Tag to both 5.03 Free to Be You and Me and 5.04 The End

This takes place after Dean's phone call, telling Sam they should work together again, but before they meet up on the road.

Usual Disclaimers: I'm just glad the CW, Kripe and Gamble let us play in their sandbox. Of course they relegated us to the corner where all the cat turds are.

Keep Each Other Human

Dean rolled over on the bed. Man, he had needed that sleeping jag. Zachariah's whacky fieldtrip into the future had tapped him out, and that had already been fast on the heels of sixteen hours on the road. Eyes still closed, Dean flapped an arm out, rooting around for his cell on the nightstand, found it, and barely cracked an eye open at the screen. Two-fifteen in the afternoon.

Damn. He'd nearly slept an entire day away. Riding the angel transport through time had done a number on him. That or he'd been run through by angel sleeping aid mojo. He vaguely remembered fingers moving toward his forehead even as he growled at Castiel to get out, that under no circumstances was he to just stand there and watch him sleep. Geez, freakin angels.

Yawning, Dean sat up, stretched. Sam should be close by now. The first thing Dean had done after Cas pulled him away from Zachariah was call Sam.

"What made you change your mind?" Sam asked.

"Long story. I just know we're all we got. More than that. We keep each other human."

"Thanks, Dean. I won't let you down."

"I know you won't. How far out are you from . . ." Dean looked to Cas. "Where exactly are we?"

"The side of a dark road."

Dean's eyebrows shot up.

"Oh." Castiel's eyes lowered slightly before flicking upward again like a librarian internally cataloging human to angel misinterpretations. "We are in a suburb of Ironwood, Wisconsin."

"Really? Wisconsin?" Dean shrugged. "Ironwood, Wisconsin, Sam."

"Wisconsin?" Sam said on the other end of the line.

"Long story. Where are you?"

"Almost on the other side of the country past Oklahoma and heading in the wrong direction. At least fifteen hours out. I've been trying to get as far away from Reg . . ." Sam cut off.

Dean's head tilted, unintentionally pressing his cell harder to his ear. "Far away from who?"

"Ah . . . Lucifer. Lucifer, Dean. I've just been driving."

Couldn't blame him on that score. The thought of an Archangel ramming himself into Dean was beyond frightening, but Lucifer . . . Squeezing his eyes tight, Dean scrubbed a tired hand down his face. "Well, turn around, moron, and head towards me. I'll drive a few hours, but I gotta tell ya, I'm wiped. Gotta get some shut-eye soon."

"You okay?"

"Yeah. Just tired. I'll tell you about it when we meet up."

"Okay. Um, if you're that tired, you should stay there. Let me chew up most of the mileage. It's not like I'm going to, um, anyway, I don't mind."

Not going to sleep. That's what Sam was going to say. Not going to sleep because that's when Lucifer found him. Dean's heart dragged to a slow drone, attesting to how weary he really was that his pulse hadn't hitched up at the thought of the Devil riding his younger brother's dreams. "Okay, Sam. Just . . . drive careful. I'm gonna take a few hours here before I head out. "

Castiel stepped close, inches from Dean's hand around the phone. "Perhaps I should go collect Sam."

"No." Dean and Sam said simultaneously. Apparently Sam had heard Cas through the speaker.

"No." Dean stepped back. "We'll meet up the good old fashioned burn-through-several-tanks-of-gas way. I really need to sleep. Sam will be fine." He spoke into the cell. "Call me when you're close."


On the bed, Dean scratched his chest and yawned again while he scanned through his recent calls list. No calls from baby brother, or from anyone else for that matter. Which wasn't a big deal, Sam should still be a few hours out, longer if he'd smartened up and decided not to try and drive it straight through.

Time for a quick shower, grab some coffee and breakfast and head out to meet Sam.

He came out of the bathroom completely invigorated. He took it all back. Maybe angel induced slumber was the way to go. Bottle it up and sell it on eBay. He felt great, ready for a long drive in his baby, and ready, actually ready, to face Sam again. This time there'd be no flying solo because Zachariah's little side trip to the future had backfired on the dick. Instead of frightening Dean into agreeing to be Michael's vessel, he had learned something else. He and his brother kept each other human.

After quickly dressing, Dean lifted his duffle over his shoulder and flipped out his phone to call Sam and let him know he was on his way. Swinging the door open, his boot crunched on the salt lined across the threshold. His brows wrinkled as he noticed the date on the screen. The hell? He glanced back at the digital clock on the nightstand to make sure. Dammit. He hadn't slept an entire day away like he'd thought. He'd slept for two.

"Freakin freakin stupid angels."

He stormed out of the motel room, ready to tear into Cas next time he saw him, and stopped as a sharp pinch stabbed into his chest. He looked down to see a tiny needle embedded in his T-shirt. Stiff red feathers. Dart? His mind went hazy. The duffle fell from his shoulder, or was he falling with it? He shook his head, fighting the bleariness as three fuzzy figures stood over him, and he wished that his tongue didn't feel as thick as it did and he could rip out a louder "oh fuuu . . ." when he saw their eyes turn black.


So much for being invigorated. Jostled awake from sliding around in the back of a van with your stomach cramping from whatever sedative was in that dart was not on Dean's top ten lists of things he ever wanted to do again. Holy crap, where'd this demon learn to drive? He hit every pot hole he could find as though he aimed right for them.

