AN: So, here's the next part of the series. If you haven't read the other ones I suggest you do so first. They are (in order): Leaves of Trust, Blown Back, Escaping ways and Falling Through.

Some of this have been amazingly easy and fun to write, and other bits have been impossibly hard. It ended up quite different from what I'd thought, but hopefully I won't disappoint you horribly. To add insult to injury this is unbetaed. My boyfriend and I broke up, and he used to help me out with it most of the time. I've done my best but if someone wants the job (as beta, not boyfriend!) it'd be great. You would get the works about as finished as this one, just before everyone else ;)

Now I will stop rambling and let you get on with the story.

.oOo.

Dean hates May. All things considered he thinks it might be justified, given the shit that has happened during the month. The first time Sam was killed happened in May, and as such Dean was dragged to hell exactly a year later. Then Lucifer rose (May), Sam threw himself in the cage (May), Bobby died (May) and finally Cas locked himself in heaven and Sam died for good (always May).

Sam's birthday is in May as well, and isn't that a fucking joke. When 31 years had passed since Dean's baby brother was born there had been no one left to celebrate. If Dean had known the year before he would have gotten Sam a cake.

Scratch that, had Dean known last year he would have knocked his brother out cold and locked him in a cupboard. Then he would have retaken the trials by himself and made sure Sam survived. If it's egoistical whishing his present existence on Sam then so be it. If he was given the choice Dean would switch in a heartbeat, Sam always did better on his own anyway.

But at the time Dean hadn't known. A year later Sam's birthday has come and went without his brother, and Dean can do nothing about it. He hates Sam for leaving him alone, only to hate himself even more for ever thinking something like that.

It's all a haze really, May. The dates roll past him, too many of them connected to haunting memories, and Dean can't say if he feels too much or nothing at all. He's been drunk constantly for the last three weeks, going from job to job, being very careful to never stop long enough for contemplation. If asked he can't say when he last slept more than ten minutes, or took the time to lie down on an actual bed.

Frank once told Dean to decide to be fine 'til the end of the week, and then do the same thing next week. He'd been told to do it with a smile or not at all, and that he should be professional. Dean has a feeling he's not succeeding. He can see it in the looks from people he talks to on the jobs, and he can feel it in all the scrapes and bruises he picks up from hunting even the simplest spirits.

Dean rationally knows that he is taking stupid risks with his life, going on the way he is. At the same time he's not sure he can refrain from blowing his brains out if he gets time to think, so he keeps moving. It's nine itsy-bitsy days left until June, he can sleep then.

A werewolf has been killing people in Boise, Idaho, and that's what Dean concentrates on. Saving people, hunting things, the family business. Anything that is a distraction is welcome, and keeping the innocents that way is about the only thing Dean has left so he focuses on that.

He has the werewolf's origin narrowed down to a few blocks in the east part of town, and he drives around the posh neighborhood as the last full moon of this month rise above the roofs. If he doesn't catch the beast tonight he'll have to come back later. With his luck one of the house owners will call the police before the werewolf shows itself. This is the kind of place where a circling car sticks out like a nerd in a football team.

Dean has just decided to park the Impala for a while when he spots her, ducking into an abandoned playground. He grabs his knife, vary of the sound of gunshots so close to people, and take chase. It feels good, the focus on the hunt, the kick of adrenaline, it grounds him.

Maybe Dean's feet aren't as quiet as they used to be, or maybe the wind isn't in his favor, because he hasn't more than stepped into the playground before the werewolf notices him. She turns and Dean can tell she used to be beautiful. He wishes there was a way to save her. When she charges he has yet to drawn his gun and the knife hangs motionless in his right hand.

Time stops. Dean meets her yellow eyes but he cannot move. If he lets her bite him now, but finishes her before she kills him, then he'll be a werewolf. As a supernatural creature he could die and not go to hell. It's a way out.

Purgatory is the last place where Dean can remember feeling good. Yes, it had been a fight to survive and he'd been more than sick of the forest, but it had felt pure. In purgatory things had made sense, it had been him, Benny, and Cas against everything. If you for even a second focused on anything but staying alive you were dead. It had been easy.

The knife slides out of Dean's hand as things start moving, slow and fussy. He sees a raised arm and feels a sting across his chest and the loss of footing. Next thing he knows he's watching the world from the side, gravel stretching out like a wall next to him. Dean wouldn't mind falling asleep here.

