A little something ahead of the next chapter of Never Come Back… hope you like.

WARNING: They cuss a lot in my stories… ;-)




Bobby finally plugs the sonofabitch coyote that's been riling his dogs with fuckin' indecent regularity at oh-dark-thirty smack bang between the eyes one night at about eight: he's been sitting on the porch close on an hour waiting for the mangy cur to trot across the lot. And not a minute too soon, because the second the thing crumples in the dust a car tools in off the highway and grinds to a halt in front of the house.

"Lot's closed," he hollers decisively, hears a barked out laugh in return.

"Screw you, Singer. Bar's always open."

Winchester's a mess, clothes hanging off his big frame, eyes haunted, and Bobby knows that look, has seen it himself looking back at him in the mirror: open grave eyes, the red-rimmed horror of countless LZs, dust thrown up by Hueys, friends wearing steel shrapnel jewelry. In country, he thinks, and he shivers. And yep, the bar is open, and he comes round at oh-dark-thirty again, bleary at the noise, high-pitched, and he scrapes at rational thought with his fingernails, wonders why the fuck he can hear whimpering when the moth-eaten remains are stiffening in the dirt, wonders why the fuck there's a snuffling noise coming from beside the couch, and he cracks his eyes to a white face three feet away, shoots bolt upright and fuckin' regrets it. Scanners head.

"Christ," he mutters. "Kid. The fuck?" He rubs his eyes, blinks, and for a minute there's a memory there, a voice, daddy, but then it's gone, and he croaks out, "You're real."

The boy holds out a hand, paper, and he clicks on the lamp, winces, reads the scrawl, shakes his head, rubs his brow, pinches the bridge of his nose, because he's appalled and it takes a hell of a lot to get one over on him these days.

He looks up. "Your dad says here that he put your brother down to sleep on the floor."

The boy nods.

"Does he sleep through?"


"He crawlin' yet?"

The boy shakes his head, nope. Tow head, buzzcut, huge eyes bruised with exhaustion. Looks like his mom, and he never even met the woman, but God knows the boy is nothing like John.

"Your dad says here that you don't talk."


Fuck is the time, anyway? "It's… five thirty," he murmurs regretfully, glances to the window. "Hot damn. Up time." He sinks his head in his hands for a minute. Fuckin' Winchester dumping his kids on him and he knows, damn well knows Bobby can't have kids near him anymore, not after what happened to his own. Only he's muttering it, saying it out loud, "Fuckin' Winchester, dump it on me, why don'tcha… I got fuck all here for kids now, no diapers, Jesus, is the small one even weaned? It ain't safe here, and this one don't even fuckin' talk. Christ."

And his head is spinning like a fuckin' carousel and he thinks he can even hear music, see the floor coming up to meet him and then dropping away again as he twirls round and round, and he flops back on the couch, closes his eyes, breathes deep so he won't hurl.

When he wakes up again the kid is nestled up next to him, draped across him, small hands fisted fiercely in his shirt, snuffling as he sleeps, and tearstains are tracking his cheeks and there's a wet spot because he's drooling on Bobby's shirt. And Bobby finds his arm is holding the kid close and safe.

It's bright outside and he needs to piss like never before. But he closes his eyes again, and just for a minute it's like it used to be.

"You rest, boy," he whispers. "You rest."

Dean rests.


Sam hefts his duffel over his shoulder and he trudges off, and it's raining, and Dean yells his name out into the gloom, trots after him, Christ, doesn't know what the fuck to do, looks back at the motel, feels like he's in one of those boy-and-his-dog movies where the lost mutt gets adopted by a new family and then has to choose which kid he loves best, feels like Sammy is calling him from one side and his dad is calling him from the other.

And Sam doesn't look back, and his dad's whiskey-ravaged drawl breaks the silence.

"Dean. Get back in the room. He made his choice. It isn't us."

It's the last straw and he whirls, fists clenching and unclenching, and his dad barely flinches under his attack, barely steps back, doesn't say a word until Dean knees him in the nads, and then he lets rip a right hook that makes it all go away for a while.

Dean rests.


After Uriel tells him Dean remembers Hell Sam starts noticing little things, even says as much to his brother in Concrete, the drinking, the nightmares. Suppressed nightmares, repressed nightmares, twitching and whimpering, because repress and deny is Dean's MO, and these days he's all dull-eyed hangover and his exhaustion seeps from every pore, makes him gray-faced and quiet.

"You're drinking too much," he says cautiously, and Dean snorts derisively.

"No, Sam. I'm not drinking enough."

A week later Dean pulls off the road a few miles out of Sioux Falls and he tells Sam about Hell. It's halting, tentative. It's despair, and grief, and fear, and horror, and Sam can't reach out because he knows he's the reason it happened. And it's something more Sam can't put his finger on until Stratton, when he finds out that it's guilt.

Maybe after that the drinking eases off, and maybe Dean starts getting through the night without jack-knifing awake on a gasp and a barely stifled cry. And then it's Iowa, and boo-hoo, and after Iowa it's a screaming Helter-Skelter dream, hollering bedlam at two in the morning, it's hammering at the motel room door and stammered excuses, and it's his brother squeezed into the corner like a wild animal, alternately yelling abuse and sobbing out exorcisms.

And it's Sam unscrewing the cap of the bottle with shaking hands, it's Sam pinning Dean down while his brother shrieks and fights, and it's Sam force feeding his brother the liquor until Dean comes out of it and relaxes, slumps against him and slurs his name as he drifts off.

Dean rests.

Sam doesn't.


He can sense him right up there behind him, personal fuckin' space, Cas, even though the dude is damned stealthy as always, and he doesn't say a word for a full-on minute because he's so fuckin' enigmatic.

"Sam is sleeping. I cleaned him up, covered him."

His head is aching, and he swipes angrily at his eyes, knows he leaves a bloody streak across his face because he cut his hand when he smashed the bottle and then tried to suck up some more of the dregs from the shattered remains.

He's sitting in the dirt, leaning up against some old crate, and Cas sits down there next to him, leans back, his legs sprawled out in front of him because Cas is a heck of lot less uptight these days.

"You need to rest, Dean."

He shoots to his feet and vomits it all out. "I need to rest? I need to fuckin' rest? I started the end of the world, let the devil out of Hell, and your brother Mike tells me there's nothin' I can do but bend over for you guys and kill my brother. Who's been suckin' on demons and is chained down in case he goes postal and takes us all out in the process, and you have the fuckin' nerve to tell me I need to rest? Where the fuck do you get off, you sanctimonious sonofa—"

He stops abruptly, has to because Cas is right up in his face, doing the puppy dog eyes, just like Sam always used to, and he starts shaking his head, backing away. "Don't you fuckin' dare Cas, not the finger, I'm warning you I'll – Christ, at least let me lie down first, you fuckin'—"

"I'm here, and I will catch you, Dean," Cas says patiently, always patiently. "Rest. I will catch you."

And Cas catches him, so Dean rests.


In Detroit, Sam says yes. And then it all goes to Hell.

In Detroit, Dean says yes. And then Dean rests.


Thanks for reading...