glasses clinked.

Six hours later Dean was carrying Holly over his shoulder across the parking lot of the motel. Staggering badly himself he struggled to unlock the door. She was out cold and he wasn't surprised, christ she could drink he thought admirably. Crashing on the bed next to her he didn't even remove his jacket before falling into a deep dreamless sleep.

The following day, walking into the room Dean removed his sunglasses and squinted, christ that hurts!

Holly was lying on the bed face down, she had showered but had gotten straight back into bed earlier with a groan. The fact that she hadn't welched on their bet had made him love her even more and he felt really bad about the way she must be feeling.

A muffled sob came from the pillow.

"Did you do it?"

Dean took off his jacket and went to the bed. She sat up holding the sheet to her, her face streaked with tears. He handed her a coffee and sat next to her pulling her to him.

In the time that he had known her he had seen her banged up, tied up and facing up to some major crap but this was the first time he'd ever seen her cry. Hell, if he'd had to sell the Impala he would have cried too.

"I got a real good deal."

She sniffed, making a face that indicated she would have happily traded him in for a push bike at that moment in time.

"You know what might cheer you up?"

She eyed him through bloodshot slits.

"There's a vamp terrorising Denver. Wanna see me kill it?"

She sniffed again wiping a tear away. "I guess."

"That's my girl, c'mon, let's hit the road. I'll even let you pick the music."

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Dean was snapped out of his reverie by the phone buzzing in the next room.

Staggering to his feet he dragged his body through to the bedroom ignoring the drops of blood his cut up hand made in his wake.

Checking the display as he slumped in the chair he wondered whether or not he should take the call.

I owe him that much

"Hey Bobby" It was the first time he had spoken in hours and even he was amazed at the harsh rasp of his voice.

"Dean, how ya doin? Listen, your brother's worried about you. Come home."

"I don't have a home Bobby, not anymore."

"I know you're hurting but Sam is too. He needs you."

"I can't right now Bobby, maybe tomorrow. But not now. How is Sammy?"

Bobby sighed,"Physically he'll be fine but...this ain't good for anyone. You should be with people who care about you, your family."

Dean rubbed at his face. "I appreciate it Bobby, I do but I just want to be on my own."

"Drinkin' ain't the answer Dean."

"Yeah well, it's the only way I know how to deal. I'm not strong like Sam."

"If you think he's stronger than you then you should see him now boy. Look, I'm back home now, I got Sam here with me and we'll wait for you..." he paused."There's something else Dean."

Alert for the first time Dean's mind raced to images of Sam hurt worse than he thought."Is it Sam?"

"No, there's something here for you. Something Holly left."

"When?"

Bobby sighed. "It arrived in the post about eighteen months ago. Said I was to give it to you if anything happened to her."

Dean's eyes were screwed tightly shut. "Any idea what it is?"

Carefully "At a guess I'd say it was her will."

Dean's jaw clenched. "Ok, I'll be back in a day or so."

"Don't go doin' anything stupid Dean."

Dean clicked the phone shut without answering.

So that's what she meant. When she had been dying Holly had said sorry and told him that she'd left something for him. He hadn't even thought about it until now. What could she have left him? If it wasn't her, he didn't care.

Getting up he stripped off his dirty clothes and threw them in the bin. Walking back to the bathroom he ran the shower and finally went to clean himself.

Standing under the spray of warm water he watched his feet as blood, tears and dirt were washed away down the drain. Holly's blood and the dirt from her grave. Closing his eyes he lifted his face upwards to feel the water flowing over him as his mind cast back once more.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

"I said no dammit!"

"Oh c'mon Dean." She exclaimed collapsing onto the bed dramatically as he oiled his gun. "What do you want me to do I'm bored!"

He looked up. "What I want you to do is stop your bitching woman! I'm not taking you."

"You know it makes sense. It's the easiest way to lure the Vamp out and you know it."

"Am I speaking Urdu? I said no because you'll just go getting yourself into trouble and I'll have to come rescue you again."

"I've done my fair share of rescuing you too Dean."

"I swear Holly if you mention El Paso one more time I'm gonna start throwing punches!"

She sighed "At least that'll relieve the boredom." She muttered.

"You've got plenty to do. I got that stuff from the store."

"You got me Playboy, gummy bears and a bunch of quarters."

He grinned to himself "Sounds like a good night in to me."

"Ass."

"Look, I'm being serious, I don't want you getting hurt and that's final."

