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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

Ch. 14

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* * *


[4 Nights Later]

Dean was exhausted. It had been a bitch of a hunt. Witches had been stirring up the trouble that the town was suffering from, trying to get at some religious relic in the church to destroy it, trying to scare people away so they could get to it. They used ghosts and other things to cause the vast array of issues that had baffled him and Sam for a couple days. Until the priest died and they found the hex bag. At that point it was game over. Didn't change that it was a bitch.

Practically collapsing on the bed, he told himself he'd get up in a minute and shower after Sam was done with his. He'd shut his eyes, just for a minute....

New hooks buried themselves in his flesh. He screamed, writhing, only making the pain worse as the heavy chains tugged and pulled. Alistair was there, grinning, as he shoved the knife deep into Dean's gut then cut out little pieces of his insides, occasionally swallowing down bits with sounds of delight. Some pieces, he forced down Dean's own throat.

"You're bleeding inside. We can't have that, now can we?" he tsked. He forced Dean's mouth open and poured boiling oil down his throat then did a little more cutting before setting the knife aflame and shoving it back into Dean's gut. The oil inside Dean, spilling across his organs and out of his stomach caught fire and burned while the demon laughed, pleased with Dean's horrific screams. Other demons came in and feasted on the cooking flesh until there was little left of Dean's body.

Then he was whole again.

"I think we can do better than that," Alistair crooned. "That was very good, masterful even, but I still think we can do better." He used what looked like an apple corer and started pulling out chunks of Dean's flesh in neat little cylinders, tossing them to the hellhounds. Laughing at his victim's agony, he poured acid into some of the holes, and in others, he poured oil and lit them up like little candles. Dean could only scream....


The scream ripped from his throat as he thrashed in the bed. Dean could smell the brimstone and his own burnt flesh. His hand touched something metal and at first he jerked back, then realized it was a blade. He grabbed the knife. He could defend himself against Alistair, the other demons, the hellhounds. Even if only for a few minutes, he had a chance to strike back.

*

Towel barely wrapped around his waist, Sam was at Dean's bed, leaning over him, dripping water all over him as he shook his shoulder. "Dean. Wake up, Dean it's a dream. Wake the hell up," he repeated, letting go of the towel and now using both hands to try to pull Dean up off the mattress. "Dean!"

Alistair shook him, tried to grab him, but the chains were loose enough that he could fight back for once. Pulling the knife out from where it was hidden, he swung it in a broad arc, aiming for the demon's throat but Alistair fell back and he only succeeded in drawing the blade across the demon's chest.

"It's my turn you sonuvabitch," Dean screamed as he pushed himself up and, with glazed eyes filled with pain and fury, moved toward the startled demon in front of him.

*

Spike had been pacing outside the door. He felt Dean's agitation, heard his heart rate increase and his breaths grow shallow. He'd heard the thrashing against the sheets, the low mutterings and groanings. He'd cursed and looked skyward, praying to a God that might not exist, that Sam would get his arse out of the shower and get to Dean before the nightmare grew worse.

No, the younger Winchester was taking his bloody time about it while Dean suffered. Twice he almost broke in, but got a hold of himself. Dean wouldn't like it. His brother wouldn't like it. And neither of them would give him a 'thank you.' He needed to do what Dean wanted. If only it weren't so hard, and if his brother didn't shower like he had a whole beauty ritual to get through.

"Sodding hell," he cursed as the cries grew louder. The shout had him plastered to the door and counting. If Sam didn't get to Dean in five seconds. One. Two. Three. Four.

Finally, he thought, letting his head rest against the door until he heart Dean shout again, this time a threat, and the scent of blood coupled with a shout from Sam took away his choices. Stepping back, he kicked the door open. Wood splintered and the door gave way, crashing loudly against the wall before bouncing back toward him as he strode inside.

"He can't hear you, he's asleep," Spike told Sam who was backing away and asking Dean what he was doing. His face was a study in disbelief and horror. And trust.

Just as Dean attacked again, Spike grabbed Sam's arm and wheeled him away from his brother, then grabbed Dean's wrist. Holding it tight, he pulled the hunter's struggling body up against his own, closing his free arm around him like a steel band. "Shshshsh, it's alright. It's a dream, nothing but a dream, a bad one," he crooned, pulling him along slowly as he walked backwards toward the bed. "It's alright, it's all gone. You're here with us, yeah? Wake up, Dean." Pulling Dean down onto the bed over him, Spike rolled to the side and held him.

