Title: Almost too late
Disclaimer: Erik Cripe owns everything Supernatural and Joss Whedon owns everything else. I own nothing. No copyright infringement implied
A/N: This is a one shot that I wrote purely for practicing writing in past tense (which I think I suck at) and an attempt to write people talking correctly (I never get the grammar correct). If someone out there whom has much better English skills than I do could correct me where I’m wrong, I would appreciate it very much so.
Dean Winchester stomped to the check-in counter, trying his best to ignore the lighter but just as angry footsteps behind him. He pulled his wallet out and slammed a credit card down on the counter, “One room, two beds.”
A slim, dainty hand, the fingernails painted a bright blue, slammed a credit card down on the counter beside his, “One room, one bed.”
“Damn it, Summers,” Dean growled, purposefully resorting to the name he used the first three months after she started traveling with him. She flinched, like he knew she would, but instead of the satisfaction that he assumed he would feel, his stomach clenched at the hurt that flashed through her baby blues.
“Can I have my room, please?” Dawn asked quietly, her body moving as far from his as it could.
Dean cursed under his breath, the shitty-ass last two days getting worse at the look on his girlfriend’s face. “Dawn…”
“Please?” Dawn said again. The clerk nodded, seemingly moved by her distress. Within only a few moments, he slid a key across the counter to her, returning her credit card. Dawn didn’t so much as cast him a look, just grabbed her key and ran out of the room.
“Fuck,” Dean grumbled to himself. The clerk seemed to take pity on him too, casting him a sympathetic look as he slid a different room key across the counter.
“Room 202,” the clerk, Brandon by his name tag, said.
“And Summers?” Dean asks.
“Sorry, man, I can’t give out customer’s room numbers,” the clerk said.
“She’s my girlfriend,” Dean said.
“I can’t give out her room number,” the clerk said again.
“Fine,” Dean muttered as he grabbed the key, turning to find his little brother Sam behind him.
“Where’s Dawn?” Sam questioned.
“In her room,” Dean grumbled.
“You completely screwed up, Dean,” Sam said, shoving a duffel at him. “You know, you’ve been an asshole to her more times than I can count but this crossed the line. You kissed another girl.”
Dean ignored him, stomping up the steps and to the room he evidentially was sharing with his brother and not his girlfriend.
“Dean, do you even care?” Sam asked.
“Sammy, I am not talking to you about this,” Dean tossed his duffel onto the bed closest to the door. “All I want to do is sleep.”
“You kissed another girl, Dean,” Sam repeated. “And Dawn caught you. Is this the first time? Or have you been screwing around on her? I told her not to…”
“Not to what, Sammy?” Dean interrupted angrily.
“Not to sleep with you,” Sam replied honestly. “That you would use her and toss her aside once you were done. Dude, you’re my brother and I love you, but I would have never introduced you to Dawn if it were my choice. You’re going to break her heart and I don’t even think you really care.”
“Fuck off, Sammy,” Dean grumbled as he dropped face first onto the mattress. He closed his eyes, trying to ignore his brother moving around the room, but did peek one eye half-open when the door slammed shut. He rolled over, throwing one arm over his eyes. He wasn’t stupid. He knew he fucked up. The girl, some big-breasted ditsy blond that approached him in a bar when he thought Dawn was back at the hotel sleeping, he didn’t kiss her. She kissed him. And granted, he didn’t stop her but hell, it was just a goddamn kiss. Dawn and Sam showed up just before he was about to push her away and Dawn flipped out. Screamed at him for ten minutes in the parking lot before insisting that Sam drive her back to their hotel. Where she barricaded herself in the bathroom for two hours before crawling on the small couch and going to sleep. That was two damn days ago and she hasn’t so much as spoken a word to him since.
He didn’t want a girlfriend. The thing with Dawn just sucked him in and before he knew it, she was traveling with them and sleeping in his bed. And while the sex was amazing, the best he’d ever had, she wanted too damn much. That and the fact that she wasn’t his normal type. Her older sister, Buffy, would be his type, but Dawn was too spazy, too smart, and too damn chaotic for him. He should drop her off in Cleveland but couldn’t bring himself to do it. Because he couldn’t imagine sleeping without her tucked against his chest or going a week without hearing her giggle. Hell, the last two days of utter silence from her have almost drove him insane.
