Hello all, I'm back! So I wrote this story for a dear friend of mine (doyleshuny!) and I hope you all enjoy! Some of this is already written, so there should be no more than three or four days per update. It's extremely dark, and significantly more disturbing than I had anticipated, so just be sure this is your cup of tea before beginning.

WARNINGS: very dark, containing sexual assault, abuse, and potential neglect.

Enjoy!

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Dean stuffed the last bit of the duffel bags and necessary weaponry into the back of the Impala, nearly bouncing with enthusiasm as he prepared for the next hunt. The hunt he was actually allowed to go on.

He turned guiltily at the thought, looking at Sam's purposefully blank expression as he watched from the motel door. It wasn't the kid's fault Dean hadn't been able to go on their previous hunt, but still he couldn't help but hold a grudge for it. Sam was sixteen, and Dad specifically said he was in the age group the spirit had been precisely interested in, tying them up in an abandoned warehouse before slowly slicing at their flesh, cutting it into bits before hunting down its next victim. It wasn't Sam's fault a spirit was out for maniacal vengeance on teenagers, but nonetheless there Dean was, staying with Sam as protection while John hunted alone and unguarded.

Dean remembered it being so hard. Waiting for their father to get back, never knowing if he was okay. He could barely contain himself half the time and bugged Sam endlessly as the kid tried to do his homework.

Dean sighed uncertainly. This hunt was even more dangerous than the last. John would, thankfully, be using Dean as backup while Sam stayed in the motel room, where it was safest. This way Dean wouldn't have to worry so much about their father and Sammy wouldn't have to deal with a malignant, lethal demon in the near future.

Dean closed the trunk with reverent ease as he told himself he was doing the right thing. Sam would be safe; he had to be. Dean headed back to the motel door as Sam wordlessly sidestepped, allowing Dean entry to the nearly claustrophic room. Dean grabbed his jacket off the mangy bed, a huge, uncomfortable lump he was not going to be missing. He winced, hoping Sam would be able to sleep while they were gone.

John honked loudly from the driver's seat, and Dean went and clapped Sam on the shoulder, pasting on a grin. Sam offered a small smile in return, the white teeth contrasting with the tan skin, and Dean's own became a little more genuine.

Dean released his hopefully reassuring hand, instead shrugging on his jacket as he looked back at the Impala through the door. John made a beckoning gesture and Dean nodded, holding up a finger.

If only the man were more patient.

He turned back to Sam. "Alright, kid, remember what we've talked about. Straight to school then straight back, no extra stops. When you get home make sure you remember to check the salt lines. Don't open the door for strangers. Dad and I shouldn't be gone for more than a few days but there's enough food here to feed you for a week. We don't have any extra cash to leave you but that should hold you off." Dean scratched at his head, licking his lips before hesitantly adding. "And, please, don't do anything stupid," he said, hoping he didn't sound too much like a mother hen, obsessing over its young.

Thankfully, Sam seemed to take it for what it was and nodded, his long hair falling out of his eyes. "Don't eat everything in one day. Don't get distracted when out of the safety of the house. Dominate in the art of isolation. Obtain an obsession with salt. Don't drown myself in the tub. I think I got it."

A slow grin spread across Dean's face and he rolled his eyes. Damn that kid for being adorable.

Gratefully, the worry that seemed to gnaw at his entire being wasn't quite so potent now. As long as Sam knew how to protect himself, he should be okay.

And the "should" was what worried him.

He slapped Sam once more on the shoulder then ruffled his hair as goodbye before finally departing reluctantly from the decrepit building, striding over and hopping into the passenger seat.

Not a moment later Dean was watching Sam from the side mirror, the kid standing silently with his hands deep in his too-big jeans pockets and John driving them out of the parking lot, the sleek Impala speeding out of sight.

Sam offered a small wave.

Sam watched dully as the Impala drove out of sight, leaving him alone with only his thoughts as crude company. Why wasn't he allowed to contribute to the Winchester hunting squad? Sure, he's made a few mistakes in the past but doesn't everyone? Maybe if he'd worked harder, trained more, studied less, he'd be allowed to be there for his family, make sure they didn't get hurt.

Hurt by the demon.

He turned on his heel and headed toward his room, head down. A mere step forward and he stopped abruptly, head turned up and eyes squinting as they did a once-over of his less-than-desirable surroundings. Why did it suddenly feel so…off? Like there was something lurking in the shadows that couldn't be seen or heard unless looked at directly. Like some indefinable something was just not right.

Like he was being watched?

He shrugged it off, sure it was the mere feeling of isolation that was tugging at his heart.

He went inside the small room, retrieving his latest novel, The Kite Runner, before plopping onto the bed, the springs dancing up and down before gratefully quieting.

It was going to be a long few days.

