"Wake up, Sammy. I'm getting lonely."

The feeling of coming out of unconsciousness was depressingly familiar. His head throbbed and Sam groaned involuntarily, trying to orient himself. He could feel bonds, so this wasn't friendly (when was it ever?) and tried to remember how whatever-the-fuck it was had gotten the drop on him.

Nothing came up. No wonder his head hurt, in that case.

"Come on, eyes open. Let me look at you." Sam gathered himself and dragged his eyes open, and stared into an opaque black gaze looking back.

Oh, shit.

The demon grinned widely, ear to ear. Sam turned his head, looking automatically – worriedly - for Dean. The demon chuckled. "No company, Sam," it said. "Just you and me. You can thank me later. If you want." Another chuckle. Sam tried his bonds discreetly, to no avail. Dean must have been out, but he couldn't think why any demon would leave his brother behind, not when he apparently had a bounty resting on his head.

He gritted his teeth. "What, you're going to call in the bounty?" He kept his voice deliberately cocky, hoped the lurch of fear didn't show. "Turn me over to Lucifer, collect your prize?" Sam's head thudded and the room seemed to blink in and out of focus. His gorge rose. The demon scoffed.

"No," it said, "No…" It leaned in, breath stinking of sulfur. "I have a better idea." It stepped back, pacing a few steps away from Sam, over to a table to their left, and started hovering hands over it. Sam deliberately did not look, not wanting to see what – perhaps this one thought to gain favor, deliver a broken Sam Winchester to his lord and master. (No, his brain gibbered stupidly at the thought, and Sam closed his eyes.) "I don't want anything to do with Lucifer," said the demon, then, surprising him. "No, I'm just…testing a theory. Just a little idea someone gave me…"

It turned around, a knife in its left hand. "You know there are levels of demons, right? Big ones, small fry…no one likes to be on the bottom, Sam. You can understand that. And if you can…get ahold of a higher level demon, there are ways to…draw off their power. You know that too, right?"

Sam was beginning to understand, and started to shake his head. "No," he said, "No, don't you – don't-" He felt dizzy, sick. The demon smiled coyly at him.

"I wasn't asking, sweetheart," it said, and closed the last few steps. "Just a little. Just to see if it works." It brought the knife to his face, trailed it down as Sam tried to tug away (weakly, too weakly) and cut in just below his jaw. Sam hissed, but a moment later the knife pulled away and fell to the floor, and there was just the warmth trickling over his skin, and the demon leaning in.

He tried to pull away, breath quickening, suddenly aware of his pulse his blood his. The demon pressed its mouth almost lovingly to the gash in the skin and Sam jerked violently, and then again as he felt its tongue teasing flesh apart like a grotesque pair of lips. Sam ground his teeth together and fought to keep silent, arms straining at the cuffs, and then the demon started feeding in earnest.

He could feel it suck, blood rushing to the surface and it was drinking his blood, god god god no, no, no-

The demon drew back quickly, though, with a gasp like a human might make after a long drink of cold water, but Sam could see the tendons standing out in the possessed man's neck and the expression of ecstasy on his features, demon-twisted, and his brain kept trying to detach but it wasn't going very well.

"That's good," it said, "That's…gooood." It stretched out a hand, flexed the borrowed fingers. Its grin widened. "Oh, yes," the demon said. "It worked. Hot damn, it worked. I have power now. I can…" It closed its fingers in a sudden fist and there was an answering clenching-twisting-white-red pain-

"A-aah-" Sam felt his whole body shudder, back seizing, but then the demon dropped its hand, laughing. "Look what I can do," it said, and then grinned from ear to ear. "Don't go anywhere, Sammy. I'll be back."

Between one blink and the next, it vanished.

Sam started to shiver, and forced himself to still. The cut was shallow and small, no longer even bleeding, but the skin was still…damp. He closed his eyes, feeling vaguely nauseated. He tried to think – tried to think clearly which was harder. The demon wasn't turning him over for bounty. It just wanted – power.

Power it could get from his blood.

(Sam didn't want to dwell on that long, or at all, not on what it might or did mean. Not right now, when he needed to be working out escape before the demon got back.)

He tried to twist around to get a better look at his restraints, but it just made his shoulders ache. Where was Dean? He wondered abruptly, and then snorted a little to himself. All grown up and still expecting rescue. Good job, Sam.