They had him, they caught hold of him again and the tortures would begin anew and Dean cried out in frustration and anguish as his body trembled violently. The soft words called to him through his nightmare haze and he felt protective arms encircle him and pull him down. The knife fell from his fingers. If it was another trick by Alistair, then it was a trick. He would still take the moment of comfort.

Once Dean released the knife and let it fall to the mattress, Spike looked over at Sam's blood streaked chest, then lifting his gaze, met his angry eyes. "Don't be so bloody selfish. I'll leave when he's calm," he said, his crystal blue eyes holding the younger Winchester's gaze.

Sam watched as the vampire treated Dean so preciously, soothing away his nightmare. He was furious that Dean obviously had still been talking with Spike, keeping Spike close by, probably so he could go to him when Sam wasn't around. He clenched his fist at that thought.

"I'm okay, Sam," Dean mumbled, even as he still shook, his body soaked in sweat. "Go back to sleep. It's okay." The arms held him still and he couldn't help but feel so damned safe in that embrace. The scent of cigarettes was in his nose, cigarettes and leather and he furrowed his brow and sleep finally lifted its veil from him. "Spike?" Dean asked, blinking, confused as he stared into the blue eyes that turned to meet his questioning gaze. "What are you doing here? You're not supposed to...I made a deal. To save Sam, I have to...I have to give you up."

Even as those words left his lips he held onto Spike tightly, burying his face in the crook of the vampire's neck. After a moment he pulled back, kissing Spike deeply, hungrily, but finally broke it off. "You gotta leave. Sam can't know. He'll think I called you, that I didn't keep my promise to him. Love you. Love you so damned much, but I gotta protect him from that demon, Spike. I gotta."

"Right, everything's going to be alright," Spike said, his gaze dropping to Dean's mouth. How many times was he going to have to give this man up? He stroked his face. "Close your eyes, luv. Sleep, yeah?" Leaning in, he kissed Dean. "I'll see you in another dream." He waited another few moments until Dean's eyes did close, then he slowly swung his legs off the bed.

Dean's first words had caught Sam a little off guard. It was clear he'd thought it was Sam holding him and that his first instinct had been to reassure him. To take care of Sam, just like he always tried to. Then once his brother realized he was with Spike, he saw Dean kissing the vampire with more passion than Sam had seen him display with anyone. Course the words that left Dean's mouth, that Spike had to leave, that Sam would think he'd lied, made him feel like shit.

To save Sam, I have to...I have to give you up...Love you. Love you so damned much, but I gotta protect him from that demon, Spike. I gotta.

Sam stared at the two, wanting to feel jealousy that Spike could give Dean comfort when he couldn't, but Dean's sleep-ridden words proved Dean would do anything for him. How many times would Dean give up his own life or happiness to try to save his little brother? As many times as it takes, Sam realized.

Sinking into the nearby chair he watched in disbelief as Spike kept his promise, getting off the bed the instant he'd calmed Dean down and gotten him to go to sleep. They really loved each other. Dean really loved a man, really loved a vampire. And the vampire, one look in his eyes and the gentle touches and sincere words made it obvious the vampire cared about him, or was one helluva a good actor.

"Right, let's get you patched up. Where's your first aid kit," Spike asked, standing in front of Sam's seemingly unseeing eyes. He wasn't feeling too charitable toward the younger Winchester, but he kept his tone neutral. His mind was still focused on Dean, worried about him though the hunter had fallen back asleep very quickly, an indication of how little sleep he'd had over the past few nights.
"Bathroom," Sam answered almost absently, his gaze cutting to Spike, then going back to his brother. It looked like Dean was already out cold. Sam knew Dean hadn't been sleeping well, if he was sleeping at all. He wondered how much of the fact Dean wasn't drunk contributed to the dream that he had. He still couldn't believe Dean was 'sleepwalking.' Dean had never been a sleepwalker that he could recall. There definitely hadn't been any recognition in his eyes when he was attacking Sam. If Sam hadn't straightened and stepped back from Dean, Dean would have slit his throat wide open. When Spike had yanked Sam out of the way, Dean had been trying to plunge the knife into Sam's ribcage. He recalled Dean saying he'd been half asleep and raped and cut up Spike.