Seven hours later—three of those hours consisting of an unintentional catnap-and he couldn't ignore the rumbling hunger pangs coursing through his stomach any longer. Sitting up, he groaned, stretching his body to its full length before setting the beaten bookaside gingerly, thoughts of Hassan's assault and Amir's cowardice still lingering. The binding was frayed and torn, and even the slightest mishandling could easily bring it to its grave.

Sam got up, glancing at the clock that read 12:28p.m. in bold letters, the 8 cut in half and flickering, just waiting for a seizure to happen. He walked to one built-in corner of the room, what the three Winchesters all called the kitchen, though it was hardly big enough to be deemed as such.

He opened up the little fridge, thankful it actually worked properly, and scooped out his box of leftovers from the diner they had eaten at a few days back.

He popped it into the adjacent microwave, hitting a few buttons before pressing "start". He stood there, staring at the contraption as his food stayed in place. He pushed "start" again, harder this time, but again his hopefully edible lunch refused to cook. He looked around the back of the microwave, his eyebrow lifting as he admired the nice, jagged cut that went through the width of the wire. The golden, metal parts at the end of the plug were wayward and bent, obviously in no state to be safely plugged into walls without getting a few detrimental stings in the process.

He inwardly shrugged, understanding it as one of the many obstacles he always seemed to be forced to work around.

Not for the first or last time, he thought about his family. They had done all the necessary researching in the motel, discussing and mulling over the information for over a week before finally concluding what Sam had so wished it weren't. Because it was the demon, the demon that had killed his mother all those years ago. She had protected him, saved his miserable, unworthy life, and all he could do in return was sit around in a rundown motel as his father and brother avenged her.

His mouth felt twisted in a permanent frown, and he attempted a grin, his lips curling up in a parody of a smile. He stopped trying when it started to hurt.

He took the cold container out of the microwave and tossed it onto the bed. He followed a moment later, flopping beside it as he searched for the grayed television remote, intent on just sitting on his ass all day.

A pair of footsteps within earshot echoed in the hallway outside his small room, only momentarily interrupting his thoughts as he grabbed for the remote. Sam, for the most part, thought nothing of it.

Until they stopped outside his door.

Sam's breath caught in his throat and it suddenly felt like his heart just stopped. He stared wide-eyed at the door in astonishment, the surreptitious person continuing to stand there, unwavering. Slowly, so slowly, he brought his hand around to his back, pulling out the gun he always kept at the waistband of his jeans.

The metal felt reassuring in his hand as he kept it aimed at the door. Several long, agonizing moments later and the obscure person departed no sooner than they'd arrived, the footsteps fading outside until they were no more.

Sam heaved a sigh of relief, his head drooping as his neck failed to hold it up properly.

Deciding against watching TV or dealing with any loud electronics—just to be on the safe side, he told himself—he instead busied himself with his Physics homework, popping the book open to the correct page before beginning his weekend assignment.

As damn hard as he tried to focus on the Doppler effect and the rarefaction and compression of sound waves, his mind couldn't help but keep going back to those mysterious footsteps. Whoever it was hadn't just stopped in the middle of the hall; no, they had shifted specifically in his direction, almost like they were breathing down his neck, intimate and suffocating.

What purpose would someone have to come to his room? He had no acquaintances here, and Dean and his father were in a whole other state.

He sighed heavily, his eyes straying from his book to look back at the door, untouched and ever-present. Who was he kidding? It was probably nothing, maybe a lost occupant that was looking for his own room. It had to be.

What other explanation was there?

The eldest Winchester parked in front of the prominent, high scale hotel, the building spotless of the contamination they were so used to in their own rooms.

Stepping out, Dean followed behind him, doing a customary glance at their surroundings before following John toward the luxuriant hotel. A man dressed in matching blue, ironed clothes and a silly hat stood at the entrance to the double doors, chin up, back straight as a rod, and hands folded reverently in front of him. Dean shot John a questioning glance, John returning it with one of his own.

Upon reaching the double doors the man immediately turned and opened a single door for them, gesturing a hand inside and bowing slightly.

"Greetings, gentlemen, I hope you enjoy your stay here at the Fallafay Plaza."

John nodded awkwardly to him, saying a gruff, unsure "thanks" before retreating swiftly into the hotel, Dean following close behind.

Once they were out of hearing range, Dean whispered, "Dude, what was up with that? Like we're freakin' saints or something."

They each took a quick, tactful glance behind them, watching the man do the same thing for a brunette woman with a hand-held suitcase.

John turned back to Dean, shrugging. "I guess he does that for everybody."

"Weird."

And the men took off walking briskly to the second floor.

Once it hit eight o'clock, Sam began rummaging through the wooden cupboards for a potential meal once more, one hand rubbing absently at his empty stomach.

