It's early when Dean can feel the mattress on the other side of the bed rise up. Sleepily he listens to the light, small footsteps make their way across the room until the bathroom door closes. It's quiet again and he begins to drift off a bit, only rousing once more when the front door of the motel shuts.
Awesome, he thinks to himself. She's getting breakfast. Lizzy tends to do that on the mornings when he and Sam slept later than her, wanting to let them rest as she knows how they always need it… especially lately. It's been busy and endless. The best part is when she does this she always picks something perfect for him too, as if she can anticipate what he'd order that day. Now, as he starts to wake up, he's excited to see what she gets him.
Groaning as he moves to sit up, his back protesting a bit after digging a grave late the night before, Dean stretches a bit and shakes off the sleep.
"Hey… who left?" Sam grumbles out after clearing his throat, finally waking with the movement in the room. He isn't sure which person in the other bed got up first today and he's worried over which one it was.
"L," Dean yawns out. "Went to get us some breakfast because she's awesome. You know, I fucking love that girl…"
"You let her leave?" Sam interrupts Dean's gloating instantly, his voice already clearer as the worry sets in. He lifts his head off his pillow enough to look straight at Dean with wide, nervous eyes. Shit, she left.
"Ah, yeah," Dean says with obvious cluelessness as he jests, "She's a modern day, independent woman. Hell, if you ask me she's just some eyeliner and a razor away from a full blown feminist but whatever."
"Shit," Sam complains heavily as he gets up immediately with the answer he didn't want to hear. He's fully alarmed now.
Dean just sits there on the edge of his bed and watches Sam moves quickly to get real clothing on, losing his sweat pants for jeans and throwing a button up over his t-shirt. As he buttons his shirt closed he glares over to Dean.
"Dude, let's go," he impatiently says. "We have to go get her."
"Um, ok…" Dean stands up, moving to grab his things before pausing mid-walk. "Wait, why is it again that we have to get her?"
"Dean," Sam says in a complaining and pissed off tone. "It's February 28th."
"Ok," Dean shrugs and shakes his head before it dawns on him. February 28th. "Oh… oh, shit." Washing a hand down his face, his stomach drops with the realization.
"Yeah," Sam sadly responds.
"You never should have let her go off by herself." His voice is dark and disappointed as he now worries for Lizzy while she's out there by herself. "The hell were you thinking?"
"I forgot, Sammy. I didn't know, ok?" Dean says back as he tosses on items to look just presentable enough to go out in public.
"You should have!" Sam sternly returns, his voice sharp as he's hurt that Dean would let such an important date in their lives go unrecognized.
Not answering as he knows Sam's right, Dean finishes getting dressed. He really should have known. He definitely blew it. And worse, he looks like a total uncaring asshole now and with the way his brother is staring daggers at him it won't go without repercussion.
"If we run we might be able to catch her," Sam suggests. "The closest liquor store is about a block away. She didn't take the keys so she's on foot."
"Good thinking," Dean compliments the fast detective work as he follows Sam out the door to go find Lizzy before she does something stupid.
She grabs two bottles of Jack Daniels off the shelf and beelines for the register. Sure, she's been up since about eight in the morning even though they got back to the motel at four after the salt and burn. She slept like shit all night. It was already technically the day she's been dreading since one year ago exactly when she got into bed and therefore rest has escaped her completely.
Dropping the two bottles of sour mash onto the counter she glances at the wall clock while the front door jingles and another customer enters the liquor store. It's five past ten. They just opened. She laid in bed for hours while staring at the digital clock on the nightstand, willing it to move faster. She just really needs to get fucked up today. She needs to forget what day it is all together.
"Mornin'," the clerk says cheerily to her as he rings up the sale.
Lizzy nods in return as she takes out a couple twenties she stole from Dean's wallet. She also took his current fraudulent credit card as her own is currently rendered useless by the credit company. She must have gotten over zealous with it.
"Thirty-two sixty-one," the clerk tells her the total and she hands over the cash. Right when her hand is held out for the man to take her payment a larger hand reaches from behind her and steals the money out of her hand.
"I'm sorry, man, but she's not buying that."
Closing her eyes in utter frustration, Lizzy grits her teeth when she recognizes the voice.
"Give it back," she tries to say in an even tone.
She nods with anger and disbelief without turning around. "Please just pay the man, ok?"
"You already know I'm not gonna do that."
"Fine," she huffs while reaching into her pocket. She drops the credit card onto the counter and slides it across to the clerk. "Use this please."
"You took the credit card too!?" he asks her with shock.
"You had to know I would."
The clerk stares at the two of them suspiciously. He has no idea what's going on.
"Don't run that," the man standing behind Lizzy tells the clerk in a warning tone.
"Look, it's fine…" Lizzy starts but the cashier stops her.
"I can't let you use this if it isn't yours," he says while holding it out to her, apologetic expression in place.
"It's my husband's," she tries to explain.
"Still…" he shakes his head and remains with his hand extended, refusing her sale.
She bites her lip as the fire grows from within. Lizzy snatches the card back, turns around sharply, and faces the man who decided it was his job to stop her from doing what she wanted to do today.
