Disclaimer- I don't own Supernatural that privilege belongs to the CW, Kripke and Co. I'm simply borrowing them for a while but I promise I'll give them back when I'm finished but all the rest is mine. Also I'm making no profit, its just for fun and all standard disclaimers apply.
Summary – Set after 1.05, Bloody Mary. Sam was blaming it on lack of sleep, the stresses of doing the job finally taking its toll. Because Jess couldn't really be sitting next to him, right? Hurt/sick Sam and minor hurt/worried Dean with some brotherly bonding on the side.
Thank you - To the fabulous Harrigan for betaing this at this super fast speed. Your support and input is dearly cherished.
Warning – For some sensual and heated moments (nothing explicit or anything you wouldn't see on the show) as well as some bad language, blood and gore. Also I've tweaked this so any mistakes are mine.
A/N - So I'm trying something a little different and I'll admit, I'm nervous about this one. Anyway, here we go, I hope you enjoy...eek!
"I've missed you, Sam."
Startled, Sam looked up from the laptop's screen, his research forgotten as his brain short circuited.
She was standing in front of him, her shining curls falling over her shoulders, her eyes misty with tears and bluer than he remembered. She sat on the edge of the bed, the springs of the mattress creaking and he had to remind himself to a take a breath.
Toledo had been the first time he'd seen her, not just a look-alike but the real thing, standing on the street corner, the breeze combing through her hair and rippling her long nightgown.
Since then it had just been glimpses. A flash of white cotton disappearing around a corner, a head of blonde curls at a gas station and a laugh so familiar in a coffee shop that he'd had to leave without picking up Dean's morning caffeine hit.
Sam was blaming it on lack of sleep. The stresses of doing the job, of hunting day and night, finally taking its toll.
But this was different. She'd never spoken to him before or been this close and he had no clue what to do or say. If Dean were here he'd be reaching for the Bowie stashed under his pillow, but not Sam, he was just...stuck.
His lungs stuttered and all he could do was look at her, from the white nightgown hugging her curves so perfectly, to the pale pink nail varnish on her toenails.
Shifting on the bed, she edged nearer to him. "Sam?"
His words were stuck to the back of his throat like molasses, he couldn't swallow them and he couldn't speak them either. The tears in his eyes were burning, his adam's apple bobbing like a ship on stormy waters.
He felt his mind click into overdrive because the possibilities and explanations were endless. A ghost, a ghoul and pretty much everything in-between. Hell, it could be a trick or even a trap.
But as he watched a tear carve a path down her cheek, her eyelashes drenched with its moisture, he couldn't seem to care and he felt something in his chest shift as hope flared, shooting around his body like a fire cracker.
Instinctively he reached out towards her, wanting to ease her pain, wanting to ease his own, hoping and praying that his hand wouldn't grasp a handful of air.
But his fingers swept across her warm skin and the tear was wet between the rough pads of his fingers. Cupping his hands around her face, Sam heard his breath catch in his throat, felt his heart swell at the knowledge that what he was touching was real and not a hunt that could push him over the edge.
He only noticed that the door to the motel room was open when the breeze picked up and tossed her curls, they swirled and spun and Sam was speechless. He'd wished for this a thousand times. For a second chance to make it right, to fix what he broke.
But now that she was really here all the things he'd wished he'd told her were lost and all he could do was stare at her.
"I can't stay," she said, her hands running up his chest. She was so close now that he could taste the sweetness of her breath as she parted her lips and dipped her head towards him.
Her lips were just like he remembered, soft and strawberry-sweet. His heart rate exploded, his palms sweaty as her warmth swept over his body, his mind reliving their first kiss underneath the stars. He'd known, even then, that she was the girl for him.
Her lips fell away, eyelashes fanning his cheek as she wrapped her hand delicately around his and slid them away from her face.
"I promise I'll come back," she whispered into his ear. "I'll never leave you."
Her fingertips grazed across his palm as she walked away, her footsteps silent.
"Jess?" Her name was like the slice of a sharp blade across his heart.
She was standing by the door, the sun haloing her golden hair. "Goodbye, Sam."
She pulled the door closed and the loss smacked into him all over again, his heart hammering in his chest, his breath bursting out of his mouth.
Shoving away the laptop that was still resting on his lap, Sam forced the head rush to the back of his brain as he staggered across the room, his muscles quivering. Opening the door, his eyes darted around the car park as he tried to catch a final glimpse of her.
But she was gone.
He didn't tell Dean.
And he wasn't sure why, mostly he figured he was just scared. Because Dean was a realist and right now Sam wanted to believe in miracles. He needed to.
So he kept his mouth closed, accepted the chicken salad Dean brought back, crinkling his nose at Dean's comment about extra onions on his double deluxe cheeseburger and waited for her to come back, willing to tread water until he knew more.
"...only mark on him was a hickey. And, dude, you have seen it, it was friggin' huge."
"The college student at the morgue," Dean said, chewing on a mouthful of cheeseburger. "You know, the reason why we're in this dead end town."
"Oh, yeah. Sorry."
Dean dropped the burger into the plastic carton, slurping at his coke. "Am I boring you? Because there's a bar with my name on it and the number of a smoking hot chick burning a hole in my pocket."
Sam snorted, biting back a groan as a spasm shot up his spine. It was then that he noticed he was slouching in the chair, his back bowed in an awkward position. "So, this guy..."