"He doesn't get to sleep with any more knives," Sam muttered.

Spike gave a noncommittal grunt as he walked into the bathroom. As he searched for bandages, he caught a glimpse of himself in the mirror. He was looking hard and severe, and even though Sam deserved some of his anger for separating him from Dean, this wasn't his fault. When he returned with a wet towel, he dragged a chair in front of Sam and sat down. "Maybe cuff his one hand at nights. If he hurt you... if he hurt you badly, he'll never get over it." It was clear who Spike was worrying about. He started to clean the blood off Sam's chest. "Wound isn't too bad."

"I'm not cuffing Dean to the bed every night!" Sam protested, but dropped his voice when he saw Dean shift. "He spent those months...years," he amended, grimacing at the thought, "restrained. I'm not going to suggest that we cuff him every night. That would just make his dreams worse."

At Spike's comment about the cut not being bad he looked down. He might need a few stitches where the wound first started, but otherwise butterfly bandages would do. He suddenly realized he was still naked and his towel was over by the bed next to Dean. He cleared his throat. "Uh, let me get my sweats on before you start with the bandages." Crimson colored his cheeks.

Spike got up and reached for the towel, then dropped it onto Sam's lap. "Now we're even," he smirked, recalling the state he and Dean were in when Sam had walked in on them. "Chin up." He worked quickly, then dropped the small rag. He pulled a suture out of the kit and leaned in but blood had started to collect on one end of the cut. Wiping it off with his fingers, he licked the blood off his hand, then started to close up the wound. "He'll feel a lot worse if you end up dead at his hands. Cuff him and stay with him, or sleep at different hours." Finished with three neat stitches, he leaned in and cut the thread with his teeth and slid his finger through a little more blood.

"While I appreciate you bandaging me, do you mind not sampling my blood?" Sam said, feeling a little like the cake the kid kept swiping icing from before getting more serious about eating a piece of it. "I don't know...I'll talk with him about it, but I hate for him to even know this happened. I wouldn't put it past him to insist on us getting different rooms. It'll feel like he's pushing me away all over again, regardless of why. It's strained enough between us."

Studying Spike a moment he asked, "So have you been following us since we left?"

"Wasn't following you, just happened to be passing by," Spike answered, without batting a lash. Dabbing a bit of antiseptic over the cut, he started to bandage it. "Not a bad idea, not telling him about any of this. Might be best," he agreed with a nod. "He should be alright for the rest of the night, but I'll take the knife." Pushing the chair back, he stood up. One more chance to be close to Dean was one more chance. He'd take his time about retrieving the knife.

"Right," Sam said, not believing Spike just 'happened' to be in the area. He caught his lower lip between his teeth as he watched Spike retrieve the knife, the vampire's gaze on his brother the whole time. "You really love him?" he finally asked, not sure what answer he wanted to hear.

"It's bloody stupid, isn't it? A hunter?" He turned and looked at Sam. "He's a pain in the arse, stubborn, smug and too sneaky by far, who wouldn't?" He gave a rueful smile and took another look at Dean. "You take good care of him. Make sure he..." he trailed. "I know, you've known him all his life. Right." He took a few leaden steps toward the door, his gaze shifting to a now very peaceful looking Dean. He dragged his gaze away and reached for the door handle, noticing the salt on the floor for the first time. He wanted to ask questions, but they stuck in his throat. Delay was just delay, and it was time to part.

Sam couldn't believe what he found coming out of his mouth, but he was finding that happening more and more of late. "Stay," Sam said quietly.

Spike turned, his eyes seeking Sam's, looking for a hint of the joke that he expected but seeing none. "I can stay outside," he offered. All he wanted, needed was to be near. "He won't attack you again, but if he gets agitated, I'll know."

Sam shook his head. "No. You...you take that bed." He jerked his head toward the bed he'd been sleeping in. He didn't know if he wanted Spike to stay around for just the next day or longer. His brain just wasn't ready to try to think that far ahead at the moment. It was still spinning from seeing his brother kiss Spike, and hearing Spike admit he loved Dean. Maybe he needed to call that Summers chick and talk to her about the vampire. Depending on what she said, it might help him decide if Spike hanging around was a good or bad thing. The next question he was hesitant ask, but he had to, just for his own peace of mind. "You, uh, you have eaten recently, right?"

