Disclaimer: Not mine.

Author's Note: So… Here it is. As promised. Warning: This chapter has no purpose other than to let Dean be unpleasant to Cindy.

Thanks to Cheryl, as always.

Thanks to the good people who reviewed: criminally charmed, Eavis, Sparkiebunny, cold kagome, crazybeagle, angeleyenc, MysteryMadchen, SPN Mum, twomoms, BranchSuper, SandyDee84, Sauterelle, cookjar, casammy, Scribble2Much and TinTin11.

I won't be putting up anything much else for the next week or so – going to be travelling. I will try to have something ready after that to help speed up the last ten days of the summer break. ;-)

Epilogue: Cindy

I always liked Dean Winchester. He was… well, everything a girl wants. Hot doesn't describe it. He was smoking. Devilish, rebellious; who could ever resist that attitude? (Other than Elizabeth, I mean… Nobody who knows us can believe we're even related. Liz is such a stupid little geek. I don't think she's grown beyond the age of twelve, mentally.)

I fell in love with Dean one day in high school, a few weeks after I first met him.

It was after school – pretty late, actually, and cheerleading practice was just over. I was the last one to leave the gym. (Brad Walters, captain of the football team, was watching the practice, and he was the hottest guy I'd met until Dean.) I chatted with Brad for a moment – he was completely, totally in love with me; it was almost pathetic to watch – and then we left the gym together.

Dean was standing outside. He had a nice car – all black and shiny, although it looked a little old – and he was leaning against the passenger door, watching the school gate intently.

Of course, I knew he'd been waiting to talk to me. All the boys had done it at one time or another.

It's embarrassing, sometimes, being so popular.

Normally I ignored the guys who tried to force their stupid conversation on me, but I could see right away that Dean was something else. He was tall (even high school) without being too tall, with smouldering green eyes. Those eyes were on the main school building, not the gym – he probably thought I'd go back to get something from my locker.

"Hey, Dean," I said softly, going up to him. "Waiting for someone?"

"Hmmm… Oh, hi, Gloria –"

"Cindy," I corrected. He was so desperate to talk to me that he couldn't even remember my name. That was so sweet.

"Oh, sorry, Cindy. Hi, Cindy. Yeah, I'm waiting for my brother. He's got some stupid study group thing."

"That's too bad," I said. I had to give Dean credit for coming up with a good excuse. Handsome and smart. "I guess I'll just have to keep you company while you wait."

Dean looked at me.

His expression changed in seconds. All the anxiety vanished from his face, to be replaced by a blinding smile that made my heart speed up a little.

There was something between us, and Dean felt it, too.

Of course Sam had to ruin it at that exact moment for coming out of the building, the stupid little geek. Couldn't he have seen that Dean and I were about to get busy and hung around inside for a while, doing whatever it is geeky kids do?

The rest of it doesn't matter. Not right now. The point is, that was when I fell in love with Dean Winchester.

A few weeks later, he and Sam packed up and left. I was happy, at the time, because I'd just found out that Dean had been seeing Marcia behind my back… I didn't realize then (although I did later) that it was just a sign of how confused he was.

Then, years later, they showed up again.

That's where I was before I got distracted, wasn't it? That evening I met Dean in the bar. I could scarcely believe my luck – I'd almost lost hope of ever seeing him again! He seemed to remember me – it took some prompting, and for some reason he kept calling me Marcia – but we got there in the end. He seemed genuinely happy to see me, and I was happy that Sam seemed to have finally stopped tagging along with him.

So, as you can probably imagine, I was seriously upset when Liz and Sam came stumbling into the bar looking for Dean. I didn't know it was Sam at first – I mean, what kind of loser is still tagging along with his older brother when he's, what, thirty? When I realized who it was, it was like some kind of horrible déjà vu. Sam and Liz had ruined nearly all my romantic moments with Dean in high school, and now the stupid kids were doing it again.

Yeah, I lost my temper. Can you blame me? My life was being turned upside down by that pesky little nerd brother of Dean's. Again.

The rest of the night was a total loss. Sam got upset and ran for it like some half-witted child. Elizabeth, after glaring at me as though it was somehow my fault that the kid was oversensitive, followed. Dean went after them; I could tell he really wanted to stay with me, but he obviously still felt obligated to take care of his brother.

Maybe Sam was special. That would explain a lot.