"...he was clean?"
Dean took another bite of his burger, sucking the juices from his fingers. "As a whistle. Despite his age, the Coroner's saying heart failure. Apparently it ran in his family so..."
"This case is a bust."
"Pretty much," Dean shrugged, eyeing Sam's barely touched salad. "Something wrong with your rabbit food?"
"No, I'm just not that hungry," Sam said flicking a limp stem of lettuce around the plastic take out box.
Dean frowned. "Sure, because that granola bar you had for breakfast was just so filling."
"I know, you're fine." Dean stood abruptly, the chair scraping along the linoleum as he dropped his empty take out box in the trash.
"You know this whole not sleeping, not eating crap is getting kinda old," Dean said, wiping his fingers down his jeans. "And I hate to sound like a broken record but it's gonna get one of us killed. And if it's me, I'm gonna be pissed."
Sam caught the look in Dean's eyes. The carefully veiled humour masking so many underlying fears. "You're right. I'm sorry."
"Things are tough. I get it, I really do." Dean placed a hand on Sam's shoulder, solid and grounding. "But we'll find Dad, we'll find that thing that caused all of this and then we'll go to Vegas and live it up for a while." Dean waggled his eyebrows and slapped his hand on Sam's shoulder. "Poker and strippers. It's just like heaven!"
Sam laughed and it felt good. Like all he and Dean were were brothers on a road trip together.
"Let's go," Dean said, grabbing his keys from the night-stand. "Just you, me, my baby and a long stretch of open road. What more could a guy want?"
A smile pulled across Sam's lips. "A beer and hot chick?"
"That's my boy," Dean's grin was wide and contagious. And sometimes, Sam had no idea what he'd do without his brother.
Maybe he was losing his mind.
Sleep deprivation combined with malnutrition screwing around with the wiring in his brain. Maybe he didn't see Jess at all, just a figment of his desperate imagination, wanting so much to right a wrong.
Or maybe he was just over-thinking it all.
Turning his head, his cheek mashing into the lumpy pillow, Sam glanced at the luminous digits of the alarm clock.
4:08. And he was wide awake.
He couldn't remember the last time he'd slept through to the alarm. But at least now his thoughts of Jess were filled with hope and possibility. Not a series of flashbacks that made his blood run cold.
Half of him was longing to see her again. To run his fingers through her curls, hear her snort when she laughed and nag at him for not putting his dirty dishes in the dish washer. He'd take it all.
The other half of him wasn't so sure. The analytical part of his brain coming up with so many what ifs and buts. Why hadn't she come back? It had been three days and nothing. They'd pumped a chupacabra full of lead and now they were in another state altogether. Always on the move. Maybe she couldn't find him?
It was all too much and his headache was back with a vengeance.
Dragging his weary body off the bed, Sam stumbled into the bathroom, closing the door quietly before turning on the light.
Looking at his wiped out reflection, Sam sighed. His Californian tan had faded and the lavender smears under his eyes were getting darker, looking more like bruises. No wonder Dean was on his case, he looked half dead.
Splashing his face with warm water, Sam swallowed a couple of aspirin before pulling on a pair of jeans and a jacket. He crossed the room quietly, grinning at the drool leaking down Dean's chin. Opening the door, the cold bit his skin, his shoulders rose as he sank into the warmth and protection of his jacket.
She was sitting on the bench outside their room, her nightgown billowing in the breeze and he felt his heart skip a beat. "You're here."
"I always keep my promises," she said, tapping the empty space besides her. "Come. Sit with me."
He took a seat and she slid up next to him, closing the gap that separated them. "I can't stay long," she said, taking his hand and lacing her slender fingers through his.
He forced a soft smile, more for her sake than for his. "This is more than I could ever hope for."
There were so many things he wanted to ask her. How she was here and why. How she managed to track him here. But as soon as he saw her smile, saw the way she looked at him, like he was her whole world, it was all forgotten. All he could think about was holding her close and never letting go.
Wrapping his hand around her narrow waist, Sam pulled her closer to his hip, the warmth of her body heating the chill on his skin. Brushing his lips over her forehead, Sam listened to her sigh softly under her breath just like she used to when they snuggled up together on the couch to study.
He looked at the sun poking up on the horizon, the fiery reds and oranges casting a warm glow on his face, despite the misty clouds his breath made.
Sam never wanted this to end. He had everything he wanted in his arms and for the first time in a long time, he was truly happy.
Lifting her head from his chest, her blue eyes pierced into him. "I have to go."
Sam shook his head. "Stay. Please."
"I can't. I wish I could, I really do."
The dread sat heavily in his chest and he wanted to scream that this wasn't fair. Every time she left it was like he was losing her all over again and he wasn't sure he could handle it any more.
Like she was reading his mind, Jess's hands were on his face, trailing to the nape of his neck, her finger tips running through the overgrown curls around his ears. And in that moment the whole world melted away and it was just the two of them. Jess could always do that. Make him feel so important and needed. Complete.
Her touch was achingly familiar and he let himself drift in the memory of it. Of long summer nights and days spent locked in their room, of 'study' sessions on the couch and stolen kisses in-between classes.
Her breath was hot on his lips, nibbling on his lower lip before deepening the kiss, her tongue lapping his own. He felt her start to pull away and desperately he wrapped his hands around her waist, pulling her onto his lap, the vibration of her moan of pleasure stirring something deep within.
