Hello everyone, this is the first part of what will probably be a nice little two-shot. Contains lots of wincesty goodness, you've been warned.

The last sign Dean and Sam passed said five miles to town, but the car didn't quite make it and they had to walk the remaining distance in the sweltering Texas heat. It seemed to take forever to locate the only gas station that was run by the town's only mechanic and tow-truck driver. When he finally got around to looking under the hood, he nodded to himself for a few minutes before saying, "Yep, it's your timing belt. Pretty easy job."

Sam started to smile, but Dean shook his head and muttered, "Wait for it."

"Once we get the part," the mechanic, Biff, finished flatly.

"How long will that be?" Sam asked. And who was actually named Biff?

"Hard to say."

Dean grabbed his duffel bag from the back seat and slung it over his shoulder. "Looks like we'll be in town for awhile."

Biff nodded and jerked his head to the left. "Motel's down the road a ways."

"No. Wait, yes. No. Maybe?"

Sam shook his head as Dean continued to argue with himself. He was hot and thirsty, unpleasantly sticky, and more tired than he wanted to admit. He kept zoning out on Dean's back: the way his T-shirt wrinkled and clung wetly to his skin, the bare inch of skin between the hem of the shirt and the waist of his jeans.

"No, yes!"

Sam jumped at Dean's exclamation and turned to look at the "Mo-e-" sign that Dean was pointing at.

"I'm sure I've been here before. Why have I been here before?" He stopped short just as they reached the door to the office. "Oh no."

Sam stopped too. "Oh no what?"


Sam turned towards the female-sounding voice that came from inside the office before turning back to his brother. "Dean? Oh no what?"

"Uh, look." Dean turned and placed his hand on Sam's chest and leaned in so he could whisper in his ear. "Just, whatever I say, just go with it." He turned in time to catch the girl who came hurtling towards him. "Hey," he said, shooting Sam a panicked look over her shoulder, no doubt trying to remember her name. "How are you?"

"Good!" She stepped back. "I'm great! How are- Oh," she said as she spotted Sam. "I'm sorry." She ducked her head a little and tucked a strand of strawberry blonde hair behind her ear. She was cute. "You must be Sam. I didn't mean to-" She waved her hand between Dean and herself. "I'm Amy."

"Amy! Yes, Amy, this is my, uh-" He threw his arm around his Sam's shoulders. "My Sam."

Sam turned to look at his brother, who was pointedly ignoring him as he grinned stupidly at the girl in front of them. "You have got to be kidding me," he said through clenched teeth.

"He's shy."

"So, I guess you guys want a room, huh?" Amy smiled again and led them into the office. "A single?" She blushed again and looked away.

Dean rocked back on his heels and nodded. "That would be perfect."

Sam slammed Dean against the hotel room door as soon as it had closed behind them. "You want to tell me what's going on, sweetheart?"

"Okay, chill out!" Dean held his hands up, and fixed Sam with an annoyed look until he let him go. "I've been here before," he said straightening his shirt where Sam had grabbed him.

"Oh, no shit."

Dean gave him another look before he continued. "Dad and I cleaned out a nest of harpies in this hotel and Amy was, well, she was very grateful." He walked further into the room, away from Sam's glare. "Like, aggressively grateful, if you know what I mean."

Sam rolled his eyes. "Spare me the details."

"And it's not that I wasn't flattered, because I was. But, you know- Have you ever seen a harpy?" He shuddered. "Believe me, little brother, it's enough to turn you off of women for a good long while. Plus, I don't know. There's something off about her. So I told her I was involved with someone."

"With me?"

"I panicked!"

"You lie all the time. Like, on a daily basis. The best thing you could come up with was that you're sleeping with your brother?"

"I didn't tell her you were my brother. Obviously." Dean shrugged again. "You were the only person whose picture I had in my wallet. I had to make it believable."

Sam ran his hands through his hair and then stopped. "Wait. You have a picture of me in your wallet?"

