Warning: This chapter contains some sexual content (primarily implied- no more than we see in canon)
The next morning we were packing. Despite the fact we really didn't have a lot of stuff it seemed as if everything we owned was sprawled throughout the room. Jess came up behind me, wrapping her arms around my waist, and leaning up to kiss my shoulder.
"I love you."
"I love you."She was doing substantially better than she was four days previously. Although not at a hundred percent, color had returned to her face and all of the stitches had come out. The bruises were fading to a green-yellow, and only gauze decorated her neck. I was nervous about confronting Elkins tomorrow, but I still couldn't keep the smile off my face.
"Oh this definitely isn't mine." Dean held up a pair of purple panties, gripping them between his thumb and forefinger.
"You prefer satin, don't you Dean?" I teased. He flushed and I grinned at my success. Jess crossed the room and Dean held them above his head.
"Give them here, Dean!"
"Why would I do that? I think Sammy would appreciate it. "
"Dean!" She jumped.
Gonna make your jump for it, Sammy
Dean laughed and she had a smile of her face despite the annoyance in her tone. The mood had changed so much from when we arrived. We were still wary of, well, everything, but it was becoming second nature to be worried.
"Give them here!" She kicked him playfully in the shin.
"You'll have to try harder than that, Moore!"
"I can only jump so high, Winchester." She tackled him to the floor and they landed with an oomph. "That was a mistake," she groaned, hauling herself off Dean, underwear in hand. She leaned against the side of the bed, clutching her side, laughing.
"I concede defeat." He pulled her back to her feet and she scampered back across the room to finish packing.
Half an hour later, a cursory glance around our temporary home told us we weren't forgetting anything. The familiar rumble of the Impala underneath me lured further into relaxation as Jess and Dean continued their playful bickering in the front seat. Hills and trees rolled by. We were coasting the edge of the Rockies, delving deeper into the mountains. I loved the thrill that came with driving mountain passes - skirting the edge of the road, a wall of rock pressing against the car. Pine trees, with lighter green pockets of aspens dancing in the breeze. I loved it and always got distracted by the wandering road, the constant up and down. It was nice to just go a bit numb. Eventually we were pulling into Gunnison - Dean getting a little lost when he tried to find the Holiday Inn- butting up against the campus of some school.
"We're stopping?" I asked, a little confused. It was still early.
"Yeah. We aren't going to go in guns blazing tonight. We barely know where he lives."
"Right. So why the Holiday Inn?"
"Because, Jess, college town."
"Basically it translates to him wanting to get laid."
"Right." We got settled into our room, Jess collapsing onto our bed, and groaned. "This is nice."
I flopped down next to her, burrowing into the softness of the bed. I grabbed one of the pillows cuddling it to my chest. Dean stood in the doorway smirking. He tossed the bags on the desk.
"You two are ridiculous." Four hours later, a bit to my surprise,we were all ready to go out.
"Be careful man, I don't think they followed us here, but you never know."
"Always am. I'll see you guys later." Dean was headed to a bar, no doubt hoping to pick up a horny co-ed. I tried not to feel like an old married couple when Jess and I rejected Dean's offer of tagging along to the bar. Instead we were treating ourselves to an Italian restaurant the front desk had recommended.
We had a good time, more relaxed than we had been in weeks. The food was ok at best, definitely not something we would have tolerated in California, but we felt normal for a few hours. Like we didn't have demons on our tail. We took our time with dinner, not talking about anything too serious.
Eventually, though, we did finish. We headed back to the hotel hand in hand. I couldn't help but think about the night Brady attacked us, the last time we had been this relaxed. I became a bit more vigilant, pulling Jess closer. We made it back unscathed, and we were laughing. I opened the door assuming Dean was still out. I grinned at Jess, walking in only to be confronted with a strong, definitely male back that was not my brother's. I realized a little too late that my brother was under the mystery guy.
"Dude, you could've put a sock on the door or something." I averted my eyes and we made a hasty exit. I glanced over to Jess who looked a bit shell shocked. I was used to it- Dean and I had lived out of each other's pockets our whole lives. Seeing things we'd rather not see came with the territory. I suppressed a laugh at the look on her face.
"Oh. Oh, I didn't realize Dean was-"
"He's not. Men, women, a pretty face is a pretty face as far as he concerned. It's not one of those things we talk about."
"Right. Right. Winchesters."
"Hey, I resent that." We leaned against the Impala, hands still intertwined. I looked up at the sky; it was surprisingly clear. "Mars is out tonight."
"Yeah, it's close too."
"Yeah. It is."
"I love you. I'm glad you're ok."