Spike's gaze traveled to the empty bed. He wanted him to sleep alone? Where was Sam going to sleep? His question died on his lips as Sam asked an interesting one himself. He gave a nod. "You don't taste half bad." Smirking, he quickly walked past Sam before the invitation could be withdrawn, took his leather duster off and tossed it across the foot of the bed and sat down.

"That's the only taste you're gonna get," Sam said, giving him a mild glare. Sam got up, wrapping the towel back around his hips and grabbed some boxers and a t-shirt from his duffel. Disappearing into the bathroom, he quickly pulled on his clothes, looking at himself in the mirror and shaking his head. "You're fucking nuts," he muttered to himself.

After he put the first aid kit away, Sam checked the salt line at the door, making sure it was still intact and double-checked the line at the window, then went to Dean's bed and slipped under the covers. "Good night. And no midnight snacks," Sam said as he shut off the light on the nightstand and settled himself. He looked over at the still form of his brother and reaching out lightly brushed Dean's hair from his forehead.

"I'll try to resist." Spike rolled onto his side and watched them in the dark. "You should hold him tight, he likes that. And don't mind him if he complains he's not a chick." It was good advice, Spike saw no reason for the huffing from Sam.

* * *

Dean awoke slowly. He'd slept pretty good and couldn't recall any nightmares. Well, there was the one, where Alistair was torturing him and Spike rescued him and kissed him. He groaned. Jesus. Now Spike had him being the fucking damsel in distress. Course then it had shifted back into something of a nightmare as he told Spike he had to leave, that Sam couldn't see him, couldn't know he was here, and Spike had faded away.

He realized he was spooned up against someone. Maybe the whole thing with Sam making him give up Spike, maybe that was the nightmare. He tugged the form beside him a little closer, running his hand under the t-shirt and over the smooth abs of the man he was curled up with. He sighed contentedly and began to nuzzle Spike's neck. Yeah, he could definitely go for a round of good wake-up sex. His hand began to drift toward Spike's groin when Spike's hair tickled his nose. Spike's hair...wasn't right. And he smelled of hotel shampoo and ...Dean's eyes snapped open just as his hand touched Spike's cock. He practically flew out of bed, taking half the covers with him and finding he was still dressed. Even in the dim lighting he could see the surprise written all over his brother's face.

"Sam! What the hell? You've got your own bed! What the fuck are you doing in mine?"

"I... what the hell are you doing with your hand?" Sam snapped back through sleepy eyes, clearly trying to get oriented.
"He was about to give you a nice shag, that's what. Then I'd have to kick your arse or... something," Spike drawled from the other bed, where he was sitting with his back against the headboard bored out of his mind with waiting for one or both of the humans to wake. His hope had been that Dean would get up and maybe come to his bed for a bit while Sam was still asleep, but it obviously hadn't worked out.

Dean's gaze shot to Spike, then to Sam and back to Spike. He turned on the light. "Spike what are you...Sam, you gotta believe me, I didn't call him. You can check my phone. This doesn't change anything about our deal. I stay away from Spike if you stay away from Ruby," Dean said, but his eyes went to Spike, pain and sorrow in them, telling Spike how damned much it hurt him to make that deal and to say those words. He wanted nothing more than to go over to the vampire and kiss him like he hadn't seen him in years. It felt like years though it had only been a week.

A frown creased his brow as his nightmare reared its head. Spike in his bed, calming him down, telling him it was okay, kissing him and holding him. He tossed the sheets from the floor back onto the bed and looked at the carpet. Blood. "Whose?" Dean demanded, looking between the men.

Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. "I lost a bit of my dinner, so I suppose it makes it mine." He'd had a bit of Sam's blood so he wasn't completely lying. He wrinkled his nose. "You did say to tell you when you need a shower, go on and take it, while I'm still welcome." He threw Sam a look, then met Dean's gaze again. "Go on."
Sam stared wide-eyed at his brother, his throat convulsing as he swallowed. "It's not a bad idea. You didn't shower last night," he said at last.

