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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)CasFR1819157,38473014,32027 Jan 1127 Oct 12Yes

Chapter 6

"What the hell are you doing answering my phone?" Dean said grumpily and snatched the phone from Spike with a glare. He called Sam immediately as he stepped back inside since he only had his sweat pants on and the air was chilly. Sam answered with the first ring.
"Sammy?" Dean said. "Something up? Told you I'd call you today."

"Dean!" Sam let out a breath of relief. "Who the hell is he, Spike?" The instant he sat down in front of his lap top, he remembered the Brit's advice about not giving his brother anything new to obsess over. "I mean, it had me worried, some stranger getting your phone. He said you were still sleeping?"

"I told you I had a friend I was helping out. The phone was on the nightstand and, yeah I was still sleeping. Had a helluva day yesterday is all. Spike had good intentions answering my phone though he can be something of a prick at times. So what's going on? Got a new hunt or something?"

Sam minimized the screen, as if it would make the mystery go away. "Nah, everything's dead a the moment. I was thinking of heading over to Bobby's to, you know, regroup. Maybe I will. You wanna?" He had to toss it out, see what Dean wanted to do.

"You better call and make sure he's there. There's this big fucking vampire nest in Tennessee I turned him on to. Gonna take a small army to go in there and take 'em down I think. Way too big for even a couple hunters to take down." Dean hesitated a moment then said, "I'm gonna hang with Spike a few more days if nothing's going on. I think he's handling stuff I wasn't sure he could, but after yesterday, I think it'll be okay. Still, wanna make sure he's got everything under control and doesn't need my help anymore." After a pause Dean added, "So, is Ruby around?"

"Bobby didn't call me." Sam knew he shouldn't be hurt, he'd been the one to ignore and distance himself from Bobby all the time that Dean had been gone, so why should he expect to be on Bobby's top 'go to' list now. Forcing himself to relax his hunched shoulders he tried to cover the pregnant pause. "No, she hasn't been around in a while. It's just me. So a couple more days and you think you'll... you'll be back?"

"Hey, it's not like either of us areon the hunters' favorite's list. I'm not going in there either. Best we both steer clear of that many hunters in one place and you know it." Dean felt a bit of relief. "Good. I wish you'd trust me when I tell you that skank is nothing but bad news, even if she did save your life. She's got her own agenda Sam. She a demon." Dean gave a sigh. "Sam, I'm not leaving you hanging out to dry. Look, why don't you go ahead and head to Bobby's. I'll be there soon. Just...just try to take a few days off from the apocalypse or something. Stop off and sight see along the way or whatever. Take a breather for a few days. The apocalypse will still be there in a week. A couple more days with Spike, and then I'll hit the road for Bobby's."

"Sure Dean, I'll meet you there. Just... don't let him drag you into anything. With a name like Spike, I can just imagine what kind of trouble he'd lead to." Just the type Dean liked to get into, that's what Sam thought. If they didn't have an apocalypse that Dean wanted to take a vacation from, or a demon named Lilith to get, he'd be fine with it. He shut the phone and looked at his watch. Hearing the knock on the door, a determined look crossed his features and he got up to open it.

*

Spike moved into front of the door and looked inside. "Guess the feeling is mutual then, he's not thrilled with me either."

"His BFF right now is a fucking demon. I'm not thrilled with his choice of companions either." Dean scowled a little and measured Spike. "What did he say that makes you 'not thrilled' with him."

"Now that's a bit like the pot calling the kettle black, isn't it. Unless last night didn't happen," Spike said, ignoring the question. Tossing the cigarette to the ground, he stepped on it, never taking his eyes of Dean.

"It's way different. She wormed her way in by saying she could save me from my deal. Then she tells me she can't. Then she keeps trying to convince Sam that she can by trying to get him to do stuff, train or something. While I was in Hell she got Sam working his psychic mojo crap and it's wrong, it's bad. I feel it in my gut. He promised me he wouldn't do it and he did anyhow." Dean sank down onto the bed. "He trusts the skank more than he trusts me, his own god damned brother. I've spent all my fucking life looking out for the kid and this...this is what I get. Lies. Nothing but lies." He fought back the burning tears. As if he wasn't empty enough inside, the thought of Sam with the bitch, doing what she told him to do, might as well be a knife cutting out his heart.

"Dean, there are some areas you can't compete in." Spike crossed the room and put his hand on Dean's shoulder. "Unless he likes cock, and even then, the whole brothers thing might..." He had to put a second hand on Dean, to keep him in place, and probably from punching him. "That's it hunter, find your anger. Conquer your pain and come up with a plan, how are you going to beat some sense into your brother? Might take some time, but you will, you'll find the right button. If you keep trying."

"I don't have a damned bit of trouble finding my fucking anger!" Dean snarled at Spike. "Everything I've tried, he just blows off, goes to her instead!" Dean stopped fighting Spike's hold on his shoulders and just folded. "I don't know what else to do." He shrugged as best he could with Spike's hands there. "I'm out of ideas. I'm out of options. All I can do is just try to be there for him, and keep trying to convince him Ruby is bad news. But I'm losing that battle. I see it in his eyes. Hell, I've probably already lost that battle." He finally brushed away Spike's hands. "I'm gonna sleep some more. Why don't you go out and enjoy the sun. Looks like it'll be another nice sunny day for you." He gave Spike a strained smile. "Go on."

"Not on your life. You told me not to leave, and I didn't. Now you're keeping me company, yeah?" Reaching down, he grabbed Dean by the arms this time and started to pull him up. "Then we'll come back and take a rest. If you're doing the 'vampire's hours' thing for me, we'll have to go to bed a lot later." He could see the hunter wasn't in the mood, but he had to try.

