Originally I never intended to bring Dean and Manda back together, then I had an idea... and a few people expressed interest in seeing them together again too, and the last story got plenty of hits - so I stuck with it.
This is the follow up to 'Stumbling Over You' - so read that one (if you want to that is, and if you don't want to, then don't) if you want to know their history with each other.
If you enjoyed them together before, then hopefully you will again in this one. There will be something supernatural going on this time around...
Whether you like it or not - thanks for reading/checking it out.
Dean disconnected his call and tossed the phone on the table in front of him.
It had been a long week. Sam was getting on his nerves, this last job had been exhausting, he was just tired of things once again, and right now he had wanted to hear a familiar, friendly voice and laugh.
He hadn't talked to Manda in almost a month now. They had played a little game of phone tag during that time with two or three "just wanted to talk" voice mail messages, and a few random "this job blows harder than a old cheap hooker" type texts, but that was it. When one called the other, they just hadn't been able to catch the calls.
Dean was feeling fed up tonight and he wanted to talk to her. Manda had this way of knowing what he needed to hear at times. Whether it was when to be serious with him or when to just keep hammering away with the jokes and sarcastic remarks or when to distract him from the crap life was giving him at that moment, she just knew which it was and what to give him. Right now he just needed a little bit of their joking around, a little teasing that suggested more, and maybe to hear the "lonely, miss you, come meet me" line he hoped she would eventually say.
He had called her hoping she would answer, but she didn't. Dean wasn't waiting by the phone because he knew it was impossible for either of them to pick up the phone sometimes, but he would keep it on and within reach tonight just in case.
But it never went off and soon night turned into morning, and Dean figured that it was normal. She'd call back in another few days anyway, that was their arrangement after all. If one of them left a "call me" message then the other had to call back within three days, five at the most. Just sort of a way to check in with each other, because whether Dean wanted to admit it or not, he worried a little when too much time passed and there was no word from her.
Most of the time Manda didn't call, she'd just send him a text that said something funny or naughty to make him laugh. He didn't call her too often either, because it's not like they were committed to each other or even dating. It was just that they were what they were.
There was a connection between them, and once they had stopped denying it a little over four months ago it had turned in to a fair-weather relationship of sorts. When they were together – they were together, and when they weren't – they weren't. Maybe it wasn't exactly the way either of them really wanted it to be, but it seemed to work for them this way.
There were no real expectations or promises, and neither was going to press for anything more than the other could offer. Dean wanted a little more at times and he knew she did too, but for some reason neither of them would ask for it.
The last time they'd seen each other was for two days around three months ago. Dean still remembered them because they were pretty hard to forget. They had just slipped back into the sort of thing they'd had for three days a month before that, and it had been just as good if not better.
Now it was three months and a bit later, and they hadn't talked in about month. Dean missed her, but he wouldn't say it out loud. He knew that Manda would call him back later or in a few days though, she always did. Then they could talk and maybe try to arrange to meet somewhere. At least he hoped that's how it would go, because the more that he thought about it, he didn't just want to talk to her, he wanted to see her again too.
It'd been too long now, and both of them could probably use a little rest from the road and some time with each other.
The sound of a musical ringtone woke Manda. She recognized it as her phone and not a radio or something else after a few seconds as it went off from somewhere above her head.
She was disoriented, and now wondering what she was doing sprawled across the front seats of her car. It wasn't very comfortable either, her neck was stiff and there was a seatbelt buckle digging into her ribs.
Manda sat up slowly and then reached out to grab the phone from the dash. She froze before her hand made it there as she saw her hand was covered in dried blood.
Her phone went off a few more times and then stopped. She hadn't moved for what felt like an eternity, but was only a minute or two as she wondered what the hell had happened.
She raised her other hand and found the same thing, more dried blood. She looked down, saw the blood stains on her clothes and began to freak out.
Her phone chimed with the notification of a voice mail message.
Manda began checking herself for injuries, but there was nothing. She felt no pain anywhere besides the stiff neck from sleeping across the seats either. She tried to troll her memory for what had happened.