Dean's hip smashed up against the wheel well. "Geez, pump the brake a little, would ya?" He pulled himself up into a sitting position, wedging his feet against the back door to keep from sliding around.

The two demons in the back with him just watched, both armed with tranq guns. Comforting. The larger of the two leaned forward off the spare tire he was using as a seat. "Don't try kicking the door. It's locked from the outside." He patted his gun. "Any trouble and we'll put you out again."

Again? How many times did they use that on him? "Don't worry about me, pal. Just enjoying the scenery." Of which there was none. He couldn't see anything but a night sky out the front windows and the two square windows in the back doors had been spray painted over in gray.

Dean leaned his head back against the side of the van, feeling the rattle and jostles and concentrated on doing that Sam-thing where he counted between turns or differences in the road. They were definitely on a bumpy dirt road by the way the wheels kept shifting beneath them. That, or the most dilapidated stretch of pavement known to man. Ah, this was stupid. There were too many bumps. Plus he had no starting reference. He didn't even know how long he'd been in this van. Could be twenty minutes. Could be hours. Forget figuring out where he was going. Once he got there, he just needed to figure out how to get away and go from there.

Besides, he had an ace up his sleeve these demons didn't know about. Sam was driving to meet him. Once his brother figured out he'd gone missing, he'd contact Cas. Little nerdy angel would show Sam what hotel Dean'd been in and Sam could track him from there. Demons were stupid. And Sam was smart. They'd leave a trail to find, they always did. Discarded dart, signs of a struggle, tire tracks, something. Cas couldn't find Dean with the Enochian sigils carved on his ribs, but Sam could track him and then Cas could pop in and save the day.

Grinning, Dean crossed one leg over the other to wait out the ride. He had nothing to worry about. Besides, he'd probably get himself out of this mess on his own long before Sam and Cas came along anyway. Either way he was good. Just three piss-poor demons after all.

The demon on the tire kicked Dean's arm. "What are you grinning about?"

Dean shrugged. "Not a damn thing. Just wondering what your big scary plan for me is?"

"And that makes you smile?" The other demon asked, not looking particularly like he cared if Dean even answered.

"Well, yeah." Dean kept his tone light, conversational. "You know who I am so you know you can't kill me. Well not permanently anyway. So whatever you're planning, you gotta know it's not gonna work."

At that the demon produced a smile of his own. It was so smug, so full of confident menace, it made the skin at the nape of Dean's neck prickle. That couldn't be good.

Abruptly, the van lurched to a stop. The doors opened. Okay, another two demons stood out there that he'd have to take into account. "Get out." The demon motioned with the tranq gun.

Before Dean had a chance to comply, he was yanked out. Both arms were grabbed and he was manhandled between two demons toward what looked like an abandoned airplane hanger out in a long overgrown field, probably an old out of the way runway for crop dusters. It was getting worse and worse by the minute, although his mood perked up marginally as he passed a few cars parked haphazardly around the hanger. Easy pickings to hotwire once he made his escape.

"Hey, easy on the merchandize, fellas," he hollered as they shoved him inside the hanger, dragging him down a long hallway and into a long rectangular room. "What the hell?" he flinched, seeing all the faces staring back at him. Men, women, a couple of children . . . at least twenty people were locked in the room.

"Hosts." Oh now the demon wanted to get chatty? "Suitable hosts. Strong. It's easier to keep them here for when we might have need." He smoothed long hands down his own chest.

Dean stared at him wide-eyed. He had no comeback for this one. He'd never considered such a thing. It was a freakin host farm. Holy crap. Give him one magic marker and he'd start drawing tattoos on all these poor sods right now. Is that what he was here for? A host in waiting. Screw that.

"Clear the room." Chatty clapped and several more demons came in to shoo the people out. "Put them in another holding cell. I don't want them in here with him." The people went docilely enough, a few of the women sniffling, scared out of their gourds. Okay, the escape plan just got a little dicey. He had to somehow get all these civilians out too.

Once the crowd had been herded out, the head demon placed a plastic cup of water on the dirty floor along with a slice of wheat bread across the top of the cup like a lid. "Enjoy your stay." Laughing, he closed the door. Dean listened, hearing the faint click of a lock, but tried it anyway.

"Dammit!" He slammed a fist on the wall. "Okay, okay, get it together." Work with what you got. He turned, scanned the rectangular room. It was made of cinderblock, no use trying to go through that. The floor was cement. The only source of light came from several slits near the ceiling, filtering lamplight from another room. The door was the only viable exit. They'd taken all his weapons, pick locks, paperclip stashes, phone. What else did he have? Several coarse blankets were strewn around the floor, left by all the former occupants. There was a large pile of them humped against the far wall. Nope, not a pile. That was a person.

Dean thumped the door. "Hey, you left one in here." Didn't really care that they did. He just wanted something to complain about. He sighed. Looks like it was up to his ace in the hole. Wait for Sam and Cas. Hopefully they would scout the place out first and know they'd need Bobby to get them more hunters. Demon host farm. That was just messed up.

He picked up the bread and water, sniffed it for good measure, and headed over to the far wall where he sat by the guy he'd mistaken for a pile of blankets. "Looks like we're sharing. Here, buddy." Dean rolled his eyes, wondering if he was talking to a corpse. "Have some water." The guy was facing the wall. Dean shook the man's shoulder.


Dean froze. All his blood rushed noisily past his ears. He'd know that whimper anywhere. He pulled the blanket down around matted brown hair. "Sammy."