Anyway, I left right after Dean did. There wasn't much left for me to do that night. I was planning to speak to Elizabeth the next day – she might know where Dean and Sam were staying.

I went to bed as soon as I got home. I fully intended to track Dean down the next day – I wasn't some Disney princess to sit around waiting for him to come find me – and I needed to be at my best.

When I woke up, it was still dark outside. There was someone in the room – I could see a silhouette against the window – and I almost screamed before I realized that it was Dean. I could recognize the sound of his breathing. It was short and quick.

My heart skipped a beat. He hadn't been able to wait until morning to find me.

"Dean?" I asked. I probably should have been upset with him for breaking into my apartment, but I understood. It was only because he loved me. How could I get upset over that? "How did you find me?"

"Never mind," he said. He was so nervous that he almost sounded angry. I could sympathize. I understood how he felt, how important this moment was to him – to us. "We need to talk. Get dressed. I'll be waiting in the living room."

He left. I hurriedly pulled on some clothes and followed him out.

Dean was standing in my little dining room, leaning against the wall by the lamp. The yellow light threw half his face into shadow. He looked mysterious and compelling and just so hot I could barely breathe.

"Dean," I said as steadily as I could. "What did you want to talk about?"

He looked at me. I couldn't quite read his expression.

"Sam was terrified," he said at last. I was a little surprised that he thought he had to explain himself – I knew how sweet and noble and selfless he was; I understood that he'd felt he had to help his brother, even if what he'd really wanted had been to spend the evening with me.

"That's OK," I said as reassuringly as I could. "I get it –"

"No, you don't bloody get it!" Dean snapped. "Sam was terrified. That's not supposed to happen. That's never supposed to happen. Sam is never supposed to need to be afraid of anything when I'm there."

"Baby, I understand –"

"Good. Then you know why I'm here."

I blinked. This was starting to confuse me a little. I couldn't shake the feeling that the tremor in Dean's voice was more anger than passion.

"Dean –"

"You upset Sammy." Dean pushed himself away from the wall. "Sammy was getting on with Elizabeth. All he wanted was to reassure himself that I was there. He needed me to talk to him for a couple of minutes and then he would have been fine. He would have spent the evening with Elizabeth. He liked Elizabeth and she didn't make him feel like a freak."

"Dean, I don't –"

"You made Sammy think he was weak. You have no idea what my brother's been through. The things they did to him – and I'm all he's got. Do you understand that? When it gets really bad, I'm the only one he'll talk to. And you made him think he couldn't ask for my help."

"Dean, I'm sorry. I didn't –"

I stopped short when I saw the gun pointed in my direction.

"You," Dean ground out, "are coming with me."

Dean put some kind of black thing over my head. It didn't suffocate me or anything, but I couldn't see. He took my arm and marched me downstairs and outside. I tried reasoning with him – I understood, I really did. He was frustrated with having to look after Sam, he was in love with me and didn't know how to show it; the poor baby was just confused.

But Dean was too upset to listen. I let it go. I was sure he cared about me too much to hurt me, and we could sort everything out later.

We drove for around half an hour, and then Dean brought the car to an abrupt halt. I heard gravel hitting the underside of the chassis.

"Listen," Dean hissed in my ear. "I had to leave Sammy alone for over an hour while I tracked you down. He was sleeping, so if you're lucky, he'll be OK. If he had nightmares when I wasn't there, I'm going to be even madder."

"Sam's –"

"Come on."

Dean pulled me out of the car. I heard him fumble at a lock, he pushed me a few feet forward, and then he finally took off the thing covering my eyes.

We were in a motel room. Twin beds. The nearer one was empty. Sam was asleep in the far one. He was hugging something to his chest like a teddy bear. I couldn't tell what it was. He was tossing and muttering. The blankets were tangled around his feet.

"Damn it." Dean shoved me into a chair and ran to Sam. "No, come on, kiddo. Wake up." He shook Sam. Sam huddled back against his pillow like he was afraid. "Sammy, please. Wake up for me. I'm here."

It happened almost too fast for me to see. Dean gave Sam another, harder shake. Sam's eyes flew open and he flung himself at his brother, dropping the thing he was holding. Dean didn't even grunt when Sam's full weight hit him. He wrapped his arms around the brat and held him close.

I couldn't help thinking of what a wonderful father Dean would make.

"Right here, Sammy," Dean whispered. "It's OK, little brother. Everything's OK. You're safe. I'm here."

Sam smiled, relaxing a little.

