EIGHT MONTHS LATER
“I wanna be Dean.” Danny pouted and kicked at the dirt bank sending small clouds of dust into the air around his feet.
“You’re the youngest, so you have to be Sam.” Ryan sighed and rolled his eyes at his brother.
It was their favourite game. After the world changed, and hunters began arriving in towns, sharing their knowledge on how to survive, the legend of Sam and Dean spread. The legend of two demon hunting brothers who’d fought side by side all their lives until Sam was taken from Dean, possessed by the demon Samael.
“You always get to be Dean.” Danny folded his arms across his chest and glared at Ryan, refusing to go along with him, even if they both knew he’d probably give in soon, just so they could go back to playing.
“Dean looks out for Sam because Sam is the youngest.” Ryan spun round, aiming his tree branch shotgun at a rock and blowing it away. “That’s the game.”
“Okay, well I’m not gonna play.” Danny stomped off to the next tree and leaned back against it, pretending to ignore his older brother.
“I’ll be Sam.” Katy slid down the bank, sending more dust into the air, making Ryan cough.
“You can’t be Sam, you’re a girl.” Ryan witheringly stated the obvious.
“I can be anything I wanna be. Momma says I can.” Katy put her hands on her hips and scowled at Ryan. “I can even be a hunter if I want.”
“Momma said you could be a Hunter?”
“Yes.” Katy’s scowl deepened.
“She’d tan your hide if she heard you lying like that.”
Katy blushed and she changed the subject back to the game.
“So do you want me to be Sam or what?”
Ryan glanced in Danny’s direction and shrugged.
Katy grinned and picked up another of their tree branch shotguns as Danny sighed and walked back to join them, dragging his feet.
“I’ll be Sam.”
“Too late, squirt! You can be the demon hell spawn we have to kill.” She smiled smugly at Danny. That was usually her role, and she wasn’t goning give up being one of the heros easily.
The town bell sounded. One clang rang out and the three kids crouched down, eyes wide but then a second clang rang out through the quiet evening. All three let out small sighs of relief. One was hide, take cover, the enemy is on the doorstep. Two was a call for the adults of the town to gather in the meeting hall on main street. But then there was a third and their eyes widened with excitement. Hunters!
They looked at each other, and Ryan did what all big brothers do. Took charge of the situation.
“Come on.” Katy and Danny fell into step behind him, chattering excitedly.
From their den and favourite play spot, it was a short run to the main road into town, and if they hurried Ryan knew they’d be able to see the Hunters as they drove in. When they reached the small copse of trees on the outskirts of the town, they hid amongst them, and waited.
Three trucks rumbled past, followed closely by a pickup. There were four men in the back of the pickup, three of them bending over a third. Ryan could see blood on all their clothes. He shuddered as he watched it approach the town.
The sound of another car approaching dragged his attention back to the road. It was the throaty purr of an engine that didn't belong to a truck or a pickup. His eyes widened as an Impala that was almost as legendary as it’s driver drove towards their hiding place. As it neared them, Danny took a step closer to the road to get a better view and his feet tangled in a tree root. He would have gone sprawling in front of the car if Ryan hadn’t acted out of instinct and caught the back of Danny’s t shirt with one hand, hauling him backwards. He pulled Danny back against him and cuffed his head.
“Ow! What was that for?”
“For being a dork.”
The Impala pulled to a halt and Ryan’ heart was in his mouth as the door opened and a tall man in a battered leather jacket got out. He leant on the car door and looked at the kids through shades that had seen better days.
“Is he okay?” Dean asked.
“He tripped. I caught him.”
“Good. You keep doing that.”
Katy, who had snuck up to almost hide behind Ryan peeked out from behind his arm.
“Is your name Dean Winchester?”
Dean nodded again. “Yes, it is. And who are you?”
Katy grew bolder and stepped out from behind Ryan.
“I’m Katherine Archer, but you can call me Katy.”
“Pleased to meet you Katy.” Dean answered with a small smile of amusement playing around his mouth.
“This is my big brother Ryan and the squirt is Danny.” Katy finished the introductions primly.
“Hey, I’m not a squirt!” Danny wriggled free of Ryan’ grasp and launched himself at Katy. The pair ended up on the ground, pummelling each other.
“Quit it!!” Ryan waded into the fight, mortified that his siblings had chosen that moment to well and truly show him up. He hauled them apart, both of them still wriggling in his grasp.
“They always like this?” Dean asked.
“Yep.” Ryan replied glumly.
“Do you think they'd behave if I gave you all a ride into town?”
Katy and Danny immediately stopped wriggling.
“In the Impala?” Danny asked in awe.
“You two in the back.” Dean pointed at Danny and Katy and opened the door so they could scramble onto the big back seat.
“Ryan, you can ride shotgun.”
Ryan stared at Dean as he got back into the car and opened the other door for him.
The boy raced round and got in the car, almost shaking with excitement that he was getting to ride shotgun with Dean Winchester.
He'd been here before.
Didn't matter how much they travelled around, Dean never forgot a town, especially one with a name like this one. It had been a while. He’d been younger than Ryan when the Impala had last driven into town and the world had been a very different place.
“Where are we going?” Sam grinned at Dean from the back seat of the Impala.
Dean turned and smirked back at him then glanced at John. “Yeah Dad. Where are we going?”
John sighed, but his mouth twitched at the corners. Both his sons were getting a kick out of this, and he couldn’t help getting caught up in their amusement.
“We can’t be going nowhere! Every where’s somewhere.” Sam giggled.
“We’re going to Nowhere. Nowhere with a capital N.” John smiled at Sam through the rearview mirror.
“Nowhere with a capital N!” Sam and Dean repeated together, loudly, their laughter filling the car.
Nowhere was much as he remembered it. Main street, with the leafy shade of a small park half way down and Lucy’s Diner, which had served the best pecan pie Dean had ever eaten. It was the first thing that came to mind when he and Bobby heard about the vamp nest. His eyes had glazed over as he’d explained how delicious it had been.
