Characters/Pairings: Dean, Lily Thurber (OFC), Various minor OCs
Word Count: 11,262
Beta Credit: firesign10
Warnings: Implied Show level violence, animal death (off screen)
Author's Notes: This was written for this year's Supernatural Summergen.
Summary: For Lily Thurber, Life in Cecil, Colorado was average, everyday – boring. That was, until Dean Winchester came to town.
I did my best to ignore David most of Thursday. He tried to get my attention at the diner, but I sent Janine over to deal with him. I just couldn’t talk to him after what I’d heard the day before.
I was cranky and tired – sleep hadn’t come easily because my thoughts were filled with werebears and other supernatural creatures. I’d Googled David’s term and found all sorts of cultural legends about bears – people turning into bears, bear gods, bear spirits. They made my head spin. The sites also led to werewolves, vampires, ghosts and ghouls – the cornucopia of mythological entities.
I kept telling myself that it had to be fantasy. That David was just humoring Missy so she wouldn’t feel bad about possibly drinking too much. Because if werebears were real, then everything else I’d seen online had to be as well, right?
Shaking myself out of those thoughts, I headed to the kitchen with a bus pan of dishes. Unfortunately I had to pass David’s booth. He reached out to grab my apron.
“I don’t have time, David.” I tried to move past him, but he still had a grip on the fabric. “Please let me go.”
“We have to talk.” His voice was low and urgent.
“No, we don’t.” I shifted the bus pan to my hip and turned to face him. “I have nothing to say to you.”
“Yesterday…” David began, but I interrupted him.
“Nothing happened yesterday.” I tugged my apron, but he still held on. “Please let go. I don’t want to make a scene, but I will.”
David sighed and loosened his fingers, letting the stiff cotton fall. “Okay fine. Not now. But we have to talk.”
I hurried into the kitchen without answering him. Dumping the tub on the counter next to the sink, I headed out the back door for some air. Leaning against the wall, I took a deep breath to try and clear my head.
I didn’t want to talk to David because I wasn’t sure if I didn’t believe him or if I did. Either way was making my thoughts whirl and my head hurt.
A sparrow flew down from the wooded area by the diner and started pecking at the crumbs next to the dumpster. It hopped closer and regarded me with a bright dark eye, probably hoping I had some bigger fare.
“Werebears,” I said to it, watching as it tilted its head at my voice. “He wants me to believe in werebears.”
Of course there was no answer.
I sighed. “You’re no help,” I told it and watched it fly away as I straightened up from the wall. I dreaded going back in, but I still had half a shift to finish before I could go hide in my room.
I opened the back door and walked through the kitchen. Squaring my shoulders, I pushed through the door to the diner and looked at the booth where David was.
It was empty.
Not sure if I was relieved or disappointed, I cleared the leftover dishes from his table with a sigh, placed them in a bus pan and pretended I was content to finish my shift.
My shift ended right before dinner but I wasn't hungry. I made some excuse to Momma about having a late lunch and headed to my room.
The early evening sun decorated my room with reds and golds. I opened up my laptop and clicked on the browser tabs. Scrolling through the web pages I’d called up, I closed my eyes and rubbed my forehead.
The information hadn’t changed.
I don’t know why I thought it would. Maybe so I didn’t have to make a conscious choice to believe or not. But no – it was still there. Werewolves and vampires and ghosts, oh my.
I closed the laptop and curled up on the bed, trying to think of anything but supernatural beings. My eyes drifted shut as the sun dropped down below the horizon.
I woke up to the sound of my cell phone buzzing on my nightstand. Groggily, I answered it. “ ‘Lo…”
“Lily, where are you? We’re at Andy’s waiting on you.” My friend Allison’s voice sounded tinny through the speaker. “I’m ordering you a Jack and Coke, so you better get your butt over here!”
I cursed and looked at the clock. In the whole contretemps with David, I’d forgotten that it was trivia night at Andy’s bar. I was on a team with four other friends that played every week. “Okay, I’m coming. Fell asleep after work. Give me ten.”
I hung up and scrambled off the bed. Digging through my dresser, I found a pair of dark jeans and t-shirt, quickly changing into the fresh clothes. Slipping on a pair of sneakers, I grabbed my purse and headed out of the apartment.
“Momma, going to meet Allison and the girls at Andy’s.” Her reply was muffled as I shut the front door.