Dean waggled his eyebrows and threw his bag on the chair. "Well, you're so pretty."

Sam felt himself flush, and turned with the pretense of getting something out of his bag. "Shut up."

"Look," Dean said, as they both stared at the bed as if waiting for it to reveal its secrets. "We're stuck here for the time being, so we might as well try to get some sleep."

They'd spent the evening in the room, except for Sam's brief foray into town in search of food, alone because Dean was avoiding Amy like she was something a lot scarier than a girl with a crush. Their evening entertainment had pretty much been exhausted between showers and dinner.

Sam scratched the back of his neck and considered his brother for a moment before saying, "Okay, I'll take the bed, you take the floor."

"Wait. Why do you get the bed?"

"Because I'm not the one who's so afraid to turn a girl down that he'll pretend that he's dating his brother."

"Well, sure. But be that as it may, I need my beauty sleep as much as you do. Besides," he said, as he pulled his shirt off. "The bed is big enough."

"You're not serious." Sam blinked at his brother's bare chest, absently rubbing his palms against his jeans, annoyed at how sweaty they suddenly were. He felt ridiculously awkward and wasn't sure how to deal with that.

"Hey, my face is up here." Dean laughed and then gave him a disbelieving look. "You're not really freaked out by this, are you? We've slept in the same bed before, Sammy."

"Yeah, but-" Sam shook his head, unable to articulate why the idea made him so uncomfortable. "You know what, whatever. Just stay on your side of the bed."

Dean grinned as he shucked his pants. "I promise I'll keep my hands to myself."

Sam raised his eyebrows at the jeans crumpled around Dean's ankles.

"Hey, I'm keeping my boxers on, aren't I?"

"Oh, well that makes me feel better," Sam said as he peeled his own T-shirt over his head.

Sam hadn't really intended to fall asleep, hadn't thought it was even possible with the awareness of Dean's proximity tugging at the corners of his mind. They'd slept in the same bed for years, but for some reason it now felt weird. It wasn't until much later when he woke up that he realized he'd been sleeping. That he hadn't been dreaming.

It had been far too long since he'd had such a warm, comfortable lethargy weighing down his limbs, he thought idly as he sank deeper into himself. So long since he'd felt safe. He sighed happily and snuggled more deeply into his brother's protective embrace.

Oh shit. Awareness came to Sam all at once in the form of a hot palm settled low on his stomach, warm breath on the back of his neck, and a rather painful and embarrassing erection.

He tried to wriggle out of Dean's arms, but Dean only burrowed closer, his lips pressed against the curve of Sam's neck. So he tried to move the hand on his stomach, but Dean's fingers tangled with his, holding him still with a surprisingly strong grip.

"I've got you, Sammy. Go to sleep," Dean mumbled. "I'll keep you safe."

Sam felt as much as heard Dean's words, low and sleep-rough, sending warm shivers down the length of his spine. He stayed in that position all night, afraid to move away from Dean's branding heat, too afraid to sink into it like he secretly wanted. He stayed there, hot and hard as he listened to Dean's deep, even breathing.

Sam finally fell asleep as the light started to creep in through the crack in the dingy curtains. When he woke up, he was alone.

After a long shower, Dean still hadn't returned, which Sam actually considered something of a blessing. He wasn't really sure how to face his brother yet, so he decided to do a little exploring on his own.

His first stop was the mechanic, but Biff was even less helpful than he had been the previous afternoon, and Sam ended up at a seedy little diner, drinking coffee and reading old newspapers. Unfortunately, the most exciting news to be had was a rash of attacks on herds of cattle across the state, which wasn't nearly enough to keep his mind from wandering to dangerous places.

Eventually, Sam made his way back to the Motel, only to find that he didn't have a key. He stood there staring at the door for several minutes, unable to decide how best to proceed. The idea of going and talking to Amy didn't appeal to him all that much.

