Part 1

"Soon The Road Will Burn
Within A Distance Or A Second
So Let The Silent Set
This Nightmare's Just A Phase
Swallow Your Tears And Try
Not To Realize That
This Chimera Is Real
And Here To Freeze Your Feel...
She Said The Road Will Burn
Within A Distance Or A Second"

Nosfell Labyala and EZ3kiel, "Lethal Submission"

It was a good night. The bar wasn't so crowded that you couldn't make a quick escape if needed, but was enough so that you could easily be forgettable. It was Dean's night of choice for a good game of pool, and the safest way to quick, easy cash. The music was good, the beer was good, the company looked… well, promising, and the game was entertaining.

His current opponent was a young, fairly alcoholized, thirty-something male. Brown hair, broad shoulders, and he looked like he could hold his own in a bar fight –but not for very long. He wasn't very chatty; maybe more the loner type like Dean himself, something Dean definitely appreciated. If there was one thing that could kill the fun out of hustling someone else's money, it was being stuck for several games with the same gushing drunkass, having to put up with stories he had absolutely no interest in hearing.

The first game had been easy to lose, and Dean always enjoyed acting like the innocent, inexperienced player. Missing a couple of easy shots, showing that deep, useless concentration in the eyes, mouth caught between the teeth. In pool, winning against a good player wasn't that tough. But the trick here was to make sure you lost a game by enough points that it would encourage your victim to put money on the next one. The key was to have a chance to analyze your victim's game first hand, see how good he was, so you wouldn't raise the bar either too high or too low.

The bid wasn't too high for the second game, but Dean intended to win it just by a hair's breadth, so his victim would be willing to replay the game.

The party was almost done. One of Dean's striped balls remained on the table, along with two solids for his opponent, whose turn had just ended, leaving Dean with a great opening. Dean bent gracefully over the table, adjusting his hips to be as stable as possible, placed the cue right in front of the white ball, and hit it smoothly.

It hit his last stripe neatly, sending it straight into one hole, and skittered to a stop directly in front of the 8-ball near the left corner pocket.

Dean smirked, forcing himself not to look over his shoulder to savor his victim's amazement, and circled the table to place himself on the other end.

He bent over once again, placed his cue, raised his head slightly to look his adversary in the eyes and winked.

"Right corner," he announced, hitting the white ball strongly for the last time. It spun to the left toward the 8-ball, but caught it sharply on the side to send it skittering back to land in the right corner pocket.

"Looks like I still need to work on my right and my left, I guess." Dean smirked, straightening up.

The loser didn't look too happy, having just lost a hundred, but he didn't look like he was willing to start a fight over it, which was always good. The night was far from young, and Dean still wanted to gain another hundred from the guy.

"Double or nothing?" he suggested, one eyebrow raised, trying to look as innocent as possible.

"Like I'm gonna let you play me again! I ain't makin' the same mistake twice!" the mark answered. He got the hundred out of his wallet, lending the money to Dean, only to retrieve it slightly as Dean tried to reach for it.

"You're a good player. Shame we can't do this just for fun, see how good you are."

A quiet player and a good loser? Dean looked at him appreciatively and reached for the money, hiding it away in his breast pocket, against his heart.

"Sorry, but I'm gonna call it a night. Long road ahead tomorrow. Nice playing you, though." He accompanied his words with a wave over his shoulder.

"Yeah, I'm sure it was," he heard his adversary reply before he disappeared out of the bar and into the night.

***

The air was a bit chilly at this time of year in Minnesota, and Dean couldn't help but think of Sam, now a senior under the warm sun of California. The alley in which the bar was located was empty, the ground barely lit by the streetlamps. Dean took a deep breath to cleanse his lungs of the bar's foul air and stretched his neck a bit. The last hunt, a nasty, pissed off. yet completely run-of-the-mill ghost, had been tough on him. That little bitch had resisted capture repeatedly, and he was really looking forward to a good night's sleep, now that he actually had money to afford something else than a night in his car.

