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[personal profile] daymarket
Title: Chasing the Sky
Rating: R
Warnings: omg. Um, oodles of death, dub/non-con, semi-explicit violence, swearing, unhealthy relationships, implied child abuse. Well, this is an SPN AU about serial killers, so…yeah.
Wordcount: ~12,000
Summary: AU. Round and round the bodies they go, in the game that only ever ends one way. Ironically enough, it’s the only way that Dean ever feels alive.
Notes: Written for the Everlasting Birthday Exchange for [ profile] marourin, happy birthday! Er, or something. Original prompt: Castiel Novak is an FBI agent embroiled in a deadly cat and mouse game with a mysterious and charismatic serial killer (Dean Winchester). As the game carries on and Castiel’s obsession grows, the killer might be closer than he ever suspected. Er, while the prompt calls for Cas POV, the only way this fic could be written was through Dean’s, sorry. This is substantially darker than anything I’ve ever written before, and I hope it turns out to be to your liking. (I am not this dark in real life, I swear. *thinks happy thoughts*)

1. John Winchester

Like any good big brother, Dean lets Sammy take him first. Sammy, bless his sadistic little soul, takes hours to draw every scream from the bastard that fathered them. Sammy occasionally looks up from his work to grin at Dean, and Dean smiles back even though there’s a growing dissatisfaction within him that he can’t quite put his finger on. Sam’s enjoying this, so why isn’t he?

When John Winchester can’t do much else than utter a series of hoarse, broken grunts even as Sammy carves off yet another slice of his flesh, Dean takes the blade from him and steps in. Sammy gives the blade up with ill grace, but for once Dean puts his brother out of his thoughts as he studies the bloody ruin before him. Sammy does good work for someone so young, he thinks idly as he grips the stained handle of the knife. It’s almost a challenge of sorts to see if Dean can match his skill.

The first slice of the blade through mangled flesh makes the body jerk and a whimper emerge. Behind Dean, Sammy laughs with childlike glee, but Dean feels…nothing. It’s not satisfying, it’s not cathartic, it’s not entertaining. It’s the absolute opposite of what he’d thought it would always be.

He disposes of John Winchester with quick, businesslike strokes. Sammy’s disappointed, of course, whining loudly as they burn the warehouse. “That was no fun at all,” Sammy complains. “C’mon, Dean. It could’ve gone on so much longer.”

Sammy looks at him with those big, pleading eyes. Dean forces a smile to try to hide the hollow pit in his chest, and he reaches over to ruffle Sam’s hair. “Sorry, Sammy,” he says.

Sammy sighs, but as a sign of forgiveness, he doesn’t pull away from Dean’s touch. “It’s okay,” he mumbles. “I mean, it was cool while it lasted, anyway.”

Dean can still hear the disappointment in his tone, though, and it twists Dean’s heart to hear it. “Hey, cheer up,” he says, bumping Sammy lightly on the shoulder. “We’ll try again soon. We’ll do better next time, promise.”

Sammy’s eyes light up, and Dean feels warmth coalesce in his chest as Sammy leans over and hugs him. “Really, Dean?” he says, and the warmth only grows, reaching something akin to happiness. “Oh, I’ve got so many great ideas for next time!”

“You can try them all out,” Dean promises, rubbing Sammy’s back gently. “I won’t interfere, I swear.”

“You’re the best brother ever,” Sammy mumbles into his shirt, and Dean thinks that this is what he’s been missing. All right, so he’s not freed by the body itself, but Sam is an adequate substitute. It’s going to be okay, Dean.

“Next time,” Dean repeats almost absently. “I’ll do better.”

2. Mark McCoy

Soon turns out to be relative. Dean hides their trails carefully, but he can’t claim independence yet, not when he’s still got traces of baby fat in his face at fourteen. He can tell that Sammy’s itching to try again, but Dean gently pulls him down with soothing promises. Sixteen, Dean tells him. Wait until I’m sixteen, and then we’ll blow this joint.

