White Escalade with Custom Rims

He's more than two hours from Bobby's when it happens. First the shakes, the sweating, the dizziness. The sun is rising to the east, but the road before him swims in the early dawn. He is thirsty, for the last few months he is always thirsty. Never hungry, not that Dean notices. Dean, who has resumed is teenager like appetite after returning from Hell. Dean is too busy feeding his own desires to notice Sam only picks at his food, picks yet stays strong.

Stronger.

He's told his brother that. He'd felt it at the time. Confident on Ruby's blood and promises that he could stop the apocalypse, end Lillith forever. Pumped up on her blood. He inhales, closes his eyes for a moment savoring the memory of metallic tang of her blood on his tongue. Remembering its warmth as it flows down his throat and through his body.

He knows it is wrong to want the blood, that somehow, he is nothing more than a vampire, a monster, yet…he is loathe to stop it,. At least not now. Not when Lillith is so close, not when he alone can stop her.

Sam is wishing he were driving something more reliable than a beat up Ford Tempo he grabbed after ditching Bobby's car back in Jamestown. Something is leaking and the smell of oil, coupled with his nauseas from withdrawal, is gagging him. Already he's stopped to throw up, and there is nothing left in him. The dehydration is making him faint, making the road before him swim in and out of focus.

He is rounding a curve when he sees her. Jessica, standing right on the center line of the road. He swerves to avoid her. Tires hit the gravel at the side of the road and inertia takes care of the rest. The vehicle skids mercilessly towards a silver guard rail at the bend in the road. The sound of metal on metal brings him from his hallucination and he over corrects the wheel. The car lurches back to the pavement and spins sideways before he can stop it.

Now, stalled in the middle of the road, Sam puts the car in reverse and gets himself turned around. His head is throbbing with the need. Hunger grabs at him. His stomach aches and his shirt is soaked through with sweat. His eyes leave the road briefly to consult with the map he found in the glove box. He's still over 100 miles from Elk River. From Ruby's gift.

He can make it…just needs to concentrate.

The next time it happens Sam is attempting to find something listenable on the crappy radio when he looks over and sees Jessica in the seat next to him. She is wearing that same white nightgown she died in and a smear of blood across her abdomen. He wonders why she does not speak until she opens her mouth. No sound comes forth just blood, and there is plenty of blood. Sam remembers wanting to drink it and how wrong that is and ends up putting the stolen car off the road.

****

When Sam awakens the car is no longer in motion. He lifts his heavy head from the steering wheel and sees that green obscures the windshield. There is a large crack across the glass where a larger tree branch impacted. He inspects himself, sees no blood, breathes a sigh of relief then presses open the door. It fights him and when he is outside the car he sees why. The front fender is crumpled in from the collision with the saplings that line the highway. This time, there'd been no guardrail to stop him.

He makes his way up the not so steep slope and to the highway. Maybe someone will stop and offer him a ride? He'd like to hope, but hope's a feeling he lost somewhere right around the time Dean died and nothing he could do, nothing in this world could save him. Hope didn't amount to much, not without action. If he wanted to get to Ruby. He's have no one to rely on but himself.

It's not five minutes later when a car passes, thumb out, but no one looks to him or hesitates. Sam jabs his hands in his pockets, they're shaking again. And then, there is no warning. Next thing he knows he's cold again, dampness creeping up his spine. He's lying on his back in a few inches of water. He's not exactly sure how he got there, but it doesn't take rocket science to guess. Likely he'd had another demonic inspired seizure. He pulls himself out of the water, thankful he didn't land face down.

Then what would the world have done? Sam Winchester, boy king, the only hope to stop the apocalypse, found dead, cause: drowning in two inches of dirty ditch water. Lovely.

Civilization, if that's what you'd call a little town with two gas-ups, a pizzeria and a bar, appears on the horizon. Sam remembers back to better days, when coming home met the sight of palm trees and manicured lawns around the city of Palo Alto. Meant Jessica in the drivers seat of her little Honda Civic, flashing him her smile as she held his hand as they walked to the front step of their apartment, their sanctuary..

Not anymore. There was no home, no Jess, and the only promise of safety lie with him stopping Lillith. Making all hopes of a future for the people of Earth possible.

Civilization in a mini-market….florescent beer light blurrily beckons. He feels drunk, fuzzy, and wonders if between the hallucinations and the seizures if maybe he's hit his head. But it's likely just thirst. With no demon around to quench it he settle for buying a liter of water instead. He sits in front of the store watching cars come and go. He still has 100 miles to travel, and given his state now he doubts anyone in their right mind could give him a ride. And he's in no shape to walk that far. No, he needs a vehicle. Something easy enough, not too flashy, just serviceable.

First thing he sees is a Honda not unlike Jessica's and he dismisses it just for that fact. Next, is a truck with plenty of rust, and he wonders if folks are down on their luck worse than he is. The next truck isn't any better, it's skipping so badly even he can tell and he isn't anything with cars the way Dean is.