He wondered if it would still be the same, butter light pastry filled with sweet paste and topped with toasted pecans. Even Sam, who preferred chocolate and day of the week, had wolfed down two pieces, and grinned happily at the server as she cleared their plates.
Back when Sam remembered how to smile, how to laugh. Back before death and deals and the prospect of hell had tainted their lives.
Dean pulled over, soothed by the chatter of the kids in the back of the car. Bobby's truck was parked across the road and he was already shaking hands with a burly guy who looked like he'd turn out to be the mayor or sheriff.
The kids piled out of the car. He got a handshake off Danny, a head nod from Ryan and a quick hug from Katy before they ran off towards the diner.
Dan walked over towards Bobby. Time to make nice with the locals.
“Dean, this is Sheriff Mason.”
“Good to meet you, Sheriff.” Dean shook the man’s plump hand.
“You too, Dean. Bobby here was telling me what your plans are, and we’re happy to help, give you boys someplace to stay until the job’s done. Folks around here were just getting used to dealing with demons and now it’s vampires. Don’t like to think of what it might be next.”
“Probably best.” Dean agreed and took a step back. “One of my men was injured on the way here. I need to find out how he’s doing.”
“Sure, sure.” The Sheriff nodded. “He’s been taken to the clinic. Straight down, almost opposite the old motel that you can make use of while you’re here. It still has working showers.” He said proudly. “And we’d be honored if you'd all join us for something to eat tonight in the town hall? It’s not often we get hunters passing through.”
“Thank you kindly.” Dean smiled, and Bobby shook the Sheriff’s hand as they got into their respective vehicles and drove off down the road.
Dean knew before he turned the engine off that Deacon hadn’t made it. The pick-up sat in the lot of the clinic, scarlet streaks stark against the white paint. The men that had driven in with it, two of them in the back doing everything they could to keep Deacon alive, were sitting on the steps, their heads in their hands.
Kyle stood off to one side, his face full of furious grief, shoulders tense. In the months that Dean had known him, he’d changed from the traumatised kid Hendriksen had arrived at Bobby's with. He’d thrown himself into learning everything there was to know about hunting, even if Dean hadn’t been keen to let him out into the field until Kyle’s stubborn streak had made itself known. He’d insisted that he be trained enough to go with Dean when he hunted, and in the end, Dean had given in rather than argue.
Kyle was the one who kept their communications open, free of interference, and that alone made him a valuable part of the team, but it hadn’t been enough for Kyle. So now he got to share in the loss of a comrade. Not his first, but then Jo had been more of a friend than a comrade. Jo's death had hit them all badly and in a way, they'd lost Ellen as well. She'd stayed in the town Jo's ashes were spread in, taken to the communities heart after so much had been sacrificed to protect them. They were both missed.
Dean and Bobby talked to all three of them. Dean couldn’t offer them payback, not against the thing that had torn into Deacon, but he could offer them revenge of a sort. He reminded them of the vamp nest they were there to take out. The next day, they’d leave early, take out the nest, then give Deacon a hunter’s send off.
“Go get some rest. The townsfolk want us to eat with them tonight. If you can leave this behind until tomorrow, be at the town hall at seven. If you can’t, you can raid the supply truck. This sucks, I know, but think of what Deacon would want.”
He knew these men well enough by now not to have to warn them off taking out Deacon’s death on people who had nothing to do with it, but a gentle reminder didn’t harm. There hadn’t been many incidents between the hunters and civilians in the months since Dean had begun organising them, and that was the way it had to stay.
“You coming?” Den asked Kyle as the others began to make there way over to the motel.
Kyle shook his head. “Gonna take a walk.”
“Kyle ...” There wasn’t anywhere to walk to, as far as Dean could see. It was a small town, and the wards were pretty tight around it. He’d felt them as he’d driven up to where he’d met the kids.
“I just ...”
“Yeah, I know. Be careful, okay?” Dean understood the need to be alone.
He drove over to the motel and found an empty room. Bobby followed him in. Soon as the door closed behind them, he sat down on the battered couch, his shoulders sagging.
“Didn’t see that one coming.”
“None of us did.” Bobby sighed.
Dean settled further down onto the couch, closing his eyes.
“You could do with getting cleaned up. Before dinner tonight.” Bobby hinted, changing the subject. There was no use dwelling on Deacon’s death now.
“You telling me I stink?” He had to admit that after three days on the road in the same clothes, he wasn’t exactly fresh.
Bobby just smirked.
“Whatever.” Dean shook his head. “Jesus Bobby, if these people ever found out the truth, they’d be lynching me, not making me pie and offering me their daughters.” Dean slumped down on the worn couch.
“They aren’t going to find out the truth, not now. And even if they did, they’d think it was some demon plot to bring you down.”
“I suppose so.”
“Get some rest, okay?” Bobby squeezed his shoulder on the way out, and left Dean alone.
Bobby wandered over to the diner. Whoever owned it, had made an effort to keep it as it had been before everything went to hell.
He sat down on a stool at the counter and picked up the small menu.
"What can I get you?"
Bobby looked up. A red haired woman was smiling at him from behind the counter.
"Word is that the pecan pie was the best around. What's good now?"
"Was the best around? It's still the best." she stood with her hands on her hips, eying Bobby. "I keep it for special customers."
Bobby quirked an eyebrow. He could swear there was a sparkle in the woman's eyes as she spoke, and he was alarmed to feel the hint of a blush rising on his cheeks.
"He is special, Mom!!"
Bobby recognized the youngest of the kids Dean had brought into town as Danny streaked behind the counter and threw his arms around the woman's waist.
"He's a hunter." Danny said with awe.
"Um, I'm Bobby. Bobby Singer." Bobby held out his hand, and the woman took it in a firm grip.
"I'm Lucy Archer." She shook Bobby's hand and let go. "I think I might have a slice of that pecan pie left." She smiled, and Bobby smiled back.
