RUNNING ON EMPTY

By supernaturaldh

Summary: Now that Dean was back from the dead, no hunters would get his little brother. Of course, that was wishful thinking on his part.

Set in Season 3. Hurt Sam, Big Brother Dean.

Beta: Kokoda2007 – Please don't blame my awesome beta, all errors are my own.

Chapter 1

Exhaustion

Dean shifted in the front seat of the Impala; his stiff body moving uncomfortably against the well worn leather. The even rhythm of the wipers lulled him toward sleep and he blinked his bloodshot eyes. He knew he needed to find a motel room, and soon; his bleary head was having a hard time keeping his tired lids aware. He glanced across the bench seat toward his little brother.

Sam's head leaned awkwardly against the passenger door; fatigue written all over his pale face. His long gangly legs were curled awkwardly against the dash, his forehead resting heavily against the window, as drool slowly dribbled down his chin. Sam was definitely thinner since big brother's time in hell.

Dean watched as his brother's warm breath heaved out silently against the window, and caused condensation to form lightly against the glass. The older brother smiled. He never thought he would get see his kid brother sleeping in the Impala again. He blinked back the moisture that suddenly accumulated against his burning lids, and focused on the windshield and the winding rode in front of them. He was confident he would see a neon vacancy sign soon.

The older brother let his tired mind recall the last week. The hunt that had been grueling; the Zippahog evading them at every turn. The creature had taken two more victims while they were researching to extinguish it, giving both brothers a maniac drive to find the ugly mother. To make matters worse, the local cops and forestry officers had been roaming the same woods, making their quest to kill the creature all the more difficult.

Dean sighed wearily.

He would have given up, let the idiots have at it, but Sam was adamant, they needed finish the job. So, they had not relented, the creature would not kill again; not on their watch. Sleeping very little, only stopping for naps and brief breaks for food, they spent a week in one endless loop of scouting, stalking, hiding, and waiting.

Eventually, they found and killed the creature before it had claimed another victim, unfortunately, the bumbling officers had made it impossible for them to return to their motel, instead, they had to hightail it out of the area. Three hours and 223 miles later, the Impala was humming down the highway carrying two damp, cold, and hungry hunters as they came down from adrenaline highs.

Dean blinked hard, just trying to keep his eyes open was growing difficult. He sighed and squinted into the night, the white line whizzing by the windshield. He realized now, it had been too soon after his trip to hell and subsequent return for both he and Sam. The hunt had been overwhelming to them both. Their emotions still wound tightly from his death, they were wrought with memories, and struggled just to deal.

He sucked in some air, and glanced at his little brother. He couldn't bring himself to talk about what he could recall from his time in hell; and Sam had shied away from any conversations about how he spent the last four months on his own. While they both were extremely happy that they were back together, the interaction between them had become silent looks and trivial conversations about nothing.

-o-

Dean's eyes glared to the rearview mirror, two bright headlights riding tight against the Impala's bumper.

"What the hell," he muttered, "freak in' go around me."

He squinted and flipped the mirror up, hoping it would diminish the bright glow that was now making his head hurt.

The vehicle rumbled along behind him for several minutes; his tired mind trying to comprehend why this guy would not get off his ass. He was too tired for this shit.

He blinked as he caught sight of a bright Motel sign up ahead on the right hand side of the road. This guy was really starting to piss him off. He flipped on his blinker and hoped the dude would back off and give him a little space. No such luck.

Dean's foot pushed firmly on the brake, his right arm locking quickly across his little brother's sleeping form. He hastily swung the Impala into the motel parking lot, gravel flinging wildly with the abrupt turn. The tires squealing to a sudden halt. That'll show you, you son of a bitch.

He glanced back to the road, taking in the large Ford truck that slowed, and then suddenly sped back up. He shook his head in disgust as the truck fled down the highway, two red tail lights disappearing into the night.

"Jerk", Dean muttered, his eyes coming back rest on Sam. His little brother was still sound asleep, body leaning heavily against his arm; oblivious to what was going on around them.

Dean pushed the kid gently back against the worn leather, and eyed him silently. Sam shuffled lightly against the seat, and then relaxed back to oblivion. The older hunter smiled and eased himself from the driver's seat, quickly locking the door, he half stumbled toward the registration office, one goal in mind; 24 hours of much needed rest.

-o-

The dark blue Ford truck barreled down the highway, away from the black Impala. The two hunters inside grinned widely.

"Found um." Brain snorted, and then gave a sudden chuckle.

"Yep…that was too easy." Daryl voiced, as he pulled the Ford to the side of the dark road and let the engine idle, cocky smirk adorning his face.

-o-

Brain Greenway had been a hunter for the last 26 years. He had hunted with John Winchester once, a long time ago. The Winchester man had been with the group of hunters that left him for dead in a cemetery outside of South Bend, Indiana. Winchester hadn't agreed with his means to eliminate the ghost, they had argued, and John's stupid plan had gotten him hurt; of that much he was sure. When he awoke, two days later, he was in the hospital, no idea how he had gotten there, or where the other hunters had gone. He had wanted to repay Winchester for a long time, and now, since he couldn't take it out of a dead man's hide, his son's would have to do.

Daryl Leone was new to hunting, just recently out of jail. He had hooked up with Brain Greenway when he went looking for Gordon Walker. He'd been a cell mate of Walker's during his time in the Indiana State Penitentiary, so he had heard all about hunting and Sam Winchester on a daily basis. While he thought Gordan was sometimes a real nut case, the story he wove about demons, deals, and the devils gate had been intriguing. Once he was released from jail, he had looked up Gordon, finding out from his fellow hunters that he had been killed a while back. The story had it that the Winchester brother's had something to do with his friend's demise, but more importantly, it was said the Dean Winchester had risen from the dead. Both he and Brian were sure his younger brother had something to do with that occurrence. The belief that Sam Winchester was pure evil pushed them to continue Gordon's fight.

They had followed the brother's to the little Podunk town in east Tennessee, swathed in the woods of the Smoky Mountains. They had watched from a distance as the brother's went after the creature that had been killing innocents for the last month. The Winchester's were good; they had to give them that.

They were just lucky they had found the brother's at all. Hearing they were big friend of Bobby Singer's, they had watched his salvage yard from afar. The anticipation at finishing what Gordon had started had sat anxiously on them both. They were giddy with anticipation, but had not wanted Singer to get involved. So they had waited for the brother's to leave his place, dark desires setting tightly in their guts. They had one mission, and they were determined it was to be accomplished. They would kill Sam Winchester.

-o-

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