Kittsbud & Tree
beamed through the window, clouds hung lazily in the
spring sky, and birds chirped joyfully, accompanied
by the occasional buzz of a passing insect. Surely,
this was a perfect morning as Sam struggled awake, passing
through that brief moment when sleep fought with consciousness,
dreams colliding with reality. But as his eyes finally
opened, crusted lids peeling apart, he realized that
the sun wasn’t really shining, at least not that
brightly. The birds weren’t singing and the buzz,
well, that was his brother, snoring loudly in the bed
next to him.
Sam grinned. What had he expected after all? This wasn’t
a storybook morning, the first day of the rest of his
life. He was Sam Winchester after all, and there was
nothing idyllic or storybook about his life, not now,
the fact that he was living, breathing, and in one piece
should have in itself been reason to celebrate, but
add to that, his brother had apparently vanquished their
life-long nemesis, Haris, then yes, this day was as
perfect as he could ask for. Why, then, did he feel
as though something was just a tad off?
the whisper of a feeling, Sam stretched; extending his
entire body, from the tips of his toes to the ends of
every finger, feeling every joint pop, each muscle pull,
every sinew twitch and then relax. There was some residual
stiffness, some awkwardness in his body that felt foreign
and reminded him of how close to death’s door
he had come.
he chided himself. “Hell, I went beyond close.
I kicked the door open and was one foot and four toes
lay there for several more minutes, listening to the
sounds outside the motel room, but once again, the chainsaw
respirations of his older brother caught his attention
and he turned slightly to face Dean. Under any other
circumstances, Sam would have already thrown a pillow
or have shouted out to wake Dean and stop the noisy
slumber. This morning, the snoring was simply another
sign of a better day, or maybe even better days to come.
was the last time that Dean had slept so soundly he
snored? For that matter, when was the last time Dean
had slept period? So focused on saving Sam’s life,
getting him out of his deal with the demon, he had been
operating on pure adrenaline and desperation until the
night that he came back into Sam’s hospital room
to find him alive and well instead of … well instead
of what they had both feared.
Sam lay there and listened to Dean snoring; the cars
as they sped by on the highway; the couple arguing in
the room next door; the maid as she pushed her cart,
one wheel wobbling raucously in the hallway outside;
even the sound of his own heart beating steadily within
his chest. Sounds of life, sounds that proved he was
the noises droned on, Sam’s thoughts began to
internalize. With Haris out of the picture, what did
that mean for him? All of his life had been focused
toward this one task, this one goal, and now it was
completed. Where did he go from here? What about his
family? What did it mean for them? His father had certainly
spent every waking moment and every last resource hunting
this demon. What would he do now? For that matter, his
father wasn’t even aware that his archenemy had
been defeated. They should probably do something about
then there was Dean. His older brother had never known
a day without hunting, a moment without guns, or a life
within the boundaries of normality. What would Dean
want out of life now? Would he choose to still chase
the many evil things that walked the earth or was this
now finally the time that Dean had enough and would
move on in favor of pursuing his own heart’s desires?
to Sam! You alright there, Sammy?” Dean’s
voice broke through the haze of thoughts, dragging the
younger man back to the small motel room and to the
worried look of his older sibling.
hovered nervously at the edge of his bed, hair still
tousled by sleep, face creased from sleeping against
the watch that still remained on his wrist from the
night before. Despite his outward appearance, green
eyes, however, were bright, alert and ready for action;
muscles were taut and ready to spring into battle at
the first sign or word from his brother that all was
smiled back at Dean, noticing the hunter’s tension
and hoping that the gesture put his brother at ease.
“Sorry, I’m okay, just thinking,”
he then added.
well it looked a lot like you were just staring blankly
at the ceiling dude. Can you warn me when you’re
gonna be catatonic? I’ve been talking to ya for
the past five minutes,” Dean complained, rising
from the bed.
man, I guess I just got wrapped up thinking about everything
that’s happened lately,” Sam explained.
“Besides, dude, you were sawing logs here a few
minutes ago. Hell, you probably woke yourself up snoring
as loud as you were.”
looked back over his shoulder on his way to the bathroom,
casting Sam a sideways glance. “Dude, I do not
snore!” he challenged.
I swear! Wake the dead, worse than anything I’ve
ever heard, maybe even Dad,” Sam teased, ducking
as the empty pizza box from last night’s midnight
snack flew at him from across the room like some miniature
low Sam. Nothing’s worse than Dad,” Dean
huffed, storming into the bathroom.
even worse than Bobby!” Sam shouted back, laughing
loudly as the bathroom door slammed shut.