"I'm glad I'm ok, too. You think Dean is about done in there? It's kinda chilly." I shrugged out of my jacket, wrapping it around her shoulders. She leaned back against me and we watched the moon shift. I realized we could probably head back. It was chilly for late May. I realized, also, for the first time since we'd left that finals were long over, that we had managed to just disappear.
"We should head in."
"Yeah." Jess hauled herself to her feet and I unfolded myself. The hotel was warm. When we reached the room I knocked, just to be sure.
"We're coming in, so you better be decent." I didn't hear any scrambling so I swiped the key card. Dean was lounging on the bed, hair still damp from the shower, towel thrown on the floor by the bed.
"Have a good time?" Jess asked.
"I won't be able to walk straight for a week."
"Ok! Ok! Some things I do not need to know."
"Ah, poor Sam." Jess teased. She disappeared to the bathroom and I heard the shower turn on. I flopped on the bed opposite Dean. He had a boxing match turned on.
"Ready for tomorrow?" It was a habit I had picked up years ago, when Dean started going on the easy hunts with Dad. The night before the first time he went he was more nervous than a girl waiting to be asked to prom. Ever since, I had always checked on him when he was headed out without me, or if it was a big hunt.
"I'm fine Sam. Managed to burn off a little steam. I really just want this thing to be over."
"You and me both. So close."
"Up early tomorrow?"
"Yeah. Not too early, though. Someone kept us out until almost midnight."
"You could've napped in the car."
"The keys were your pocket. Of the jeans that were god knows where on the floor."
"Right." Dean rubbed the back of his neck, turning his attention back to the TV, flipping through the channels aimlessly. He settled on a random movie. Dean was half asleep by the time Jess climbed into bed next to me. I reached over to turn on the alarm as Dean clicked off the TV and the light. Jess nuzzled into me and was out in less than ten minutes. I lay awake, flat on my back for a long time. I wasn't worried about the next day, per say. A combination of nerves and excitement was keeping me up.
"You awake, Sammy?"
Go to sleep, Sammy
"We're gonna be fine."
"Then why are you awake?"
"Because you're talking to me, jerk."
"Better than layingin silence, bitch."
"Fine." Eventually light snores began to issue from the other bed. I closed my eyes trying to relax. Focusing on the weight of Jess' head on my shoulder, I fell asleep.
It felt like seconds later when the alarm began blaring insistently next to my head. I slammed the off button without opening my eyes. A few seconds later I managed to peel them open. Dean's head was wedged in the space between the pillows. Jess had rolled away from me in the night, but I could tell she was awake. I rolled out of bed, heading for the shower.
Forty-five minutes later we were finishing the last of breakfast. The Impala was packed and we were ready to go. There were butterflies in my stomach. I wasn't supposed to get butterflies. I was a Winchester for crying out loud.I had intentionally gone after a pack of werewolves not six months ago and I hadn't gotten butterflies. This was different though. This was personal. I could see Dean hesitating. I hoped Jess would prod us. We needed it. Manning was an hour and a half down 114, and we needed to get going. Jess licked some powdered sugar off her lips.
"You boys ready?"
"No." We said it at the same time.
"Ok. One more doughnut." She got up and came back with three.
"Mr. Winchesters, we will have to leave when you finish that." I nodded. I chewed slowly, but I couldn't prolong it forever. We walked more slowly than we normally would. I crawled into the back of the Impala. I needed to center myself before we did this. I still couldn't shake the butterflies. Dean was actually driving the speed limit. Jess was sitting there in her infinite patience. The trees still sped by too fast, and far too soon we were pulling into Manning which wasn't more than a bar and a convenience store with a post office tucked in the back. We stopped anyway- Dean claimed the Impala needed gas. Jess disappeared into the bathroom. I leaned against the Impala as Dean filled her up.
"What if this goes wrong?"
"We shoot him."
"We don't kill people."
"I don't know, Sammy. I really don't."
I can't know everything, Sammy
"We'll figure it out."
"Do you even know where we're going?"
"More or less."
"Right." The Impala finished fueling and Dean muttered about gas prices, going in to pay.
We were back on the road a few moments later. It turned out Dean did actually know where he was going. The road got increasingly worse, to the point Jess and Dean began waxing on the potential damage being done to the Impala's undercarriage.
We parked far enough away he wouldn't hear the engine. It was a cabin, half rundown on the outside. No one would think twice about it. We got out. Dean pulled a shotgun from the trunk.
"Just in case," he said. I joined him, bracing myself on the bumper. He rummaged for some extra shells, sliding them into his pocket. His hands hesitated as he went to close the trunk.
"You ready, Sammy?" I took a deep breath before I spoke.
Be brave, Sammy
Jess knocked on the door. She had given us a look when we had gone automatically for knocking down the door.