Getting up she changed tack. Walking over to where he was sitting she moved the arm holding the gun out of the way and straddled his lap.

"You know it's always more fun with me around." She said wiggling slightly.

He was having none of it. "No, I know it's a pain in the ass."

"But who you gonna show off to if I don't come?"

God she knew him too damn well

They had been in Denver three days and they were going stir crazy. He'd finally gotten a tip on where the vampire was nesting up and where he hung out and he wanted to dust the son of a bitch tonight so they could leave. The motel they were staying in was a pine nightmare and constantly staring at the walls had driven Holly nuts. She'd been cool the first day or so when she had stuff to do but now that their clothes were clean and they had food in their stomachs and money in their wallets she was itching to do something else. He couldn't blame her and remembered that he had promised she could keep hunting but the reality was more difficult to deal with. The thought of something happening to her caused a pain in his chest that he didn't want to contemplate but she would never understand that. What could he do, if he carried on like this he could lose her anyway, he knew that much.

Sighing he pulled her to him.

"Listen, you do what I tell you to and nothing else? If I tell you to sit in the Impala, you do it. If I tell you to hop on one leg singing the Happy Days theme tune then..."

"...I do it. I get it Dean." Hugging him to her she was obviously elated and he couldn't help but wonder what he had gotten himself into.

Standing up with her he deposited her on her feet and went to check he had everything he needed.

"Ok, now this is just in case, but you better take these."

Rummaging in his duffle bag he pulled out a gun and a stake. Turning around he handed them to her. "Now remember, these are some strong bastards and you gotta be quick so if anything happens one of these suckers to..."

"...the heart, I know."

"Relax Buffy, this is important so you better pay attention. Now remember that move I taught you in DC?"

She smiled at the memory of the rapists face as she'd taken him down and broken his arm in one move.

"Ok, so get your jacket."

They had no joy at the bar when they had gone in there. They stayed for a while on the lookout until they decided to move on to the abondoned theatre that Dean knew to be their nest, He'd wanted to drop Holly back at the motel but she wasn't having it and so lacking the energy to argu again he'd agreed to take her along.

Outside Dean took his stake, a knife and made sure that Holly was well prepared. It wasn't a good idea to take her but he couldn't leave her in the car either. She'd be safer where he could keep an eye on her.

Breaking in they made their way through the old dusty lobby and with the help of a torch to guide them they walked through to the auditorium. It had obviously been a grand place at some point but like many things had been left in favour of progress.It had the regular creepy feel and he could feel his skin crawl. Yeah, this was a nest alright.

"Stay close." He whispered over his shoulder.

Moving slowly he approached the old stage where the dusty heavy velvet drapes had been left to hang uselessly.

Cocking his head, he heard a slight whimper. Automatically on alert he glanced to make sure Holly was still behind him and moving closer to the stage, he peered into the gloom in the backstage area and saw a young woman tied to one of the stage columns. She was crying softly. He motioned with his head and Holly nodded so he knew she'd spotted her too.

Making their way up the steps they reached her in moments. The girl stared at him terrified at the sight of the gun and the stake.

"It's ok, we're not here to hurt you." He said in an even tone holding up his weapons. "Is he still here?" The girls eyes said it all.

He nodded to Holly who crouched down and untied the girl, holding her closely to her once she was free.

"Get her out of here." He whispered. "And be careful."

Grabbing the girl she hurried away quietly murmuring to her softly as she did so.

Dean continued into the stage wing and found a door leading down to the backstage area. Going down a winding staircase, he could hear the sound of someone talking.

Keeping his breath even he moved slowly down the corridor where the dressing rooms would once have been. Now, the paint on the walls was peeling and he could hear the familiar scurry of rats. The voices got louder toward the end of the corridor when he came to a door that was just ajar. Glancing around it he could see that there were three vampires inside feasting on the dead body of a young man, probably the boyfriend of the girl. Shit, three of them. That changes things, he thought.

Ah, screw it.

Bursting through the door he let off a couple of shots hitting two of them before they realised what was happening. Angry now, The remaining one flew at him knocking him to the ground and winding him. He was up and seconds, ducking a wild swing, he staked the sucker there and then. With no time to breathe he took on the remaining two.

They weren't big in life but in death they had awesome strength. They tag teamed him like he was nothing. Slowing the one on the right down with more shots he was starting to get somewhere.