* * * *
sat at the small motel room table, fingers gliding over
the laptop when Sam emerged from the bathroom. Steam
filtered in from the room behind him, evidence of yet
another long hot shower. Sam had indulged in one nearly
every day since being discharged from the hospital.
He made no apologies for his lengthy pampering, feeling
like for once it was nice to be relaxed and carefree.
Dean never challenged his brother, content to let Sam
enjoy whatever comforts he chose after his all-too-close
brush with death.
dropped down to sit on the nearest bed, toweling his
hair dry with one hand while he absently picked at the
frayed knee of his jeans with the other.
what are you surfing for?” he asked tentatively,
slightly afraid that the few days worth of rest had
already worn thin on Dean’s nerves and his older
sibling was now off in search of a hunt.
looked up, a twinkle in his green eyes, a flash of a
smile that he just as quickly hid, his fingers tapping
on the keys furiously as he answered.
nothing,” he stammered. Sam jumped to his feet,
curiosity now more than piqued.
what are you doin’? Looking for a hunt?”
sure, but there’s nothing really out there,”
Dean answered, his hands reaching to close the laptop
just as Sam came to stand beside him. For all his haste,
his reflexes were a fraction too slow as Sam caught
a final glimpse of a scantily clad young woman flashing
across the screen.
Exactly what kind of hunt were you looking for?”
Sam asked, laughing.
well, there’s nothing good on the TV and the ladies
at the local bar, well, let’s just say that I
ain’t been drunk enough for any of them to look
good!” Dean replied, smiling easily back at Sam.
clapped him on the shoulder, nodding in agreement. He
knew his brother wasn’t all that particular when
it came to the female persuasion, so for Dean to admit
that nothing with two legs and boobs at the local bar
had remotely caught his eye, well that was an all-time
Dean Winchester first.
surf away, just don’t get anything on the keyboard,”
glared in return, but couldn’t maintain any semblance
of irritation. It had been far too long since he’d
seen his younger brother appear so lighthearted and
stress-free. There was an unfamiliar brightness to Sam’s
eyes, fewer lines around them, less darkness. Sure,
Dean could chalk all that up to more rest, more sleep,
but he knew deep down that mostly it was due to the
burden of that friggin’ deal being over, and oh
yeah, Haris being buried at the bottom of the ocean
or wherever demons went when they were destroyed forever.
the reason, he was just happy to see something that
resembled old Sam back. The Sam he remembered from before
the deal, from before he was possessed, from before
there were visions and curses and mob bosses and hunters
that all wanted them dead.
watch silently as his younger brother dressed, going
through the ritual of preparing for another day. Another
day of what? Dean was bored. Truth be told, he needed
action, a purpose, a hunt. As much as he had been trying
to let Sam rest and recover, giving his younger sibling
ample space and time to convalesce at his own pace,
Dean was soon to jump out of his own skin if he remained
inactive much longer.
tried occupying himself with much needed maintenance
on the Impala, but finishing that, he’d been left
with only the weapons requiring any attention. Figuring
that a bit too blatant a hint, he’d avoided bringing
out the gear bag. So with nothing more to occupy his
time than the TV or the laptop, he was desperate. Like
a caged tiger, he could feel himself ready to pace the
small confines of the motel room, walking the edge of
the space seeking some small chance for escape.
Sam tied his shoes but then flopped back on the bed
against the headboard and proceeded to flip through
the channels with the remote, Dean couldn’t stand
do you think we ought to do today, Sam?” he asked
Sam responded, looking up. “Um, I dunno.”
we’ve been sitting here, in Conneticut no less,
for nearly a week. Not exactly the capital of fun, or
ah, the best place for us to be to be hiding from one
Luciano Ferinacci. I mean, hiding in plain sight and
all might work in the movies, but I’d kinda prefer
to put more than one state between us and him,”
Dean stated bluntly.
mob boss, pissed at us, Alaska might not be far enough
away,” Sam agreed.
dude, we need a plan or something. I know you probably
aren’t ready to go hunting and I’m not saying
we have to, but we can’t just sit here. I’m
thinking we need to head in some direction and I think
we need to call Dad,” Dean rattled out, hoping
that if he said it fast enough it might somehow sound
I was thinking the same thing,” Sam readily answered.
