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Running On Empty

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Summary: Dean is a broken man who is plagued not only by memories of the horrific things he's done, but also by lingering dark needs that he can't control. For him, there is no hope, until he meets the vampire Spike under circumstances that could finish them both.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Supernatural > Spike-Centered(Past Donor)CasFR1819157,38473014,00627 Jan 1127 Oct 12Yes

Chapter 13

"Wake up grumpy, do you?" Spike closed his arms around Dean so there was no chance of his slipping away. "Funny, I don't seem to have that problem, though I might have another problem." He lifted his hips and ground them against Dean's, his eyes closing slightly as the friction between their bodies brought that incredible heat.

"You deserve blue balls for even mentioning that guy while I'm trying to give you a good morning wake up. Just wait and see if you ever get another wake up like that again. And you could have uncuffed me before you fell asleep." Dean groaned as Spike brought their bodies together. Brushing his lips over Spike's he added, "Guess I just wore you out. Hunter one, vampire, zero."

"Hunter one, vampire zero. Means you better expect it when you least expect it, yeah?" Sliding one hand up Dean's back to his neck, he drew him down for a longer kiss. "Figured you're a smart and stealthy hunter, able to slip out of cuffs with the key right there." Actually he had been worn out to the point of not thinking clearly enough to release Dean, but they both knew that. "You feel so good... so warm," he said softly, loving how they moved against each other in slow, unhurried lifts and presses of their bodies. "I wouldn't trade you for another model, not for anything. Want only you," he said feathering kisses along Dean's jaw and occasionally drawing his tongue over the pulse point at the side of his throat.

"You better not. I'd hate to have to kill someone," Dean said, tilting his head and enjoying Spike's attention. "Don't want another model either, but then I always did like the classics," he said, carding his fingers through Spike's hair. When Spike turned his attention to Dean's neck, Dean twisted his head a moment and sank his teeth into Spike's shoulder, just hard enough to leave light imprints of his teeth. Lifting his head he let Spike continue to work on his neck. "Whoever let you get away before was an idiot, but their loss is my gain," Dean said, closing his eyes as he absorbed the sensations Spike generated inside him and everywhere their bodies touched. "You're beautiful. Got the pics to prove it, too," Dean said, letting Spike wonder just what sort of compromising pictures he might have taken.

The sharp pain had Spike bucking and left him tortured by thoughts of more biting. But Dean's declaration touched him like a salve to the broken parts of his heart. His mind still on that, Spike answered automatically, "Vampires don't do film. Ah..." it struck him that this type of vampire did do pictures. "You'll have to show me, later... much much later," he said, looping each of his legs around Dean's. "Mmmm, fuck... Want you. Want you under me. Want to bite," he admitted, groaning as his words became images in his mind.

"What, you don't wanna stop now and have me get the camera out?" Dean asked innocently. He liked the way Spike wrapped his legs around him, giving them both more pressure on their hard and leaking cocks. Running his hand down Spike's back he inhaled sharply, the mere thought of Spike's teeth sunk into his neck making his heart beat faster. "Next time I get to top," Dean said, kissing Spike's hair. "Can you bite without taking much?" he asked seriously. "If you think you can, then yeah. You know I love it when you bite."

"Top anytime you like." Pushing his head down into the pillow, Spike lifted his hips higher and gave a soft groan. "I'm not hungry. I don't feel... I feel in control, but we could keep your dagger close. I'll get the blood," Spike offered, still fucking up against Dean and reluctant to lose the contact between them.

Grinning, Dean gave Spike a couple of hard thrusts back. "I'll get it." He brought his mouth down over Spike's, giving him a hot, passionate kiss that felt like it lasted a small eternity, and only a blink of an eye at the same time. Giving Spike a final thrust, he tried to get up and laughed softly. "Dude. Arm lock. Can't get the dagger if you don't let me go."

"Hurry back," Spike released him and watched as Dean pulled the dagger out from under the pillow and walked across the room to re-coat it with dead man’s blood. The entire time Dean moved around the room, Spike was like a cat about to pounce. Naturally the hunter knew him well by now, and by the look in Dean's eyes, he was taking his time about getting back to the bed on purpose. "Dude, if you don't get your ars... ass over here now, I'm going to come and get it myself," he warned. Course that only caused the amusement in those green eyes to turn into challenge.

Instantly, Spike was out of the bed and grabbing Dean. He avoided the dagger and gave Dean a moment to toss it onto the bed before he started to pick the hunter up. He was surprised by the sudden kiss Dean gave him, surprised only until the hunter managed to shove him back. "Bloody hell..." he reached out and found his arm twisted behind his back. Spike walked backwards, shoving Dean toward the bed, then twisted around and they both banged into the flimsy nightstand that crashed to the ground. "You're paying for that," Spike muttered, pulling Dean back, then gripping his shoulder and pushing him down to his knees next to the bed. Kneeling behind him, he put his hand on the hunter's back and shoved him face forward onto the bed, and leaned over him. The dagger was within Dean's reach.