After having completed his Physics, Calculus, and American History homework, he took a quick shower before finishing up The Kite Runner, glad to have read the protagonist Amir had finally achieved redemption despite the poor decisions throughout his life. He absently wondered if his family was a bit like that. They hunted for a living, killing and slaughtering with little consideration of the beings' possible virtue, but maybe they'll turn out okay after all. Their intentions were good, weren't they? Protecting the innocent from harm was the main priority.

And another nap later and here he was, starving and in need of nourishment.

Careful not to touch the surrounding, rotting wood in front of him, he got out a box of Cheerios,—breakfast for dinner, who knew?—salvaging a bowl and spoon in various drawers before pouring a meager helping of milk, not nearly enough for his liking. But the carton was already half-empty, and he didn't want to worry about going to the store to get more if it wasn't absolutely essential. They didn't have the money for it. Straight to school then straight back, no extra stops.

He really appreciated Dean's effort in protecting him, but damn if he wasn't obsessed with it.

Just as Sam was heading back to eat on the bed, the only furniture there was to actually sit on, maybe find another book to read while he was at it, a light knocking resonated through the room, and Sam nearly lost his entire bowl to the hard floor in his surprise. He threw his bowl down onto the small desk between the two beds, feeling redundant as he brought his left hand back to reach for the gun snugly placed at the small of his back. Slipping it out, he aimed it toward the door, his heart racing as sweat beaded down his forehead. A drop fell annoyingly into his eye, and he hastily swiped it away, his sole attention on the door.

Giving the unknown visitor no response, another knock came down onto the door, slightly heavily than the last. "Hello der, I'm Larry Foreman, the owner of dis here place. Honestly, I could swear on my momma's grave you're in der, boy. Just wanted ta greet the new guest, is all. It's jus a customary thing I like to do. Keep my customers comin' back, you see." If the door were removed from the equation, Sam had no doubt he'd see a large smile and convincing wink on the other side, trying his best to play the part of deception.

Or what he strongly assumed was deception.

Sam backed up a step from the door, not sure why but hoping it helped him in the long run. What was he supposed to do? The gruff-sounding man hadn't given him any plausible reason to open fire, so what did that leave Sam to do? Allow the man entrance and join him in a cup of tea?

"Come on now, boy, don't be stubborn. I ain't gonna do nothin' to ya," the masculine voice called again from behind the door.

Sam shut his eyes firmly, hard enough to see imaginary spots roaming across his eyelids. He rubbed a hand across them roughly. Neither Dean nor his father had ever taught him how to deal with something like this.

He heard the man sigh. "Ya know what, boy? It's aight, I'll just come back tomorrow, get ya more acquainted wit da place. Goo' night, boy, until next time."

He continued to listen intently as the heavy footsteps retreated and he could have sworn he heard a deep chuckling as the man faded out of hearing. He physically sagged, the tension and adrenaline flowing out of him in a rush as he slumped weightlessly to the nearest bed, his head pounding. He rubbed at it with slender fingers, massaging his forehead tenderly in hopes of lessening the oncoming headache.

After another pointless moment of rest, because nothing happened, Sam rationalized with himself, he pulled his cell out of his pocket. He flipped it open then speed-dialed Dean, forcing his mind to relax.

He'll know what to do.

Dean and John stood as casually as circumstances allowed in the ornate hallway that contained intricately carved vases and pleasant, beige wallpaper along the walls. It all felt weird, being in such an extravagant environment, and Dean felt painfully out of place. But Dean didn't fail to realize these weren't any normal conditions they were under either. The demon only went after six month old children, his true motive unknown, and, due to endless research and countless discussion, this would be where it went down.

In a damn hotel.

They leaned against the wall, scuffling at their feet nonchalantly and hoping like hell no one came their way within the next hour. They were both armed, hopefully discreetly, and waited patiently outside the door for the signs of the demon's arrival.

Dean wiped at the perspiration gradually accumulating on his forehead, trying to convince himself everything would be fine. The demon didn't know they were coming, so they'd gank the unsuspecting bastard then get back to Sam.

His heart ached at the thought of Sam. He really wished the kid had been able to join them in the hunt, he did, but he also recognized the possibilities of injury for that kid. They were substantially more than anyone he'd ever known.

Dean nodded resolutely. It was for the best. Sam would be plenty safe in the motel while they were gone.

But Dean still couldn't help but smile reflectively, and John glanced questioningly at his son. Dean met his gaze with a smile before turning back to the door. "I was just thinking about Sammy. The damn kid is like a magnet, attracting every psycho and spirit within a twenty mile radius."

John chuckled in agreement, the anxiety and rigidity they both felt fading slightly as they thought of the youngest of the family.

The light above them flickered, and whatever John had considered adding to the conversation came to a halt. Both men immediately pushed off the wall, blessed knives instantly at the ready.