“He doesn’t know what happened with the
Seal or me or Haris. We should call and tell him.”
pulled the cell phone from the pocket of his jeans,
weighing it in his hand before flipping it open. A hundred
thoughts flashed through his mind. What to say? How
would his dad respond? He thought now of the missed
call from his dad, forgotten in the panic of the moment
as he rushed to his brother’s side at St. James
Hospital. He’d not thought to return the call
that day, so overjoyed at seeing Sam alive and breathing.
Then, as that day turned into the next and then the
next, it simply became more convenient to act as though
he had forgotten altogether.
finger hesitated as he scrolled down through the stored
contacts, stopping on the cell number for his father.
Taking a deep breath, his thumb pressed the call button
while he silently hoped for a reprieve in the form of
a voicemail greeting.
The abruptness of the voice startled him and for a second
Dean was at a loss for a response, never for a moment
expecting his dad to actually answer.
Is that you?” John Winchester’s voice boomed
across the phone loud enough that even Sam could hear
him from the other side of the room.
ye-yeah, yes sir!” he dutifully responded, unconsciously
sitting up straighter in the chair, coming to attention
even though his father was not physically in the room.
been waiting to hear from you. What’s going on?
How’s Sam?” John asked, his voice dropping
to the coarse baritone reserved for those moments when
he was especially angry or had some important point
to make to one of his sons. “Where the hell are
answered immediately, years of ingrained training eliciting
a reaction just as sure as Pavlov’s dogs drooling
at the sound of a bell. “We’re in Connecticut.
birthday? The deal with Haris? Do I have to guess or
are you gonna fill me in on what happened?” The
elder Winchester demanded.
took in a deep breath. So much had happened, how much
to tell their Dad? Between the poisoned bullet, the
Seal, Ferinacci, Gudrun and the demise of Haris, hell,
it had been a pretty full week.
found the Seal, Dad. We found it and we used it against
that yellow-eyed sonofabitch. Sammy is alive, free and
clear, and that evil damn bastard is gone forever!”
was a long silence as Dean waited, one hand absently
playing at the silver ring on his right hand while he
waited for his father’s response. Across the room,
Sam chewed silently on the edge of his thumbnail, listening
as he was to the one-sided conversation and waiting
to see the look on Dean’s face to judge their
father’s reaction to the news.
time it was Dean who broke the uncomfortable stillness.
“Dad, did you hear what I said? The demon, it’s
gone! I killed it. It’s all over.”
he hadn’t expected his father to heap praise,
Dean certainly hadn’t expected what happened next.
The verbal onslaught that exploded across the cellular
caught the young man so by surprise that he nearly dropped
DO YOU KNOW? ARE YOU SURE? DO YOU HAVE PROOF?”
questions coming at him in rapid-fire succession, Dean’s
face betrayed him as he fumbled to answer. Across the
room, Sam sat forward, hearing his father’s voice
booming from the phone and noticing the sudden wounded
expression wash over his older brother’s face.
Sam had seen this scenario play out before and he was
determined not to watch it again here and now, not after
everything they’d been through recently. Spinning
around on the bed, he sat on the foot nearest to Dean,
his hand held out, fingers beckoning the cell away from
shook his head doggedly, refusing Sam. Squeezing his
eyes shut for a split second, his free hand rubbed across
his face as he pulled the phone back up to his ear.
Dad, skinned the bastard myself. Got the pelt hanging
off the rod in the shower. Tell us where you are and
we can send it to you. Should make a nice rug for in
front of the fireplace someday.”
eyes widened in disbelief, the start of a smile creasing
his face as he listened to Dean’s sarcastic response.
For years, he had watched his older sibling blindly
obey every order that issued forth from their father’s
mouth. He’d even criticized Dean for his obedience.
But lately, he’d also seen another side of his
brother; as though Dean had been discharged from the
Winchester army; or perhaps a part of Dean was tired
of being questioned or second-guessed by their dad.
Whatever the change, Sam was hopeful that it was another
sign of them moving on to another chapter of life.
I’m sorry too, Dad,” Dean replied softly
after a moment. “It’s just that there was
so much going on and you weren’t here. You ditched
us in Nebraska even after you said we’d look for
the Seal together. Sammy almost died, Dad. What was
I supposed to do?”
watched now, the defiance replaced by the soulful pain
that was always reflected any time Dean let down his
guard and mentioned Sam’s near miss with death.