"Now that's an interesting tactic."

He turned to find a strikingly beautiful young woman smiling at him. She was wearing a red slip of a dress that flared slightly in the breeze, her dark hair tucked into a ponytail, save for a few strands that had escaped to frame her heart-shaped face.

"Personally, I've always found turning the knob to be more effective," she said.

"Uhhhh." Sam knew he was staring, but he couldn't make himself stop. She looked like she was barely eighteen, but her voice was strangely deep and enticing, so much so that it took several long moments for him to register what she'd actually said. "Key. I don't have a key."

"Ah." She looked amused. "I bet the girl in the office has one."

"Right. That's smart." Sam covered his eyes for a moment so that he could fully revel in his humiliation. He was fairly certain he couldn't sound any dumber if he tried. "I'm sorry. I'm a little sleep deprived at the moment."

"Perfectly understandable. I'm Aylin."

Sam took the hand she offered between his. "That's a beautiful name."

"Thank you." She laughed and tilted her head. "And you are?"

"Oh!" Sam dropped her hand. "I'm Sam."

"Well, Sam. I hope we bump into each other again."

Sam licked his lips and nodded. "Yeah. Me too."

"Sam! Where have you been?" Dean's voice and smile had a slightly manic edge to it as Sam walked into the office.

"I was doing a little sightseeing," Sam said. "Hey, Amy."

"Hey, Sam. Sorry to keep your boyfriend occupied for so long."

Sam winced a little at the word 'boyfriend', but managed a smile. "S'okay. Keeps him out of trouble."

Dean laughed too loudly and turned to Amy. "I told you he was funny. But actually, I have to talk to him about something, so I'll catch up with you later."

Amy gave them a knowing smile as Dean dragged Sam out of the office.

"I can't believe you left me there for that long!" Dean said as soon as they got outside.

Sam looked over his shoulder and then back at Dean. "She thinks we're going to have sex!"

"Thank God."

"Dean." Sam jerked free from Dean's grip. "About last night- " He stopped, unsure of why he had started this particular conversation, as he had absolutely no clue what he wanted to say.

"I told you it'd be fine."


"That you'd sleep okay. You did, right? I mean, you were out cold when I woke up this morning." Dean's expression was guileless, but there was something in his tone that gave Sam pause. "Right?"

Sam finally nodded. "Right. I was dead to the world."

Dean's smile relaxed into something more familiar. "Good."

Sam waited until Dean had fallen asleep before slipping out of bed. He was too restless, too aware. Grabbing the key off of the dresser, he slipped out of the room.

"Beautiful night for a stroll."

"Aylin." Sam could feel his pulse speed up. "What are you doing out so late?"

"I could ask you the same thing." She laughed and shrugged. "Nights like this just get under my skin. The wind, the moon- Can't you feel it?"

Sam looked up at the sky, but the moon was completely obscured by clouds. "Yeah, I guess." He looked back at the girl standing before him and shook his head. "Still, you should be careful being out so late." And even as he spoke, he realized that he had left the room with out any sort of protection for himself.

But Aylin just smiled. "I'm a big girl, Sam. I can protect myself."

"Right." Sam gave her an embarrassed grin, realizing how condescending that must have sounded. "Well, do you think you can protect me as well if we, say, go on a walk?"

She had the most enchanting laugh Sam had ever heard.

"Thank you for the company," Aylin said as they walked back to the motel. "I had a good time."

"Me too." Sam slowed his pace, unwilling to leave her company quite yet. The whole night had been like a pleasant dream that he didn't want to wake up from, though for the life of him, he couldn't remember one thing that they talked about.

"I think someone's waiting for you."

Sam looked towards his room, but didn't see any sign that Dean might be awake. Gentle fingers on his cheek turned his head back towards Aylin. She ran her thumb lightly over his bottom lip.

"Tomorrow night," she whispered like a promise, and Sam could only nod and watch her walk away.