Her knees straddled him on the bench, his fingers tangled in her hair and she laughed gently in between a gasp for oxygen, the crinkle above her nose deepening, her lips pink and swollen.
She rocked her hips and the world slid away replaced by a wave of heated pleasure rolling over him from head to toe. His ears were humming, his eyes only seeing her and in that moment she was everything.
His hands were grasping at her nightgown, desperate for more of her, all of her. His skin prickled at her touch, his hands sliding over the clammy curves of her overheated skin. His head was drifting with lust and he knew he needed to take a breath but he feared that if he stopped, she would leave again.
Jess's lips trailed a path of silken kisses to his ear. "It's time," she whispered breathlessly, her teeth grazing across his earlobe.
Her hands cupped his face as she kissed him goodbye, her hips grinding down as he groaned out aloud, his neck whipping back on his shoulders, his head heavy with want and desire.
The air felt so thin that he could barely breathe. Blinking away the darkness thickening the edges of his vision, his lips were desperate to catch hers, his hands pleading to explore every inch of her.
But she was gone.
Sam could see Dean's lips moving, felt calloused hands on his face, wondering if they were the only things keeping his head from tipping off his shoulders.
His ears were singing a strange sound, somewhere between a ring and a buzz and Dean's face was four shades of freaked, his frown etched deeply into his skin, his eyes wide and bloodshot.
"M'okay," Sam mumbled, the word tumbling over his ear drums and it sounded weird even to him.
Sam pulled himself up from the bench, shoving away Dean's arm that automatically reached out to steady him.
The world around him blinked, his vision skewed as he willed his legs to stop shaking. Dragging a hand over his eyes, he saw that the sun was high in the sky and damn it, he must have fallen asleep out here.
"...the hell, Sam?"
Then Dean was in his face, blocking the doorway to their room. His shoulders were square, his arms folded across his chest, somehow making Sam feel like the shorter brother.
"Spill it," Dean said, his tone deadly. "What's going on with you?"
He couldn't lie to his brother's face but the truth was no better. How could he tell Dean that he'd been getting hot and heavy with his girlfriend whose funeral they'd attended only a few months ago?
"I don't know." The honesty in the words shook him to his core. Because somehow finding the truth had been forgotten and replaced with the heat of the moment, of being in the company of someone he thought he'd lost.
"Bull." Dean shifted his weight from one leg to the other. "You're still not sleeping are you? And now, what? You're going all narcolepsy boy on a bench in 30 degree weather!"
Releasing a breath, Sam felt the cold sting his lips. Dean had every right to be pissed off. And maybe they did have a problem because Sam couldn't remember falling asleep at all, just the tearing emptiness of being left alone. Again. "Look, I don't know what went down. But it won't happen again. I promise."
And he meant it too. When she comes back, if she comes back, Sam wanted answers.
"No. I don't like this," Dean said, shaking his head. "This is getting serious."
"Yeah. I know." Sam pushed past his brother and entered their motel room.
"What? That's it? No emo-monologue, no apologies. Nothing?"
"What do you want me to say, Dean?" Sam huddled over the radiator, the chill in his bones only marginally eased as he rested his palms over the gentle puffs of heat.
"I want you to say that this is becoming a problem." Slamming the door closed, Dean pushed a few buttons on the thermostat, the heat now blowing the bangs from Sam's forehead. "You won't talk to me about your nightmares, about what happened to Jess. So, I don't know, maybe we need to find someone you can talk to."
Snorting, Sam turned to face Dean. "Are you serious?"
"Deadly." Dean cleared his throat, his gaze falling to the carpet before piercing into Sam like a dart in a dart board. "This whole stoic, 'I'm fine' shit is wearing thin. I'm worried about you, man."
And if keeping his little secret from Dean was bad before, this could tear him apart. Dean was being serious. No back chat, no teasing or taunting. He'd even thrown the whole no chick flick rule to the curb.
Pulling a shaking hand through his hair, Sam looked at Dean, seeing for the first time the lack of sleep evident in his eyes, the stubble framing his pale face and the slouch of his shoulders. The realisation that he wasn't alone in all of this was like a sucker punch to his solar plexus.
"I'm sorry. About all of it." Sam's throat felt like it was getting tighter, his airway shrinking with each word. "I just...I don't know what's happening to me."
Dean rubbed a hand over the stubble on his chin. "You gotta move on from all of this. I mean, that's what Jess would have wanted, right? For you to live your life, be happy."
And just like that, he was six years old, believing that Dad was a salesman and that he would be back in the morning, that they had the extra money for the new Batman comic and that eating cereal for dinner was perfectly normal. Knowing that when Dean said he would take care of him, he would.
Sam sniffed. "Thanks, Dean."
"Any time," Dean said with a shrug of his shoulder. "But this isn't over. I'm watching you, OK? Any more outdoor sleepovers and I'm hauling your ass to a shrink. You got me?"
Sam nodded. "I got you."
"Good." Dean cleared his throat and reached over the dining table, picking up a battered newspaper. "You seen this?"
The main headline caught Sam's eye. "What? The missing twenty year old?"
"No," Dean said, tapping his fingers on the small article at the bottom on the page. "The renovations at Millford Manor, three towns over. The contractor's having problems with, I quote, 'hooligans moving and stealing valuable equipment'. Sounds like it could be our kind of problem."
