So sorry for the slow update guys! This time I don't even have a good excuse. Does a lacking muse count? Maybe it would, if I didn't use it as an excuse so often. I was originally intending to go at this chapter from an entirely different angle, but it wasn't working and I lost interest. Well, I reread it again today and almost immediately this popped into my head. So...

Yeah. I'll stop talking now.

I also hope I haven't lost anyone by killing off all the mutants. Maybe I'll find a way to bring some of them back...I dunno. We'll get there when we get there, but I think this is a big enough bunny to keep me occupied for a while.

And thank you, Fox, for your lovely review! It made me feel all warm and fuzzy after failing my math test. :)

Dean's hands and arms were stained with several different varieties of brown grease and engine fluids...braking fluid, power steering, and of course, inevitably, oil. There was a rag on the ground behind him, but it had been awhile since he'd actually bothered to use it. He was too busy to care about how clean he was. He'd already replaced the filters and the oil, had a poke around the distributor, and inspected the injection system...and he was immensely pleased with what he'd seen. Of course, when you rummaged through your vehicle's engine every chance you got-because it just might be your last chance-it wasn't very likely that you'd see anything else. Dean extracted his arm from behind the radiator and glanced at his brother, who was leaning against the trunk reading the paper.

"You ever think about sticking your nose in here instead of The Dakota Times?" Dean asked, referring to Sam's apparent lack of interest in the very car he sat on. The younger hunter looked up and rolled his eyes, mildly irritated with the interruption. "I'm just keeping up on the news, that's all. I mean, we can't exactly leave, but-"

"You c'n leave." It was Logan; he'd materialized on the other side of the Impala and was digging around in the trash heap for the bicycle he knew was there. His ability to find various items in the mountains of junk had quickly been recognized by Bobby, who hadn't wasted an opportunity to put the feral to work. Logan took a firm hold of the bike's handlebars and tugged with all his might; the frame of the bike started to bend, but the damn thing just wasn't coming loose. "I'd leave first," he grumbled distractedly, "but I ain't exactly equipped for it."

Dean snorted. "And it never occurred to you to steal this baby?"

Logan turned halfway towards Dean and raised an eyebrow. "I ain't
stupid, boy."

"So you are worried about what I'd do to you."

"Nope. Don't want to owe ya anythin'."

Dean snorted. "That sounds a lot like an excuse."

"Wanna say that again, boy?" Logan growled.

They were both joking, even though they didn't sound like it, and neither one had so much as glanced at the other. Dean was already back under the hood.

"Rain tonight," Sam remarked passively.

Logan quirked an eyebrow. Dean, who had returned to his engine, paused and removed himself from its innards once more. "Sam, seriously? Who cares?"

"I do. It's important. And you should put the Impala somewhere it won't get wet."
"He got a boyfriend yet?" Logan wondered aloud.

"Hey!"

Dean grinned. "No, but we're working on it."

"Hey!"
Logan frowned as Bobby's shouted complaints echoed across the yard. Sam glanced up from his paper but ignored the familiar call; Dean gave no indication that he'd heard a thing.

"Shut the fuck up, Bobby, I'm a goddamn volunteer!" Logan roared, turning back to the trash pile and pulling the bicycle out with a tremendous yank.

Dean jumped at Logan's shout and hit his head on the underside of the hood. His curses were magnificent.


It had been the week from hell.
Logan had disappeared completely for the first two days, and the hunters had gone back and forth between worrying about whether or not he'd show up and gut them on sight, or just behead them and be done with it. After he came back, they started worrying about where they wanted their ashes scattered. He was 'a bitch with a taste for blood', as Bobby had put it, and the three of them spent more time tiptoeing around the house than they ever would have thought was possible.

Sam would have been just as cautious as the other two-not going out after dark, for example-but his daily fix couldn't be ignored. So he snuck out into the woods every night and had a little blood to calm his nerves. He could feel the fire in his veins, waiting to be released, and he knew that he'd have to use it up very, very soon.

Logan followed him into the forest on the fourth night of that new routine; it was the second night the mutant had been back from who-knew-where. Sam could feel the fire, and Logan could smell it. It was pissing him off. He wanted Sam to go cold turkey that very night. It was a lot to ask, and Sam didn't think it was worth it. He told Wolverine to take a hike.