"I'm already paying for all the bloody sheets," Dean tossed back at him. "And the food, and the carnival rides..." Dean stopped talking when Spike had him on his knees. This was so counter to the long slow lovemaking of earlier, he couldn't deny that while the slow had been awesome, this set his blood on fire as much as having been cuffed, or blindfolded, or...fuck, anything Spike did to him made him just want more. He noticed how careful Spike was to keep the dagger within his reach. He pulled it a little closer, knowing if Spike pulled him upright, he might have trouble getting to it though he really doubted he would need it.

Dean spread his legs a little wider and grabbed the lube. He put some on his hand, and reaching behind him, ran it over his hole then grabbed Spike's cock and jacked him hard a few times, coating Spike's dick thoroughly.

"'Bloody sheets', you're picking up my speech," Spike smirked, knowing what Dean meant. He closed his hand over Dean's, using Dean's hand to stroke himself a few more times then guiding his cock to Dean's hole and leaning in, one arm across the hunter's chest and cupping his throat, turning his face to the side. He kissed the corner of Dean's mouth, then kissed him more fully, his tongue tangling briefly with Dean's before he broke the kiss and started to concentrate on Dean's throat. He thrust his hips lightly against Dean's ass, torturing himself as he moved his mouth up and down, mapping the arteries and veins along his throat, pressing his tongue against Dean's sensitive flesh and anticipating Dean's taste. His razor sharp teeth elongated, cutting a narrow line along Dean's throat. Groaning, Spike closed his mouth over the scarlet scratch and started to suck on it as he pushed slowly inside Dean.

Dean missed Spike's mouth on his as soon as Spike's broke off, but then felt Spike at his throat and practically relaxed back into Spike's arms, tilting his head to the side. He felt the cut along along his throat and hissed, then moaned as Spike began sucking, his tongue dancing over the wound. "Fucking tease," Dean groaned. Between Spike sucking on his throat and teasing his hole with his cock, moans were spilling from his lips. He wanted Spike to be in him, he wanted Spike to bite him, and yet he never wanted the teasing and touching to end. He began to push back against the vampire's small thrusts. He began stroking his own cock and the sounds coming from him rose in volume.

They were in perfect synch again, being driven by the same desperate needs, wanting the same thing. Lust, love, hormones, whatever anyone wanted to call this, all Spike knew was that he was burning up with his lover. Game time over, he aligned himself again and with a sharp thrust, pushed the head of his cock past Dean's tight ring of muscle. Heavy groans came from both of them, then Spike reared his head back and brought his extended fangs down, plunging them into the healing wound already marking Dean's throat.

His lover jerked, his hand reaching to grab the already tilted nightstand which now crashed to the ground. Spike growled and pulled Dean up right against him, fucking all the way into him as he drank, his mind getting hazy with the erotic sensations that accompanied a vampire's joining kiss. It was so good, so bloody good, his lover moaning out his pleasure as they fucked and he drank, tasted his human and needed him more by the second. He was sliding his hand down Dean's body to grasp his cock, when the door burst open and banged against the wall.

Pulling out, Spike turned his head, saw a gun pointed at them and shoved Dean to the floor as he scrambled up and attacked their attacker. Hand pressed into the man's chest, he shoved him flat against the wall and twisted the gun from his hand, dropping it far away. Kneeing the door shut, he leaned in and took a sniff. Familiar. "Little Dean?" He asked, a puzzled look crossing his features as he started to let go.

Just based on what he had read about Spike, a.k.a. 'William the Bloody,' Sam had known his brother was in trouble. But his brother's cries from the other side of the door caused a stab of fear so deep in Sam that his powers erupted from inside him. He wasn't even sure if it was the kick he'd given the door or if his abilities had opened it. He'd had his gun drawn and was ready to shoot whatever had his brother. He also had a knife at his side covered in dead man’s blood in case that bastard Spike decided to stop playing victim and made his move on Dean.

Sam was caught off guard by the sheer speed of the vampire. He was slammed so hard into the wall that the air was knocked out of him as the gun was ripped from his hand. He didn't expect the man--surely this Spike based upon the descriptions he found--to lean in and sniff him. All he knew was that Spike loosened his hold and Sam slammed his hand into Spike's chest knocking him halfway across the room and went for his knife. The sound of the door bursting open, the sudden loss of his lover inside him, of those teeth buried in his neck, had made Dean cry out, and suddenly finding himself on the floor poured even more adrenaline into him. Vampires. It had to be the vampires, either from the nearby house or the vampires of that hellhole had tracked them down. He grabbed the knife and drew back to launch it into their attacker.

"Sam?!" Dean asked incredulously, just barely holding back throwing the knife. "What the hell, Dude?" Seeing Sam ready to throw his own blood coated knife into Spike, Dean jumped to his feet and shouted "No!" as he placed himself between Spike and Sam.

