A/N: This was written for my friend Mary, who had an absolute awful week. Sorry to anyone reading any of my other stories, my Mac had to be sent off for a repair. I didn't have any of my files on my flashdrive in a compatible mode for my Mom's netbook that I have been using this past week. Hope to have more on Soulless Justice up soon though since I have my laptop finally back! But hope you enjoy this for now! Comments are loved...and may just fuel more chapters of this fic :D
Heal These Empty Days
The amber liquid swirled slowly around the base of the glass tumbler. Raspy honky tonk played from the jukebox set off to the side of the bar. The music filtered through the slight buzz Dean was trying to get. His thoughts competed with the music and the booze to gain the upper hand.
"This has been going on for months, Dean!"
"Well excuse me Lisa...I promise, next time my brother dies, I'll learn how to deal with it a hell of a lot faster!"
"That's not what I meant and you know it."
"Then what the hell did you mean?"
"This isn't living Dean! You are functioning on autopilot."
"I'm getting through this..."
"No, you are going through the motions, and you are not getting any better. I get that you need to grieve, but all you do is sit around here, drink when it gets too bad...You're barely eating...barely sleeping. When you finally do get to sleep you wake up from nightmare. I think maybe you should see someone..."
"Oh yeah, that would go so well...I can hear it now. 'So Mr. Winchester what seems to be the problem.''Oh, not too much, I just witnessed by baby brother take on Lucifer and take a swan dive into hell. That's all doc!'"
"Then talk to me!"
"Lisa, I just can't..."
"Then maybe you should find someone who you can do that with, Dean."
"I think so..."
A loud crash finally ripped Dean away from the vivid images from last night's fight with Lisa. Blinking away the look on her face when he slammed the door behind him, he saw a young woman near the bar fighting off some burly drunk who was harassing her. Forgetting his own crap, Dean jumped up from the booth and moved towards the bar.
"Come on sugar," Dean heard the guy say to the woman, "I promise if you just come home with me I'll show you everything you want to see and so much more..." The guy's voice had a sickly seductive tone to it, and it made Dean want to gag. Why the hell do assholes think that crap will work on women?
At first, Dean had planned on just talking the guy out of bothering the woman. However seconds later the guy grab was grabbing her slender arm and yanking her towards him. She put up a hell of a fight, but was no match for the muscled man. Dean on the other hand was.
Before the jerk could even blink, Dean was at his side, twisting his arm so that he had no choice but to let go of the girl. "Buddy, I think the lady made it clear she didn't want to go anywhere with you."
"Why don't you mind your own damn business pal?"
Dean acted like he was going to let go of the guy, but then he reared back and punched him across the face. The asshole stumbled backwards into the bar before he was able to recover from the hit. Once he had, he tried to charge at Dean. However, Dean was ready for the blow. He sidestepped just in time and grabbed the guy around the waist. He aimed a hit to the guy's stomach that left him gasping for air.
"Now," Dean hauled the guy up so that they were eye to eye. "You want to keep this up or would you like to do the smart thing and walk out that door? Your choice...I can keep this up for awhile if you'd rather."
The guy acted like he wanted to keep fighting. He moved to stand in a defensive position, but the pain from his bruised stomach made it hard. With an infuriated expression on his face, he stumbled out of the bar.
For the first time in a long time, a smile graced Dean's stubble covered face. At least it did until he turned back to the woman at the bar. She looked down right pissed at Dean. What the hell?
She huffed loudly and reached for her messenger bag that must have fallen to the peanut shell covered floor sometime during the scuffle. She slid past Dean, her high heeled boots clicking against the hard wood as she rushed towards the exit. Irritation flared through Dean. Here he had just stuck his neck out for this girl, and she just stormed out past him. With determination, Dean took off after her.
"A simple 'thanks for the help' would've been nice," Dean called out to the woman once they were both outside of the bar.
She spun around to face him. "I didn't need any help!"
"Yeah, sure as hell looked that way sweetheart."
The girl stopped dead in her tracks and walked straight up to Dean. "I needed that son of a bitch! He was my only lead in this whole damn case!"
"I'm a reporter dumbass. And I am supposed to be writing on kidnappings and weird deaths that have been happening around here. That idiot actually had some information for me. I just had to put up with his crude ass for a little longer. But no! You have to get a knight in shining armor complex and go all Lancelot on my ass!"
"Woah, hold it! I was only trying to help you out!"
"Well, thank you so freaking much...now I might not ever get a lead on this damn thing and more people could go missing."
"Thought you were a reporter, not a detective?"
"You know what, we're done here. I need to go do some more research now that you've ruined my lead for me."
"Do I at least get your name?"
The only response Dean got was the woman slamming her car door shut in his face. "Damn it!" Dean cursed. "Freaking women..."
After a quick stop by a gas station for a six pack, Dean headed to the local motel. He popped the trunk of the Impala to grab his laptop and duffel bag. Sam's leather computer bag sat beside Dean's. He never bothered Sam's Mac; for that matter, he never really touched any of Sam's stuff. He just left it all in the corner of the trunk. With one last glance, Dean shut the trunk and shuffled into his room.