Andy’s was the local bar and grille across from the motel. During peak rafting season, he had a smoker outside and served barbeque complete with Momma’s homemade cole slaw. I grew up on his Shirley Temples and had my first legal beer at the scarred wooden counter.
Joey, Andy’s bouncer, opened the door for me, a huge grin on his face. “Hey, Lil. The girls are in the back. Be warned – they’re wild tonight.”
I laughed. “When are they not?” I waved at Andy as I passed by, following the sound of female laughter. My friends were seated in a booth towards the pool tables at the back. Allison and Jenny were laughing at something on Allison’s phone, and Becky and Cindy were setting up the trivia game on one of the TV screens.
“Lily!” Their chorus was definitely loud.
I grinned and slid into a seat next to Becky. “Sorry, I fell asleep after work.”
“No worries, we figured.” Becky waved at the bar, pointed at me and nodded her head. Moments later Andy came over with my Jack and Coke.
“Here you go, Lily.” He set down a napkin and placed the drink in front of me. “Running a tab?”
“Yes please.” I took a sip and hissed in pleasure at the bite of the alcohol. It was exactly what I needed after yesterday and today.
The five of us settled in to relax, drink, and play rounds of trivia.
Three hours later we were fighting for first place against The Roadkills, a bunch of guys from the local Department of Highways road crew, when there was a commotion from the pool room.
I heard a crash of glass and a thud. Andy and Joey rushed to the back as the shouting started.
“You fuckin’ stole my money.” Another crash and the sound of fists hitting flesh. “You scammed me!”
“I can’t help it if you suck at pool.” The response was cocky with a healthy dose of bravado. “You shouldn’t have bet your paycheck.”
I stiffened. I knew that voice. Crap. I pushed back my chair and stood up just as I heard another thud and an “oof”.
“Where you going?” Denise protested. “We’re about to win!”
I took a quick look at the question on the screen. “The answer’s ‘A’,” I told her as I hurried to the back room.
David was being held by two large men. His head was down, but I could still see where someone had punched him. His lip was swollen and I saw a few drops of blood on the side of his mouth.
Joey was keeping Tom, one of the local sanitation workers, from hitting David again. Tom was cursing and accusing David of hustling his money in their pool game.
David didn’t say anything, but when he raised his head, he saw me and winked.
“Shut up, Tom.” Andy raised his voice to be heard over the commotion. “Now someone tell me what the hell happened?”
“Pretty boy there hustled me out of $500,” Tom whined.
Andy turned to Tom with a frown. “Didn’t I tell you to shut up?” He looked around the room. “Someone with a brain, please.”
Billy, one of the men holding David, spoke up. “Simple game, Andy, until Tom started boasting like he normally does after a few beers. Challenged anyone in the room to beat him. This guy,” Billy nodded to David. “Asked Tom what it would take to shut him up. Tom said five hundred bucks. They agreed and the guy wiped the table with him. Then it got ugly.”
I saw Andy sigh. “Okay, fun’s over. Let him go.”
Billy and his friend took their hands off David, and I saw him stagger a bit before straightening up. Andy looked at him. “You gonna be okay to get to the motel?”
“Yeah. I’m fine.” David took a few steps forward and lurched into a table and chairs, knocking over the multitude of beer bottles that littered it. "Oops, guess I shouldn'ta left those there," he smirked.
There was no way he was going to make it back to the motel under his own power. I stepped forward. “I’ll take him.”
Andy looked at me. “You sure. Lily?”
“Yeah.” I walked over to David and slid my shoulder under his arm. “It’s only across the street.”
“You sure you don’t want Joey to come with?” Andy’s face was concerned.
“Nah, we’re fine. Tell the gang where I went.” I walked David cautiously through the bar and towards the front door.
On my way out I heard Andy comment to Tom, “It’s your own damn fault you lost that money. You can’t play pool for shit when you’re drunk.”
We managed to make it through the front door and out into parking lot. The cool evening breeze hit our faces and I hoped it would sober David up a bit.
His body was heavy against me, and I could smell a mix of whiskey and beer. We slowly crossed the parking lot and stopped at the edge of the road so I could gauge the traffic.
I felt him lean in towards me. “Hi, Lily.” His speech was slurred.
“Hi, David.” I felt his body sag a bit and I prayed that he wouldn’t pass out on me until we got to his room.
“You’re awfully pretty.” He nuzzled my neck slightly.
“You’re awfully drunk,” I replied smartly.