Spike took a step forward and found himself pushed by an invisible force until he was pinned against the wall with his feet a few feet above the floor. "Sodding..." he tried pulling his arm free of the wall, but it was impossible. His gaze swung back to Sam, then down to Dean. "Right, will someone get the introductions over with so I can cover up, or is there something you might have forgotten to tell me about your brother?" If he hadn't known how close the brothers were, he'd have told Dean to get out of the way in case he got hurt in the crossfire. "I'd also like my land legs back, yeah?"

Dean saw Sam with his hand out and glanced back to see his lover pinned to the fucking wall. Dean's eyes grew cold. "Let him go, Sam," Dean said calmly, his jaw clenching. Hadn't Sam just promised him less than a week ago he was giving it all up, and that he meant it? Yeah. Right.

"He's a vampire, Dean!" Sam stared at the blood that was running down the front of his brother's chest and felt the blood pound in his temple. How could his brother get taken in like this? And both men naked? There was no doubt that Spike was raping his brother, no doubt at all. Dean didn’t' do guys. Never had, never would. He wondered fearfully if Spike had maybe turned his brother and he was too late. "You don't know his past, the things that he's done!"

"I know all I need to know," Dean snapped. "Scourge of Europe, Vampire Slayers, railroad spikes. Now, Let. Him. Go." Dean snarled at Sam. "You don't have a fucking clue what's going on here."

Sam's eyes cut to his brother. He tried to come up with a single theory that made this alright, and none came to him. His nostrils flared. "Explain it to me, Dean."

There was a long silence.
Spike tossed in his two pence. "Long story short, we were doing what consenting adults do in the privacy of their room with a bit of blood play on the side. Now let me down, step out while we change, and then we can give you the blow by blows in more detail than I'm sure you'd ever want. Come--" The words were choked out of Spike. "Oi now..." Just because he didn't breathe didn't mean this wasn't painful.

Dean stalked up to his brother and looked up into his hazel eyes, his own as steely as his brother's. "Fine. Here's the short of it. Spike and I are together. Together together," he said seeing the shock and question in his brother's eyes. "Let him down now or I'm gonna stop asking with words. Then do what Spike said. Get the hell out and let us get dressed. Then we'll talk."

"Are you insane? Dean?" His brother didn't look like he was under a spell or anything, but did look like he meant business. Grimacing, Sam let Spike fall to the ground but never looked at him. "Three minutes. You got three minutes," he said, storming to the door and walking out. He slammed it shut and leaned against it, listening carefully. If he didn't know better, he'd say Dean was possessed.

Getting up, Spike crossed the room and grabbing Dean's arm pulled him into the small bathroom where he used a wet a towel to wipe the blood off his throat and chest. "I see you got all of the Winchester charm." When he finished, he asked. "Do you need time with him alone, or do you want me there? Whatever you want, it's fine with me."

Dean pulled Spike into his arms and just held onto him for a moment. The real world was back. Sam lying to him. The fucking apocalypse. Everything. "I probably should talk to him alone," he sighed. "This is a family thing, brother to brother. It's probably going to get ugly." He pulled back and stroked Spike's cheek. "Don't worry. No matter what happens, you and me, we're staying together." Giving Spike a long lingering kiss he finally pulled away. "Better get dressed. That kid's like Spock. He said three minutes. He means it. Down to the second."

Dean grabbed a towel and finished wiping down, then slid into his jean and pulled on one of his thermal shirts before getting his boots on without bothering to pull on socks. Picking up his coat, he shrugged into it, made sure he had his keys and stepped outside. Sam looked furious. Dean stared at his brother dispassionately and waved his hand toward the Impala. "In the car. Don't need the cops showing up when we start laying into each other."

Half-dressed, Spike watched from the door as the two brothers walked stiffly toward the impala. Don't worry. No matter what happens, you and me, we're staying together. Ice blossomed low in his belly. It was like Dean had said, sometimes the imagination was your worst enemy. He loved and trusted and believed in Dean, but he knew that was his brother there. They had history. They'd give up their lives for each other, Dean had given his life for Sam. Their bond was as strong as any Sire/Child bond and if a choice had to be made, more times than not, it was the outsider who would lose.

He glanced over his shoulder at the bed they'd shared, the room they'd wrecked. If this was the last time... He pushed a cabinet over and slammed the door shut.

* * *

Sam sat in silence, his back ramrod straight, fuming as Dean kept driving. Finally he couldn't take it another moment. "Will you fucking pull over already? I want answers, Dean. This time you can't just abandon me, you're gonna answer. Now park the fucking car," he repeated, running his hand through his hair, his face stony as he expected he wasn't going to like any of this.

Dean finally pulled into the parking lot of an overlook. They could scream and shout at each other all they wanted and no one would hear. Turning off the car he took a deep breath. "I didn't abandon you," Dean said coolly, looking out into shadowy hills of the night. "I told you I needed space, time to try to get my shit together, time to deal with all the crap." He turned to look at his brother. "You want answers. I do, too. Why was I ripped out of Hell? By the time they got me out, Sammy, I'd already gotten off the rack. Time's different there. I was there for about forty years. After thirty years of being carved on, eaten alive, flayed, gutted, let your imagination fill in the rest, I couldn't take it anymore. They said I could get off the rack if I started putting souls on. And I did. For ten years I ripped them apart. And then Castiel pulled me out. I get back and you told me you weren't walking on the dark side. But you were. Just a few days ago you said you were done, that you weren't going to do it anymore, and you used your abilities not fifteen minutes ago."