Dean plans their escape from the foster home carefully. He steals money, enough to buy him a fake ID. He learns how to hotwire a car, practicing until he can get it down pat within thirty seconds. And most importantly, he picks out a graduation gift for Sammy. “Just wait until you see what I got you,” Dean tells his brother, and the barely contained excitement in Sammy’s eyes is contagious enough that Dean feels excited as well.

Mark McCoy is thirty-five years old, Caucasian, with black hair and dark eyes. He’s a widower who sells insurance during the weekdays and shoots deer on the weekends in his private cabin in the woods. On his sixteenth birthday, Dean steals a car and brings Sammy down to the cabin, where they play with Mark McCoy until he can’t do anything but wheeze soundlessly for every breath of air, blood bubbling out between shattered lips. As before, Dean lets Sammy play first before he steps in to deliver the final blow.

He watches the body’s eyes carefully as he pulls the blade slowly across its throat. The eyes go subtly blank at the moment of death, the fear and pain suddenly leeching out of them in a strangely anticlimactic moment. Dean looks at Sammy, who’s shivering with joy, and he wonders if something’s wrong with him.

“That was amazing, Dean,” Sammy tells him as he climbs into the passenger seat of the car. It’s nighttime, but the burning cabin behind them throws out more than enough light to illuminate their path.

“Glad you liked it,” Dean murmurs as he starts the engine. He throws the engine into reverse and backs out of the driveway, turning his thoughts over in his head as the car crunches over the gravel. “Hey, Sammy…”

“Yeah, Dean?”

There’re a lot of questions Dean wants to ask. He looks at his brother and sees the delight obscured by puzzlement in Sammy’s eyes, and all of a sudden Dean just wants to see his brother’s eyes flooded with happiness again. “Want to pick the next one?” he says instead, and he’s rewarded by a tight hug from Sammy.

“Awesome!” Sammy says, and then he’s off, scheming and brainstorming with that ridiculously smart brain of his. Dean listens to him babble, and he smiles. For a moment, it feels almost real.

3. James Pomeran

After they dispose of one James Pomeran (thirty-two years old, Caucasian, black hair and dark eyes, widower who spends most of his nights at a local bar), Dean turns on the TV to find that they’ve managed to blip somebody’s radar. “Hey, look, we’re famous,” he tells Sam (not Sammy, fourteen’s too old to be Sammy). “Wanna get my autograph?”

Sam snorts and throws himself onto the bed next to Dean. He still fits easily under Dean’s arm, but Dean suspect that those days will soon be over, because Sam’s starting to hit his growth spurt and who the hell knows when he’ll stop. “Since when are you worried about some local PD morons?”

“Not PD,” Dean tells him. He gestures at the screen. “We’re wanted for questioning by the eff-bee-eye,” he says, enunciating each letter carefully.

Sam rolls his eyes. “Took their own sweet time catching up,” he grumbles. “What kind of shit are we paying for with our hard-earned tax dollars?”

“We don’t pay taxes,” Dean reminds him dryly.

“Well, I’m speaking on the behalf of the citizens of Bumfuck, Nowhere,” Sam protests. “I’m trying to empathize with shit. It’s the new thing.”

“Yeah, you do that,” Dean yawns as he turns off the TV. “While you’re busy with that, though, I’m going to sleep.”

“Bitch,” Sam grumbles, but he wriggles aside to let Dean sprawl over the bed. “I’m going out,” he tells Dean, and Dean flaps a hand sleepily at him. Most people would be worried at letting a fourteen-year-old wander around in strange territory at night, but Dean knows that even with feds sniffing around their trail, Sam can more than take care of himself.

4. Ichabod Plaster

Dean still delivers the death blow every time, and every time, it leaves him empty and hollow. Dean drives back to see the burned ruins the day after they meet Ichabod (thirty-nine, Caucasian, black hair and dark eyes, widower who runs a motorcycle shop). He sits in his car across the street and watches as local PD and the lab techies run around like chickens with their heads chopped off.

He disregards the blue car at first, and it’s not until the occupants of the car get out that Dean’s attention is piqued. A woman emerges from the driver’s seat and he dismisses her instantly; he’s never cared much about the opposite sex. It’s the man that catches his eye: thirty-something, Caucasian, black hair.