He was unaccustomed to the sensation of butterflies in his stomach and felt out of his depth, but at the same time, it was a good feeling. He reached up and took his hat off, laying it carefully down on the counter. Lucy turned back to the counter with a piece of pie on a plate topped with a dollop of cream.
She smiled as she set it down in front of him and he smiled back.
"Now, tell me if that's not the best pie you've ever tasted?"
Back at the motel, Dean stared at the wall, not wanting to move. He hated the way he was put on display at communal dinners like the one they’d all been invited to, but they relied on small communities like this too much to piss them off by being unsociable.
Dean stood up and stretched, stripping off his shirt and tee. There was a mirror on the wall by one of the beds and he stared into it. He remembered the Dream Dean, the one that had shown him what he would become. A black eyed demon. But he’d been wrong. Dean closed his eyes and slowly opened them again. Moss green pupils and bloodshot white were replaced with glittering emerald orbs. He felt a frisson of power sizzle along his nerve endings and he blinked again, cutting it off. It was his way of controlling it, only releasing it when he was ready and never by accident, by instinct. He couldn’t risk anyone finding out that he was tainted.
If Sam hadn’t pulled him out when he did, he might not have come back human at all. Dean shuddered and pushed away thoughts of his brother.
He left the rest of his clothes in a trail as he walked towards the bathroom and switched on the shower that the sheriff had proudly assured him would work. The showers had been crappy the last time he'd stayed in the motel, back before the world came to a stuttering halt. He wasn't holding out much hope for this time. At least the sheriff wasn't the same one who'd given him the speech about not liking punks like Dean in his town the first time round. That could have been awkward.
The water stuttered and splashed into the tub, then regulated itself into a warm, even spray. Dean smiled and stood under the water, wondering if the diner still served pecan pie.
The hunters had all been on their best behavior at what turned out to be a pot luck dinner. All but Kyle, who hadn’t made his way back to the motel by the time Dean had left. He tried not to worry.
There’d been no tensions running high, and his men had taken commiserations over their loss graciously. Sometimes Dean forgot that these men had almost all had families at some point, and being welcomed into a community as they had been, did them all some good. Reminded them of what they were fighting for.
Bobby went to help with the food, smiling at a red haired woman Dean hadn’t seen before. She smiled back, and it warmed Dean’s heart to see his old friend looking happier than he had in a long time. Later, Bobby introduced him to Lucy, and Dean sat with them for a while. It turned out that the three kids he’d driven into town belonged to Lucy, and they swarmed around, demanding stories. Dean obliged, leaving out the blood and gore and over playing the role of the hero, much to everyone’s amusement.
Later, he’d gone through the usual round of meeting whoever the Sheriff thought he should meet and thanked them all for their hospitality.
Soon as he could, he’d slipped away, glancing back to see the smitten look on Bobby’s face as he sat close to Lucy. He headed back to the motel. First thing he saw when he walked into his room was Kyle curled up in the bed. He breathed a sigh of relief and dug out the bottle of Jack he kept in his pack.
An hour later, the bottle was almost empty.
Dean sat on the floor in the corner of the room, his arms resting on his knees, his head back against the wall. Sleep wasn't something he looked forward to anymore. At best, he would dream of the days before, days spent hunting with Sam, laughing with Sam, fucking Sam, but then he'd wake up, and Sam was gone and the desolation would tear at his soul as badly as it had the first day he'd woken with the knowledge of Sam's fate.
At worst, Sam would take him, use him, make him bleed and come and throw him away when he was done. Dean shuddered and slugged back a shot of Jack. The realization that Sammy, his Sammy, could, could do that to him, almost shattered Dean when he thought about it.
The boy he'd raised, the man he'd loved in every way possible, turned against him and took great pleasure in Dean's pain.
"Then let it end!!"
Dean remembered spitting those words at Bobby, not caring if the world crumbled around then as Sam lay dead and cold in the next room.
He hadn't wanted to face life without Sam, and he'd made an incredible sacrifice to bring his brother back but now, in the dead of night, he wanted to scream at himself.
"I was wrong! I should have let him rot, should have burned him and walked away!"
Dean's head slumped forward onto his knees and he mumbled to himself.
"All this is my fault. Everything. If I hadn't made the deal, he wouldn't have had to save me. My fault, all my fault."
"Dean." A voice husky with sleep tried to get his attention. "Come back to bed."
"My fault, my fault." Dean whispered to the darkness.
Kyle slipped from the warmth of their warm bed and squatted down beside Dean. He touched Dean's hand and ran his fingers through the short cropped hair.
"None of this is your fault. He made his own choices."
"You're wrong. How could you know anything? You weren't there, you didn't see." Dean spat.
"Yeah, well I'm here now and you need to sleep. Busy day killing vamps tomorrow."
Kyle took the bottle from Dean's hands and put it down on the floor. Dean let his head fall back against the wall again and Kyle took the opportunity it gave him. He bent forward, pressing his lips against Dean's reluctant ones, moving in a way that let his unruly hair brush against Dean's cheek. Dean hissed and dug the fingers of both hands roughly into Kyle's hair, pulling him closer and kissing him hard. In the dark, Dean could pretend the hair he was holding was darker, which was exactly what Kyle had intended.
Now he had Dean's attention, he pulled him to his feet. He urged Dean back to the bed, and wrapped himself around his quivering body, long limbs not as muscled as Sam's had been, but Kyle knew that by now, the differences didn't matter any more, the similarities had done their job. The younger man could feel the tension in Dean, feel he was holding back from taking what he needed. Kyle licked Dean's neck making him groan and whispered in his ear.
Dean let out a ragged breath and shook his head.
But he didn't pull away and Kyle knew that his refusal was necessary.
"Please, Dean." He squirmed in Dean's arms, pushing against him, feeling the solid muscle twitch. "Hold me down, take what you want."