All Dean really wanted to do was sleep and try to forget how betrayed he felt by his own brother. But he had asked Spike to stay and it wasn't fair to Spike not to give Spike time in the sun in return. He let Spike pull him to his feet.

"Fine," Dean said, a little sharper than he maybe meant to. "I need a shower first. Then coffee and food. Figure out what you want to see. There's probably flyers and crap in the lobby. It's a drive but we could go see the ocean if you want but it'll probably be cold as hell with the wind."

"Go on, take your shower."

Once Dean disappeared into the bathroom, Spike went to the small lobby, got a few pamphlets and returned with two steaming cups of coffee. The smell of coffee was always something he'd liked. Setting the cups down on the nightstand, he laid back on the bed, pushing an extra pillow under his head. He had a feeling the hunter was going to be prickly today when by all rights he should have awakened in a great mood. There had to be a word more complicated than complicated to describe the man.

*

Dean had the shower on letting the water warm up and heard the door shut. Hopefully Spike was doing like he asked, finding some stuff for them to do or see. God he needed coffee. He felt tired which he shouldn't because damn, he had slept really good last night. He knew he got bitchy when he didn't get as much sleep as he wanted. Course he had noticed Spike had neatly deflected his question about what Sam said to him that made Spike think Sam didn't like him and instead was trying to find out whether Dean regretted sleeping with him last night. Dean couldn't blame him. If the situation was reversed he would want to know the same thing.

Dean stepped under the hot water, surprised at the quantity of dried cum still on him and scrubbed himself thoroughly, a couple times over. Shit, the sex had been awesome. Better than awesome. Right up there with that night with Lisa. He sighed softly. He had a fantastic day yesterday. He wanted today to be as good if not better and it wouldn't be if he was shitty to Spike. He wasn't pissed at Spike, he was pissed at his brother. That long pause before Sam denied Ruby was around...yeah, more lies though he wanted to believe it. He was also irritated Sam couldn't wait for Dean to call. Probably because he had things to do with the skank. Dean pressed his forehead against the cool tile and just stared at nothing for a few minutes, letting the water cascade over his sore muscles. Fuck, he was sore everywhere. Between the swimming and fucking and bruises from the vampire house of horrrors, and the new bruises he surely added when he and Spike were slamming into each other like eight year olds at the amusement park, he wasn't surprised he was sore. Funnel cake...yeah they would have to stop by the carnival and get some more funnel cake tonight. He wondered if there was any description of it he could come up with that would gross out the vampire. He'd have to think on it.

By the time he got out of the shower, he couldn't deny he felt a helluva lot better. For as much cum as there had been he was surprised Spike and he hadn't been all but glued together this morning.

He dried off and realized he hadn't brought in fresh clothes. He debated about giving Spike a thrill and decided he would. There was something about that vampire that made him want to tease the guy until he was hard. He paused at the mirror and looked at the vampire bite. With those teeth, he was shocked he didn't have a great big bite that looked like a dog had gotten hold of him. He ran his fingers over it. It hardly hurt and looked half healed up already. Huh. Pausing at the door, hand on the knob, he decided after he got dressed he would reassure the vampire he was cool with what happened the night before.

Dean came out of the bathroom naked and felt water drip onto his shoulders from his still wet hair. The scent of coffee hit him. Walking over to his duffel, he pulled out some fresh clothes, bending over a little as he pulled on his underwear, giving Spike a clear view of his bare ass. He slipped into his jeans and pulled on a t-shirt then walked over to the coffee which was on the nightstand by Spike. He took a careful sip of the coffee and was pleased to find it was pretty decent coffee for motel coffee.

"Mmm, dude, you rock," Dean said as he closed his eyes and enjoyed the coffee a minute. He set the coffee down and saw that Spike had gathered a few pamphlets. Dean sat down on the the same bed as Spike. "Hey," he said, waiting for Spike to look at him. When Spike did, Dean leaned in and kissed him, sliding his tongue into the vampire's mouth and tangling it with Spike's for a moment before breaking the kiss. With laughing eyes and a smirk Dean told him, "I'm not sure which is better. Last night's sex or this coffee."

Wanting to gage Dean's mood, Spike had silently endured the teasing, the naked bending over and the slow slide of clothes being pulled up Dean's legs and then covering his chest. Either Dean was flirting, which he liked and wanted more of or he had decided last night never happened and that Spike was back to just being a 'thing' and walking bout bare arsed was of no consequence. The kiss was a nice surprise though, unexpected and too bloody short, but nice. "Tonight's sex," Spike answered, without missing a beat and running his hand up and down Dean's side. He was anything but sure it would happen, but he had to toss it out there and the kiss did give him hope in that direction.

Dean chuckled as he straightened up. He was glad to see the veiled look gone from Spike's eyes like Spike was waiting for the other shoe to drop or something. "Don't start something," he cautioned Spike lightly smacking his hand. "You know if we stay in the room I'll fall asleep. And the sun is only up for so long. And I'm starved and I'm cranky when I'm hungry, and pissy when I'm starved. Grab the pamphlets and let's get to the diner." He slapped Spike on the thigh and stood up. He had planned to sit there and go through the pamphlets with Spike, but his growling stomach demanded food before anything else.

Dean gathered his wallet and keys, slipped into a couple more layers of shirts, and pulled on his old coat. The vamps had taken his newer one and his watch. He really needed to replace both but shrugged it off for now. Really, what did it matter what time it was? And this coat was okay for now, a couple stains of blood that hadn't come out in the wash and it was ripped and torn here and there, but so were his jeans. He saw Spike almost hesitate at the door and wondered how long it would take Spike to get used to the idea the sun wasn't going to turn him to smoldering pile of ash.