They just finished one body and it’s a bit soon to be searching for another, but maybe Sam will enjoy the unexpected bonus. Dean pulls out his camera and takes a couple of idle pictures as he waits for the perfect shot. It takes place about five minutes in: the woman appears to be visibly frustrated about something, and the man turns to speak to her, his face angled perfectly towards Dean’s camera. Dean snaps the picture and examines it carefully.

Nope, blue eyes. Sam won’t like him, Dean thinks distantly as he studies the solemn face. Not his type, not at all. Not Dean’s, either. Not…normally.

He lifts his eyes up from the picture to look at the original across the street. The sudden hunger in the base of his stomach surprises him with its visceral intensity, shaking him to the core. He doesn’t know this guy, doesn’t know who he is, doesn’t even know his name. While that wouldn’t really be a problem for a body, this is different, because this man, whoever he is, manages to ignite something in Dean that only Sam has ever managed to spark before.

He shifts slightly and grunts in astonishment as he notices that his dick is half-hard. That’s new, he thinks. While he loves Sam like hell, he’s certainly never had this sort of physical reaction to his brother before. Dean unzips his jeans and reaches a hand inside to palm at his cock as he continues to watch the man. The man’s talking to one of the local cops now with a studied intensity written on his face. Dean closes his eyes and imagines the man looking at him with the same fierce attention, and that’s enough to send him over the edge.

He absentmindedly wipes his hand clean on his jeans and zips himself up before revving the engine. Clearly, he’s got some research to do.

5. Thomas Riley

His name is Castiel. Special Agent Castiel Novak of the FBI. Sam raises a skeptical eyebrow when Dean shows the picture to him, along with what scant information he’d been able to glean off the Internet. “Seriously?” he says, looking up at Dean. “This guy lights your fire?”

“That is completely not the point,” Dean returns, annoyed. “C’mon, Sam.”

Sam taps the picture with a finger as he thinks. “You want him?” he asks finally. “I’ve been driving around a lot, you know, looking for a good place. There’s a place about a mile and a half from the old plastics factory that I think would be great.”

Dean looks down at Castiel Novak and smooths a thumb over the man’s face. “No,” he says. “I just want to watch him for now.” Sam looks at him with concerned inquiry in his eyes, and Dean shrugs, going for flippant but probably missing by a mile. “It’s just a body, Sam.”

“Oookay,” Sam says, raising his hands in surrender. “Don’t get your panties into a twist, Dean.”

Sam leaves to do research; he’s better at it than Dean is, and maybe he’ll turn up something that Dean can’t. Dean sits down on the bed after Sam leaves, studying the photo again and again. Each time he does so, the combined thrill and apprehension in his chest only grows. He sets down the photograph carefully on the bed, noting with some dazed shock that his hands are actually very steady. Then again, they always are, especially when wrapped around the handle of a blade.


Sam knows that Dean’s showing off, but he thankfully doesn’t comment as Dean carefully removes the eyes from their latest body (Thomas Riley, thirty-one, black hair, dark eyes, widower who buys a six-pack of beer from the same convenience store every night). They’re not like Castiel’s, not at all, Dean thinks as he examines his prizes carefully in the dim light. At the same time, maybe Castiel will appreciate the contrast.

“You want a card to go with that?” Sam asks when Dean finishes. Dean turns to look at him, and something within him relaxes as he sees that Sam’s smiling instead of disapproving.

“Did you get one?” Dean asks, only half-joking. He laughs when Sam actually does pull out a card, some generic Hallmark shit with the words Thinking of you… printed on the inside next to a picture of baby angels with fluffy white wings. “Damn. Sam, I don’t know what to say.”

“Hey, everyone falls in love sometime,” Sam tells him. Dean gives him a small smile before turning his attention to the card. He curses when he realizes that he doesn’t have a pen on him, but that fades into significance as the impact of Sam’s words sink in.

“Wait, what?” he says, turning to look at Sam. “I’m not in love with him.”

“You’re sending him some eyeballs for his birthday,” Sam informs him dryly. “I think that counts as puppy love.”

