We found ourselves back the motel despite our original intentions. Dad and Jess were in the room we had been in that afternoon, and Bobby was off renting a second room. Jess had ridden in with them and refused to allow us in. She occasionally glared through the window at Dean and I. We were in the Impala, and I was trying to figure out why she was mad at us when Dad and Bobby had done the torturing.
"What did we do?" I finally broke and asked Dean, hoping he had some insight into the female mind I was obviously lacking. I knew whatever it was we had done was obviously enough to not only warrant locking us out, but locking herself in the same room as Dad.
"She didn't expect us to just walk away. Leave him to die like that. From Dad, Bobby, yeah, but not from us. She doesn't know that side of you, Sammy." I let the words sink in, and thought to what she had said. Of course, I hadn't even thought twice about leaving him there to die. I never thought about having mercy on him and I knew Dean hadn't either. How different were we from the monsters we claimed superiority over?
"We're monsters in our own right."
"Are you telling me you thought about putting that vamp out of its misery? That you thought twice about torturing it for information?"
"No, but Sammy, that's our job- to kill monsters."
"It's our job to protect people first. That's what Dad always said right? Saving people, hunting things."
"We needed to do it."
"Not saying we didn't. I'm just saying we didn't need to let him suffer either." Dean thought for a moment.
"We may keep each other alive, but I think she may end up keeping us human."
"That's what I'm scared of. How long are we supposed to be able to survive? Most people don't make it ten years in this job, Dean. We've made it twenty. We were raised in it. You know where Martin is right now? A mental institution."
"We're good at the job. We'll stay alive, maybe even long enough to go into semi-retirement." I refused to let myself entertain that notion. Normalcy wasn't an option; it was just a fantasy. Something to think about as I fell asleep. I wanted it, more than anything. That white picket fence, and a golden retriever chasing kids around the yard. God, I wanted it.
"I should go see if Jess will let us in yet."
"She's pissed. I'd let Bobby handle her. They seem to have bonded."
"Go. If she punches you though."
"I won't bitch about it, much." I unfolded myself from my position in the passenger seat, and knocked on the door. I wasn't surprised, though was a bit disappointed when Dad opened the door.
"She gonna let me in yet?" He looked over his shoulder, expectantly, waiting for a signal. He turned back towards me, a sympathetic look in his eye.
"Tell her we're sorry and that she keeps us human." Dad turned back around; I knew she had heard me.
"She said she knows. Just let her be mad for a while, son. She's not going anywhere."
"I know." I sulked off to the car, noticing Bobby coming back from the office. I looked at him, hopefully. He tossed me the key and I heard the Impala door slam shut behind me. Dean grabbed the key from me, his duffel slung over his shoulder. He dropped mine at my feet.
"Think she'll come around, Bobby?"
"She will. She's just disappointed in you boys."
"I think she should be."
"You did what you were raised to do, Sam. Not saying it's right, but don't chew yourself up too bad."
"I'll get right on that." I slung my bag over my shoulder, and walked over to the room. It was locked already, so I pounded on it, already knowing my fate.
"Dean, really?" He cracked the door, leaving the chain in place.
"You're the one that messed it up, Sam. Get Jess back with us. We need her."
"Right, because you totally didn't do anything to help"
"You're supposed to be the sensitive one, college boy."
"Dean, let me in."
"I will. When you come back with Jess."
"At least give me the keys."
"I hate you."
It's for your own good, Sammy
I shuffled to the car, curling up into a too tall ball in the backseat. I knew Bobby was right- that I shouldn't have an existential crisis over killing a monster. Honestly, Jess was adapting well. I knew that and if I was being honest with myself I knew her outburst had nothing to do with hunting, as much as I may wish otherwise. Her motives- protecting people- didn't leave a lot of room for what we had done. I knew she wanted to keep me human, keep Dean human. She was probably the best thing to happen to the Winchester family in ages. What she had done was one of the best moves I'd seen out of a hunter in a really long time, maybe ever. I wondered if everything I was hiding from her made me less human- if the dreams I had mean something since they came true, or at least nearly did, sometimes.
If everyone was always this angry. I really did wonder if this much anger was normal sometimes. Half the time I couldn't even decide what I was angry at. I was furious right now, and I didn't know why. I could've been mad at Jess for making the right call when it hadn't even crossed my mind, at myself for apparently being something less than human, at Dean for locking me out or at Dad and Bobby for justifying her anger. Eventually, lost in my thoughts as I was, I must have dozed off because when I woke up Jess was tapping on the window and it was dark. I blinked, still groggy. Something was off, though I had a hard time pinpointing what. I reached over and opened the door, unthinkingly, and allowed her in.
"Hey. Why are you sleeping in the car?"
"Dean locked me out"
"Yeah. That wasn't his best move." Alarm bells started ringing in my head. There was definitely something wrong.
"You aren't Jess."
"No. You should have heard her scream when I killed Dean though. She's a fighter this one. Taken quite a liking to your big brother too."
"You're lying." I scrambled up trying to get less prone.