“Yup.” His head rolled on my shoulder and I had to grin. “Felt the need to get toasted.”
“Why?” The road was clear and I got us across safely.
“Family stuff.” I felt him quiet and didn’t ask any more questions.
We finally made it to his motel room. Not knowing where he’d put his key, I dug out my master and unlocked the door.
The room was dim, only a light glowing on the opposite wall to combat the darkness. I edged us toward the beds and eased David down. Once he was sitting, I went to the wall to flip the switch and get more light in the room.
Turning back to David, my breath caught as I saw the papers taped to the wall.
Articles about the bear attacks; drawings and photos about werebears; references to older attacks; notes and scribbles.
Down below on the dresser next to the television were books and notepads, their topics ranging the gamut of the supernatural. The topics I’d looked up earlier, but more detailed.
“It’s all true, Lily.” David’s voice was low. “I wasn’t lying to you.”
I shut my eyes. “Give me a minute.” I took a deep breath and let my worldview skew sideways for a moment and then snap back. “So werebears…they’re real.”
I turned from the mosaic of papers on the wall back to David. He was still sitting on the bed, looking like he was about to pass out.
“And werewolves and vampires and ghosts…?” I trailed off, but I knew he got my meaning. They’re all real.
“All of them.” David shrugged out of his jacket and gave it to me to put on the chair in front of the window.
“Wow.” I shook my head. “And you hunt them?”
“Yeah,” he said again.
I picked up a glass and went to the sink to fill it with water. “Why?”
I heard him snort. “Because someone has to.”
I put the glass on the nightstand and dug through my purse for some Advil. “Just you?” I asked, putting it next to the water.
“No….” David’s voice was flat, like he didn’t want to share any more.
“Ahh, can’t tell me or won’t?” I smiled so he knew it didn’t matter.
“Both?” David looked up at me with a half-smile and a wink. “We just kind of keep it secret.”
“I would too,” I replied with a small laugh. “Normal people would be really freaked out.”
He chuckled. “You’re not normal?”
“I’m still here, aren’t I?”
“Yeah, you are.” He closed his eyes and rubbed his forehead. “I think I need to lie down.”
“Okay.” I knelt to help him take his boots off and get settled on the bed. “You gonna be okay or do I need to put the trashcan by the bed?”
“I’ll be fine.” He grabbed my hand and squeezed it. “Thank you.”
“You’re welcome.” I squeezed back and watched him close his eyes, his breathing starting to relax. “See you in the morning, David.”
“It’s Dean.” His voice was soft.
“My name. It’s Dean. Dean Winchester.” Dean’s head rolled to the side as he passed out. In slumber, he looked young and vulnerable. I felt for him that he had a life that he couldn’t share.
I leaned down and kissed him on the forehead. “Good night, Dean Winchester.”
Friday started off horrendously. The weather was coming in and the clouds sped across the sky like wandering spirits. Which didn’t help my mood.
I had accepted David – Dean’s – story about the werebears and other supernatural beings, but that didn’t mean it still wasn’t bothering me. The fact that these creatures existed and the normal person didn’t know about them had kept me up last night, and I was on my third cup of coffee to combat the exhaustion.
Dean came into the diner around ten looking a bit worse for wear. I brought him a cup of coffee, which he gratefully accepted.
“You doing okay?” I asked him and waited until he’d finished his first cup so I could pour him another one.
“Yes and no.” He sipped this one and put it on the table. “Hangover wise, I’ve been better….” He let his sentence trail off.
“And…?” There was a second part that he was waiting to tell me, I could tell.
“You didn’t hear?”
I felt a dread pool in my stomach. “No. What was I supposed to hear?”
He was about to tell me when Jack and Matt, two Fish and Wildlife Rangers, came in and made a beeline for Dean’s table.
Dean straightened up and gave me a look. “I heard. What are the details?”
“Last night, two men were attacked up at Rainbow Bluffs.”
I gasped quietly. That was what Dean was about to tell me.
“It seems that the bear in question attacked the first one and then went after the second when he fired his rifle at it.” One of the men shook his head in disgust. “They’d gone up to hunt the bear as a possible trophy.”
“Any survivors?” Dean sounded matter-of-fact, but as he glanced at me again, I could see that he was not happy.
“Both actually,” one of the Rangers commented. “They’re at Middleton Regional. We’re going there now to interview them. You can follow us up if you like.”
