Flash Powder (SN,XO,UC,Adult) (Complete)

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2x4
Enthusiastic Roswellian
Posts: 14
Joined: Sun Jun 09, 2002 11:08 am

Flash Powder (SN,XO,UC,Adult) (Complete)

Postby 2x4 » Tue Feb 28, 2006 6:51 pm

Winner - Round 10

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Winner - Round 9

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Dean - Supernatural

Note: As this story is a series and resides in the same universe, I decided to post all the parts on the same thread. First part - Eat the Gun. Second part - Flash Powder.

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********

Title: Eat the Gun
Author: Robyn
Genre: Crossover with Supernatural
Pairing: Drifter
Rating: M
Warnings: Language.
Setting: Post canon for Roswell. Anytime Supernatural with no Cassie.
Summary: Dean is following Sam into a case, hesitant because it is reminiscent of something from his past, something better left dead and buried.

********

The car coasted to a stop, the lights fading as Sam disengaged the key. Dean squinted, leaning towards the windshield to pick out any familiar shapes. There were none. The landscape was a background of points and black bulges. Wooded, that much he could discern. Nothing more. He sighed and pushed the door open, stepping onto softly padded ground. Great, he wasn’t in the mood for a hike.

“This should be it.” The driver’s side door slammed, leaves rustling as Sam walked from the car.

Dean paused a moment, his eyes flicking to the sky. The lighting was meager, the partial moon hidden behind clouds. He snagged a flashlight from behind his seat, and joined his brother. Sam wouldn’t hold it against him if he clobbered him over the head and dragged him away, right? He eyed the thick metal casing, tested its weight. Maybe Sam would mind a little bit.

“Tell me why we’re here again.”

“Bright lights. Three people dead.” He couldn’t see the frown in the dark, but he felt it. Sam was tired of arguing. “Seemed like our kind of problem, Dean.”

“Yeah.” Dean switched the light on, weaving a path across the trees with the beam. “Sure.”

Their problem? Maybe, but Dean wasn’t as certain as his brother. Something about it made him more inclined to tuck tail and run than reach out and help the helpless. He wasn’t scared, not of big nasties and possible death, but there was—

“There.”

A hand pointed across the light, indicating a trail into the brush. Sam dove onto the path, disappearing in dense foliage. Dean was forced to follow, or let his little brother get ambushed by whatever monster haunted the forest. He eyed his car, glanced to the woods. Sam was a big boy; he could—

“You coming?” The voice was hard, sharp, unfriendly.

Eyes rolling skyward, Dean mentally cursed at his brother and fell into step behind him. Braining Sam was getting more attractive by the minute. Yet he kept his fingers still, relinquishing the flashlight to Sam’s more eager hands. It was a job; he seriously needed to calm down. He touched the cool steel pressing into his back—that was better.

The light passed over clumps of grass, bushes, fallen logs; the shadows were long and devious, flickering wildly. He stared at the angry shapes, looking through them, listening intently for any sign of life. Or, really, unlife if the case may be. They really had no clue what could be out there; their source had been vague. Well, not so much vague as an idiot, but he’d said enough to get them halfway across the country. Strange lights in the middle of the night. Energy brownouts. Three experienced hikers discovered dead without a mark in June.

Sure, yeah, it looked like their kind of problem. But, if the feeling in Dean’s gut were true, it was someone else’s problem and they really shouldn’t get involved. Again.

“Stop where you are.”

The voice broke the silence, raising the hairs on Dean’s neck. His feet quit moving, his body suddenly tense and coiled with energy. In front of him, Sam mimicked his movements, the light falling from his hands. A large pair of feet emerged in the dim glow; they were spread wide, ready. Dean had never heard a sound.

Shit.

Leaves crackled at Dean’s size, another form approaching. There were at least two people, maybe more. He and Sam were at a serious disadvantage, and he had no idea what the others were packing or if there was a gun trained at his head. That made things a bit tricky; he couldn’t rush willy-nilly into the fray. Not that he would willy-nilly anything.

“Lift your arms.”

Dean pondered the order briefly. To obey or not to obey, that is the-- Sam’s tall form entered his vision, and any thoughts of disobedience quickly fled. His life he would risk for the satisfaction of a snappy rejoinder, but not his brother’s. Grudgingly, he lifted his arms, threading his fingers behind his head. He hoped Sam appreciated the restraint he was practicing. Himself, he wanted to flagellate for being such a pussy.

A figure separated from the shadows beside his brother. It was small in stature, not even reaching Sam’s shoulders. The faint glow hinted at a woman—dark hair, dark clothes. Dean started forward when she placed her hands on Sam’s back, tracing them over the fabric of his denim jacket.

“Easy.”

Caution forgotten in an instant rained back down on Dean. He glared at the woman, not risking searching out the voice, the gruff male. Nimble hands worked over Sam, stripping the weapons hidden on his body—the gun, the knife, the holy water, all the little precautions Dean had forced him to take. The woman analyzed each one before tucking them on her person or chucking them into the dense foliage.

When Sam was properly cleaned of every weapon, the woman turned towards him. She stalked across the distance, hips swaying, arms dangling at her sides. The clouds chose that moment to part, clear, white moonlight shining through the treetops. Her face was uncovered, dark hair framing pale skin. Eyes flashed, irises glittering with anger, hesitation…recognition?

Dean blinked at the woman, noting the beguiling twist of her lips, the white gleam of teeth. He hadn’t seen that smile in a long time, had hoped to never see it again. It was beautiful, knowing, a cruel stab of pain to his abdomen. Liz.

Fuck. He should have beaten his brother senseless.

“Relax.” She purred into his ear, her hands rubbing across his chest. “I’ll be gentle.”

“I doubt that,” he grumbled.

Hands pressed against Dean’s flesh, cool through the denim of his jeans, the cotton of his T-shirt. They circled his back, trailed under his leather jacket. She pushed closer than necessary, the line of her body kissing his. Soft curves versus his hard lines, he sucked in an unsteady breath.

“That’s right.” Her mouth whispered against his neck, teeth nipping at his throat. “You liked it rough.”

Liz’s fingers dove down his body, cupping the fly of his pants. She squeezed, the flesh responding to the pressure, swelling, hardening. Dean groaned involuntarily. It had been a long time.

“Dean?”

Grimacing, Dean reigned in the lust Liz had initiated within his body. Or tried. She’d always been good at the…stuff, and he could not keep the images from flooding into his brain. The way she moved over him… The screams he elicited from her throat… How tight she was around him… The taste of her mouth…

“Dean?”

Damn it. Sam. There were more important things than getting laid. Namely, they had encountered unfriendly, ‘not quite human’ adversaries. Add in the knowledge they hadn’t parted ways on the best terms, and, well, Dean really needed to pay absolute attention. His cock be damned, he wasn’t going to let a good fuck get he or his brother killed.

“I’m fine, Sam.” Dean hissed when Liz unfastened the dagger strapped to his ankle. More quietly, he added, “I’m going to kill you.”

“Promise, promises.” Liz’s smile flashed up at him, her hands still busily raking over his body. “So that’s Sam, huh?” She circled around his back, and whispered into his neck. Fingers shoved his jacket from his shoulders and to the ground. She swept over the crotch of his pants once more. “Such wonderful similarities.”

Dean gritted his teeth, breathed heavily from his mouth. “You stay away from him.”

“Or you’ll what?” The weight of the gun lightened, shifted. Other than Dean’s mouth, it was his last defense against the world. “Wondered where this went.”

“That’s mi—“

“You finished yet? Or do you want to be alone?”

“Relax.” The heat of Liz’s skin dissipated as she stepped back. “They’re clean.”

Lust retreated with Liz, Dean’s desire transforming to anger. He could think clearly again, no longer clouded by memories and fantasies. Brain less fogged, he recognized the other man’s voice immediately. Michael.

“You done?” Dean spat.

He was done. Done with holding his tongue. Done with being the happy, compliant prison. He might have had a bad falling out with Michael and Liz, but he wasn’t afraid of them. Not much anyway. Unless they’d had a change of heart over the past few years, they wouldn’t kill him. He was just a little too human for that.

His hands jerked to his sides and he stomped into the small clearing illuminated by the flashlight. Michael and Liz stood side by side; the former’s hands crossed over his chest, the latter with head tipped to the side, hands propped on hips. Amusement sparkled in Liz’s eyes, not so much in Michael’s. The other man recognized him immediately, if the snarl was any indication. The feeling was mutual.

Sam swiped at Dean’s coat as he passed his brother, but his fingers slid off the jacket. “Dean. What the hell are you doing?”

“I know what I’m doing, Sam.” Did he? No, but he could wing it. He’d talked his way out of worse.

“You’re gonna get us killed.”

Michael shifted, narrowing his eyes. His left hand uncurled and dropped to his side. Dean eyed it warily; he’d seen what Michael could do with it. “Better listen to your brother, Dean.”

Pushing all his emotions aside, Dean stood firm with his arms folded over his chest. “You know what—fuck you, Michael.”

Laughter spilled across the silence, and Dean’s gaze snapped to Liz. Her head was tossed back, her body rippling with amusement. He flashed to a time long ago, one where she writhed under his touch, her dark hair spilling across his bare legs. They’d been happy. <I>He’d</I> been happy. And Liz had destroyed that.

“How’s the husband, Liz?” Dean’s nostrils flared, his temper barely leashed behind gritted teeth. “Who keeps him warm at night when you’re gone?”

The humor drained from Liz’s face, a clean slate of alabaster taking its place. She shoved the knife a little deeper. “What’s the matter, Dean? Angry I cut you off?”

“You didn’t cut me off.” Dean closed the few remaining steps between he and Liz, his hands circling her wrists, biting into flesh. “I left.”

“Then why do you care who fucks me?” She glared up at him. Static crackled across her skin, and Dean knew he was pushing any luck that he had. Liz might not kill him outright, but she could make him hurt. A lot. “It’s my body, Winchester, I’ll fuck whomever I want.”

“I’ll fuck <I>whomever</I> I want.” Dean twisted her words, threw them back in a high-pitched nasal. “Christ, could you be more of a bitch.”