"We really should get you some sunblock and sunglasses," Dean said as he tugged the door shut behind him, being careful not to spill his coffee.

"The slight pain reminds me I'm alive, or close to it anyway." It did remind Spike of the gift he'd been given, assuming there were no negative ramifications to this version vampire that he'd turned into. It wasn't something he was going to worry about, there was no point in betting against himself. Glancing at Dean, he followed him across the car park.

Once they reached the diner and were settled at the table, Dean pulled some of the pamphlets over. "So where are we going to today Kimosabe?"

"Kimo what be? Never mind, I'm sure I won't like it," Spike added giving Dean a wary look. "Right, there's a festival, called Pig On The Ridge. It's a barbeque cook off or some such, but there'll be classic cars and a party, lots of beer. Down your alley," he said. "Or there's a re-enactment of the Revolutionary War. We could go watch and make fun of how your countrymen exaggerate the kicking of my king's arse." Not that he'd given a damn about his king back then.

Dean laughed at the look Spike gave him. "Dude, watching people pretend to shoot each other and die, or food, cars and beer? Never much for history unless it was Schoolhouse Rock. Pig of the Ridge, most definitely." The waitress showed up then and Dean and Spike both requested coffees until Dean had a chance to look at the menu. Dean watched her ass as she walked away. She was pretty hot for a diner waitress. He shook his head and returned his gaze to the man across the table from him. "So, you really don't eat and won't enjoy the barbeque, though you do beer and will enjoy that. Do you even like classic cars or is this just for me?"

"Don't flatter yourself. Next you'll accuse me of taking you out on a date. And I drink coffee, and eat that wormy thing you try to hoard. And she's married, or has kids at least," he added, Dean's interest in the girl not having escaped him. "Four of them, you'd make a great da."

"I don't need to flatter myself," Dean said, smirking. "And date? No, don't think so. Yeah, coffee and alcohol, but those are necessities of life, or unlife, or whatever. And I seem to recall offering you half of it. You're the one who tried to hoard it." Dean's gaze shot back to the waitress. "And just how the hell would you know she's married and has four kids. She didn't have on a wedding ring. You're fucking full of. I'm surprised your eyes aren't shit-brown instead of thunderbird blue."

Spike made a face at having been caught out though he didn't roll over. "I have this thing called a sense of smell and I smell four little horrors that have crawled all over her. Thunderbirds... you like those?" He knew full well Dean wasn't going to make that admission so he went on. "Let's do the Pig thing, but I'll take the keys if you're drinking. It's a long drive. Don't give me that look, I was bloody well around when driving was invented so I'm more than qualified."

"She works at a diner. Hard telling where those smells come from. That's assuming you're not lying through your teeth again about what a vamp can and can't do," Dean said giving him a suspicious look. "Yeah, Thunderbirds are good looking cars. And you are so not getting my keys. No one drives my baby but me. And when driving was invented no one took driving lessons and cars didn't go more than fifteen miles an hour."

The waitress showed up with their coffees and Dean gave her a charming smile. "I've got a wager with my friend here. He says you're married with four kids, and I say you're single and available. So who wins the bet," he looked at her name tag, "Charlene?"

Her gaze went first to one of the men, then the other, then back to Dean. "Single, available, and off work at three," she said with a smile, "I'll be happy to take you back to my place and prove it." Winking, she rattled off the lunch specials. "So what will it be?"

"Three o'clock, that's too bad. He's busy until evening and..." Spike said.

"Oh, I can give him my address, sweetie," she answered, looking back at Dean again.

"The barbeque is quite far," Spike reminded Dean.

Dean glanced at Spike and couldn't tell if Spike was acting jealous or not, but he thought maybe he was and grinned to himself. "Why don't you gimme your number," he said with a wink. "If we get back early enough maybe I'll be able to give you a call. And I'll have the special with the cheeseburger."

Charlene scribbled her name, number and address down on the back of an order slip and slid it over to him. She smiled at Spike. "Debra thinks you're cute by the way. I'm sure she'd give you her number. And she'll die when I tell her you're English." She discreetly pointed out a busty short blonde with long hair and a sparkling smile. When the waitress realized Spike and Dean were looking at her, her cheeks reddened and she hurried behind the counter. Charlene scribbled something on her order pad, gave Dean a smile and lingering look, then headed back to place the order.

"She's not your type," Dean told Spike. "She's married with four rugrats."

"Always did like rugrats, the grubbier the better." His gaze met Dean's. "It's a real shame we're going to be 'that' late getting back."

"Are we now?" Dean asked, trying to read Spike and was frustrated that he couldn't. Did Spike want to get back early enough to take the girls out--and Dean wasn't quite sure how he felt about that--or was he wanting to keep Dean out too late for the ladies?

"Real shame," he nodded. "You'll just have to make due with me while I compete with the motel coffee. Got something on your mind, hunter?" He wasn't sure, but he felt there was more than joking going on between them.

Dean was silent a moment. Did he want to have sex with Spike again? It had been good and...he let Spike top because he was afraid of what he might do, but he wondered how it would feel to have Spike beneath him. To have someone willingly bottom for him. He felt his emotions twist around inside him. He didn't want to use Spike and last night hadn't been that. But he didn't want to take advantage of Spike for his own selfish purposes. Spike had told him 'no' and he wanted to make damned sure he was sleeping with Spike because he wanted to, not because he needed to. "Might have to. Coffee was pretty damned good though. Just thinking about barbeque and beer and classic cars. So just how far away is this Pig-Ridge anyhow?"

"This far on a map," he showed Dean by holding his thumb and index fingers up. He hadn't really answered because it wasn't more than a few hours and he was thinking on Dean's reaction. He wasn't going to push the hunter, same as he'd told Sam not to put pressure on the man. "There's a ghost town on the way, we could stop to see if there are any about. It might make both of us feel right at home."