“It’s not his—” Dean begins before thinking, well, yes, it is. Or at least, it will be very soon. Sam’s Google-fu managed to unearth more details, and apparently some of them stuck deeper in Dean’s brain than he previously thought. “I just thought he’d like them,” Dean finishes lamely as he stares down at the orbs in his hand. “You know.”

The look on Sam’s face says that no, he doesn’t actually know, but Sam squeezes Dean’s shoulder and Dean knows that this is Sam’s way of giving the go-ahead. Dean takes a breath before carefully setting his gifts into a small, plain box he’d bought at the local stationery store. He gives the card a regretful look before sliding it in as well. He can’t write a message, not this time, but thinking of you should be enough to introduce himself.

6. Joseph Erickson

His biggest regret is that he doesn’t get to watch Castiel open his gift. Sam, obviously taking pity on his ‘lovestruck puppy of a brother’ (as he kindly puts it), suggests that perhaps a roadtrip in order. Dean finds the idea rather appealing, although he does make sure to bitch and moan just enough to keep up appearances.

It doesn’t take long before Dean sees him again. Castiel’s office has a nice big window, and with binoculars, Dean can scrutinize his every movement. An older, almost bald guy comes and talks to him briefly, and Dean drinks in the way that Castiel listens with focused, unrelenting attention. When the bald guy leaves, Castiel stares off into space for a moment or two, and Dean would give almost anything to know what he’s thinking.

Is that his file on Castiel’s desk? Dean wonders, and the idea of a spectator, a witness to his and Sam’s games is oddly attractive. He’s never considered himself much of an exhibitionist, but when Castiel’s the one watching he finds that the idea is somehow intoxicating.

Sam gets bored pretty fast, though, and around noon he announces, “I’m going to get something to eat. Want something while we stalk your boyfriend?”

“He’s not my boyfriend,” Dean says automatically, but the word sounds good in his mind. “Hell, Sam, we haven’t even met.”

“So what’s stopping you?” Sam asks, his head tilted to one side as he gives a sweet, innocent smile, one that constantly has their bodies underestimating his strength despite his massive size. “I’d never have thought that you were shy.”

“It’s different,” Dean says defensively, even as the majority of his brain chimes in to agree with Sam’s suggestion. “I don’t want him to just be a body.”

“So don’t,” Sam tells him. “Send him a letter or something. You know, I’m pretty sure that relationships require mutual consent from both parties, as well as awareness that they’re actually, you know, in a relationship.”

“He’s studying my file,” Dean points out, although he doesn’t actually know that. He doesn’t actually know how the FBI works, and it seems improbable that Castiel would stare at a single file all day. Maybe Castiel’s actually looking at somebody else. Somebody who’s not Dean or Sam.

“That doesn’t count,” Sam says, oblivious to the sudden primal jealousy that flares up in Dean. “I mean, eyeballs are a nice way to start off, but maybe something a little more verbal next time would work better.”

“I’m not writing him a fucking Valentine,” Dean tells him. “What am I, twelve? Bitch.”

“You so are,” Sam tells him complacently. “C’mon, you’re this close to sending him a heart with flowers on it, jerk. Just admit it.” He sighs and apparently relents as he stops the teasing. “I mean, I’m happy for you, Dean, really. But—what’s so special about this guy? If he’s not a body, then what is it?”

Dean raises the binoculars and looks at Castiel again in lieu of an answer, because to be honest, he doesn’t know either. He hears a sigh behind him as Sam gets the hint and vanishes, apparently off to get food for their afternoon stalking session.

All he knows is that Castiel’s his, and if Castiel’s going to study anyone, it’s damn well going to be the Winchesters.


As Sam points out, it’s stupid as hell and going to get them caught, but Dean doesn’t care. He needs to meet Castiel; he needs to understand why the hell Castiel can ignite that strange, quivery sensation in his chest with a single look. Sam bitches and moans a lot, but he eventually gives in when Dean promises to give him the final stroke on their latest body (Joseph Erickson, thirty-eight, black hair, dark eyes, widower who owns a gun store).