Dean really, really didn’t like the spark that lit Liz’s eyes. “Watch me.”

Regret was brief, and acute. Pain flared out from his palms, traveling through his bones, targeting rather sensitive areas. Dean had known Liz would reach her tolerance level—it happened more quickly than he’d thought. He must have hit a nerve. While some amount of satisfaction came from that knowledge, it was very small compared to the agony of his balls. Good God, she’d taken away his freedom to produce children.

Maybe she was still pissed.

Clutching at his reason for living, Dean was distantly aware of Sam’s yells, of Michael’s replies, of Liz’s choked apology. Apology? No, he was hallucinating.

“What the hell is going on?” A hand clapped over Dean’s back, struggling to roll him to the side. “What did you do to my brother?”

“Nothing he didn’t deserve,” Michael stated. Deep and stoic. Would Max’s enforcer be anything less? A fuzzy image of black squatted beside Dean. “I told you to stay away from her.”

“Wait.” The hand on Dean’s back tensed, gripped painfully tight. “You guys know each other?”

“Knew each other.” A deep sigh, a shake of the head, Dean’s vision was clearing, the pain ebbing. “Hoped I’d never see them again.”

“Feeling’s mutual, Winchester.” Michael, for some reason Liz was keeping quiet.

“Fuck off, Guerin.” Dean grumbled, shaking off Sam’s touch and crawling to his feet. If he stood just so, the damage to his goods wasn’t all that noticeable. Yeah, and he’d never masturbated in wee hours of the night to elicit photos on his brother’s laptop.

“Covered that already.” Michael looked at Liz, his face softened.

That was different. Curious even. Almost like watching a wall of stone melt. Dean turned his gaze on Liz, searched for any indication that may have caused Michael’s concern. There was nothing; her face was shaded, tight, an indifferent mask. With great reluctance he sought out her eyes, and there was a small trill of surprise she allowed him that privilege. The dark swirl of her irises was hypnotic, confusing, the pull as strong as it had been four years ago. Sadness. Pain. Anger. He blinked, looked away. She wasn’t his problem anymore.

Tension spilled across Dean’s skin, the frantic tingle of building energy, static. His eyes skated across the distance, lighting on Michael. Rough ridges of flesh decorated his forehead; his mouth was pinched unhappily. The voice reverberated in his skull, throbbing in time with his pulse. ‘Stay away from her.’

Unconsciously, Dean took a step back. Four words were enough of a reminder—he didn’t want to fuck with Michael. He’d done it once, and the reward had been three weeks holed up in nowhere South Dakota. He didn’t want a repeat. His head tipped to acknowledge Michael, to show that he wasn’t a threat, but Sam interrupted, his questions more pressing than any potential danger.

Sam was oblivious to the subtle nuances of the ‘not a conversation.’ “Dean, who are they? How do you know them?”

“Drop it, Sam.” Dean glared at his brother, standing a little straighter. His groin no longer throbbed; he didn’t think there would be lasting damage. Didn’t mean he wouldn’t throttle Liz if he got the chance. “Let’s just go.”

“Not until—“

“Listen to him, Sam.” Michael was stern, rough, but not his usual self. He just didn’t have the heart in his warning. Again. Curious.

“Listen, we’re leaving.” Dean turned, but twisted back towards Liz on a memory. “Gonna have to take my gun, though.”

Liz’s body jerked upright, like a puppeteer had shaken her strings. It was strange, disconcerting. Dean hadn’t realized she’d been so out of it, so lost in her thoughts. He was missing something, which, really, wasn’t all that big of a surprise. The problem was, he couldn’t sort out whether or not he cared.

“Bite me.”

Ouch. Guess he had that particular matter sorted out. He definitely did not care.

“Sorry, Sweetheart,” Dean growled. He ogled her from head to toe. “Can’t say I want another taste. You’re damaged goods.”

Lips thinning, Liz curled them over sharp teeth; the smile was tight and forced. “Yet, another satisfied customer. You didn’t complain too much when your mouth was—“

“Liz, enough,” Michael barked. He directed a scathing glance in her direction. “I’m not going to listen to this all night. Give him the gun so we can get out of here.”

“It’s not his,” she argued. Liz pulled the gun from her waistband, caressed the black metal between her hands. “He gave it to me.”

“I thought you were someone else.” The words ripped from his mouth, scathing with acid.

Dean had intended to hurt, to maybe even destroy the last bit of attraction that pulled at him. It was uncontrollable, the urge he had to cross the distance and crash his mouth to hers. Fight and frustration had been key in their relationship, and things hadn’t changed over the years. Her fire, her anger fueled the emotions he’d long thought buried and abandoned. And it made him mad, irate, that being near her for such a small amount of time had him emotionally unstable, right back where he’d been four years ago. The pain was still fresh, the anger still palpable. He wanted her bleeding—just like him.

“Dean…” Sam hissed in warning, but Dean was too hot, too lost to the storm washing over him.

“Then I realized,” he paused, raking his eyes over Liz, “you were just another lay in one more town.” He smirked. “A spectacular lay, but nothing special.”

Mission accomplished. Liz’s face cracked, tears spilling forth. A surge of heartbreaking sadness washed over Dean, a typhoon of raw emotion. He’d gone too far, but the damage was done. He’d gotten his revenge; he’d broken her. The victory wasn’t as sweet as he’d thought it would be.

“You bastard.”

The gun landed at his feet, the clip a second later. Dean winced at the sound, at the sight; he didn’t want it, not anymore, didn’t think he’d be able to touch the weapon again. His head snapped back when her palm struck his cheek, but he didn’t feel it. He was numb, nauseous.

What had he done?

Dean didn’t anticipate the smack on the back of his head or the simultaneous fist in his gut. He dropped to his knees, crossing the thin line from nausea to heaving. The contents of his stomach spilled out on the ground. He was aware of Michael, of Sam, of arguing, but little else. Pain consumed him, and he deserved every ounce he got. He <I>was</I> a bastard, and had destroyed any chance he ever had at happiness.

When the physical pain had retreated enough for Dean to stand, he did, and found himself alone with Michael. Sparks flickered in the other man’s eyes, restraint not being a thing Michael did well.

“I should kill you for what you’ve done.” Michael’s fingers flexed, the air shimmering around them.

Jaw set, Dean stared back at Michael, head sagging. He raked a hand through his hair. “Get in line.”

Michael shook his head, talked through clenched teeth. “Hell, Liz has made some mistakes, but she didn’t deserve that.”

“I know that,” Dean bit out. His breath caught, the memory of Liz’s face…the expression <I>he’d</I> put there. He shook himself, met Michael’s eyes. “Isn’t this the part where you threaten my life?”

“Empty threat.” Michael waved his hands, the light bending and breaking around them. “We both know I won’t kill you.”

“We do?” Said with an attempt at levity, but Dean’s voice cracked.

“If you’d pull your head out of your ass, you’d know that.” Michael scowled, and looked away, his eyes following the path that Liz must have taken. “Liz would never forgive me.”

Yet another reminder that he’d made a mistake, done something unforgivable. Sure, Dean had noted the attraction, but had dismissed it as lingering sentiment. They’d parted on such a harsh note; it was impossible she’d still felt something towards him.

No, not impossible, improbable, and he’d never been one to go by the odds. Fuck. The thing that he was missing, the thing he’d been so clueless about, the thing that Michael wasn’t saying…Liz loved him. Or had. He’d demolished that, ran right through her heart with a bulldozer.

“Well…thanks.” Dean shifted uneasily, and shoved his hands into his pockets.

Michael stared at him, scratched at his eyebrow. “Just…you know…stay the hell out of her life.”

It was an order, the final nail pounding in place. Stay away from Liz… It had been so easy…before. After that night, after everything he had learned… He didn’t know if he could do it. Could he leave her again? It had been so difficult the first time.

“Don’t.” Michael glared, his mouth a firm line. “Just don’t.”

Surprise exploded across Dean’s face. He had the sneaking suspicion that Michael was reading him. “What?”

“Chase after her and tell her everything’s going to be alright.” Michael stepped closer, crowding into Dean’s space. “You had your chance and you fucked it up.”

“It doesn’t have to—“

An erratic wave of hand stilled Dean’s lips. “Fuck, man.” Michael spread his arms wide, and breathed deep, grimacing. “Can’t you feel it?” He pushed at the air, as if something heavy pressed in on him. “You’re killing her.”

Frowning, Dean squinted at Michael, looking for something, anything. “I didn’t do anything.”

Michael’s gaze jerked to Dean’s. He pursed his lips. “You left.”

“You told me to.” Dean sighed, his fingers balling into fists inside his pockets.

“And what kind of a man does that make you?” Michael sneered, and dropped backwards a step. “She needed a white knight and you disappeared.”

“What was I supposed to do?” Dean’s voice was rising, an edge of hysteria creeping in. He’d done what he needed to do—he’d fled, consequences be damned. Liz had been too much trouble to stick around and fight for. Besides, she had a husband, and he knew the outcome of any dogfight where they were concerned. “You threatened to kill me.”

“Max threatened to kill you.” Soft and matter-of-fact, Michael offered no apologies for what he’d taken part in.

Dean snorted and rolled his eyes. “Same difference.”

“No, it’s not.” Michael’s lip curled, irritation flashing unbidden in his eyes. He shrugged. “I wanted Liz happy.”

“And you thought I could do that?” His face smoothed, his jaw dropping. If Michael was telling the truth, he’d seriously misjudged things in the past. Wouldn’t be the first time.

“I didn’t know, but I gave you a chance.” Michael fixed him with a steady glare, and Dean wriggled under the intensity. “Now I do. You make her miserable.”

There was no arguing that. Dean had a knack for preempting attacks, for initiating battles that may or may not have existed. He’d been hurting, but that was no excuse—so had Liz. He’d been too ignorant to see it before it was too late.

“So what now?” He clicked his teeth, knowing what Michael would say.

Michael grinned, tipped his head to the side. “You and your brother get in your car and move on.”

“And what?” Dean grunted. “You and Liz head back to camp? Report to command and round up the troops?”