The last thing she remembered was driving away from yet another crappy hotel.
Manda hadn't bothered to look out of the windows yet, and she panicked a little more realizing she had no idea where she was. Her eyes wanted to look, but she wasn't sure she could. None of this made sense, but Manda knew she had to know where she was.
Her gaze lifted to the windshield and her mouth dropped open. She was parked in front of a house, her house. The one she rarely ever came to, the one that held the ghosts and echoes of her past.
Manda wondered how she got here and why she was here, but nothing was coming to her. She didn't even know what day it was it, never mind why the hell she'd come home.
Her hand reached for the phone finally, and she ignored the missed calls and messages waiting alerts on the screen as she searched for the date.
As she read it, Manda stared in disbelief. It had been eight days since she'd left the last crappy hotel after wrapping up a job.
Ignoring the alerts still, she grabbed her keys out of the ignition and got out of the car. Thankful that her nearest neighbours were across the street and too far away to see her,
Manda walked up to the door, put the key in the lock, and then opened the door to her past. The home she'd sort of grown up in here and there, where she'd mostly been trained to be a hunter, and where she had been living when her parents had been murdered by a demon.
Manda didn't like to come here often, but she could never bring herself to get rid of the place. It had belonged to her grandparents, and it held a lot of her history.
It always made her a bit uneasy to be here, but now that she was panicking over a good chunk of lost time, it was somewhat comforting. Home was where she should be while she tried to figure out what the hell had happened to her in eight missing days, and why she was covered in blood that didn't appear to her own.
Dean cursed as he put his phone back in his pocket while he waited for Sam to come out of a fast food joint with something for them to eat.
It had been six days since he had called Manda, and she still hadn't called him back. She always made the three day mark, had never let it go over that whenever he had called her in the past four months actually.
He felt a little on edge when the three days had gone by, but figured she was probably caught up in a job because that happened. Even then she'd just send him a quick message that would say something like "talk soon" though.
Then the fifth day came and went, and the worry had started to sink in that maybe something had happened since there had been no return message or call.
Now it was the middle of day six and Dean swore something was wrong. Her phone just rang and rang and rang until the voice mail kicked in after awhile. He had no idea where she was, what kind of job she was on, or what was keeping her from getting back to him.
Dean had known something like this would eventually happen, and now he had no idea what to do. He knew he couldn't protect Manda when they weren't together, and even though she was capable of taking care of herself, there was always the chance that things just went wrong.
Sam came back with the food and got in the car.
Dean took a bag from Sam, helped himself and then pulled the car out of the lot.
"Don't get mad at me 'cause you didn't remind me to order the extra onions," Sam said as Dean started to eat.
Dean didn't say anything, just looked at Sam annoyed.
"You want to tell me what's going on? Usually you'd give me shit for that." Sam laughed a little.
"Nothing," Dean mumbled as he chewed.
Sam looked at his brother weirdly for a moment, he knew something was going on but he didn't know what. Sometimes Dean just was that way with him, but the past few days he'd been a bit odd. Sam wasn't going to press him yet though. "All right."
Dean flicked on the stereo and let some music fill the silence as they ate and watched the lines on the road.
It'd been awhile since either brother had said anything. Dean just focused on the road and listened to the music, and Sam sat there playing around on his phone and wondering what was going on with his brother.
"Need me to drive yet?" Sam finally asked. Dean had done most of the driving today and yesterday, and eventually he'd have to take over, but it seemed Dean was intent on sticking behind the wheel.
"No," Dean answered. He needed to drive right now. It offered a distraction he could use as he tried not to worry and pull out his phone again.
Sam just nodded.
Dean turned up the music a little louder and watched the lines keep fading and coming.
Two or three hours later he finally pulled the Impala over on the side of the road. "Your turn," he said as he tapped a half asleep Sam in the arm.
Sam woke up and yawned. "Sure."
