Themes: Hurt/Comfort, minor Character Death

Words: 1438

Disclaimer: I do not own SPN

Prompt: Written for both my hc_bingo card: nightmares and lover100 table: 044 Death.

This loosely follows the last story. It at the very least explains how they ended up together.

Rolling along a dark, deserted back road had always and would probably always remain one of Ben's favorite things to do. It was calm. It was peaceful. And if for a moment he could forget that his eyes were roving the treeline and sky for any sign of danger it would be relaxing. A time when he would have the chance to reflect and wonder; dream a bit on how he could change his life, if he wanted too.

With Claire there the tide had changed. Good nights she was awake with her feet on the dash, dancing in her seat, singing every song that came on. Claire always picked and even if the twanging country stuff wasn't Ben's thing he'd endure to watch her, happy. Nights like now when they had to drive a little longer than expected to find a motel found her stretched across the seat, head in Ben's lap. These were great nights, he kept one hand firmly on the steering wheel and the other tangled softly in Claire's hair. Classic rock floated out of the speakers and Ben hummed or sang quietly along.

He wouldn't have went back to those lonesome rides. Not Heaven, not Hell could make him.

"Ugh," Claire groaned. "You think too loud, Winchester." She twisted her back some, stretching.

Ben laughed and gave her hair a playful tug. "You love it. I think there's a stop coming up."

"Awesome." She swung herself around and flipped the station. "My back is killing me." Ben rolled his eyes, at least she was getting to rest. Claire grinned and leaned over to peck his check, she wrinkled her nose. "Can I say? I'll be happy when you're finally eighteen and that cactus on your face can disappear." The IDs Uncle Bobby had gotten for them hadn't worked out so well when Ben's baby face was compared to his. All Claire had to do was throw on a little red lipstick and hers was gold, and usually it came off as fast.

They bantered back and forth until a motel came into view and both of them sighed. Ben was tired and both of them couldn't wait to crawl into bed. Claire twisted around and started getting their bags together; they'd been on the road for a few days now, jumping between towns looking for a job. "I'll get the key," Ben got out.

After everything was together Claire dropped the bags on the ground and jumped up on the hood to wait for Ben. Watching her partner inside gather their room key and then precede to slowly back toward the door she laughed. Once he was finally able to escape she whistled, "So, Romeo you find a new friend in there?"

"Shut up." He snatched his bag from her feet. "Next time you get to go in and be Redneck Jr.'s eye-candy." Claire chuckled, following behind him.

"Long as you didn't get us mixed up in some hilly-billy massacre it'll be fine." She leaned against his back while he unlocked their room. Ben grinned and let her warmth soak in. "C'mon," she wrapped her fingers around his and urged him to drop the bag. "I'm exhausted, you're exhausted. Let's get some sleep." Ben learned long ago that arguing with Claire was futile. He let himself be pulled and when they fell he wrapped his arms around her and pulled her close.

"Night, Claire." She snuggled closer.

"Night, Ben."

Ben could remember two times he felt helpless. When his mother was taken by the demon and subsequently killed propelling him into the life he had now, and the first time Claire woke him with one of her nightmares. He continued to feel helpless every time one came, but he was only trying to count it once. He hadn't known about the nightmares until they started sharing a bed constantly, though he thought they had probably been going on for a lot, lot longer than that.

The dreams gripped Claire without warning and Ben though they were worst, more frightening when he was awake to witness its taking hold. He always tried to wake her, but nothing worked. Not yelling, shaking or even dumping cold water on her (in hindsight that was the stupidest thing Ben had ever done.) Cursed to do nothing but watch as Claire twisted up in pain, her eyes rolling around her head behind closed eyelids. She whimpered and made desperate sounds that tore Ben to pieces. He waited it out while all he could do was gather her close and repeat over and over again that it would be alright, that when she woke up he'd be right there. That she wasn't alone and, "God, please, Claire wake up."

The nightmare that took her that night was different. Ben woke up in time to stop Claire from shaking right of the bed. Her head twisted back and forth and she repeatedly mouthed the same word or two. "Claire," He grabbed her around the waist and pulled. "Sh, Claire." His fingers ran through her sweaty hair. "I'm here."

Claire shook and a sob forced its way out of her. She woke up with a strangled, "Mom!" on her lips. Claire buried her head in Ben's chest and cried freely. Ben rocked them slowly and eventually laid them back down.

"Wanna talk about it?" He asked when the tears subsided. Ben already knew the answer, it was the same one any time she woke up from the dream and stayed awake long enough for him to ask.

She was quiet for so long Ben thought maybe she had fallen asleep, then, "They took her in the middle of the night." Ben held his breath. "I heard her scream and by the time I made it to her room only one demon was left. He told me I would never see her again; she was going to a depth of Hell that not even my guardian angel would reach." Ben held in his snort, obviously the demon had missed the memo on which angel exactly Claire Novak had watching her back. "Castiel was too late, always, just a second too late. I hated him for a long time." Claire laughed mirthlessly, the past tense of once hating Castiel wasn't quite true.

"What are the dreams about, Claire?" He kissed her forehead when she tensed up. Ben, at least, knew better than to call attention to the fact that she had finally trusted him enough to tell him what had happen to her mom; Ben had shared his horrible story a long time ago.

"They're different. Sometimes I make it to her room with enough time to see her being pulled down into some pit of Hell. Others, like tonight, I make there and I'm not a snot-sniveling, weak child that I had been. I'm in the now, here and I can kick those demons' ass. And I have just enough time, just enough to grab Mom's hand and then..." She turned her head into Ben's chest, fresh tears hit his skin and he squeezed tighter. "She's ripped away from me and the floor closes up." The silence stretched again, but Ben was determined not to break it like he normally would. Claire had never shared that much of herself to him; in the year they'd been fighting together and the six months they'd been together.

"I wish I could take it away," He whispered.

"Oh, Ben." Claire leaned up and looked him in the eye. "You've no idea how much you help me. Everyday." Ben's cheeks went red and his stomach fluttered; he was such a chick sometimes. "Hold me tonight, every night. You know as much as I do, it'll never go away."

Ben thought about his own nightmares that gripped him some nights. The circumstances weren't much different between them, except with Ben's mom he'd been the one to perform the exorcism, he'd been there when the demon was sent back to hell and his mother had laid weak and broken in the trap. He'd held her while she quietly slipped away. Claire had never had any such closure.

"We'll find your mom."

"My mom is dead." He hated the way she said it, like she'd accepted the fact a long time ago.

"Her soul is still in Hell and that's no death anyone should have." Especially souls that didn't deserve to be there and after everything Amelia had given up the least anyone could give her was a chance at peace.

Claire snorted, but Ben knew it was wet with tears and her voice soft and fond, "Fucking Winchesters."