Dean's fingers skittered off Kyle's skin.
"Fuck it." Kyle murmured. "You need this."
"No." Dean pulled away from him and heard a low sigh before white hot pain lanced through his jaw as Kyle's left fist collided with his face.
Dean snarled and pulled back, grabbing Kyle and throwing him face down on the bed. Kyle caught a glimpse of Dean’s eyes glittering green in the low light and cried out as Dean held him down and took him.
Later, Dean cleaned him up with gentle touches and slid back into bed beside him. Kyle curled around him and kissed him, letting him know without words that it was okay.
The vamps hadn’t stood a chance. The whole crew was bursting for a fight, high on the need for revenge over Deacon’s death, and any supernatural ugly would do.
An hour after they arrived, the nest was destroyed without any fatalities on the hunters side. Dean counted that as a plus. The minus was Kyle getting his arm broken.
“I’m riding with you.”
“No, you’re not. Get in the truck with Bobby. I’m not torching the place until I know everyone is on the road.”
“I’ll wait with you.” Kyle set his jaw and stared at Dean defiantly. Dean glared at him, and grabbed a hold of his good arm, steering him towards the Impala.
“I’m getting real tired of having to tell you everything twice. If you’re staying, you stay put right here. No arguments.” The door was already open and Dean prodded and pushed the kid into the passenger seat.
Dean walked over to Bobby’s truck.
“Make sure there’s someone around who can see to his arm once we get back?” Dean asked Bobby. The older man nodded and Dean slammed the door shut.
The place was tinder dry and ready to burn. Dean watched the trucks until they were out of sight, fingering the zippo in his pocket. Some things he liked to do alone. He glanced over at the car, and Kyle scowled back at him.
Dean wandered towards what was left of the barn but stopped halfway, the hair standing up on the back of his neck. The familiar fission of power skittered between his shoulder blades and Dean paled. The only time he couldn’t keep that fully under control was when Sam was close. Only twice before had he felt the same involuntary flare, both time when he’d come close to seeing his brother in the flesh.
He looked over at the car, and made a subtle motion for Kyle to get down. Kyle slid out of view and Dean glanced around warily.
He didn’t have long to wait. A familiar figure strode towards him through the battered barn, all dressed in black. Not that Sam had been anywhere near the barn while the fighting was going on, but his brother loved to make an entrance. Dean wondered if throwing him in a vat of molten metal would kill him, like in the Terminator movies. Probably just piss him off, and Dean had learned a long time ago that a pissed off demonic Sam wasn’t someone he’d tangle with out of choice.
“Dean.” Sam greeted him as if he was talking to an old friend.
“What do you want, Sam?”
“Is that any way to talk to your brother, Dean?”
Dean could hear the smirk in his voice and sighed.
“Hey Sam, how ya doing? Want to watch a game? Drink a couple of beers? Talk about old times?” Dean couldn’t help the sarcasm. Half an hour ago, he’d been watching friends fight for their lives and now Sam wanted to shoot the breeze?
“How’s Kyle?” Sam ignored Dean.
Dean paused, suddenly wary. Why would his brother be asking about the young tech guy? Or was he asking because Kyle had invited himself into Dean’s bed and Dean had let him stay.
“Broken arm, a couple of bad scratches. Nothing that can’t be fixed.”
Sam nodded, looking thoughtful.
"He's a real asset to you, isn't he? A little careless to let him get hurt like that. It would be a pity if you lost him."
Dean's eyes narrowed.
“There’s something about him that intrigues me.” Sam went on. “I’ve met him before.”
“Yeah, I know, You killed his family.”
“I killed him too.”
“You left him for dead.” Dean clarified.
“No, Dean, I’m pretty sure I killed him.”
“Yeah? So who got his arm broken today?”
“That’s what I want to find out.”
Sam glanced towards the Impala and the door creaked open, revealing Kyle curled up in the foot well.
“Kyle!” Dean yelled, drawing in the power inside him, and throwing it at Sam.
As Sam staggered back, snarling, Kyle rolled out of the car and took off towards the barn.
“Dammit!” Dean went after him, knowing there was nowhere to hide and now Kyle was out of the Impala, no way to even attempt to get away.
Sam was on them in seconds. He turned to Dean and with a look, threw his brother across the room to crash into the wall behind him. Then he turned his attention to Kyle.
“Who are you?” Sam asked, almost civilly.
He stalked towards him, and Kyle fell to the ground. He struggled to push himself backwards out of the way, but there was nowhere for him to go.
With a cruel smile, Sam raised his hand and Dean felt the shock of power as the corner of the barn was lit by a blinding light.
"No!" Dean's voice was little more than a croak. Whatever edge hell had given him over demons was spent and Sam was no demon.
The flare of light faded and Dean cracked his eyes open, not wanting to see Kyle's broken form. But that wasn't the sight that greeted him as his eyes focused. Kyle lay, panting, slowly lowering the arm he had raised to cover his face. He glanced up at Sam, who's eyes were wide with shocked amazement. That amazement turned to rage as Dean looked up at him.
"What are you?" Sam took a step closer, examining the man who was still too stunned to move, then with a roar the air shimmered around him and he was gone.
Now it was Dean's turn to look at Kyle with wide eyes as Kyle slowly got to his feet, dusted himself off and staggered over to Dean.
Dean tried to scoot back, wary now that the man he'd come to trust wasn't what he seemed after all.
"No." Dean shrugged off the hand that touched his shoulder and picked up his gun from where it had landed on the barn floor. He raised it and pointed it at his lover. "I want to know what you are." He echoed his brother's words.
Kyle took a step back, sighing at how hurt and betrayed Dean looked.
"It's not what you think."
"No? You survived Sam's death ray. Only person I know who's strong enough to do that is, well, Sam!” The last thing Dean had seen before he died was Sam lowering his arm after Lilith’s attempt to kill him. “Who are you working for? Who's the latest wannabe demon lord in town?"