Castiel arrives at the scene like a good little FBI agent should. Dean watches his face as he examines Sam’s latest work. Dean searches for signs of disgust, for horror, but none of those emotions seem to register: instead, there’s just careful concentration as Castiel absorbs every inch of the crime scene.

Castiel and his female partner stay in a hotel just off the freeway that night. Sam lures the woman away with a strategically faked phone call, while Dean takes the opportunity to set the stage for their first date. When Castiel walks in through the door, Dean grabs him in a headlock and doses him with chloroform, just long enough to keep him out until Dean’s tied up loose ends.

He has a few spare minutes between tying Castiel up and Castiel awakening, and Dean takes the opportunity to tilt Castiel’s chin up and study him up close. Damn. Even unconscious, there’s still a hint of a frown about his face. Everything about him—from the loosely knotted tie, the creased shirt that still shows signs of having been ironed, the mussy hair—speaks volumes about exhaustion and determination thrown together in one obstinate mix. This is the guy who’s been watching Dean, hopefully as closely as Dean has been watching him. It’s like they were made for each other.

“Castiel,” Dean tries out as Castiel wakes slowly. “Castiel. Castiel. Castiel. Fuck, what kind of name is that, anyway?” he asks as Castiel jerks to full alertness and stares at him through wide blue eyes. “Can I just call you Cas?”

Castiel stares at him for a moment. His eyes narrow, and Dean sucks in a deep breath to keep himself from coming right then and there. “Dean Winchester,” he says, and goddamn, his voice is deep. Deep and gravelly and everything that Dean never knew he wanted.

“The one and only,” Dean says, infusing his tone with playfulness that he doesn’t feel, because what he really wants right now is to pin Castiel down and bite his lips bloody in a savage kiss. “So you’re the guy looking for me, huh? Well, me and Sam.”

“What did you do to Anna?” Castiel demands.

“Who?” Dean asks. “Oh, was that her name?” he says, recalling Castiel’s female partner. “Sam’s got her, I think. Don’t worry, we don’t give a shit about chicks,” he adds as Castiel visibly tenses. “I dunno, I think that playing with them would be too fucking messy, anyway. Aren’t they supposed to bleed even without a knife?”

“So it’s a game to you?” Castiel asks, his voice wary.

Dean ignores him and reaches a hand out to brush the rough edges of Castiel’s stubble. Castiel tries to jerk away, but Dean grabs hold his hair and keeps him steady. Castiel’s pulse beats steadily at the base of his jaw. Dean wants to nibble that pulse, see his skin turn red not with sticky rivulets of blood, but with the hot flush of passion. “Fuck,” he murmurs more to himself than to Castiel. Dean’s screwed. He is so, so screwed.

“Are you here to kill me, Dean?” Castiel asks quite calmly. Dean’s attention snaps back to Castiel and he wants to laugh with the ludicrousness of it all, because he’s definitely not going to kill Castiel. Not until he’s had his fill, anyway. “I’m surprised that your brother isn’t here. Your games, as such, usually require you both to be present,” Castiel continues in that same calm tone. Dean’s not fooled, though; Castiel’s pulse speeds up slightly under Dean’s questing fingers.

“You’ve been studying up on me,” Dean murmurs. “Kind of creepy, Cas.”

“I received your eyeballs,” Castiel says evenly. “Could you tell me what they were supposed to mean, Dean?”

Dean draws back, his eyebrows knitting together in surprise because honestly, how much more obvious could it get? Castiel meets his gaze coolly, not giving an inch. “Just wanted to say hello,” Dean says finally. “You know. I heard you were on our trail and everything. It must take a lot to drop everything and come charging after me.”

Castiel tilts his head slightly in apparent puzzlement. “It’s my job,” Castiel says warily. “As far as we can tell, you and Sam have killed at least four men so far. Five, if your father was your doing as well.”

Dean sneers at the mention of John Winchester. “That old fucktard deserved it,” he tells Castiel. “Believe me, we were doing the world a favor.”

“We have accounts that you and Sam were abused,” Castiel says carefully, and Dean suddenly feels heat swarm up his gut. “Is that why you killed him, Dean?”