Slender legs turn up in Dean's field of vision and he realizes that the werewolf is wearing pumps. Huh. A strong grip around Dean's arm snatches him back up and his view is filled with sharp teeth. Something in Dean fractures at that, instinct kicks in and he has his gun in his hand and a bullet fired before he's consciously aware he's going to do it.

The sound is sharp and loud in the night, echoing between the buildings. Someone's bound to have heard it and Dean wastes no time, he grabs his knife and bolts before the police shows up. Leaving the dead body behind is stupid but unavoidable at this point. With his pulse fast and loud in his ears Dean gets in the car and drives, slowly, toward the interstate. In his rearview mirror he can see the blue lights of police cars a few streets over.

Dean manages twenty minutes before he has to pull into a roadside parking space. Raising a twitchy hand to rub his face he realizes he must have grazed his cheek on the gravel, he doesn't feel any pain but there's blood on his fingers. The buzz of alcohol and lack of sleep is gone, leaving behind only startling clarity and an unhealthy amount of adrenaline.

Even now he can't shake the feeling that he should have let it happen, that he'd be better off that way. It scares the shit out of him. Dean owes it to everybody who's died instead of him to fucking make something of the chance (punishment) he's been given. Quitting is not an option, he has too much to pay for to do anything as selfish as dying.

In the end Dean decides to blame it all on temporary insanity. Given how long he's been awake and what he knows about the effects of sleep deprivation it wouldn't surprise him. Hunting isn't an option right now, Dean recognizes that, given that his mind obviously can't be trusted at the moment.

The adrenaline is still sliding through Dean's bloodstream, making actually doing something about the fatigue impossible. He also knows that whenever he manages to fall asleep he wakes a few minutes later, pictures of hell and Sam and death freshly painted on his eyes. It's irrational to wish for narcosis Dean knows, but damn it would be nice to be put under now and woken in June.

With nothing else to do Dean drives.

It comes as no surprise to the hunter when he ends up in front of Eliot's. The destination hasn't been set consciously but he has known where the roads have been taking him. Dean wonders if this is wise, but he doesn't know what else to do. He can't sit idle, doesn't dare to hunt, and he's not above admitting that driving non-stop for over a week might not be a good idea.

The birds have just woken as Dean turns off the engine and he hates them a little bit for singing so cheerfully. It's just after six in the morning and the street is thankfully empty as Dean steps out of the car. He wonders if Eliot is still asleep.

Standing in front of the sturdy hardwood door Dean thinks of Lisa. He can't remember how many years ago it was that he stood in front of her door. Given what happened to her and Ben Dean knows he should probably just walk away. Everyone he gets close to ends up hurt, or worse. Even so Dean has no good options. It's either this or Charlie, and Eliot does at least have a chance to defend himself.

Dean's hand is uncooperative and heavy as he lifts it but he does it quickly, leaving no room for hesitation. He can hear the doorbell chime inside and knows it's too late to change his mind now. He hopes this doesn't prove to be too big a mistake.

.oOo.

Eliot has just finished his shower when his doorbell rings. It's too early in the morning for casual visitors, in fact the only people he can imagine visiting before seven o'clock are annoying officials trying to force a job on him. His answer to that would be a resounding no, Eliot's tired of being the fall guy for a government that couldn't care less about him when it mattered.

On the off chance that it's someone else he does open the door, towel in hand and his hair dripping water on his t-shirt. It's not some stuck-up military officer, it's not even Vance. Outside stands Dean Winchester.

The man looks broken, for lack of a more suiting description. Eliot gets the feeling that that deep dark pit he'd been hoping Dean would avoid falling into when he'd left six weeks ago? Yeah, he'd got sucked right into that. By the looks of it Dean hasn't slept in days.

Dean is very determinately not meeting Eliot's eyes, but that only gives Eliot the opportunity to really take the man in. Scraped up skin over Dean's left cheekbone speaks of a rendezvous with a dirt road, and Eliot's not even sure Dean's realized his t-shirt has a crimson stain of blood over his ribcage. It's not large but enough to be noticed.

"Come on." Eliot says and moves aside, letting Dean in the house.

Maybe Eliot should have started with 'good morning' or 'hello Dean' or some other pleasantries, but he thinks Dean will forgive him. Besides, Dean doesn't say any of those things either. Instead he simply steps inside.

"Thought you might be asleep." Dean comments as Eliot close the door. The hall feels dark without the sunlight streaming in.

"I don't sleep much." Eliot offers. "I usually go running before the sun rises, when the streets are empty."

