Chapter 37

"There's nothing we can do about the claw marks in the door or the wreck in the original honeymoon suite," Dean told Sam and Joe.

Dean and Joe's little heart-to-heart being terminated, the two of them had simply bundled the lion inside the bottom ballroom doors and then they'd gone up to the upper doors and lent Sam a hand with Stinky Pete – who, as a still bona fide zombie reeked to high heaven – no pun intended - and put the kibosh on any conversation, never mind deep 'n' meaningful. Even Joe's eternal equilibrium had taken a bit of a knock as he'd coughed and blinked rapidly. Sam, shrewdly, had bundled Pete up as much as possible in the bed sheets, which were now gross and ruined.

"They'll just hafta be part o' local folklore," Joe shrugged, "like those close marks in the room door. Weird and inexplicable. We'd best get outside 'cause dawn is…yikes."

Prudently taking that as an appropriate cue to shag ass, Dean and Sam wasted no time, giving one last sweep of the room to ensure everyone was present and correct to fulfil Castiel's criterion, before they let the doors swing shut behind them and went across the lobby and out of the front doors, to where Uriel and Castiel stood, immobile and emotionless. Nearby Jerry was huddled in on himself, shaking visibly. Was it Dean's imagination, or was Uriel watching Sam with a little too much interest in comparison to his prior indifference?

"It's done." Dean told Castiel urgently, as faint pink streaks very reminiscent of the honeymoon suite were already making inroads in the uniform black of the horizon. "We'd best get going."

Sam held out his hand and shook Joe's. "Thanks for you help."

"Es nada," Joe smiled and shook hands with Dean, who let his gratitude show on his face.

Joe hadn't solved any of his problems, but he'd given Dean food for thought, and Dean actually felt a little lighter in his step – sometimes being able to unburden yourself to someone who could be totally impartial because they didn't know, and in fact didn't really care, the players in the game really was a big help. Joe would clearly carry on doing what he could do as a hunter and obviously not bother worrying about some Apocalypse he couldn't prevent or do anything about. It was an enviable attitude.

Joe assured them, "I'll see Jerry safely inside once Castiel has done his thing; Jerry's a mite stressed right now but he's smart enough to pretend he's been at the fancy dress ball all night. And I'd best clean up the mess first while you get going…" Joe jerked his head at the dead Faerie, which would put a big crimp in their 'nothing to see here' plan if she wasn't disposed of.

"Thanks, Joe." Dean's voice carried a sincerity over and above the immediate.

For once taking a leaf out of Sam's book and ignoring Castiel and Uriel's presence as Sam got in the passenger side of the Impala, Dean made to head for the trunk to get some blankets to cover the shattered windows…which were now whole as if they'd always been so. He raised his eyebrows at Castiel who looked…sheepishly pleased with himself. Nice one, Cas.

He gunned the engine, Thin Lizzy's The Boys Are Back In Town spilling out into the interior, and peeled out back onto the road. Neither man looked back, because hunters rarely did.

Dean reached out and killed the music before Sam could as the younger Winchester pulled out the map book and squinted at it. These back country roads were barely lit at night and trying to see where you were going required better eyesight than many possessed, never mind trying to read small print in the jiggling confines of a car. With the hotel no longer in sight in the rear-view, Dean coasted to a stop at the crossroads junction leading out of Maple River, the Impala's engine smoothly idling thanks to his TLC as Sam peered at the map doubtfully.

"Where do we go from here?" Dean asked, belatedly realising the loaded implications of the automatic question even as the words escaped his lips a microsecond too late to be stopped or rephrased.

"…I have no idea."

And they both knew Sam wasn't talking about the junction in front of them.

The End

© 2009, The Cat's Whiskers

Author's Note – this story should have been all posted by the time 'Sex and Violence' was shown on UK TV, unfortunately, a corrupted hard drive wiped every chapter after No.20, so I apologise for the delay. I know that the last few chapters have been a bit 'deep and meaningful' dialogue heavy; in the original story there was a bit more action, but given I've tried to retype the story as fast as possible because I promised readers it was complete and would be posted with a week initially, I have truncated a lot of the 'prettying up sidebar bits'. (I also had Give & Take finished and another short story dealing with Sam's blood addiction, that I will post as soon as I have retyped them.)

And yes, Uriel's 'helpful' concession to Sam was of course a bit of baddie plotting, since he goes Dark Side a couple of eps after S&V! I realise the ending is a bit downbeat, but that's where the Season finale is heading, more so than usual for even Eric Kripke and company!