"Where the hell have you been?"

Sam jumped, surprised to find Dean suddenly standing directly in front of him. "I couldn't sleep, so I went for a walk."

"Who was that?"

"A girl."

Dean rolled his eyes. "Oh, well, a girl. Glad that's settled." He slapped the back of Sam's head. "What's the matter with you? For all your smarts, Sam, with everything you've seen, I would think you'd be able to figure out that wandering off with some strange girl- " He grabbed Sam's jacket. "Totally unprotected, I might add, is quite possibly a bad idea."

Sam shoved Dean away. "What? Jealous?" He smiled meanly when Dean flinched. "Stay the hell out of my business, Dean. I'm warning you."

"Or what?" Dean called after him as he walked away, but Sam didn't bother answering.

Sam's dreams were disjointed and murky, and he woke feeling both restless and sated. He stayed in bed for awhile, trying to clear his thoughts, but the harder he tried, the more clouded things became.

When he opened his eyes, Dean was sitting in the corner, polishing his favorite handgun. "Sleep well?"

Sam got dressed without saying a word. He grabbed a small knife out of his duffle bag and slid it in his boot before straightening. "I'm going out," he said without looking at Dean. "Don't wait up."

The afternoon sun was low in the sky and Sam hadn't realized he'd slept so long. He wandered the streets aimlessly, energy buzzing just under his skin, waiting for some kind of release.

"You look troubled."

He turned as Aylin slid up next to him. "How do you do that?"

"Do what?"

"I never hear you coming."

She flashed him a smile, her teeth shining bright in the fading light. "Maybe you should pay more attention." She slipped her hand into his, and Sam was surprised to feel the brief, sharp bite of her nails on the back of his hand. "Let's go."

"Where are we going?" Sam asked as the started walking.

"Somewhere where we can be alone."

There was a vague notion somewhere in the back of Sam's mind that he could cut himself on the edges of the smile she gave him, but the alarm bells that rang were so muted by his sudden raging desire that he didn't give it more than a second's thought before he followed her into the darkness that lay just beyond the edge of town.

"What are we doing out here?" Sam had no idea where they were anymore. It seemed like they'd been walking forever.

"Shhhh." Aylin stopped walking and tilted her head back. "Look at the stars."

He tilted his head back, and then sat down on the ground, suddenly overwhelmed by the endlessness of the night's sky. "I honestly can't remember the last time I looked at the stars."

Aylin straddled his lap and ran her fingers through his hair, her nails digging sharply into his scalp. "You're not like other people." It wasn't a question.

Sam's eyes slid shut. "I'm not." His whole body shuddered as she nuzzled his neck.

"It's alright to be different, Sam. I can teach you to enjoy it."

Sam's fingers clenched helplessly at the dirt. "I don't want to be afraid anymore."

She traced the shell of his ear with her tongue. "You don't have to be."

Somewhere in the distance, Sam heard a low rumbling growl, but couldn't quite focus on it.

"Join me, Sam. You can be the thing that others fear."


"Say it!"


Through the fog of Sam's thoughts, he couldn't quite follow what happened next. There was growling and a loud crack and his lap was empty and his mind cleared to the sound of Dean's voice calling his name.

He opened his eyes to find the body of a large black wolf stretched out next to him, a black pool of blood seeping out of the chest wound.

"You are so lucky to have me around," Dean said, pulling Sam to his feet. "And if I ever catch you doing something so fucking stupid again, I'll kill you myself."

The tense silence stretched taut between them on the walk back to town, giving Sam all the time in the world to burn with the humiliation of what had happened. Beside him, Dean's rage was so palpable that Sam had trouble breathing. He didn't need to risk a look at his brother to get the feel of every angry, rigid line of his body.

"Dean-" Sam still didn't know what he was going to say by the time they got back to the hotel room, but he knew he had to try.

"Don't." Dean cut him off immediately. "And go take a shower. You smell like dog."