"Should we wake her up?" A small voice asked.
"Come on, after all she's been through, let her sleep," Another said.
"But she's been sleeping for three days," A third voice joined the group. "She should be awake by now."
"You know how much psychic ability is needed to force off a Thrall host like that?"
"Neither do I."
Max grimaced, she'd wanted to just drift back off to sleep, but she realized her brothers weren't going to let her. "Assuming this wasn't some horrible dream," She said, "Please tell me it's over at least?"
"Maxie!" Her brothers cried in unison.
"Yes, I am Rosemary-Maxine Marianna O'Reilly," Max said, and there was a slight relief in her voice. "Not Rosemary-Maxine, the Thrall Queen."
"And I'm not vamp-food," Luke smiled, standing closest to her.
Max smiled slightly; "I can see that."
He hesitated a moment, then launched himself into her arms, somehow avoiding all the tubes that were attached to her. Max held him tightly, feeling tears fill her eyes. She motioned for the other boys to join them, and they did, slower. She hugged all of them close; happy none of them had been killed, or worse.
"How's Justin?" Max asked, "I know he was taken first."
"He's one room over," Noah explained. "He has a couple of broken ribs, and some of the Thrall goons sliced him up good."
"Dylan came to the rescue," Luke said.
Max frowned, "He did?"
"Yeah," Luke nodded. "When me and Justin got out, they were all over him…I don't think he made it out."
Max nodded, but said nothing. She felt nothing, well, she felt bad that Dylan was probably dead, but not in the way she expected to feel.
"You didn't want to get back together with him, did you?" Luke then asked.
Max shook her head, "No. Our thing's long done. Even if he had lived, we weren't getting back together."
Sam walked into the hotel room, seeing Dean packing already. "What's up?"
"Got coordinates," Dean said, shoving a pair of jeans in his bag. "We've gotta go."
"What?" Sam asked, "I thought we were visiting Max first."
Dean stiffened slightly, and his voice wavered slightly when he muttered, "I can't."
"You can't?" Sam asked.
Dean didn't answer, just continued to shove clothes in his bag. I don't want to see the look on her face when we have to leave for good, he answered silently. "Look, I already called her, she knows we've got coordinates." Even though it was only a voice mail message…
Sam wanted to say that he was making a mistake. Or, that they should go visit Max. He wanted to say something, but he knew better. It would just end in an argument that he would never hope to win. With a sigh, Sam began packing his own things. He glanced at Dean, and noticed his brother kept wiping at the corners of his eyes. So maybe the Tin Man has a heart after all.
"So, this Dean guy…" Maggie said. "He's hot, and he's good. I advise you to marry this man immediately."
"He's gone, Mags," Max sighed.
"He hunts these things," Max explained. "Things like Monica…the supernatural, if you will. And he left."
"God, Maxie, did you fall in love with him or something?" Maggie asked.
Max shook her head, "Nope. I knew he was leaving. Knew he had to leave…I shouldn't have even—"
"Max, you trust him," Maggie told her. "And you care about him. But you won't let yourself admit it. You normally fight for what you want, so why are you not going after him?"
"Maggie…" Max sighed. "It wouldn't work. He travels, and he'll always be traveling. He'll always be after…whatever it was he was going after in the first place."
"Max…maybe you should call him," Maggie suggested.
"Maggie…" She sighed again. "Look, I'm tired, can we discuss this at a later date?"
"Yes, you cowardly-brave-stupid-smart person. Besides, I have to go anyway." Maggie paused, then said, "And prepare to give me details."
"Sure thing, Mags," Max rolled her eyes, and smiled. She clicked the phone off, and put it on the coffee table with her good arm. Whoever said that the Vampire queen lays eggs in the left arm was an idiot.
She grabbed her cell phone, and called her voicemail, accessing the saved messages.