He knew the keen sense of responsibility that his older
brother felt toward him, and saw it yet again as he
choked out those last words over the phone.
I don’t know where we’re going now. We haven’t
really looked for a hunt,” Dean informed, glancing
up at his brother but not missing the look that Sam
shot him at the mention of the word “hunt”.
be careful, Dad. I know we still got hunters on our
trail. We have some … uh … other enemies
now too,” the elder sibling answered, pausing
briefly as he listened to his father’s reply.
“We will, Dad. We’ll let you know where
we’re heading as soon as we figure it out.”
rose from the chair, closing the cell and sliding it
back into his pocket with an audible exhale of air.
that went well!” Sam offered, rising to stand
next to his brother. “I don’t know about
you, but I could go for some breakfast.”
Hell, dude! After that, it’s noon somewhere. I
need a beer!” Dean replied, the keys to the Impala
jingling in his hands.
* * * *
his desire to drink the first meal of the day, in the
end it was Sam that won out, convincing Dean that drowning
his stress at the bottom of a bottle of beer at nine
in the morning wasn’t the smartest thing in the
world to do. Ending up at the same local diner that
they’d eaten at for the past four mornings, Dean
did nothing to hide his irritation when the same middle-aged,
gravelly-voiced waitress strolled over and tossed down
the greasy menus.
as usual boys or are you gonna look at the menu today?”
she asked, her accent as thick as the wad of gum she
continued to chew as she spoke.
casually glanced at the menu and muttered “Two
eggs over easy, ham, toast and coffee.”
cast him a disgusted look, already dreading having to
watch his brother slop the runny yolks up with his toast.
He’d never been able to stomach eggs cooked that
way, and watching Dean eat with reckless abandon didn’t
exactly help matters.
omelet, dry, and wheat toast please. I’ll have
some orange juice today,” he ordered.
going all out today are we?” the waitress replied
sarcastically, writing the last of their order down
on her pad before gathering the menus and walking back
to the counter.
brothers watched her leave, exchanging knowing glances,
before both broke into easy laughter.
got to get out of here, dude!” Dean began, becoming
suddenly serious. “Look at us. Same freakin’
restaurant for four straight days, we’re predictable.
Anybody could damn well track us down.”
nodded, silently considering the paper napkin on the
table. In his heart, he knew this moment was coming,
long overdue in fact.
do you have anywhere specific in mind?” he asked,
still not looking up.
not really. I mean, I’d like it to be somewhere
that the rich and famous don’t throw bizarre parties
where the guests dress up like something we should be
hunting, and we don’t end up in a hot tub full
of acid, but hey, other than that, no, nowhere specific,”
smiled quickly, looking for the courage to voice the
words that hung at the back of his throat. As he was
about to speak, his reprieve arrived in the form of
the waitress with his juice and Dean’s coffee.
she walked away once again, Sam took a long drink, almost
wishing in that instant that he hadn’t talked
Dean out of the early morning trip to the bar.
I’ve been thinking,” he began.
that’s never good,” Dean interrupted, laughing
again, but when he saw the sincerity in his brother’s
blue-green eyes, he quickly fell silent. “Okay,
so Sammy has something serious rattlin' around in that
giant brain of his. What’s going on, bro?”
chewed on his lower lip, considering his next words
as he watched Dean.
done,” he announced, hoping the finality of those
syllables didn’t hold as much edge as they sounded
in his head when he practiced them.
blinked only once, hazel eyes never faltering, piercing
into Sam’s before his mouth turned up into a smile
and he shook his head slowly.
just ‘near-death’ talking. You’ll
get back into the swing of things, get you a good hunt,
like riding a bike,” he insisted.
Dean, not this time. I know I said this before, but
Haris is really gone now. It’s finally over. After
everything that’s happened, everything we’ve
been through. I’ve had enough.”
look, I know this one was really bad. I know that you
were ready to give it all up and you were willing to
do it for me. But just because we put one evil sonofabitch
down doesn’t mean there aren’t still a hell
of lot more of them out there to fill in the gap,”
want more! I’m tired of this life, Dean. I’m
sick of what it’s cost us: Mom, Jess, nearly you
twice now. How close have I come to burying you lately?