“Sounds good.” Dean stood, pulled his wallet out and put a five down on the table. “Let me get a coffee to go and I’ll meet you boys outside.”
We both waited until they left. I whirled around and faced him. “It’s still out there?”
“Seems to be.” Dean walked over to the counter. “I’m gonna need that coffee to go.”
I followed him and quickly prepared it for him. “What are you going to do?”
“I’m gonna have to go kill it.”
I spent the afternoon wrapped up in worry. The diner was buzzing with the gossip about the newest attack. Folks were talking about how big the bear was; was there more than one; how did the victims get away – opinions ranging from banal to ludicrous.
Knowing the truth didn’t make anything better. I was so busy that I didn’t have time to Google anything on my phone. Not that I would have found anything. I’m sure Dean had plenty of information in his room but there was no way I was going to look there. It felt too much like breaking his confidence.
The bell to the entrance dinged and I breathed a sigh of relief when Dean walked through the door. I had been afraid he’d gone up to the Bluffs after he’d interviewed the two men who’d been attacked. He sat down at the counter and I poured him a cup of coffee.
“You okay?” I asked, in a parody of our earlier conversation. “Learn anything?”
“I’m fine and yeah, I did. The two men that were attacked confirmed what we discussed.” He took a sip. “What time are you done here?”
“Four, and then I have to work the front desk at the motel at seven.”
“Okay.” He looked at me, his green eyes serious. “I’m gonna need your help.”
My mouth dried up. “You’re gonna need me to go with you?”
“Oh god, no!” He shook his head vigorously. “No. I’ll just need your help to get some things ready. Can you meet me in my room after your shift?”
“Sure.” I couldn’t fathom what he might need me for, but I was ready to help get rid of the monster that was terrorizing our town. I chuckled at that thought – it reminded me of the Saturday afternoon B movies on the cable access channel growing up.
“Great.” Dean finished his coffee. “I need to research some history that I can’t find online. Does the library have microfilm of the local paper?”
“I’m pretty sure they do.” Without asking I grabbed a Styrofoam cup and poured a coffee to go. “I know they’re open until five so you should have time to find what you’re looking for.”
Dean took the coffee with a smile. “So I’ll see you at four?”
I watched him walk out of the diner and wondered what I had just gotten myself into.
I nervously knocked on Dean’s door at 4:05.
He pulled me inside and then shut the door behind us. “Thanks for doing this. I don’t normally ask civilians for help, but…” He shrugged with a sheepish grin.
“So is that what I am? A civilian?” I chuckled.
“For lack of a better term, yeah.” Dean rubbed the back of his neck.
“Okay, then. How about you put this civilian to work?”
“Good.” He gestured towards the bed. I inhaled sharply when I saw the different weapons spread out across the comforter.
Rifles, shotguns, pistols – they were all there. “You’re not going to need all this, are you?”
“I don’t know. Not usually, but it’s better to be prepared.” Dean took a box of ammunition off the table. “You know how to load a gun?”
“Pistols, yes. Rifles and shotguns, no. Daddy only had us practice with handguns.”
“Okay. I want you to switch out the bullets in the clips with these.” He handed me the box.
I sat down on the bed and took one of the 9mm pistols. Checking the safety, I cleared the chamber and removed the clip. Emptying it, I started putting in the bullets Dean had given me. They felt a bit lighter and they weren’t copper colored. I looked up at Dean, who was reloading one of the rifles. “These aren’t regular bullets.”
“Nope, they’re silver.”
“Because…silver kills werewolves, so…” I trailed off.
“They’ll take down the werebear,” Dean finished for me.
“Makes sense.” The fact that I seemed to be fine with that information did not escape me. What was real and what wasn’t had totally changed in my worldview. I finished one pistol and started on the next. “But won’t one bullet do the trick?”
“Only if it pierces the heart. Can’t always guarantee that on the first shot, so it pays to be prepared.” Dean put down the rifle and checked the shotguns. “Got silver buckshot in these. It’ll slow it down but won’t kill it. It’ll give me enough time to get away if I need to.”
“Sounds like you’re putting yourself on the line for this, Dean. Is that typical? The way you…hunt?” The words sounded strange coming out of my mouth.
“No, it’s not.” Dean got up and moved the rifle and shotgun over to the door. “Normally you hunt in pairs so someone has your back.”
“So why are you here alone?” I handed him the two 9mms in trade for a box of .45 caliber bullets. “Who’s your partner?”