"I haven't got demon blood in me, Dean. Quite the opposite."
"Define opposite." Dean growled, still pointing the gun.
"Could we talk about this once you've stopped bleeding?"
"No. Talk now." Dean's jaw twitched and Kyle knew by now when he'd got his mind set, there was no changing it.
He sat down on the floor opposite Dean.
"I never lied to you. When Hendriksen found me, I was a wreck. Your brother left Kyle to bleed out. I found him as he was about to slip away, and he gave me permission to use what was left of him. The dying can be quite accommodating."
"You're possessing some poor bastard?"
"He was finished with this body. I used up most of what I was making it whole again. He left me his memories, his thoughts and they are part of me now. But I wasn't prepared for the world. It's bright and brash and it hurt like hell. When Hendriksen pulled me out of the basement of Kyle's house, I was traumatized, I could hardly deal with living. All I knew was that I had to get to you."
"To help you, keep you safe and save you." Kyle looked down at his bleeding hand. "I hadn't anticipated what the realities of being human would be. I can't heal myself anymore, and the fragility of this body scares me."
"Fragility? You fended Sam off!"
"I thought I was dead, I thought …" Kyle's hand shook and Dean lowered the gun. "What I am … what I was, must still protect me from his power. If he'd come at me with a knife, I don't think I would still be breathing. Could we get out of here before he comes back?"
"What are you?" Dean's voice was softer now, even though he still kept his distance.
"I don't come from below, I come from above." He pointed up and Dean looked at the ceiling, then gasped and scooted even further back.
"Are you trying to tell me you're an … an angel?"
"I was an angel. I fell. I fell for you."
Dean stared at him. He didn't trust easily and right now, his trust in Kyle was bruised and a little torn, but Kyle had been close enough to him since they met to do any harm he wanted, but he'd actively tried to keep Dean safe. Dean eased himself up until he could stand and put the gun back in his shoulder holster.
"We're not done, not by a long shot, but you're right, we have to get out of here." He held his uninjured hand out.
Kyle grasped it firmly and Dean pulled him to his feet. Kyle wanted more than anything to wrap his arms around Dean and help him out to the Impala but he knew better than to get close until the air was really cleared between them.
He retrieved his own gun and followed Dean to the car, eyes casting about for any sign that Sam might be lying in wait for them.
Bobby didn't need to be told that things hadn't gone well after he'd left. The only person who could piss Dean off that much was his brother, and by now he knew better than to ask for details.
“The doc’s setting his arm.” Dean took his jacket off and threw it over a chair.
“You look like shit.”
“Thanks.” Dean gave his friend a withering look and accepted the flask that was thrust at him. “We ran into Sam.”
“How’d that go?”
“Peachy. Kyle’s staying here until the cast comes off. Means this will have to be our base of operations until then and he’s not to leave the town. Can you speak with the Sheriff, let him know we’ll be sticking around?”
“Sure.” Bobby wasn’t exactly sorry they’d be staying in town for a while. “Kyle’s not going to like it, though.”
“He doesn’t have to. It’s an order and he’ll follow it.”
“Okay.” In moments like this, Bobby thought, it was like having John back.
“I’ll tell him. He can use the time to finish his research.”
“You still think ...” Bobby trailed off, not wanting to hit a nerve, not with Dean this strung out.
“I have to, Bobby, otherwise what the hell is it all for? He’s too strong to kill.” Dean’s voice was weary.
“I spoke to Hendriksen after we got back. He’s found Pamela, and she’s moved into the compound.”
“Your psychic friend?”
“Okay, I’ll head up in a few days. On my own.”
Bobby got up from his seat by the window and picked up his jacket.
"Get some sleep, son." Dean rarely slept, Bobby knew that, but he looked dead on his feet.
Dean grunted and lay down on the bed as Bobby left. He guessed it wouldn't hurt to close his eyes for ten minutes.
He was wrong.
Dean’s hands were stretched above his head, shackled to a rough wall, unpadded metal restraints bruising his wrists.
He glanced around, eyes wide, almost relieved to see the black-clad form of his brother walking towards him but as before, his relief was short-lived and Dean shuddered at the glint of a blade in Sam’s hand.
“Sammy, no ...” His eyes widened further.
The point of the blade slashed through Dean’s skin without warning, scoring a bloody line across his abdomen. The shock of unexpected pain made Dean cry out.
Sam drew his finger along the cut, pressing hard enough to make it drip onto the floor below and make Dean whimper. He raised his bloody finger to his mouth and sucked the blood from it, eyes fluttering closed at the pleasure of the coppery taste on his tongue.
“Do you want to taste?” Sam asked, as if he were offering a new delicacy for Dean to try.
Dean shook his head but Sam moved closer, wrenching Dean’s head up and kissing him roughly. Dean tried to pull back, tried to be disgusted at the violation, but the familiar mouth on his tore a sob from him and he hated himself for being so weak.
“Dean.” Sam breathed into his mouth and held onto his hips as he ground against Dean’s naked form.
“You know what I want.”
Dean shuddered, turning his head away.
“N ... no ...” He stammered out.
Sam’s eyes darkened and he stepped back, just enough to give him room to bring his fist down on Dean’s face. Dean cried out, the pain threatening to rob him of consciousness, but he knew that wouldn’t be allowed.
Sam stepped closer again, tenderly kissing his brother’s neck, ignoring the damage he’d inflicted and Dean whimpered again, remembering a time when Sam’s long fingers had spent hours tracing patterns on his skin, gently caressing his cheekbones, not breaking them.
“Give me what I want, Dean.”
Dean shook his head, tears streaming down his face, but he was tired. Tired of fighting, tired of pretending to be someone he wasn’t day after day after day after day, and he was tired of these fucking games.
He licked his lips, the copper tang of his own blood still tainting his mouth, but the word wouldn’t come. He’d spent so long holding back. Being forced into saying it willingly filled him with a deep sense of dread.