“No.” Michael blinked at him—annoyance or curiosity, Dean didn’t know. “We head to the next town.”

Dean breathed deeply, wondering how far he could push Michael before he murdered him outright. “What about Max?”

Sniffing, Michael folded his arms over his chest. “What about him?”

“Don’t you have to scurry home?” He grinned at the image of Michael hurrying back to Max; such a manly man under the command of such a pansy.

Although it had been a pansy that had gotten Dean to leave. Max had been enough to shake Dean, to make him run away. The smile faltered, the light air shattering.

“Liz is my home.”

“Wait.” Whoa. Dean gaped at Michael, words sputtering from his mouth. Unexpected. “Oh. Ooooh. So you and Liz…” He motioned with his hands, a crude interlacing of fingers.

“Christ, are you a complete moron?” Michael’s arm twitched, and Dean knew he’d been close to another beating. The other man’s face crinkled, a fair example of disgust. “Liz is like a sister, Man.”

Mental sigh. Panic attack avoided. As it were, Dean rated a serious smackdown. He was certain insulting the man’s girlfriend was a step above. Although insulting his sister might just top that.

“Max know about that?”

Why couldn’t he shut up? Did he really have to ferret out every fragment of Liz’s life? It cut, it ripped, it hurt. Yet he kept at it. Shredding, lacerating his heart. When had he become a fucking masochist?

“Could you shut the hell up about Max?” Michael flinched, his hands clenching. The first traces of rage were resurfacing. “I don’t care if he knows. Stopped caring a long time ago. Hell, I don’t even know where he is. Couldn’t care less.”

“It’s just you and Liz? No one else?” Dean watched Michael, his lack of response. A smile grew on his lips, knowledge sparking to life. “And you’re not together?”

Michael’s eyes tightened, a slightly wild look trespassing his face. He stepped forward, took Dean by the shoulders. “Leave her alone.”

Hands fell away, footsteps retreating into the brush. Michael was gone; he was leaving with Liz. That fact was solid, crushing—Liz had been in Dean’s life for another brief moment. He hurt; the words he’d said had been cruel and punishing. Liz was scarred, wounded, her heart broken and ripped by love. Time had not mended it, her, him. Those wounds were raw and gaping, unfathomable, and he’d scoured them with salt.

Terrific, Dean. Well played. Way to be the bigger man.

“I can’t believe you, Dean. I know you’re an ass, but I’ve never—“

“Shut it, Sam.” Dean’s neck snapped to his brother. “I don’t wanna hear it.”

Sam shook his head, silently condemning Dean with his eyes. “Did you stop to think that you might need to hear it?”

Grimacing, Dean stared Sam down. “I’ve got things under control.”

“Yeah,” Sam agreed. He threw his hands wide. “You’re doing a bang up job.”

“What do you want from me, Sam?” Dean lifted his eyebrows, pursed his lips. “You want me to say I’m sorry? Well, I am.” He took a breath, pushed away the doubt crowding his brain. It was easy to pretend, to fall with tradition. Too easy. “I’m sorry I’m not the sticking kind. I’m sorry I fucked her and left. But I’m not doing Liz any favors by lying to her.”

Sam wasn’t fooled; Dean hadn’t really thought he would be. Years of separation didn’t make it less difficult for his younger brother to read him. “It’s not her you’re lying to.”

“Fuck you, Sam.”

Sam’s face hardened, and he walked closer, stooping to palm the gun at Dean’s feet. He studied the pistol, flipping it over in his hands, stopping at the hastily etched words on the butt. Dean cursed, even if his feelings towards Liz hadn’t been obvious to Sam, they would be. He didn’t desecrate weaponry without due cause. ‘Love yous’ weren’t exactly brash reactions either.

“You know what, Dean? Fuck yourself.” A gentle whoosh of air exploded from Dean’s lungs as Sam thrust the gun into his stomach. “You’re good at that.”

********

The End
Last edited by 2x4 on Wed Nov 29, 2006 10:10 am, edited 18 times in total.

User avatar
2x4
Enthusiastic Roswellian
Posts: 14
Joined: Sun Jun 09, 2002 11:08 am

Postby 2x4 » Tue Mar 07, 2006 9:41 am

Thank you to orphyfets, Ellie, RavenSprite, and Roswell Slayer for the wonderful feedback.

<b>orphyfets</b> - Yup, you probably saw it over at PA; it's the only other place it's posted.

<b>Ellie</b> - So far, I have this planned out for five distinct parts, hopefully I won't lose focus before I'm done. :D

<b>RavenSprite</b> - A lot has changed with Liz and there are reasons behind her metamorphasis, unfortunately, only bits and pieces are revealed before the fourth installment.

<b>Roswell Slayer</b> - Thanks. *Takes bow* Happy I made it to your favorites list!! And the angst...it's exhausting but I love it too.

And now for the next installment...

********

Title: Flash Powder
Author: Robyn
Genre: Crossover with Supernatural.
Pairing: Drifter.
Rating: Adult.
Warnings: Language, Violence, and Sexual Situations.
Setting: Post canon for Roswell. Anytime Supernatural with no Cassie.
Summary: Prequel to Eat the Gun, found above. Just a tale of boy meets girl. This is the beginning of the Dean/Liz relationship.

Author’s Note: Flash Powder takes place roughly four years prior to Eat the Gun, the rest is self-explanatory, I believe. Since the prequel is expanding to gigantic proportions pretty quickly, it’s not a standalone. I’m not certain how many parts there will be to this story—as few as five, maybe as many as ten. Please bear with me; it’s been a while since I’ve written a multi-parter.

Special thanks go to Stacie for her patience and insightful comments. I know I’m a pain in the ass at times, and I’m grateful you haven’t blocked me yet. That said, I’ll be bothering you more later. -- Robyn

********

Sylvester. Population 249.

Anxiety curled through Dean’s body as he cruised past the sign, nervous energy twittering at his fingertips. He was downright giddy.

It was another day, another town. The same as any other he had visited, any other population he’d relieved of spirit, demon, anonymous beastie. Same stoplight. Same gas station. Same row of dirty, faded houses. His eyes darted from one building to the next, analyzing, marking, remembering. It was the same town as any other but he noted differences. Bright blue sky. Twittering birds. Friendly locals. His good mood seemed contagious, the world around him smiling and happy.

Twenty-three years old, and he was finally a man in his father’s eye. His birthday had been less than a week prior, and there he was, on his first solo mission. It had been a gift, an acknowledgement of his prowess as a hunter. He no longer needed to apprentice, to answer to an authority. His decisions would be final, his solutions the only path. Pride pounded in his chest, the knowledge that he would not disappoint his father. His success in the little town would demonstrate his competency, his independence, his worth.

Where to start?

Several cars lined the street near a tall, brick structure, the only open business he could discern. Dean edged the Impala into a free spot, in front of a shiny, black motorcycle. The large potholes jostled his car and bones, and he gritted his teeth, thinking about the suspension and all the money he’d put into refurbishing. His dad had warned him against the car, but he’d loved it on first sight. Sure it was loud and obnoxious and probably not the stealthiest of vehicles, but it was his baby.

Twisting the keys, Dean pulled them from the ignition and shoved them into his pocket. The fingers of his other hand tapped at the steering wheel as he took a moment to sort out an approach. He had a general plan, go into—his eyes flicked up—‘Davis’s Hardware and Fine Dining,’ order a cup of coffee, ferret out the talker—there was always a talker, and get some answers. Fairly simple as far as plans went, he really shouldn’t have any problems.

Unless the locals weren’t talking about the ‘disturbance.’ It was difficult to ignore bright lights and random, suspicious deaths, but people were prone to do so. Especially when strangers came to town.

Stepping out of the car, Dean smoothed his hands over his denim jacket and plastered his best ‘good ol’ boy’ smile across his lips. No, nervous tension was not creeping into his body and he did not need to give himself a pep talk. He was a professional. His dad trusted him to do this alone. Obviously he was ready for—

A loud noise revved in his ear, the only warning he received before the motorcycle ripped by him. He quickly jumped to the side, the bike barely missing his arm. His hand was out and gesturing before he could halt it, middle finger waving angrily in the air.

“Crazy, motherfucker. Watch where you’re going.”

The motorcycle disappeared around a corner, the leather clad, black helmeted rider never taking notice of Dean. He silently tossed a few more choice words at the drivers back, and dusted himself off. It wasn’t until he’d taken some deep, settling breaths he realized he had an audience. An old couple had exited the store and stared gape mouthed at him.

Smiling sheepishly, Dean half-waved at the couple and circled around his car. “Good morning, ma’am, sir.”

There was no answer, just indignant jerks of heads as they turned and walked away. Dean’s face tightened, his teeth clenching. He gazed back down the roadway, in the direction the rider had taken, and cursed. Great first impression.

********

Dean eyed the black motorcycle, and the dark figure disappearing into what he suspected was the lobby. He couldn’t be certain, but he thought it was the same from earlier. The same one, actually, that nearly took off his arm and had him kissing asphalt. Coincidentally enough, the same person he blamed for his poor reception. The old couple wasn’t the only witness to his foul mouth and obscene gestures; it seemed the entire town had been inside the shop/diner. He’d become person non-gratis the second he stepped inside. No one would talk to him, although they did glare.

The bike glowered at Dean as climbed from his car. He scowled at the glossy black finish, at the black rims. What he wanted to do, what his gut really screamed was childish. It would be so easy to push it over, to kick a little gravel on it. A little retribution was in order, but it was unprofessional. He was an adult; he would handle it like a man…with his fists in back of the hotel.

“Step away from my ride.”

Sharp, clipped with a much higher lilt than Dean had imagined. He spun on his heels, eyes widening at petite, shapely figure standing before him. She was dressed head to toe in tight fitting leather, a black helmet dangling from her fingertips. Wind tossed dark hair, obscuring most of her face, but there was no mistaking the ice in the liquid, brown eyes, or the dangerous curl of her lips.

“Hey.” She stalked forward, and he watched the sway of her hips helplessly. “You stupid or something? Step back from my bike.”