"Max…" Dean's voice was hesitant, and filled with regret. "Bad news…our dad sent us coordinates, we have to leave. I really…" she could hear him sigh, her mind's eye could see him running a hand through his hair in frustration. "I um…I don't know what to say. I can't think of a reason good enough for why we couldn't see you one last time. Maybe because I'm really a coward, I'm not sure…I don't expect you to be thrilled with my decision…and I wouldn't mind if you hated me, because I probably deserve it. Although I wish you wouldn't…"
Max sighed, and listened to the rest. When the message ended, she sighed, "I don't hate you…never will. I wish you luck in your vendetta." She closed her phone, and thought of actually calling him, telling him those words…but chose not to, and nodded off instead.
Sam woke in the middle of the night, feeling like something was amiss. He glanced across the room, and saw Dean's bed was empty. The bathroom door was ajar, with the light turned off. He looked out the window into the parking lot, and saw the Impala was still there, with a shadowy figure sitting in the front seat.
Frowning, Sam threw on a pair of jeans, as well as his sneakers, and headed out to the car. Dean's head was resting against the driver's seat, clearly he hadn't meant to fall asleep here, but did so anyway. Sam could hear the radio going, Green Day's Give Me Novocaine coming from the speakers. He turned and headed back for the room, shaking his head, wondering how long Dean would keep this up.
There was a knock at Max's door. She frowned, and as she headed for it, let down her mental shields and sensed who was behind the door. It wasn't a wolf, but it wasn't anything Thrall related either.
She opened the door slightly and replied, "Come on in then."
"You decent?" The visitor asked.
"Come in Dusty," Max smiled. She shook her head, and headed for the kitchen, as Dusty came in, carrying a vase of flowers, and a fishbowl.
"To make you feel better," She said, nudging the door closed with her hip. "I know you don't really like pets in here, but I was wondering if a fish would be a peace offering?"
A male beta swam happily in the tank, and was a mix of blues and reds. The fishbowl had a lid on top, with tiny holes popped into it.
"I think that can be arranged," Max smiled. "Now what do you want?"
Dusty frowned, "Can't a person do something nice?"
"You said peace offering," Max shook her head. "And as much as I like you, I know nothing comes for free."
"Okay," Dusty now smiled as well, "Well…me and Rob kinda need a place to stay…" She held her hands up in defense, "And before you freak out, I meant in one of the almost-finished apartments. Until we can get on our feet…because of the whole thing, Rob lost his job…"
"I guess that can be okay," Max nodded.
"We can finish the renovations to your liking," Dusty continued. "And I was going to ask you this at Uncle Dylan's funeral, but I didn't see you. Did you go?"
"No," Max shook her head. "I was kinda tired…"
Dean walked into the room, carrying two coffees, and a box of doughnuts. He set them down on the table, and rubbed his neck.
"Something wrong?" Sam asked, trying to keep a straight face.
"Must've slept wrong or something," Dean shrugged it off.
Sam shook his head, and skimmed a few news sites for possible jobs. He noticed Dean kept checking his cell phone, and asked, "Expecting a call?"
"No," Dean said quickly.
"Why don't you just call Max and get it over with?" Sam asked.
"Why don't you shut up?" Dean snapped.
Sam held up his hands in surrender, and shook his head, going back to the laptop.
"So…" Dusty said, painting Max's fingernails, "Why black and blue?"
"Heard it in a cartoon once," Max shrugged. "That was my color theme while Dean was here…"
"Dean again?" Dusty rolled her eyes. "Max, just call the guy and get it over with."
"Why should I?" Max snapped.
"First of all, you've mentioned him ten times in the last half hour," Dusty pointed out.
Max sighed, "I knew he was leaving. He had to leave…I should call him though."
"Yeah, tell him how you feel," Dusty said.
"No," Max shook her head. "I want my Green Day tape back."
"How do you know he was the one that took your tape?" Dusty asked.
"The job was neat, nothing was scratched," Max said, blowing on her nails to dry them, "He didn't break the window, and he took the one tape. Nothing else."
"Still doesn't prove it was him," Dusty said.
"Someone set foot in my car, and whoever it was had boots covered in rock salt." Max shook her head.