Trying to focus, he closed his eyes. Trying not to think about the demon or his blood or the demon drinking his blood or the way his head was still protesting and the way the room kept trying to sway was unsettling his stomach.

Trouble was, he wasn't doing so great at it. His thoughts were like a demented figure skater sliding across the surface of his brain. And if that wasn't an absurd analogy…

Something clanged on the roof and Sam stiffened, straightening, and hissed when metal bit into his wrists. He lowered them carefully, getting as much slack as he could. Just an old building settling. He needed to be using the time to think.

He kept coming up blank, though. At least Dean wasn't here with him. That was probably good, right?


What he kept coming back to, Dean thought, was that he couldn't leave Sam alone anywhere, ever. "Fifteen minutes," he muttered to the empty goddamn motel room, "Fifteen fucking minutes. No note, no…"

The problem was – and there was always a problem – he was here presented with two conflicting pieces of evidence. Sulfur on the windowsill, and the absence of Sam's duffel or sign of a struggle. Most kidnappers didn't bother with baggage. And most struggles would have left a sign.

Which left him with a few unpleasant ideas: Sam had been kidnapped by a demon and it had taken his stuff to make it look like he'd left, Sam had packed up and left with a demon (more plausible than it should have been), or Sam had packed up and the demon had come by later.

None of them were options he liked, and he wasn't sure which was worst.

"Fuck," Dean said, and then again, in case it might help, "Fuck!"

Sam, of course, didn't answer. His cell phone was going to voicemail (of course) and Dean was left behind, without a clue, again. Calling Cas would have been a thought, except that he couldn't help much, and so old fashioned way it was.

Because fuck it if Sam had walked out, Dean'd dragged his ass back before and so help him he'd do it again, whether for Sam's sake or everyone else's – did it matter? End result the same.

He needed to focus. Sam was gone, it'd already been an hour between looking for clues and checking restaurants and everything else that might have meant all was if not well at least decent in Winchester-land, and drawing a complete blank, and now he was that much farther behind whatever had taken (and he was going to go with that option, it was most painless) Sam.

And shit, he realized, abruptly, if it was a demon, and Sam was gone-


Sam could be with Lucifer right now, doing god knows what, having god knows what done to him (torture? Oh don't go that direction) and being baited and pushed into saying the big fucking yes and ending the world for real this time.

Dean really, really wanted to kill something.

He went back to looking for clues instead.


Sam didn't know how long it had been. His arms ached, and his back was starting to twinge as well. The rope was biting into and chafing his wrists. And he didn't know how to get out of this. The only thing he could think of clearly was Dean, which was significantly less than an answer.

He examined the room, then, for anything resembling a hint or suggesting an escape plan. It looked like a warehouse, or maybe an empty barn. He couldn't hear cars outside. They'd been in a town before, pretty good size – who knew how far away he was now. The lights were dim at best and there was nothing but him.

Him and the table to his left full of knives, and a couple crowbars, and a few other things Sam tried not to look at. (And hoped weren't for him. Which was stupid; who else would they be for?)

No clues. Nothing. Not that there would have been anything he could do with them if they had been there.

Helplessness wasn't a feeling Sam was unfamiliar with. He'd felt a lot of it growing up, before he could hunt, watching his father and brother risk their lives and not knowing if they'd come back alive, hurt, at all. Going to school and seeing it all come to awfully literal ashes. Trying to save Dean and watching him go to hell anyway –

So yeah, he knew helplessness.

That didn't mean it sucked any less.

The demon came back whistling to itself, grin stretching its borrowed face. Sam did his level best not to think about why.

"The things I can do with your help, Sam," it said. "I can feel it. Power rushing through me." It whistled. "I was thinking – one time thing, just one little nibble, but you know what?" The demon prowled forward, rested its hands on Sam's knees, its breath like sulfur. "That's just not enough."

Sam spat in its face. The demon backhanded him, wiping it off with the other hand, and laughed. "I can do that," it said, whispered. "No retaliation, nothing you can do to me. Not this time." It turned its head, cheek nearly against Sam's, and abruptly bit into his ear. Sam yelled in surprise and jerked uselessly.

"Fuck Lucifer," it murmured. "I think I like you better anyway."

"What," Sam said, with bravado he wasn't sure he felt. "You're just going to bleed me dry, expect he won't notice?" I'm…calling on the Devil's protection. Fuck. Sam dismissed the thought. You used the resources you had. No matter how much you hated them.