"Sure does," Sam said, picking up a t-shirt from his bed and placing it neatly into his duffle.
"That is, you know, if you want to. If-"
"I'm good to go," Sam said, turning around and watching as Dean crammed a handful of clothes into his duffle and pulled the zipper. "And, Dean? From now on, I'm all in. We're still a team, right?"
Dean's top lip curled. "Sure are, Sammy." Slinging the duffle bag over his shoulder, Dean headed to the door. "Get a shift on, would ya. I've got a yearning for some salt and burning!"
Sam's laugh echoed around the room as he pulled the door closed.
"Would you sit still?"
Dean shifted on the mattress, his fists clenched. "I am."
"You're squirming like a toddler."
"Am not," Dean grumbled, flinching as Sam dipped the needle under his skin, pinning together the edges of the nasty cut that ran down his calf. "Ouch. You done yet?"
Dragging a section of antibiotic soaked gauze over the stitch, Sam checked its placing before starting on the next, trying to stay ahead of the steady trickle of blood. "No. And what's with you?"
Dean scowled. "Oh I don't know, it could be the fact that my jeans are trashed, there's blood on my baby's upholstery and you're doing a piss poor job of stopping me leaking vital body fluids!"
Sam shook his head, tugging the thread tight on the stitch. "A few months ago, you were strung up and beaten to a inch of your life by a Wendigo and you didn't say a word. Now, you fall through some floor boards and it's the end of the world."
"Rotten floor boards."
"That I warned you about."
"Barely," Dean's glare was unmissable, his eyes hard and serious. "Are you done with the 'I told you so' because I'd really like this done already."
The cut was deep and it had taken Sam nearly half an hour to pick out the splinters with a pair of tweezers and another half an hour to stitch the ragged edges together. And Dean's impatience had kicked in the moment Sam took the tweezers out of the first aid kit.
Glancing at the instructions, Sam shook out a couple of painkillers from a brown bottle.
Dean shook his head. "They knock me out."
"I know," Sam said handing them to Dean with a bottle of water.
"I don't need-"
"You need to rest up. It'll never heal if you're walking around," Sam interrupted, shoving the pills into Dean's palm. "So take them or I'll spike your coffee."
Sam raised his eyebrows, his face stern. "Try me."
"Drama queen," Dean muttered, tossing the pills onto his tongue before chugging a mouth full of water.
Handing Dean the remote, Sam turned on the TV, watching as Dean flicked through the meagre channel options before settling on an old Simpsons re-run. Checking the bandages, Sam propped up Dean's leg with the spare pillow from the wardrobe, smiling at Dean's lazy laugh, his eyes drooping already.
Twenty minutes later, Dean was out for the count, The Simpsons now replaced by the local news reporting a recently discovered body of an unknown male. Switching the TV off and making a mental note to check if it was their kind of case, Sam entered the bathroom, leaving the door open in case Dean needed anything.
Splashing water on his face, Sam felt a sharp sting around his eye. Looking in the mirror, he could see his right eye was slightly puffed, the red ring around the socket rainbowing into lilacs and maroons. Red tinted water ran a stream down his face and grabbing a towel Sam blotted the cut just above his eyebrow, holding firm, confident that it wouldn't require any further treatment.
A soft breeze teased his hair and then her hands were running up his back, massaging the sore muscles that digging up a grave tended to strain.
"You're hurt," she said, her brow creased with worry. Reaching her hands towards his face, she traced a finger around the bruising circling his eye before trailing it lazily down his cheek.
Sam felt his skin flush at her touch. "It's nothing."
"Let me," she said, taking the towel from his hand and wetting it under the tap, dabbing at the blood that leaked from the cut, cooling the inflammation. "You need to be more careful."
He closed his eyes, trusting her to take care of him, a smile tugging at his lips.
"What?" Jess asked, moving closer, her body pressing against his, her warmth leaching into him.
Sam smirked. "You're much better at this than Dean."
Her laugh was gentle as she dipped the towel under the tap. "You always did like it when I played nurse."
Sam opened his eyes, drinking her in. "Maybe I need to get hurt more often. Maybe then you'll have to stay."
"You know that's not how it works," she said, a soft smile not quite reaching her eyes. "I'd still have to go."
Dropping the towel in the sink, she cupped his face, her lips butterfly-kissing the bruising around his eye. Her touch was electric, currents fizzing over his skin, jolting his heart into overdrive.
Without thought, his fingers sank into her hair, his mouth sliding over hers as he lost himself to her. There was nothing else. No outside world, no injured brother, no hunts and no more searching for a father who doesn't want to be found.
It was all about Jess. Her breathless groans, the taste of her salt-slicked skin as he nuzzled her neck, feeling her delicate hands peel off his shirt, the air crackling around him as he breathed her in.
"Sam," she groaned, tossing her head back, the strands of her wavy hair ticking his bare arms as she gasped for air, her fingernails digging into his flesh.
His senses were on overload, his head spinning, his skin burning for her touch. Deepening his kiss, his hands slid under her nightgown, curling around her hip bones as he lifted her. He spun them around, her legs wrapping around his torso, her back pushed up against the wall, her hands knotted in his hair.
"Sam, I need you." Her breath hot against his ear. "But not here. Now now."