Dean shrugs, trying to focus past the sudden buzzing in his ears. “You trying to psychoanalyze me now? We haven’t even gotten past our first date and already we’re getting therapy.”

“Your victims certainly seem to match his profile,” Castiel begins, but that’s as far as he gets because the buzzing gets too loud and Dean slams Castiel across the jaw in a sudden burst of violence. The sting in his hand grounds him, brings him back to reality—Castiel, tied in the chair with a rapidly forming bruise on his jaw.

Dean drops to his knees, instantly regretful as he traces gentle fingers across the bruise. “Sorry,” he says frantically, wishing that he could turn back time. “Fuck. I shouldn’t have done that.”

Castiel works his jaw, but he doesn’t move away from Dean’s touch, something which makes Dean secretly thrilled. “Did you kill them out of anger?” he asks finally, and Dean grins at Castiel’s persistence. Then again, he probably wouldn’t have fallen in love (because hell, he is in love) with Castiel if the man weren’t so damn stubborn.

Castiel’s still looking at him, waiting for an answer. Dean hastily replays their conversation in his mind and shakes his head as he gets to the relevant parts. “No,” he says. “Like I said. Sam wanted to have some fun, that’s all.”

“So it was all for Sam? There’s nothing in it for you?”

Dean pauses. He doesn’t get off on the bodies, not the way he knows that Sam does. But to say that he’s just going along with Sam isn’t right, either, because Dean does get something out of it. He gets Sam’s lazy, happy smile; he gets his brother by his side. And now, he gets Castiel as well. His very own FBI agent.

He opens his mouth to tell Castiel this when the ringtone of a cellphone fills the air. Dean instantly tenses. Not taking his eyes off of Castiel, Dean backs up slowly until he can snag the phone and look at the number. Office.


“Anna and I are expected to report in at eight,” Castiel says evenly, but Dean can see his knuckles turn white from their grip on the chair. “They will wonder if we don’t respond.”

“Your frat buddies are a bunch of dicks,” Dean informs him, his fingers curling tightly around the phone. “I’d hoped for more time than this.”

Castiel doesn’t say anything as his clear blue gaze fixes firmly on Dean’s. Dean has to actually take a moment and gather himself, because being off his game when he’s in a room with an FBI agent can never be a good thing. Then again, some people (Sam) might say that he’s been off his game from the moment he met Castiel. Dean wets his lips, resolutely thinks about anything but ripping that suit off to taste the skin underneath, and sets the cell phone carefully down on the table.

“Maybe next time,” Dean says finally, not without regret. Part of him wants to kidnap Castiel and keep him locked up forever, but the other part wants Castiel to play the game, and Castiel can’t do that if he’s in a cage. “I’ll make sure that nobody bothers us.”

With quick, nimble fingers Dean strips off Castiel’s tie and winds it firmly around the other man’s eyes. Castiel doesn’t struggle, doesn’t flinch, and the quivery sensation in Dean’s gut grows by the second. God, he’s fucked up, but if this is hell, he doesn’t want to leave.

Castiel’s lips are parted slightly, and Dean gives in to one last temptation before he leaves. He smooths his fingers down Castiel’s black hair and kisses him lightly on the lips. Castiel’s mouth yields easily enough, but he doesn’t otherwise respond to the kiss. Dean forces himself not to bite in retaliation; after all, he can hardly expect Cas to put out on the first goddamn date.

“See you around,” he murmurs into Castiel’s ear. And then he really has to haul ass as the phone rings again. Dean shuts the door quietly behind him and takes a deep breath before calling Sam.

Sam doesn’t sound happy when Dean tells him to let the woman go, but then again, neither of them has ever done well around women. “I hope you got what you wanted,” Sam tells him testily before hanging up.

Dean smiles as he pockets his phone and gets the hell out of there. Yeah. Yeah, he has.

7 & 8. Alistair Talbot and Lilith Zazel

Dean wants to meet Castiel again, but Sam’s getting antsy and anyway, Dean owes him for taking care of the woman. Alistair Talbot (thirty-five, Caucasian, black hair and dark eyes, widower who likes beating up his daughter) is fun enough, but a wrench is thrown into the works when the lights in the store come on and in walks a short platinum blonde. It’s one of those moments when everything seems to freeze right before going straight to hell: blondie launches herself at them with a truly chilling scream, and the next thing they know they’re down two bodies and running for their lives.