He was silent as he checked the pistols and put them on the table. I could see that I’d touched a sensitive topic, and was about to backtrack when he spoke.
“My Dad, but he’s out on another hunt in Kansas. Used to be him and my brother, Sam.”
The tape labeled Sam’s mix flashed across my mind. “I’m sorry.”
Dean looked up at me, correctly interpreting my comment. “Oh, he’s not dead.”
“Oh.” That was a relief. “So…where is he then?”
“Stanford. He decided he didn’t want the life anymore.” Dean started packing up the rest of the weapons. “I don’t blame him. It’s tough, you know? The life?” He paused and I saw a flash of something wistful across his face. “Sammy just decided it wasn’t for him anymore. Wanted to make something of himself.”
“Have you seen him lately?” I asked the question carefully, not entirely sure I really wanted the answer.
“Nah, he’s busy studying. No need to bother him.”
The tone of his voice almost broke my heart. It was the sound of someone who’d lost the center of his world. I watched Dean compose himself, knowing he would refuse a hug if I offered one.
Changing the subject instead, I asked, “So how do you plan on attracting the werebear? I mean, you have no idea if it’s going to show up.”
“Actually I do. I was able to find out some information at the library.” He headed over to the other side of the room and retrieved a plastic bag. “Looking through the old newspapers, I found a story about two bear cubs that were killed about five years ago right around the full moon. From the accounts I read, I don’t think they were just ordinary bear cubs.”
My eyes widened. “You think they were Weres too?”
“Yeah. And their mother’s been the one killing men on the anniversary every full moon since.”
“But there hasn’t been an attack every year,” I argued with him.
“That’s because some years no one’s gone up to the Bluffs during that time. Trust me on this – my dad trained me to see patterns in things like this.”
I had to. Dean knew what he was talking about. “Okay, so how are you going to make sure she’s up there?”
He pulled two small bear pelts out of the bag. “I’m going to use these.”
“How will those help?” I couldn’t see two pieces of fur enticing a werebear at all.
“My dad’s journal has a ritual that will make these seem like live bear cubs. Once I invoke it, she’ll come.”
I shook my head. “Why am I not surprised?” Dean just grinned at me. “So is there anything else we need to do?”
“Just help me bag up the supplies for the ritual and load everything into the car, and we should be good to go.”
Twenty minutes later we had everything ready. I took the bag with the ritual supplies and the pelts and Dean took the weapons. Outside, he opened the trunk of the Impala and lifted up a false lid.
I whistled at what was inside the underlying compartment. Not only guns, but knives, machetes, and what looked like a grenade launcher. All of which were surrounded by symbols drawn on the metal. “You’ve used this stuff?”
“At one point or another,” he replied with a chuckle, placing everything in and shutting the trunk. Walking to the driver’s side, he unlocked the car and slid into the driver’s seat. Rolling down the window, he smiled at me. “If all goes right, I should be back here a few hours after midnight.”
I appreciated his attempt to ease my fears. “Dean…I know it’s probably silly to say this, considering what you’re going to do, but, try not to do anything stupid, okay?”
Dean’s grin widened. “I won’t.”
I had to laugh at that because something told me that his answer wasn’t always the truth.
“Hang on.” Dean leaned over and opened the glove box. I watched him scribble something on a piece of paper. He folded it up and handed it to me, his face losing the easy grin of before. “If something does happen…can you call that number?”
I opened it. In a messy scrawl, I read ‘Sam’ and a phone number.
Taking a deep breath I replied, “Okay. But I know I’m not gonna need it, because you’re gonna be just fine.”
Dean started the car, its rumble echoing in the parking lot. Putting it into gear, he pulled onto the road and headed to the Bluffs.
I watched his taillights fade into the distance until I couldn’t see them anymore.
Time never had moved so slowly in my life. Every tick of the clock on the wall felt like a hammer, and the hands seemed be stuck in their same position whenever I looked at them.
I wound up pacing, spending most of my time alternating from the front desk to sitting on the bench outside the office, waiting. The door was open just in case the phone rang, and I could hear the distant murmur of the small television behind the desk.
I looked up at the sky. The moon was full and heavy and cast shadows across the parking lot. Every once in a while the door to Andy’s would open and I would hear laughter and music.
My heart would begin to race every time I saw headlights, but as soon as the vehicle was in earshot, I knew it wasn’t Dean. His car had a certain sound that separated it from any other automobile I’d heard.