Crossing into the kitchen Eliot pulls out eggs from the fridge. "Breakfast's in twenty minutes, the bathroom is the second door on your right if you wanna shower." He doesn't ask Dean what he's doing here; it can wait until they've eaten. Nothing seems desperately urgent and if it is Dean's capable of bringing it up himself.

"Thanks man." Dean answers and it's weird to see him so subdued, distant even. It's not the kind that comes from weariness or alcohol either, rather the kind that comes from focusing too much on what's going on inside you. "I'll just grab some stuff from the car."

Eliot watches through the window as Dean walks to the trunk of the Impala. At least he moves like he's uninjured, so hopefully the major things are fine. Correction, the major physical things seems to be fine. In a way it's easier to fix a knife to the abdomen, Eliot knows. Wounds like that are pretty straightforward.

Twenty minutes is a big overestimation of the time making breakfast takes Eliot. He knows he could have it done in less than fifteen, but Dean looks like a man who needs a decent shower. When his guest takes his time and finally exits the bathroom half an hour later Eliot isn't surprised.

"It smells great in here." Dean declares as he enters the kitchen and Eliot turns around from setting the frying pan back in its cupboard. The shower has made a distinguished difference on the man, the blood and dirt is gone from his face and he seems more relaxed.

"It's just eggs and bacon." Eliot says with a shrug. "A hint of curry, pepper, some scallions." Dean raises an eyebrow at him, and despite the gesture feeling slightly forced it's good to see that he's still got it.

"Just eggs and bacon, right?" They sit down at the table and Dean scoops up food on his plate; at least he hasn't lost his appetite.

"There's no point to cooking bad food." Eliot answers honestly. "I've eaten enough shitty things as it is."

"I bet." Dean says and takes a sip of the coffee Eliot's poured for him. "Damn this is good. I could hire you for my personal coffeemaker."

"You couldn't afford me." Eliot meets Dean's eyes over his own coffee cup.

"Yeah?" Dean jumps to the challenge. "How much for an hour?" Eliot can't help but laugh at that.

"I'm too good to charge by the hour, it's by the job, and given my current occupation and financial status money couldn't make me take any job I don't want."

"And if it's one you want?" Dean asks around a forkful of eggs.

"If it's for a good cause, and I'm the only one who can do it, I'd probably do it for free." Eliot admits. He doesn't explain that it's about the feeling of not ever again being paid to do someone else's dirty work. That it's a way to guarantee that he does it for the right reasons. Not that he's done anything outside of Leverage for years anyway.

Eliot is hesitant to break the relatively carefree mood, but at the same time he knows that it has to be done. Hell, Dean's not stupid so he's probably waiting for it.

"So, what brings you here?" Eliot fights to keep the question from appearing abrasive and hopes Dean doesn't take it like he's not welcome.

Silence falls for a moment and Dean sighs. "I don't know." He says and rubs his newly shaved chin. Eliot doesn't believe him. "Distraction." Dean finally reveals and Eliot knows that's at least the truth, just not all of it.

"Okay." Eliot concedes, he doubts pressing Dean to talk would end in anything but disaster. "My plan for the morning is the garden; weeding, cutting the grass, that sort of thing. You up for that?"

"Sure man." Dean says and Eliot thinks he looks relieved.

Eliot doesn't ask about the blood on Dean's shirt, or if the man's injured. Dean is experienced enough to know not to do anything stupid, and at the moment the distraction of physical work should do the man some good.

"How'd it go by the way?" Dean asks as they're clearing the table. "Did you tell them?" It takes a second before Eliot deciphers the question.

"Yeah, I did." Eliot crosses his arms and lightly bites the sides of his tongue, trying to appear unfazed. He's not convinced it was the right choice, but it had to be done.

"And?" Dean presses. Eliot shrugs.

"Parker took it pretty well, the girl believes in Santa after all." He can't help a small smile as he says it, even if he's decently sure she had nightmares the first night. "Hardison's not… He's…" Eliot trails off with no idea what to say. Six weeks and a lot of research later the computer genius is just starting to get over the shock. At least Eliot's confident that the brewpub is thoroughly warded.

"Hm." Dean says, and Eliot's happy it's not an 'I told you so'.

.oOo.

The sun is beating down on them, warm for the end of May. Eliot scratches his forehead through the bandana and squints at Dean. "No, that's a carrot." He says. Apparently the hunter hasn't seen an actual vegetable garden before and is therefore not great at telling the wanted sprouts from the unwanted ones. Eliot does his best to teach him.

