Disclaimer…All together now:The TV show Supernatural and all characters therein are owned by assorted Americans, not me Anyway: this fiction is purely for the enjoyment of readers; no money is being made. All Original Characters remain the property of The Cat's Whiskers and may not be used without the express permission of the authoress. WARNING: SEASON 4 ISSUES AND SPOILERS IN THIS STORY. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED (see the big capital WARNING above).

Summary: When it comes to hotel and motels, the players change but the game remains the same, and the Winchester luck is all bad. Add in two brothers in a state of virtual civil war and a dollop of the usual evil…

Rating:'T'/15. This story contains some fairly heavy themes, downpours of angst, and minor spoilers up to and including 'Sex and Violence' – it also contains a little of both itself. Warnings: some fruity language, deucedly undraped damsels (and boy toys), and some serious abuse of the Brothers Grimm.


Chapter 1

"No!" said Sam suddenly.

Dean swerved slightly in reaction to this and tensed, alert to any threat to his baby; he flicked a glance at Sam's face, perpetually grim these days, in the passenger seat. "What?"

"Third window from the left."

There oughta be law…It was a visual assault - a huge, garishly painted and grossly tacky1970s Elvis Presley lamp prominently displayed in the window that highlighted the begrimed glass and the nicotine-brown net curtain, neither of which had probably been washed since the same decade.

"So, they're proud to show their love for the King." Dean couldn't resist the quip even as he agreed with Sam's opinion – ouch.

"I am not spending the night in some place where the only culture around is what you find growing around the plughole!" Sam growled.

"Okay, okay, unclench your buttocks, you'll give yourself piles being that tight-assed all the time," Dean taunted but obediently headed the Impala back into the gathering dusk.

Sam didn't respond, as he once would have, with an ostentatious sniff meant to imply 'I'm above such puerile humour', but then Sam didn't respond to a lot of things as he once would have.

Makes two of us. Dean squinted slightly in the gathering gloom as he looked up the road for another, even slightly more salubrious, motel. Had he inherited his tendency towards short-sight from mom or dad? In the end it didn't matter. He didn't have health insurance in any name anymore and he'd never expected, deep down, to live long enough to need spectacles. And he hadn't…

He veered away from those memories, but there was nothing to distract him right now from them inside this chuckle wagon either. Sam had been, in order, astonished, then hurt, then furious after the damn Siren had captured Dean, not with a hot chick, but a great guy – Nick Monroe had been the ideal baby brother of Dean's every fantasy – attentive, interested, encouraging, courageous and supportive. Ever since Dean had felt peculiarly guilty – like one of those guys who ended up on some trashy daytime talk show as the guilty 'husband who left me – for another man!'

Given the walk on the wild side Sam seemed hell-bent – and that pun wasn't even funny – on taking with his super-juiced psychic powers, Dean was afraid to contemplate what he would do if Sammy ever used those powers against Dean instead of for him. It was the new No.1 in a long laundry list of nightmares and worries that Dean had no answers for.

But it wasn't like he had any leverage any more was it? Sure, when Castiel had dragged him back in time and given him a ringside seat for Azazel's machinations he'd believed that wrath of god righteous riff he'd laid on Sammy, but that he been before their fun first meeting with the Bert to Castiel's Ernie. Uriel was the closest thing to a supernatural sociopath Dean had ever seen; Dean would swear on whatever soul he had left that chuckle-chops Urinal got off on genocide, no matter how divinely mandated his 'purifications' had been; a euphemism for fire and brimstone to rank up there with 'extreme prejudice' and 'downsizing'.

After spending quality time up close and personal to Uriel and having seen what Sam had achieved in the 'saving innocent lives' department he was only sorry he'd accepted Castiel's blanket 'Sam using his powers is bad claim' without comparing the evidence. Fact was, if someone put a gun to his head and forced him to choose between trusting Ruby and Uriel, Dean was already half-sure he would go for his black-eyed girl over the black-winged boy any time.

Or rather, Sam's black-eyed girl; another way in which Sam had changed, and not for the better – starting with the fact that he was even with Ruby. Azazel had murdered the love of his life in a fireball inferno and now Sam had been sleeping with the enemy for the past near-year, starting only a few months from back when he'd buried Dean…again Dean veered away from those hellish memories, the operative word being hellish.