And how about all the people along the way? How about
all the Melissas and Lauras and Reeds out there that
we can’t help?” Sam pleaded. “I’m
sorry Dean, it’s just that we’re constantly
surrounded by death. I just can’t take it anymore,
and I don’t want to.”
watched his younger brother, really looked at him as
Sam lowered his head once again and focused on the paper
napkin that he had decimated into tiny paper bits while
he had spoken his peace. Dean wasn’t especially
surprised by Sam’s revelation, not if he was being
completely honest with himself. Hadn’t Sam pretty
much said the same thing that night in Chicago before
the confrontation with Meg, and then again in Salvation?
of Dean wanted to just blow this off, humor his younger
brother, eat breakfast and then go back to the motel,
pack and head the hell west towards the sunset. Yet,
even as the thought crossed his mind, Sam’s words
echoed in his head. Melissa, Laura, Reed, countless
others, like Sam said, so many that they couldn’t
help, hadn’t saved. Death surrounded them, followed
them, haunted them, and all too often tried to take
So where are you going then?” he asked, quiet
looked up, trying to hide the shock from his face, unable
to hide it in his voice when he stammered out “Really?”
I get it. I understand. I might not agree, but Sam,
I told you a long time ago, I understood that you always
knew what you wanted. I always respected that in you.
It isn’t any different now. Besides Sam, these
past few weeks, last week, nearly losing you, I can’t
do that again. If keeping you safe means having you
completely out of harm’s way, not hunting, then
so be it. You name the place and I’ll take you
nodded, smiling and relieved, yet still feeling as though
there was one more thing he needed to get clear.
about you Dean? What are you going to do now? Isn’t
there something that you want?” he asked.
started to speak, but the loud cracking of the waitress’s
gum stopped him as she appeared with their breakfast
in each hand. Instead, Dean merely grinned widely, shaking
I just want my breakfast served by a waitress that doesn’t
ruin my appetite. Can we just eat and get the hell out
nodded back, acknowledging the Dean Winchester avoidance
tactic when he saw it. He dug into his own breakfast,
carefully trying to ignore the sloppy mess that his
brother was making as he tore into the eggs on his own
Dean, the arrival of food was a godsend. So long as
he kept shoveling the chow in, then he couldn’t
be expected to answer any more of his brother’s
questions or carry on any further discussion about Sam’s
retirement from hunting. Likewise, he could also blame
the huge lump in his throat on the large bites of food
that he was cramming in. Yeah, the food! That was
* * * *
finished breakfast with Sam chattering away, his relief
exhibited in the rambling manner he moved from one topic
to the next. First talking about Stanford, finishing
college, and then even mentioning Sarah.
remained silent throughout, forcing himself to smile,
nodding occasionally, even telling Sam that it would
be good to see Sarah and Kyle again. He’d been
honest when he’d told Sam that he was happy to
let his brother pursue his dreams and desires, but it
still hurt. Just when he thought that their lives were
finally going to take a turn for the better, suddenly
he felt as though a part of him was getting torn out.
Still, when had he ever really been able to deny his
breakfast, they returned to the motel, packed the remainder
of their belongings and pointed the Impala towards the
west. Despite the motivation, despite the gnawing at
his gut, Dean was happy that at least they were on the
down, Molly Hatchet’s Flirtin’
With Disaster blared out of the speakers as
the cool spring air caressed his face. Dean tried to
focus on the road, tried to ignore all the thoughts
that were going through his head, tried to tell himself
that he could go back to hunting solo again.
flirtin’ with disaster,
Y’all know what I mean.
And the way we run our lives,
It makes no sense to me.
I don’t know about yourself or,
What you want to be - yeah.
When we gamble with our time,
We choose our destiny.
Even the music has to remind me,” Dean thought
looked over to Sam, but his brother’s face was
obscured by the long mass of brown hair hanging down
as he continued to type away on the laptop. For the
life of him, Dean didn’t know what Sam could still
be doing on the computer all this time. He knew without
a shadow of a doubt that whatever research Sam had been
conducting, it had nothing to do with anything supernatural.
Curiosity getting the better of him, Dean finally broke
are you up to?” he asked.
looked up. “A little of everything, nothing in
particular,” he answered. “I just don’t
know, Dean. I thought I knew what I wanted, I thought
I could just go back and drop right back into life at
Stanford, but now, I’m just not sure.”
Dean replied casually, trying to contain the glimmer
of hope that seeped into his heart from being reflected
in his voice.
I mean, after everything that’s happened, after
everything I’ve seen. Besides, I don’t know
if I can go back there and not be reminded of Jess,”
guess that’s to be expected,” Dean agreed.