"Oh, no," the demon said, stepping back, eyes wide. "No one said dry. Just bleeding." Sam swallowed, and the demon grinned again, eyes full black.

"Now," it said, "I think I have some maiming to do. Maybe killing. Don't go anywhere, Sam. Just…sit tight. Think happy thoughts. I'll be back for more." The demon started toward the door.

Sam couldn't hold it back anymore. Stupid kid response or not- "Yeah? And what about when my brother finds me?"

The demon turned and looked at him over its shoulder, and shook its head. "Oh, Sammy," it said, patronizingly sweet, "Nobody's coming. As far as he knows…you just left."

Sam's stomach dropped, and he pictured Dean, not knowing what had happened, no Sam, apparently no sign of a fight- with everything, it was just the sort of thing that might happen.


Twenty-four hours and he still had nothing.

There was no sign of a demon in town or in either of the towns one over. So either it was a really weak one, not making any noise, or there wasn't a demon. Or it was somewhere else, halfway across the country with Sam in tow, or –

He needed to stop thinking.

Dean gulped another half cup of coffee and squinted, trying to focus through gritty eyes. He'd been going on hardly any sleep for a couple days, and of course it chose now to catch up to him.

He gave in and did what he probably should have done first thing: called Bobby. It was two rings before the older hunter picked up the phone with a grouchy, "Yello?"

"I lost Sam," Dean said, without preamble, and he almost heard Bobby sit up straighter.


"I don't know what happened," Dean said, trying to keep his agitation down. "I came back to the room and – nothing. All his stuff gone, sulfur on the window, and I don't know if he took off or got dragged off or where he is – no sign of demons in this town, no trail-"

"Dean," Bobby said, and he sounded almost – but not quite – apprehensive. "You realize he could be-"

"Yeah," Dean said, feeling his muscles wind tight. "I've thought it. Wouldn't we – know, though? Wouldn't there be some kind of-"

"Not if he hasn't said yes," Bobby said, and Dean felt his shoulders slump. There was a brief silence. "—but maybe not," the older hunter said quickly. "Could be – something else. Let me – I'll look into it. Maybe it's just moved a little ways away and I can pick up on something."

"Yeah," Dean said, looking at his coffee. "Maybe." Fuck, Sam… Bobby cleared his throat.


"It's fine," Dean said solidly. "I'm fine. Just – hurry."

"I'll see what I can do," Bobby said after a moment, and then hung up. Dean fingered the phone for a moment before hanging up as well. He tried calling Sam, just in case, but it went straight to voice mail. Dean scoffed at himself. What had he expected? An answer?

No messages either. Nothing. Well, nothing but the anxiety churning his gut into mush.

He put down the money and got up, moving swiftly out of the diner and back to the motel room, finishing the coffee as he went. They weren't even doing anything here. It was just a stop, for one night, a break from the road. So much for that.

At this point, Dean thought, maybe it'd be better if Sam had walked out of his own free will, and the sulfur was incidental. But he would have called by now. Would have left a note.

Right? Dean shook off his doubts. Whatever the reason, Sam couldn't be out there alone. It wasn't safe. For him (or, if Dean was entirely honest, for anybody else).

Back to the motel, then. And waiting, and looking for leads that didn't exist. He could almost hear the clock in his head, ticking away the time Sam had been gone.

You know the longer it takes, the more likely it is he won't be coming back.

Shut up, Dean thought savagely, and let his fingernails bite into his palms.

The demon fed longer the second time.

It cut just below his collarbone, tearing his shirt away – so you can watch, it said, and clamped its mouth down. Sam didn't watch, just tried to let everything around him fade and diminish. It wasn't working too well. The demon's hand clenched in his shirt as it nuzzled and suckled obscenely at his blood, and it didn't pull the hand away when it was done, holding possessively as it panted, pupils dilated.

"Damn," it said, then again, "Damn. That's heady."

Sam felt a surge of nausea and swallowed it. He could feel a few stray drops of blood sliding over his chest and ignored them. "Don't get carried away," he said, with the most snark he could manage. The demon snickered.

"Funny, Sam." It licked its lips. "If you could see what I've got planned for the evening's entertainment…almost wish I could take you along." It sighed, stretched. "No rush, though…I'll bring you back some food. Can't have you wasting away on me…not when I need plenty of supply."