Grinning to himself, Dean felt the thick wad of money through his jacket once again, congratulating himself for the job well done. Not like there was anyone around to appreciate his efforts. His dad was on the other side of the country, working a job with another hunter – and Dean refused to dwell on the thought that his father would rather hunt with someone else, leaving him alone - and he currently had no one else to share his money with anyway.

Brushing off thoughts that were only stealing the opportunity of a peacefully alcohol-buzzed mind, he was reaching for his keys in his right pocket, when that feeling came back. Sonuvabitch, but he'd felt like someone had been watching him for the better part of the last three days. The hair on the back of his neck rose abruptly, his senses sharpened, and his fingers itched, blood rushing through his veins, hands ready to reach for his gun. Something was definitely wrong.

And then he saw them: four muscle men in cheap suits, each one coming from a different direction, closing in on him. His first reflexes, drilled into his head by many years of training with an ex-marine, were to assess as much as he could about them before they got too close. Each of them around 300 pounds, between 6'0" and 6'2", more muscle than fat, packing heat if Dean was to trust his instincts. They were heading his way quickly, looking directly to him, and they apparently meant business.

"Oh, come on!" Dean breathed, ditching the idea of reaching for his gun. No way was a weapon gonna protect him against all four of them.

The four men were now circling him, close enough to prevent him from making a run for it, far enough that they still weren't within Dean's reach. Dean quickly glanced at all of them, assessing danger, and swallowed hard, seeing them tensing in preparation for the fight.

"Seriously," he insisted,"so not fair."

"Who said anything about a fair fight?" One of the goons grinned before nodding to the two people behind Dean.

"Alright, bring it on," Dean shot back, trying to sound as brave as could be, but knowing that the fight was a lost cause already. He'd been here before; at the very least there was no way he'd get off unhurt.

He didn't even have the chance to hold out against them. The three men behind him jumped on him at the same time and quickly, effectively locked his arms, two of them holding one each in a firm, vicious grip, the third one blocking his legs with his feet, preventing him from kicking anyone.

Panic rushed through him as he saw the first man grin fiercely, and his breathing quickened as he realized there was nowhere he could go.

The worst part wasn't the bad situation, though. He'd been attacked by angry townspeople from whom he'd stolen a girlfriend or wife for the night. But he'd never actually been here before. He'd never met anyone from this place, and certainly hadn't had time to piss anyone off. What the hell could these thugs possibly want from him?

He felt the grip on his limbs tighten brutally as he saw the man in front of him reach inside his pocket and pull a small syringe out.

"Dammit!" Dean growled, struggling to get free, adrenaline making him feel shaky and slightly high.

Approaching menacingly, the man firmly grabbed onto Dean's short hair, pulling his head to the side, revealing his exposed and unprotected neck, his jugular pumping blood furiously to keep the adrenaline flowing from his brain to his organs.

The bite of the needle was the last thing he remembered before falling into oblivion.

***

The first thing Dean noticed when he woke up was how freaking amazing he felt. Like he'd been sleeping for a month, while someone had massaged his entire body, unknotting every single one of his muscles, from his toes to the muscles of his forehead. He hadn't felt that good and deeply relaxed since that hunt in Arizona, a couple of years ago. Under the influence of a ghost, he'd been completely rabid and would have hurt himself if John hadn't knocked him out with a solid dose of –

Lorazepam. Crap. The alley fight.

Well, he couldn't really call it a fight. He hadn't had time to do much of that, although he really regretted not having been able to break at least a rib or two.

Also remembering how he'd felt after waking up two years ago, he slowly and carefully lifted his head, body still down, waiting to see if he would feel dizzy or sick. His blurry vision took some time to adjust to a crude and violent light coming from the ceiling.

Huh. Apparently no one here's concerned about the electricity bill.

There was one thing that the bright light didn't seem to do, however, and that was warm up the atmosphere. The A/C was apparently on full, the cold artificial breeze caressing his bare arms and –

Wait. Bare?

"Oh, fuck me!"