He started to drift off, eyes opening long enough to see 8pm flashing on the alarm clock in the room. When he woke up hours later, Sam’s bed was empty and the red lights were flashing 4am.
He stood up with a groan, cracking his head from side to side as he walked to the door, pissed off that he slept so late. He intended to only sleep for an hour or so before finding Dawn and dealing with the whole situation. By now she had to be asleep so he’d have to wait until morning. Which was a good thing because he had a little brother to find.
And thirty minutes later, after searching every goddamn hallway of the hotel, he found his brother…and his girlfriend. Blood boiling, his hands fisted at his side in an effort not to beat the shit of Sammy, he crossed the parking lot to the pool, where his girlfriend was swimming in the shallow end, his brother standing by the edge, his girlfriend’s skirt in his hands.
“What the fuck is going on?”
He sat back and let her hustle pool. He didn’t say anything when she did shot after shot before sucking down Long Island Iced Teas like they were water. Hell, he didn’t say anything about her outfit, which was basically a piece of jean fabric that barely covered her ass, and he meant barely, and a lace camisole top that he knew wasn’t meant to be worn as a top (Jessica had multiples of the same type of underwear). He started to say something the first time a guy slid her a piece of paper, which what he knew had to have a phone number on it but he didn‘t, nor did he say anything when she sauntered out to the slightly crowded dance floor, dancing rather gracefully given the amount of alcohol that she had consumed. He even sat back and let guys dance with her, hands roaming in places that would make his brother have a heart attack. Or at least deck the guy. But Sam didn’t do anything, just let her be, knowing she had the right to have a good time.
Then he went to the bathroom and when he came back, she was gone. Muttering under his breath, he walked over to the bar. “The girl that was just dancing, where’d she go?”
“Out the back,” the bartender nodded towards the door, “with some guy.”
“She was trashed,” Sam said. “There is no way in hell she went voluntarily, he had to have dragged her.”
The bartender shrugged.
With a frustrated growl, he slammed open the back door to the tiny bar, and then cursed loudly.
Held against the wall, fighting like a banshee, was his brother’s nineteen year old girlfriend, tears running down her flushed face while some guy bit at her neck, his hand under her skirt. Sam grabbed the man by the back of his shirt, yanking him off Dawn. She stumbled slightly but managed to keep from falling, barely. He slammed his fist into the man’s face, furious beyond reason. And only a fraction of how pissed Dean was going to be once he found out. The drunken man didn’t put up much of a fight, a second punch knocking him out.
“Sammy,” Dawn whispered.
“Are you okay, Dawnie?” Sam moved to her side, reaching up to wipe tears off her face.
“No,” she shook her head, arms wrapping around herself, arms that were already marked with fingerprints. “I want Dean.”
“Come on,” Sam wrapped his arm around her waist, “let’s go back to the hotel.”
“I need to take a shower,” Dawn said, sounding less than drunk than she should. “I can feel his….I need a shower, Sammy.”
“Okay, Dawnie,” Sam said, “we’ll get you a shower.” He helped her into the Impala, racking his brain on how to tell Dean without getting punched.
“It’s my fault,” Dawn whispered after a few silent minutes. “I wanted to forget about Dean and that girl and….I don’t like guys touching me, not like that. Dean’s the only one that doesn’t make me feel dirty. Not after Simon.”
Sam frowned, trying to process what she said. Dawn, on a good day, was hard to understand. Dawn drunk, almost impossible. She rambled too much and jumped from topic to topic, never finishing one thought before moving onto the next one. Then what she said finally came clear and his hands tightened around the steering wheel. They met Dawn at the Roadhouse, the teenage girl traveling with them for what was supposed to be one job. Which turned into two jobs and then six months later, she was still with them and sleeping with his brother. He knew her mom was dead and her dad non-existent, and like him, her older sibling raised her. And that she grew up around demons and could fight just as well as him and Dean. He knew a little about her personal life, she told him a few things one night while they were doing recon and Dean was napping, but he didn’t know much more than that. And now he wondered how much Dean knew. “Who’s Simon?”
