A Streetcar Named Desire

Summary: She has seen enough to believe in fairy tales – so there's still hope, right?

Warning: You gotta be in for some Impala love, Impala hurt, Impala comfort :-)

A/N: Yeah, we have learned to live without some of our most beloved characters, but to be without even a word of baby for so long? It's just not fair. Hope you feel a bit comforted. I do ;-)

She awakes from the wind tearing at the tarpaulin, whispering and screaming and throwing small branches at her, but she doesn't flinch, she welcomes him. Once she has loved his powerful play, has yearned to run with him, against him, a never-ending challenge between the two of them who'd be faster.

Now she's tired. Her playing days seem over. Her family is gone.

Days, weeks, months have passed by, leaving her behind. The black tarpaulin covers her like a shroud, and sometimes she wonders if she's somehow vanished from the world like she's vanished from sight.

Dreams and memories are the only roads she can run free now. She recalls the day he has touched her for the very first time – like a weird kind of baptism, like if someone had told her: 'You are mine – from now on until the end of this world.' She had never felt something like that before. Hands had built her and washed her and even proudly caressed her, but never like that. There at the second-hand car dealer, black skin glistening in the sun, his touch had ignited a spark in her iron heart that has changed her forever.

It had been a long time until she felt his presence again.

Years later, her owner would drive her to a hospital, singing along with the radio, smelling of aftershave and excitement and joy, and they would fetch his woman, and there, in her arms, tiny and smooth and crying, there he was again. She didn't care how and why, her heart recognized and welcomed him and her deep rumble soothed him and soon he was asleep, his parents sharing a proud smile.

The wind settles. She can hear the soft noises of the night. The hooting of an owl, the back and forth of cicadas. A siren, far away. A sound connected to dread and desperation and fear, his and hers, many a time. The night he sat on her hood, shivering despite the heat that came from the spitting and hissing fire devouring their home – little Sammy in his arms, his Dad lost and helpless, his childhood burned to ashes. This has been the beginning of their real journey together.

And then there has been the night that nearly ended it for good. The night when he crouched in the backseat, his blood soaking through her leather, his fingers gripping the door handle seeking for support and reassurance, his eyes lost in her windowpane while Sam had been driving, frantically and rough, arguing with his father like so often before – not aware of the huge truck that had been waiting to hunt them down. She hadn't cared for the crushing and squashing, the dreadful sound of metal screeching like a banshee. Had only tried to curl herself around the precious freight, shield him from any danger. But in the end it had been Sammy who'd saved them.

She had waited, bruised and battered, at the junk yard she knew so well by then – secretly watching her brothers and sisters rotting into oblivion. Hoping he'd come back and get her, back on the road again. Sometimes the grumpy old man had dropped by, starting to patch something and ending up huddled against a tire, sipping his beer and swearing under his breath.

Finally her boy had come back.

Or not.

Cause he had changed, something was eating at him, tearing him apart. She knew it from the way he handled her. Carefully, but absent. Experienced, but emotionless. And all the time she could sense the tension, the helpless rage boiling inside him. For the first time she couldn't give him any comfort. Because he didn't want it.

That day he went berserk on her? Took the iron and smashed her new hood to bits and pieces? Nearly shattered her windshield to be on the safe side? First she had been dumbstruck, not knowing what the hell she had done to end up in that nightmare. But then it struck her. He was punishing himself by destroying what felt like a part of him. And that hurt even more.

His defenses were crumbling, letting escape raw emotions – self-doubt and fear and helplessness and pain, and when he finally crashed on her backseat, exhausted in every possible way, she held him and warmed him and hoped that he would heal.

She shudders under the tarpaulin, suddenly feeling hollow. Then she groans inwardly, ashamed. Hey, she is a Winchester, right? So: No rest for the wicked. And no time to whine.

Dean has said that to his little brother, laughing at him every time Sammy started his sulky serenade about how long it would take them to get to the next motel or why this would be called a 'hot dog' when it was cold like roadkill or when he could see his friends from school again. And soon they would be reading comics or inventing stories about the family in the car behind them or playing with plastic soldiers and John would look in the rearview mirror and smile his sad and secret smile.

Those have been happy days, and she had enjoyed being not only a vehicle but also a chaser and a weapon locker and sometimes a motel and most of all a home for them. Her seats recall the tiny weight of Sam as a toddler and the peaked knees and elbows of the lanky teenager, Dean's slightly sweaty hands and furtive looks when he had snatched John's keys for the first time to drive around the parking lot and the furious lecture that followed. Her leather is soaked with Winchester blood and gun oil, with salty tears and drops of ice cream, with sweat and holy water and disinfectant. In her backseat the boys have slept and played and laughed and hassled, it has held demons and angels, it's the place where Dean had his first real kiss – and then some more.

Thinking of Dean hurts, but it's too late to stop it now. Because as much as she has loved her days as a family car – it has been so much more to be Dean's baby. The one he has wanted since he was old enough to reach the gas pedal with his foot. The one he has cared for with a love she had felt in every soft touch while he has been waxing and polishing her black skin and in every word he has whispered to her. The one he has treated like a Lady, and yeah, go ahead and laugh at that, but it's the goddamn truth and she knows nobody will ever love her like that.

There is a vague and very hazy memory – a nightmare, perhaps – of her lying broken and rusty near a chain-link fence in some kind of camp, and the spark must have died because the man that loved her is walking around with empty eyes and a withered heart and he treats her as if she is junk from another time, another life. But then, one day – dreams, don't try to understand them – he comes around the corner and freezes, seeing her. His eyes are checking her, finding every scratch and dent and the broken upholstery and it looks as if he might cry, and when he speaks to her it's like in the old days, and she knows that he has come to get her, no matter what.

She sighs.

As long as there is anything left of her she's going to hope for that day.

The first rays of dawn are gliding over the tarpaulin, taking the chill away. She can hear her regular visitor sneaking through the brambles, tired from the night's hunt. She can't see him, but in her mind he has huge green eyes and a lean, strong body. As usual he checks the surroundings carefully, looking for any sign of danger before he enters her hood with a supple leap, doing a 360 before he's lying down taking care of his fur, purring contentedly.

His small, warm presence comforts her, lulling her to sleep again.