"Humanity, boys. Keep it simple." The door of the cabin flew open and we staring down the barrel of a rifle. Dean had the shotgun up before I registered what I was looking at.
"Who are you?"
"Dean Winchester. My brother Sam. Jess Moore."
"John Winchester's boys?" His eyes narrowed. He had worked with Dad before.
"You're the girl. Hear you wrestled with a lady in white." He glanced at Jess, like she was some sort of mutant.
"And I won. Shower curtains, on the other hand, have proved more of a challenge." He lowered the gun at Jess' easy humor.
"What do you want, then?" He didn't relax, but he at least seemed like he might work with us.
"The Colt." Dean said it without ceremony.
"Dean!" Jess scolded. "We heard rumors that you had a gun that may help us."
"Why would you want something like that?" Elkins was gruff, but seemed to respond to Jess' tact, so I followed her lead.
"We are,'' I hesitated, "close to finding the thing that killed my mother. Very close. When we get there we want to make sure it's dead. No chances."
"I can't help you. Sorry."
"Do you know where it is?"
"Never said I didn't. Just said I couldn't help you."
"We need that gun."
"Lots of people have needed that gun through the years. I've never given it to any of them." The butterflies in my stomach started flying around. This was not going well.
"Well, we actually need it."
"John Winchester knows how to kill damn near everything. Whatever it is that killed his wife, he can handle it."
"Demon. It's a demon, pretty high on Hell's VIP listfrom whatwe can tell. Its lackeys chased us halfway here." I tried not to hear the desperation in Dean's voice.
I'm not desperate, Sammy
"I still can't help."
"These- these demons, Daniel, they've nearly killed me twice now. I am above begging, especially when there's a shotgun in your hands. I've lost everything but Sam because of them and I need them dead, nearly as badly as these boys do. We don't need that gun because we're bad hunters," Jess said, trying to appeal to his emotional side. I felt my heart break as I realized her family may not be dead, but for all intents and purposes I was all she had left.
"I never said-"
"I know you have that gun. We will get it back to you, but you have to give it to us first. We won't be leaving here without it."
"You may be able to handle a lady in white, miss, but I've been hunting longer than that pretty little head of yours has been alive."
"That's funny because I'm the one with the gun on you." Dean had long since lowered the shotgun, and Jess grabbed it from his hands now and raised it.
"Now, we can keep this civil."
"I believe Dean gave you that option. I believe I gave you that option, twice. Now, Elkins, civility is gone. We need that gun."
"You'll have to shoot me first."
"It won't come to that, I'm sure. I would recommend you hurry." Jess may be broken sometimes, she may show it, but I was constantly amazed by how good she was provingherself to be at this job. She wasn't afraid to get rid of the civility when it came to it. Elkins turned in the door, motioning us inside, looking resigned. Jess kept the gun trained on him.
The cabin was small, utilitarian. It wasn't particularly surprising, and I got the feeling there was more to it then met the eye. He led us through the kitchen, sparsely outfitted, but it looked like he running water. He was aware of the shotgun pressing into his back. I was more aware of Jess' finger on the trigger. Just off the kitchen was a room that appeared to function primarily as an office. He stopped. There was a safe behind the door. He knelt slowly and unlocked it.
"Colt made twelve bullets. Four have been used."
"One shot is all it's gonna take."
"If it takes more it's going to be you boys who'll find yourselves on the business end of a shotgun."
"We doubt that. We are robbing you blind." The reality of the situation needed to be acknowledged.
"Did what you needed to do. Can't say I wouldn't do the same if the situation was reversed." He handed the Colt over to Dean. Dean nodded to Jess, who lowered the shotgun.
"We appreciate your cooperation."
"Don't suppose you'll be staying for a cup of coffee."
"No, we won't."
"I'm sure I'll be seeing you again soon."
"I'm sure you will." We backed our way out of the house, only turning our backs when we were out of shooting range. We settled into the Impala. Dean back onto the 114 and drove south. I let out a whoop as the butterflies that had been plaguing me all morning slipped away. We stopped in a town called Monte Vista for lunch. Dean called Dad to let him know.
"Hey. Yeah. We got it." Dean paused. "Yeah, we're only a day away. We can check it out. We will." He hung up. "Bobby caught word of something that looks like werewolf activity near Baker City, Oregon. Thinks it might be something like we got back in March."
"The ones that tore Sam to pieces?"
"In my defense, some of those stitches were because Dean shot me."
"Those were the ones." Jess took a deep breath. She looked almost scared.
"Right. How far is it?"
"Great. Another long car trip."
A/N: Do you all have Kleenex ready? If the season finale doesn't take your heart out the next chapter will. See you all in three weeks!