His lips trailed kisses along her collar bone, teeth grazing her silken skin, her words buzzing in his ears. He didn't want to hear that their time was over, that he couldn't be with the woman he loved.
"Sam." With a finger on his chin, she lifted his head so that his eyes met hers. "I'll be back. And then we can be together."
He didn't feel his arms lower her to the cold bathroom tiles but he felt her lips linger on his, felt the room fall away as she took over his every move, every thought.
Then she was gone and through the mist that fogged his actions he heard the door to the motel room close, his fingers gripping the edge of the sink as his vision shimmered.
He heard Dean's call and a gasp of pain but he couldn't let go of the sink and he couldn't answer him either, his head whirling with images of Jess. The touch of her skin and the taste of her kiss. How could she leave him again?
With startling speed, the cold rushed up his legs and arms, shooting fireworks into his eyes and he felt the blood drain from his face as he swayed on unsteady feet.
"Whoa." Dean's hands clung to his biceps, keeping him grounded as Sam tried to focus on his brother, tried to stop the world around him from falling apart. "Jesus, Sam."
He was ushered down onto the toilet seat, his head pushed between his knees. The ground dipped like it wanted to swallow him and Sam couldn't seem to stop it.
"Sammy?" Dean's hands were on his face, anchoring him, thumbs pulling at his eyelids and testing for broken bones under the bruising that Sam had forgotten all about. "You with me?"
"Yeah." It was all he could manage and it was more of a release of breath than an actual word but Dean heard him, his hands falling from Sam's face.
"You gonna hurl? Cause I really don't need a front row seat to that show."
Sam huffed, rubbing a shaking hand over his eyes, pinching the bridge of his nose. "No."
"You good? " Dean asked, his eyes studying Sam, the worry pouring off him. "Cause you look like crap."
"I'm good," Sam whispered, knowing that despite his best effort Dean wouldn't buy it.
"Right," Dean frowned. "You gonna tell me what's going on? Someone was here, I heard the door."
And Sam was back to square one again. Not knowing what to say, let alone how to make it sound like he wasn't losing his mind.
"She was here." He wanted to tell Dean everything. About Jess, about how she was real and he wasn't dreaming, but the bathroom was sliding away, pulsing in and out of focus.
"I got you," and before Sam had a chance to realise he was about to topple sideways, hands were on his shoulders, planting him firmly in place, even if the room still looked like it was swirling down a drain.
"You think you can stand?"
Sam nodded, at least he was pretty sure he did. He felt Dean's arm wrap around his waist, his hand hanging loosely from Dean's shoulders. Everything was sore, his muscles tense and knotted, even his insides feel wrung out and exhausted.
It wasn't until Dean helped him down on to the bed that it hit him. "Your leg? You were hurt."
"I'm fine," Dean said pushing him back onto the pillows, tossing a blanket over his torso. "But you've got some serious explaining to do come sun-up."
From under hooded eyes, Sam could see the bandages poking out from underneath Dean's slashed jeans. No fresh blood stains, so hopefully the stitches had held, even if Dean looked pale in the overhead light.
As Sam drifted, his body deflating into the mattress, he heard Dean limp to the bottom of the bed, a chair dragging along the carpet, a strangled breath as his ring clicked off the bed frame.
A warm hand curled around Sam's ankle. "Get some sleep."
Dean must have been up all night.
There was no way he could have gathered this much research before lunch without Sam knowing. The newspaper articles had been printed, police records illegally collected and organised into piles along with photos and coroner's reports, all laid out on the dining table.
It was a lot to take in, especially when he'd nearly passed out in the shower. Something that Dean was blissfully unaware of.
"I don't know," Sam said, a headache blossoming behind his eyes.
"Really? You don't have any insights at all? Nothing you might wanna share with the class?" Dean's mouth was pulled into a thin, tight line. "Last night you said 'she was here', that ring any bells?"
It did. And if Sam was ever going to tell Dean, now was the time. "Yeah, I know what I said."
"So four dead bodies, all young males, all die of non-violent and seemingly natural causes. Sound familiar?"
Sam pinched the bridge of his nose. "No. I didn't know about them until just now."
"The first was in Toledo," Dean said, his index finger tapping a police photo of dead young man, his eyes sightless, his skin paper-white. "Then, Billy Jeffreys, remember him?" Dean moved a pile of papers in front of Sam. "That hickey doesn't look so harmless now, huh?"
Sam shook his head.
Dean dropped another photograph onto the table. "Daniel Billington, multiple organ failure found in the same town as our chupacabra hunt. Then there's Wayne Edwards in Millford, who was missing for three days before they found his body, showed up just as we dusted that malevolent spirit at Millford Manor. You need me to go on?"
Sam took a deep breath. "No, I see the pattern."
"Something's been stalking us across four different states for over two weeks, killing a bunch of guys. And what? You're telling me you don't know anything? That all the weird crap that's going on with you is just a coincidence."
Sam frowned. "Weird crap?"
Dean raised his eyebrows. "Oh I don't know, Sam. Taking naps outside in 30 degree weather, not sleeping, barely eating, nearly passing out in the bathroom, twice. The spacing out, the..."
"OK, OK," Sam said, holding up his palms, his heart beat pounding in his ears, his gut coiled so tight his insides felt like they were going to burst.
Pulling out a chair from under the table, Dean sat down, rubbing a hand across the back of head. "Look, I think I know what's going on."
