"Dean you wouldn't last a night camping." Sam retorted. They'd been driving non-stop for two days, each taking a turn at the wheel and the confining space inside the Impala had finally started to wear on the brothers.
"Hey, I've camped out before." Dean snapped glaring at the road ahead of them. "Up in Black Rock and in the Catskills-." He began to name, raising a finger for each.
"Dude you couldn't stop complaining!" Sam cut in practically yelling. The fact that his brother never wasted an opportunity to toss Sam's own complaints in his face had finally gotten to him. Dead or dying, Sam wasn't going to let Dean keep tossing those at him without giving a few back.
"That wasn't complaining."
"What? We weren't a day into the hike and you already wanted to go back." Sam's voice dropped as he mimicked Dean. "Dude, why are we even out here? Are we there yet? It's just bears, Sam. There's no Wendigo."
"I do not sound like that." Dean growled. "And there wasn't a Wendigo." He muttered.
"Face it; you're too prissy for a non-essential camp out." Sam ignored Dean's comment and sat back trying to find a more comfortable position. Unfortunately, it wouldn't last more than a few minutes, just like the last position he'd been in.
"Hey, just because I like my comforts," and here Dean thought back to all the little things he liked about living in the modern world. Showers, hot and cold running water, toilets and toilet paper- nothing beat toilet paper but you couldn't get that in the woods. Nope, there sure were a bunch of leaves all over the damn place, though.
And soft, comfy beds… yep, Dean sure loved his bed or whichever one he ended up in on any given night.
Food, he loved being able to order something warm, a good hearty breakfast and that you couldn't get in the woods, no sir. Bacon. Dean loved bacon…
"Doesn't mean I can't go without them." But he sure as hell didn't want to go without.
Sam turned to his brother, an incredulous look on his face at hearing those words. He knew for a fact Dean wouldn't go without his creature comforts, not if he could help it.
"Fine." Sam smiled, pleased with his new plan. "We'll have a camp out-."
"Whoa, whoa why-I mean there's n-."
"Hey, you're the one who 'doesn't need' his comforts. You're saying that's not true?" Sam watched Dean start to protests but he wasn't letting this one slide. "I mean, if you can't handle one night under the stars Dean… just say so. Just admit you can't camp out, even fo-."
"Hey! I never said I cant, all I said was I don't like to." Dean snapped with a raised finger in his brother's direction.
"All I hear is you not wanting to camp out, cus you can't." Sam tossed back goading Dean. "Just admit it Dean-."
"I can! Shut up-."
"Prove it then. We'll find a place to camp out around here…" Sam grabbed the map he'd been looking at, some of the towns had been marked, towns where they'd seen Phade or rather Jaden since she was using her middle name. "Here. Look, ten miles up ahead there should be a road on the left."
"Right, we're going 'Wrong Turn' now, Sammy." Dean snapped ignoring the map. "You forget what happened the last time we went on an unmarked dirt road? You forget those inbreeding hillbilly freaks-."
"They kidnapped me, Dean. We didn't intentionally go looking for them." Realizing how that sounded he quickly amended. "And we're not looking for trouble this time either. Look, it's close to a river, you'll get your running water and we got the sleeping bags in the trunk. Lighter fluid and matches-." Sam frowned trying to think what else was stored in the trunk.
"What- you're making a damn list of camping gear in the trunk?" Dean snarled already hating where Sam was going and if he just said 'No', just kept driving past the road Dean knew there'd be no peace unless he strangled his own brother.
'I went to a lot of trouble to get him back.'
Killing Sam was out of the question.
"We got the essentials, Dean the rest is up to you but if you can't spend one night-." Sam pestered seeing his brothers reddening face. It was a sure sign Sam was getting to him.
"Fine! Alright if it'll get you to shut up!"
Sam smirked, satisfied with the results he'd gotten and all by pestering his older brother.
'Man, that never gets old.'
She dove in the pool and felt the cool water slide over her skin. There was no one around which was why Jaden chose the spot. It was a little glade off the main highway, not close enough for the few motorists roaring by to hear the splash of running water and it wasn't likely any would go off the main road, unless they hadn't seen 'Wrong Turn' or any other such horror movie. A safe enough spot Jaden could camp out for the night, one far away from any city or town, from another hotel and noisy neighbor. How she hated having to sleep on strange beds- beds other strangers had slept in and God only knew what else they'd done in them.