“I don’t suppose you can live the life we
have and then just pretend that it’s never happened.”
know that. I don’t expect that. I don’t
want to forget it, Dean. I don’t want to forget
Jessica, but I do need to move on, and I don’t
know that I can do that at Stanford. So I was thinking
maybe I just need to go somewhere else, a different
so I’ve just been kinda looking around. See what
other schools are out there. Maybe one close to Sarah?”
Sam added, a smile crossing his face, his eyes nearly
sparkling at the mention of the beautiful brunette.
how ‘bout you be sure to let me know where the
hell we’re going sometime soon okay? Gas ain’t
cheap, dude. We can’t just be cruising across
the U.S. while you figure out which is the best party
school,” Dean snapped back.
recoiled slightly at the sudden shift in his brother’s
temper. He briefly considered saying something back
to Dean, wanting to get him to explain why he had responded
so vehemently, but he saw how the older man had already
turned his focus back to the road, and Sam knew that
he wasn’t going to get his brother to talk.
supposed he didn’t really need for Dean to tell
him what was bothering him. He wasn’t blind; he
could tell that Dean was trying his hardest to be supportive,
to hide behind those well-crafted masks and make Sam
feel as though that no matter what, Dean Winchester
was perfectly fine. But Sam knew better. He knew how
important family was to Dean and he knew that there
wasn’t anything Dean wouldn’t do to try
to keep the three remaining Winchesters together. Unfortunately,
remaining together also meant hunting for Dad and Dean,
and that was something that Sam simply did not have
the heart to do anymore.
to say anything to each other, the brothers rode in
silence, each consumed with their own thoughts, their
own personal torments. The low rumble of the Impala’s
engine and the hum of her tires on the road created
a rhythm that lulled Dean and before he knew it, the
sun was beginning to set as he drove them across the
western Pennsylvania countryside.
didn’t need to look at his watch to know that
it was well past seven, his stomach already having grumbled
its irritation at being empty several miles back. Slowing
the car, he pulled off the highway and into the small
town of Manns Choice, Pennsylvania. The small burg didn’t
look like much: one long street, one motel, one diner,
and most importantly to Dean, one bar. He was tired
and it was enough.
into the motel, he quickly checked them in, returning
to the car just as Sam was gathering their duffels.
The motel only boasted ten rooms and the bored teenage
clerk had essentially given Dean his choice.
Unlocking the door to lucky room number seven, Dean
flipped on the light switch while unconsciously sweeping
the space for any immediate threats.
followed behind him, dumping his bag on the second bed,
then quickly opening the laptop and plugging the AC
adapter into the wall. Without a word, the younger,
soon-to-be ex-hunter dropped into the chair beside the
small table and immediately resumed his prior work on
the computer. Dean bit back a comment, shaking his head.
hungry here. We gonna go get something to eat before
they roll up the sidewalks in this town?” he asked.
me a few okay? I just want to request my transcripts
from Stanford so I can maybe start to apply to other
schools tomorrow.” Sam replied, holding up one
know, forget it Sam. I’m not hungry after all.
I’m going out for a beer,” Dean grumbled
back, heading for the door before his brother could
outside, he continued to mumble to himself, looking
back over his shoulder towards the light coming from
the motel room and the brother that he had just stormed
out on. He crossed over the empty street to the bar
on the corner, the flashing neon light advertising cold
Rolling Rock beer a welcoming sign.
inside, Dean noticed that the tavern was nearly empty.
Beside the bartender, there was only the town drunk
passed out against a corner table and a lone man, nursing
a bottle of beer at the end of the bar. Dean strode
up to the dark-stained counter, leaning against the
edge as the bearded barkeep walked over to meet him.
whiskey chaser,” Dean answered, pulling out his
wallet and placing several bills on the countertop.