"You said--"

"Yeah, I lied to you. I told you I didn't remember. Because I didn't want to remember. I didn't want you to know how fucked in the head your big brother was." His voice softened. "I didn't want you to know what I'd done."

Dean turned his head and looked out the window, briefly using his thumb to wipe at some smudge on it. "When I left you, I drove to Tennessee, a little town called 'Pleasant.' I got drunk that night like I do every night just so I can sleep. Left the bar, never made it back to the motel. Ended up in a vampire nest. Spike was my roomy. Didn't know he was a vamp. They didn't know he was a vamp. He was a different breed, just like good old Dracula, 'cept he's been on cow's blood for the past fifteen years or so. Once he started working with the Slayer, the girl whose number I asked you to get for me." He paused and gave Sam a pointed look before looking back out into the dark. "Anyhow, Spike kept me together. He kept me from just..." Dean shook his head.

"Dean..." Sam wasn't able to get a question in edgewise. It was like Dean was getting it all out before he changed his mind.

"After a couple days, they wanted some entertainment. They planned to have Spike rip his buddy, me, apart. They gave him some of their blood and turned him, but he didn't go batshit on me. He's some sort of hybrid vamp now. Took a couple days for the bloodlust to hit. That's when I called and said things went south for him. He's through the worst of it now." Dean paused a moment then continued. "Spike fell for me. And...I love him. Like I said in the message, we were going to meet up with you in a couple days, once we were certain Spike had his bloodlust under control. I was going to tell you everything then." He gave a shrug. Turning he looked into his brother's face. "Are you happy now?"

"No I'm not happy now, Jesus, Dean. Fuck," Sam looked away and out the front window as he gathered his thoughts. "You could have told me... about Hell, I'd have," He swallowed and looked back. "You could have trusted me, known what happened there makes no difference. But I get it, alright, you couldn't, fine." He shrugged as if it didn't hurt that Dean had probably spilled his guts to a stranger first, as if Dean shouldn't know that nothing he did could be 'so wrong' in Sam's eyes. Hell, when had he expected Dean to be superhuman? Now.

"But you, making friends with a vampire, falling for him? Uh uh, that's not you Dean. You were stuck in a situation, you made the best of it, and now it's over. There is no reason for you to stick with that guy, to give him your..." his gaze dropped to Dean's bruised throat. "That's not love, you are not in love. You're... you're confused. You're scared, you've been through a lot and I don't blame you but that," he pointed out the window, back the way they came. "That's just something to get your mind off what we've gotta do, it's something to get you off your game. Come on Dean, you know you don't like guys, you don't even do love. This is, it's a vacation from our real life. I get it, but you need to get it, too."

"No, Sammy. You don't get it. Girl, guy, after Hell it doesn't matter anymore, not really. I got butt-fucked, mouth-fucked, everything, for thirty years. Then that last ten, I got my revenge on whoever was convenient. I had demons shoving it up my ass while I shoved it up someone else's, listening to them scream as I fucked them and carved them up. " His voice grew hoarse and he paused.

"That first night, after Spike and I escaped those vampires, I needed someone to hold onto. I asked Spike to sleep in the same bed. He doesn't breathe, I wouldn't hear he was in the room with me and I needed to know I wasn't alone. I had a nightmare, the same type I have every night, the ones I drink myself into a stupor over just so I can get a couple hours of sleep. Well I flipped my newest victim over, shoved my cock up his ass, and grabbed the knife I always keep at hand and started carving up his back. I raped Spike. And don't even say I'm with him out of guilt. Since I came back, there's been nothing in me, Sam. Just a big black hole that nothing could fill. No matter how many we've saved, I can't make it better. I can't make it go away. I didn't even want to feel anymore because it hurt so damned bad, all those things I did. But Spike...he's helped fill that emptiness inside me. I understand his bloodlust...he understands mine. He understands what it's like to rip people to shreds for the sheer pleasure of it. I understand what he did, too. What he used to do."

Looking over at Sam his voice became soft again. "For the first time Sammy, since I got back, hell maybe before I ever went to Hell, I'm happy. I know I've been on a vacation. We went to a waterpark. We went to a carnival. We went fishing. We made love. I know it sounds crazy, but I like him biting me. It makes us...like one soul. I need him Sammy. As badly as I need you, I need him, too. Don't make me choose." He felt the tears begin to slide down his cheeks. "Please don't make me choose."

"This is bullshit, and it doesn't just sound crazy, it iscrazy. Come on man, just listen to yourself." Sam was having a hard time with Dean's graphic descriptions. If it had been about what happened to others, no big deal, but he was talking about himself here. His face jerked up when Dean literally asked not to have to choose. "You'd choose him? A vampire, over me?" The tears glistening on Dean's cheeks gave him his answer. Sam opened the door and got out, slamming it shut and cursing. Hurt, yeah he was hurt. And angry. And he didn't believe this shit anyway.