Suddenly he felt a pain in his side and looking down he saw a blade sticking out of his ribs. He didn't feel anything at all, that's what adrenaline did. Ignoring it, he had more pressing issues at hand. Roaring he raised the stake and rushed the vamp head on, taking him out with a powerful stab.

There was one left and before Dean could remove the stake from his buddy he was grabbed by the throat and hauled off his feet. Gurgling, he flailed with his arms trying to get some purchase on the vampire grip.

Looking down, he was considering his limited options when he saw a small arm snake quickly round the monsters neck and with a push a stake appeared through his chest oozing blood and tissue.

With a thud and a scream the vampire dropped Dean and was gone. Dean was dazed and fell to the ground.

What the hell?

Putting a hand to his side, he was suddenly feeling the pain, but as he looked up from the ground it retreated to the back of his mind when he saw Holly swiftly decapitate one of the bodies.

Should I be worried she's so good at that?

With a grunt he made it to his feet and she came over to him.

"Hey." She gently touched his side which still had the small blade sticking out of it. "Let's get out of here and get you patched up."

For once there wasn't much that they could say to one another, He was hurt and she was worried, the ass kicking would wait til tomorrow.

Helping him back to the car she opened the passenger door and her face told him not to argue. She got behind the wheel and reaching acoss him she pushed her hand into his jean pocket and retrieved the keys. She fired up the engine.

"Where's the girl?" He managed grimacing.

She looked across at him. "They turned her. So I wasted her."

"Oh."

Back in the room Holly got him to the bed. Now for the fun part he thought.

He'd had more than his fair share of injuries and most he had dealt with alone but he had to admit that having his own personal candy striper did have its appeal.

Holly was always sympathetic when he was injured, tended his wounds without giving him a hard time or making him feel a jackass but inevitably she would lay into him in a way that only she could. She'd drive him mad but it's how she showed she cared. He guessed they were more alike than he thought. She'd had to cope being held prisoner by a psychopath for two years with no one to complain to so that's how she dealt with everything. Minimum fuss, like him. He liked that about her but it also worried him at times, like she was hurting more inside than he would ever know.

She put her small fingers to the hole in his shirt and tore it open with her bare hands, then helping him to remove it she threw it in the trash. Taking her first aid kit out of her bag she placed it on the bed next to him. She went to the bathroom for towels and a bowl of hot water. She always kept everything she needed well stocked up. Usually he just made do with whiskey and a needle and thread.

As if she read his mind she opened another bag and retrieved a bottle of JD that she had obviously been hiding for this sole purpose. He couldn't blame her, he did tend to do this quite a lot.

Handing him the bottle she propped some pillows under his head. Opening it with a grimace he took a big gulp. Already feeling a little better he looked at her.

Smiling she looked back at him. "Ready?" She asked.

"Get it over with."

"Look at this." Quick as a flash she tore open her own shirt and while he sat open mouthed staring at her breasts she removed the blade from his ribs in one swift movement.

Grinning at his expression she didn't bother to do up her shirt but grabbed a towel and applied pressure to the open wound.

The woman was a freakin genius!

Christ he sat back looking at her, how did she manage to make something so painful seem so good? It was a rare gift.

She sat by his side as she kept the pressure constant. She looked down at him and swigging some more alcohol he allowed his hand to wander to her open shirt.

"Did I ever tell you how cool you were?"

"Yeah, but it doesn't hurt to remind me every now and again Winchester."

She reached down and placed his hand over her left breast, then taking the bottle from him she took a drink. She took the towel away from his side and poured the alcohol onto the wound. Gasping his hand tightened on her but she was undeterred. Giving him back the bottle she took the needle and thread from the kit and proceeded to stitch the hole closed.

All the time his eyes were on her rather than what she was doing to him and again he was blown away by her hidden talents.

"All done."

Looking down in surprise he saw the neat small stitches. Christ if that had been Dad's work he'd have been looking like Frankenstein, this would barely scar. Incredible.

She had him quickly patched with gauze and tape. Packing everything away she left him to nurse the bottle.

He loved it when they had their sparring matches and she made him laugh but sometimes when they just moved around each other in utter silence it was just as amazing.

Returning to the room, she untied his boots and set them down. Lifting his legs she pulled the top sheet from under his body and draped it over him.

Moving to the other side of the bed she stripped off and climbed in with him. He opened out his arm and she snuggled into his good side.

They'd just wasted four vampires and he'd been stabbed but he didn't think there was a happier man in the world than right at that moment.