“Keep ’em coming, would ya.”
wasted no time tilting back the shot glass, allowing
the warmth of the alcohol to flood his body and momentarily
dull his senses. The bartender dutifully refilled the
small vessel as Dean chugged a large mouthful of the
cold beer, his head slightly buzzed from the sudden
rush of liquor on a relatively empty stomach. Taking
a deep breath, he quickly threw back the second shot
before dropping back to sit on the barstool behind him.
his head, the voice of his heart battled with the voice
of his conscience. He knew he told Sam that he would
take him wherever his brother wanted to go. He could
remember telling him that he understood his desire to
move on to other things. But deep down inside, he couldn’t
block out the ache that was gnawing at him.
wasn’t the fact that Sam didn’t want to
hunt anymore, although for the life of him, Dean couldn’t
understand how his brother could possibly turn his back
on that. It was the absolute fear of how he could ever
watch out for Sam, protect him, and keep him safe if
he was hundreds of miles away. It was the same nightmare
scenario from when Sam had left for Stanford before.
beers, three more shots, and two and a half more hours
of internal warring over what to do found Dean with
nothing more to show than a head spinning and a stomach
that was still rumbling for something more substantial
than the liquid that the young hunter was currently
filling it with. Still far from drunk, or that matter
even from blissfully buzzed, Dean took a slight break
from his own personal problems to eavesdrop into the
conversation between the bartender and the older patron
seated beside him.
two were apparently debating the skills of the modern
Navy, the older man having served in years past and
passionately informing the bartender that while serving
as a submariner, they had never managed to run “afoul”
of any other submerged ships. Dean glanced up at the
TV hanging in the corner, noticing the CNN coverage
scrolling across the screen and the story of a Navy
sub that had apparently hit some sunken ship out in
the Atlantic. No one had been hurt, but the furor caused
by the damage of a billion dollar military vessel by
a scrapped piece of junk was apparently causing a stir.
news day,” Dean thought to himself.
he was about to turn back to his beer, the door to the
bar swung violently open, startling all of the occupants
and even waking the drunk in the corner. The young man
standing in the doorway would have been imposing even
if it hadn’t been for his size. Standing nearly
six foot six and easily over two hundred pounds, the
newcomer looked to belong in a boxing ring. Still, worse
than his size was the look in his dark eyes, a predator’s
scanned the room, taking in all the occupants, sizing
them up before striding confidently the remainder of
the way into the establishment. His body never hesitated,
never twitched, as he moved up to the older man seated
at the end of the bar. With a wide sweep of his arm,
the newcomer grabbed the older man by the throat and
effortlessly tossed him across the room and into the
immediately rose to his feet, stepping forward to meet
the newcomer. A full head shorter and nearly fifty pounds
lighter, Dean didn’t care. If the stranger was
looking for a fight, then he came to the right bar on
the right night. A week’s worth of inactivity
coupled with the anguish of losing his brother to academia
had left the young hunter itching to exert some pent
stranger never broke stride, advancing on Dean as though
he were simply working his way through the room. As
he closed the gap, the elder Winchester feigned surrender,
opening his hands palm up. The stranger never stopped,
his expression never changed as he continued forward.
Just as he was about to reach out towards Dean, the
hunter twisted forward and let loose with a combination
of punches that landed twice to the stranger’s
head and once to his abdomen.
was like hitting concrete; only concrete might have
been more forgiving. Dean stifled a groan, his right
hand bellowing with pain from the abuse of the contact
with the rigid bone structure of the attacker. He shook
the tingling extremity, looking from his hand back up
to the face of the man he’d just had absolutely
no effect on. And then he knew why…
face that looked back at him broadened into a wide sadistic
smile. Dark eyes narrowed as the mouth opened to reveal
a second set of teeth dropping into view. Fangs! Sharp,
just great!” Dean moaned. “A friggin’
vampire! You gotta be kidding me!”
the creature advanced on the hunter, the bartender reached
under the counter pulling out a sawed-off shotgun. Dean
spotted the weapon but knew it would be ineffective.
trust me. That isn’t gonna do any good. Just get
these people out of here as fast as you can,”
bartender looked perplexed, but then spotted the vampire’s
long fangs and morphed face and rapidly heeded Dean’s
advice. For his part, Dean had run out of room, having
backed up as far as the limited space would allow him.
Caught now between the wall and the pool table, he watched
as the bartender helped the last of the patrons out
the front door.
it’s just you and me now. Got the place all to
ourselves. How ’bout a little eight ball?”
he asked sarcastically. The vampire merely continued
to glare at him, holding its position. Dean shrugged,
“Oh well. Can’t say I didn’t try to
a fluid motion Dean grabbed one of the pool cues and
swung it around, striking the vampire on the left side
of its head. Without waiting to see what effect it had,
Dean continued his attack, next bringing the stick up
and under the creature’s chin, throwing the vamp’s
head back with an audible crack.
huge bloodsucker staggered back a couple of steps, a
momentary look of shock on its face. It hadn’t
expected to meet any resistance, much less in the form
of a human so significantly smaller in stature. Fangs
showing once again, it moved back toward the hunter.
swung the cue stick once more, but this time the vampire
caught it coming in with its left hand, snapping the
wooden pole cleanly in two. Before Dean could react,
the creature had him by the shirt and tossed him against
the edge of the bar. A loud whoosh of air escaped Dean’s
lips as his back was driven against the hard, unyielding
counter. Still holding Dean, the creature slammed his
body for a second time into the bar. His spine screaming
in agony, lungs burning for much needed air, Dean knew
he was losing this battle.