Dawn tensed, her now bare feet lifting up onto the seat, arms wrapping around them. “It was a boy I met in Rome, I had a huge crush on him. He kidnapped me a few weeks after we met, planned on sacrificing me to some upper level demon…..”
“You were kidnapped?” Sam interrupted.
“Yeah, ten or eleven times,” Dawn looked at him, brows furrowed like he should already know that. “I think.”
“Ten or eleven times?” Sam repeated.
“Maybe less, probably more,” Dawn said, leaning her head against the window. “Surprised it hasn’t happened yet. I’m past due. Over due. Something like that.”
Sam shook his head as he parked the car, shocked that Dean didn’t tell him about it. He started to say something to Dawn, only to have her climb out of the car before it was even completely parked. Shoving the keys into his pocket and slamming the door shut, Sam ran after his brother’s girlfriend, who was unsteadily making her way to the pool. “Damn it, Dawn, where the hell are you going?”
“Need to get clean,” Dawn replied, shoving her skirt down her hips as she neared the fence. The gate was locked, the pool closed, so she just climbed over the fence, treating him to a view his brother would kill him for seeing. He was just grateful she didn’t have thongs on.
And that’s how he ended up standing by the pool’s edge, Dawn’s skirt in hand, when his brother stomped over, growling, “What the fuck is going on?”
“Damn it, Sammy, you better tell me why the hell my girlfriend is practically naked and you’re holding her damn skirt,” Dean ordered. “Now.”
“Dean, don’t,” Sam shook his head, glancing down at Dawn who was now huddled on a pool step, her back against the metal banister, her arms wrapped around herself.
“Dawn?” Dean scowled, eyes roaming up and down her body. She was dressed in a matching underwear set, in blood red lace, a camisole and a pair of boy shorts, which he picked out the last time they were at the mall. “What the hell are you doing?”
Dawn didn’t answer, just shivered, her chin resting on her knees.
“Sam, I want to know what the hell is going on,” Dean said, hands fisting at his side.
“Over here,” Sam nodded to the fence.
With a frustrated growl, Dean followed Sam across the pool’s patio. “What?”
“She wanted to go out, said she’d go without me, so I took her,” Sam started. “She was drinking and dancing….”
“Dancing with who?” Dean interrupted. “Did you let my girlfriend dance with other men?”
“Get off your goddamn high horse, Dean, you kissed another girl,” Sam growled. “She needed to forget about you making out with some girl so I let her be. I went to piss and when I came back, she was gone. Found some guy trying to feel her up in the alley.”
Dean walked away, slamming his hands against the fence, breathing deep a few times before looking back at Sammy. “Did he touch her?”
“His hand was under her skirt and he was biting at her neck,” Sam replied. “I got her away from him, knocked his ass out, and brought her back here. She wanted a shower and I guess she couldn’t wait to get to her room because before I even had the Impala parked, she was crossing the parking lot.”
“Fuck,” Dean growled under his breath.
“She ever tell you about a Simon?” Sam asked.
“No,” Dean frowned. “Who the hell is Simon?”
“Some boy she had a crush on when she was sixteen, up until he kidnapped her,” Sam replied.
“Whoa, what the hell are you talking about?” Dean demanded. “When the hell was she kidnapped?”
“According to Dawn, ten or eleven times, she’s not really sure,” Sam shrugged. “I assumed you knew.”
“No, I didn’t know,” Dean whispered, pushing a hand through his hair. “Give me her key.”
Sam handed it over reluctantly, “she said you’re the only guy that can touch her and not make her feel dirty. You hurt her again like you did, and being my brother won’t prevent me from kicking your ass.”
“I hurt her like that again and I’ll let you kick my ass,” Dean said. “Where’s her shirt?”
“She’s wearing it,” Sam said with a smirk.
“That’s not a damn shirt, Sammy, it’s goddamn underwear,” Dean shouted. “You let her out in public like that?”
“She’s a big girl, Dean,” Sam said. “She can make that choice on her own.”
Dean brought his fist back and slammed it into his little brother’s face. “You sit back and let some guy rub all over her again, and I’ll kick your ass next time.”