Dean gave a snort. "Real good estimate of distance there Spike. No, no ghost towns. I'm not missing barbeque and classic cars to spend the day researching and digging up bones to salt and burn. It can be someone else's problem today." He gave Spike a look and an almost resigned sigh. Of course, it was probably the good old Winchester Curse. He'd had one day of fun. Mustn't give him too many days of feeling semi-human again or he might get used to it. "Unless you know there are really ghosts there that have been causing problems?"

"Never heard of the place before, sorry." He shrugged. "I meant just to see what gimmicks they've used to get tourists. It's probably not a real ghost town, there are very few of those. I thought you might need to kill a bit of time before you stuffed your face again but I forgot who I was dealing with." As if on cue, the food arrived and the flirty waitress set Dean's food down in front of him and took her time about it. Spike drummed his fingers on the table, his gaze on Dean's eyes which were staring at her neckline. She must have pulled her blouse and apron down right before she came over, Spike thought.

Dean chatted with the waitress very briefly, his eyes taking in her newly exposed skin and the way she bent over just a little extra for him. When she walked away Dean noticed she had left a slip of paper for Spike with a number on it. Must be Darla or Debra or whatever the blond's name was. He also noticed Spike's drumming fingers and a very mild glare coming from Spike. Yeah, there was definitely a little bit of jealousy there. "Well, maybe we'll check it out on the way back or something if you're sure there's not any real ghosts there. Have I mentioned the Winchester Curse to you yet? If something bad can happen it will happen, and not just run of the mill crap but grade A, holy shit stuff. Just so you know." With that, Dean picked up his burger and took a big bite of it, juices running down his chin and an 'mmm' coming from his throat.

* * *

Dean had enjoyed himself more than he would have believed. The food was great, the beer was decent beer not piss water, and the classic cars, he hadn't seen so many classic cars in one place maybe ever. He talked with a lot of the owners, looked at engines, wished he could afford to chrome out a few things on his baby or get a hemi carb for her. He drank most the day, but he mostly nursed his beers except at the very beginning. Spike seemed to be interested, walking along with him and occassionally throwing in a comment when they came across the couple old British cars. Dean hoped Spike hadn't been too bored, but Spike pretty much stayed with him even if he was. If it had been Sam, hell, Sam probably would have sat under the tent with his damned laptop. Even more likely, Sam would have just stayed at the motel and told Dean to go by himself.

They arrived back at the motel not long after sunset. Dean pulled into the parking lot. "You go on in. I'm going out for a little bit."

That caught Spike unawares. He'd already opened the door and had a foot out, expecting Dean to get out of the car too. He turned and searched his face. "Weren't you tired?" There were twenty other questions in his head, but it was the only one he could ask.

Dean shrugged. "Kinda used to it." He gave Spike a smile. "I'm fine. I'll see you later, okay? Don't wait up."

It was a facade, but for the life of him, Spike couldn't get behind it... couldn't fathom what was really in the hunter's mind. He supposed it had to be Millicent, or whatever the bloody hell the waitress was called. Reminding himself he had no claim on the hunter, he gave a nod. "Right then, don't do anything I wouldn't." He got out of the car and closed the door, but looked through the window for a moment, before straightening and waiting for Dean to leave him there.

Dean felt a little guilty leaving Spike there but he needed some time to himself, some time just to think. The carnival was still going and there was a bar not far from the motel, so if Spike got bored he could always check those out. Dean drove until he found a secluded pull-off with a decent view, and once he parked and shut down the engine he dug out his still half full bottle of Jack.

* * *

He looked a lot more like himself, the old Spike. The Big Bad, what with his new black leather duster layered over a red shirt and black tee, rugged motorcycle boots, and a bit of product in his hair. He'd considered black eyeliner but hadn't gone quite that far. Not yet anyway. He'd love to think, to tell himself it was because he'd been bored, or because he'd needed clothes, but he knew the truth. He was overcompensating. He felt nothing like the Big Bad at the moment.

When Dean had left him at the motel, he'd tried to watch the telly or sleep. Neither plan had worked. Instead, it was his mind that had done all the working. For a few hours, he'd gone over every minute they'd spent together. Recalled the way Dean laughed or shoved him away, or pulled him close. He hadn't been faking, they'd both enjoyed themselves. Last night. Today. All of it. Yet Dean had pushed him away to... Right, he'd never said where he was going. Spike's strides lengthened as he headed down the sidewalk, his duster billowing behind him.

He wanted Dean to be better, to find himself. Shouldn't he be happy the hunter had found the courage to spend the night with that waitress, and that maybe, just maybe, being with him last night had helped? Yes, he bloody well should be happy, and yet he wasn't. Last night had been so good that despite the way Dean had looked at the waitress, Spike had been quite sure there would be a repeat performance. Round two. Him and Dean. Wrong, bloody fucking wrong. The thing of it was, he wasn't so sure it was just missing the sex that annoyed him. What annoyed... no, hurt was that they'd had a perfect day and it had been brought to a screeching halt with Dean ending it early to see the blonde. It was the company he missed, the sense of having someone there who was a friend and who cared, which was nonsense since they'd known each other for only a short while. Only Spike did care about Dean and more importantly, for Dean. Every day, every hour, just a little more. He was going down that road again, he knew it.

He'd been in love with the Slayer. It had been rocky, impossible, explosive and beautiful, and when it ended, despite what she'd told him to the contrary, he'd known what he'd always known. He loved her more than she ever loved him. More than she could ever love him. It wasn't her fault, it was his lot in life or unlife. He was the one who had to live with it. Still, the parallels he drew in his mind were eerie. He'd pushed Buffy, forced her to either see past the fact he was a vampire or to find the darkness in her, the part that wanted a bit of pain and kink in order to feel, to know she was alive. Was history repeating itself here? He baited and pushed Dean, he made no bones about wanting sex and making it interesting and kinky with room for much more and hopes of more.