The tip of the curved blade slashed across a nipple and Dean screamed. Sam pinched and twisted the torn flesh and Dean screamed long and hard until his throat was raw.
“Say it.” Sam’s tone was menacing against Dean’s ear, the tip of his tongue lapping at the lobe.
Dean knew it was now or never. If he said it now, it was with a shred of control, deciding not to endure anymore at the hands of his once beloved brother. If he said it now, he would feel as if he’d won the smallest of victories over his tormentor but if he held out, it would be ripped from him, taken from him as it had been so many times before and enough had been taken from Dean already. More than enough.
He looked into Sam’s eyes and begged. Shamlessly begged for something that was once given freely, with love and affection. He begged for the reminder of what he’d lost.
“Puhl ... please, Sammy, t ... touch me, please ... make me come, need you so badly ...”
Sam’s hand moved down over Dean’s abdomen, and fingers slick with blood wrapped around Dean’s cock. Despite the pain wracking his body and the disgust he felt, Dean roused, helped by bright memories that Dean held safe in his heart. Memories of rundown motel rooms and too small beds and laughter and love ...
“Kiss me? Please Sammy, I’m begging you, kiss me please? Need your mouth ...”
Sam’s mouth closed on Dean’s, the tenderness of the kiss in contrast to the pain, to the way his body ached.
Sam knew how to touch him, knew exactly how to make his brother come and come hard. Dean shuddered, spurting his release over his wounded stomach, the sting of it making him writhe in Sam’s arms as pain and pleasure blurred.
Dean’s body slumped, almost hanging from the restraints, and when Sam reached up to unlock them, Dean fell to his knees. Sam stared down at him, placing a hand on the top of Dean’s head like a benediction.
“You know what to do.”
Dean reached for Sam but Sam backed away, sitting down in a chair about ten feet from where Dean knelt.
“Dean.” Sam snapped and Dean swallowed as he weighed up the situation. This was new and Dean didn’t like new. He was immediately off balance and the small victory he’d won earlier, if even just in his own mind, began to slip away with the uncertainty that came with any break from the routine he was used to.
He started to get ot his feet, to walk on unsteady legs to where his brother sat, but Sam stopped him.
“On your knees, Dean.”
Dean’s nostrils flared. Crawl? No, no, no, no, ...
“No.” Dean’s whole body shook, but he wouldn’t, he couldn’t ...
“There’s that word again, Dean, and you know how much I hate it.” Sam twirled the knife in his hand but it wasn’t the threat of the blade that pushed Dean into motion.
The way the blade moved reminded him of Jo, how she’d played with that damned bitty knife of her father’s every chance she got. Until the last time Dean had all out refused Sam.
He could still hear Ellen’s howls of grief at finding Jo and the rest of the cell of Hunters she’d been working with slaughtered.
They’d been hacked to pieces, all but Jo. Dean got the feeling that their attackers had made her watch before cutting out her heart and leaving a cruel blade stuck in her torn throat.
The same blade Sam favored.
Dean got the message loud and clear and it was that memory that encouraged him to get on all fours and crawl slowly over the cold hard floor towards the monster that had once been his brother.
Sam’s smile was triumphant as Dean reached him, his hands reaching up to unfasten Sam’s pants and free his erection. He eased them down over the younger man’s hips
... smooth skin, he remembered the first time he’d kissed Sam’s hip and Sam had squirmed, wide eyed and wanting more and Dean had loved him ...
Just enough so he could take Sam’s cock into his mouth.
Sam groaned as the heat of Dean’s mouth engulfed him, his hand resting back on the top of Dean’s head. The knife was still in Sam’s hand and the temptation to grab it, to see what damage he could inflict before Sam stopped him was intense, but he wasn’t the one who would end up paying for it, so he sucked on Sam’s cock
... fresh from the shower, Sam's skin was soft, tasted sweet, tasted of pure Sammy and Dean had lapped at the head of his cock until Sam's trembling hands had rested on his hair and he'd breathed out Dean's name like a prayer ...
took him all he way down his throat and Sam held his head in a vice like grip, fucking his mouth.
"What would they say? What would they do? Bobby, Hendriksen,? How would they look at you if they knew how you really keep them safe?"
Dean glanced up, defiance and hate in his eyes although he kept on at his task, swirling his tongue as best he could as Sam's thrusting became harder.
"Do you think they'd follow you? If they could see you like this on your knees for me? Can you imagine the disgust in their eyes?"
Dean's resolve faltered and he blinked back traitorous tears that prickled behind his eyes.
Sam caught the single tear that fell down Dean's cheek on his finger and grunted, coming hard down Dean's throat.
Dean choked, swallowing every last drop and as soon as he was done, Sam kicked him away, buttoning up his pants as he stood and looked down at Dean.
“The next time he steps outside the wards, he’s mine.”
“No ...” Dean whispered, his throat hoarse.
"Time to go."
Sam snapped his fingers.
Dean woke up, heart pounding, back in the motel. Kyle was looking down at him, a frown on his face.
Dean blinked and resisted the urge to pull the younger man onto the bed with him. Didn't matter how much he might want the comfort right now, he didn't know if he could stand being touched.
"Bobby says you're going to the compound and leaving me behind."
Dean blinked again.
"Bobby. He says you want me to stay here. Forget it. I'm coming with you."
"No, you're not." Kyle's anger helped ground Dean back into the stark reality of his life. "You're staying. That's an order."
"Not now, Kyle, not fucking now." Dean shivered, his body still coming down from the nightmare.
Kyle looked suitably chastised.
"You have no idea."
“Let me see.”
Dean huffed, but pulled up his tee, and opened his jeans to reveal a deep inflamed scratch running almost from hip to hip.
“Fuck.” Kyle’s voice was hoarse and Dean tried to squirm away. “Lie still and let me check it out. It’s the worst yet, Dean. Could mean he’s getting stronger.”
