(hello again. this is the not-really sequel to nicnivin. not-really, because i think nicnivin should be left alone, floating in endless possibilities, as it were. but, me being me, wild hunter!dean was too good to leave alone. so, basically, this is about A dean that has been through everything that happened in nicnivin, but it's not necessarily THE SAME dean. savvy? as always, no ownage, no sue-age, no insult intended.)




Technically, they don't need to stop for gas.

They can go-go-go until the end of the world, anywhere the hunt might lead them. Perpetuum mobile. But he likes to make her happy, and an oil change certainly does that...not to mention, there's pie.

He smiles at the waitress, makes it deep and warm and lazy so that she blushes and stutters and gives him an extra slice of pie and a package of sausages just past the due date for the dogs in his car.

He eats slowly, savouring the sweet and sticky cherry bursts on his tongue, and thinks about hunting and fuel and food and how things aren't really that different, just...more.

His baby runs on dreams now. But then again, hasn't she always?


"Damn it!"

John Winchester thought cell phones were an excellent invention. They could be used almost anywhere, with the right precautions they were as anonymous as a pay phone. They told him who was calling, so he could decide whether he was available or not (the answer to that most often being 'not'). Nowadays, they also took sneak photos of important evidence, informed him of his exact location, and in an emergency they were useful enough as makeshift flashlights.

In a dire emergency they worked nicely as bottle openers.

There was really only one thing he hated about cell phones. No, make that two. There was nothing preventing other people from deciding they weren't available, and you couldn't slam the phone down in frustration without getting a handful of sharp bits of plastic.

"Dean...where the hell are you?"


"You have...sixteen...new messages. To listen, press-"



"It's late...Come to bed."

Sam Winchester glanced up from his notes, wayward hair falling annoyingly in his eyes. He'd thought about cutting it, but it wasn't just hair, was it? It was a symbol, a statement. He was normal now. He had friends and a future and the most gorgeous girl in the whole damned world standing there in skimpy boy shorts and a washed out Smurf top, smiling at him. He didn't need to worry about obstructed vision and clear shots.

There was no pain-in-the-ass big brother to tease him about it.


"In a minute, Jess." Work before play. That had always been a standing order, so ingrained that even now he still followed it...and he would resent that if it hadn't always been so helpful. "I just need to finish-"

"No-o..." She played with the word, made it sultry and stretched it on her wicked little tongue. "All work and no play makes Sam a dull boy."

And Sam wondered vaguely, as she sauntered forward and plopped herself down in his lap, if anybody had ever told his dad he was a dull boy, and what John in that case had replied. Better dull than dead, his brain supplied, and then Jess was kissing him and he wasn't thinking about anything except the taste of her in his mouth and the feel of her against his body. No thoughts of studying, no memories of the family he'd probably never see again, no hint of dreams of death and fire.

He's not a coward. But if he could, he would hide in her forever.


There are still commands. To wit: Hunt. Play. Keep the balance.

His Queen doesn't micromanage. He is free to follow any way he pleases.

"You know, it's funny," Dean says, smiling pleasantly at the cowering form at his feet, "at first, I thought you had to be a demon. I mean, humans generally don't do the stuff you do. That thing with the scissors...dude!" The smile twists and breaks into something far more sinister, sharp as shrapnel. "But then...well, then I realized you're just a really, really sick fuck."

He spits in disgust, and the man flinches like he's been struck. Pathetic.

His white dogs shift impatiently behind him, shimmering between Here and There. Soon, he tells them. Soon.

"But I bet you're sorry, aren't you?" Dean continues, relentlessly.

"Yes! Yes! I'm sorry, I'm sorry, please! Please, don't- I can- I didn't- I have money, just don't-! Please!"

There is no sport in chasing sitting ducks.

"Aww. That's sweet. But it's really a bit late for 'sorry' now, don't you think? And 'please' didn't do any good for those pretty little girls. I'm sure you remember that. But points for effort...I'll tell you what...you get a fifteen minute head start, how's that?"

The man stares at him, the whites of his eyes like neon signs in his dirty, bloodied face. Then he bolts, moving surprisingly fast for a man of his weight, disappearing quickly between the towering trees.

Dean smiles, stretches lazily and hums under his breath, while the dogs appear around him like large and vicious Cheshire cats. The definition of hustle: to induce someone to gamble when the odds of winning are overwhelmingly in one's own favor.

Oh, yeah.

Now. Go-go-go.


"You have...twenty four...new messages. To listen-"



At first he wasn't sure what had woken him. It wasn't the nightmare that had plagued him for the last couple of weeks, and nothing seemed out of place. Jess was where she was supposed to be; curled up beside him, breathing deeply and evenly, making those little snuffling sounds that would probably be annoying if anyone else but she was making them. The shadows on the ceiling fell the same way they usually did at this time of night, and...he should really cut down on the amount of time he spent staring at the ceiling.

And then he heard it. The window in the living room, the one that always stuck a little if you didn't wiggle it just right. He'd been planning to fix that since they moved in, but never managed to get around to it.

Well. Thank God for that.

Rolling smoothly out of bed, Sam moved silently into the darkness of the living room. The intruder was a blurry shadow among shadows, but this was Sam's territory and he knew it like the back of his own hand. Three quick steps forward, a grab and a turn, and the stranger was shoved up against the wall with his arm twisted viciously behind his back.

"You will remember breaking into my apartment," Sam informs him, voice deceptively casual, "as the worst idea of your life."

The man chuckled then, low and eerily familiar. "Oh, I think I've had worse ones. But it's good to see you haven't forgotten everything I taught you."

"Dad?!" Shock made Sam loosen his grip, and their positions were quickly and efficiently reversed.

"Hello, son."


"Dean hasn't been home in a few days."

"Finally got tired of your crap, did he? Well, good for him. Now was there anything else you wanted?"

John didn't respond to the taunting, didn't demand respect or obedience, just very calmly and patiently repeated himself. It was one of the scariest fucking things Sam had ever experienced. "Dean's on a hunting trip...and he hasn't been home in a few days."