But back in whateverinhell nowhere town the Siren had been plaguing, Sam had done the nasty with that doctor – Corinne? Katrina? Roberts? – despite being 'with' Ruby. Not that the fact that his brother, literally, had a demon lover was in any way a good thing, but Sam had always had a distinct, and kinda cute 'old school' moral perspective. If you couldn't be trusted not to betray someone you claimed to love, you couldn't be trusted at all. Sam had always been serially monogamous, unlike Dean, who, okay, occasionally focussed his attentions in different directions at the same time. The fact that Ruby was a demoness was irrelevant at this juncture; Sam had had sex with Whatshername Roberts despite being 'with' Ruby, another significant change in personality traits that had to be put under the negative column.

Which led to things like this epic million-hour drive across the bucolic rural Midwest in strained silence with nothing to listen to but the weight of pregnant silence and look at but the peaky profile of baby bro' as Sammy stared out of the passenger side window, clearly a million miles away. Dean felt that same disconnect more and more, unfortunately as driver he didn't have the luxury of floating off into dreamland, unless he wanted to put them dead in a ditch and force Castiel to do a rerun of yanking him out of the pit again.

And wasn't Castiel another big question mark? Every time Dean looked into those puppy dog eyes and listened to that hesitant, quietly-spoken but oh-so-reasonable voice, he had to consciously remember that he was not facing Castiel, but the human host suckered into carrying around Mr Wings. Assuming they both survived this roller-coaster ride to wherever it went, Dean was going to have a serious chat about being careful what you pray for because you might get it. After all, surely the other guy who had been lumbered with Uriel taking up house-room in his frontal lobes had been as equally devout as the guy 'infused' with Castiel? I know what I did to deserve getting a pit-bull like Uriel sicced on me with that whole behave or die – again – riff…but what had that poor sucker done to deserve Uriel squatting in his body?

Was there something up ahead…nope, copse of trees. Copse…way too much like corpse. Mind you, it had been how Dean had realised how whack his resurrection had been. Half a forest had been razed around his gravesite; which was why they were here now, wherever here was – en route to someplace else. Bobby had asked them to investigate another perfect circle around a grave and, though he hadn't said anything in so many words, Dean had understood enough to realise that the grave had been located in a cemetery where someone important to Bobby had been buried.

His unknown, long dead wife, maybe? Anything was possible, though traditionally, hunters ensured each other, and their loved ones, were cremated and the ashes, often, scattered. Not even Azazel – or Castiel – could have put Humpty Dumpty Dean back together if Sam had obeyed Dean's Will, though such a grandiloquent description seemed a bit much for a notepad sheet scribbled with six words: burn, urn. Look after the Impala.

But Bobby was the reason Dean was willing to drive all night. Sam didn't understand because he couldn't, even though he was sat just two feet and an unbridgeable chasm away. Dean privately suspected that in John Winchester's head, Sam had never grown beyond the gurgling six-month old baby that Mary Winchester had died trying to save. Dad had always treated Sam like a son, and Dean like a fellow Marine. Dean had loved his father, but Bobby had always been his "dad".

After all, Azazel had understood that chink in Dean's emotional armour…what better, or rather worse, summation of the messed up paternal/filial relationship could there ever be than the inescapable fact that Dean had known his father was demon-possessed because the man praised him and said he was proud of him. I know you're not really my dad because you're not hitting/yelling at me in a rage…oh, dear old crazy Doc Ellicott would have had a field day if he'd got John Winchester in that asylum with Dean and Sam. Even though John had made up for it in the end – but had that been because, in hell, he'd finally caught the clue-bus and realised his paternal deficiencies, or because Dean the obedient daddy's little soldier had done his job and killed the monster that had murdered John's beloved Mary.

He would never know, and to be honest, Dean didn't really want to. He had always tried to accept what emotional scraps he was given, and accept he would get no more. Bobby had finally understood, when he'd ripped Dean a new one for selling his soul to save Sam…even Castiel had realised that Dean didn't believe he was worthy of anything – never mind a literally god-given job – though the angel had been utterly uncomprehending…'you don't believe you're worthy…'

That wasn't true.

Dean had looked in enough mirrors to know

Continued in Chapter 2

© 2009, The Cat's Whiskers