'You've done the same in at least two others.' The little voice mocked bringing a bright red flush to her cheeks.
Jaden floated on her back, eyes staring at the blue sky and though she tried not to think about her past mistakes she couldn't help the shiver coursing through her body at memory of the most recent one.
At least she thought that's how many times she'd used the guy. Used for sure, abused? She frowned.
That wasn't like her, to use people but she lied all the time. She had to in order to hunt the demons, to get the one she was looking for and how long was that going to take?
"As long it has to." She murmured softly, her arms lazily propelling her along the pool while water rushed around her body.
No, Jaden didn't use people because she better than most knew what it felt like to be used.
Dad had always said guys would offer to bring down the moon for her, they said so to every pretty girl. Of course he was biased because he was her Father and Father's always think their little girls are the prettiest girls in the world.
Dad warned and he talked and he explained and then left Jaden to make her own choice from the young age of fourteen. To her parent's relief, even though she flirted shamelessly and joked and laughed and called attention from the boys, Jaden never took any of them seriously. They offered her the moon, the stars; wrote her poems (which 'ick' weren't very good or at all manly in her eyes) others tried serenading her and the one for her 15th birthday tried writing her a song!
Yes, they all tried like boys and men will always try and each one went away getting absolutely nothing they wanted from Jaden.
Nope, that wouldn't happen until senior year with Dante Reynoso.
Jaden ducked under the water but the memories weren't that easy to drown.
'Wishing you could drown the fucker huh?'
Yes, drown him, castrate him, turn the asshole into a fucking eunuch for all the lies he told her.
Really though, it wasn't his fault she gave in so easily because all Dante did was whisper sweet nothings in her ear. He charmed her, played the gentle man (as much as any teenage boy could) until he finally got what he wanted. And hadn't she been warned? Hadn't they told her boys only wanted one thing?
"He played me." Jaden whispered as she tread water and the sting of those words hadn't diminished over the years. She snuck around; found ways of spending time alone with him, even got caught sneaking in and suffered her punishment only to find out Dante had another bitch on the side.
That's exactly what he'd called her when Jaden found him fooling around and he said it again when she cried, when she yelled and hit him.
"Seventeen and so fucking stupid." Jaden mourned wishing she'd paid more attention but it was too late to change the past. She was thankful there had been no consequences from that- stupidity, that's what that was.
How she'd ever thought to be in love with the bastard was beyond her current ability to comprehend.
Jaden swam towards the rock ledge at the deeper end of the pool. She sat there, the water rushing around her torso and let the sun warm her skin. The water was loud as it crashed over the three tiered boulders, worn smooth by time. A dark crevice brimmed with a whirlpool; Jaden found herself staring at it wondering if maybe there was a little cavern in there. Like the one in the book she'd read- her brow furrowed unable to recall the title but then she read a lot of books. Still, the more she stared the more she wanted to go exploring…
The rumble of the engine disturbed the quiet. Birds squawked in protest and launched themselves from the trees. The sound of the flowing stream was no competition for the engine but the crash of water from the trio of rocks contributed its own noise.
Dean pulled up and stared at the classic Mustang sitting almost parallel to the stream. The black rag top had been left down, the leather interior practically called to him. Its shinny navy paint job reflected the swaying trees…
"Someone's already camping here." Sam stated. The brothers got out, doors closing and in the silence from the engine the rushing water was clearer. Sam surveyed the 'campsite' taking in the hole dug in the ground and lined with rocks which held a crackling fire. A fish was set in a brace high over the flames, cooking along with five skewers of vegetables and pieces of meat.
Dean by-passed the ice chest to admire the Mustang. Its clean lines were classic and though it was by no means his baby he could admire the power under the hood.
"Cobra jet 428." He murmured bending to touch the little silver cobra on the side. "GT 500 KR… this baby goes over-."
"Dean." Sam called, disapproval in every syllable as he watched the blond head bent over the Shelby.
He straightened, a scowl on his features ready to snap at his little brother when the splashing of water had both brothers looking to the small pool that had formed. The rush of water from the rocks ate away at the dirt and someone had obviously come along and lined up smaller rocks to collect the water.
Dean's eyes widened taking in the flailing figure splashing in the pool. Both brothers headed towards the figure but Dean threw off his jacket as he ran.
"Dean, wait!" Sam called but his brother was already calf deep in the water before he dove the rest of the way in.