Closer, the ends of her hair snapped against Dean’s skin, striking like needles. He flinched at the pain, but otherwise made no move. She crowded into his personal space, stabbing a finger into his chest. He reacted automatically, snaring her hand. Her eyes blinked in confusion and her free hand flew through the air, balling into a tight fist. He ducked the punch and snagged her wrist, anchoring both to his chest. The action pulled her body taut against his.

“Calm the fuck down, woman.” Dean grinned at the soft pants that feathered across his neck. He inhaled; she smelled good…wild.

Funny. It was hard to stay angry with a soft, warm body pressed against him. Dean no longer wanted to kill her, but she still deserved punishment. He’d have to spank her. Later. After he’d fucked her senseless.

The woman wriggled against him, and Dean was forced to adjust his grip. He rocked back to his heels, and spun them into the car. She flailed, her arms breaking free from his hold, but he caught them quickly and pinioned them to her back with one hand. She stiffened when the line of his body pressed into her back, one leg knocking hers apart. Dean glanced around; he hoped no one was watching or he’d be spending the night in jail. Or, maybe, swinging from a tree.

Dean swallowed thickly, easing his grip of the woman’s wrists. He didn’t want to hurt her, but she’d started it. She wouldn’t go free until she wasn’t a threat. Which, he figured, noting the fight returning to her muscles, might never happen.

“Let. Me. Go.”

Fuck. What was he going to do? He couldn’t keep her prisoner, and certainly couldn’t turn her loose. She was pissed; anger vibrated off her skin. He’d known her for all of two minutes, but he sensed her retribution would be painful. Incapacitating. Vicious. She definitely had the tough chick vibe going for her.

“Let me think about that.” Dean’s lips moved against her ear, and she jerked away from him. He sighed, his shoulders sagging. “Listen, Lady. I’m not going to hurt you.”

The voice purred from her throat, husky and soft. “I’m going to kill you.”

“Yeah?” Dean stumbled, barely listening. How the hell was he supposed to get himself out of that mess?

The corner of her lip curled sweetly, a healthy flush staining her cheek. “I’m going to take my time with you. Take you someplace secluded. Tie you—”

“And what?” Dean choked. His tone slipped, becoming a rough growl. “’Cuz that’s not sounding so—“

“—to a fucking tree and shove a knife in your gut.”

Real or imagined, Dean felt a punch to his stomach on her last word. The air fled his lungs. “Are you a fucking psycho?”

“It won’t kill you right away,” she continued cheerfully. “You’ll bleed out slowly over several days, maybe a week. The woodland creatures will follow your screams. They’ll taste your blood, your skin. The larger animals will tear chunks of flesh from your body. But you won’t die. You’ll keep breathing, fighting for life—“

Dean hesitated, sucked in a healthy breath of air. She was joking; she…she had to be. “You expect me to let you go now?”

“I expect you to do what’s in your heart, Dean.” Her words whispered warm and soft through his head. “I know you want to do it. Release me.”

Something coiled low in Dean’s abdomen, flared out through his veins. His breath caught as adrenaline surged through his blood, his heartbeat quickening. The girl wasn’t backing down. Heat and fire, stubborn will and determination. She was hot, feisty, and he’d never wanted someone so much, with such intensity. Arousal, desire, his cock stirred, rational thoughts quickly taking a backseat. Good God, he wanted to take her against the car, strip her bare and shove himself so deep…

Realization came over Dean in the form of horror and overwhelming disgust. He shoved himself away, gagging on the bile rising in his throat. A foot snagged his ankle, and he crumpled to the dirt, banging his head against a concrete parking block. Bright lights burst in his vision, cosmic dust twinkling on every surface. He closed his eyes and guarded against the glare; it was giving him a headache.

“Fuck.”

“Oops.” A dark shape hovered over him, barring out the sunlight. “You okay?”

Frowning, Dean touched the crown of his skull, happy when his fingers came away dry. A large lump, but otherwise uninjured. His eyelids parted slowly, staring at the vague shape bending to him. The woman. Why hadn’t she ducked out already? He’d scared himself, and had probably terrified her.

“I’m fine.” His voice was gritty, dazed. “No thanks to you.”

The image rolled her eyes, and smirked. “You’re blaming this on me?”

Dean scooted up, shaking away the stranger’s helping hand when she offered it. It took him a moment to shift to his butt and regain a bit of his pride. A girl had taken him down. “<I>You</I> attacked me.”

She shrugged, and squatted down to his eye level. “Sorry, but you’re not gonna win this one. I’m a small, defenseless girl; you’re a big, bad man.”

Snorting, Dean rubbed at his head, carefully avoiding the tender spot. “I’m not bad, and you’re definitely not defenseless.”

The shoulders quivered again, but not from indifference. From…laughter? “Maybe.”

“Maybe?” Dean repeated. “If I’d tried anything you would’ve taken my balls.”

“Wouldn’t be my choice body part.” She grinned, the crook of lips far from innocent.

His mouth twisted, a mirror image of hers. “Oh, yeah? And what would your choice body part be?”

Her face edged closer, her breath light and thready against his face. “I don’t know.”

Hands touched his chest, slipped under his jacket. “Your hands?”

Pressure on his ribs, his waist. “No. Your mouth?”

Lips brushed his. Moist. Damp. “That’s not it.”

Dean’s eyes fluttered shut as velvet brushed his lips, dipped inside his mouth. He sighed into her, breathed her deep. He’d been right; she did smell wild.

“Your tongue.”

Her face crashed to his, her lips plying his mouth open, her tongue diving inside. She was greedy, demanding, forceful. Dean leaned into the kiss, angling his head to get deeper, to swallow her taste, to drown. It was addictive, the feel of this woman against him, in him, around him. Her tongue was soft, skilled, touching every bit of his mouth, drawing strangled moans from his throat. Frantic. She crawled on top of him, pushing him into the parking lot, legs straddling his thighs. So sexy. So hot. There was no time for thought, for anything but reaction.

God, he wanted her so bad. His groin ached to be deep inside her, to take her, to quench the lust flaring through his body. Things were happening so quickly, so out of control, and he didn’t care. His hands found her head, his fingers weaving into the loose tresses, pulling her tighter. If he could get a little closer… If he could touch her skin… If he could—

Teeth clamped down on his tongue, and Dean screamed, a painful gurgling of saliva and surprise. At that same moment, a vise locked around his testicles. His eyes snapped open, wide and gaping. The coldness had returned to the woman’s gaze, a fiery storm of anger. She released his tongue, and he hastily pulled it back into his mouth. For once in his life, he was incapable of sound. The malice in her eyes had him shaking in his skin.

The woman’s lips thinned, her nostrils flaring. “This is your one warning.”

Dean nodded, but he breathed a little easier. At least there was a warning.

“You try anything like that again.” She squeezed his balls tighter, her nails digging into the denim. “And I will take your balls. Got it?”

Dean squeaked, and blinked slowly against the pain.

More blinding pain, less capability of breathing. “Got it?”

“Got it.”

Dean spluttered and choked, gulping heavily for breath. The hand released him, and his darted out in a protective covering. Useless. She turned from him and snagged her discarded helmet before disappearing in one of the far rooms. He stared after her for several minutes gulping loudly and willing the pain in his nuts to dissipate. It was with great agony and sorrow he finally found his feet.

“Fucking crazy psycho bitch,” he grumbled. He staggered into the lobby, bow-legged and tender. “I’m going to fucking kill her. Stupid fucking—“

“If you’re looking for a room, Stranger.” Dean glanced up at the voice behind the counter. “I can’t help ya.”

“What?” He braced himself against the counter, arms splayed wide, faced curdled with perplexity.

The man pointed out the window, at a sign. ‘No Vacancy.’

Shaking his head, Dean dropped his chin and stared at the floor. “You’ve got to be kidding me.”

“’Fraid not.”

“Isn’t there something you can do?” He looked up, met the man’s eyes. Ire twisted within him at the amused grin decorating the man’s face. “Kick someone out?”

He sniffed indignantly. “We don’t do that kind of thing here, young man. You missed the last room by fifteen minutes.”

Hands spasming, Dean grumbled under his breath. “That fucking woman—“

“I’m going to have to ask you to leave.” The man scowled at Dean, curled his nose with irritation. “I don’t allow anyone to talk about a lady like that, not in my establishment.”

“If she’s a lady,” Dean grunted, “then I’m a fucking king.”

“Well, your Highness. Hope your car’s got a big back seat.”

Dean turned and walked back through the door, pausing only long enough to salute the hotel owner with his middle finger. He glared at the motorcycle, and reared his foot back. It would feel so good to destroy that woman’s ride…

No, it would feel much better to choke the life out of her with his bare hands. Dean shoved his fists in his pockets and grinned. If he ran into that woman again, he was going to kill her.

********

Fucking locals. Dean couldn’t get a room. He couldn’t start a civil conversation. He couldn’t get any information—not even from the librarian, and that was her damn job. He even suspected that the burger he’d ordered had been a ‘chef’s special.’ The town was full of bastards, and they didn’t deserve his help.

Maybe he should leave them to their fate? Make them fend off whatever evil was haunting the woods outside their borders. He grimaced; it wasn’t possible. His dad had trained him better than that. Dean couldn’t, in good conscience, leave these people—despite the fact that they were all assholes—to fight some supernatural beastie they could never possibly comprehend. Even if his hands itched to throw the car in gear, barrel through the one stoplight, and maybe, just maybe, take a few of the kind, caring souls out with his front bumper, he couldn’t do it. Well, he could, but the repair costs to the Impala would be outrageous.

Speaking of costs… Time to recoup some expenses.

“Anyone wanna play some pool?” His eyes raked over the crowd, seeking out his victim. “Anyone? Anyone?”

“Rack ‘em, Pretty Boy.” Loud. Female. Perhaps he could score a bed for the night after all, and some comp—

“You?” The word was a hiss, the anger immediate.

Long, brown hair; dark, twinkling eyes; mouth petulantly bowed. His hands fisted, biting into the stiff fabric of his jeans. The urge to throttle her was strong; his will not so much. Did she know how much danger she was in? How pissed he was? How far she had pushed him? Threatening his manhood ranked high up on his list of crimes. It was right up there with chipping the Impala’s paint job and raising a killer zombie to eat all the neighborhood children. Nasty business.