It took another helping before it left laughing, and Sam was alone with his thoughts, exhaustion closing in on him.

He tried to refuse the food, but the demon held his nose until he had to breathe and poured soup down his throat until he choked. It seemed to find it entertaining to feed Sam, leaving his hands bound. Seemed to find his humiliation every time hilarious.

His head didn't get better, but it didn't get worse, either. It ached and throbbed, and the constant blood loss didn't help either. It was near constant, now, hardly an hour between feedings, each too long and leaving a swishing feeling in his head like there were pockets of air in his veins where there had been blood.

Sam could feel himself weakening. Didn't know how long it had been. He slept, sometimes, uneasily. His back and arms hurt for a while, as did the little slices over his body, but that all faded, numbed. Probably a bad sign.

The demon talked. He ignored it, as much as he could. It seemed to find that entertaining, too.

Dean didn't come. That was the really clear thing.

No one was coming. This was his life, now. Until the demon took too much too fast and he ran out of blood. Might not be long now.

Sam let his eyes float closed and tried to drift away.


A day became two, and then a week, and then two.

And still nothing. Bobby had omens, but as he put it, there were too many to read. It was as useful as having no omens at all, and there was no other sign of Sam. Dean had gone over everything with a fine toothed comb, passed panic into numb despair. The longer the silence, he knew, the less likely it would break.

But he both didn't know what to do next or how to give up.

He'd tried every lead, no matter how slim. Checked security cameras, talked to the police, even. Nothing. And in the back of his mind was still the thought, if he's hiding from me…

Castiel wouldn't answer calls. Bobby had no real help. And Dean was out of ideas, and doing his best to get miserably drunk. Emphasis on the 'miserably.' Hunched over the bar, he was hardly even minding the girl giving him a spectacular view down her shirt.

Two weeks. Sam could be dead or dying or being tortured, in excruciating pain –

Or he could be fine. (Yeah, even in his head he didn't sound convincing.)

"S'fucked up, man."

Dean started listening, half-heartedly. He didn't really want to leave town, but it was a habit it was hard to break. (Something thought that maybe Sam would just pop back in.) His eyes found the huddled mass of people in the corner, though – college students, looked like. "All those girls – Lucy said she saw him, with Michelle…before. She said he was – on drugs or something. Fucked up eyes, you know. All black."

Dean stood up sharply and reached them in two strides. "Where was this?" he demanded, hearing the edge in his voice and not caring enough to moderate it. The kids jumped.

"Jesus," said one. "You mind-"

"Just tell me where." A dim hope was flaring. A demon nearby might be a lead, or at least might know something. (Or it could be Sam. Fuck, no, Dean, we're past that.)

"Hudson," said one girl, after a moment. "It's just a couple-"

"Thanks," Dean said, cutting her off, and wheeled for the car. His brain was already whirring, thinking, planning. Track the demon – catch the demon – and maybe he could get to Sam.

It was far closer than he'd been before.

If it hadn't already been too long. If he wasn't too late. Two weeks…a lot could happen in two weeks. Too much.

But, dammit, he had a brother to find.


He couldn't stop shivering. He had a feeling it wasn't really that cold, but he couldn't focus, couldn't think of anything except useless things like the date of the next lunar eclipse and scraps and pieces of lore floating by like flotsam in a flood.

"Dean," he said, and then tried it again, because it sounded kind of nice, if weird and blurry in his ears. "Deeeeean." He had a distant sense of pain and then a disconcerting sense of tongue-wet-warm-sucking, but his body didn't seem to respond to his instruction to pull away. That was odd. Someone moaned, poor bastard. No, he didn't sound hurt. Just…pleased.

His head sagged forward and he blinked down at the man (no, demon, Sam, completely different) fixed like a leech to his leg, a drop of blood sliding around its lips as it suckled hungrily. "Dude," Sam slurred. "That's gross."

The demon's head turned slightly and a smile slid like oil slick over its face, smeared with blood around the lips and chin. Messy eater, Sam thought. His head reeled and tilted, though he was pretty sure it wasn't actually moving.

"Good, though," the demon purred. "All that power, simmering…and I'm the lucky one who gets it." The wet tongue slid across his leg, mopping up the last few drops, and then it stood and stretched. "The things I can do now, thanks to you…"

Sam let his head fall forward. It felt heavy enough as it was, dragging like a weight on his neck. He wanted to argue. Show defiance. Really, he did.