“Asshole,” Sam said, rubbing his chin.
“Bitch,” Dean growled over his shoulder as he approached the stairs leading into the pool. He kneeled down by the pool’s edge, grinding his teeth at the handprints on her upper arms. “Sweetheart, come here.”
To his shock, she didn’t argue. She just stood up, water dripping down her goose bump covered skin. He let her climb out of the pool before lifting her into his arms, carrying her past his almost amused looking brother. He almost laughed himself when he looked at her room number, the room next to his.
“I need a shower,” she whispered the second they were inside, wiggling to get down.
Dean started to argue, but changed his mind to give her a few minutes alone, because he needed a few minutes too. A few minutes which turned into half an hour. Fifteen minutes after that, he slammed his fist on the door, running out of patience. “Dawn, open the damn door.”
He waited a few moments but the door didn’t open and the shower was still running. It only took him a second pick the lock, the flimsy metal not putting up much of a fight. He expected to find the bathroom full of steam, only to instead find none, though the water was on. He opened the shower curtain, sighing heavily at the sight of Dawn huddled on the floor, ice cold water streaming down on her. He turned the water off and grabbed a towel, wrapping it around her ice-cold body as he lifted her out of the tub.
“Sweetheart, you have to talk to me,” Dean murmured twenty minutes later, her small frame huddled against his chest, head tucked under his chin. “C’mon, baby, say something.”
“You hurt me,” Dawn whispered.
“I know, sweetheart, I’m an asshole,” Dean kissed her temple. “I didn’t kiss her, she kissed me.”
“But you didn’t stop her,” Dawn said. “And I know you liked it. Why wouldn’t you? She was pretty and sexy, all blonde hair and big boobs. Nothing like me.”
“Dawn, you’re beautiful, you know that,” Dean tilted her chin up, shocked to find laughter in her eyes.
“I’m average looking, Dean,” Dawn said. “Not beautiful. Nothing like her.”
Not for the first time, Dean cursed himself. He knew her insecurities were from him and the distance he held her at. “Dawn, sweetheart, it didn’t mean anything.”
“I’m so tired, Dean,” she whispered. “I just want to sleep. Can’t I just go to sleep?”
“Alright, sweetheart,” Dean kissed her forehead, “we’ll talk in the morning, okay?”
Dawn hummed in response, burrowing her face into his neck.
He was an asshole, he could see it now. Dawn was too good for him, too damn good but he couldn’t let her go. Wouldn’t let her go. All the bull shit about her not being his type and wanting too much flew out the window the second he saw her half naked in a pool with his brother. He wanted to kill Sammy, beat the living hell out of his brother just for seeing Dawn in her panties. The thought of some guy with his hands all over his girlfriend filled him with a rage that scared him. There wasn’t a damn thing he wouldn’t do for her or to protect her.
He’d known it for months but he kept pushing it down, kept pretending that if he didn’t acknowledge it, then it wasn’t true. But he couldn’t keep lying to himself, not after what could have happened.
He was in love with her.
She knew Dean was beside her, could feel his body surrounding her, and tears filled her eyes. She loved him so much but she couldn’t do it anymore. It was killing her everyday to be in a relationship and know she was the only one invested in it. Dean had been ready to break things off from the second they started. She was the one that wouldn’t leave because she couldn’t imagine her life without him. But she couldn’t do it anymore. She couldn’t be that girl that knew her boyfriend screwed around on her and still stayed.
“Mornin’, baby,” Dean’s voice rumbled through her ear, making her heart hurt. His arms tightened around her, lips brushing her forehead. “Sammy’s getting us some breakfast.”
“Not hungry,” Dawn whispered, biting her lip to keep from crying.
“Baby, you gotta eat,” he said, sitting up. “I gotta piss and then we can talk about what happened, okay?”
Dawn nodded, also sitting up. She watched Dean walk into the bathroom and the second the door shut, fumbled for the phone next to the bed. It took her three tries to dial the number and she had to go through two departments before she got who she wanted.
“Hello?” Angel’s reassuring voice murmured on the other end.
“Angel,” Dawn whispered.
“Dawn, sweetie, what’s wrong?” Angel’s voice didn’t change tones, keeping the same big brotherness that always made her feel safe.