The last damned thing Dean wanted to do was take a shower. The first thing he wanted to do was go over to Spike before this all turned out to be a dream or nightmare or whatever the hell it was. He was beginning to wonder what the hell was real anymore. Not to mention he wanted to grill both the men and find out what the fuck was going on. After a moment he finally gave sniff and a nod. "Fine. But if Spike isn't still here when I get done, I'm kicking both of your asses. So you two have fifteen minutes to get your damned stories straight and get me a cup of coffee."

Dean grabbed his duffel and carried it into the bathroom with him and slammed the door. He turned the water on then went over to the sink, gripping it so tightly his knuckles were white. He was just beginning to accept not ever seeing Spike again. He didn't want to say goodbye a second time. He looked into the mirror.

"Why do we always have to give everything up?" he asked softly. He closed his eyes briefly then stripped down, adjusted the temperature of the shower, and stepped under the hot cascade of water.

*

Spike looked down. "He's too bloody smart by far. I could tell him I was injured when I came for..." He'd been about to say 'help' but it was unbelievable because he would have awakened Dean too if there was something after him. "I was drunk and bleeding, you let me sleep it off."

"He just likes to play dumb," Sam agreed. Dean was a helluva lot sharper than most, maybe even Dean himself, gave him credit for. Shaking his head Sam admitted, "I was pretty adamant about you and him not...I don't think he'd buy it. Maybe pretend to. But he wouldn't believe it. Let's stick with something close to the truth. He had a nightmare, I was showering and didn't hear him, you busted in. He had a knife and some blood got spilled while you were trying to calm him down." Sam shrugged. "I asked you to stay."

"He's going to want to know whose blood." Spike thought on it. "You just keep your shirt on for as long as it takes for your wound to heal. Is that something you can do?" He didn't know Sam's sleeping habits and if he wasn't one to sleep with a tee shirt, Dean would find out, especially now that he was suspicious. He got off the bed and reached for his coat. "We could go to the coffee shop and ask him to meet us there. Might be less of a chance of a grilling."

"It'll be a good two weeks before this is healed up. I might be able to blame it on the witches, but I doubt it. If he suspects, he'll come up with an excuse to come into the bathroom while I've got my shirt off or something. But I don't want to tell him, either. Crap." Sam shook his head. "We had a pretty big-ass fight about lies and truths. ...I guess we better tell him. I don't want him to go off on another rant about me lying to him," Sam huffed. "We'll just tell him the truth. I came out, tried to wake him, he pulled a knife on me, just clipped me, you came in and told me he was still asleep. Now that I know he sleep fights or whatever, I can handle him without getting a knife in my gut."

"You had to go and be human," Spike shook his head. "Right, are you staying to tell him or coming to the coffee shop? There's always a chance the smell of food will have him forgetting his questions." They weren't going to get away with a lie, he agreed with Sam on that. Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out his smokes. "Leave him a note, yeah? Or a message on his phone." He tugged the door open and stopped suddenly, before crossing the threshold out into the sunshine.

"That's debatable," Sam muttered under his breath. Humans weren't exactly able to rip demons out of possessed bodies and hold people up against walls with their minds. "I'm coming," Sam said and grabbed clothes out of his duffel. He saw Spike hesitate at the door and wondered if he thought Sam was going to slam it on him and try to keep him out. Like a locked door stopped him the night before.

After Sam dressed, he knocked on the bathroom door then cracked it open. "Dean, Spike and I are walking down to Mother's Diner. Come join us when you get done, okay?"

"Yeah," Dean said, having been a little hopeful it might have been Spike sneaking in. He thought he had heard the door to the outside open and close. "Be there in a few."

Sam was going to go have breakfast with a vampire. Well, he had french fries and burgers...and other things... with a demon all the time. "Our lives are weird," Sam said to himself as he stepped outside and pulled the door shut behind him.

By the time Sam reached the diner, Spike was done with his smoke and they walked inside. "Three, by the window," he said.

The hostess walked ahead of them, her long ponytail swinging from side to side. She was just the sort Dean would ogle. Spike wondered if Sam was watching her. It wasn't idle curiosity, he was wondering if the younger brother could be palmed off for a bit and then he could have a bit of time with Dean. He knew this was temporary, it might even be over after breakfast, but he'd take any time he could with Dean. Any time at all.

Spike was quick to slide into the chair on the side of the table that had two place settings, and to stay at the edge so Sam couldn't slide past him to sit next to him. Not that he thought the hunter had any desire to get close to him. "Coffee," he ordered, agreeing when she said she'd bring it in a carafe. After the waitress left, there was an uncomfortable silence.