"It took a lot of research, but yeah." Dean cleared his throat. "Signs of sexual activity before death, the multiple organ failure, the hickey. She's feeding on young men, on their...sexual energy, their life force, sucking them dry until they die."
"A succubus! You think a succubus is stalking me?"
"Or something similar, yeah." Dean picked up a wad of notes and print-outs, flicking through the curled up edges. "But there's no trace of any oxytocin in any of the victims' blood so I think we can rule out a siren, none of the bodies are drained of blood so we're not dealing with a Lamiaor Empousa. I think we can strike Kitsune's off the list. I mean, you didn't notice a tail did you?"
Sam glared at Dean pointedly, his lips pinched.
"Had to ask," Dean said, before he tapped his finger on the pile of papers. "This thing is killing people, Sam. It latched onto you in Toledo after Bloody Mary, following you from state to state, hunt to hunt, screwing around with your sleep, feeding off your sexu-"
"Yeah, I get the picture," Sam interrupted.
"That's why you're not sleeping, why you look like you've sparred ten rounds with death." Dean took a deep breath, a hand rubbing over his mouth. "I know this is all kinds of awkward, but it makes sense, Sam. It fits."
And it did. If he thought logically it made perfect sense. Why she kept leaving and coming back, feeding on others in between their visits. Maybe why he could never form a solid thought when he was around her. Why when they were together, all he could think about was tearing off her clothes and running his hands...
Sam shook his head. He had to focus.
What it didn't explain was why he was seeing Jess, from head to toe. Her voice, the half-quirk of her lips when she smiled and the way she curled her hair around her fingers.
"Sam? You okay?"
Clearing his throat, Sam sat up on the chair. "Yeah."
"We got lucky last night. It was a close call," Dean flicked his eyes towards his brother and Sam swore he felt them kick him in the gut. "Too close."
Standing abruptly, the chair nearly toppling over as it dug into the carpet tiles, Dean paced the room, his hand scrubbing the back of head. "You should have told me."
And Sam didn't know what was worse. The fact that he chose not to mention any of it to Dean all those weeks ago, that he still hadn't told him everything. Or that Dean sounded more hurt than pissed off, like Sam's silence had broken something.
Sam dug the heel of his hand into his eye, his headache making his eyes water.
Picking up the aspirin from the night stand Dean tossed them to Sam. "Look, I get why you didn't mention it. Me? There's nothing I love more than sharing my sexual exploits and making you squirm. But that's not your style, it's not you. But as uncomfortable as all of this is, we need to end this thing and now."
Putting the reports and photographs to one side, Dean dropped their Dad's journal onto the table, his fingers tracing their Dad's writing. "Nothing goes after a Winchester and survives. This is personal and I can't wait to waste this sonovabitch."
Sam lost Dean then, barely hearing him go over how they could track and trap this thing and how whether it was a succubus or something related, there was only one thing that could kill it. The blood of a victim and a bronze dagger to the heart.
Instead all Sam could focus on was how he was going to tell Dean that even though it all made sense, the bodies and his sleeping habits, there was still a part of him that wasn't sure he wanted her gone.
It was still dark when Sam woke, a slice of street-light shining through the gap in the curtains.
He wasn't sure what woke him, there were no lingering side effects of a nightmare and Dean was snoring softly, lying on his stomach, his arm curled under the pillow. But something deep in his gut told him he wasn't alone.
Resting on his elbow, Sam reached over to switch on the light when a blanket of goosebumps prickled across his skin and she slid into bed with him, her warm body spooning his.
"I promised I'd come back," she whispered, kissing the nape of his neck.
Turning over onto his side, Sam stared at the mole in between her eyebrows, her finger tip caressing his bottom lip. "Did you miss me?"
Bubbles of heat burst across his face, his cheeks pinking with fever and want. "God Jess, I missed you so much."
Pushing him back into the pillows, her lips crashed into his, her hands gliding over his flushed skin, finger tips skimming across the ridges of his abs, dipping lower until they were running along the hem of his boxers. Slamming his eyes closed, Sam groaned deeply in his chest as her index finger circled his belly button.
Rolling her body on top of him, her closeness erased all rational thought and coherency from his mind as his body took over. His hands slid beneath her nightgown, clawing at the material that separated them, preventing her tanned skin from melding with his.
His pulse was thundering in his veins, his body ablaze with desire, craving her touch like an addictive drug. Sam reached up and brushed her hair from her face, his eyes desperate to make a connection with hers. But the blue eyes that met his were unfamiliar.
Like a bolt of lightening, Dean's words from last night jabbed into his brain, cutting through the fog that was wrapped tightly around him. Grabbing her shoulders he held her at arms length. "You're not her. Who are you?"
Frowning, her eyes clouded with pain. "What? Sam, you know who I-"
"You died." He said, swallowing a lump of grief and pain that was lodged in his throat, tears hot and heavy stinging his eyes. "You can't be here. How can you be here?"
"Does it really matter?" she said, warm fingers caressing his cheek, every stroke shooting tingles of pleasure across his flesh. "I'm here now and we're finally together. You do want me, don't you?"
He did, every fibre in him wanted to be with her, to wrap and tangle himself into and around her. But as he looked into her blue eyes, pushing past all the haze and false feelings, something was missing. Something that had been there since the day he'd first met the real Jess. That twinkle of hope and happiness, the spark that had once connected them.
