It's barely dawn, when Sam wakes. He lies still, disorientated, eyes shut against the dull morning light. There's a noise coming from the door. It takes him some time to gather his wits, eventually the layers of sensation slide into place and he remembers who he is and where he is. It's much the same every morning, although today comes with a sharper pang of anxiety and he can't quite remember why. He sits upright as the sound of scratching comes from the door. He knows the sound. It's Bill. Sam pushes aside his blanket and goes to open the door. Bill ambles slowly in, pausing to sniff at Sam's ankles before making his way to the kitchen cupboards.

"Toast?" Sam asks. Bill rubs his paws over his face and fixes Sam with a hopeful gaze. As he shuts the front door Sam sees a second vehicle parked next to the Impala and remembers David. He freezes and then from across the cabin he hears the faint and slow, rhythmic sound of someone snoring, it's drifting down the ladder-like stairs at the back of the cabin. There's a room with a sloping ceiling and old bed, with a mattress that has seen better days, lurking amid boxes full of God-knows-what up there, Sam prefers the openness of the downstairs.

He goes to boil some water for coffee and makes some toast.

s s s

"Marmalade. You're feeding a raccoon toast and marmalade?" David's rubbing a hand over the smooth skin of his scalp and yawning, Sam notices that he winces at the stretch of the bruised skin over his cheek. Bill stops eating for a second to hiss quietly and retreats under the table.

Sam sips his coffee and shrugs. "It was on sale." David makes his way over to the stove and the recently boiled kettle. He stops and hangs his head. Sam watches him warily, his Beretta is still in the middle of the table, he reaches out and runs his fingers over the papers underneath, thinking of all the things that he has yet to write down, all those people and places and the damage that he's left in his wake.

"Instant coffee. You drink instant coffee." David sounds stunned and he turns to stare at Sam, horrified. "Look, I can understand a man needing to have a little Thoreau time, but there are limits to such desperation."

Sam's picks up his cup slowly, ignoring the sudden spark of curiosity the flares within him. "No one invited you to stay. No one invited you to do whatever you thought you were doing last night." Sam knows what the other man must have been thinking and wonders why he cared to come back to a stranger he'd never met before.

David runs his finger over the raised scratches on his neck. "Interesting fighting style you have there, and I came back because despite it all I'm not the type of person who passes by on the other side of the street if I think I can help."

"I told you, I don't need a…" Sam starts, David cuts him off.

"I thought you were going to blow your brains out. I could have kept going but I didn't. In fact, I shouldn't have left in the first place. I know the signs and I apologize that I thought about ignoring them. Not my usual MO, but then you are a bit prickly. And trigger happy. When I came in and saw you slumped over the table, it was dark and I assumed I was too late. Obviously, I was wrong, about that anyway. I know I startled you, so no harm no foul on that front."

Sam stares at the gun in front of him as he listens to David's voice pitched to a quiet and soothing tone and frowns, there's that uncomfortable feeling again. The intrusive itch against his skin, it's distracting and he knows at the very least, he should try to explain that he is not in need of any help and that David and his concern can leave him in peace. A small part of him is warmed at the thought that someone cares, but he quashes the sentiment quickly.

"I have more than one gun, you know." Sam tries to explain.

"That's reassuring." David replies and Sam can feel his eyes on him but he won't look up, focused instead on his small distorted reflection rippling across the surface of his coffee.

He struggles to find the right words, he's out of practice. "I'm not going to kill myself. I can't and even if I did I have no idea how effective it would be." And Dean would have harsh words to say about it and Sam. "So thanks and all that, but you can go." Sam forces himself to look up to meet David's eyes. The room is silent except for the sound of Bill crunching on the last of his toast.

"Maybe, but this is my family's place. So, I could do with a little bit of down time, some fresh air and maybe I'll go buy some decent coffee. Okay with you?" Before Sam can thing of a suitable reply, David grins at him and makes his way across the room to the back, Sam hears the bathroom door shut. He peers down at Bill, who is brushing crumbs out of his whiskers.

"It's alright; I don't think he likes marmalade."

s s s

After David emerges from the bathroom, he asks Sam if there's anything he needs as he's going on a supply run. Sam's at the fireplace, cross legged on the floor, burning his papers. Most of them are crumpled and a few are torn and more than that he can't have anyone else looking at them. They are a list of his sins, his failures and his all too numerous mistakes and now, like everything in his life he is forced to burn them. Feeding the flames with the ruined paper is actually a lot easier than he thought it would be.