"You could pretend I'm just a regular bloke," Spike suggested.

Sam studied the vampire. "You realize the issue isn't just that you're ah, 'blood challenged,'" he said. There were enough people around that he didn't want to use the word 'vampire.' Not after all the weird shit that had been in happening in town thanks to the witches.

"You're afraid I'll steal your brother from you. Even if it weren't childish, I don't think it's possible. You can sit back and relax, Winchester." Spike's eyes were cool. He didn't really believe Sam's dislike of himself stemmed from jealousy, but he didn't believe that it didn't stem from his being a vampire. Maybe tossing this in his face was an effort to make him look childish and to avoid a long discussion about William the Bloody and things he couldn't change.

"I'm afraid you're fucking with his head," Sam said bluntly. "Dean's never been into guys. Ever. And he told me he liked the whole biting thing and that just...that just isn't Dean either." Sam fell silent when the waitress returned with the mugs and carafe of coffee. Sam gave her a nod of thanks. "But the way he kissed you...and you say you love him...and the way he's been acting. I don't really know what to think."

"He said he liked the biting..." Spike couldn't help the fact that his voice held a smile. Dean had told his brother that? It made Spike feel just a little more secure, even though it was hard. It had been hard listening to Dean promise up and down that he hadn't invited him in only to show him the door on the turn of a dime. Invitation. He realized suddenly that he hadn't been invited into the motel room. Needing an invitation was apparently another limitation that no longer applied to him. Interesting, that.
"I'm not toying with him. What would be the point?" He looked toward the door, then back at Sam's serious face. "I can't explain why he switched teams, not when I don't believe in teams, yeah? All I know is since the moment we met, it's one thing after the other that forced us together. Sharing a cell, being singled out together for punishment, escaping together. Then he had it in his head that he'd have to watch me, seeing as I'd drunk their blood and was changing. I think he was ready to stake me. Behead me," he amended. "After a few days, it was clear I was fine, but I couldn't leave him. He was having nightmares and..." he shrugged. "I let him show me around, do things and it brought this... this light into his eyes."
Now Spike did smile at the memories of the waterpark and sharing funnel cake. "He said he didn't want anything from me, any relations, but.... it just happened. We thought maybe we'd say goodbye in a few days, he was going to meet up with you. Then my bloodlust hit and he.... Long story short, no one planned anything, and you can bloody well bet I didn't intentionally get neck deep in something I'd have to let go of."

Sam stirred sugar into his coffee. "He's been...confused. Scared. He fights, but the real fight, the old fight, just doesn't seem to be in him in anymore. I'm afraid he's too...weak...to do what needs to be done. I feel like it's my turn to look out for him and," Sam shook his head, "he's stubborn. Dad was always a 'my way or the highway' type, and Dean is too. But I feel like he's lost and doesn't really know which way to go but tries anyhow. I'm not sure that what you think you have with him is real. Or vice versa. Dean doesn't do the love thing. Love 'em and leave 'em, yeah. But not ever in it for the long haul." He took a sip of his coffee. Dean would like it. It was good and strong.

"He's not weak. You want proof, you put your life at risk and you'll see," Spike countered, unreasonably annoyed by that description of Dean. He couldn't argue Dean wasn't lost, but deep in his heart, Spike was convinced they'd gotten him back on the right road before Sam arrived. "He told me the same thing, about not being one for relationships. But what does it matter?" Spike demanded. "If it's real for a few days, a few weeks, or months, what is so bloody wrong with it? If it makes him feel good, isn't it what counts? He might get tired of me, and if he does I expect he'll show me the door. It's my risk to bear. Not yours. So why the hell do you make him choose? Why do--"

"Am I interrupting something?" Dean asked, though it was quite plain Spike was agitated and Sam was getting worked up. When Sam looked up at him, he saw that stubborn rebellious look Sam got whenever he started to dig his heels in. He slipped by Spike to get to the empty seat, running his fingers along the back side of Spike's neck. When he settled into his seat, he pressed his leg against Spike's and his hand immediately dropped to slowly stroke Spike's thigh. Pouring himself a coffee, he saw both men were being tight-lipped.