When he heard the other door open, Sam rounded on his brother. "You've already chosen, Dean. You chose when you left my ass back there, so don't make this about that asshole vampire back there. I never asked you to go to Hell for me. I tried to stop it, I tried to bring you back." He sliced his hand in the air. "But it’s always gonna be there between us, isn't it?" His voice was thick with emotion, his own glistening as surely as Dean's. "And you'll use any excuse to push me away. Fine," he shook his head, "you do what you want. You don't have to feel guilty, you don't have to shack up with some... Truth." He gave a bitter laugh. "For all the times you throw that in my face, you never face it yourself."

"Would I choose a vampire over my own brother?" Dean snarled at him. "Why not? You chose that demon-skank over me. I beg you to stop and you sneak out after you think I'm asleep, to go to her. You think she's right. You think I'm wrong. You think the only way to beat this apocalypse is to walk the dark road. I've never thrown it in your face I went to Hell! I tried to keep you from knowing what I went through until those fucking angels told you I remembered. It was my choice to bring you back, it was my choice to make the deal that I made. That's on me. I get that. You wanted to know what happened. Now I've told you. They broke me, okay? That what you want to hear?" Dean got up in Sam's face. "I am not trying to push you away. I'm hurt that you trust Ruby over your own brother. I get the past year and a half ate you up alive. Trying to save me, not being able to, and having to live knowing I went to Hell. Just like I had to live with Dad going to Hell for me. It sucks. It hurts. And you blame me for that hurt, fine! You're right to blame me."

Sam hadn't meant that Dean threw it in his face, only that he was a reminder to Dean, a reason his brother didn't want to be around him. The rest was excuses, they had to be. He put his hand between them, his gaze never unlocking from Dean's as his brother raged on him.

"So let's talk truth, here. You walked away from me and Dad. You chose a 'normal' life over me. You walked and then you never called me, not once. You believed what the demon did to you made you evil. I stood by you, told you it wasn't true, but, yeah, it scared the hell out of me that maybe, just maybe you were right. Cas took me back in time. I saw our parents. You knew mom knew the demon, but you never told me that. You told me that you weren't using your powers, told me that you promised me you wouldn't, so you hadn't, but you had. You didn't have the fucking balls to tell me the truth. Just like you tell me you've given it up now, that you've quit, but you haven't. I didn't leave your ass because of you, this wasn't about you! It was about me, goddammit. It was about me looking for a reason to go on. You're the only reason I've made it as far as I have! You're the only reason I've managed to tape the pieces together enough to keep going. You want me to give up Spike? You want me to give up the first person I've loved outside of family, outside of Cassie? Will you give up Ruby? Will you walk away, never look back, and never use your psychic mojo crap ever again? Will you trust me over her?"

"Okay, let's talk truth. I didn't 'walk away from you,' I went to college Dean. I went to school, it's what people do. And that is something you keep shoving into my face like it's some big betrayal or something. I fucking left to go to school." Sam was shouting now, getting that off his chest finally. "I don't know why I didn't tell you about Mom, Jesus Dean. It's the night I died and then I was confused and..." he worked his jaw. "I was ashamed, alright. Demon blood in me, I didn't know what was going to happen, what new level of freak I was turning into. But you already knew... Dad told you to kill me... so you knew what you needed." He ripped his gaze away and looked down. Dean's words about Spike being the first other person he'd found to love tore at his heart. He looked back up. "I don't love Ruby. I don't trust Ruby over you Dean, I never did. I'm using her, alright? When dad said 'fallout' and you would. I'm not you Dean, not for dad and not for you, not for anyone."

Sam took a deep breath. "So you're saying I give up Ruby, then you'll give up this Spike character? You mean that? Doesn't sound like love to me Dean."

Dean stared at Sam a muscle in his jaw flexing. "You give up Ruby and the psychic mojo. I don't care if you've been saving people with it. It's taking you down the wrong road. It's turning you cold. One goal, get strong enough to kill Lilith, right? We've killed a demon before without any psychic crap. We can do it again. We can find a way. Even the angels, dicks that they are, told me to get you to stop, or they would stop you. You asked if I'd choose Spike over you. Well there's your fucking answer. My happiness versus your soul. What do you think I'm gonna chose, Sam? What have I always chosen? When this is all over, I'm done, Sam. Done with it all. And then I'll go back to Spike, beg him to forgive me, and maybe, just maybe, he will."

"It's not lo--" Once again Sam sliced his hand through the air in disbelief. Seeing Dean naked with blood running down from the bite on his throat, that had been an image that did not jibe with what he knew about Dean. "I know you think it's real, but it's fucked up. A little time, a little distance Dean, and you'll see it too," he said, his confidence returning. "Alright, I'll do this. No Ruby... then you'll be happy knowing there's no way she's fucking up my mind. And no Spike, and I'll know he's not doing the same to you. Just you and me. Like it's always been," Sam nodded, telling himself he could do it. A part of him knew he was losing control over the Ruby situation. Maybe this was exactly what he needed, even if Dean was wrong about rejecting out of hand his abilities as a way to fight evil. Just like Dean thought he could finish this and then try to make Spike come around, Sam knew if things went too badly, then Dean might have to admit that the only way to win this battle was to use Sam's powers. "Let's do it."