Steeling himself against the euphoria that burned like a fever in his brain, Sam shook his head. "You're not her. You never were."
Sniffing back fake emotion, she rolled her eyes, a twisted smile corrupting her once innocent features. "You got me, Sam. I might not be Jess, but I always get what I want."
Her lips attacked his with passion, her hands greedily stroking and teasing as she lowered her slender body over Sam's, their bodies held so tightly together that Sam felt her chest rise and fall, her heart beat drumming against his rib cage.
Sharp breaths punched through the heated air, a shock-wave of pleasure shooting down his spine, permeating into his bones. "Don't do this. Not to her, not to my memory of her, I-"
And he could feel it all start disappear; his doubts, his fears, his disgust that he'd let himself believe that this thing was Jess. It was all spinning away, replaced with thoughts about how he needed her, all of her, his whole body thrumming with desire.
And that's when he felt it. A shift of energy, so slight but powerful. It burned like ice, waves of fire licking his skin, his limbs lead heavy and unresponsive.
Kicking back the covers she straddled him, the bare flesh of her thighs warm against his skin. She nibbled on his lips and took a deep breath, inhaling hard into his mouth, his body lifting up of the mattress, his muscles taut to breaking point.
She groaned deeply, siphoning his energy, ripping the life force from his body and savouring the taste.
When she exhaled, Sam's body fell back against the mattress, his limbs loose as the tension evaporated. Sitting up, her head tipped back on her shoulders, her lips hummed with pleasure as she hooked her finger on the hem of his boxers. "I need you, Sam."
Leaning over him, she clamped her lips over his, sucking harder this time. The fire singed from the inside out, his muscles seizing, his vision darkening. The room was shrinking around him, the walls getting closer and Sam felt like he was suffocating, disconnected from everything around him.
Sighing deeply, she sagged on top of him, breathless and satisfied, her fingers brushing against his overheated skin. "You're so different from the others, Sam. I knew I had to play dirty, really get into your head and make you crave me. But you were worth the trouble. You taste so...intoxicating."
Pin-pricks of ice stabbed into his flesh, stealing his breath as his limbs began to twitch and awaken from their heavy slumber. "Get away from me."
Hovering over him, she reached out her hand and brushed the hair from Sam's forehead. "Shhhh," she cooed. "Save your energy, you're going to need it."
Sam snatched her wrist, his muscles shaking with the effort. "I said get the hell away from me."
"Oh, Sam," she purred, "you really don't want to fight me."
"Watch me," Sam said, hauling his head off the bed and cracking his forehead into her skull. Adrenaline pumping, Sam dragged his weary body off the mattress and lunged towards her, their bodies colliding as he threw them both off the foot of the bed, the carpet squelching under their weight.
"You really think we didn't have a plan?" Sam said, the stream rising instantly, the holy water frazzling her skin with a sickening sizzle. Screeching, her head slammed into floor as she writhed under his body, his arms pinning her firmly into the holy water soaked carpet.
"Nooooo," she shrieked, patches of her skin bubbling as she bucked under Sam's weight, her finger nails gouging into Sam's skin until blood flowed freely down his arms and chest.
Gritting his teeth against the pain, Sam swiped his hand down his blood-slicked skin, smearing a bloody hand print across her chest. "Thanks, I needed that."
The smell of rotten flesh burned his nostrils and flipped his stomach. She screamed, her back arching off the carpet, her fists pounding into Sam's ribs, a right hook splitting his lip.
With a surge of inhuman strength, she snarled, shoving Sam away, his body weightless as it sailed through the air before crashing into the floor and punching his lungs empty.
Like a panther she stalked towards her prey, her nightgown tattered and torn, blonde locks of hair plastered to her disfigured face. "You really think a little holy water and blood is going to banish me?"
Sam couldn't move, the velvet darkness steadily encroaching. Her fingers curled around his jaw, her mouth hovering over his as she started to inhale, his spine lifting from the carpet.
"No, sweetheart. But add a little bronze into the mix and you're history."
Her head shot to the right, body twisting, just as Dean pulled out the bronze knife from under his pillow. Curling his wrist he threw the blade across the room, slicing through the air before sinking to the hilt into her heart.
Shocked, she stared down at her chest, blood soaking into the white cotton of her nightgown. With a choked cry, her spine bowed and her head snapped back, her body rocked with invisible punches.
Her wailing stopped abruptly, her body falling to the floor next to Sam, her eyes empty.
Breathing heavily, Dean winced, his hand hovering over his injured leg. "Burn in hell, bitch."
Barely able to keep his eyes open, his energy long since spent, Sam could distantly feel his body quivering uncontrollably, his vision sinking into black and white fuzz.
Through the ringing in his ears, he heard Dean limp across the room, felt his brother's hands skimming across the scratches on his skin.
Dean's words were the last thing he heard before he teetered over the edge and fell into the darkness. "You did good, Sam. Real good."
It was hell-fire hot one moment, then freezing cold the next, but the pain was always there, blistering his skin.
Dean's raspy voice would fade in and out, telling him stories about when they were kids, a cool hand on his forehead. But sometimes there was silence and Sam knew he was alone.
Time was meaningless as he struggled to tell whether he was dreaming or not, memories of a smiling Jess on campus mingling with ones of her skin bubbling under his palms and Sam found himself clinging to his brother's words like a safety rope.