The waitress appeared almost instantly. Dean order a full breakfast of eggs, bacon, toast, hashbrowns, and a cinnamon roll while Sam's order of a whole wheat toast, omelet, bacon and a side of fruit made Dean roll his eyes. As soon as the waitress left, Dean glanced from his brother to his lover. "Okay, so let's just get this all out on the table. One, what happened last night? Two, Spike either you bullied Sam into letting you stay, or my nightmare freaked Sam enough he asked you to stay. Three, where do we go from here?"

Spike wanted to be anywhere but here. Correction, he wanted to be anywhere else but here, and yet be with Dean. The hand on his thigh felt good, the heat from Dean's palm seeping right through Spike's jeans and making him much too aware of the hunter. If they were alone, Spike would find a way to distract Dean, to touch him just right and they'd be too busy to have this little talk.

Sam rubbed his neck. "I was in the shower and..."

"Long story short. I was outside, heard you having a bad dream and didn't hear Sam leaving the shower. I figured he couldn't hear you so I came in. You had the knife. There was a lot of noise and a bit of bloodshed, not much," he emphasized. "Sam decided to let me stay, maybe because you listened to me and calmed down," Spike said. "I don't think he was that freaked or he wouldn't be up your arse, metaphorically speaking, in your bed." He didn't add a that's my job, but it was there, in his eyes and tone, and he was sure neither Winchester missed it. "As for what's next, breakfast. Speaking of..." He caught their waitress' eye just as she was about to pass by. "I'd like an order of bacon, crispy," he said.

His gaze returned to and locked with Dean's. "And how have you been?" Miss you. "I hear you're keeping in shape, chasing witches." I want to exercise you in twenty other ways, all of them involving just you and me. His pressed his thigh more firmly against Dean's and tried not to stare too obviously at his mouth. Before he left, he was going to claim a kiss. At least that.
Dean listened to Spike's explanation, knowing there was a lot being left out, but willing to accept it. He wasn't sure he really wanted to know the details. Spike was okay, Sam was okay, and there wasn't that much blood on the carpet, though any blood at all was more than he would have liked, especially since he knew he was the cause of it. It sucked, but he knew he couldn't risk keeping a weapon at hand anymore while he slept, at least not until the nightmares calmed down. If they ever calmed down.

Hearing all the double entendres in Spike's words, he tried to hide his smile. He pressed his thigh back against Spike's and knew his eyes told his lover he wished things could be different too. He so was not a hand holder, but he desperately wanted to be as close to Spike as he could be. He also wasn't entirely certain he could keep his hand away from the inside of Spike's thigh. Lifting his hand from Spike's thigh, he interlaced his fingers with Spike's, then moved their hands back below the table where it hopefully wouldn't be too obvious. He didn't want to rile anyone up so he tried to keep it discreet. It had been a helluva an effort not to kiss Spike when he'd first walked in, though. Looking over at Sam, he still wanted an answer to his 'what next' question, whether Spike wanted to hear it or not.

"So," he said meeting Sam's eyes coolly, "where does our agreement stand?" He tightened his handhold on Spike, dreading the answer he figured he was going to get. Before Spike left, he would make sure he and Spike at least had a little privacy. He wanted to kiss Spike and touch him and take what comfort he could steal before Sam forced him to leave Spike behind again.

Also gripping Dean's hand tighter, Spike studied Sam, noticing the deep breath he took and the way he stared at both of them. His jaw was stiff and he looked more uptight and uncomfortable than ever. Instinctively, Spike knew this wasn't the time to force a decision from Sam, so he spoke up. "I'll stay the day and leave tonight," he looked at Dean. "No one has to decide anything right now and Sam can talk to you about it, alone. It's better that way, yeah?"

"Okay," Sam agreed, his gaze shifting away from both men.

Spike squeezed Dean's hand one more time. "I thought you said he's the chatty one in the family?"

"I said he was the encyclopedia and has more empathy than me," Dean answered, watching Sam. He knew what Sam wanted to say. He could feel it in his bones but, if Sam was gonna give them a day together, he'd take it. As much as he'd like to just take Spike back to the motel room and spend all those precious hours with him, he didn't want to get accused of taking another holiday. So even though he had planned on them taking the day off after the bitch of the fight they'd had putting the witches down the day before, it would be better to show Sam that Spike not only made him happy, but 'put a spring in his step' and he was ready to go on to the next fight.