That turned out to be a huge mistake on his part, one which could have been a deadly one-though not by Logan's hand. His flask was found in three neat slices the day after the meeting in the woods, sitting at Dean's place on the dinner table, blood dripping slowly onto Bobby's hardwood floor.

Sam had never been so mad. Neither had Dean.

But it had gotten better after that. It was slow improvement, sure, but all of them got better at dealing with each other. Bobby accepted that Logan couldn't leave, Sam accepted that he wouldn't, and Dean took a decidedly indifferent attitude towards the entire thing; he was busy monitoring Sam's activities instead of the mutant's. Logan wasn't trusting any of them and he wouldn't start doing so for a while, but he was resigned to the situation and he intended to let it run its course. So he started helping Bobby out in the junkyard, and he did his best to stay away from the Winchester boys.

-Logan blinked in sudden surprise as something foreign in the air caught his attention. He grabbed the remote from Dean-who let out an offended "Hey!" as he did-and turned the T.V. off, silencing the room. After a short pause Sam started whining about missing the score, but Bobby shut him up with a glare; the veteran had enough experience to know when things were serious. A second passed, then two, and with each passing breath Wolverine's frown deepened further. Finally Sam broke the silence.

"What?"

"Somethin' funny in the kitchen..." and then Logan got up and stalked out.

Bobby got up too and followed the other man out of the room. Dean looked at Sam and left as well. The youngest hunter just rolled his eyes, but after a second of thought decided he wanted to be in on whatever was going on. He sighed, stood, and headed down the hall to catch up.

Logan stopped in the kitchen doorway and sniffed conspicuously at the girl in the center of the room. She was tall, blonde, and beautiful, but she smelled like sin and her eyes were dark. Plus, she should have been dead. Her heart was silent...it was a mystery how she could even be standing up.

Bobby came in behind Logan, stepping fully into the kitchen, and Dean and Sam were along soon after. Sam's eyes got a whole lot bigger when he saw who the visitor was, but Dean's expression hardened into a glare.

"Ruby?"

That scent was so...dammit. It was on the tip of his tongue, what it was, why he remembered it. Then Sam sighed, Logan caught a whiff, and the Wolverine solved the puzzle. It was a realization he could have gone without.

"Demon, huh?" Logan shook his head, narrowing his eyes at Sam. "S'at the shit you're gonna feed me on this one?" He gestured at the girl in front of them. "She's a freak of nature. She ain't even alive."

Sam rolled his eyes. "How do you know?" Then he frowned, did a double-take, and turned back to Logan. "How do you know? I didn't tell you about demons. Did Dean tell you about demons?"

"No. But I heard you boys talkin' 'bout that habit of yours one night, an' you smell a whole lot like this Rose girl does. Or whatever the hell her name was. I ain't so dense I can't figure that out, boy."

Sam frowned. "We were sleep-deprived and delirious that night. We were mumbling in our sleep...I could hardly hear Dean, and he was right next to me. We were inside a motel room-and, you said you left." The hunter gave Wolverine a smug little grin. "There's no way you heard us."

Logan snorted. "Ain't it proof enough that I know about demons?"

Then Ruby stepped forwards, slinking closer with leonine grace. "Who's this nasty little devil you boys have found?" she purred, smiling coldly at Logan himself, taunting him with her flirting. "Should I know his name?"

Logan glared at Bobby, daring him to open his mouth, but it was Sam who looked over and said, "Wolverine." As soon as the name was out, all eyes were on him, and three of four pairs weren't friendly.

Ruby was grinning like a fox now, her narrowed eyes promising hellfire for Logan. "Ooh, a mutie!" She cocked her head. "But why aren't you dead? Let's find out!"

"Ruby-"

"Shut up, Sam, I wanna see her bite it."

The demon raised an eyebrow. "You think I'm the one who's gonna hit the dirt?" She snorted. "I'm like a head taller than him."

"Alright then, go ahead, but he's thrown me across the room. I'm just warning you."

Logan had been listening absently to the bickering up until that point, and he'd taken the time to pull out a cigar for himself as he did. He tried to light up, but Bobby snatched the lighter and pocketed it. He glared at Logan and growled, "Not in the kitchen, you don't!"The mutant snarled in wordless defense and turned away to go enjoy the Cuban outside. Wonder if he's got any matches around here...