"No Sammy. See the last guy- he wasn't so good at his job. Me- well you were a pain in the ass to find but once I did it was all too easy to just slip inside this meat suit."
"Get out of her."
"We both know that won't work. Now here's what going to happen-" I was pinned on my back to the seat, panicking. I knew I should have made sure she had an anti-possession charm.
"Jess- listen to me."
"Now dear, Dean tried the same thing. Couldn't seem to remember the exorcism chant either. I'm not supposed to kill you. Far too valuable for that, but a bit of hurt before you watch me rip your little girlfriend apart won't be too bad."
"Exorcizamus te-"The blow that hit my chest was more than enough to knock the air from me. I needed help and I tried to will the light on in Dad and Bobby's room, but I knew they wouldn't come. I realized in horror they were probably just as dead as Dean and I became aware of the dampness of my cheeks.
"Can't have that. Now I think a nice slice across the stomach like Mommy should keep you nice and still." The demon inside Jess waved its hand and I felt my abdomen slice open. Blood began dripping down my sides, pain searing through me. I screamed and my eyes flew open.
I was still in the Impala- setting sun glaring off the rearview mirror. Sweat plastered my hair to my forehead and I sat up. A dream- it had been a very, very vivid dream. I got the feeling that this dream, like the others had more to it. I opened the door to the Impala and threw up. We needed to get out of here. I didn't know how I knew but I knew if we didn't get out of here that dream would happen. I rolled out, and pounded on Dean's door.
"Dean! Now!" I yelled, not caring who else woke up. I heard the familiar rhythm of his mostly asleep but this sounds like an emergency walk. The door flew open.
"Sammy, what's wrong?"
"There's demons headed our way. We need to head out."
"What? How do you know?"
"A vision, dream, thing." He looked at me if he was about to start exorcising me instead (not that I could blame him. "Dean, don't question it."
"Right. Right. Go get Dad and Bobby."
"Be ready to go in five"
"Yeah." I went to knock on their door, and it swung open (nearly dumping me inside) before I could.
"We heard. We'll take Jess. She's still pissed at ya idjits Think she needs to shoot something."
"We'll meet you at my place- two days."
"Right. Is she-?" Jess appeared in the door- eyes swollen. She'd been crying but I could see the steel behind the red.
"Don't baby me, Sam. We'll talk. Just not yet. I love you. Be safe."
"I love-" She cut me off with a quick kiss before turning back into the room. A bubble of guilt swelled in my stomach.
"She'll come around."
"I know. We'll see you in a few days."
"Be safe. I'd say trust your instincts but that's what we're doing here."
"Sam to you." I nodded to Dean as he emerged from the room.
"Ew! Dude, someone nearly barfed on my car."
"Don't worry. You missed." We peeled out of the parking lot, determinedly not looking behind us.
"Yeah. I'm thinking we head about four hours south."
"Ok." I sat there quietly. I knew when we checked the next morning that motel wouldn't be standing. I knew it was because of us, because the Winchesters left a trail of destruction wherever we went.
"I don't want to talk about it. Not now, not ever. It is what it is. That motel won't be standing tomorrow Dean. We're destroying someone's livelihood just by existing."
"We do that."
"Doesn't make it easier."
"I know." We sat in silence for the rest of the drive. I was glad to have some downtime with Dean, without Jess. I hadn't realized it was something I'd missed until we were in the car. I got comfy in the familiar passenger seat.
"Think Jess'll be ok?"
"Eh, Dad and Bobby like her. Think they're gonna take her shooting."
"That'll be interesting."
"Yeah." We had pulled into a motel and checked in. We got showered and I flopped myself on to the bed, flicking on the TV. Dean had pulled a couple of beers from the cooler in the Impala. He cracked them both open and handed me one.
Rule number one, Sammy- You don't tell Dad.
"We're gonna get the Colt. You me and Jess. We're gonna be the ones to track it down."
"Ok. We'll go get Jess and head to Colorado." I could tell Dean needed to do it. It needed to be how he helped.
"You remember right? I was probably about seven- Dad had a case with someone up in the mountains. Mentioned an Elkins and how he was so secretive 'bout a damn gun. Figure it's a good a place as any to start."
"What would we do without you?"
"Let's not find out, eh?" I laughed, despite myself. Dean's face got dark for a moment and it looked like he wanted to say something but settled for taking a swig of his beer.
"Jess has been with us for what a month? I haven't been sexiled once."
"Don't judge, Sammy. Just making sure my baby brother is getting some." I felt my face heat up.
"Hmm? Well?" Dean had his obnoxious big brother face on. I knew he was trying to rile me up, so I played along.
"Jess was wearing a high necked shirt for more than practicality." I smirked, knowing I had won, that Dean didn't actually want the information. He glared at me.
"I asked," he finally sighed.
"Ugh. Early morning tomorrow. We're taking our time on the way back though." I grinned knowing that meant giant truck stops and roadside attractions. A road trip proper, not a cross country marathon. It was our favorite way to travel.
"Hell yeah." Dean reached over to set the alarm and click off the lamp. I jabbed the power button on the remote.
