Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed it, and drop a comment if you have time. I still don't own them. Bye…
When Jeff walked into the room a few days later-three bags full of food in his arms-he was bombarded by the beginning tune to Oprah. His eyebrows rose in curiosity, his eyes flashing across the TV screen and landing on the older Winchester. He was unaware of Jefferson's arrival, watching Oprah with such intent that it was almost like the younger guy was watching his hero. The older hunter had a feeling that if Sam weren't asleep, his snores rolling across the room, Dean wouldn't be watching Oprah at all.
"Searching for a new girlfriend," Jeff asked closing the door and causing Dean to jump. He flipped the television off, tossing the remote onto the bedside table. Almost unconsciously, he rubbed his leg and said, "Been gone a while."
"Sorry, Small Fry, but I had to travel to three different diners before I found your frigging double-bacon cheeseburger."
"Double bacon? I never asked for a double bacon…? Hell, you could have gotten triple…"
"Stop bitching and wake your brother up," Jeff responded setting the food on the table crammed against the wall. He started pulling containers out of the bag, vaguely aware of Dean whipping a pillow at his brother.
"Damn it, Dean," Sam snapped his bed creaking as he jerked awake.
"Where're Singer and my brother?" Jeff asked before the two brothers could begin fighting. After several days of arguing with Josh, mostly over how to treat the Winchesters' injuries, he didn't want to hear anymore.
"Bobby went out to get our car," Dean replied appearing at Jeff's side. He was limping heavily on his right leg, keeping his hand pressed tightly to his side. Jefferson knew what Bobby would say if he were here, but there wasn't much they could actually do if Dean wanted to move around. He was an adult and sitting still never was the older Winchester's way.
"Dean whined for about fifteen minutes about never getting the 7Up he wanted…"
"Did not," Dean protested sitting stiffly at the table.
"So, he went out to get it. Seeing as the only gas station in town was 'robbed.'" Jeff could hear the quotey fingers in Sam's voice. "He had to go one town over. He left about a half hour ago."
"You're milking your injuries for all they are worth aren't you, Small Fry?" Jeff could barely conceal the smirk on his face when Dean gave him an 'I can barely walk, let alone drive' kind of look. "Oh, don't give me that look. You got your ass off that bed for a double-bacon cheeseburger." He actually laughed out loud when Dean gestured to the burger he had just opened. "I'm sure, if it were Bobby and me, we would have told you to suck it up. Josh is too soft."
"So says the double-bacon cheeseburger guy," Sam mumbled dropping into a chair at the table and pulling his own food toward him.
"Shut up," Jeff muttered turning the last chair around and straddling it. He put the remaining food bags on the floor, opening his own. Outside a rumbled could be heard, the arrival of Bobby.
"Singer's here. If he yells at you two for being out of bed, it was not my idea," Jeff said in a matter-of-fact voice.
"Why do you automatically assume Bobby will blame…" Dean never got to finish his sentence. The door opened, the oldest hunter took one look at the three guys seated around the table, and he said, "Jeff, you too frigging lazy to give 'em their food. I thought I told you to keep 'em in bed."
"Told you," Jeff muttered receiving an eye roll from Dean.
"Told him what," Bobby asked as Josh walked into the room. He was carrying a bag full of soda, his eyebrows raised at the hold-up in the doorway.
"That you are the toughest, most ruthless hunter I have ever seen," Jeff replied flashing Bobby a grin.
"I didn't know you rolled that way, Bobby," Josh commented getting a laugh from everyone but the oldest hunter. He growled and whispered something that sounded vaguely like, "Idgits."
After they settled down, they all began to eat. The room was filled with small talk, mostly banter between Jeff and Dean. It felt good to argue with someone other than his brother for a change. But even though Dean said he was fine and even acted like he was fine, Jefferson knew he wasn't. Sam, who knew Dean better than anyone, knew, too.