I pulled the paper with Sam’s phone number on it out of my pocket for the umpteenth time. It was a futile gesture since I’d memorized the number within the first dozen times I’d looked at it.
“Damn it, Dean,” I muttered to myself, shoving the paper back into my pocket. “I really don’t want to have to call this number.”
The wind started picking up, causing wispy clouds to scuttle across the sky. I shivered, feeling a chill that was not brought on completely by the weather.
I was about to go back into the office to get my jacket when I heard it.
The low rumble vibrated along the road as the Impala came into view. It slowly pulled into the parking lot and stopped in front of Dean’s motel room door.
The engine shut off and I waited for Dean to get out of the car, but there was no movement. Unsettled, I started towards the car, my feet picking up speed as the driver’s side door creaked open.
“Dean?” I called out as I got closer. No answer. “Dean?”
I made it to the side of the car just as Dean pulled himself out, his knees buckling. His arm was pressed to his chest and I could smell blood.
“Shit!” I managed to keep him from collapsing, just barely. “What happened?”
He grimaced at me. “She got a good hit in.”
“Okay, okay…” We stumbled to his door and I unlocked it. “How bad is it?”
“Not sure. Hurts like a mother though.” He winced as I helped him sit down on the bed. “Here, take these.” He held out the car keys. “First aid kit’s in the trunk.”
I hurried to the car and got the first aid kit. Dean was trying to shrug out of his shirts, but it was clearly an effort. I put the kit down next to him.
“Here, let me help.” I gingerly eased his shirt off his shoulders and gently pulled his t-shirt over his head.
“Oh man!” I gasped. Dean’s chest was covered in blood, his skin torn.
“How are you at first aid?” he asked.
“I got my Girl Scout merit badge when I was 12, does that count?”
Dean chuckled, then hissed. “It’ll do as long as you don’t make me laugh again.”
“Promise. Now let’s get you cleaned up so I can see how bad it really is.” I picked up the ice bucket on my way to the sink. Turning on the water, I waited until it was hot before filling up the bucket and grabbing a bunch of towels.
I put the bucket on the table and pulled up the chair so I could sit in front of Dean.
Soaking the washcloth, I began to wipe away the blood to reveal four perfectly spaced claw marks, their gouges slowly oozing blood. I cleaned off the area thoroughly.
“Okay, they’re bad, but I don’t think you’ll need stitches.”
Dean glanced down. “Yeah, I’ve had worse. Just put on some antibacterial stuff and bandage them up. Let me lie down to make it easier.”
He stretched out on the bed as I got the supplies from the kit. Putting on a glove, I squeezed out a good amount of the ointment onto my fingers and smeared it gently over the gashes. I tried not to push too hard, but I made Dean wince a few times. “Sorry.”
“S’ok.” He lay still as I taped the bandages over the wounds. “Should be good to go.” I helped him sit up and he scooted up to rest against the headboard. “Can you hand me the shirt over near the duffle?”
I picked it up and handed it to him, hissing in sympathy as he eased it over his head. I cleaned up the bloody towels and tossed them outside the door before I went and spilled the water out in the sink.
Tossing the glove in the trash, I asked, “So are you going to tell me what happened tonight?”
“Grab us some beers from the cooler. I’m gonna need a drink for this.”
I fished two long necks out of the green cooler by the door and twisted off the caps. Handing one to him, I sat back down in the chair I’d been in.
“So the ritual worked,” he began, mock glaring at me when I snorted, and proceeded to tell me about setting up the pelts and laying in wait for the werebear. “Unfortunately she came up on my blind side and knocked the rifle out of my hands.”
“Yeah. I was able to get away, but not before she did this.” He gestured to his wounds. “It took a few shots with the 9mm to slow her down, but then I got the rifle back and was able to finish it.”
“What happened…after? Did she change back to human?” I swallowed. “That’s what they do, right? Change back?”
“Yeah,” Dean replied.
“Oh…” I was quiet, thinking about his answer. “And what did you do with…the body?”
“I took care of it. That’s all you need to know.”
I didn’t say anything at that.
Dean broke the silence. “She was a monster, Lily. She’d attack more people if we didn’t do something.”
“Yeah, I know. It’s just…I’m not quite used to this, you know?” I looked at him with a pained smile.
“And I hope to god you never get to that point.” Dean’s eyes locked on mine. “It’s not a good place to be.”
I cocked my head. “Then why do you do it?”