“It’s nothing, okay, leave it ... shit.” Dean gasped in pain as Kyle gently applied a little pressure to his abdomen.
Kyle stood up and ran a hand through his hair, scrutinizing the scratch with a frown. “Take those off. I need to grab some supplies from the truck.”
“We still need to talk.” Dean tried to sound stern.
“Whatever, Dean. It can wait until you’re patched up.”
There was a gust of air as Kyle left the room, closing the door quietly behind him, and Dean eased off his clothes and lay back. Kyle would be back soon, he knew, with gentle hands and gentle words, easing Dean back from the nightmare, easing the pain from the physical evidence that his dreams were literally tearing him apart. And if Kyle was right and Sam was getting stronger? Dean shuddered and curled up on his side as if he were protecting his stomach.
Dean heard the door slam as Kyle returned, then a gentle hand was turning him onto his back. Dean hissed as a cold antiseptic cloth touched his abdomen.
“Who are you?” It was a question, not a demand.
Kyle glanced up at him and talked as he worked.
“It was never supposed to happen like this.”
“What do you mean?”
“You were supposed to die after the demon played with your insides and slammed into the Impala with that truck.”
“How did you know about that?”
“Because I was your welcome committee. The reaper had almost gotten through to you too and then your Daddy went and did something no-one could have predicted.” Kyle snorted. “You humans and your free will. Do you know how many headaches that’s caused over the years? What your Dad did for you cracked fate wide open.”
“So you’re not human?”
“I am now. It was my choice.”
“But you were ... an angel?”
“I’ve been fucking an angel?”
“Former angel.” Kyle grinned and shook his head.
“If I’d died, back in the hospital, what would have happened to Sam? To my Dad?”
“You were destined to die and return to Sam as a guardian, a guide or conscience to keep him from straying into the dark. Together, your Dad and Sam would have eventually defeated the demon, and you would have been there to see it happen.”
Kyle stood up and stretched the kinks out of his back.
“But you lived because of the incredible sacrifice John made for you and although it threw heaven into turmoil, that sacrifice wasn’t forgotten. But the demon didn’t die at the appointed time, and the world was in freefall again. By this time, no-one knew what was coming, and if your Dad cracked prophecy, you shattered it when you made your deal and brought Sam back. When he died.” Kyle paused, knowing Dean wasn’t going to like what came next. “When he died, there were those who sighed with relief that the threat was gone, but it was nothing compared to the howl that resonated in heaven when you kissed the demon and sealed the deal that brought him back.”
Kyle finished dressing the wound and sat cross-legged on the bed.
“You needed someone stronger at your side. I thought that I could help, come down from heaven with a flaming sword in my hand, and save the day. I didn’t know what would happen when I fell, and you ended up with this instead.” He pointed to himself with a rueful smile.
Dean reached out and pulled Kyle towards him.
“You’re exactly what I needed.” He shifted back on the bed to make more room. “Keep me warm?”
Kyle smiled and nodded, lying down beside his lover and wrapping his arms around him.
On the way to the compound, after almost two full days of driving across country, a black dog attacked Dean as he took a leak in a disused gas station. It ripped into his arm before he could gather the power to fry it. It crossed his mind that it might have been a gift from his brother. Black dogs really freaked him out after his experience with hellhounds.
He holed up for the night in the gas station. He cleaned up the wound, dressed it as well as he could, and dug out a spare jacket from the trunk cursing the fucker for ruining another one. He was just glad he’d left his leather jacket behind.
Another four hours driving, and he reached what had become the base of operations for hunters everywhere.
Dean strode through the complex. Maybe it was all the time he'd spent on the open road, but living underground was something he'd never get used to. Given the choice, he'd stay at Bobby's place or in anyone of the small towns that would gladly give him a bed but he understood Hendriksen's logic when it came to having a secure base of operations.
"You're late." The former FBI agent stated without looking up.
"What can I say, traffic's a bitch." Dean slipped his jacket off.
"A day late, Winchester." Hendriksen sighed. He glanced up and dropped the pen he was holding. "What happened to you?"
"Black dog." Dean sat down on the over-stuffed sofa Hendriksen had claimed for his office and sprawled, as much as his injured arm would allow.
"Rogue or sanctioned?"
"I'd say sanctioned."
Hendriksen rolled his eyes. "You pissed him off?"
"Big time." Hendriksen knew more than most how it really was between Dean and his brother, but he didn't know everything and Dean was happy to keep it that way. Of the small handful of people who knew how it really was, only Kyle knew it all, and only because he was too close to miss what Dean went through.
"No-one ever tell you it's not a good idea to piss off the Anti-Christ?" Hendriksen chided lightly.
"You. All the time." Dean lay down, exhaustion finally hitting now he knew he was safe and could let his guard down. He knew that if it came down to it, Hendriksen always had his back. "Who's a guy gotta kill around here to get a decent coffee?"
Hendriksen quirked an eyebrow in Dean's direction.
"You can have coffee after you sleep." He told an already dead to the world Dean.
He lay a blanket over the hunter and tucked it around him, then went back to pouring over the reports on his desk. Dean slept.
Hendriksen remembered the day he'd finally met the real Dean Winchester. He thought he knew who Dean and Sam were. Serial killers with a larger side of crazy than most. But that was until he was possessed and Sam had saved him.
Dean he'd liked straight off, because he was a down to earth guy. Sam was cagier and, when it came down to it, Victor had seen how his willingness to sacrifice Nancy had floored Dean.
He'd noticed the change in Sam himself from the softer natured boy he'd arrested and sent to Folsom.
After it all went down, and Hendriksen had joined Dean, they'd spent more than one night getting wasted on the Jack and tequila Victor had found in the bunker.
One night, Dean told him about Broward County, how Sam had lived through Dean's death over and over and over and then lived without him for so many long months.
"He was never the same." Dean had brooded over a shot glass. "It was like something broke inside him that I couldn't fix. And then I put him through it again and damned the whole fucking world."