“Me.” She smirked, and grabbed a cue from the wall.

Dean folded his arms over his chest, and glared at her. He didn’t remember her being so tiny or so cute. Hadn’t she been sporting horns and a pitchfork earlier? “I’m not playing you.”

She shook her head, the grin widening. “Scared?”

“I’m not scared of you.”

He watched her move across the room, and stand on the other side of the table from him. Every motion was fluid, calculated. The sway of her hips. The twist of her shoulders. The toss of her hair. Her torso bent over the table, pulling her low cut shirt tight, exposing the swell of her breasts. Not ample, but more than enough skin to get his blood pumping. Hell, at that point in his life, he was so hard up a glimpse of her ankle would give him an erection.

Dean’s breath caught. Even angry, even homicidal, he still felt that attraction to her, that ache to bury his cock deep within her body. He knew instinctively that she was playing him. Playing him, and like a fool he kept falling into her hands. Christ, if she wanted to, she could have him on his knees before the night was over. And he’d beg for it, for her.

Imagine if he actually liked her.

“You know.” She set the cue down, and moved around the table.

He threw up a hand to keep her at distance; she stopped when his palm flattened across her chest. Naked skin, hot and damp. His breath caught, stuttered in harsh pants from his lungs. Hard but soft, the skin slippery smooth. Dean jerked his hand away as if burned.

“For someone that’s not scared of me.” She stepped forward and he fell back, bumping into the edge of the table. “You’re really twitchy.”

“I’m not twitchy.” Dean snorted, rolling his eyes to the hand casually stroking his on the pool table. His gaze jolted to hers, away from the playful coaxing of her fingers. “Stop that.”

Wide smile flashing, she pressed into him. “Stop what?”

“Good God.” Dean grabbed her shoulders and pushed her away, held her at arm’s length. “You are crazy, aren’t you?”

“Not crazy.” Her lip pouted, but her brown eyes glittered with amusement. She let herself be manhandled; he wondered how long that would last. “Bored.”

“Bored?” Dean glanced around the room, at all the eyes turned in his direction. Faded caps, overalls, and scruffy faces. There wasn’t a full set of teeth in the joint. No wonder she was looking for something—cough, someone, cough—to do. “And what? I’m the entertainment?”

“That was the plan.” The sound was almost a purr; it enticed a low groan from his throat.

“Quit fucking with me.” He released her and darted, no, placed an adequate amount of table between them. There could not be enough space between them. “Six hours ago you wanted to kill me, and now you want to fuck me?”

“No one said anything about fucking.” The smirk returned, lips full and mischievous. She lowered her eyelids, batting her lashes. “I’m not that kind of girl.”

“Yeah.” Dean’s eyes raked over her from head to toe—the cocky cant of her hips, the careless toss of her hair, the completely black ensemble. She’d engaged him with naughty intentions; naughty, sweaty, body grinding intentions. His lips quirked, his nerves settling; he could handle her. Playful banter would suffice for the moment; the soul selling would come later. “’Cuz nothing screams innocent like black leather and motorcycles.”

“You figured me out, Dean.” She tilted her head, staring pointedly at the area just below his belt. “I’m a nympho. Gotta have your cock right now.”

Dean gritted his teeth and growled. The expression on her face, the tiny, white teeth pulling at her lip—she looked like she wanted to devour him. Again, she was screwing with him, but his penis knew no difference. It swelled. “Stop that.”

“And our conversation has come full circle.” She blew him a kiss and nodded towards the door. “Guess that’s my cue to leave.”

“Wait.” Dean breathed heavily, squeezing his eyelids shut. She was giving him an out, a perfect excuse to leave his life forever, and he couldn’t let her walk away. He was a fucking pansy when it came to beautiful, sassy, smart pieces of ass. “Rack ‘em.”

“Sure thing.” She smiled brightly, and snagged the triangle, filling it with balls. “Let’s say we make it interesting.”

“Got something in mind?” Dean maneuvered beside her, watching the rhythmic ordering of colors and numbers. His eyes narrowed; she knew what she was doing. “’Fraid I don’t have much cash on me.”

“I don’t want your money.” Her face snapped to his, her eyes large and looming. He hadn’t realized they were so close. “Let’s say, if you win…I give up my bed.”

“Playing for sex? Kinky.” He turned away, lifted his hand at the barkeep. “Two beers.”

“No, jackass.” She shook her head, and rolled her eyes. “I’ll sleep on the curb, you’ll get my hotel room.”

Interesting. He really didn’t want to sleep in the Impala, and it was an added bonus if she had to sleep in the cold. “Deal. And if you win?”

“If I win?” She tapped her temple, feigned thought. “I get to ask you one question.”

“That’s it?” She nodded. “And I suppose I have to answer honestly?”

“See, Dean.” She patted his cheek, and leaned in close. “Boys aren’t dumb.”

Dean grinned, actually more grimaced at the woman. It took him a full five seconds to realize what she’d said. “Wait.” His heart pounded in his chest; his palms were immediately damp. “How do you know my name?”

Blinking, she stared dimly at Dean, a tiny smile tugging at the corner of her lips. “You didn’t tell me?”

“No.” He snatched her wrist, pulling her flush against his chest. “And you know damn well that I didn’t. Are you a cop or something?”

Laughter rippled through Dean’s body, the amused quivering of the woman held in his arms. “Sorry.” The words were choked, amused. “Couldn’t help it.” She took a deep breath, locking eyes with him. Not that he trusted her, or the honesty that showed there. “Me. A cop? Hell, no.”

He hesitated, wary of the intensity of her gaze. She was hiding something, something big. He’d interrogated enough people over the years to read the tremor of fear shimmering in the dark pools of her eyes. “And the something?”

“Oh, yeah.” She sighed, her body sagging into his chest. “You got that part right.”

The mood had shifted with a few words, and Dean was as clueless as ever. About the girl. About himself. About what the hell was going on. One moment arguing, the next sexual innuendo, and the next comfort—because that’s what he was giving her. Harbor. Safety. Relief. She curled into his chest, her cheek pressed warm and flat to the curve of his muscles, damp breath threading through his T-shirt, heating his skin.

His hand drifted down her side, cradling the curve of her waist. Strange, but not unwanted. She felt good in his arms. Soft. Real. Whatever was going on inside her head, however crazy she might be, he could give her one thing—the calming gift of his presence and body. One never knew, it could lead to hot and wild sex. It was possible.

Low and husky, he whispered into her ear. “So do I get to learn your name?”

A lapse of time, minutes to feel the gentle thrum of her heart, the delicate pants of her breath. He knew her answer before it left her lips. “What do you think, Dean?”

Dean grinned through his disappointment. Whatever it was about that girl that made his heart drum frantically in his chest, kept his tongue at bay. She was attractive and complicated; the most interesting woman he’d ever met. He could afford some small amount of patience and trust with her. “Thinking that I can come up with one just as easily.”

“Good boy.” She patted his chest and eased out of his arms.

“So, Xena.” He smirked at her querulous eyebrow and shrugged. “Why don’t we shoot some pool?”

********

TBC

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2x4
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Postby 2x4 » Mon Mar 13, 2006 6:15 pm

Thanks to the feedbackers!!!

roswellian love - I like to think Dean and Liz work well together, and I'm glad to know you do too!

Ellie - LOL. It had to be a crazy start for the duo. Crazy, tempestuous, and often irritating is my motto. And, yes, they are very flawed. The trust issues abound and it's standard for both Liz and Dean to hide themselves from everyone else, including each other--makes for a healthy relationship, don't you think? Hehe. Glad you're in for the back story, because there appears to be a lot of it in my head. Although I should warn you, Liz answers won't be coming any time soon. I have plans for them in a fourth installment, should my little brain make it that far.

orphyfets - Happy to be of service! Hope you like the next part!

Roswell Slayer - Polar Attraction, huh? Cool. Good to see people are reading it over there. Haven't posted much of anywhere else in the past year or two. I've become a bit of a hermit, I think.

*shiri&jensen4ever* - Yup, Liz is a tease. A tease with issues--train loads of issues. And Dean's such a sucker for her, at least in my worlds. :lol:

Your words are always appreciated, loved, and most assuredly accepted!!! Thank you!!!

Okay, for those following this over on PA, this part should catch you up. After this I should be updating them together.

As always, thanks for reading, and I'm especially grateful for the kind words and support. I'm a bit of a feedback whore, if you will. Nothing gets the creative juices flowing like knowing someone likes your work. I hope you enjoy the next piece. It has a bit more action in it.

-- Robyn

--------

Ditching the woman he’d affectionately dubbed Xena hadn’t been difficult. In fact, Dean hadn’t said a word to her. She’d given him a line about a hot bath and hitting bed early. He’d fought back with an ‘I’d be happy to join you’ and an ‘I thought you’d never ask.’ Each had been met with the perfect counter attack—bemused scowling and the ‘go fuck yourself’ argument. Couldn’t argue that, not when she’d promptly shoved her tongue down his throat.

Talk about mixed signals.

Body language led him to believe there would be a hot, sweaty bed in his future. And the soft, velvety stroke of her tongue… God, she was sweet and spicy, the light tang of beer in her mouth. Not addictive, but damn near. Her hands, her heat, the supple contours of her body… She’d melted under his fingertips, pressing into him as much as physically possible. A whisper. A promise…

Dean rocked his head to the side, shook it firmly. The memory was distracting. She’d vibrated, her chest rumbling in a throaty purr. Bodies tight, hands and arms threaded, intertwined; it had been difficult to leave, to make himself turn away. In the end, she’d slammed the door on his face and he’d been forced to take his libido and aching nose to his car.