Tortured by these thoughts, he'd been constantly looking at the clock and listening for the Impala's engine. Waiting for the impossible, falling for Slayers and Hunters. Right, this vampire needed to get his head examined. Worse yet, he needed to get it together. While he'd been busy feeling sorry for himself, something dark and familiar had crept up on him with a vengeance. A craving for blood, for human blood. It was one thing to want it when he was having sex or vaguely think about it, and another to have every cell in his body clamoring for it, clawing at him insistently and driving his thoughts in that direction. It hadn't been like that last night, not before and after the blood lust once he'd taken a taste. This was like when he'd first been turned, an undeniable hunger that ravaged his insides and demanded satisfaction.

Dean. A human on the telly. Dean. The woman at reception. Whoever was out in the lot. Ideas for sources of blood kept popping into his head until he was nearly driven mad by it. That's when he'd left, gone to find clothes, gone in search of himself, the Big Bad who'd conquered his blood lust a long time ago. The shopping expedition had taken his mind off his needs for a bit. But they were back full force now. He knew he was focusing too often on the throats of humans walking by. He knew he shouldn't be, and that he shouldn't walk into this bar packed with humans with warm blood gushing through their veins. He shouldn't be thinking about where there might be a blood doll house either, or whether he should hit a blood bank even though deep down he knew he wanted the blood fresh and being pumped out by a strong heart. And definitely, definitely he ought to stop thinking about creating trouble so he could justify taking the blood of some arsehole who'd taken a punch at him.

Maneuvering between bodies crushing together, he held his breath and started to mentally recite the poem he'd recited for Dean when they'd been in the vampire nest. He needed it now as much as Dean had needed it then.

***

Dean sat on the hood of his car, looking up at the stars, watching them creep slowly across the sky. He could even see the Milky Way in that big dark sky. He drank slowly from his bottle of Jack, not particularly wanting to get smashed. He did have to drive back to the motel, after all. In Hell the sky was red or black or orange or grey. Even though the sky was black here, it wasn't the black of Hell. The sky held an almost magical quality about it and he could remember sitting with a young Sam as Sam pointed out all the constellations and who they were named after and pointed out various stars. He didn't recall most of them, but that didn't matter. It was a good memory.

Letting his thoughts wander he realized he really was a selfish prick. He went to get Sam from college because he didn't want to be alone, and with their father missing, there was no one to hang with, to drink with, to hustle with, and have fun with. Sure there was the family business, and Dean really wanted the family back together, though Sam and their dad in the same room was a recipe for disaster. If he had never gone to get Sam, would Sam be in the middle of a normal life? No, Yellow Eyes would have seen to it that Sam was drawn back in to hunting somehow. That didn't change the fact Dean had picked up Sam for selfish reasons. That first year, hunting for their father, it had been awesome having his brother back with him. Sure, they fought, but hey, that's what brothers did. The second year was harder. Sam was still pretty innocent, but the psychic crap was wearing on him, making him feel like a freak and terrified he was going to go bad. Irony. Yellow Eyes was dead but the demon's legacy lived on. Sam was going bad, just like he had feared.

Sitting out in the chill air, his mind recalled so many things from his life, sad times, angry times, happy times. He was happiest when the family was together and now...now he felt alone. He wondered how much of that aloneness came from being in Hell. Was it the fact he had these terrible secrets of what he had done in Hell that he couldn't tell anyone about? Not true. Spike gets it. he thought to himself.

Since Spike had come into his life, he didn't feel quite so alone. And Spike had looked out for him from day one. Telling him the rules of the game at the vampire's house. Keeping his shattered mind from just falling apart at the first 'show' they had gone to. Jumping up on stage to help him take down the bitch. Trying to make it as easy on him as possible when the vamps wanted to watch Spike and him have sex. He didn't understand it. Why would a complete stranger care so much? They hardly knew each other but he could see it in Spike's eyes that Spike was growing more and more fond of him. He didn't quite know what to make of that, either. He had only ever had a few people in his life that really cared about him. It was almost a cosmic joke that a supernatural being, a vampire, liked him.

He wondered if Spike was falling in love with him even though he didn't deserve love, not after the things he had done. Maybe Spike and he were simply kindred spirits and the awesome sex was just sex and nothing more. Were Spike and he just friends? Did Dean want something more from Spike, more than 'therapy?' He didn't have the answers. He didn't seem to have the answers to much of anything anymore. One foot in front of the other, going through the motions, trying to keep Sam from going darkside, and trying to figure out why in Hell God thought he was worth saving. There were so many others far worthier than he was. For that matter, he wished God would step in and save Sam since Dean couldn't seem to manage it.

He finally glanced at his watch. It was going on midnight. He hadn't really resolved anything in his mind. He still didn't have an answer for any of his questions, but he had to admit, he was sort of looking forward to going back to the motel, sitting with Spike, talking, and spooning up behind Spike or vice versa. He wasn't ready for more sex. He didn't want to use Spike and he wasn't sure yet if he was or wasn't. But he did want Spike's company, the warmth, figuratively speaking, of Spike's body close to his, of feeling cared about and loved no matter what he had done. He was glad he had taken some alone time even if he hadn't sorted a damned thing out.

He tossed the empty bottle in the back seat and climbed into the car. Crap, he didn't realize how cold it had gotten. The engine turned over and soon he had heat coming out of the vents. By the time he had reached the motel, he was fairly thawed out. He sighed to himself with something close to contentment. Spike was inside probably with the TV on. The curtains were drawn but it didn't look like any lights were on though. Spike was a vampire. He probably didn't really need much light to see.

