AN: Another Incoming Call prequel.

Title: Exchange: to give up something for something else
Summary: Prequel to Incoming Call. The night sky seems darker than usual.....
Pairing: Past Dean/Ruby
Genre: Angst/Tragedy
Rating: T
Disclaimer: I do not own Supernatural or any of the characters.

Written by Becks Rylynn

Exchange: to give up something for something else

The night sky seems darker than usual, almost foreboding, the wind colder than it should be and it brings a shiver up and down his spine. In the cold night air, with dirt on his hands, and grief in his eyes, Dean Winchester waits.

Unlike the last time he was here, he is not frantic, there is no shout of ''show your face, you bitch!'' coming from his lips. There is only the sound of the wind, and it's louder then he thinks it should be, almost a roar. Finally, when those internal alarms go off, he stiffens and says in a quiet, somewhat broken, voice, ''I know you're there.'' He can almost feel the smirk that pulls at the corner of her borrowed lips.

''Well, well, well, look who's here. It's my biggest customer.''

When he turns, there she stands, inside of another poor raven haired girl, in her signature little black dress, not even the hint of goose bumps on her flawless skin. He draws his lips into a thin line and bites back a nasty comment. ''Do you know why I'm here?''

The slow, seductive smile drops of her lips and the amused glint in her eyes dies away, replaced by angry, red, unnatural eyes. ''I do.''

He swallows hard against the knot building in his chest and doesn't say anything for a long time, trying to keep control. ''Can you...'' His voice falters and he clears his throat. No. He will not do this. Not in front of her. ''Can you bring her back?''

''I can.'' She nods, but doesn't smile. Instead, a snarl forces its way out and she glares, her glare like a thousand flames. ''But I won't.''

Green eyes darken and he takes a dangerous step towards her. ''What?'' His voice is a deadly growl as he matches her glare. He's not in the mood for games tonight.

The Crossroads Demon snarls again and starts to circle him, looking quite bloodthirsty herself. ''You think I'm going to willingly bring that damn demon back into this world? Please, that bitch has been a thorn in my side for years. I told your brother once that she was going to get what was coming to her. Looks like I was right.''

In a second, he's reached out and grabbed her, hand curling around her dainty neck. ''Say one more word about her, you bitch. I dare you.''

''She's getting what she deserves, Dean. I hope she rots in hell forever.'' His fist collides with her face, the force sending her head snapping backwards. In retrospect, he probably shouldn't have done that. She's pissed now. Easily, she dances her way free and sends a stiletto to his chest, knocking the wind out of him. ''I'll bet she's screaming for you, right now. I'll bet she's crying and pleading for you to come save her. I'll bet it's tearing you apart inside, knowing the woman you love is in pain and you can't save her.'' Her voice is a smooth and sultry, low murmur, but he can hear every word.

Every word, every syllable is like a knife cutting through him, trying to bleed him dry. He lunges for her, but she moves out of his way with inhuman grace.

''I'll bet she's breaking, bleeding, everything in her pouring out of shallow cuts. The cuts are shallow on purpose, you know. So everything's slow and excruciating. It's so they can hear you scream. Because none of it matters, if you don't scream.''

He's shaking now, partly with rage, partly with...something else.

''And you know that the torture is only the first step. Sooner or later, she'll be so far gone she won't even remember your name. All she'll be is a soulless, evil beast who won't remember how much Dean Winchester loved her. But then again, I guess you know all about hell, don't you, baby?''

It's the final straw. In one quick movement, she's on her back, gravel cutting through her fragile mortal body, even though she barely feels it, and he's got a knife pressed to her throat. The knife. Ruby's knife. ''You're wrong,'' he growls. ''She's stronger than me. She won't break.''

She smirks and eyes the knife carefully. ''Is that the same knife you pulled from her cold, dead body?'' It's a moment, just a moment, where he freezes, because in his mind, he can see her, lying in front of him, eyes closed, chest still, knife sticking out of her. The one moment is enough. She jams her bony knee into his gut and gets a small rush of pleasure and satisfaction when he groans in pain. Now he's on his back in the gravel, gasping, trying to breathe in and out properly. She smirks and rises to her feet, calmly brushing dirt off her dress. Her lip curls in disgust when she looks down at him. ''Get out of here, you pathetic little boy.'' Then, she turns and starts to walk away.