Dean smiled down at his beer. “Because it’s kind of the family business, you know? Saving people, hunting things?” He shrugged slightly. “Plus it’s all I know. And I’m good at it.” He finished his beer and put the bottle on the nightstand.
“Want another?” I motioned to the beer.
“Yeah, that sounds good.”
I got up and grabbed two more. Handing him one, I kicked off my shoes and sat cross-legged next to him on the bed. “Okay, so tell me your strangest hunting story.”
“What?” He looked at me like I wasn’t speaking English.
“You heard me. I want to hear your strangest hunting story.”
“Okay…um…okay. When I was thirteen, me, my dad and Sam went after a vengeful spirit…”
Saturdays at the Pump and Shop were either jam-packed or dead in the water. This Saturday it, was the latter. After filling the coffee station and restocking the candy aisle, I found myself itching for something to do.
Janine was working in the diner so I didn’t have anyone to talk to, there hadn’t been a customer for a good hour and a half, and I had finished the book I’d been reading at lunchtime.
The truth was, I was waiting for Dean to stop in after he’d checked out. My mind was still full of the stories he’d told me last night. Some were hilarious, others horribly frightening, but they all drove home to me that there were things around us that we knew nothing about.
With a sigh, I headed to the coolers in the back to grab something to drink. As I passed the magazine rack, I saw a copy of the National Inquirer with the headline, Ancient Aliens Were Our Original Ancestors. I picked it up and took it to the register to read.
The various stories of alien babies and the world’s fattest cats made me roll my eyes, but in between those were items like Co-Eds Attacked by Vampires and Ghost Children Terrorize Resort. With my newfound information, I wondered how true those accounts were, and if Dean had hunted any of them.
“The vampires were wannabees, but we took care of some ghouls two towns over.”
I looked up to see Dean smiling at me. He tapped on the paper. “The college kids were doing some sort of hazing thing. The ghouls were pretty nasty though.”
I laughed at his comment. “Ironically I was just wondering if the stories were real and whether you’d hunted them.”
“Some are, some aren’t.” He shrugged. “It’s hard to tell sometimes.”
“So how will I know?” I closed the paper and set it aside.
“You won’t. The real stories don’t usually make the national headlines."
“So there’s no way I’ll be able to keep tabs on you then?” I winked at him and grinned.
“If I do my job right, then no,” he replied, smiling back at me.
“That’s too bad. I would have loved to follow the exploits of the famous Dean Winchester.”
“Yeah, well they’re not as exciting as you might think.”
“That, I think, is a matter of opinion.” I paused. “So…where are you going next?”
“Not sure. Gotta meet up with my dad and regroup. I stopped in to say goodbye and grab some supplies and fill up the tank.”
I watched as Dean wandered the store for his items and couldn’t help but chuckle. Five days ago he’d done the same thing and turned my life upside down, and I was pretty sure it would take a while for it to settle back into place. After seeing his wounds and hearing his stories, I knew I would worry about him and wonder whether he was okay.
“Okay, I think I’ve got everything.” Dean put the last items on the counter. I rang everything up and bagged them. “This is gonna take two trips I think,” he said as he grabbed a few bags. “I’ll be back. Can you set me up on pump two?”
“Sure thing.” I waited until he put his supplies in the car and quickly grabbed a thermos from the shelf. I filled it up and sealed it, then picked up the few bags that were left and brought them out to him.
“Here you go.” I handed the bags to him. “And…um…for your trip.” I held out the thermos. “Figured you might need it if you’re going to be driving a while.”
“Thank you. That’s great.”
“Would it be wrong if I said I kind of never want to see you again?”
Dean threw back his head and laughed. “Nope. I get that a lot.” He looked at me with a fond smile. “Thank you for your help. There’s not many people who would have rolled with the punches like you did. Dylan’s a lucky man.”
Dean finished pumping the gas and gave me the cash for it. “Despite everything, it’s been a real treat getting to know you, Lily Thurber.”
He leaned in and kissed my cheek. Pulling out his wallet, he handed me a card. “Just in case you DO need to see me again.”
I looked down at it. Bob Seger. FBI.
“Really? Bob Seger?”
Dean just laughed again and climbed into the Impala. He started it up and I heard the unmistakable notes of Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man thumping from the speakers. As the car pulled away, he gave me a quick wave and a honk as it growled down the road.
I looked at the card again and smiled. Something told me that this wasn’t going to be the last time I’d see Dean Winchester.