His thoughts of nicotine and smoke didn't last very long; he felt himself suddenly falling sideways and then he was slammed into the wall, pinned there by an invisible force. The plaster cracked on impact and dust sprinkled his head. He tried to shake his head, but he couldn't...what the fuck?

"Ooh, you're a heavy little mutie," Ruby cackled, her right hand holding his body against the wall. He snarled at the slur, but he couldn't do anything to shut her up, and she laughed again. "Oh, he's not so tough," she said to Sam, adding an impromptu snort just for good measure. "I thought you told me that he'd be a challenge!"

Dean turned to frown at Sam, suspicion and mistrust all too clear in his expression. "You brought Ruby here on purpose? What the hell were you thinking?"

Sam glared at his brother. "I didn't bring her! She found out we were here by herself...I just told her that we had a visitor." He paused, as if he'd just realized that he'd made a nasty verbal mistake but that he knew he couldn't avoid whatever came next. "I talked to her last night. We, ah...we went hunting." He was trying to be tough, but he was cringing on the inside.

Dean frowned incomprehendingly at that. "Hunting what?"

Sam winced slightly in anticipation. "Demons."

It was silent for a very, very long minute after that. Then Bobby growled, "You went off huntin' demons, an' you had a demon's help?"

Sam nodded. Ruby took in the expressions of disbelief around her and rolled her eyes. "Come on. I'm a good girl, remember?"

"The fuck you are," Logan ground out. Ruby just increased the pressure against his throat. "Shut up, you freak."

Wolverine just coughed out a laugh at that, which made all three hunters turn and stare at him like he'd just lost his mind. "You ain't gonna kill me," he scoffed at Ruby-an explanation for them all-before she tried to suffocate him again. "Can't be done."

"I said shut up!"

Things suddenly happened very fast, like a record spinning doubletime. Dean lunged at Ruby-he was standing nearest to her-and held his knife up to her throat, pulling her as close as he dared. "Drop him, Ruby," he said, his voice cold. Bobby stepped to the side, lifted the rifle, aimed and fired a round into the demon's head with one motion, dropping the gun again in another. "Ya don't go bargainin' with it, Dean," he growled, exasperated.

Ruby couldn't even glare at Bobby; her face was completely destroyed from the blast. She vacated the girl's body with a thunder of sulfur and smoke and was gone.

Sam ran forward and caught the empty corpse as it crumpled to the ground. "You didn't have to shoot her, Bobby!"

"The hell I didn't," Singer snapped as Logan stepped away from the wall, loudly cracking his neck. "S'about fucking time, too," the mutant snarled in response.

"But you just killed an innocent girl," Sam pressed.

"Who was trying to kill Logan!"

Sam turned to glare at Dean. "He can't die. Now she's dead. How could you shoot an innocent girl to save a proven killer?"

Logan glanced around at the others and decided he'd better interject. "She was dead already, Sam," he said in a bored voice.

The hunters turned and stared at him. "How the hell do you know that?" Dean asked.

"No heartbeat." Logan shrugged.

Bobby snorted. "Ya can't know that."

"The hell I can't."

"There's no way."

Logan frowned. "It ain't that hard to believe."

Dean shook his head in a motion to clear it. "Look...we need to do something with the body here. Bury it or something. And Sam, you need to figure it out with the demon blood thing. We can't have Ruby here."

Bobby nodded. "It ain't safe."

Logan wrinkled his nose at the blood. "That smells like shit. I'm gonna go have a cigar."

He turned to leave, but Sam stepped over the dead body and grabbed the back of his shirt. "You can't just-"

Wolverine snarled and spun around, the motion ripping his shirt from Sam's grasp. The claws snapped out from between the knuckles of his right hand and were immediately at the hunter's throat. Sam held his breath, bewildered by the mutant's response, eyes locked on Logan's left hand grasping his shirt as if staring at it could make it release him.

And then the Wolverine seemed to wake up. His eyes focused on Sam's face, his shoulders relaxed, and the adamantium blades disappeared from sight with a quiet SNIKT. He quickly vacated the room and didn't look back.

"Holy shit," Dean cursed as Sam took a deep breath and straightened his shirt. "What the hell was that?"

No one bothered to answer him.