"What?" Dean says. "It doesn't look like the rest of the row."

"That's because the seed ended up among the radishes. Just leave it, it'll grow just as well there."

Eliot educates Dean in soil-types, and which vegetables grow better if the soil's a bit poor. He points out different types of lettuce, and stresses to never let them dry out or the leaves will be bitter. If Dean finds it boring he doesn't complain.

Working this way reminds Eliot of when he ended up in Toby's kitchen. How cooking had been nothing more than a distraction to him at first, and how crucial that distraction had been at the time. Toby had saved Eliot - more than he thinks the man has ever realized - with menial tasks and useful lessons that were about something besides killing. Eliot can only hope he might at least do something remotely similar for Dean.

It remains unclear what exactly drove Dean to his doorstep this morning and Eliot's wondering whether he should ask. Whether Dean would want him to. Eliot decides Dean wouldn't, and finds himself hoping that doesn't make him a coward.

They finish the garden before ten o'clock and step back inside. Eliot can see from the way black dirt stay under his fingernails even after washing that they'd need cutting, but it can wait. Keeping Dean occupied is the priority so he goes on with his daily routine, determined to drag Dean along with him.

Dean provides nowhere near the usual amount of annoying banter, and Eliot finds himself actually missing it. There's nothing carefree left in Dean today, he's almost too polite and easier to deal with than expected. Most of the time Eliot feels like there's no one home. The only feeling that frequently surface in Dean is exhaustion, yet there's something brewing behind the green eyes that Eliot can't quite name but thinks he recognizes.

There is a deep ache that's settled in Eliot's gut, a memory of the desperate suffocation and crushing self-hatred that ruled his life in the years before Leverage. He knows it's triggered by Dean's state of mind where it leaks through the cracks in his paper thin facade, but he can't blame the man. All Eliot wants is for it to go away, for both of them, but he's at a loss for how he can accomplish that.

Back then Eliot would have needed someone to remind him he was still human and therefore worthy of something better. Someone who knew him and even then was prepared to hold on to him and not let go. If he's honest with himself he might need that some days even now. Hardison and Parker go a long way but he's aware they can't in their most horrifying dreams imagine the extent of what he's done. They say it doesn't matter but he knows he will never test their devotion to the statement, because he's certain it would.

So yeah, Dean probably needs someone to tell him it's alright, whatever it is that he's living with. He needs to hear it from someone who can actually understand and he needs a hug to go with it. They're not complicated actions and Eliot despises himself for not being able to go ahead and do it, but he knows it would be horrifyingly weird and possibly scarring them both for life. Instead he brings Dean to his workout room for some sparring.

Dean whistles as he ascends the stairs and comes out in the generous open area that covers half the upper floor. "You sure take your training seriously, don't you?"

Eliot shrugs as much as he can while moving the punching bag from its hook to the corner of the room. "It's my job." He says. "I slack off and people might die." To this day everyone on the team's side have made it and Eliot intends to keep it that way, preferably forever.

"Yeah." Dean agrees, but he doesn't add anything else.

"You up for some sparring? I could use a decent opponent, the guys at the gym are mostly amateurs." Dean smirks in answer to the question.

"I'll take that as a compliment." The hunter says and shrugs out of his loose long-sleeve. Eliot can see defensive bruises covering the parts of the arms visible beneath the t-shirt. "I doubt I'm on the top of my game though."

Eliot doesn't think so either, but he refrains from saying it. "We'll see." He answers instead.

Dean's prediction about his shape turns out to be true. He's so sluggish Eliot has to actively hold back to avoid hurting him. Eliot prays he hasn't hunted in this state, but at the same time knows Dean has. How he survived remains a mystery but adrenaline spikes to temporarily stave off the fatigue seems most likely.

A small but significant chink in Dean's armor allows Eliot to trap his right arm and haul them together. In the last second he slows the movement down, so when his forehead collides with Dean's nasal bone no harm is done.

"Broken nose." Eliot marks, his face an inch from the hunter's. For a moment he can feel the warm current of Dean's breath across his cheek.

Eliot finishes the series he's started by using his left leg to lock Dean's feet and at the same time driving his right fist into the hunter's solar plexus. Dean ends up on his back on the canvas, wheezing for air around his paralyzed diaphragm.

"Jesus Winchester." Eliot can't help but exclaim once the man has regained his respiratory functions. "When did you last sleep?"