Nina had died, or had allegedly died, and Dean couldn't stop it. As much as he hated the former hunter, as much as the older Winchester wished he could have ended her existence as easily as she ended every other person she came across, he never wanted to see her do what she did. Jefferson wasn't there personally, but from what Joshua told him Nina wasn't exactly the most stable when she fell into the water.
She had backed to the edge of the water, her face had been calculating, and then she fell backwards. But before going into the water, she did yell something. Something that Jeff really wished she wouldn't have. "Nothing gives me more pleasure than to know that I have gotten to you!" And even if the rest of them were trying to let Nina and the soiled memories she caused go, Dean just couldn't. And Jefferson was afraid for the kid.
When the food had been consumed, Dean not eating as much as Jeff thought he would, the two Winchesters crashed back on their beds. They both were out moments after taking some pain pills. Bobby had mumbled something about needing a beer and Josh had left to the room next door (the older hunters getting one the night after Dean and Sam came back from the woods). Jeff was collecting the Styrofoam containers, shoving them into the plastic bags they came in. He kept glancing over at Dean, waiting for the normal nightmare to hit. It was always the same, every night since they brought him back from the woods.
He'd start to toss and turn, mumbling unintelligible words. His words would slowly become clearer until he was half shouting, "Wait," and sitting up with an outstretched hand. After that he'd wake up, looking around for something or someone who just wasn't there. Jeff didn't know what the dream was exactly, but he had a shrewd idea.
Once all the containers were collected he headed out letting the door close behind him with an almost silent click. He trekked across the parking lot, swinging the bag back and forth. The dumpster stood at the base of the parking lot, the lid already open; someone obviously using it and forgetting to close the lid.
"You're actually taking the garbage out," a voice said behind him. It sounded amused, almost like the owner reverted to twelve again. Jeff held back a smirk, throwing the bag in the dumpster. He turned to face his brother and said, "No one else was going to."
"It's about time. When you were younger you never did it. Either Mom or I did it. You'd always say that you spent half the time learning about smelly things, why would you want to take one to the curb."
"I can't believe you remember that."
"Dude, it was like twenty years ago."
"And it was good for you to take the trash out," Jeff said with a small smile on his face. Both brothers started toward their room, Bobby's turn to stay with the boys that night. When Bobby gets back from the bar, Jeff thought unlocking the Winchesters' door to check on them. Both were still out cold, still in the same positions he had left them in. He closed and locked the door and quickly followed his brother.
"He's going to be fine," Josh muttered unlocking their door. He allowed his brother to go first, closing the door behind him. Like Sam, who knew how to read Dean, Josh knew how to read Jeff-a little too well, sometimes. Josh knew Jeff was worried about the oldest Winchester. In retrospect, it didn't even take a rocket scientist to figure out that Jeff was worried about Dean. Very few people worried Jefferson Michaels like Dean and Sam Winchester. Very few.
"I know," Jeff responded settling on the closet bed to the door. It wasn't a gesture to always protect Josh-like Dean always did with Sam. Truth be told, Josh put his foot down at six saying he needed no one to save him. He was a hunter, he'd protect himself. It was mostly because the bed was closest and Jeff was tired. He lied back, staring at the aqua ceiling, wondering where he learned to distinguish the type of green the ceiling was.
"And if he isn't, he's Sam's problem…" it was meant to be a joke; Jeff knew it was, but it still struck a chord. Was it fair to the youngest Winchester, leaving his emotionally wreck of a brother in his hands. Granted, it wouldn't be the first time, but it's got to be tiring to always deal with your brother's problems before dealing with your own.
"You do realize Dean deals with Sam's problems more than his own." Jeff sat up, unaware that he had spoken at all, to see Josh giving his brother a 'you-know-don't-challenge-me' look.
"Can we talk about something else? What about how you're going to get home?"
"I was wondering…" Josh started averting his eyes.
"No can do, little bro," Jeff responded lying back again. "I'm not heading in the direction of your place. I've got a huge hunt coming up."