Dean walked into the room, a smile on his face. He was ready for a shower and then to crawl into bed with Spike but the TV wasn't on and when Dean flipped on the lights, the room was empty. He looked out on the little back porch. Spike wasn't there either. The smile slipped from his face. Well, what the hell did he expect? Spike to sit around waiting on him? Selfish, so damned selfish of him just to expect Spike to be there. Looking around for a note, he didn't find one and the TV was long cold.

Screw the shower. His lips pressed together in a flat line. Sitting on the bed he pulled off his boots, then stripped out of his clothes, leaving them on the floor in a pile. He shut off the light then crawled into bed, listening for the sound of Spike's boots, listening for the doorknob to rattle, as he stared off into the dark. Finally his eyes drifted closed, holding a pillow against his chest as if to make up for the keen absence of the vampire.

*

Spike ran a hand over the hood of the impala. It was as cold as the night. His gaze flicked to their motel room. The curtains were drawn and there was no light behind them. Maybe the waitress had an early day and the hunter wanted to sleep another day away. Leaning against the vehicle, Spike finished having his smoke. If he was lucky, Dean would be asleep. Somehow, for all the yearning he'd had for the man's company earlier, he just wanted his mind to turn off, and for sleep to take him now. Flicking the butt of the cigarette away, he headed for the room.

Inside, he found Dean had left the bathroom door cracked open with a light on inside. That drew a snort out of him as he turned his head to look at the man., then took a few steps so he was right over him, watching. He looked so innocent and vulnerable in sleep, and the way he was clutching that pillow like it was a teddy bear or something made his heart clench. Reaching down, he brushed his hand over Dean's forehead and hair and asked himself what sort of idiot played with fire?

The touch on his forehead made Dean stir, his eyes slitting open sleepily. He couldn't see much with only the sliver of the bathroom light to help chase away the shadows, but he smelled leather and instantly thought of his father. Was he feverish? Was his dad checking his temperature? No...no his father was dead. Sam didn't wear leather. His eyes focused on that outline.

"Spike?" he mumbled. He groaned and made himself move over to give Spike room to slip into bed with him and pulled the covers back some so Spike could. "Missed you," he murmured. Stuffing his arm back under his pillow he nestled down, his mind waiting for that dip in the mattress that would tell him Spike was joining him, staying on the borderline between waking and sleeping until he felt that body up against him.

"Did you now?" He stroked Dean's face this time, moving his palm all the way over Dean's shoulder and up the arm he had in the air. "Go back to sleep, sorry I woke you."

Dean took hold of Spike's hand when it got close enough to his own and tugged a little. "C'mon. Sleep 'side me."

Sleep with him. Spike flashed back to the night before the final battle. This was pretty much all the Slayer had needed of him. "Alright, I'll hold you," he answered. "Let me get out of my clothes." Squeezing Dean's hand lightly, he pulled his own back and shrugged his duster off. Folding it in half, he tossed it on the empty bed, then sat down onto Dean's bed and bent over, taking his boots off. He wasn't sure about this, he had all sorts of mixed feelings, but mostly they were selfish. Another look at Dean's face and that bloody pillow and he had a reason not to protect himself, but to want to protect this man. Taking his socks off, he got rid of the overshirt, then reluctantly stood up to unzip his pants and strip down to his tee and shorts.

A moment later, he was in the bed, pulling the pillow from Dean's grasp and putting it behind his back. Half sitting, he put and arm around Dean, making it clear he could move closer and rest on his chest if he wanted.

Dean opened his eyes a little wider, though they were still foggy with sleep. "What're you doing? Wan' you up against me, not holdin' me like a chick." Dean licked his lips. "You too awake? I'll stay up if you gimme coffee."

He had to laugh at that and taking a cue from the direction Dean was moving, Spike pulled the pillow down and turned onto his side. "It's alright, sleep will come when it does." He was puzzled, there was no scent of the waitress coming from Dean. "You have a good evening?" he asked, feeling the mattress dip toward him before Dean's arm closed over his side and held him around the waist. So warm, the hunter always emitted a lot of heat.

"Mmmhuh. Lotsa stars out," Dean said as he spooned up against Spike and kissed the back of his neck. "More questions than answers, though. You? And if you say the word 'Marshall' I will bite you or something."

A shiver of pure pleasure ran through Spike, making him put his hand over Dean's and press it tight against his belly. "I won't mention him, then." He could hear the rushing of Dean's blood. How it sang to him, called him in ways a human could never imagine. Even his fangs ached, though he made certain they stayed retracted. "Same. Lots of drinks, and more questions than answers.' Dean's hot breaths fanned over his throat and had him swallowing hard.

"Mmm. Sucks. Confusing. Better in the mornin' after we sleep." He pulled Spike just a little tighter against him. "'Night, Spike," he mumbled, sighing with contentment and letting sleep take him again, a smile on his lips.

"Goodnight," he said a little tightly. "And try not to use the word 'sucks.' Vampire here." Forcing his eyes shut, Spike started to recite poetry again. He'd resisted at the nest, when he was starving and the scent of blood permeated the air. He would damned well resist temptation now.

***

Dean was sort of surprised he woke up up before Spike, but since he did, he quietly slipped out. He could wait to get his shower after Spike was awake. Glancing at the closet, he decided to check how much blood Spike had left. He had no idea how often the vampire might need to eat. There was blood in the ice chest, but since he was going out, maybe Spike would like some fresher blood. Checking the time, he figured the local butcher might be open. He asked at the desk where he could find a butcher, and grabbed some coffee while he was there. He also noticed there was a microwave there. Warm blood had to be better than cold blood.