A small sigh escapes Dean as he picks himself up. "Yesterday?" He rubs his cheek.

Eliot calls his bullshit. "Yeah, for how long?"

"Ten minutes?" Dean sounds unsure and is clearly unhappy with the subject.

"So when's the last time you slept more than an hour?"

"What does it matter?" Dean questions, and that in itself is answer enough. "I'm fine." He moves forward to attack the hitter once more.

'No you're not.' Passes through Eliot's brain, but he keeps it to himself. They both already know it and there's no need to kick in an open door.

They keep at it for forty minutes, more than enough time to make sure Dean can both execute the combination that brought him down and knows how to counter it. The beings Dean usually fight might not use it, but it's common enough in Eliot's world.

Had it been a solution Eliot would just have knocked Dean out with at well aimed punch. Unfortunately the only thing it would achieve is the risk of injury and a brief unconsciousness that would be nothing like proper rest. He will have to settle for wearing Dean out and hoping for the best.

For lunch Eliot cooks a newly composed dish that he wants to put on the menu at the Brewpub, it just needs a few more tweaks first. Dean sprawls out on the couch, complaining about the lack of Wi-Fi and the moderate speed of his mobile connection. Eliot tunes him out until he falls silent, engrossed in whatever local newspaper he's searching for potential hunts.

It takes twenty minutes for Eliot to realize that the undertone of the silence have changed, far too long given he's supposed to be attuned to his surroundings. The hitter dumps the pasta in the boiling water and threads on light feet across the living room to see over the back of the couch. Dean lays on his back, asleep.

The lax fingers of Dean's left hand is still holding the phone, dangling it over the edge of the sofa in a precarious way. Eliot carefully extracts the device and places it on the table. Moving eyes behind closed eyelids, a small tense crease between the eyebrows and the protective curl of Dean's right arm around his stomach speaks clearly to Eliot. Dreams, dreams, dreams, and not of the pleasant kind either.

Eliot fetches Dean a blanket, not necessarily because he looks cold but for the feeling of safety. Even if he logically knows it's a false security Eliot always sleeps better under cover, and it seems to be universal. When the fabric settles over the hunter he twitches. For a second Eliot thinks he screwed up and woke his guest but Dean rolls to his right, presses his forehead against the backrest and stays asleep. Eliot moves to take the pasta off the stove.

.oOo.

A small sound from the living room reaches Eliot where he's seated with a book in his study. He takes it to mean that Dean's woken up, but at least the man got a solid ninety minutes of sleep. It might be nowhere close to what the hunter needs but it's miles better than nothing. Eliot takes a minute to finish the page, thus allowing Dean to collect himself before he barges in on the newly awakened man.

The scene Eliot walks in on isn't pretty, and he bites back a sigh. Dean is nursing a full glass of the most expensive brandy in the house and the eyes that look up on Eliot is bloodshot. He manages to look more tired than before he slept, maybe because his body suddenly realizes what it's missing.

"See, I do sleep. I'm all good." Dean declares as Eliot takes a seat in the armchair across from him.

"You look like shit, probably feel like it too." Eliot regrets the words the moment they leave his mouth. It's too much, too blunt, but now he has to finish what he's started. The look on Dean's face leaves room for nothing else.

Eliot closes his eyes for a moment and leans his head back against the armchair. "Dammit Dean, don't you think I've been there?" He cracks an eye open and looks along his cheek at Dean. The man looks out the window. "So spare me the lies, okay? You don't want to speak about it, fine. Just don't 'I'm good' me when it's a blatant lie."

Dean does an admirable job of pretending Eliot's not in the room for the next ten minutes, before the hitter gives up and leaves. Yeah, he thinks, I could have handled that better.

.oOo.

They go to the Brewpub for dinner and movie night. Hardison has picked out one of the original Star Wars films and Eliot can't help but appreciate the mind numbing geekiness of it. Parker squeezes her thin body in between Dean and the armrest of the couch, effectively forcing the hunter to put an arm around her shoulders.

Eliot almost chuckles, because damn that girl's got a sixth sense sometimes. After the rest and with more people around Dean wears his mask with more confidence. If Eliot hadn't seen the before he probably wouldn't notice the small tells after, yet Parker unconsciously sniffs the vulnerability out. For all Eliot knows the thief doesn't realize it happens, but he knows for a fact it's a habit of hers.