"So there was a damning piece of evidence at the scene," Dusty replied.
Max responded with a nod, "Pretty much."
"So we're going back now?" Sam asked, seeing the familiar roads.
"Yep," Dean said.
"Why?" Sam rolled his eyes.
"I don't think this thing is over yet," Dean frowned. "I mean…think about it, there were other followers that weren't Hosts, right?"
"Possibly," Sam nodded. "And, if they were human, then they didn't die when Monica did. So, they're still around, wanting revenge."
Dean nodded, "So, job's not over yet…which means, we can't do the other one, until we finish this one."
"That's the logical thinking, yeah," Sam nodded.
"And then…we move on to the next one," Dean said hesitantly.
"As in, find the next one, or we have another one already?" Sam asked.
"We…kinda have to do this new one when we're done with the next one," Dean frowned.
"We got coordinates about a couple of days ago," Dean explained. "But…we were kinda busy…you know?"
Sam gave a nod, then it hit him and he smirked, "The vampire thing isn't the only reason we're going back, is it?"
Dusty was quiet, "So…you said you didn't go to Uncle Dylan's funeral. Was he the reason why? This Dean guy?"
"Not really," Max frowned. "I just figured Clarissa would probably try and blame the whole thing on me—"
Speaking of the devil, the door burst open, and Clarissa stood in the doorway. "You're right, Max! I do blame you! It's your fault they all died, you and your damned need to win!"
"Aunt Clarissa, no!" Dusty shot to her feet. "Don't do this!"
Max was on her feet as well, saying, "Dusty, find Justin!"
Clarissa grabbed at Dusty, but the girl ducked away, and out the door. Clarissa shook her head, and smiled viciously, pulling something out of her pocket.
"What are you going to do, Clarissa?" Max smirked; wondering what Clarissa had just hidden behind her back. "You gonna try and kill me?"
Her laugh carried the same maniacal edge that Monica's had. "Oh no, Maxie. Not yet…I want to hurt you first."
A guy already beat you to it, Max thought as she rolled her eyes. She backed up as Clarissa came forward, always trying to keep a piece of furniture between them. "And how do you think you can accomplish that? I nearly lost my arm; I lost people I cared about! What the hell is left?"
Clarissa revealed what she'd been hiding. It was an old fashioned metal syringe with twin finger loops and a thick veterinary-style needle. She dodged around the coffee table, and Max barely had time to jump behind the couch.
"I'm going to finish what Monica started, Maxie. I'm going to crown you the queen."
"That's not possible!" Max quickly, "Only another queen can do it!"
Clarissa showed Max her arm. There was a string of puncture wounds heading downward from her elbow. "It's not an easy thing to figure out, but I've got the technique down. You will be queen, Max. And you'll be all alone, like Monica was. Will you go insane? Or will you turn all of your friends?" She snickered, "Or will you go after the Winchesters first?"
"Keep them out of this, Clarissa," Max snapped.
Clarissa continued, "What will you do to survive Max? Monica told me that not everything goes away. You'll remember them. You'll remember everything you've done, and you won't be able to stop yourself."
Max hit something solid; she felt the warm glass of her window behind her. "Great location O'Reilly," She grumbled, and dodged to the side as Clarissa leapt at her. Max aimed a kick for her knee, but Clarissa moved, and Max's boot hit her in the calf. "Dammit!" Max muttered, as Clarissa grabbed her left arm, tearing stitches.
Max was thrown to the ground, and Clarissa stood over her. "Where's the frickin' cavalry when you need it?" she grumbled, as she blocked Clarissa's dives with the syringe.
You will be avenged, Queen Monica, I promised you she would pay!
Clarissa had no psychic ability, and she spat the words directly into Max's mind without even realizing it. Max found her weapon when she heard footsteps thundering into the room. "Now the reinforcements come," She grumbled.
"Max!" A familiar voice called.
"Dean?" Max asked, confused.