A forested, secluded road later, he had exorcised his ‘demons’ for a few minutes. Stamina having long fled him at the caress of small, steady hands cradling rather excitable areas. Had cradled them, rubbed them, and gotten all his tiny soldiers ready for action. Thought had escaped, well, other than the desire to pound, to drive, to rut until his body was too weak to continue. Pass out in bone-weary, exhausted, satisfied state of bliss. Fall asleep surrounded by, and in, the sexually deviant nymph. Ahh, Xena…

It was genetic. He was male after all. They were gifted with single-track brains. Was it his fault that the tease had railroaded it? That his arousal had corrupted every other quadrant of his brain? She’d gotten him hot, sweaty, and unbelievably hard, then she’d left him high and dry. Dirty minx. He’d had no choice but to take matters into his own hands, er, hand. Twice.

Which, incidentally, was why he was off his timetable for the night. Dean grimaced at the dark sky; he’d hoped to find the sight before the sun had dropped. No luck. As he edged his car to a stop and climbed out, the first glitter of stars sparkled in the sky. The plan had been get in, try to figure out what the fuck had killed those people, and get out. The hunting part didn’t actually come until the next day, after he’d verified his theories at the local library.

Of course, he’d been screwed the moment he’d set bumper into town. The townsfolk didn’t like him. It had been all but impossible to get the exact coordinates of the attack. Dean still wasn’t certain he was in the right spot, but a series of newspaper articles indicated that he might be. There had been mention of a landowner, so he’d checked land titles. If Xena hadn’t sidetracked him, he would have arrived much sooner.

Not that it wasn’t a pleasurable distraction.

Not that he wouldn’t do the same thing again.

And again.

“Christ.”

Dean wiped a palm across his lip, smearing perspiration into his skin. His fingers trembled, his breath thready and shallow. Definitely not the path his mind should take, not if he didn’t want to spend the next fifteen minutes getting friendly with himself in the front seat of the car. Instant gratification had its perks, chafing not one of them.

“So,” he muttered to himself. He rubbed his hands together. “Big, bad monster to kill.”

Possible death. Potential body crippling pain. Broken bones. Blood. Gaping lacerations. Near fatal beatings. Hair loss. Scratching. Tearing. Screaming. Fire.

A nod. Yep, that did it. Dean’s libido was slinking away, the more comfortable brand of adrenaline taking over. The feeling was nearly controllable, more so than his hormones had ever been. Give him a gun and watch him go. Give him a girl and watch him drown. Lust was one emotion he’d never quite been able to temper, to guide appropriately. Lust was lust; it consumed, controlled. Fear was so much different; fight or flight, kill or be killed. With fear, he had options; he was the master. He could force his energy and frame of mind to change, to adapt, to live.

He latched onto the fear, the thrill of discovery. It was a high knowing what he did, doing what few could. Dangerous and relatively unpredictable; he’d been bred for the life he lived. He was the white knight, the salvation. He came to town on his trusty steed and slew dragons. So what if he was a little cocky? A little rough around the edges? Most never caught a glimpse of him; it was rare if he encountered the same person twice in his life. It was his edge, though, and his zeal for his job that saved lives.

It was no different that time. Pretty girls greeted him in every hamlet, every bend of the road. He’d had more women in his bed than he could count. Just rewards for the most part, he’d earned countless romps in the sack. A guy needed a little down time. It steadied his heartbeat and helped keep the shakes at bay. Thought was much more hazardous than action, much more corrosive. A sexy smile and a wet pussy were all that separated him from run-of-the-mill crazy some days.

And his brain had sufficiently looped back to the beginning. Xena, or whatever the hell her name was. Xena of the dark hair and impenetrable eyes. Xena of the fire and the ice. Xena of the curvy body and unbreakable spirit. Yeah, that Xena. The Xena who was certain to haunt all erotic fantasies his young, agile brain could conjure for the next few months.

“Down boy.” Dean gave his groin a rather scathing glare. “We both know when I kick it, you’re gonna be the cause.”

There was the slightest nod in answer. More a tightening against his pants than anything reliable. Treacherous anatomy. Dean felt the betrayal deep in his gut. Or was that the bubbly churning of his sex drive?

Right. So, one hundred and two ways to castrate a man. The mental imagery was sufficient to diminish his erection; the color commentary to make it disappear until called upon. Ahh, tried and true tactics. Blood and blades had a way of shriveling his balls to the size frozen peas.

Eyes clear and focused—finally—Dean flicked them about the clearing. For the moment, the moon gave off enough light to see by, he didn’t need a flashlight. Car, trees, sparse grass, dog droppings, path. He started down the well-trampled trail, the broken blades of grass dampening the sound of his footfalls. There were signs of past life along the fringes—discarded beer bottles, a shoe, a shredded Cheetos bag, and what suspiciously looked like a discarded condom. He didn’t bother for closer inspections, merely continued on his way, noting the occasional turn off and widening of track.

The route was taken in silence, or nearly so. Occasional outbursts of cricket song interrupted the quiet, but nothing larger. Still, a nervous tension crept into Dean’s muscles, a heavy weight settling between his shoulder blades. He felt uneasy, watched, like a set of eyes were studying his progress, evaluating the terms of his life. The next few steps were taken quickly; he’d learned to trust his gut over the years. If he felt eyes, there were eyes.

Dean let his body drift off the path, into the trees. When his back was flush against rough bark, he eased his gun from the holster under his armpit. It was curious how a few pounds of cold steel amped his courage. He just hoped that silver slugs slowed down whatever was out there.

“Someone here?”

Probably not his best move, but the ‘thing’ already knew Dean was there. It wasn’t like he was going to get the jump on it. Sounding off, though, giving an exact location? As quietly as possible, he moved farther into the wood, his eyes roving. There was a particularly scraggly tree to his left, a low, spidery bush to his right, and a thick, squat stump directly ahead. To sum up, he couldn’t see a damn thing.

The dry crackle of breaking twig ricocheted through the forest and Dean’s eyes snapped to the sound. Slight movement, an outline of a body, and then it was gone, receding into shadow. It was small, though, no larger than he, and that was somewhat reassuring. He wasn’t sure he could handle some sort of gargantuan mammoth she-beast on his first solo op. Didn’t have the chops for it yet. Not that he couldn’t kick ass, just that his confidence levels were dwindling. Caught unawares. Still unsure as to what hunted him. Not knowing if the ammunition would have any impact.

Yeah. He was going to get a lecture after he debriefed.

Belatedly, Dean noticed his palms were sweating. The pistol grip was slippery to the touch. He wiped his hands on his jeans, and then curled the gun to his chest, muzzle pointed skyward. It was nerves, an anxious, hysterical scream simmering just beneath his skin. He’d been taught control, to master those emotions, to direct them elsewhere. Even scared, he could think and be productive, fight and win. A slick grip, though, would compromise accuracy.

A breeze whispered through the trees, the branches quivering in the near opaque blackness above Dean. The clouds had shifted, obscuring the feeble moonlight. Visibility was nil, or as close as it could be without claiming the title of soul-sucking abyss. He was loath to use his flashlight, so he didn’t. Other than its huge bull’s-eye factor, he didn’t have the hands for it. So scary, impenetrable darkness it was.

Seconds passed, minutes that Dean stood still, kept his senses trained on his surroundings. No one or thing made a move, attacked. He wasn’t paranoid, and knew he’d seen a shape—a distinctly non-dendroid shape—but it made no further sounds, no appearances. His pulse thrummed steadily in his throat, the wait more nerve-racking than actual thoughts of battle.

Some animals, entities, humans knew the value of tension, of fear, knew that prolonged vigilance broke the spirit, eroded control. Whatever stalked him, whatever creepy-crawly lurked in the forest was delaying. It was waiting for the moment when his mind broke, and terror seized possession. The silence, the stillness was carefully cultivated, calculated. It was waiting for a mistake, Dean’s mistake. If he wanted the standoff to end, he would have to make the first move and execute it perfectly.

Very unappealing. Dean had two choices: to go out guns a-blazing or hide out like a coward until his enemy got tired of the game. He’d never been a patient sort of man.

Dean burst from cover, cleared a large, fallen log, and broke into a sprint. A heavy blast sounded behind him, a fine shower of wood chips raining down when he risked a look over his shoulder. Fuck. No sign of the shooter. If it were a shooter, it hadn’t sounded like any sort of weapon in which he was familiar. More a low, charging hum and then ‘Boom.’ Not a silencer, because, really, what would be the point? They were miles into nowhere.

Another hum, another expulsion of…whatever. Heat washed over Dean, and he ducked to the side, rolling behind a large wooden body. Leaves burst where he had stood, a large ball of light illuminating the area for a moment. He closed his eyes too late, his vision quickly compromised by the glare. Great, not only was he clueless, but he was temporarily blind.

One thing was certain; it had not been a gun. Not a conventional one anyway. Shit. The it cared something unknown, and most probably unnatural. It was probably useless to hold out for divine intervention.

Eyes worthless, Dean concentrated all his attention to his ears. Momentarily muffled by the desecration of forest, they had recovered and were gleaning noises from the light wind. The thing was walking straight towards him. There were sounds of footfalls—good, because that indicated corporeal—but no loading of a weapon. A tremor shivered up his spine. It definitely had the scary Mike Myers thing going for it.

Rising into a crouch, Dean turned towards the attacker. When he judged it to be about ten yards away, he pushed himself backwards and fired blindly at the crunching. His back collided with solid earth, the gun nearly jerking from his hands, but he held tight and squeezed the trigger. A form emerged from the darkness, drew nearer. It was a black mass, unidentifiable, but he had a target and he aimed to kill. Bullets whizzed through the air, impacting its dark chest. The being stumbled with each shot, but kept to its feet, trudged closer.

Closer. Unaffected. So…he’d been wrong. Not human.

“Fuck.”

The gun wilted in Dean’s grip, the nose tipping towards the ground. Bullets didn’t work; it was time for a new strategy. He shifted the pistol to one hand, flipping it until the hot steel of the barrel singed his flesh—a searing, makeshift club. Maybe he could beat the thing to death? As far as backup plans went, it wasn’t the best.

Feet kicking, free hand grappling for purchase, Dean scrambled across the dirt, halting when his back kissed something hard. He pushed himself up the object—by the rough tearing at the small of his back, a tree—and waited. The shadows shifted, swallowing the approaching shape, vomiting it back into sight. It moved steadily, unhurriedly, its arm lifted before it. No weapon. Either it had been discarded, or the thing belched energy blasts.