The four of them joke, and laugh, and argue about who would get to be which character in the movie. When Eliot steers the car back home he does so with a lighter heart, and he can bet Dean feels the same. He can't help but wonder if his friends will ever understand how much they've saved him.

.oOo.

With the taste of toothpaste on his tongue Eliot steps from the bathroom planning to go to bed, yet the rhythmical sound of skin hitting leather that echoes down the stairs stops him. With nothing to protect his hands Dean will be bruised and bloody in no time. Later on he will fracture his knuckles if they're not hardened enough, Eliot knows that from experience.

Dean hasn't bothered with the lights, and it's almost soothing with the dim orange glow seeping in from the street. He ignores Eliot's presence so the hitter steps around him and catches the bag as it swings towards him.

"Are you going to break my punching bag?" Eliot asks, even if he know it won't happen, nor would it matter if it did. Dean answers by driving his fist into the leather, not caring that Eliot's leaning on the other side. The force from the hit transfers through the heavy bag with enough power to push the air from Eliot's lungs.

"Why?" Dean asks, smiling. "You have a special relationship with it?"

"Come on Winchester." Eliot taunts instead of answering Dean's question. "Are you too scared to hit something that might hit ya back?" Dean's reason for being up here is loud and clear, even if it's unspoken. After all the man did manage some sleep after their last round.

The rest has at least done Dean some good. He's not back to perfect shape by any means, but he's fast and strong enough to be some kind of challenge. Eliot enjoys it, even if he keeps winning. It tires him out in the good kind of way.

Eliot wakes an hour later than usual the next morning, he is surprised but not unhappy about it even if his run is delayed and the sun is up. He returns to a house that's as quiet as he left it and takes the risk of cracking open the guest room door. Dean is passed out on the bed, seemingly sleeping calmly.

During the day Eliot sticks around his home, waiting for Dean to wake up. He doesn't. The retrieval specialist can't help but feel a small pride in that; he obviously did something right if the hunter is finally sleeping. When the night comes Eliot is bored, and not particularly tired. Sitting around all day has that effect on him. Still he forces himself to get some rest.

In the early morning Eliot wakes with a hollow feeling in his chest and an echo of dreams pounding through his body. He can't remember what they were about.

Dean has returned to the land of the living sometime during the three hours Eliot's been out. He greets him with coffee in the kitchen and they begin the routine that will come to define their days.

Mostly it's Dean tagging along for whatever Eliot normally does. They work in the garden, visit suppliers and hang out at the Brewpub, where Eliot runs the kitchen and Dean bothers guests and talks to Hardison and Parker. There are movie nights and game nights, and Eliot makes sure there are no new jobs. There is only one thing Dean won't do; the morning runs. When the days wind down they climb the stairs to the training room and spar 'til they are tired enough that even Dean will sleep. At least for a while.

There's a marked difference in the hunter. The sleep especially seems to do him some good, and his regained speed and body control sure make for more interesting fights. The moments when Dean gets that absent look remains however, and Eliot knows that whatever is going on isn't over by far.

It's a small hope that all he's seeing isn't simply Dean having energy to keep his mask up better, but Eliot doesn't think so. After all Dean has stopped trying to tell Eliot that he's fine every other minute, which Eliot takes as the surest sign of progress. Nothing speaks against itself as much as the statement I'm fine.

Eliot is honest enough with himself to admit that Dean isn't the only one who benefits from the situation, the hitter is sleeping better too. Adding to that is the fact that it's long since Eliot had the chance to work out with someone who challenge him, and he wonders if he's ever trained with someone on this level that he actually trusts. The realization is startling; yeah, he does trust Dean. Maybe he shouldn't, it's such a dangerous habit after all, but it's too late now.

The days tie themselves together and floats away under Eliot's feet. When he wakes on the first of June all that's left of Dean and the Impala is a short note on Eliot's kitchen table. 'Have to go, hunter's gone missing in Idaho.' It says, and then further down, like it's added after a few second's hesitation: 'Thank you.' At first Eliot oscillates between anger and worry, then he realizes that Dean most likely has gotten what he needed and was now forced back to his job. None of them are great at goodbyes so maybe he should consider being grateful.

Still, it would have been nice with a little preparation.

Dean better be okay, Eliot tells himself as a mantra during his morning run. He'd better be okay, and not change his phone number, and preferably come by once every now and then.

.oOo.

AN: Please tell me what you think, good or bad (flaming excluded). The next piece has already been started, so it would be great with some feedback to help me with the direction for it.