He grabbed a spare cup and lid so he could come back in and warm some up for Spike without anyone being the wiser that it was blood and not coffee. He hit the local donut shop then went to the butcher, got some burgers and some blood, though the butcher gave him an odd look at his request. He stopped off at a little grocery store and picked up some charcoal and buns and fixings along with potato chips and pie and paper plates. Satisfied he had everything, he filled up the empty coffee cup with blood and returned to the motel. He got two cups of coffee in case Spike wasn't hungry, and warmed up the cup of blood a little. Making sure no one was watching, he dipped his finger in. Seemed about body temperature and he didn't want to heat it up too much. He slid the cups into a carrying tray, stopped at the car and got the bag of goodies and his breakfast, and quietly entered the room.

Dressed and sitting on the bed, Spike had wondered if maybe Dean had decided they would do things separately today. It wasn't an idea he would fight since it would be better to fight one battle at a time. But here he was, coffee and other things in hand. He cocked his head at the distinct smell of blood. "You didn't..." For some reason, he couldn't believe the hunter had warmed blood for him, or that his stomach was turning at the though of cow blood. It wasn't what he wanted, he thought, his gaze latching onto Dean's convulsing Adam's apple, as the bloke drank his coffee.

"Morning!" Dean said, seeing Spike was up. "I brought donuts and coffee and got you some fresh cow's blood that I heated up in the microwave a little. Figured cold blood is kinda like cold coffee, drinkable, but not great. I picked up some burgers and chips and stuff. Thought maybe we'd go have a cookout this afternoon at that park by the lake we drove by. I saw they had grills there. S'pose to be a warm sunny day and figured you might like that. Maybe they've got canoes to rent or something. Or fishing poles. Thought we'd just kinda take a chill day today unless," Dean looked at Spike, "you made other plans?"

Getting up, Spike took his coffee and his blood from Dean and set both cups next to the bed. He was quick to move away from the hunter and he held his breath when he'd been close to him. Fat lot of good that did him, he knew exactly how Dean smelled, and how his blood sounded and would taste. Licking his lips, he gave a tight smile. "I'm all yours. Fishing. Haven't done that in decades. I'm not eating what I catch though." His hand rested on the nightstand, fingers drumming on it.

Dean frowned a little at the way Spike was keeping his distance and seemed distraught or upset no matter what his words said. "You okay? Did I...did I screw up or something?"

"Eh? No, it's not you. Thanks, for..." he pointed at the nightstand with his chin. When Dean's gaze lingered on him, it felt like the hunter was seeing straight through him. He looked away, his hand fisting around some of the bedding and holding as tightly to it as Dean had been clutching the pillow last night. "You wanted to babysit me, well here's your chance hunter. You watch me carefully," he said gruffly, hating that the words had to come out of his mouth. Hating more that the look of sheer excitement at going to the lake would be gone from Dean's eyes the next time he looked at the man.

Spike's words were like a stake to his own heart. The hunger, the blood lust of the new type of vampire Spike was, it was finally rearing its head. "We'll get you through this," Dean said with more confidence than he felt. Fear welled up in Dean. He couldn't keep his own brother from going darkside. What made him think he could keep Spike from going bad? He was such a fuck up and failure in everything, what if he failed Spike too? No. I can do this. I will do this. Spike wants to stay good and that'll make all the difference. Its got to. "You've done it before. What do you need me to do? Do you feel safe going out? Do you feel you need to be restrained? I can pick up some deadman's blood if you want. It'll keep you weak enough you won't be able to overpower me. We can just use a small amount, just enough to keep you under control. Tell me what to do and you've got it. I told you I'd stay with you for as long at it takes, and I meant it. Whatever it takes, I'm here."

On hearing the question about being restrained, Spike's gaze flew back to Dean's, a demand to know why he was so hot for that solution at the tip of his tongue until he saw the hunter's earnest look and started to think rather than to react. It wasn't an unreasonable question and he ought to maybe be grateful it was even in the form of a question. "Fishing, I want to go out soon as you eat," he answered. "Rest of it, not unless it's necessary. It isn't now," he said, not flinching from Dean's piercing gaze. "I'll be fine. Just... just needed you to know, in case." A muscle pulsed in his jaw. "This resets everything for you, doesn't it?"

Walking over to Spike, he sat down by him and ran the back of his fingers down Spike's face. " I've see these types of vamps beat the blood lust. And obviously you did for years. It's a reset for you, not me, but I can't read your mind. I don't know how bad it is, I don't know what you feel. I'll eat my donuts, drink my coffee, then we'll head out to the lake. I am going to get some deadman's blood tonight because there's no way in hell I'm killing you if you have a weak moment. The deadman's blood will give you a chance to get back under control, and we'll just take this a day at a time. I have faith in you Spike."

He kissed Spike on the temple. "Drink your cow's blood if you can, before it gets cold. I gotta get some ice for the picnic food. I'll be right back," he said, going over to the ice chest and opening it, pulling out the couple beers that were left in the cold water and sitting them on the carpet. He gave Spike a smirk as he headed out the door. "No snaking any of my donuts!"

"No guaranties, I've got a sweet tooth." Spike gave Dean a watery smile. Dean had faith in him. The opposite of what the'd thought. The very, bleeding, opposite. And the same tactics at the Slayer. Closing his eyes, he remembered the first time he'd been about to take a taste of human after he'd been unchipped. One thing had stopped him from ripping into a woman's throat, one thing... her faith. All she had to do was tell him she had faith, and he'd stopped cold.