"You're a fucking asshole, Sam," she tells the tall hunter as she pushes past him and stomps out the door, only to find Dean waiting there for her, standing with his arms crossed on the sidewalk a few feet away. "Sending your brother to do your dirty work now are you?"
"Sammy told me he wanted to go get you," Dean informs her. "Said he understood you today and that I didn't as well so I let him."
"So what is this, huh?" she asks the two of them as Sam makes his way out the door of the shop. "You two gonna babysit me all damn day? Follow my ass like I'm some kind of untrustworthy child?"
"Well are you one?" Dean challenges.
"Fuck off, Dean," she spits at him with his question, appalled by his assumptions.
"Hey, I'm going to treat you exactly how you act," Dean tells her, remembering clearly how this went last year. Understanding was met with insults and caring was met with attempted assaults. She was mean, aiming for the jugular, and he isn't quite ready to put up with it again. Tough love was the answer with Lizzy on this anniversary. "So you tell me, L. How are you going to act this time around?"
"Dean," Sam stops him, slight disgust on his face with Dean's harsh immediate reaction. "You think you could take it down a bit. It's a tough day."
"Don't fight my fucking battles, Sam," Lizzy complains with fire before turning to Dean. "And don't treat me like I'm being stupid or fucking childish. I'm neither." She sighs heavily and tries to keep back the threatening need to cry. "I just need to be without you two for five fucking second of my life. I can't be around you, not today. Usually I have the patience to deal with the bickering." She then looks solely to Dean. "I can handle your annoying singing and the constant need to be talking and the cocky bullshit that comes out of your mouth in a steady fucking stream." She turns to Sam. "And I can handle the always sullen, shitty mood you have along with the never-ending guilt parade you put on and the eye rolling at every stupid thing I do!"
"No, shut up Dean!" Lizzy explodes in anger when he goes to interrupt. "Just… fuck! Today sucks! It's sucks my fucking dick right off and I don't know what to do about it! I can't… I… I…" She pauses. Shit. She's going to cry this early. She just started this horrid day and she's going to cry already. "I still miss her so fucking much," she says, eyes welling up instantly. "It hurts. So bad. I miss her." And with that she breaks down.
Sam closes the space and wraps her up in his arms as Dean stands by watching, his heart ripping to two for her. Sam can feel her body already shaking as she shatters completely but she never pulls away from him. She's trusting him again. Sam couldn't more happy that he can help her for once and that she's found her way back to being loving and comfortable enough around him to let him stand by her side on a day like today.
"I miss her too, Lizzy," Sam tells her. "I couldn't even begin to tell you how much."
"I just don't want to feel anything at all," Lizzy explains her actions to them. "I want to be drunk and not feel this."
"You know it isn't going to work," Sam reminds her as he and Dean exchange painful looks. "Drinking just makes it worse every time, you know that."
"I want her back. I want my Louie back. I want my sister." She sobs through the last part, her biggest regret in life being that Lou never knew they were in fact sisters before she died making the day so much worse.
Biting his tongue to stop his own floodgates from opening, Sam holds her even tighter. He may have let Lou go, accepted her death, but he'd be a total liar if he didn't admit how much he still wanted her. He'd love to have her back too. Even with Rina in his life, even with the progress he's made to move on from the loss, he'd still trash it all to have Lou back. He'll always want her back.
"Why don't we head back to the room," Sam suggests to her cautiously. "I won't roll my eyes once and Dean won't say a word all day if you promise to stay with us and not disappear to drink yourself dumb."
She shakes her head no against his chest as she cries.
"L, we just want to make sure you're ok," Dean continues on. "We want to know your safe and that you have people who care around you today."
"Yeah," Sam concurs. "We're not asking you to forget or pretend you aren't miserable. You can sulk and cry and break shit and even call us names until your blue in the face today… as long as you don't run off."
"I hate you," she says with more love in her voice than her phase should allow. With water rimming his bottom lids Sam huffs a small laugh.
"Yeah, well, I hate you more," he tells her as he knows he's got her on the line now and she won't run.
Pulling away from her a bit, Sam gently takes her left arm and pulls back the sleeve of the massive sweatshirt she stole from him that morning. She always steals his really old, really comfortable brown zip up when upset. It fit her like a tent but it's cozy and comforting and it makes her feel like home somehow. Looking down at Lou's image in tribute on her forearm he smiles slightly.
"She didn't hate me at least," he points to Lou with a little jest in his tone.
"She did so," Lizzy says through her tears. "She told me. Said you sucked in bed."
Sam smiles a little wider with her ability to still match his humor even now.
"Come on," he takes her left hand, keeping close to the last he really has of Lou in both image and sister, and starts walking her back to the motel.
Lizzy looks to him with grateful admiration as she begins walking. For once she lost the battle which, with the Winchesters, she doesn't normally do. Dragging her feet, she feels Dean walk up next to her. She glances up at him to see him just looking at her with so much love and concern that she regrets her actions that morning. She put him through the ringer last year and he must have flipped when he realized she left.
Leaning into him, Dean brings an arm around her shoulders. Her man to one side, her best friend to the other, she sighs. She always loses sight of the people she miraculously does have when she focuses too hard on the person she doesn't.