“That all you got?” Dean’s eyes roved over its figure, searching for recognition, weakness. “I can do that too.” He stuck his left arm out, wriggled his fingers. “See?”

Light swelled on the other’s palm, a tiny pinpoint that grew to the size of a baseball. The fingers twitched and the white orb sailed through the air. Dean jerked to the side at the last possible moment, his brain too scattered for a faster reaction. Pain erupted in his shoulder, a slow fire that ate into his muscles and scoured skin. It felt like a red-hot poker punched through his flesh.

“Ok,” he gasped. His hand feathered across the wound. “Got me there.” Dean gritted his teeth as fingertips encountered blistered flesh. “I was just gonna slap your bitch face.”

White split the black, lips parting to reveal the gleam of teeth. They were uncomfortably close. Dean sneered and drew his arm back, gun clamped firmly in his fist. If that thing thought his death was going to easy, it had anoth—

Dust obscured his vision, filled his nose, covered his skin in a fine coat. Dean sneezed, his head bobbing forward, his eyes closing. When he had recovered, the ominous pursuer had vanished, another, smaller form emerging from its disintegrated corpse. Of course, his savior, his nemesis, the object of his obsession. Why wouldn’t she be there? She’d been everywhere else.

“Xena?”

“What?” She peered up at him, her eyes narrow and studious. “You bust your head?”

“No. Maybe.” Dean eyed the dark, cylindrical object clutched in her hand. A baton? He scrubbed a hand over his eyes. “What are you doing here?”

Smirking, she slid the club into the back of her pants. “Hunting.”

Dean blinked once. Twice. His jaw dropped open, his tongue spilling over his teeth. “Me too.”

“With that thing?” She rolled her eyes and motioned towards his gun. “Are you trying to kill yourself?”

“Yeah, cuz most people go hunting with sticks.” Dean grimaced when she cradled his hand into hers. “You hunting wabbits?”

“Ha. Ha.” Her brow softened, a perplexed frown puckering her lips. “This is gonna hurt.”

“What’s gonna—“

Pain ripped through Dean’s fingers, tugging, prodding. He jerked his hand, but she clung to it, continued torturing him. Helpless, he watched her tiny hands, watched them unfurl frozen fingers, pull the gun free. Raw flesh, red and swollen glared at him where peach skin once flourished. His hand was burning, the cool, night air a comfort to the battered flesh. He didn’t realize he was screaming until a hand clamped over his mouth.

“Shut up.” She hissed, her lips whispering in his ear. “You wanna bring the rest of ‘em?”

The words crept into Dean, a chill crawling up his spine. “There are more?”

“Course.” She shrugged, and gripped the edge of his T-shirt. “They always travel in packs.”

Her frown faded, sharp teeth taking its place. Concentration and concern despite the potential arrival of more…things. It was endearing and troublesome at the same time. They were strangers who met by coincidence, people thrown together by chance. Right?

“What are you doing?”

“Playing a concerto.” A dulled shredding noise filled the air, and he stared disbelievingly as she wound a strip of cotton around his hand. “What does it look like I’m doing?”

“No.” Dean shook his head, grinding his teeth together. “What are you doing here?”

“Besides saving your ass?” Her hands lifted to trace the raised skin on his shoulder. “Nothing I can do about that. Come on.” She held out her hand. “We need to be…elsewhere.”

Dean hesitated. He wanted to trust her, to just give in and follow, but something held him back. She hadn’t lied to him, but she wasn’t giving answers either. On the other hand, she’d showed up when he’d needed a miracle. And—a lump formed in his stomach—he owed her his life. Her hand was cool and dry, soothing. A sharp tug, and he was stumbling through the undergrowth, hurrying to keep her pace.

“Move your ass.”

Breath panted from his lungs when Dean remembered he still had no clue what was going on and she obviously did. “What are they?”

The woman twitched, an action that would have passed unnoticed if he hadn’t been clinging so tightly to her hand. “If I told you that,” she called softly over her shoulder, “I’d have to kill you.”

He snorted.

They stopped, Xena yanking him into the cover of a large tree. “Not really.” She poked her head around the side. “But it would complicate things.”

Dean pressed into her back, his uninjured hand smoothing a path down her arm. Her pulse beat steady and calm in her wrist. “My life’s already complicated.”

She turned her head; soft hair tickled his nose. “That’s an understatement.” Their eyes met, held; hers lit with amusement. “Killing demons? Vanquishing spirits? Slaying monsters? You got a Buffy complex?”

His fingers curled around her bicep, leather crinkling and squeaking beneath them. That brought forth all kinds of images, every one of them inappropriate and distracting.

“Says the woman who dusted a man with a stake.”

The breath flowed easier through Dean’s lungs when she took a micro step away. His hand tumbled from her arm, grazing the curve of a hip.

“Wasn’t a man.”

“Yeah.” Dean nodded, inhaling sharply. Her waist had been bare, hot skin burning the pads of his fingers. “Kinda figured that out when he tried to blast me with his hand.”

She lifted an eyebrow at him over her shoulder. “Noticed that, huh?”

A curse curdled on Dean’s tongue, but he chose another route. He hoped his glare struck fear deep in her heart.

“Awww.” Her hand snaked around, patted him on the thigh. “Poor Dean.”

Apparently he needed to work on ‘The Look.’

“Why do you keep avoiding the question?” His eyes traced the shell of her ear. He leaned forward, whispering. “And how do you know my name?”

“Mad I haven’t given mine up?” She stared into the distance, but her cheek swelled with a smile.

“Among other things.” Dean grunted, and blew out a frustrated breath. “You seem to know everything about me and—“

“Hush.” She spun, her body square with his. Tension crept into her shoulders; her mouth drew into a tight line. “Tell you what, Dean.” She paused, flared her nostrils. “You tell me my name, and I’ll answer anything you ask.”

“What?” Dean gestured with his hand and scrunched his forehead. “So now you’re a genie?

“Genie’s grant wishes, Dean.” She shook her head and grimaced.

“Yeah, well.” Dean grabbed her shoulder, pulled her closer. “I’m wishing really hard right now.”

“Hard?” Her eyes flicked down. “Mmmm. Hold that thought.” She darted away, and the club flew through the air. Dean caught it one-handed. “Aim for the base of the back.”

She disappeared into the forest to his right, and Dean gaped after her. Running again? She needed a leash. He heard commotion in the distance a split second later. Shadows separated and moved towards him. It looked like the reinforcements had arrived. He tested the weight of the club and swung it experimentally. Time to adapt and survive.

“Aim for the back?” he mumbled quietly. So that was how she’d killed it. Still didn’t answer what the thing was. Nothing he’d encountered exploded when hit in the back.

Dean lingered in the shadows, keeping wary eyes alert for movement. A blast dismembered a tree to his left, and he started off towards the perpetrator. He was a little more clued than last time, a little less frightened of the hunter. The petite object of his desire had killed one; he could too, especially now that he knew their kryptonite. Besides, he had a debt to pay up close and personal.

Several more explosions sounded as Dean sprinted through the forest. He veered out of their trajectories, swerving between trees and brush, ducking when a blast struck too close to his body. The frequency was increasing, but the source was getting closer, the shots louder and more powerful. It didn’t appear to be moving.

He broke into a small clearing, a large shape stood in the center, arm outstretched and pulsing with light. It was a man, or looked like one—tall and thickset, light hair and silver eyes. Dean was across the open space and swinging before it got a chance at another shot. The first blow set the man’s arm at an odd angle, canting it perpendicular to natural. The second caused him to double over, face kissing dirt. The third was the killing shot, a direct hit to the base of the spinal cord. Dust blew across the clearing, settling in a small mound.

Huh. Easy. After his problems earlier, it had almost been too easy. He frowned, that was disappointing.

Whistling drew Dean’s attention away from the man’s remains. He looked up in time to throw himself from the path of a blast. One dead…body, and it was already getting repetitive. Blast. Blast. Blast. Didn’t they have other attacks? Other weapons? Actually, he didn’t want other weapons; the intensity and frequency of the one was enough for him to handle. At least the pulses, or whatever they were, were visible and easy to dodge. So far.

He wondered how Xena was fairing as he bolted into the woods. There was no way of knowing. She had darted off in the opposite direction, and had forfeited her weapon of choice. He had no doubt that she was a lot more skilled at hunting these creatures than he, but Dean had a nagging feeling in his gut. One that demanded he find her and haul her out of there. He chose to ignore it, his intuition, because he really wasn’t in the frame of mind to think about the motives buried in his psyche. Just a pretty girl in distress.

Yeah. Right.

Light flared in the distance, and Dean raced towards it. It was an unnatural, ghastly green, surging for a few seconds before fading. Closer, the smell of ozone filled his noise, the hint of burning flesh. The moon chose that moment to part from the clouds, illuminating the sparsely treed patch of ground. Dark colored piles sprinkled the area, three separate ‘bodies’ from what he could discern. Two figures were moving: one huddled on the ground, helpless, the other upright, hand glowing. Both women, one dark-headed the other light; their hair writhed in the air, a small cyclone whirling around them.

Dean paused, catching his breath, assessing the situation. A heartbeat later, and he knew the crouching figure, the long swirling dark hair. Her body trembled, her chest heaving; she was exhausted and in trouble. It was his chance to be her rescuer, to kill the bad guy and save the day. And he would have, too, if the blonde’s words hadn’t stopped him in his tracks.

“Where’s the king?”

The king? He searched Xena’s face, looking for some indication of what the other woman was talking about. There was nothing, only smirking lips and smoldering coals for eyes. She knew the answer, that was obvious, but the stubborn tilt of her chin said she would never give it up. Dean stumbled a step backwards, leaning into a tree; she had a secret worth dying for. That was interesting.

“What the fuck makes you believe I’m gonna tell you?” Her lips curled higher, and her body relaxed, no longer weary but coiled and ready to spring. She reclined on her hands, shifted her legs until they were crossed before her. Not scared, not worried, just biding her time. Dean wondered which one really had the control.