Stripped of his leather jacket, three layers of shirts and t-shirts, jeans, boots and socks, Dean had apparently been given thin, black cotton elastic pants. No button, no string, nothing he could ever use as a tool, unless he tore the fabric into strips.

Okay. So, someone had stripped him of all his belongings and had dressed him like a doll.

And thrown him into a completely unfurnished cell, minus the bucket in the corner.

Gee, thanks.

These people seriously need to work on their host skills.

The wall he was currently using as support was grey and smooth, cold under his touch, probably like anything else in the room. The wall facing him was apparently made of the same material. Both were curved and became ceiling at some point, so that it looked like it was only one big wall beginning somewhere, running above his head only to dive back into the cement ground on the other side of the cell. The two other walls, to his left and right, were only brownish bars, thick and built into the ground and ceiling.

Having no way of telling the time or even the day, Dean could only rely on his growling stomach to deduce that he had been out for a while. His mouth tasted foul and his throat felt dry, the need for water making it painful whenever he tried to swallow his excess saliva.

He raised his eyes once more, looking for – there it was: the camera. How could he have missed it before? Its small red light, going on and off, the only evidence that there was at least one set of eyes, somewhere, watching and, yeah, probably enjoying, what it was recording.

"Hey!" Dean yelled, silently hoping the camera had a microphone, but knowing they would see his lips move anyway.

"HEY!" He repeated, his voice stronger now that he'd tried it. "So tell me, what number do I dial for room service in here?"

He waited a hundred and seventy-two Mississippi's before realizing they wouldn't come, and tried adjusting his back into the cold and crooked wall as he drifted back off to sleep.

***

He woke again at some point. He yelled some more, paced across his small cell, and tried cataloguing every supernatural being he knew, first in alphabetical order (Acheri Demon, Angiak, Banshee, Black Dog), then by killing method (Arrow and Bow, Beheading, Bow and Arrow, oh, wait), and then by the state he'd met them in; none of it worked, and he always had a part of his mind on the questions roaming his head.

He thought about doing push-ups, but that was just so cliché. Instead he tried remembering when the last time he'd talked to his father was, and how long exactly it would be before anyone would notice he'd disappeared.

He looked at the dirt under his fingers, then at the pattern of the veins under his skins.

He counted the hair on his left arm, and then his right arm, and then counted again. He did a statistical analysis of the data to conclude that his right arm was significantly more hairy than his left.

He told his stomach to shut the fuck up, and when that didn't work, he tried tricking it by thinking about awesome, greasy food. He thought about bacon, and cheeseburgers with extra onions. Onion rings and cheese bites. M&M's and pancakes. Beer and whiskey. Black coffee and pie. Mmm, pie.

When, after an undetermined amount of time, he woke up to find a bowl of sloppy grey mush, he didn't question it and swallowed it down like he'd never eaten anything else in his life.

***

It was probably a few days before Dean even met anyone. He ran out of ideas to occupy himself soon enough. He tried to take refuge in sleep, but it was tough to feel tired when you just sat around for the better part of the day. Sometimes he'd wake up to find the bucket emptied, or a new bowl of the same tasteless mush that, surprisingly, he found oddly nutritious.

He remembered something a history teacher once said about Nazi interrogation methods. How they'd leave prisoners all alone in a room with no one to talk to, nothing at all to do, to drive them crazy with boredom, so that when interrogation came, they were so eager to talk to someone they would just say anything. Dean figured there wasn't much he knew that could interest anyone, except if his kidnappers wanted to become hunters. Yeah, right. He highly doubted that.

And then, as he was reciting the complete lyrics of "And Justice for All" in his head for the fifth time, these guys came in. Three of them. Two looking exactly like the ones who'd taken him in that alley, cheap suits and shiny shoes, looking like they'd just bitten into a lemon. One of them, a black guy, had a military haircut, and looked healthy as a horse. Flat belly, straight posture, white teeth. The other one had a beer belly, not much hair on his head, and his teeth were nicotine-stained.

