Dean's phone rang.

It wasn't an uncommon occurrence. Plenty of people had his phone number: Jodi Mills and her wayward girls, Garth and other Hunters, random truck stop waitresses and secretaries. Even a few non-humans had the number, like Cas and Crowley. On a normal day, he would answer it right away. As a Hunter, one never knew when someone in crisis might have just enough time, just enough breath, just enough battery, or just enough reception to call out for help. If a Hunter doesn't answer the phone, someone needing help might not get it in time.

Today, Dean really did not want to answer the phone.

His hands were covered in grease and engine oil. Dean was laying on his back under the Impala, depressed and more than a little upset. And in no real mood to answer the call for another job solving someone else's problems. The Impala, his Baby, his home, was broken. Dead. Surrounded by parts and engine pieces, laid out on tarps like organs on a coroner's autopsy table, Dean had finally found the problem.

For all the good it did him.

The problem was that the vehicle was almost fifty years old and still in active use instead of resting comfortably in a climate controlled garage. The problem was that Chevrolet had discontinued parts for this make and model decades ago. The problem was that the late Bobby Singer's scrap yard had been long since gutted of all usable components because of all the previous rebuilds. The problem was that as good of a mechanic as Dean Winchester was (and he was damn good), some things couldn't be repaired; only replaced. And there were no replacements.

Resolutely, Dean decided that a job (or more specifically a chance to kill something) would only improve his mood. He also reminded himself that this was his duty to the Hunting community and the world.

Dean shoved aside his bleak mood and jabbed the speaker phone button with his cleanest finger without getting up. "Talk to me."

"Mr. Winchester," an unfamiliar voice greeted him. "I hope you'll forgive me for calling on you when you never gave me your contact information. But I have a line on a job that would require your and your brother's singular talents."

"Who is this?" Dean demanded. "How did you get this number?"

"Ah, of course. I am always falling behind with pleasantries when we speak. My name is Reddington; we met while you were in FBI custody and I made you an offer of services. I hope Castiel relayed my phone number to you?"

"Red," Dean recalled, his voice falling flat. "Crime Craig's List." It had been almost a year since they had met. Wasn't nearly long enough, in his opinion, between instances where he had to deal with the man's sliminess. "Wait, I thought you were supposed to be waiting for our call, not the other way around. Me and Sam are not butt-monkeys, we are not your clients, we don't got a profile for you and yours to rate and review." This last was almost growled.

"This woman has a supernatural problem. That is your area of expertise, is it not?" Red asked reasonably, ignoring the growling.

"Well, yeah..."

"Do you object to being paid for services you would normally volunteer?" Red asked, still in that reasonable tone.

"Paid?" Dean blinked as if the idea was a foreign concept.

"Yes, Mr. Winchester," Red chuckled lightly. "How about this: I will have a down payment delivered to the address of your choosing, which will be yours to keep no matter how things turn out. You will meet with the client to see what can be done. Hopefully, everyone can be satisfied."

Dean looked at his car again. "Not everything can be fixed," he reminded Red sadly.

"An unfortunate truth of this world," Red agreed. "But the down payment will still be yours regardless. If you can rectify the situation..."

"Yeah, yeah. I get rich and you get your cut. You do get your cut, right?"

"Naturally," Red acknowledged easily. "I always get something out of a transaction."

Dean rubbed his face tiredly. "You know what? Whatever. I'll talk in over with Sam. We'll let you know."


"How is she, Dembe?" Red asked through the phone.

"Confused. Scared." The big man rumbled. "Better."

"The Winchesters did it, then?" Red needed verification. "They cured Lizzy?"

"Yes," Dembe confirmed. "She is no longer a vampire. The cure was..." Dembe groaned over use of the next word coming out of his mouth, "...trippy...enough, that she believes everything that happened to her was an hallucination. I told her she had been drugged."

Red chuckled. "Did that term come from Dean? Did it hurt when you had to repeat it?"

"Yes," Dembe growled, answering both questions.

"She's fine, then." Red sighed in relief. "And ignorant of the supernatural."

"She is fine, brother." Dembe reassured the older man. "The Winchesters said we were lucky I had blood from the vampire that turned her still on my knife. I will see her home tomorrow."

Red ended the call.


"Wonder who she was?" Sam mused as the brothers sat in a 'borrowed' car, puttering down the highway. "Red's client."

"Dunno," Dean rubbed the red mark on the left of his jaw. "I'm going with bodyguard-assassin. Chick had a mean right hook. And she was with him when those feds had me in that box."

Dean's phone rang, playing 'Dangerous' by Royale Deluxe; downloaded just for Red so he would have some warning next time. Dean put the call on speakerphone. "The girl...she wasn't a client, was she? She's your family." He demanded without preamble.

"I have been asked before, and will keep answering: Lizzy is not my daughter." Red countered, unoffended at the brusqueness.

Dean snorted. "Don't mean she ain't family. I saw her worried about you, when I was in that box. Now you're pulling out all the stops for her. Family don't begin or end in blood. Like I said, she's part of your family. Her and that big guy. Blood's got nothing to do with it."

It was Red's turn to fall silent. "Its...dangerous for me to have connections like that."

Dean huffed a bitter laugh. "Its more dangerous to not. Connections like that keep us human."

Red changed the subject. "I found your down payment in a private collector's basement. There is also a bearer bond for $200,000 with it."

Sam almost choked. "That's a lot of money."

"You provided one of a kind services," Red pointed out. "Next time negotiate your fees beforehand. Until then, gentlemen."

Both brothers were lost in thought, trying to figure out what the down payment was. Until they pulled into Singer Salvage yard (the agreed on drop spot). That's when they saw it: a mint condition 1968 Chevy Impala, cherry red. When they looked closer, it had less than one hundred miles on her; practically factory pristine. Spare parts, still in the boxes, filled the trunk.

Dean looked to his brother in shock. "I can fix Baby."