His voice, his desperate plea, stops her. ''Please,'' he begs, rising to unsteady feet, throat constricting painfully, eyes stinging and blurry. ''I'll give you whatever you want. Ten years, five years, one year, one week, hell, take me now. Have your hell hounds tear into me right here, right now. Just bring her back.''

''Ain't gonna happen, cowboy.'' She smirks, one last deadly smirk and then she turns again to leave. Before she slips away into darkness, she makes the mistake of letting one more comment roll off her tongue. ''Your little whore is better off in hell anyways. That's karma for you. If you ask me - '' A strangled, gurgling scream escapes her lips as a cold knife is violently slammed into her.

The body goes limp in Dean's arms and he lets it fall to the ground, emotionless mask in place. For a moment, he looks at the body, feeling sick. She had been his last hope; she was all that was left, the last thing left to try. Now what? Is he just supposed to accept that Ruby, his Ruby, is gone?

Sharp needles prick his eyes and the knife, still coated with blood, falls to the ground. ''Goddamn it.'' Before he can even attempt to regain his control, he's sunken to the ground, face in his hands, wishing she was here to make it all better.


When Bobby Singer had picked up the phone tonight, the last thing he had been expecting to hear was Sam's panicked shout of ''Dean's gone!'' There's no mistaking the fear in the younger Winchester's voice. Bobby knows Sam thinks his brother's so lost in his grief he's going to throw himself off a ledge somewhere.

Bobby knows better.

He knows exactly where Dean is.

The sound of the car door slamming echoes throughout the night, but the Winchester slumped to the ground doesn't notice, doesn't even flinch. There's a body beside him and a bloody knife shining in the moonlight. Bobby suspects this conversation didn't go the way Dean had hoped.

He approaches Dean carefully, because at this point, he's not really sure what's going to set the grieving man off. ''Dean?'' He puts a hand on his shoulder and slowly, the younger man looks up through blurry eyes.


''What're you doin' out here, kid? It's late.''

Dean shakes his head and stares off into the distance, his fractured green irises searching for something that can't be seen. ''She...She wouldn't bring her back, Bobby. She started saying all these things; she was talkin' trash about her...about Ruby. I..I couldn't...I couldn't let her...I snapped. I'm sorry.''

When Dean looks up at the older man, Bobby doesn't see the strong man he's used to seeing. All he sees is a lost little boy who has had someone important ripped away from him. All he sees is a broken heart that needs to be fixed. ''It's all right, boy, I understand.''

The younger hunter looks up at the stars. ''She used to love the stars...''

There's work to be done, Bobby knows this, as he reluctantly turns away from Dean, and drags the body into the brush. He feels a small flash of sorrow, for the young girl who clearly got the short end of the stick. She probably had her whole life ahead of her. But all that matters right now is Dean. Bobby'll take care of the body properly when he knows Dean is safe. When he turns back to Dean, he's surprised to see his boy hasn't moved at all, not even an inch. ''Dean?''

''She isn't...'' His voice cracks and breaks, like glass hitting the floor. ''She isn't coming back, Bobby. My girl isn't coming home.''

Bobby doesn't say anything for a moment, because he knows there's nothing he can say to make the hurting stop. He's lost someone too. He knows what it's like. He looks at Dean for a minute, studying him carefully. Dean and Sam are the closest things Bobby will ever have to sons, and he hates to see either one of them in pain.'s not just pain in Dean's eyes. It's utter devastation. Finally, Bobby shakes his head and hauls the older Winchester to his feet.

''Come on, son, let's get you home.''

Dean's been through a lot in his life, he's dealt with a lot of things he shouldn't have had to deal with, but he's always made it through, always come out of the dark and made it to the other side. This time seems different.

Bobby has to wonder if Dean Winchester will make it through this time.