It looked just as every other motel room looked...crappy wallpaper, flowery bedspreads with pastel sheets, rusty faucets..."Home sweet home," he sighed.
Once all the windows and doors had been salted, Dean sat down at the table with a bottle of beer and his laptop. That girl earlier may have annoyed the hell out of him, but she did alert him to a possible hunt. Despite everything, Dean had missed hunting. More than anything, he missed hunting with Sam...
Dean absently drank from his beer as he scrolled and skimmed through various new articles. From what he could gather, locals had been disappearing for a couple of months now. It seemed as if they would be taking from there homes, but there was never any real signs of breaking and entering. Within a few days, the family of the victims would file a missing persons report. Not soon after the report was filed, the person would show up dead on the outskirts of town, covered in someone else's blood.
He managed to hack into the police database (a trick Sam had taught him); with a few quick clicks of his mouse, Dean had the address of the last person reported missing, Jacob Welsh. "Jackpot..."
Dean threw on his leather jacket and headed back out to the Impala. He navigated the sleek car along dark streets until he saw the address he was looking for. A quick glance around proved that there was no one him sight. He pulled out his gun and a lock pick kit as he made his way to the back door of the house. It didn't take long for the hunter to break into the home.
The roooms were fairly tidy, considering the owner had been kidnapped from the place. Dean click on his EMF reader as he moved through the rooms. The little machine started going crazy. With his brow furrowed, Dean carefully walked over to one of the bedroom windows. Dean felt along the sill; his hand become coated in an odd powdery substance. "Sulphur," Dean muttered to himself.
Dean waited for the right amount of time to pass...it had been three days since the missing person's report was filed. By now, the demon should be about ready to dump the body of poor Jacob Welsh right on the outskirts of town and go in search of a new victim. Dean pulled the Impala to the side of the road that ran alongside the woods. After a quick weapons check, he headed into the thick of the trees.
He remained on guard, ignoring the twigs and bushes scratching at his jean clad legs. Forest noises echoed all around him as he moved farther into the woods. His eyes caught every little movement from a rustling in the trees to the swooping flight of a night owl. Nothing escaped. It was as if he never retired from hunting.
Suddenly, a piercing scream shout out from somewhere off to his left. With his gun at the ready, he bolted towards the sound, only stopping when close enough to see the source of the cry. In a small clearing, Dean could see the form of a tall man, he assumed Jacob, leering over a slender woman. After a closer look, Dean realized it was the reporter from the bar. "Son of a bitch," he mumbled under his breath.
The moon cast an eary light onto the scene; it was just bright enough for Dean to see the demon's black eyes shining with anger and the girl's with fear. Dean knew he didn't have much time to form a real plan, but it looked as if he didn't have much of a choice. He double checked his weapons and equipment before sliding through the brush towards the clearing. Despite his methodical movements, Dean couldn't avoid snapping twigs along the way.
The demon snapped his head up from looking at the reporter and turned in Dean's direction. A twisted smirk appeared on his face as he saw Dean's outline in the dark.
"Well, well..." the demon's sickly sweet voice echoed through the trees. "Looks like I've got a lil hunter on my hands. Why don't you come out and play?"
Dean held his ground, not wanting to give the demon any pleasure by subjecting to his requests.
"No?" The demon attached his muslced hands to the woman's slender neck. She let out a startled gasp. "Guess I'm just going to have to have my fun with this one here then." He tightened his grip; the woman kicked and scratched at him to no avail. The demon only smiled at the girl's attempt to fight him off.
"Stop it you son of a bitch," Dean called out as he made his way into the opening.
The demon looked up and down Dean, taking in every detail of the hunter. "My my...I get the pleasure of being graced with the great Dean Winchester's presence." He threw the girl harshly down onto the forest floor. She grunted at the pain, but remained conscious.
"Can't say the feelings are mutual there buddy," Dean smirked. He snuck a glance at the dazed girl. He really hated that she had gotten mixed up in all this. "But then I'm sure you already knew that."
A humorless laugh escaped from Jacob's lips as the black eyes of the demon danced with amusement. Before the demon could make a move, Dean aimed his shot gun at the host's legs and fired. A rock salt round hit him dead in the thigh. While it wouldn't cause any lasting damage to the host, the immediate damage to the demon was evident. His legs buckled from the salt, sending him down onto the ground. Dean was on him quickly. He thrust a bag with the devil's trap painted on the exterior down onto the demon's head. Dean held him down as he bucked and pushed, trying desperately to dislodge the bag. Dean quickly wound thin iron chains around the demon's wrists and ankles.
"You bastard!" the demon yelled in agony.
"Not too much fun now his it." Despite the bravado in his voice, Dean was struggling to hold down the demon. He had earned a couple hits to his face and abdomen as the demon struggled underneath him. Eventually he was able to pistol whip the bastard enough to daze him. With the demon more under control, he looked back at the woman still on the ground. "You holding up over there?"
He could hear her gulp before responding. "Think so...bout as good as I can be I guess."