Dean blinked back his tears and gave a sharp nod, wordlessly getting back in the car and starting it up. He waited for Sam to get in and as soon as Sam was settled, he pushed one of his tapes into the tape player and turned it up, the signal to Sam that he didn't want to talk. Then burned rubber as he spun the car around and drove back to town.

*

He pulled into the motel parking lot and stared at the door to his room. He'd told Spike they'd make it work. He said he wouldn't leave him. He almost told Sam to fuck off, he wasn't giving up Spike, but he had to try to save his brother. One last time, he had to try to save Sam. Clearing his throat, he climbed out of the Impala and crossed the lot. After hesitating at the motel room door, he finally opened it.

The TV was on and Spike was standing at the sliding glass door with his coat on, smoking. Dean saw several cigarettes snuffed out on the ground. He saw that Spike had packed both their bags. How was he supposed to tell Spike that Spike wasn't leaving with him? He found his throat simply closed up and he strode over to Spike, pulling him into a tight embrace, tears rolling down his cheeks. "I can't...my brother...it's the only chance..." he choked out knowing he wasn't making any sense.

Spike was a little stiff, but he put his arms around Dean and held him so tight it had to hurt. A painful lump developed in his throat. He'd known. Of course he had, it was why he'd packed. "S'alright. I know," he said, speaking around the cigarette hanging out of the side of his mouth. "You chose the only way you could." He felt his eyes stinging and blinked, then pulled the cigarette out of his mouth and blew out, watching the curling smoke as if it was the most interesting thing he'd seen in decades. "Sometimes love comes to you in a dream," he nodded, tightening his grip. "But morning always comes around, yeah? And you've got to wake up, and go to work, and do the things..."

He released Dean suddenly and walked to the bags he'd packed. Lifting a duffel over his shoulder, he grabbed the phone and lifted it. "You have my..." He wasn't going to allow anyone to see the tears that threatened to spill. "You take care of yourself hunter, and don't do anything stupid. I can walk away from you so long as I know you're somewhere in the world. You get my meaning? Don't give up, on yourself, on anything." He chanced a quick look at Dean then backed out of the room and walked out.

"You're still mine. And I'll always be yours. When this is over, I'll come back to you. Wait for me," Dean begged quietly, knowing Spike would be able to hear him. "And don't you let the bloodlust beat you. You don't give up, I won't give up. Love you. Always."

Dean looked around the empty room. Spike had cleaned it up, made it look decent, even had a hot cup of coffee sitting on the cooler. Dean wiped away his tears, shouldered his pack, picked up the coffee, and hauled the cooler out to the car, closing the door behind him. He put the cooler in the back seat, knowing there was still beer in there. He'd wipe that out tonight. Or this afternoon.

He got in the car, looking around and seeing that Spike was gone. Starting up the car he didn't look at Sam as he asked in a thick voice. "So where we headed? What's our next job?"

* * *

[3 Days Later]

Sam looked up from the lap top and wasn't surprised at his brother's listless expression. Dean was lying on the bed, eyes on the T.V. but seeing nothing. It had been the same from the moment they'd left South Carolina. "Sam meet automaton Dean," he muttered, and once again wasn't surprised by the lack of an answer, a snarky response, or a 'shut the fuck up.' He'd asked Dean if he was still mad at him and Dean had said that he wasn't mad, he wasn't anything. The scary thing was that Sam was starting to believe him.

"Okay, this looks like something. Stones getting thrown from this property, windows breaking, cars parked outside not starting... at first I thought poltergeist, but I think it’s more. It's on church property. Do poltergeist haunt hallowed ground?" He ran his hand through his hair. "Other things are happening around the town, away from the property, that doesn't add up to a polter... Dean. Dean!" When his brother looked up, Sam thought he was going to answer, instead Dean reached down to the duffel bag next to the bed and pulled out a half full bottle of wiskey.

Pushing away from the desk, Sam strode across the room and closed his hand over the bottle neck before Dean brought it to his mouth. "It's enough Dean. Enough drinking, enough... not eating, not caring. Come on dude, you know better. I need you, not just to be on your game, but I need you, alright?" He licked his lips. "Let's go get some food and maybe do something normal like, I don't know, a movie? Dean, this isn't healthy. Let me help you, please."

Dean considered yanking the bottle back out of Sam's hand, but it wasn't worth the effort. Don't give up, on yourself, on anything. Spike's words echoed in his mind, but it was so damned hard. The great big black pit inside him was back. He tried to hold on to the love he had for Spike, that Spike had for him, but it was like sand through his fingers. He told Spike he wouldn't give up and he wasn't. At least he argued to himself that he wasn't. He was just trying to get through it. Get through the ache inside him, the keenly felt absense of the vampire. The nightmares were back with a vengeance as if trying to make up for those couple days Dean had escaped them. He'd managed to keep from waking up Sam, but only barely. And mostly that was because he just didn't sleep. He laid there in the dark and tried to imagine Spike was beside him and that they were holding each other.