“Can you please send someone to come get me?” Dawn asked, casting fretful looks at the silent bathroom door. “I want to come home.”
“Of course I can, little one,” he said. “What’s wrong?”
“Why does something have to be wrong?”
“I can hear the tears in your voice, sweetheart. What the hell did Winchester do?”
“I don’t….” Dawn stopped, sobs catching in her throat, “I just want someone to come get…”
She gasped, strong fingers wrapping around her wrist and gently pulling the phone away.
“Angel?” Dean said. “Look man, I don’t want to hear it right now. She’ll call you back in a little bit and if she still wants to leave, I’ll drive her to L.A. myself.”
Dawn scooted away from Dean, wrapping her arms around her bent knees as he hung up the phone. Dean turned to look at her, face angry, but before he could say anything, someone knocked on the door once before opening it. Sam poked his head in for a second before stepping inside.
“Dawnie, I got you some pancakes,” Sam said, handing her a take-out box.
Dawn shook her head, the thought of food making her want to puke. And not because of the alcohol, she didn’t have hangovers. She hadn’t eaten anything in two days, not since finding Dean lip-locked with some blonde skank.
“Baby, you need to eat,” Dean said quietly.
“I’m not hungry,” Dawn pushed the box away and stood up. “I’m going to take a shower.” She grabbed her duffel on the way, her eyes downcast to avoid Dean’s stare. Unlike last night, she turned the water on hot, standing under the scorching spray in an attempt to cleanse her skin of the stranger’s hands. There was an easier way, sitting right outside the room. Dean always made everything fade away until there was nothing but the two of them but she couldn’t do that again and then walk away. She wasn’t that strong.
“Dean, what’s going on?” Sam questioned a few moments after Dawn left, casting a worried look at his older brother.
“I fucked up,” Dean tossed his full breakfast container onto the table. “She called Angel to come get her when I was in the bathroom.”
“You’re going to let her go?” Sam asked, eyes wide. “Dude, if you let her leave it’ll be the biggest mistake you ever made.”
“I’m not letting her go,” Dean replied, pushing a hand through his hair. “Or at least I’m not going to let her go without a fight. I just need to talk to her.”
“You’re in love with her,” Sam said, mouth dropping open when his big brother nodded.
“It scares the hell out of me,” Dean said. “If something happens to her, I don’t think I can survive that.”
“Can you survive not having her around?” Sam asked.
“No,” Dean answered honestly. “I need her.”
“Then tell her,” Sam said. “Have a damn chick-flick moment or you will lose her. She looked scared, ready to run.”
“I know,” Dean sighed. “Can you handle the research on your own?”
“Yeah,” Sam stood. “Just don’t let her go. I’ve grown used to having her around. It’d be too damn quiet without her.”
Sam left then, shutting the door quietly behind him.
Dean grabbed Dawn’s unopened breakfast and tossed it onto the table beside his before dropping down on the bed. He didn’t really know what he was going to say but he did know he couldn’t let her walk away. He wouldn’t survive that.
Dawn scrubbed her body twice before getting out of the shower, still feeling dirty. Normally she’d dry her hair before getting dressed but she didn’t have the motivation. She just wanted to crawl back into bed and pretend like everything was like it was a week ago. But she couldn’t and she knew that. So instead, she pulled on a pair of low-slung sweats and one of Dean’s Led Zeppelin tee-shirts, something she won’t give back. She needed something to get her through the next few months. Cuz if Buffy’s various breakups were any indication, she’d need it.
He loved her in his shirts. They’re sexier than the skimpiest of lingerie. Then he looked into her eyes and felt his heart break. She looked devastated. He knew she didn’t want to go, the absolute misery on her face said that, but she was well prepared to leave. “Come here, baby, we need to talk.”
She approached slowly, sitting down on the very edge of the bed.
“Dawn, I’m not going to hurt you,” Dean said, wondering if what almost happened before made her scared of him. He hoped not because that would kill him.
“I know that, Dean,” she said quietly.
“Then come here and talk to me,” Dean held out his hand and pulled her gently onto his lap. “Are you okay? Did that bastard hurt you?”