Dean nodded his head in understanding.
"W-What is...I mean...what is he?"
"You sure you want to know?"
She spared a quick look at the thing in front of her. "Positive," she sighed.
"Ok, he's Jacob Welsh, but he's being possessed by a demon." Skepticism marred her face. "I'm not lying to you. I wouldn't do that." And for once, he really believed that.
"So, you're telling me that thing is a demon? Like...Linda Blair, head spinning, green projectile vomiting demon?"
"Well, yeah, just without the head spinning and green shit."
The woman managed a small smile despite the situation. Dean soon found himself smiling in return, at least until the demon started stirring once again.
"Here we go," Dean sighed. He began chanting the exorcism. The demon inside Jacob writhed in agony, but managed to harass Dean nonetheless.
"I'll make sure I say 'hi' to Sammy once I get down there, Deano."
Dean's words stuttered to a halt.
"I can only imagine what Lucifer and Michael are doing to poor, sweet Sammy. I mean, tearing the flesh from his bones is like kindergarten work for them. I'm sure they're moved on to bigger and better things by now. Don't you agree."
Dean's anger flared up inside him. But he pushed it down in favor of finishing the exorcism in record time. Black smoke erupted from Jacob's mouth, leaving the body an empty shell on the forest floor. Gathering himself, Dean did a quick check for a pulse. He found none.
The events of the night came crashing down on him, and he couldn't shake the demon's taunting. A small hand to his shoulder brought him back to the present. He turned and came face to face with the girl.
"Lois, Lois Lane," she said. "And I think I owe you a couple of thank yous and I'm sorries right about now. Guess you kinda saved my ass twice now."
Dean huffed and smiled a little.
"I shouldn't have blown up at you last night. I was just pissed at the whole situation, and I just took it out on you. You know how it is. You can never yell at the one you're truly mad at. It's always whoever is in close range. And I mean, I was really just mad at the cops for not figuring anything out about this case...Granted I can see why now. What with the demon possessions and all...And holy crap! Demons are real! And..."
For some unknown reason Dean drew Lois into a warm hug. She stiffened at first, but then went willingly into his arms. He could hear a few choked sobs escape from her mouth. He soothed the woman in his arms until she had calmed down once again. "You feel like getting out of here now? There isn't anything here for the police can use to pin any of this on us. Hate to admit it, but the demon was one smart bastard."
"Yeah. I want out of here," her voice shook with each word.
"Ok, I've got my car waiting for us on the outside of the woods, right on the side of the road. It won't take us too long to get back. Then, you can crash in my motel room for the rest of the night. I'll take you to wherever your car is in the morning. Sound good?"
Lois nodded. "Thanks."
The trek back to the Impala was done in a comfortable silence. It should have been awkward given the fact that Dean and Lois were practically strangers, yet it felt oddly calm. When they finally reached the black muscle car, Dean guided Lois down onto the passenger seat and found a blanket from the back seat for her to use. He then slid into the driver's seat and took off down the highway.
He had honestly thought Lois had fallen asleep. He spared a glance to the girl.
Dean's jaw tightened and his hands tightened on the steering wheel.
"I'm sorry," Lois quickly apologized. "I shouldn't have asked. It is obvious that it upset you, and I shouldn't have done that. Sometimes I ask too many questions. Bad habit from my job that just carried over into my personal life. Or what I have of one. Not sure it could really count as a true personal life..."
Dean instantly relaxed at her rambling, despite all his reservations and grief. "He's...was...my brother."
"Oh..." For once Lois was speechless. That was not the answer she had expected.
"Um," Dean stopped to gather his thoughts, "I'm four years older than him. Practically raised the kid. We did everything together..."
Lois could see the pain and longing in Dean's eyes.
"Our dad taught us how to hunt...supernatural creatures. A couple of years ago things just started getting bad. Sam got mixed up in things he shouldn't have. Things manipulated him, used him until he didn't even know himself any more. Hell, I hated him for it. But the kid figured out a way to fix everything. He just died in the process..." Tears stung his eyes. "With the way he went, he didn't get to go to heaven or anywhere like that. He got drug into hell..."
Dean pulled into the motel's parking lot as he finished. He couldn't believe he had opened up to Lois like that. It was more than he had done in months. While it hurt...it felt oddly good. He cut the engine and started to get out. But he soon found himself enfolded into Lois's arms. He didn't even realize that he was letting the tears fall...the same ones he had tried so hard to keep in for months.
Lois let him air out his emotions. She ran her hand through his spiky hair and mumbled nonsensical comforting words into his ear. Once he had reigned in his emotions, he tried to pull away from her. She wouldn't let his embarrassment get the better of him. Instead, on impulse, she pulled his face closer to his and kissed his tear soaked lips. It was chaste and sweet, but all too quick. She pulled away first and began wiping away the wet streaks along his cheeks.
Dean reached towards his face, taking her hand into his and drawing it towards him. She went willingly, her mouth once again crashing into his. It was simple and careful. But it held something Dean hadn't thought he'd ever experience again...hope.