Either the cops have become especially sharp or they’ve attracted the attention of some wrathful celestial being, because the chase that follows next is one of the most harrowing Dean’s ever been in. They finally manage to get away by bribing a trucker to hide them in a load of potatoes and enduring one of the bumpiest rides ever across two states. By the time they finally make it to some semblance of civilization, Dean’s exhausted, and Sam’s furious enough that Dean has to confiscate his knife before Sam slits the motel clerk’s throat.

Dean sits on the other bed and listens patiently as Sam furiously brainstorms solutions for a better playtime. Part of Dean’s brain listens absently and makes appropriate sounds when required, while the vast majority fixates on the fact that when the cavalry arrived, the blue FBI car was amongst the foremost to arrive. That can only mean one thing; that Cas has been watching them.

That thought should not be nearly as exciting as it is.

He doesn’t have any keepsakes from Alistair, seeing as they were chased out so quickly. The next day, though, Dean picks out a nice, generic postcard from the local store. He studies the blank white back for a moment as he tries to spell out the mess in his brain. Saw you last week. Hoping to meet you again, he writes finally writes. He mails it hurriedly before he can have second thoughts, wakes up Sam, and gets them out of town before Cas can trace the postmark. If and when they meet, it’ll be under Dean’s terms, not the FBI’s.

9. Quentin Marshall

Sam’s still fuming after their failed game with Alistair. Dean hates to see that look of sullen disappointment of his face, and so when Sam declares that he wants to try again, Dean gives Sam his all. He even pushes Castiel out of his thoughts and listens intently as Sam plans their next body with meticulous care.

Quentin Marshall (thirty-eight, black hair, dark eyes, widower who works as a mechanic) is a quick and dirty job. Sam’s strokes carry some sort of hidden resentment that Dean’s never seen before, and it worries him a little. When they get back to the motel, Sam collapses silently onto his bed while Dean eases himself onto the other. Neither of them talks and the resulting silence is more than a little unsettling.

10. Jordan Macabee

He should’ve expected it much sooner than this, but when Sam tells him that he’s found a girl, Dean feels like Sam’s just socked him in the gut. Sam looks at him with those irritatingly sad puppy dog eyes, the one that always manages to belie his huge size and hidden violence, as he hands the digital camera to Dean. “I like her,” he says. “Met her at the store today.”

“For keeps? Or to play with?” Dean says, trying not to sound disapproving and mostly succeeding. After all, Sam backed him on Castiel; it’s the least Dean can to do return the favor.

“Keeps?” Sam says hesitantly before taking the camera back. “She’s hot.”

Dean raises an eyebrow. Jessica is…well…female, which is not much of a sterling recommendation in Dean’s book. He’s not heterophobic or anything, but there’s always been a sort of unspoken rule between him and Sam that They Do Not Do Women. Socially, recreationally, or in any other sense. “So, I guess she’s the one, huh?” Dean says finally. He tries very, very hard to keep the bitterness from his expression, and he hopes that he mostly succeeds.

“I thought we might hang around a bit longer,” Sam says awkwardly. “You know. If that’s okay with you.”

Dean sighs and pushes a hand through his hair. “Yeah, Sam. We can do that.”

Sam’s too old now to throw himself at Dean and hug the breath out of him, but he does squeeze Dean’s shoulder in silent gratitude. “I appreciate it, man,” Sam says. “I, uh…I kind of wanted to ask her out. To dinner. Tomorrow.”

“Little Sammy, all grown up,” Dean says with a levity that he doesn’t feel.

“I mean, do you want to come along…?” Sam asks, and Dean shakes his head hastily.

“No,” Dean says. “You two enjoy yourselves. Just don’t get drunk and attract attention. And remember, you can’t expect her to put out on the first date.”

Sam rolls his eyes, and Dean does laugh at that. It sounds a little strained, but mostly real. Sam’s returning smile is also strained, but there’s enough warmth in it that Dean takes it as a good sign. “Mind if I borrow the car?”