Dean. His older brother met no harm in locking him up, he was scared. Maybe a little jealous telling him that he's be a bench warmer to the apocalypse, that he and Bobby would take out Lillith. In that aspect Dean was plain nuts. Lillith would carve both hunters into little pieces. Dean was all talk sometimes, no most times, trying to hide his fear. And after his time in hell his brother was always afraid. He could understand, he wanted to, he wanted to protect Dean. He owed him that much. But the only way to help Dean was to give in to that which had always given him pause. His legacy, his destiny, the blood.

He's feeling sleepy, head bobbing to his chest in the afternoon sun when it pulls up.

It's so ostentatious it's unbelievable. A white late model Escalade with custom rims. It's so out of place in this backwater he thinks he's begun to hallucinate cars now. But it's real. The driver, a pretty woman with long dark hair and slightly dressy business clothing steps out. She's immediately got his eye. She's just the type of girl he tends to go after. He isn't sure when he developed a liking for brunettes, but when she turns his way briefly, squinting in the sun, he thinks she'll be an easy mark.

Before Sam knows what his body has done he is upon the SUV and it's driver. She's paying only half attention to her surroundings as she pumps gas into the Escalade.

"Nice ride." He drawls. "Be fun to test drive."

She doesn't look at him, just answers with a quick. "Yeh." And keeps her eyes focused on the gas pump. Sam watches her fingers fidget with her keys like she is trying to make a weapon to stab him with, maybe to jab his eyes out if necessary. Comparing their sizes, it'll likely be more of a poke, but if he can get this right he's not going to give her reason to attack. Neither of them need to come to harm.

He's never pressed his will into a human before, only done it twice with demons. Once, he tried to get a demon to give up Lillith's location. She laughed at him and he exorcised her without trying mind tricks further. He was no Andy Gallagher nor Ansem Weems. No, mind games were never his forte, but he did finally have some luck with them on Alastair. Maybe Andy was right, practice enough and get really good.

He wish he'd practiced because right now he had no idea if pressing his will into this woman's mind would have any effect at all. But he needed a vehicle and time was running out.

"Why don't you let me hold your keys?" He imagined them heavy in her hand, awkward as she tried to replace the gas nozzle on the pump and the cap on her SUV. He'd repeat himself for effect. "Let me hold your keys."

Nothing happened. The keys were still poking through her fingers like a cobbled version of brass knuckles, but she didn't yield to his will. Nor, did she move to attack him. However, that fact alone gave him courage to try again.

He remembered Andy's cheerful face poking into the passenger side of the Impala, imploring Dean to tell the truth. He wished he'd felt what it was that compelled Dean, but Andy's magic was lost on him.

The only gift he seemed to have was the power to pull demons. But how was that any different than mind control? He still was forcing the demon to exit the victim's body, still bending it to his will. When he pulled a demon he focused on it's soul and grabbed, hadn't he done the same with Alastair? Maybe that's how it would work with this woman.

Raising his hand to reach for her soul might arouse suspicion, he'd have to manage this in his mind. Her soul was so filled with life it was easy to grasp, but he only held it lightly, didn't give it the fierce tug needed to evict demons. He held her soul in his grasp delicately like a butterfly and asked in the gentle voice that always seemed to get him what he wanted.

"May I have your keys?"

This time it worked. "Okay, here." The Escalade owner held out her hand and smiled at him. Sam gave her his best boy next door grin and nodded.

"Here, I'll get that." His will was behind the words now and it seemed so natural like he'd done this his whole life. Sam replaced the gas nozzle into the pump and capped the tank.

"Why don't you go inside and get something to drink. Remember how thirsty you are?"

Again she only answered okay, but headed towards the building.

Sam wasted no time getting behind the wheel and starting the SUV. He threw it into drive and headed out towards his destiny .

"You wouldn't believe the learning curve…" Ava's voice taunted him.

"Just flick a switch and there's no end to all that Jedi mind tricks." Jake's deep voice echoed in the SUV.

Had he flicked the switch, had he gone too far? He knew the answer without even asking it. He had to. The price was high, but in the end it would be worth it. At first killing Lillith seemed to be the best way to save Dean from the contract that held his soul, then it was for the revenge of her taking his brother's life, now, it was to prevent the final seals from opening and unleashing hell on earth.

Or was it? Chuck had told him it all rested on his shoulders. And so he believed, stopping the apocalypse was his job, his gift to the world. Wasn't that what hunters did? Saved people?

But Chuck knew the real score, had just met Sam but knew his inner most thoughts. Chuck had asked him, was it just about stopping Lillith?

Because as a prophet, Chuck knew that deep down the power gave Sam pleasure. Sam thought of how shocked Alistair's meat suit looked as he whipped him into tree with telekinesis. "The learning curve"…Ava's voice echoed.

And now this. He'd mind whammied an un-possessed human, stolen her vehicle. Worry over committing a felony didn't even cross his mind. He was pretty sure if a cop pulled him over he'd mind-whammy him too, because there was no way he was going to jail at this pivotal moment in the end game of the millennium.

Getting to Ruby was all he needed. He needed her blood before the withdrawal sent him fully out of commission. He could feel the weakness coming at him like waves. He had to stay on the road, just a few hours longer and then it would all be okay.

Why couldn't Dean understand? He was going to save the world.