Now the third one, he was something else. Nice suit, probably very expensive, and a smug look on his face, looking like he felt like he owned the world. He couldn't have been more than 40, and Dean knew that if looks were indeed as deceiving as they said, he was probably concealing some muscle under his suit. He approached Dean, while the two others hung back, probably ready to jump if he attempted anything.

Dean noticed the man's left hand was gloved, thumb missing, and raised an eyebrow in interest.

"I hate to break it to you, but your welcoming committee sucks pretty bad. I almost got bored." He tossed out his words, because apparently he'd just lost a fucking staring contest or something, judging from the smug look that had made its way from the guy's mouth to his eyes. He looked down at his dirty nails, pretending to be very interested by them, putting on a show.

"Trust me, soon enough, you'll look forward to being alone." The other guy smiled, and Dean wished it could be just the two of them, so he would have a fighting chance at swiping that smug smile off his face. His dad had taught him better though, and there was no way he'd try making a stupid move and get hurt, blowing off his chance at a real fight once he could corner one of them.

"Trust you? Sorry, buddy. My mom told me I shouldn't trust strangers." Dean smirked.

"Funny. I didn't think you'd remember that much about her. After all, you weren't even five when she died, were you Dean?"

Dean's smirk reduced to a thin line of pressed lips instantaneously.

What. The. Fuck.

"Oh, that's right," the other went on. "I know everything about Mom, and Dad, and little Sammy Winchester. I know about YOU, Dean."

"What do you want?" Dean spat from between his teeth.

"I want everything. But that's beside the point, I think. Regardless, that is a very good question, Dean, and I'm glad you asked. You'll soon find out a very important truth: that what I want is everything that should matter to you."

Dean looked at the two muscle men, then back at his captor, nodding his head, smirk back on.

"Is that a rehearsed speech? Am I supposed to be impressed? Applause, maybe?"

The bastard smiled back, then looked at his two goons and tilted his head. Dean barely had time to move before each one grabbed an arm and jerked him up, dragging him out of the cell.

***

"Oh my GOD, SAM! That is AMAZING!" Jess screamed as she jumped on Sam, from behind, almost knocking the laptop off the table as she did so.

"Woaah, okay there," Sam laughed, kissing her hair and returning the hug. "Calm down, baby, it's not that big of a deal. It's just an interview, nothing's sure yet."

"Not that big of a deal?!" Jess gasped. "Are you serious? Sam! A full ride to LAW SCHOOL! You're a genius! And they're totally gonna give it to you anyway."

Sam rolled his eyes, a bit embarrassed by her reaction.

"I'm in love with a genius!" she repeated, sitting on his lap to get a better look at the e-mail he'd just received, confirming the interview that was scheduled in a week. She shifted a leg, straddling him.

"You're in love, huh?" Sam asked, putting his arm around her slim waist, hand going under her shirt, caressing her soft, warm skin.

"Mm hmm," she nodded, smiling as she reached for a kiss.

God, how he loved her. She was everything he could have hoped for. Kind, loving, funny, smart… He'd been thinking about it for a while now, but he was starting to understand she might well be 'the one'.

"So," she said, after breaking the kiss. "This calls for a celebration."

"I don't know, Jess…" he shook his head.

"Sorry, Sam. You don't get to say no. You've studied more than enough, and you've worked your ass off ALL summer. You got some heavy partying to catch up on before burying your head in your books again, doofus."

"Well, yeah… But when I thought about celebrating this with you tonight, what I had in mind definitely didn't involve any of our friends…" he replied, hands back under her shirt, caressing her back up and down, firmly keeping her close to him.

She was leaning over him in this position, and he had to reach up a bit to grab her lower lip with his teeth gently. She pressed her breast against his torso, feeling his erection trapped inside his jeans.

"Is that so?" She smiled against his mouth. She moved a hand between their bodies, stroking his chest up and down, getting lower each time, but never close enough.

She laughed hotly when she heard a moan escape his lips.

"Well," she added, "I'm sure we can move the party to tomorrow night."