"Not your fault." Hendriksen stated. "None of this is your fault, Dean. He made his own choices."
“Yeah. And I made mine.”
Victor made sure Dean's arm was redressed before his meeting with Pamela. He introduced them then left them to it.
“You’re a friend of Bobby Singer’s?”
“More than a friend, and you know that, Dean Winchester. If you didn’t trust me, I wouldn’t be here.”
Dean huffed. “So what do we do?”
“Sit down and give me your hands.”
Dean sat and held his hands out, palms up. Pamela slipped her hands over his and slipped long fingers loosely around his wrists.
“Close your eyes.”
Dean frowned, but did as she said.
“Think back to before you went to hell, think of Sam when he was younger.”
Dean’s brow furrowed as memories came unbidden. Memories of a withdrawn child, dragged from place to place like little more than luggage. But he could always make Sam smile and when he did, Sam’s dimples showed and his eyes sparked.
“That’s good. You loved your brother and he loved you. Now take it forward, just a few years.”
In Dean’s head, Sam was a tall, lanky teenager, unruly hair getting in his eyes. He was sullen now, eyes almost sly when he looked at everyone but Dean. Still, only Dean could make him laugh until his sides hurt. Dean sagged, longing for those days back.
“Stay with me, Dean. Again, take it forward, not too fast, not too far.”
Now, Sam lay naked in his arms. Their skin touched from their foreheads pressed together to where their feet tangled in sweat damp sheets.
Pamela let out a soft “Oh.” But Dean was too wrapped up in the memory to notice.
“What if I end up like Webber?”
“You won’t Sammy. Quit fretting.” Dean nuzzled Sam’s neck and carded fingers through his hair.
“How can you know?”
“Because I won’t let it happen.”
Sam pulled Dean closer, kissing him with a desperate hunger.
“Yours, Dean, always yours.”
Pamela rarely felt like she was intruding when she worked. Knowing hidden secrets came with the territory, but this time she did.
“Move forward, Dean, slowly, until the day you went to hell.”
He moved through his life, so tangled with Sam’s it made his heart ache all over again at the loss of the brother he loved. Then the hellhounds had him, ripping and tearing into his flesh as Sam screamed.
“Stay with me Dean, stay there, tell me what you see.”
“I’m dying.” Dean whispered.
“Concentrate on Sam, Dean. Can you see him?”
Dean whimpered, concentrated on what was happening around him as he slipped away.
“She’s trying to kill him. Sammy! But … she tries but she can’t. He’s getting to his feet and the knife’s in his hand, but she’s backing away. She looks frightened. She’s escaping.”
Sam was with him, pulling Dean into his arms. He was already dead, but the last wisps of his soul lingering around his body could feel Sam’s tears fall onto his cheeks.
“I’m with you, Dean. Nothing can hurt you, remember it’s just a memory.” Pamela coaxed as Dean remembered his descent into hell.
“I’m sorry, Dean. I can’t let you go.” Sam whispered through soft mournful sobs. “I’m sorry.”
“No, Sammy, no!”
In a rush, the memories of his rescue came back and he howled.
Hell swamped him, tore him to shreds again and again until Sam strode into hell, smiting anything that stood in his way. Again, he cradled Dean in his arms, shielding his soul from the pit. Then he was lying on the bed in the motel Sam had left him in for Bobby to find. Dean was freshly back in his body, in agony from the wounds the hellhounds had inflicted. He shivered with pain and looked up at Sam through glazed eyes.
There was the glint of a knife as Sam drew it over one of his own wrists. He bent closer over Dean, and held his wrist over Dean’s mouth. Dean felt it, felt several fat drops blood land in his open mouth. He swallowed involuntarily, gagging a little.
“You have to live, Dean, you have to live.” Sam implored him. “You have to live.”
Sam kissed him hard.
Dean wrenched himself awake, tearing himself away from Pamela.
“No!” What had Sam done to him?
Dean sank to his knees and stayed there, not even noticing when Hendriksen picked him off the floor and helped him from the room.
It was days before he arrived back in Nowhere. He spotted Bobby walking down Main Street with Lucy, and waved at them on the way to the motel.
Kyle was waiting for him, almost bouncing with anticipation.
“I know what he did to me.” Dean slipped his jacket off.
“I want to see.”
“I want to try something. Come here.” Kyle reached for him and pulled him down to the bed, settling Dean against him. He wrapped his arms around him and nuzzled at Dean’s temple. “Relax and let me in, Dean, let it go. Push them towards me.”
Dean let out a long, shuddering breath and relaxed, letting the remnants of demonic power inside him free. He twitched in Kyle’s arms as the new memories flashed through his head.
Kyle gasped as he saw them too, a Technicolor slice of hell straight from Dean’s mind. He sat still for a moment, tense and stiff. He reached around and put a hand on the centre of Dean’s chest.
"It's been in you all along." There was an awe in Kyle’s voice that Dean didn’t understand.
Dean felt the heat radiating from Kyle's palm.
"Look at me, Dean. It's always been inside you, since he pulled you out of hell. He fed you his blood and with it, his purpose. That you survive at all costs. That’s what the demon did to him when he was a baby. Only the demon’s purpose was to turn evil. It’s genetic programming. Didn’t take with all the special children.
Some were mentally strong, some physically, but only Sam, Jake and a couple of others that Ava killed were both, and ultimately, Sam was the only one who fit the bill. Because of how he was raised, there was a darkness of a different kind inside him, and added to a need to succeed instilled in him by John, and by a determination to leave and be someone else, the genetic programming took best with him.”
“He’s not a demon, Dean, he’s a new breed of animal altogether. He’s the antichrist in human form. He has the capability to be either good or evil, and to save you, he had to access the darkness inside him. Once he’d touched the power inside himself with a dark heart, it ensnared him.”
“So, what now?”
“All the strength Sam has, you have too, locked inside you.” Kyle kissed him and smiled. “Now we can win.”