The brothers got out to switch spots. Sam took a moment to stretch before he got back in the car while Dean just got in and settled into the passenger's seat.
Sam got back in, and then watched Dean pull his phone out of his pocket to check it. "Dude, you'd think you were waiting for an invite to the Playboy mansion the way you've been looking at that thing the past few days." Sam had noticed it, the way Dean kept it out more than he usually did.
He smirked a little at the thought of waiting for that kind of invite. "How about a road trip? We could be there in another day or so. Bunnies, Hef, robes… what do you say Sammy?" Dean joked. He'd been quiet for too long and Sam was catching on.
Sam scoffed. "Dean, you've been checking your phone on and off for three days. You want to tell me what's going on?"
Dean didn't want to say anything, but he knew he had to sooner or later. "It's just… it's Manda."
"What about her?" Sam hadn't heard Dean mention her in awhile. He had even begun to wonder if they were still talking to each other. But now it made sense to him, she knew how to get to Dean in a good way or a bad one.
"She's not checking in." Dean had hidden the worry in his voice, but he was sure Sam knew it was there anyway.
"Are you still pretending that's what it is?" Sam knew his brother and Manda had some sort of thing, but he wasn't sure exactly what it was. Whatever it was though, he knew it had the rules of the road thing to it because he knew Dean had picked up a girl or two in the last three months since he'd seen her.
"That is what it is," Dean sighed. Maybe he was lying to himself about why he checked in on her, made her check in back, but that's what it was for them. Their agreement had left it that way – check in with each other, stay in touch, and to see each other whenever was good for both of them.
"Sure it is." Sam had seen the way they were with each other, how Dean looked at her. He also saw the way Dean grinned at his phone sometimes when it went off or when he got off it other times. He didn't understand them or why they didn't try to have something more stable with each other, but he wouldn't ask. It's not like Dean was going to talk about it with him anyway.
"It is," Dean's tone was firm as he said it.
"You love her or something close enough to that, so why don't you just say it already? It's more than just getting her to check in with you." Sam knew that's what it was, but had no idea why Dean wouldn't just admit it.
Dean wasn't going to say it to Sam. He had never said it to Manda either, maybe she had figured it out, but he had never told her the words. "It's been six days Sam, and she never waits this long. It's not like her to not to call back."
"Any idea what she was working on last? Or where?" Sam knew Dean was worried, but that he wouldn't say it. This was Manda they were talking about, and it was becoming clearer to Sam that she meant more to Dean than he would say out loud.
"No, just that it sucked… and that was about two weeks ago," Dean said as he found the message on his phone. It was still there, he hadn't erased it yet.
"I'm sure she'll turn up sooner or later. She could be working a tough job or somewhere without cell service or maybe she lost her phone. And she can take care of herself Dean, you know that." Sam didn't know what to offer his brother as reassurance. He needed something, but what could Sam say to him? Dean was going to be this way until he heard from her and knew she was okay.
"Her phone just rings and rings until her voice mail picks up. If she lost it, it'd be dead by now. But you could be right about the job or the service," Dean said. He wanted to believe it, but he didn't. This wasn't like her at all. Something had happened to her, he could feel it.
"I could call Chuch, ask her if she knows where Manda is," Sam put the offer out there. It was possible that Chuch knew where she was, they were friends after all.
"I'll give her a few more days. I know how sometimes a job is runs a little longer, especially when you're working it alone. That's probably all it is." Dean downplayed it more now as he thought about why he hadn't thought to call Chuch himself. He'd do that tomorrow sometime when Sam wasn't around.
"Yeah," Sam said. He knew Dean was attempting to mask his concern now.
Dean didn't say anything else, just closed his eyes and tried to sleep. It didn't take long either. He was tired even if he was worried, and all that did was make him more tired the more he thought about where Manda was and what could have happened to her.
Okay, once again you will be seeing the softer side I gave Dean in 'Stumbling Over You' come out at times. And once again, hopefully I don't butcher his character too badly.
So they're not exactly back together yet, but they will see each other soon...
Review if you wish!