John kicked down the door with alarming speed, entering the room with Dean trailing readily behind him not a moment later. They each took in the new surroundings swiftly: light blue wallpaper, bed against the wall on the left, dresser adjacent to that, floor lamp adjacent to that, woman with baby adjacent to that, demon closing in.

A middle-aged woman, probably the mother, spun her head from the ever-present demon to the two hunters, her hazel eyes overcome with fright as she slowly backed into a corner, her baby held protectively in her arms.

The demon looked behind him to meet John and Dean's hateful gazes, his smile wicked and eyes flashing yellow.

"Well well, look who took advantage of their options for sightseeing. Winchester and Winchester and…," the demon tilted his head in mock astonishment, "no Winchester?" He shook his head, the smile still plastered onto the human face. "I'm surprised you didn't bring little Sammy along for the ride. I mean, seeing how it was his fault poor mommy died."

"Shut up, you bastard, Sam didn't do anything! The only thing at fault is you," Dean sneered, his knife being replaced with a flask of holy water. He flung it in the demon's direction, and it hissed intrinsically.

"Ouch, Deano, that stung," he said rubbing his arm jeeringly.

Dean growled, his hand reaching for a gun. Then the hand stopped without his permission, his fingers just grazing his belt loop as they wavered in midair, as if stuck in super glue and no longer serviceable to the owner. He tugged, his eyes shutting in fierce concentration, but then he felt his hand lift, lift in the direction he did not tell it to go.

A second later and both men were pinned to the wall, a foot above the ground, their limbs taut and unmoving. Dean worked and pulled every fiber of his being to push out of the restraint.

The demon strode up coolly to them, watching humorously as the two struggled against invisible, indestructible forces of his creation.

"All right, boys, enough is enough. You're not getting out of those so no need to continue such a fruitless attempt."

"Go to hell y-" And Dean's words were suddenly cut off, trapped in his suddenly malfunctioning mouth. Dean moved his mouth experimentally, but no words came out like they were supposed to.

The demon laughed. "Been there, done that. Not that exciting, I assure you." He rubbed his hands together pensively, looking at each with something akin to genuine interest. He made a low humming sound before speaking, "What a curious thing, not bringing Sam Winchester. Was there a particular," he waved his hand around for the word, "reason behind that decision, or merely an overprotective mental aspect on Dean's part?"

Dean's eyes went to small slits, and the demon's smile reappeared, one hand going and squeezing Dean's cheek mockingly. "Ah, aren't you a cute little domineering thing?"

Dean hissed, his mouth wanting to gather enough saliva to spit on the bastard's face but, once again, the attempt was useless, his mouth inactive and unresponsive to his demands.

"Now that was just rude, Dean." He waved his arms widely around the hotel room. "And here I was thinking we were having a blast." He shook his head thoughtfully, placing his arms over his chest in mock consideration. "Maybe we should get some balloons, make this experience a little more exciting. You know, spice it up a bit?"

The demon's expression grew suddenly distant, his face drawn up and gaze toward the ground in thought, as if listening in on a conversation several states over.

He looked up to Dean abruptly, his mouth flashing a bright grin. His human body walked the few steps to stand directly before Dean, his gaze falling on the young man's jacket. He flipped one side over, jiggling it around a bit, searching for something. Dean watched helplessly as the demon eventually fished his cell out of his right pocket.

He looked to Dean. "This is your phone, yes?"

It was evidently a rhetorical question, Dean's mouth sewn tightly shut.

The demon flipped the phone open, admiring it curiously. "What an odd device." He squinted. "And the screen is so small." He shook his head regretfully. "By Satan himself, you humans really are a worthless species."

Dean managed a grunt in response. The demon ignored him, finding the "on" button and pressing it. A few seconds later he was pressing another button then putting the phone to his ear, his eyes glancing at Dean's seemingly inner turmoil with a smile. He listened intently for several moments and, after whatever his task was had been accomplished, he flipped it shut purposefully, shaking it lightly in front of Dean before putting it back in his own pocket. "Sorry, Deano, I gotta hang on to this for a little while longer. Don't worry, I'll let you have it back later," he said with a wink.

The demon turned his wrist over, acting like he needed the gold Rolex to know what time it was. "Alright, well we had a nice chat, but I'm afraid I'm going to have to wrap things up from here. It was such a pleasure seeing you two again." He smirked.

The demon seemed to read the mens' minds, hell, maybe he did, and answered the unspoken question. "Ah, now why would you think that? I'm not going to kill you." He laughed, a glimmer of malice in his tone. "That would be just cruel."

With that, he snapped his fingers, and the world darkened to black.

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Well, success? Don't forget to read & review if you have time, throw in an opinion or two. I'd very much appreciate it.
With more reviews I must just update sooner. ;)

Hope you enjoyed.