He keeps his eyes to the flames as he answers, the words trip from his mouth without prior consent from his brain.

"I need a notebook, lined, hardback and some pens." He adds, "Thanks," as an afterthought. He does not hear the door close or an engine starting. Each fistful of paper he adds makes the fire flare up until there is none left, apart from one sheet. Sam smoothes carefully over his knee, it has four words written on it, in red ink. He folds it up and slides it into his back pocket and watches the glowing embers for a while. It seems that he will not even be allowed to search for his brother in the solitude he needs to form his thoughts and plans, although he is sure David will not stay long, no one ever stays with Sam for very long.

He doesn't remember falling asleep, but the next thing he knows is there's a voice calling him and a mug of coffee suddenly appears before him. He shakes his head and automatically grabs the cup. It's made with milk, frothy and hot and smells like it's freshly ground. David has returned, crouched down not too close to him, that same assessing look on his face. There's a noise coming from behind, Sam sniffs.

"Is that bacon. What time is it?" He tastes the coffee, bitter and delicious. David straightens up.

"Breakfast time. Come on." Sam stretches out his stiff legs, and follows. On the stove there's a strange looking pot, made of stainless steel with an angled tube rising from the lid, it's next to a skillet of eggs and bacon. Sam's stomach rumbles a warning; it's been a while since he's eaten anything other than days old baked goods or canned stuff.

David is watching him. "Like my stove top espresso maker?" He pats it fondly. "You would not believe the places that thing has been. Now sit." Sam complies.

He eats a little, quickly feeling full. David eats heartily, there is no conversation until David takes both plates from the table. "Oh, I got what you asked for. It's on the couch. There wasn't much choice, hope you don't mind."

On the couch is a large note book. On the cover is the picture of a unicorn against an abstract background of black and purple swirls, dotted with white stars. Next to it is a small packet of pens. "There are no such things as unicorns," Sam whispers to himself and smiles at his own private joke. "Thanks," he says, allowing his amusement to color his words. "It's perfect."

Later, when his visitor has disappeared into the great outdoors, Sam sits on the couch and cracks the spine of his new notebook. He has no idea of the date or even the day so he can't start with that. He presses his pen determinedly to the page, it's not like he's writing a letter, more of a daily bulletin, he decides and although he can almost hear Dean's voice accusing him of being more of a teenage girl that usual, he start with, 'Dear Dean,'.

s s s

They fall into an easy routine, David seems to have a thing for being outside and a pathological need to tidy, which suits Sam because after the initial annoyance at having another person invading his space, it remains pretty much his own. David moves some things from his jeep to the upstairs room, including the crate that he originally retrieved from the basement. Sam hears him shifting things around, along with a few colorful curses questioning Rufus' sanity and his predilection for collecting useless bits and pieces. Sam thinks that Rufus probably knew exactly what he was collecting and its usefulness to his business.

Every day he writes in his notebook. It's a rainy morning when he starts on the fifth page; he finishes up and heads for the bathroom. The door has no lock and he surprised to find the room occupied. David's at the sink, adorned with shaving foam, and shirtless. Sam sometimes forgets there's another person around.

"Sorry," he mumbles and starts to back out.

"Hmm," David's concentrating on his task, sweeping his razor over his face and up over his head. Sam pauses in the door way. David has a tattoo covering his shoulder and upper arm, the sweeping lines of the dark blue ink form interlocking circles of varying sizes that also spread onto his back. Sam can't quite make the smaller details against the canvas of dark skin, it looks to his eye to be short uniform lines of some script he half recognizes.

He turns away as he shuts the door. He rubs his palms down his jeans, they're sweaty and the idea of some fresh air suddenly has great appeal. Outside it's drizzling and overcast, the rain patters on the leaves as the trees gently shake their branches at him. Sam can feel his anger starting to swell. It's no good, it doesn't matter what he does or where he goes it always finds him. It's a lesson he has failed to learn time and time again. He takes a deep breath; he could drive away now, get into the car and find somewhere else to wait for Dean. Grab his meager possessions and run, and pretend that he never saw the spell inked into David's skin.