Dean's blond head broke the surface and in three strokes reached the drowning woman. He wrapped an arm around her waist surprised to feel her bare skin slippery on his.
'She's naked.' The thought made him hesitate but then her hands splashed in the water and he tightened his arm around her torso.
"No, Dean-." Sam watched as the woman screamed, more anger than fear in her voice. She threw her arm back trying to break free, her face turned towards Sam who couldn't believe what he was seeing.
"Stop moving lady, I'm trying to help!" Dean yelled only to get smacked in the face. He let go of the crazy woman almost drowning himself as he clutched his nose taking in water with his curses.
Now free, she turned in the water and pushed off Dean with her foot in his stomach, ignoring the sharp burning pain between her shoulder blades. She ducked under the water once more only to come up almost immediately. The locks of hair were washed away from her eyes and Sam could see her glare.
"Stay the hell away!" she yelled wincing.
"Dean!" Sam called taking another step forward.
"Damn crazy woman!" Dean snapped still not able to see her through the water splashing in his face. "What the hell is wrong with you?"
She couldn't believe the run of bad luck she was having with these two. Worst of all was hearing them call each other by name, it couldn't be a coincidence.
"Winchester?" her voice rasped from being under so long but she'd been able to get to the crack between the rocks and almost got herself stuck for her trouble. It was the stinging pain between her shoulders that had her clawing to the surface and swallowing a mouthful of water.
Dean stopped his cursing at the sound of his last name; Sam was looking a little excited. Hope bloomed; maybe she was remembering them…
Fort Wayne, Indiana…
The girls sat in the kitchen listening to the boys shouting along to the video game in the living room. They were bored, like they got bored every winter break since they'd been kids, all except for the new girl…
Turning bright green eyes onto the golden skinned brunette, Leighton pasted her fake smile and twirled a light auburn strand of hair around her finger.
"Guess you're not going to get all pasty this winter." The slight arch of the thin eyebrow was a clear indication the head cheerleader was planning something unpleasant. "You're all just so…brown."
The silence would've been uncomfortable except it was broken by a quick reply from the usually quiet girl.
"Actually, it's a natural gold tan but I do get pale in the winter. Then again this is Indiana, not California…"
"You miss the beaches?" Melina asked trying to stall Leighton's attack. She knew where the animosity arose and they were currently hanging out in his kitchen.
"The beach, the mall, Los Angeles-."
"Well shit, Jaden that's all of it." Leighton laughed slapping her palm on the marble counter.
"We don't get snow in Los Angeles." Phade said half shrugging and hoping to appease the other girl. Fighting with this group was not in her best interest and hanging out with Guy and Luis wasn't fun, not in high school. The fact Lui didn't like her boyfriend only made things worse but to tell the truth she wasn't that fond of Dusty anyway.
"But the beach!" Melina repeated leaning on the counter. Phade was getting tired of talking about the waves and the seaweed and the night fish (they weren't actually night fish but since that's when she saw them flopping around on the sand, the name stuck).
"Mel, she doesn't want to talk about that again." Leighton snapped. She was right but Phade didn't like being spoken for and unlike her usual reaction she kept her mouth shut and let it ride.
"It just sounds so… great! I mean the beach, Lei!" Melina closed her eyes and you could tell she was picturing it. "We're always talking about going-."
"That was sixth grade Melina." Leighton cut her daydreaming short, a faint blush staining her pale face though she played it off. "This is high school now and we're Juniors." Her eyes flicked over Phade and at any other time the petite brunette would've gotten up and thrown down with the snooty bitch. "Not you of course."
"Of course." Phade concurred happy not to be in the same year. Half the time she couldn't stand Leighton and Melina could get so annoying…
"It's so boring Lei. What else are we going to talk about? The guys don't even know we're here because of that stupid game." Melina complained and her whole demeanor was comical in its posed dejectedness.
"There's always the haunting up in Boot Hill Ice Caves." Leighton supplied. The smile on the older girl's face was unpleasant to say the least. She was expecting Phade to change the subject as she usually did whenever a scary movie, haunting, some urban legend or folk tale was brought up. The bright green eyes bore into Phade's bent head.
The first image that came to Phade was Aunt Luciana lying in the middle of the street, hand outstretched and lips moving as she tried to speak. Leighton's voice provided a ghastly narrative to the memory until Phade couldn't stand to sit quietly anymore.
"Don't tell me your scared, PJ." Leighton stared directly at Phade as she raised her head.