It just wasn't in him. Like large quantities of blood he was beginning to think he really needed back. He must have said something of the like to the demon, because it chuckled.

"You think you're running out? There's plenty left in you. Plenty left for me." The demon swiped hand over its mouth, licked the smear of blood off the back. "Don't worry. I'm being careful."

Sam doubted it. Guessing, comparing the feeling – Sam wasn't nearly so sure that the demon knew how fast humans could replenish, or how much it was taking when it got hungry. Or greedy. Or whatever.

He could feel himself sinking back down. Running out of time, and he just had to wonder what would happen when the demon drained too much and his organs shut down, when he died. If Lucifer would come himself, or never know, with the sigils, never realize…

Sam let the swish and tug of the waves in his brain and aching head pull him under.


Hudson was close. Just a couple miles away, and he made it there without incident, even with the amount of speeding he managed to do.

Dean went to a bar, figuring that was the best, fastest way to get any information about what was going on and where to look.

Girls, he learned quickly enough. Girls were dying. They got picked up by a strange man – unidentified – and turned up a few hours later mutilated, raped, the works. It was the most exciting thing that had happened in Hudson in years, apparently, cause everyone was talking about it.

And everyone was talking about black eyes. Whether it was a delusion, or some freaky drug, or-

"What does the guy look like?" Dean asked, not realizing how worried he was until he had the answer – middle height, short hair, nondescript. Not Sam. Small mercies.

He retreated to the motel room, pored over the map. "If I were a demon in a small town, where would I hide," Dean murmured, and his eyes found the tiny manufacturing district.

From there, it was just checking which were abandoned, and after weeks of silence and uncertainty and nothing – god, it felt good to be moving again. To be doing something.

There was only one warehouse that had been fully decommissioned. Within a block of what passed for downtown – easy to reach your pickings.

Good place to keep your captive.

Sam might not be here, Dean reminded himself. Sam might be somewhere else entirely, this demon might not know anything, it could be a dead end. Or he could be walking right into a trap, almost too obvious.

He should hold back. Wait. Call for backup. Check more carefully.

Dean slammed into the warehouse with guns up and found Sam alone. He looked around at the dark, waiting, but Sam was slumped in a chair like the only things holding him up were bonds, shirt in tatters hanging off him, and even in the half-dark his skin looked almost greyish.

"Oh, shit," Dean said, and then again, feeling just for a moment his heart sink, his stomach turn over. Sam looked – "Oh shit."

He forced his body into motion, over to the chair, reached for Sam's face and palmed his cheek, lifting his lolling head. His skin felt clammy and cool, and Sam's eyes were barely slivers under his eyelids. But there was a pulse in his neck.

Alive. He was still alive. But Sam looked like he'd been—

No. This close, he could see the marks, nearly overlapping, little cuts with a circular bruise around them. They looked like hickies, right over those precise, scabbed cuts. They were all over his neck, shoulders, a few on his legs where jeans had been cut away. Like someone had sliced into Sam and then-

Ah, fuck. "Sam," he said, and tried to pat his clammy, too cool cheek. "Come on. Look at me. Sam, I need to know-"

Sam's eyes opened a little more, blurry and unfocused. "D'n?" He slurred, sounding drunk as hell. Or else just shocky and empty of blood. Two weeks thudded in Dean's head, and he tugged at the bonds, finally pulled out the knife and began sawing through them.

"S'me," Dean said, quick and low. "Right here – ah, fuck. Sam, need you to focus-"

"Comin' back," Sam said blearily, "Dunno – how much more've got. Go'way. Don' wanna-"

"We're getting out of here," Dean said, freeing Sam's feet and moving around to where his hands were wrenched behind his back. Dean winced in sympathy, seeing the raw skin around the zip tie cuffs. "I'll come back, gut the bastard-"

"Oh, really?"

Dean stilled, and then felt his temper flare at the small, unhappy noise Sam made. The noise that said he knew the break was over and the torture was about to start again.

Not on my watch, Dean thought, and stood up.

"Well, look who decided to show," he said, as brazenly as he could, adrenaline starting to pump through him. The man – the demon – looked at him and laughed.

"Look who's talking. I haven't been gone long." The smirk widened. "And here you are, to the rescue…two weeks late."

