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Sam stared at the convenience store shelf. Specifically, he stared at the box of feminine napkins sitting among the toilet paper, toothpaste, bars of soap and other essentials for traveling patrons on the go. Glancing nervously around he caught his reflection in the cooler door and noted how he looked like a deer caught in headlights, which is exactly how he felt at the moment. Sam took a deep breath, turning his attention to the shelf again.

He could do this . . . he could. He'd done it for Jess a couple of times. Sam had kind of suspected that was some sort of boyfriend test. Like a "How awesome is your boyfriend?" test and not a "How whipped is your boyfriend?" test. After all, how can you say no to the woman you loved when she was curled up in bed clutching a bottle of Pamprin? Pamprin, yeah he'd bought those too, that's how he could remember the name.

Sam knew that he was only having these thoughts to distract himself. Now he was just stalling. His eyes darted over the low shelf and he gazed out the window. Dean was getting back into the Impala, the late afternoon sun glinting off the roof. Sam knew he couldn't wait any longer. He had to pay and do it quickly because he still needed to use the restroom. If he waited much longer, Dean might come in after him and how would he explain staring at feminine products? Not that Dean would assume that's what he was staring at but Sam's mind wasn't exactly producing the most lucid thoughts. The only perpetual cohesive musing was act normal . . . don't raise suspicion . . . Dean can't find out.

Sam's huge hand reached out and snagged the smaller box of pantyliners off the shelf then he rushed up to the cash register. He let the contents of his arm tumble onto the counter before telling the clerk which pump number he needed to pay for, even though the Impala was the only car in the lot and Sam was the only customer. However, he kept feeling as though he was being stared at. Like the place was full of patrons and every last one of them was watching him. The clerk looked mildly annoyed but didn't glance up from ringing up his items and sliding them into a bag, not even pausing when he reached the pantyliners. Still, Sam couldn't shake the feeling that people were looking at him, just gawking at him and knowing.

When he finally paid Sam gratefully headed for the restroom. Once inside he yanked his jeans and briefs down and tried to lower himself gently on the toilet seat but winced anyway when he finally got situated. He bit back a groan when he saw the state of the wad of toilet paper he had stuck in his briefs the last time they stopped. It was almost soaked through with blood. At the last stop he thought the bleeding had at least slowed, though, he conceded that the wounds could have reopened between then and now. Admittedly, the wad of paper wasn't big but there was enough blood to make Sam wonder if it was possible to bleed to death this way, rational thought again, not being his strong point today. So he thought maybe that's why he was feeling dizzy and not because he hadn't slept in over twenty four hours. Nor had he eaten in nearly as long.

Sam tore open the pantyliner box and quickly plastered three liners side by side over the small bloodstain in his briefs. Then he pulled out the rest of the liners, the box was small and their weren't many, and stuffed them in the pockets of his jeans before he tossed box into the overflowing garbage can.

He hunched over the sink and after fighting off a wave of nauseousness, he scrubbed his hands before splashing water on his face. Sam wanted another shower, he couldn't escape the feeling that he was covered in a layer of dirt. It stuck to his skin and seeped into his pores. He stared at his reflection in the mirror bolted to the wall above the sink. He looked like hell but then that wasn't too unusual after a hunt. Sam touched the bruise under his left eye and felt grateful that Dean had bought his story about being jumped by a couple of guys last night, more of a half truth really.

Dean . . .

He snatched up the plastic bag he'd left by the door and hurried out of the bathroom, out of the store and to the Impala. In his haste he forgot himself and sat down too quickly and much too hard. Fortunately for Sam, Dean had the radio blasting so his hiss of pain went unnoticed. Sam reached out and turned down the radio with his usual air of irritability.

"The hell took you so long?" Dean groused as snatched the bag from him and rummaged through it.

Sam sighed and turned to look out the window, wrapping his arms around himself. It had already been a long drive and looked like it was just going to get longer.


"Next cafe I see we're getting some real food." Dean announced around a mouth full of Snickers.

They had been driving for about an hour and Sam looked at him startled, "Why?" He asked, noticing he sounded alarmed, maybe even a little panicked and made himself calm down before continuing. "Why can't we just get some drive through or something?"

"I said real food, Sammy," Dean rolled his eyes, "not anymore of that drive through crap. We had it for breakfast and lunch. I'd like to get a halfway decent meal before finding a place to stop for the night."

Taking a deep breath, Sam crossed his arms. "Fine."

Sam sulked and tried to reason with himself that it really was fine. They were now an entire state away from the town where "it" happened. He wouldn't have to worry about somehow running into "them". Still, the thought of being in a diner, out in the open, exposed, it made him uneasy. He really just wanted to find a motel and stay inside for the rest of the night. Inside, where it was safe, even if they had to stay in the car it would be safe. And fuck if he didn't need more painkillers. Sam was hurting and he had taken some pills a few hours ago claiming a headache but it felt like they were wearing off. He didn't think he could chance taking more or anything stronger without rousing suspicion, even with the story of being jumped.

"Geez Sam," Dean grumbled, "what crawled up your ass and died?"

"What?" It was only the fact that the muscles in Sam's throat constricted that the word didn't come out as an outright shriek. Instead, it came out as a strangled sounding squeak.

Glancing sidelong at him, Dean said, "You've been acting extra emo all day, dude."

Sam shook his head turning back to the window. "I . . . I've just been tired."

"Not too tired to fight tooth and nail over the diner this morning," Dean scoffed.

"Their food gave me diarrhea yesterday," Sam shrugged.

"Uh-huh," Dean snorted. "And not stopping this afternoon?"

Sam chewed on his lower lip, "We were making good time."

"Riiight," Dean drawled. "Do you even remember where we're going? Or why?"

"Possible haunting in 'random town' Massachusetts." Sam recited dully.

"Cute," said Dean irritably.

It was quiet for a few beats before Dean started, "Look if it's about what happened last night-"

"I'm fine," Sam snapped, "I can take care of myself, Dean."

"That's right," Dean agreed, "you can. Doesn't matter if they caught you off guard, what's important-"

"Dean," Sam cut him off, drawing out his name in a not-quite-pleading tone.

Dean held up a hand, "I'm just sayin' you're the one who always want to do all that pansy 'let's talk about our feelings' crap so . . ."

"God, dude, just shut up already," growled Sam.

Dean head swiveled toward his brother with an incredulous look, "Dude! What the fuck is your problem?"

"Nothing," Sam gritted out. "Just - I'm tired, I don't feel like talking, I just want to sit here and stare out the window, is that okay?" Sam was nearly shouting by the end of his sentence.

Heaving a sigh, Dean mumbled, "Whatever you say . . . bitch."

Such a pretty little bitch . . .

Squeezing his eyes shut Sam choked out a quiet, "Jerk."

Dean turned up the radio without further comment. Sam opened his eyes long enough to glare at him before letting his head fall against the window, closing his eyes in defeat. He was much too exhausted to continue arguing. He wasn't even angry at Dean but he knew that if they continued to squabble then eventually Sam would end up telling Dean what really transpired the night before. That was not going to happened, not if Sam had any say in the matter.