His voice also distracted Clarissa, and Max was able to shove her off. Both were on their feet, and Clarissa advanced again. A gunshot rang out, and the force knocked Clarissa through one of the windows. Max stared in shock for a few seconds, then swallowed roughly, and looked out the window.
"Max?" Dean asked tentatively.
"She's gone," Max said, wide-eyed.
"Yeah…I shot her," Dean said, walking up beside her and glancing at the ground, "And then she fell out and—oh my god she's gone!" He yelled, eyes widening at the sight below.
Large puddles of blood were drying on the ground, three floors below. But Clarissa, who should be lying on the sidewalk in a mangled mess, was nowhere to be found.
Justin and Rob stood in the doorway, behind Sam. All three were shocked, "She's gone?"
"I'm going down there then," Rob said, "She shouldn't have survived that! That's a three-story drop after all."
"I'll go with you," Sam said, hooking his gun into the waistband of his jeans.
He and Rob left, leaving Justin, Dean, and Max in the room, alone.
"Are you okay, Max?" Justin asked, quickly pulling her into his arms.
"Yeah, I'm fine," Max said, swallowing roughly.
"You should've let one of us stay with you," Justin shook his head, letting her go.
Max's gaze was on Dean, "Justin, can you leave us alone for a minute?"
"I don't think so," Justin said.
"Justin," Max said, "Deadeye here just blasted Clarissa through the window. I think I'll be safe from harm with him in the room."
Justin looked at Dean, and didn't even try to hide the scowl. "Say your piece, and get lost." He cast another glare at Dean, before closing the door behind him.
"He never did like me too much," Dean frowned, tugging at his collar.
"Can you blame him?" Max asked, folding her arms.
"You're bleeding," Dean stepped forward.
Max took a step back, "It's fine. Clarissa just pulled a few stitches is all."
Dean gave a nod, and stepped back to his place. "I should go…"
"Before you go," Max said, "How 'bout giving me my Green Day tape back?"
"Ah…you see, I can explain about that—" Dean began.
"Oh? How 'bout while you're at it you explain why you came back in the first place," Max snapped.
"The girl that took the swan dive out the window," Dean admitted. "I was worried someone might go after you."
"Well…good job," Max nodded. "You saved my ass again. I guess your job is done here, again." She frowned, "So, when shall I expect the voicemail message? Tomorrow night, or later on this afternoon?"
"I had that coming," Dean flinched.
"That is an understatement."
An awkward silence followed.
"Um…" Dean said, trying to break the silence, "What ever happened to that Quinn guy?"
"Someone shot him execution-style and dropped him by the side of I-25," Max answered.
"Um…that's, ah…" He didn't get to finish, Max's palm collided with the side of his face with a loud CRACK! Dean spun around from the force of it, "Ow!"
Tears dripped down Max's cheeks, and she hastily wiped them away.
"This isn't working…" Dean said, his cheek still stinging from the hit.
"You think?" Max asked. "I thought things were just hunky dory!"
Dean looked at her, then started laughing. Max shook her head, and also burst out laughing.
"I…" Dean finally sobered up, "I really have no idea why this is so funny."
Max nodded, "Yeah, neither do I."
"You're still bleeding," Dean pointed out.
The area from the torn stitches was dripping blood, creating small puddles on the floor. "Yeah…I probably should get this looked at…" She shuddered slightly, "Unfortunately I'm a little more focused on Clarissa and that syringe…"
"Back to square one then," Dean said. "Looks like you're gonna need our help again."
"What makes you think I even want your help this time?" Max asked, cocking an eyebrow.
"You didn't really want our help the first time," Dean pointed out.
Max sighed, then shook her head, "You know, I really should be kicking your ass right now."
"Aww, come on," Dean smiled, "You love me too much."
Max rolled her eyes, "You're unbelievable."
"That I am, baby," Dean smirked, "That I am."
Max shook her head again, and headed for her kitchen, wrapping a towel around her bleeding arm. Dean's smirk faded, and neither said a word. An awkward silence filled the room.
"So," Dean asked, hands in his pockets, rocking back and forth on his heels. "Where do we go from here?"