Then his eyes fell on me and widened with something very like fear. It was ridiculous: Sam was about twice as tall as I was, and wide to match. I couldn't imagine why he'd be scared of anyone, leave alone of me. Probably had some deep-rooted psychological issues. I could see the kid stiffen as he pushed away from Dean. At least he still had enough sense to know he shouldn't be clutching at his older brother where people could see.

Dean followed Sam's gaze and frowned at me, as though it was my fault the stupid kid was being weird. I really needed to get Dean away from Sam – he was a bad influence.

"That's OK, Sammy." Dean grabbed Sam and pulled him back. "It's just Marcia."

"Cindy," I corrected. Dean ignored me.

"Sam." Dean gave his brother another light shake. "Hey. Look at me." Sam looked up at him. "Trust me, kiddo?"

It took about half a second for the fear to vanish from Sam's expression, replaced by a mixture of adoration and faith that I wouldn't have believed was possible if I weren't actually seeing it.

Huh. Maybe there was a reason Dean seemed to like hanging out with the kid so much.

"Marcia has something to say to you," Dean went on. I didn't bother to correct him: I had a feeling he was getting my name wrong on purpose, just to see if he could get on my nerves.

I was also starting to think that maybe, just maybe, he cared more about Sam than about having the perfect future with me.

Sam had his head on Dean's chest, looking at me over his brother's arm.

"Marcia?" Dean prompted.

I sighed. Apparently there was no getting out of it. "I'm sorry I yelled at you, Sam. It's not your fault that you're special."

Sam flinched.

A minute later, Dean had my arm in a death grip.

"That's it," he growled. "You had your chance. Let's go."

Sam scrambled to his feet. "Dean, don't!"

"Wait here, Sammy. Stay awake. I'll be back soon."

"Dean –"

"Hey." Dean let me go long enough to go back to Sam and run a hand through his hair. "I thought you trusted me, Sammy."

He stayed there until Sam (reluctantly, I thought; the kid still didn't want to give us even a minute alone together) nodded and backed down.

After another drive – a harrowing one, during which I was blindfolded again and Dean tied my hands together and then took corners at stomach-twisting speeds and drove over rocky ground so fast I was sure the car was going to fall to pieces – we came to an abrupt stop. We got out. Dean grabbed my arm and guided me forward, not answering any questions or saying a word.

We seemed to be going uphill. I stumbled a couple of times, but Dean kept me on my feet.

We stopped.

"You want to try taking a step?" Dean said softly.

I reached out with my foot, and encountered empty air.

"Dean." My voice sounded harsh in my own ears. I swallowed. "Dean, baby, let's talk about this."

"I tried to be nice," Dean growled. "Took you to Sammy. Gave you a chance to set things right."

"Dean, please –"

"So we're going to try this another way." He turned me around on the spot, quickly, so that my sense of direction was shot. I had no idea which way we'd come from… And no idea which way the ground was going to drop away. "Good luck, Cindy."

I felt Dean back away, but he made absolutely no noise and I couldn't tell which direction he was moving.


I was starting to get a little angry… Dean was taking this protect-Sam thing too far.

There was total silence.

"Dean!" I yelled.


I had to – I had to do something. If he'd gone – I couldn't wait here. I had to –

Maybe if I crouched and tried to feel around?

I started to sink to my knees.

I was halfway down when I felt the ground under me begin to give way. I screamed.

I fell –

About a foot, and then I hit earth, scraping my elbows and forearms on something rough and hard.

"Not much fun, is it?" I heard Dean say, close to my ear again.

He pulled off the blindfold and I looked around. I was sitting on the ground between a pair of fallen logs – Dean must have got me up on one without my realizing it, and when I went to crouch the shift in my weight made it roll.

"I thought – how could you do that?" I demanded, near tears.

"That isn't even a patch on what Sam went through, for longer than you could possibly imagine. So here's the thing." There was a terrifying edge of menace in his voice. "I'm going to take you home now. Then I'm going back to Sam. If I ever see you near him again, there'll be hell to pay."

"But, Dean – what about us?"

He looked at me in disbelief. "Us? The only reason I haven't killed you is that it would upset Sam if I did! There is no us. Now let's go."

I let it go – that time. Maybe Dean needed to grow up a little more. Maybe he needed to outgrow his brother.

Maybe when that happened he'd come back to me.

And maybe if it didn't, I would go find him.

Vengeful enough?

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