"When you need me to be on my game, I'll be on my game. You need me? I'm right here," Dean finally said. He slowly pulled himself to his feet and pulled on his boots. He tossed Sam the keys to the Impala. "Yeah, it sounds like a spirit, attached to a person or an object, like the Hookman attached to that necklace, or the priest who thought he was an angel," Dean said, letting Sam know he had been listening. "We can go hit the diner. If you want to see a movie," Dean shrugged, "whatever. Figure out what you want to see. No chick-flick crap. We can hit the road tomorrow for where ever this job is."

Dean wasn't hungry. He tried to eat, but he suddenly had a helluva lot more sympathy for Spike. Food turned his stomach. Eating anything usually meant a fast trip to the bathroom where he puked it all back up. He should eat, he knew he should, but he simply didn't care anymore. The emptiness inside him was overwhelming. Maybe because it had been filled for those few days, maybe that made it seem even worse, even bigger. He tried to console himself with the fact Sam hadn't snuck out, Sam was keeping up his end of the bargain. Sam was trying hard to keep Dean focused on the job, but he wasn't sure he cared if the whole damned world went up in flames. Without Spike, the world had lost all its color and he was losing all hope again.

Looking at Sam he gave him a tight smile. Would be kinda pointless to give up Spike for Sam if he just simply drove Sam back to Ruby because he didn't give a fuck about much of anything. He would have to try harder or he knew it would happen. Sam would give up on him and then it would have all been for nothing. "C'mon Sasquatch. Let's get you fed."

*

Spike drew back, rounding the corner and staying there when he heard the motel room door open. When the door closed, he shifted so he could see and caught the smile Dean flashed. It was so brave and false it pulverized his insides. His gaze shifted to Sam, and he could tell that little brother wasn't buying it, but he went with it. Slapping Dean on the back, talking about some film and laughing, laughing alone. That too was forced. Spike didn't have to know the man to realize he was keeping up a facade, just as much as Dean was keeping it up.

His eyes blazed with heat when he saw Sam getting into the driver's seat. It meant all the alcohol he'd smelled had been from Dean, and it had to be so much that the hunter would allow someone else to touch his car. Maybe his brother was an exception to his usual 'no one else touches the car' policy, but Spike didn't think so.

He'd told himself to stay away, to give the brothers time. That Dean had made a choice, that he had to respect it. That it had always been his own lot to be left behind, that he'd deal with it the way he always dealt with it and moved on. Only he had to know Dean was alright. So he'd done something else he had always been guilty of. He stalked the person who stole his heart, and watched and wished and obsessed.

He'd heard Dean cry out, often, over the past nights. He'd pressed himself to the door or the window, trying to be near, wanting to go inside and take the hunter in his arms. But he could tell that Dean hadn't been in a deep sleep, because he'd wake quickly, and Spike could tell from his breathing and the other sounds from within the room, that the hunter was reaching for the remote, or the bottle. He could guess why Dean wasn't sleeping, apart from the nightmares.

The tail lights of the car disappeared, but Spike followed. At first he walked, but then he ran faster than the naked eye could see. The car was parked in a strip mall. His focus immediately shifted to the cafeteria. He looked through the window and saw where they were sitting. He didn't have to hear to understand that Sam was demanding to know what Dean wanted, and Dean was shrugging like he didn't care. After the waitress left them, Spike walked in and waylaid her, asking what the two men had ordered. When he was told 'burgers', he added that one of them should have extra onions. The waitress said she knew and aked if he was joining them. There was the lump in his throat again. "No." He shook his head when the word didn't come out, then disappeared out the door.

The one-sided dinner conversation didn't end with dinner. He watched as the brothers came out and crossed the parking lot to the small movie theater. Sam was offering Dean movie choices and Dean was giving disinterested responses. They paid and disappeared. Spike closed his eyes, then forced himself to walk away.

*

The movie was over and Sam stopped at the drink counter to get a coke. "Hey Dean, I think those girls are looking at you. You wanna... you know, show me how many numbers you can get in ten minutes?" He couldn't believe those words left his mouth, but he'd do anything to get a glimpse of the old Dean, anything.

Dean glanced over at the women. They were...hell, they were hot. Four of them. And they were eyeing both the brothers. "Course they're looking at me. Between us, I'm the good looking one." He gave a small smile and murmured. "Got all the Winchester charm, too." He glanced back over at his brother and shook his head. "That's a game to play in the bar Sam, not outside a movie theater. Besides, you're the one who needs the practice. Bet you a sixpack you can't get all four of their numbers before I get back from the restroom."

"I'm not the horndog, Dean," he said, with a shake of his head. "Go take a piss and let's see if they wait for you. Come on bro, work that charm."