"My name is Jaden." Phade stated pushing the anger down as she got off the kitchen stool. The uncomfortable anxiety was creeping through her body just talking about their stupid haunting.
"She is scared!" Leighton squealed standing up.
"Ghost aren't real." Phade snapped hating the lie she was forced to repeat, the lie her Mother had forced to her say after-.
"Guys!" Leighton called turning to the living room. "Jaden's scared of the-."
"Shut up!" Phade warned glancing towards the other room but Leighton smirked, skipping towards the living room. "I'm not scared, Leighton."
The green eyes narrowed and before Phade could make her stop she started running towards the guys.
"Leighton!" Phade called sprinting after the older girl.
Seeing them run off Melina sighed as she got up to follow them.
"Leigh." She called though it did nothing to stop the other girl from making fun of Phade.
Melina could hear them in the hall then Leighton yelled and a series of thuds sounded against the floor.
All three guys turned at the sound of Leighton's voice, the video game forgotten until the screen turned red.
"Get off you freak!" Leighton shoved on Phade as the guys watched. Both girls were tangled just inside the living room but neither guy moved to help them. Syrus noted the flash of annoyance in Phade's brown eyes but, like other times, she said nothing. Sometimes he wondered why she kept her opinions to herself, why she was so quiet but he wasn't about to ask.
Dusty finally got up and went around the couch as Phade picked herself up off the floor.
"Leave her alone, Leigh." Noël drawled as she came into the living room from the opposite side.
"Sorry," Phade mumbled seeing all the attention she'd garnered. "I… tripped." The lie wasn't any easier than the one before but it had been a knee jerk reaction. Tackling Leighton had just seemed like her only option at the time but now… well, she could've just let the older girl run at the mouth and ignored her.
"Hey babe." Dusty grinned apparently amused by his girlfriend's 'clumsiness'. He draped a muscled arm around her shoulders pulling her into his side. Phade swallowed the grimace and suffered his patronizing in silence. She hated being such a mousy thing but it certainly seemed to make life easier with the kids at the new school.
"Sure you did." Leighton snapped dusting her immaculate jeans. "Like you're not scared of the Boot Hill Ice Caves and the crazy killer living in there."
"Aww, don't be scared." Dusty rubbed her arm only making her feel more awkward.
"Yeah," Blake smirked. "Cus Duty's gonna protect you." He made a face, tongue flicking out in a gross imitation.
"Ignore him." ordered rolling her eyes at Blake. "It's just an old story anyway."
"They tell it a lot. The old ones." Syrus added moving around the couch. He draped an arm around Noël's waist and she leaned into his side, both completely comfortable in each other's arms. Phade felt bad, a little guilty because it wasn't the same for her and Dusty but the truth was she didn't feel the same towards him.
Her Father had told her most of the boys would love to say they dated the 'new girl' first and she should be careful about who she picked to date but the move hadn't been her idea. She'd been adamant about not leaving LA but there she was, in the potato state.
Was it the potato state?
"It's about the only time we pay attention." Elliot agreed tossing the controller aside.
"Not in my family." Phade murmured thinking of all the family dinners and the summers she'd spent listening to the grandes tell their stories. It was the only way to pass the evening in the rancho. That was all gone now, grandmother was dead and so was Tia Luicana. Uncle RJ moved away and took Tim, not that he would've left him behind but there was never any word from them. Not one letter from Timmy even though he'd promised to write her.
'It's my fault.'
Phade tried to understand, the way they must feel because of Tia Luc but it didn't change the fact they knew she was right, they knew and they just left…
'It's my fault.'
"I hear ya." Noël commiserated then noticed their looks. "Hey summer vacations, holidays and not to mention monthly family dinners."
"She's not exaggerating." Syrus said having experienced the family dinner on more than one occasion. After their first year together he was part of the family and the language barrier wasn't a problem. Syrus took up Spanish and with Noël's help he was never below a B in class.
"Yeah well family gatherings and vacations aside I have a great idea!" Leighton butted in, a brilliant smile on her face as she looked at the group assembled.
Phade got a bad feeling in the pit of her stomach, as soon as the words were out of her mouth. Nothing ever good came of Leigh's 'ideas' at least not for Phade.
"We should have a camp out." the smile only widened and Blake was the first to hoot, the excitement seconded by Elliot. "We can make it a party."
"Kegger!" Blake concurred, slapping palms with Elliot.