“No, not really,” Dawn murmured, automatically curling into his body. “He scared me. It reminded me of…”
“Simon?” Dean supplied.
“How do you know about him?”
Dean winced slightly, her fingers digging into his arms. “You told Sammy.”
“What happened with Simon?”
“It was years ago, it doesn’t matter,” Dawn shook her head.
“Sweetheart, you’re shaking, it matters,” Dean kissed her forehead. “Tell me.”
“He was just a boy, or so I thought,” She started. “I ran into him at a bookstore a few months after we moved to Rome. I thought he was adorable. So I kept going, hoping he was there. He always was and we would talk. About a month after we met, he asked me out for coffee and I said yes. I don’t remember what happened after I drank my coffee. I woke up, chained naked in some nasty dungeon. And Simon was there. He found one of only a few demons that didn’t want a clean sacrifice, so he was going to, you know.”
Dean ground his teeth, rubbing his hand up and down her back reassuringly.
“Willow’s tracking spell found me before he really did anything,” Dawn whispered. “Buffy and Faith took me out of there while Spike and Angel dealt with Simon and the demon. They never told me what they did to them but I’m pretty sure Simon’s dead.”
“Bastard better be,” Dean murmured, kissing the top of her head.
“The guy in the alley just reminded me of him,” Dawn said. “It scared me.”
“Sorry, baby-doll,” Dean moved her around to face him. “Your eyes break my heart.”
She swallowed heavily, tears spilling over her eyelashes.
“I’m an asshole,” Dean cupped her face, thumbs brushing her tears away. “I wasn’t ready for a commitment or anything real so I kept pushing you away…”
“No, it’s not,” Dean cut her off. “You’re too damn good for me, we both know that, but I’m too damn selfish to give you up. The girl, it didn’t mean shit. I could have been kissing Sammy for all it did to me. I don’t want other women. You look at me and I’m hard as a rock. Nobody gets to me like that.”
“That’s just sex, Dean, it doesn’t really mean anything,” Dawn said, her voice wobbling like she didn’t believe her own words. Which he knew she didn’t.
“It’s more than sex and you know that,” Dean tipped her head back, forcing her to look into his eyes. “I’ve had sex, more sex than I probably should have, and what we have isn’t just sex. Everything just melts away until there’s only you and me, nothing else matters.”
For the first time in three days, a ghost of a smile crossed her lips. “Are we having a chick-flick moment?”
“Yeah,” Dean kissed her forehead, relief flooding his body, “we are.” Her next words made him rethink his earlier relief.
“I thought Dean Winchester didn’t do chick-flick moments,” she pulled slightly away. “That the whole feelings thing were for emo’s like Sammy.”
“I love you,” Dean blurted out, trying to get that warmth back in her eyes. Why the hell he wanted to see her hurting twelve hours ago, he didn’t know, but he did know it was killing him now. “More than anything. Hell, more than Sammy. I can live without him, I’ve done it before. I can’t live without you.”
Tears streamed down her face, those big blues shining with every emotion he knew she tried to hide from him. Her small body flew into his, those long limbs he loved wrapping around him while her sweet lips rained kisses on his face. “I love you too, Dean, so much.”
“I know, baby,” Dean caught her lips with his, deepening this kiss. She sighed into his mouth, her body melting into his like it always had. He wanted to tumble her back onto the bed, surround himself in her warmth but instead pulled back after only a few short moments.
“Dean,” Dawn whimpered.
“Baby, you need to eat,” Dean kissed her forehead, and then gently sat her aside. “I know you haven’t eaten in almost three days and I don’t want you getting sick. Try to eat some of your pancakes while I go call Angel back and let him know you’re staying….you are staying, right?”
Dean closed his eyes briefly, relief flooding him. He knew she didn’t want to leave but hearing her say made all his doubts disappear. He grabbed her breakfast off the table, handing it to her with another kiss. “I’ll be back in a few minutes, okay?”
“Okay,” she nodded.
Dean cast a look at her before leaving the hotel room. He still wasn’t sure if he was ready, he was still scared shitless of being in a real, honest relationship but he was going to do it. Because he was more scared of losing her than anything else.