"...you were only four, but it was hilarious and Dad was..."
"Dean?" Sam said, wincing at the gravel in his throat.
Sam's tongue poked at his fat lip. "Time is it?"
"You have no idea how boring it is watching you sleep." Sam heard a creak of a chair, then the mattress dipped and a hand slapped his foot to one side. "You gonna open your eyes this time?"
Dean's voice was tired and worn. "S'not exactly the first time we've had this little conversation."
That was news to him, he couldn't remember talking with Dean. His eyelids were heavy and sore, the dim light in the room blinding him as he cracked them open. Squinting, he could see Dean sitting at the foot of the bed, his stubble now an untidy beard, his eyes puffy and shadowed.
Dean grinned. "Wow. Progress. Maybe we're turning a corner, huh?"
Sam huffed, triggering a coughing fit that grated his throat. A glass was placed in his hand and an arm snaked behind him, placing an extra pillow behind his shoulders.
"You got it?" Dean asked, still holding the glass.
Sam nodded. The water was cool and it was nearly gone when Dean took it from him and disappeared into the bathroom. "Ran out of Gatorade yesterday," Dean said over the running tap. "Water will have to do until I can hit the gas station again."
"It's just around the corner. Nearer than the store so..." Dean's voice trailed off and he coughed into his fist, setting the glass on the nightstand. "While its been all kinds of fun, I've gotta say that I'm so over this succubus energy-sapped-sick-thing. Four days is far too long to be holed up in this room. Any room."
Sam winced as he tried to sit up, his skin pinching underneath the bandages criss-crossing his chest and arms, memories of the last few weeks ricocheting around his aching head.
It had been nice to forget, to float and be free from it all.
"You should have said it looked like Jess." Dean's eyes were tired and damp. "I would never have asked you to-"
"I know," Sam interrupted. "I just...couldn't."
"I looked it up," Dean said, his eyes falling to Sam's lap, a hand scrubbing the back of his head. "There's no solid lore that succubusses can shapeshift, not that I can find." Dean shrugged, laying the papers on the bed. "I don't know. Maybe she was a new breed or a mix or something? We should make a note in Dad's journal, y'know, just in case."
Sam nodded. It was all there now. Dean's plan of action that somehow he'd agreed to, despite his reservations, watching numbly as the knife sank into her chest, the emptiness of her eyes as she fell lifelessly to the floor.
He felt his gut clench and churn at the memory. It wasn't his Jess. It never was.
"I took care of it." Dean's words took a second to sink in, Sam's eyes hovering over the towels soaking up the holy water from the carpet. But there was no body.
Sam's eyes were stinging with so many words that he couldn't say. "Thanks."
Licking his lips, Sam took a moment to gather himself. "What took you so long anyway? You were supposed to that throw that knife as soon as she got there. You fall asleep on the job?"
"Me?" Dean asked, his eyebrows raised. "I'm always on my game, I was waiting for you to kick the chick to the curb. Geez Sam, I saw way more that we planned."
Sam felt the heat rise on his cheeks.
"Relax," Dean slapped a hand on Sam's leg. "I'm just yanking your chain. But next time, I'd appreciate a heads up if you're planning on going past first base."
Dean grinned and limped across the room, rummaging through his duffle.
Sam frowned. "You checked your stitches?"
Dean spun around, eyebrows raised. "Seriously? You're asking about my leg?"
"You're still limping. So yeah, I'm asking about your leg," Sam said, pulling his body up on the pillows and wilting back down, breathlessly. "You feel okay, right?"
Dean sniffed a few shirts before cramming them back into the duffle. "I'm not the one who looks like month old roadkill."
Arms full of clean clothes, Dean turned to Sam. "I'm tired and I stink, but I'm good. You?"
And honestly Sam didn't know how he felt. Physically, he was drained and keeping his eyes open was a lot harder than he remembered, his chest heavy and congested. And he really didn't want to think about the emotional toll this hunt was going to take. "I could sleep for a week. But the rest of it? I don't know, Dean. It's just so messed up."
Dean took a breath, his fingers scratching his beard. "What you had with Jess, that was real. That's what you need to hold onto. Don't let this hunt get in the way of what you two had together."
Sam nodded, his head filling with images of Jess. The way she chewed on her bottom lip when she was concentrating, how she could eat a whole bag of chips before dinner and still pick at his leftovers and how she teased him for a whole month when he asked what a delicate wash was. "You'd have liked her."
Dean nudged Sam's foot with his leg as he crossed the room. "Yeah, I know I would."
Hovering in front of the bathroom, a shoulder leaning on the door jam, a huge Cheshire cat grin spread across Dean's face. "So, I learned a few things while you were sleeping."
"Oh, yeah?" Sam asked, wondering if Dean's research had turned up anything else that could be useful.
"Did you know that you still do that fever talking thing? Because, man, I'd forgotten that you do that and-"
"-there was something about playing nurse-"
Sam raised his voice. "Shut up, Dean."
"-given our job and all, the handcuffs comment could have been innocent, but-"
"Dean!" Sam warned, pulling out a pillow from behind his back and launching it at Dean's face.
"-dude the happy noises you were making, well, it got kind of uncomfortable and..."
A/N – This was definitely out of my comfort zone but once I got started I had a lot of fun and I hope you did too! Thanks so much for stopping by and reading. Take care, Madebyme