"So Mr. Encyclopedia," Dean started but the waitress was back. He gave a smile and a wink to the waitress as she set their food down in front of them including a new carafe of coffee. "Thanks, Sweetheart," Dean told the girl, smiling at her charmingly.

She smiled back, glancing at the two men as well. "You're welcome, Doll," she said. "Bacon will be up in a minute," she told Spike.

As soon as she was gone, Dean started again, "So what's our next gig? You said you saw something that had 'black dog' written all over it, a nasty little ghost that show's up every full moon, and...crap, I forget the third one. Oh yeah, it was people going missing but nothing specifically crying out supernatural. What's your pleasure?"

"Ahhh... you want to talk cases... okay." Grabbing his utensils, Sam went into some of the details that put the three mysteries on their possibly supernatural events radar. "We could maybe swing by Jackson and check it out, and if it’s nothing, continue on to Tantalus, Idaho. Maybe take off tomorrow?" he asked, stabbing his fork into his eggs.
Spike gave a shudder. "Vegetable omelet, I see what you mean about his eating habits." The waitress brought his side order over, and he grabbed one of the bacons. "The people missing in Jackson, are there any similarities between them? Same school, part of town, boyfriend? Anything?" he asked. It hadn't escaped him that all of the names Sam had mentioned were female.

"Range in age from twenties to mid-thirties. Scattered all over town. They have all attended the community college at some point in their lives, but not at the same time. They do all visit the alumni website, but if there are other links, we're not going to know without doing legwork in the town itself." Sam frowned a moment. "They each have at least one older brother. I haven't looked into the brothers to see if there's a link between them."

Dean cut his cinnamon roll in half and put it on Spike's plate, snagging a piece of bacon for himself in the process. "It's not fried worms, but it's still damned good," he told him.

"I'll give it a try but you should eat faster, your eyeballs are bleeding," he said, pointing his chin at the sunny side up eggs in Dean's plate. "Seems to me the missing people should be a priority," he shrugged, taking a small bite of the roll, then a bigger one. "If they're not dead, there's a chance of saving them. The ghost is already dead and I have no idea what this black dog is guilty of."

Sam looked at Spike, then at Dean, then made a face. "I feel like I've been transported... this is surreal."
"Which bit is surreal? That you're a grown man who believes in ghosts and werewolves, that you're a hunter by profession, or because I let Dean have a slice of bacon without biting his hand off?" Spike asked, his hand snaking out to grip Dean's errant hand on a second attempt to grab from his plate, though he smiled and allowed it.

"I don't even know where to start. But that," he said looking at Dean's hand with the bacon, "is one of the reasons I eat the way I do. He doesn't try to steal from my plate then. And notice my bacon is as far from the thief as I can get it. And do I even want to know what fried worms are?"

"You eat like a rabbit because I steal the occasional french fry?" Dean said. "Bullshit. You've always eaten like that. And I always gave you the last cookie. Fried worms is funnel cake. He called it a poofter dessert, but he tried to claim the whole damned thing for himself."

"Poofter?" Sam asked.

"You said he was smart," Spike said.

"Like I said, surreal. I need more coffee." Sam picked up the carafe and poured more for all of them.

They fell back into discussing the missing persons case and Spike suddenly realized how much he missed the days when he'd been part of a group, hashing out theories and coming up with strategies for taking care of evil things, large and small. As Sam laid out the history of the town and minor details and Dean yawned, Spike gave a laugh. "It's like a regular Scooby meeting. You're Red," he said pointing at Sam. "She's a powerful witch, not the sort you hunt, very cute in an 'I'll always look high school' sort of way, and book smart." He turned to Dean, "And you're Buffy. Cute. Short... er shorter than Willow here, and you just want to kick some arse. Do you have a Giles? You know, someone who wears a tweed suit, spectacles and lends an air of credibility and class to the operation? Your Bobby, maybe?"

Both Sam and Dean looked at Spike, obviously baffled. The suggestion of Bobby wearing a tweed suit and adding class made them both laugh. "Bobby owns a junkyard," Dean said. "But he is the 'go to' guy for anything." He looked at Sam, "I always told you that you were a red-headed woman. Even Spike knows it," Dean said smugly, then glared at Spike. "But I am not a chick."
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