Once Dean was gone, Spike stared at the cup of warm cow blood. His gaze automatically moved to the door, his eyes narrowing. He pushed himself off the bed and started to take a step to follow the hunter, then stopped, his insides feeling like they'd been torn from his body the instant he decided he wasn't going to drink from Dean. He grasped the cup and brought it to his mouth. An unfamiliar sensation washed over him. Nausea. Determined, he brought the cup to his mouth and started to drink. He was halfway through before his stomach rebelled. Only gagging sounds left him as he put the cup down and licked his mouth free of the liquid that tasted the way mold smelled. Grabbing the coffee, he drank a few gulps and walked out, pulling the door shut behind him and leaving the 'do not disturb' sign up.

*

As soon as Dean filled up the ice chest, he pulled out his phone and dialed his brother. "Sam, I was planning on heading out tomorrow, but things have gone south for Spike. I promised him I'd help, so I'm staying for a while longer."

"South... south, how?" Walking across the room, Sam moved the phone from his left ear to his right and sat down on the bed. "Anything I can do to help?"

Dean hesitated. "He's gotten sick. His needs someone to be here to help him get back on his feet. No, there's really nothing you can do...well he's got a friend," Dean wracked his brains, what the hell was her last name? "Buffy Summers, in Italy. Can you get me her phone number? I'd like to call her and let her know. They're pretty close, but I don't want Spike knowing I talked with her. I'd 'ppreciate it, Sam. A lot."

"In Italy? Dude it's a big place, what city? And why don't you get him to a hospital or isn't it that kind of sick.. Come on man, talk to me, let me help you."

"I don't know what city. How many Buffy Summers can there be in Italy? Try Rome or something first," Dean said with annoyance. Sam could find a fucking needle in a stack of needles. He was sure he could find one Buffy Summers in Italy. "It's supernatural," Dean finally acknowledged, "but I don't think he's gonna end up dying or anything. He just needs a hand at getting through it. If there was anything I thought you could do to help, I'd ask you to get your butt here yesterday. Just...just find this chick of his, okay?"

"You want me to play your long distance information operator, fine," he huffed. "I'll call you. Just make sure you pick up, I don't know who that guy is or what you're mixed up in, but you want me to butt out, so fine." There was nothing fine about it, it made Sam sick to know Dean wanted so bad to get away from him. He stared at the face of the phone for a long minute, hoping to hear something to contradict what he knew, then he pressed the off button and slammed his palm on top of the nightstand.

Dean shook his head with a sigh. Apparently he sucked at lying to his brother. His brother had it down to a science at lying to him, though. Well fuck him and his holier than thou attitude. Let Sam be pissed at him. He gave a snort, certain that would just drive Sam back to the demon-bitch. He ground his teeth and redialed his brother. "Tell you what Sammy. When you come clean to me about still seeing Ruby, and still using your fucking psychic crap, I'll give you the nitty gritty on Spike. But don't be pissed at me because you're the one keeping secrets. Spike's just another hunter that got himself in a bind. I'm not going to abandon his ass because I've hurt your feelings. Me staying here has nothing to do with you. I told you I was planning on heading to Bobby's tomorrow until this came up."

"Dean! I didn't tell you to abandon him, I asked if I could come and..." He made as if to throw the phone across the room, but just hung onto it. "Just forget it. I get it, there's is only one way, and that's your way. No one else has any say in it. Gee I wonder where you get that." This time, he did hang up on Dean.

"Pot calling the kettle black, Sammy," Dean muttered and dropped the phone back in his pocket with disgust. Sam had a real bug up his butt over this and Dean didn't really get it. He hauled the ice chest back to the room and found Spike standing outside smoking a cigarette and looking anything but happy. He even looked a little...ill. He set the ice chest down and went over to Spike, taking his cigarette from him and taking a hit off of it.

"I pissed off little bro again," Dean said, shaking his head with a sardonic smile. He glanced around and seeing there wasn't anyone around except for the occasional car on the road, he gave Spike a firm kiss on the lips. "You feeling okay?"

"Better now," he nodded, his gaze dropping to Dean's lips and making it clear that was the reason, and not because he'd downed the glass of blood. "Isn't that what little brothers are for?" Spike asked. "He'll get over it."

Dean gave him a smile. "There you go, working on my ego again," he said slapping Spike on the shoulder. "Yeah. Sam's all jacked because he wants to come help and I told him there wasn't anything he could do. And there isn't."

Spike followed Dean to the door but stood outside to watch as he finished preparing for their fishing trip. Bringing his hand close to his mouth, he took a long drag on his cigarette then rested that hand on the door frame, slightly above his head and forced himself to hold still and appear calm, battling against the nervous energy making him want to do a lot more than pace. "I've not fished before, not with a pole anyway," he mentioned. "Thought it was a waste of time waiting for them to find your hook when you could just grab them out of the water. Now I think I see the point is to have something to waste time on."

Dean gave a shrug. "Depends on the type of fishing. What we're gonna be doing is wasting time. Not only is it November and the fish have probably moved deeper into the lake, fish usually bite best early morning or as the sun goes down. Still, it's nice out, maybe we'll get lucky and catch something. I saw a little bait shop. We'll check there, see if we can rent some poles or buy some. See what they hit on around here. Worms, mealworms, minnows. Since most of us don't have super vampire speed to just snatch them out of the water. And why would you catch them if you aren't going to eat them?" Dean asked as he loaded up the car once he'd put the things down in the ice chest.

"I'm going fishing with you and I'm not about to eat them, yeah?" He smirked at the look Dean shot him, then shrugged. "If you ate everything you caught and killed, you'd be full of all sorts of ..." he waved his hand, "slime, and blue blood and scaly things, and fanged things." Sliding his hand across the back of the car, he walked to the passenger side and opened the door.

"Not like the fish are getting ready to tear your head off," Dean countered. "And eating some of the things I've killed?" Making a face Dean said, "Dude, that's just gross."
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