“Long as you don’t trash it,” Dean says. “Go on, knock yourself out.”

And Sam does. Evidently, he’s much more of a smooth talker than Dean ever knew, because the next night he’s sitting on the bed, staring at a text Sam sent him: I’m at Jess’s. Call you tomorrow. Evidently Sam’s enjoying himself and Dean’s happy for him, he really is, but that also means that Dean’s going to have to sleep in an empty room alone. Something he hasn’t done since he was sixteen.

He hates himself for resenting Jess. Sam’s obviously enjoying his time with her, and that’s all Dean’s ever wanted, to make Sam happy. But on the other hand, Dean’s never quite had to share Sam with anyone before, and Sam’s absence reopens the gaping pit of hollowness in his chest.

Dean sighs and rubs his hands over his eyes. He has got to stop moping, because this is bordering on the ridiculous. Sam’s taken the car so he can’t really go anywhere, but there’s still the wonderful world of the Internet to entertain him. At the very least, he should be able to find some nice porn to watch. Something hardcore.

That’s his intention when he switches Sam’s laptop on. Instead, he finds himself looking for Castiel. It’s not as if anything new has been added since the last time he searched, but he finds that it somehow eases the void inside him.

Finally, he clicks the laptop shut and pulls out a piece of off-white motel stationary. He tears off the header—they’ll still be able to figure out pretty quickly where he and Sam are, but it’s the thought that counts—digs around for a pencil, and sits down to write a letter to Castiel.



We got chased from a body really fast recently and Sam’s been bitching his ass off. He’s out with someone now though so I’ve got time to kill. I bet you’re a workaholic who never goes out on weekends, huh? You and me both.

I’d like to talk to you again sometime but then I’d probably have to kill you. I wonder if you’re staring at my file right now. Have the headshrinkers taken a crack at it yet? Do you think they’re right? Like I said, it’s mostly Sam’s gig. I just hang around and make sure he doesnt hurt himself. The bodies can get pretty loud sometimes.

Maybe I’ll see you soon. Don’t break anything before I get there.



Dean keeps the letter tucked safely in his jacket. He doesn’t get a chance to mail it for a long time, as they stay in the town for months. Sam’s having fun with Jess, which is good, obviously. And at some point, it even feels sort of domestic as they move out of the motel room and lease an apartment. Using fake names, obviously.

It seems almost poetic that Jess dies in a fire. An accident, most likely, but her house is in flames and Jessica is dead before anyone can prove otherwise. Dean forcibly hauls Sam back to keep him from going into the burning house after her, because he’d much rather have Sam hate him than be dead.

The fire’s not exactly high-profile but it does get into the news, and once again they have to beat a hasty retreat from town. Sam has a horrible, empty look in his eyes the next day. His voice is hoarse when he says that while he doesn’t hate Dean, he just doesn’t want to talk him right now. Dean tries not to show how much Sam’s words hurt him, because Sam’s got enough to worry about right now. To that end, Dean stays out of the way as much as possible. He mails the letter almost as an afterthought.

As the days drag on, the silence in the car continues as Dean drives them all over the US in search of something that can’t be found. He tries to strike up a conversation a few times, but hell, he’s never been good with feelings, and he’s even worse when it comes to feelings about women. He’d give Sam anything he wants in a flash, but the problem is that he doesn’t know what Sam wants.

What words he can’t say to Sam, he pours out to Castiel. He doesn’t write letters very often, maybe once every two weeks or so, when the silence becomes too oppressive. He’s not stupid enough to give away his address (even if he sort of wants to, so that Cas can write back), but it helps relieve some of that awful pressure in his chest.

In the end, he connects to Sam in the best way he knows how. Jordan Macabee (thirty-one, black hair, dark eyes, widower who works on a construction site) is a gift from Dean to Sam, and for once, he actually feels something as he slits the body’s throat. Sam’s smiling again, and the weight lifts off of Dean’s chest as he drops the knife and wraps his brother in a tight hug. Thank you, Dean thinks as Sam hugs back.

Continued here
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