Dean cocked an eyebrow at him. "You are the one who needs to get laid. Seriously Dude. When was the last time you had sex?" Shaking his head in exasperation, he headed into the bathroom and went into one of the stalls. He'd managed to keep down his dinner, but felt it shifting uncomfortably in his stomach and knew what was coming. He'd eaten a couple handfuls of popcorn to keep Sam happy and that was the mistake. That and the Coke.

After heaving his guts out, he straightened and blew his nose a few times. Fuck. He leaned back against the door, feeling the sweat drip down the side of his face from the rush of adrenalin. Sam was right. He had to start eating. He had to start making himself keep the food down, whether he wanted it or not. He wasn't going to be any good to Sam in this condition, and he sure as hell wasn't being any help to Sam when it came to the apocalypse. He promised Sam they'd find a way to beat this without Sam going darkside. He had to focus on that. Save his brother, survive the apocalypse, and then find Spike. Then live happily ever after.

Dean snorted at that thought. Since when did Winchesters get to live happily ever after? He had a few days of peace and love and he was just gonna have to accept it. Those couple days were all the world was gonna to give him of Spike. Time to suck it up and move on.

After washing his face and rinsing his mouth out thoroughly, he headed back out to meet up with Sam, pulling out a smile he didn't really feel inside.

"You alright?" At his brother's nod, Sam started to head out the door. Even if the girls had still been hanging around, he could tell Dean wasn't going for it. Was he really that hung up on a guy? He wished he could tell, not that this whole thing was over a break up. He got that hell had messed Dean up in ways he'd hidden before, and now it looked like he couldn't hide them anymore. And maybe that vampire had made it a little better, but that's because the two of them were off at waterparks and whatever. Sam wished, with all his heart he wished he could tell Dean to take a good long vacation, to go explore shit, have fun. But the Apocalypse wasn't going to wait for him, it wouldn't take any time off, and he and Dean were neck deep in it. Dean called it the Winchester curse, and it was real. Sam had given up his school, Dean had to give up Spike. After they kicked this Apocalypse in the ass, Dean could do what he wanted. Sam suspected that by then it wouldn't be Spike, but he knew not to bring it up anymore.

Just as they reached the car, it started to rain. Sam waited, thinking Dean might want to drive now that his buzz had worn off, but seeing him get into the passenger seat, he headed for the driver's side. Once inside, he wiped the water from his face and started the car. "Whatch'a think of the movie?"

"Special effects rocked," Dean said with a nod. It was an adventure movie with lots of good humor and absolutely nothing supernatural in it. "Good choice. The lead was pretty damned hot, too," Dean added with a smirk. Let Sam figure out if he meant the guy or the girl.

As they drove down the street, he spotted a fast food joint. "Dude, I want some pie," he said waving at the restaurant. "And...maybe one of their little buck burgers with cheese." He wasn't sure it would stay down, but he was going to try again. Besides it would make Sam happy, hell, probably handspring happy that he asked for food instead of something that came in a bottle.

"Really?" A smile curved Sam's lips. Glancing at the rear-view mirror, then ahead, he crossed the double yellow lines across the highway and entered the parking lot. "You want to eat here or...?"

Dean was torn. If they took it back to the motel room, he would think of Spike. But he was also kind of peopled out. Back at the hotel, Sam might grab the computer and he could go on and on about their next job and Dean wouldn't have to say much. In the restaurant, there might be couples. Happy couples kissing and... "Just do the drive through."

"Okay." A short while later, they were on the way back to the motel, with a bag of food for Dean. Sam had gotten himself a chocolate milkshake and still had a smile on his face. "So... the lead was hot?" He looked over at Dean, waiting for more information.

"You didn't think so?" Dean countered.

Sam rolled his eyes. "Yeah. She was damned hot. I figured you'd like any movie with her in it."

Dean grinned. "You know me. I have a thing for leather." He still wasn't going to give Sam confirmation one way or the other. Both the guy and girl were in leather at one point or another. His mind immediately went to a memory of Spike in that long leather duster of his. His heart ached at the thought, but he made sure to keep his grin in place. He'd made Sam happy. He wasn't going to screw it up now.

"You know," Sam said, "you should choose the music, before I do." His smile remain firmly plastered on his face as Dean reached for the the cassette. "Make it louder."

Dean laughed to himself. That was Sam's way of asking for a truce.

They drove back to the motel in silence, except for Dean's music. When they got to the parking lot, there was a spot right in front of their room. Pulling into it, Sam offered Dean the keys, then got out of the car. "We should do this more often, something relaxing like a movie. Outside, not in the room, you know?" he said over his shoulder as he unlocked the door to their room, then walked inside.

Dean accepted the keys, knowing Sam was trying to get him back into their old routine. He grabbed his food and locked and shut the car door. "Yeah, it's good to get out of the room for something other than work or hustling."

Pausing outside the door, Dean sniffed the air. He caught the faint whiff of cigarette smoke and breathed it in, remembering the scent of smoke that hung in the air around Spike. He gave a sad smile. Wishful thinking. Then he followed Sam inside before Sam asked what he was doing just standing out there. Besides, his food was getting cold.
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