I wouldn’t give for a machete or some dead man’s
blood! Preferably not my own any time soon,” he
mumbled between gasps.
vampire picked Dean back up by the throat, his feet
dangling nearly two feet from the floor as the creature
held him at eye level.
going to rip your throat out, human, and drain the blood
from your body,” it sneered.
your mother ever tell ya not to taunt your food?”
Dean snarked back, hands clawing at his neck, trying
to break the vampire’s grip.
him over to the pool table, the creature slammed Dean
down on the green felt surface. Dean’s vision
darkened briefly, the vampire’s stranglehold on
his throat constricting even tighter and threatening
the blood to his brain as much as it was threatening
the air to his lungs.
weakly slammed the base of his hand into the vampire’s
nose, hoping the soft tissue would give under the force
as it would with any normal human, but it wasn’t
to be. The vampire merely dipped his head down towards
Dean’s neck, fangs dripping saliva like a hungry
struggling, Dean’s hands flailed beside him bumping
into something solid. One of the balls from the table
rolled into his hand. Closing his fist around it, vision
blurring, his eyes fighting to turn two snarling vampires
into one, he poured every ounce of remaining energy
into his right arm driving the black number eight ball
into the creature’s left eye.
cascaded from the damaged socket as the beast reared
back howling in pain. It lashed out with one hand, managing
to cuff a still gasping Dean on the side of the head.
staggered sideways, grabbing hold of the pool table
for support as he sucked in huge gulps of air. As his
vision cleared, he saw that the vampire had also recovered
and was advancing on him yet again. If the creature
was bloodthirsty before, then it was definitely well
beyond pissed-off now.
tossed aside barstools as it made its way back towards
the hunter, nearly snarling as its fangs were bared
once again. Dean knew he couldn’t kill the thing,
unarmed and certainly outsized. He felt the trickle
of warm blood down the side of his face and the twinge
of protesting muscles in his back. And then there was
the present nagging problem with seeing two of the damn
things when he knew there should only be one. He needed
help, be it in the form of a weapon or in the six foot
four frame of his now-reluctant hunter brother.
spotted one-half of the discarded broken pool cue on
the floor by his feet. Bending down, vertigo threatening
to face plant him on the floor for good, he managed
to grab the shard of wood and rise back again as the
creature came to stand over him. Launching up from his
knees, Dean never hesitated. He drove the broken end
of the stick deep into the vampire’s chest forcing
it through flesh, muscles and tissue, glancing past
ribs until he could force it no further.
towering creature, stumbled for just a moment, stunned
by the impaled piece of wood protruding from its ribcage.
Dean wasted no time, scrambling from underneath the
startled vampire and heading for the exit of the now
cool nighttime air chilled his face and exposed skin,
helping to bring him back to some level of alertness.
He glanced back over his shoulder to see if the creature
was pursuing him before he turned and loped towards
town was deathly quiet and for a moment, Dean wondered
where the bartender had gone. Surely the man would have
called for the local law? No matter now, nothing that
Dean couldn’t take care of himself.
reached the Impala, fishing the keys from his pocket
and immediately rummaging through the secreted compartment
until he retrieved his prized .45 and a sheathed machete.
He considered the crossbow momentarily, but with no
dead man’s blood, the weapon was relatively useless.
on to the motel room, he noticed that the lights were
now off, assuming that Sam had already turned in for
the evening. “Yeah, all that college research
sure can wear you out, can’t it little brother?”
he muttered as he slipped the key into the door.
wakey sleeping beauty,” Dean shouted, flipping
on the switch to the lights. “Time to get up,
Sammy! Work has found us!”
as the light from the nightstand filled the room with
an eerie glow, casting shadows on the walls like some
macabre silent movie, Dean froze in the doorway.
over his sleeping brother, fangs bared inches from his
brother’s neck, the vampire looked up at Dean
and hissed at him in defiance.
the episode here