Dean shifted his grip on the demon killing knife and lunged, or tried. Instead he was flung back, skidding over the ground, away from Sam. The demon looked delighted. "Couldn't have done that a month ago," it said, "Amazing what a little blood will do…"

It moved toward Sam. Dean reached for the knife, straining, but the demon was holding him down, holding him back. He struggled harder as the demon stopped in front of Sam, produced a knife-

And Sam moved upwards like a fucking tidal wave, surging out of the chair as the last of the zip ties weakened by the knife snapped, and hit the demon hard enough that it fell hard with Sam pinning it down. In the moment of distraction, Dean could move again, and he grabbed the knife and ran even as Sam rolled off with a strangled cry of pain, crumpling to the ground –

The knife jammed through the host's neck before the demon could get more than halfway up.

The demon's mouth fell open, and it jerked, once. The light inside blinked with the noise like electricity, and fizzled out. Dean jerked the knife free and blood spilled out, and for a moment Dean just stared at it, wondering if any of Sam's was mixed in there.

He was called back by the shuddering, uneven sound of Sam's breathing.

"D'n," he heard Sam say, even blurrier than before, and he moved away from the corpse, stumbled over to where Sam was curled up, his eyes unfocused and pupils dilated with pain. His eyes were sliding shut, though, even as Dean reached out to lift his head off the concrete, check his pulse. "Y'came."

And just like that, Dean felt like crap all over again. Sam's pulse was too fast, thready. Already well into shock and probably half empty of blood. They weren't avoiding a hospital and a transfusion now. Even as he shifted, reached to ease Sam off the floor and carry him out to the car, he brushed some of Sam's hair off his forehead. "Yeah," he said, with all the earnestness he could manage, all the big-brother affection he could summon through the worry. "I came."


Turned out opening his eyes was the easy part. He spent five minutes staring up at the white expanse before he worked it out. "It's a hospital," he said, and it even came out mostly coherent.

"So it is," came a familiar voice from the doorway. "Which is actually a good sign, because the last two times you looked like you were awake you weren't quite grasping that fact."

Sam let his head fall sideways, feeling unbelievably exhausted. "I don't remember waking up before," he said, and Dean grimaced.

"Yeah, I didn't really think so." Sam tried to think back, but all he could come up with was blankness and – things he really didn't want to think about, so he just said, "Huh."

Dean must have heard something else (of course he had) because he huffed out a sigh and said, "Christ, Sammy-" Before cutting off. He stepped into the room and sat down heavily on the chair next to the bed, where Sam could just guess he'd been for – however long it'd been. How long had it been? "—I'm sorry."

Sam blinked. "What?"

"You've been out for – a day and a half," Dean said, his voice heavy. "They just finished pumping blood back into you. If I'd picked up on something sooner, worked it out…you could have died."

Sam took a moment to understand, and once he did, wanted to shrink down to nothing. "Been there," he said instead, "Done that." The glare Dean shot him was anything but amused, but at least it gave Sam a second to talk. "It's fine. Really. I shouldn't have gotten jumped in the first place."

Dean's mouth turned downward, but he didn't make an immediate contradiction. Sam decided to consider that a victory and let himself relax. The ache and pain of – everything was fading through the painkillers, but he knew what came next.

"We getting out of here, then? Since I'm – topped off?"

Dean didn't look happy. "I want to keep you here, make sure everything's – that thing didn't mess up anything else. You took a pretty bad knock to the head, I guess. But with – things…"

"People are asking questions," Sam finished. "It's fine. I'm fine. We should go." He didn't feel all that fine – exhausted and achy and just – low – but they did need to leave, and he could rest in the car. Dean smuggled them both out with hardly any effort, and Sam half-fell into the Impala, aware of Dean's worried eyes.

"You okay?" Dean asked again, and Sam tried to look exasperated.

"Yeah," he said, and meant no, but the car seemed to envelop him and he sank into the less than comfortable seat with relief. Dean slid into the driver's seat and glanced across.

"You just rest," Dean said, "I'll drive. Let's – just get the hell out of here."

"I can go with that," Sam said, proud of the steadiness of his voice, and closed his eyes. Behind them flashed pain dark warm suction but he managed to keep his breathing even, and a minute later when Dean started the engine, didn't bother to open his eyes to tease Dean when his brother reached out and carded a hand through his hair.

Just let it wipe away the things lurking in his mind, relished the quiet and the sound of the engine underneath.