"Night Dean." I fell asleep easily, knowing Jess was safe (if angry) and that with Dean between me and the door I was as safe as I was gonna get. For once tomorrow didn't matter. I slipped into unconsciousness and a blissfully dreamless sleep. I woke the next morning to Dean's horrendous singing- a nameless song on the staticy radio. I stretched an arm behind me reaching for Jess, before remembering it was just Dean and I.
"Dean, shut up." I chucked the extra pillow in the general direction of his voice.
"You missed." I peeled my eyes open, rubbing away the gunk.
"Good to know."
"Come on. Get moving."
"Yeah, yeah. Turn on the news will you?"
"Sure." I rolled out of bed, and stomped to the bathroom. I heard the news click on.
"Sam, get in here." I already knew from the tone of Dean's voice exactly what I would see. I went out, toothbrush dangling from my mouth anyway. Sure enough, there was a reporter standing in front of the smoldering remains of a motel. Dean clicked up the volume.
"About eleven pm last night the Royal Motel on the outskirts of Redwood City burned to the ground, killing all fifty people inside. Officials are still investigating the cause of the fire, though oddly enough, traces of sulfur-" The TV squeaked off and I went back to the bathroom, rinsing my toothbrush off, willing myself to not throw up. Once I was sure I was okay I went and threw myself onto Dean's bed, ignoring the sting where my head hit the headboard.
"Not talking about it, Dean."
"You knew it was going to happen. That they were coming for us. We can't ignore that."
"We can and we will."
"Let's just get out of here."
"Yeah. No point in sticking around. Do they know where we are?"
"I don't know. It's not like a radio. I can't just turn it on whenever." He threw the last of his stuff into his duffel bag. I got up and put away my own toiletries.
"Let's go. Call Dad from the road." We checked out and settled into the Impala. I clicked through my contacts and dialed Dad.
"Sam. How are you boys?"
"We're alright. You guys?"
"We're alive." I could hear the hedge in his voice.
"What happened? Is Jess ok?" Dean looked over at me, eyebrows raised, trying not to let the panic in his eyes show.
"You were right. Its demons. We were at a gas station about two hours ago. They got a jump on us- we, well, honestly we weren't paying attention as much as we should've been. They were after Jess. We got away."
"Is she ok?" I gritted out the question.
"She will be."
"Will be?" My voice cracked on the last word, suddenly desperately concerned. I shot Dean a look and felt the Impala's engine rev underneath me.
"Just a few cuts, Sam, may a concussion. Bobby's patching her up now." I let out a sigh. It wasn't good, but it could be a lot worse. She'd be just fine.
"Are you and Bobby ok?"
"Just a few bruises. I might have cracked a rib when they threw me."
"We'll be at Bobby's soon then."
"We'll be there. Watch yourselves boys."
"You too. Take care of her."
"I will. Nothing will happen to her, Sam."
"I'm trusting you." I heard a voice in background.
"Bye." I flipped my phone shut, and let out a deep sigh.
Getting hurt is part of the job, Sammy
"Demons. Went after Jess. They were attacked."
"Are they ok?"
"Jess got the worst of it. It's not too bad- some stiches, a concussion, but still."
"You won't relax until you see her."
"Did they exorcise them or?"
"I think they just ran. I didn't really ask."
"Let's get home, Sammy."
"Yeah." We did. Dean, like he always had, sensed my urgency, my need to be in the same room with Jess again. I was surprised we didn't get pulled over for speeding, but we made the 26 hour drive in 25. We stopped so Dean could sleep for two hours. Pulling up the dirt road to Bobby's didn't have the same feel it had had four days previously. It was raw and desperate. Regardless of Dad's reassurances I needed to see her. I knew they heard the Impala roll up to the house.
Sure enough a few moments later Bobby emerged on the porch, supporting a tired looking Jess. She was leaning into him a bit too much for me to be satisfied. She was pale and drained. Dean pulled to a stop, and I was staring fixedly at the porch. I reached for my bag.
"I got it man. Go ahead." I jumped out of the car, not quite running to the porch. I skidded up the steps, and had Jess wrapped in my arms in no time. Bobby moved to the side. She buried her face in my shoulder, laughing.
"You're like an overgrown puppy." I looked down at her, and forced a smile. There were 7 stiches gracing her forehead, just along the hair line. I ran my hand down her back, feeling the ridge of another wound. I glanced to Bobby, who just shrugged.
"You okay?" I tried to keep the edge of desperation out of my voice, but I was fairly certain I didn't do a very good job of it.
"I'm fine Sam. Twenty stiches and a concussion. Little bit of blood loss. I'm tired, but I'll be fine." I squeezed her. "Ow. Not quite that fine."
"Sorry. I was worried."
"Your dad and Bobby patched me right up." I pressed a kiss to her lips, unable to hide my relief at her presence.
"I know. I know. Just needed to see it." She stroked my face.
"I'm fine, Sam. Let's go in." I wrapped an arm around her waist, supporting her as we made our way back inside.
A/N: So I finally got myself a beta- the wonderful KillerKueen. Other than that hope you liked it, but either way feel free to review. They're like candy!