"No." Noël shook her head. "No beers-."
"Dude, muzzle your girlfriend." Blake ordered ignoring the glare from Noël. "We are so gonna party." He said turning around.
"Blake…" Melina tried but the jock never listened much to any of them aside from Dusty or Syrus.
"It's settled, Melina." Leighton turned a hard stare on the chocolate curled brunette that immediately shut her up. "We're going tonight-."
"It's too soon."
"We can't go tonight."
The protests came from most of the group only Blake and Leighton were insistent.
"Fine!" Blake yelled getting their attention. "How's tomorrow night sound?"
"Stay the hell away from me!" Jaden yelled splashing more water at Dean.
"No, no- we're not going to hurt you." Sam assured, both hands held out to show he wasn't armed and had no bad intentions. "Phade please-."
Jaden glared, stuck two fingers in her mouth and let out a sharp whistle. Sam stood with his mouth open half leaning towards the pool of water staring.
"You hit me!" Dean accused, green eyes flashing with anger.
"You were trying to drown me." Jaden snapped rising a little bit out of the water in her anger.
"I dove in to save you!" Dean retorted, moving closer to her without realizing it.
"Roque!" Jaden yelled pushing herself further away from Dean. "Roque!" she glanced over her shoulder wondering where the hell her dog was- had he heard her whistle for him?
"Dean." Sam called but his brother wasn't listening, something that tended to happen when Dean was angry.
The rushing water had masked the sound before but Jaden heard it and the smile on her face gave Dean pause.
"Oh this cant be good." He mumbled watching Ph-Jaden smile.
"Get out of the water, Dean." Sam ordered, brown eyes focused on the trees on the other side of the pool. "Now."
"Yes, get out." Jaden repeated smugly. "Makes it easier to get your ass chewed up."
"How hard is it to get through your head, Pha-Jaden?" Dean snapped as he reached the lip of stone. He pulled himself up and stood, water dripping from his soaked clothes, facing her again. "Look, we're trying to figure out what happened to you. To help you-."
"Like you helped by opening the Hell Gate and letting out more demons?" Jaden snapped. "Because we sure as hell didn't have enough of them still killing innocent people!"
"We didn't open the gate!" Dean yelled.
"Tu me crees pendeja, imbecil!"
Dean's mouth opened and closed, green eyes flashing as he tried to form a retort.
"What the hell-."
The sudden appearance of Roque startled Dean. He flinched; boot slipping on the slick rock and the splash he made drenched him once more.
"No- no, ok!" Sam waved his arms. "Phade- you know us-."
"Stop calling me that!" Jaden yelled. She hated hearing it, hated the reminder of the little girl no one believed was telling the truth. Well, now the little girl was all grown up and nobody was going to tell her she didn't know what she was seeing.
"Look, there's something wrong with you." Sam told her. Dean could've told him it was the wrong thing to say but he was busy pulling himself out of the water. "You know us, you helped us in Los Angeles and then in Monte Rio. P-Jaden, you're supposed to be in LA preparing for some… some, War-."
"This coming from the evil brother!" Jaden yelled. "You're not fooling me."
"He's not evil!" Dean said defending Sam. "And you're missing memories. I don't know what happened to you but we're telling the truth. I saw you, Jaden. I saw you hunt- you killed some demon dogs and vampires-."
"You are both off your rockers. Roque-." She turned her head seeing Roque standing in the shallow end of the pool. He was snarling, teeth bared and saliva flying from his muzzle as he barked at the Winchester's.
"You live at the Hyperion!" Dean yelled starting to move away from the water and the snarling dog slowly coming across. He was talking-yelling without really knowing what to say. Blurting out information like he had diarrhea of the mouth.
It wouldn't be the first time.'
"You work for a vampire-."
"I've never seen a vampire!" Jaden yelled.
"You told us about what you are. You're some sort of champion- a Fury!" Sam cut in remembering her words in the diner and back in the hotel room.
"Stop lying!" She was angry at their lies, that they'd try and confuse her. "I can't believe you're his sons." The softness of her voice hurt but the look in her eyes was one Dean wouldn't forget.
"What?" Sam was shocked. It was clear she had meant that as an insult. Dean stood on the grassy bank; body trembling more from anger than cold because the wind was blowing lightly. The last vestiges of summer were finally gone; the water itself was uncomfortably cold.
"John Winchester." Jaden repeated. "I know who you are. I remember John…"