"A huge hunt? Hunting what, a new girl?"
"A coven of witches," Jeff snapped sitting up again to glare at his brother.
"Close enough," Josh muttered. "Unless they're dude witches… And if they are, I gotta tell you bro…"
"Don't finish that sentence," Jeff said slowly, a shake of his head.
"Just saying," Josh said as he headed toward his bag. He unzipped it, pulling out a pair of sweats. "Dude witches are out there."
"I'm going to sleep," Jeff grumbled kicking his boots off and flicking the light off.
"Oh, Jeffy Poo…"
Josh chuckled but kept quiet. Jeff listened to his brother start to get ready for bed, turning onto his right side. His left arm still hurt if he laid on it or picked anything heavy up or used it in almost any way. But there was no point in complaining about it, Sam and Dean came first for the time being. They were top priority.
Josh had gotten into the other bed, setting the alarm clock to go off in a few hours. Jeff knew Bobby would be back in no time, he rarely drank more than one beer alone, but Josh was overly cautious. He had to check on the boys at all times, make sure they were alright. He was like an annoying parent, worse than Bobby or John. Almost worse than Jim; no one can be worse than Jim had been.
"Male witches," was the last thing Jeff heard-making a mental note to punch Josh in the face in the morning-before he drifted off to sleep.
Dean was running through the woods, rain slamming onto his head, unaware of where he was going. As much as he didn't know why or where he was running, his head still told him to speed up. He tried, he really did, but it felt like he was sloshing through a bowl of molasses. Finally, he broke through a few branches, a stick slicing his cheek, to see Nina standing by the edge of the river. She had a calculating look on her face, glancing back at the water. She looked back at him, a small smile on her face, and said, "You were the one I never killed." Then she fell backwards.
"Wait," Dean called sitting up. His hand was outstretched, reaching for no one. It had been a week and a half since Nina's disappearance. He and Sam had been staying at Bobby's for the past three days. They just couldn't stay in the motel anymore, not after the police started looking for the 'robbers' who killed the gas station clerk. Even if the Winchesters didn't do it, their car still might have been spotted and they didn't need another murder rap on their hands.
After a week and a half, most of which was spent trying to maneuver on his damn leg, Dean had thought the nightmare would lift. It's not like he was a fan of Nina. On the contrary, he hated her guts. But her words kept circling his head, the real ones and the dream ones. "Nothing gives me more pleasure than to know that I have gotten to you!" and "You were the one I never killed." He just wished he knew what they meant.
A sudden blast of music made him jump. He looked around for the noise, taking a moment to realize it was his phone. He picked it up, off Bobby's desk, and read the caller ID. Unknown? What? He flipped his phone open and said, "Hello?"
"Dean, it's me." The voice was so familiar, so spine chillingly familiar. She was alive, she didn't die. How the hell is that possibly.
"How are you…?"
"Alive? Doesn't matter." She had a slight amused tone to her voice, something she didn't have over a week ago. It was almost like she was either in denial of Ethan's death or suppressing her emotions.
"You fell in the water."
"I know," she replied. "Just calling to tell you I'm alive. And…" she was silent for a moment, almost like she was lost in thought. Finally, she sighed and said, "If you would have went the other way, that night I left you in the woods, you would have made it to the highway in about ten minutes. Bye Dean Winchester." And she was gone, the dial tone the only thing Dean heard.
He snapped his phone shut, at a lost to what to say. He glanced over at his brother, who was crashed out on the couch, and could almost picture Sam's face when he told him. With a sigh of frustration, wondering when and where they would run into Nina again, he threw his phone back on Bobby's desk and laid back.
As much as she pissed him off, as much as she deserved to die for every life she'd ever taken, Dean had to admit that she had a certain style about her. That she knew what she was doing. That it wasn't the last he'd ever hear of Nina Horton. And with that thought in mind, he drifted off into a dreamless sleep: the first time in a long time.