“Cuz I can make your death painful, girl.” The blonde attempted a sneer, but it faltered, her lips pressing into a thin line.

“Died once.” Xena rolled her eyes and tossed her hair. “Don’t plan on a repeat performance.”

The stranger bent over, tapped a finger against Xena’s forehead. “I can just take the location.”

Xena’s reaction was quick, superhuman, and Dean blinked in surprise. He hadn’t seen her hand move, but it held the blonde’s in a vise grip. “I’d like to see you try.”

“You don’t understand, do you?” Her voice quivered, her momentum waning. She was losing the upper hand and she knew it. “We will kill you. We will kill Zan. And then we’ll destroy this planet.”

“What kind of bizarre, twisted logic is that?” The brunette shoved hard, and the blonde fell to the ground, the hand losing its violent glow. Xena stood, hovering over the other woman. “You destroy the planet; you destroy Max. So get with it already.”

“That’s not possible, we—“

“Blah, blah, blah.” A foot kicked out, spilling a pile of dust over the prostrate woman. “You need the seal. You need the resources. Your planet is dying.” Xena knelt into the soil, grabbed the other woman by her hair and yanked hard. “You think I don’t know what Khivar wants with Earth?”

“I think you don’t know your place.” The woman spat, the clear glob landing on Xena’s arm.

“I know it alright.” She looked at her sleeve, and grimaced. “And right now, you’re really starting to piss me off.”

A fist lodged in the woman’s stomach, but she gave no indication of pain. “Likewise.”

“So…” Xena glanced around, looking at Dean, through him. He wasn’t certain she knew he was there. “You were sent to kill me?”

Damn. He really knew how to pick his women. Crazy. Juiced. Got a contract out for their life. He was pretty sure he’d seen it on a Sopranos episode or something. It had come to the portion of the night where he soundlessly slinked off into the woods, but his feet weren’t moving.

“No, my orders were to capture whoever showed up.”

As disconcerting as the interrogation was to Dean, it also relieved some of the pressure building in his chest. He was conscious and sane. No delusion, no attacks of mania. The woman he had attached himself to was…different. It explained some of her behavior. Not all, not anywhere close, but now he had a reason why she was in the middle of a forest after dark. She was a hunter, someone like him.

Maybe.

“And my orders are to kill every Skin I see.” She placed her hand over the blonde’s chest, the other woman spasmed. “Now give me the disk before I show you just how painful I can make your death.”

Hmmm. Not just a hunter. A soldier? On a mission? She didn’t look military. Dean crept closer to the pair, carefully following the shadows.

“This is just a shell.” The woman smirked. “We don’t feel pain.”

The answering grin was evil, promising. It was a warning, a clear indication of bad things to come. The woman’s spine contorted, arching off the ground, a faint green swell of light consuming her before fading into nothingness. It wasn’t unlike the white, glowing balls he’d been dodging all night. Dean tensed, his shoulder blades drawing together. He didn’t like where the puzzle pieces were falling.

“Try explaining that to Lazarus.”

“You…you…” Tired, breathless, the woman choked her words. “…did th…that to him?”

“Some of my best work.” Fingers curled into the blonde’s shirt, flattened over her heart. “The General and I figured out a few things.”

“Rath is alive?” The bewilderment was obvious, the flash in her eyes more so. She was terrified of her discovery. “But we—“

“Enough talking.” She leaned close to the woman’s pale lips, nearly kissing them. “Give me the disk.”

“I don’t—“

“Right. And that’s why the capsule was empty, because Larek forgot to fill it.” Her mouth whispered over the blonde’s cheek, trailing down to her ear. “Hand. It. Over.”

Dean’s breath caught, his eyes growing wide. Two women, it was a fantasy he’d always had—stumbling upon them being ‘naughty,’ getting asked to join, having some of the best sex of his life. Too bad the reality was much more terrifying; he’d never look at porn the same way again. Two women, alone, didn’t get naughty; they got deadly. He was decidedly not turned on.

A pale hand reached into a pocket, pulled a slim black object free. Xena yanked it from the other woman, and stuffed it into her jacket.

“Khivar will—“

“—destroy everything I love?” Xena scoffed, rolled her eyes. “Newsflash, sugar, he already has.”

The urge to interrupt, to pull Xena off was great, but Dean couldn’t move. Frozen to the ground and the scene unraveling before him. He was only mildly surprised when Xena’s hand began to glow a bright, garish green. The other woman writhed, bucked, her body thinning, collapsing. Dust scattered, lifted by the wind. And the woman…she disappeared.

Standing, Xena wiped her hands on her leather-clad thighs and bowed her head. Her lips moved silently, reverently. She prayed over her enemy’s remains. Amazing how comforting that <I>wasn’t</I>.

“I had planned to lie to you, Dean. Now you’ve ruined that.”

The voice was so quiet, so sad, that Dean didn’t immediately recognize it. She had known he was there, knew exactly where he was hiding. “Lie to me?”

Leaving the blonde’s ashes, she walked towards him, halting a few feet away. Her eyes were dark, pleading, her lips quivering. “Tell me my name.”

“How am I supposed to do that?” Dean grunted, pushed a stiff hand through his hair.

“Because you’re different.” Her fingers fluttered across his face, brushing his lips.

“What are you talking about?” He stilled her hand, jerked it to her side. “I’m not different. You are.” His eyes narrowed. “What are you?”

She sighed, the line of her shoulders wavering. Tired. Upset. Dean was wearing on her, not understanding. It wasn’t intentional, his ignorance. He truly had no clue what was going on. It was like pounding a square peg into a round whole. He didn’t have the right tools to cut through her riddles.

“Tell me my name.”

“Right, no answers unless I pull a Rumpelstiltskin.” Her eyes brightened for a moment, but quickly faded. Dean frowned. Was that a clue? “I don’t wanna play this game. I just want to know what the hell is going on.”

“I guess…I guess I was wrong.” Her face crumpled, a lone tear streaking across her cheek. You’re not different. You’re just like everyone else. I thought I felt something…”

She nodded, looked away and his heart shattered. He’d disappointed her, and that hurt more than his maimed shoulder.

“Alright.” She met his eyes, a small, tight smile curving her lips. “See you, Dean.” Her footsteps were noiseless as she turned from him, walked away.

“Oh, hell no.” He shook his head, hurried after her. “Where do you think you’re going?” Dean’s arm shot out, jerked her back to him. “You can’t leave—“

The contact spun her around, set her off kilter. She stumbled, a flash of pain searing her face. Horror crept through Dean’s skull as she slid sideways, becoming deadweight in his arms. He shifted until she lay more securely in his grip, and lowered her body to the ground. Something was wrong. He might be devilishly handsome and witty, but he’d never caused a woman to swoon at his feet. Twitter and sigh, yes. Maybe an occasional worshipful glance or two but never—

A breeze fluttered the air and he smelled it, that fresh, metallic scent of blood. Dean did a mental inventory; he really hadn’t noticed anything wrong in her posture, in her act. Either she didn’t feel pain, or she’d had too much of it in her life to be bothered by more. He didn’t know which was more disturbing, but, either way, she’d successfully hidden a wound from him. Easy to do with her clothes, black masked blood pretty well, but he was a pretty observant person. He should have noticed something wrong.

“Fuck.”

Dean’s hands skittered over her arms, her legs, her sides, over the damp patch just to the right of her belly button. She had a hole in her stomach. “Damn it, Liz. Why didn’t you tell me you were hurt?”

“Default setting.” Her face glowed, from mania, fever, or happiness—he didn’t know which. “Needed the password. You didn’t have clearance.”

“What?”

Honest question. She was insinuating she was a computer program. That was most definitely blood leaking out of her midsection, not oil.

“Needed to hear my name.”

Her name… Realization blazed across Dean’s face, and his mouth gaped. He had said her name.

“Liz…”

“Dean…” She laughed, a pure musical note that made his heart pound.

“Liz…” He tested it, reveled in the way it rolled from his tongue. “We need to get you to a hospital.”

“I don’t suppose you’d believe me if I said it wasn’t that bad?” He lifted an eyebrow and pursed his lips. She grimaced. “How ‘bout if I told you hospitals were out of the question?”

Dean thought back to green—the way her hand had shimmered, the way she hadn’t needed to strike the creature’s back. “That I can believe.”

“Get me to my hotel room. I need more light.”

--------

TBC

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2x4
Enthusiastic Roswellian
Posts: 14
Joined: Sun Jun 09, 2002 11:08 am

Postby 2x4 » Fri Mar 17, 2006 12:38 pm

Thanks again for the feedback roswellian love, orphyfets, *shiri&jensen4ever*, Ellie, and Roswell Slayer!!

<b>*shiri&jensen4ever*</b> - Got to keep Dean on his toes, I can't seem to write him any other way. I think he's adorable when confused. The name guess will be explained later, or at least that's the plan, and I'm happy you liked that little bit. I did, but I'm biased. :lol: Wanted to tell you that the Skins aren't looking for Max's son, they're looking for Max. Same ol' conflict, but they're getting more intense about searching and destroying. Khivar's getting nervous, I guess. LOL.

<b>Ellie</b> - Thanks, I like to think I can see inside a man's head, even if my husband argues otherwise. I actually prefer male perspectives because they're so much more fun and the crudeness is more believeable. And, I'm convinced, that they are obsessed with sex and have a natural defense mechanism that makes them see everything through 'smut-colored' glasses. Seeing a sexual situation before horror...really, who wouldn't want that?

Ahh, the name thing again. Hehe. It will be explained later in a part I have yet to write. And you're right, Sam isn't the only special Winchester, but to say why would be cheating. :lol:

<b>Roswell Slayer</b> - Yup, most definitely a 'you'll-have-to-wiat-and-see' sort of thing. This story really has too much depth, at least in my head, the name thing being one of those. Happy you like Liz, I'd originally had qualms about writing her that way, because no one has the background story on her. She's mean and soured, but has definite reasons for changing, and I know I tease with the answers. They will come out...eventually. I promise. Scout's honor.

Ok, people. This part is pretty short, but I have the next one done, it's long and I don't want to bust it up. Also, I'm stubborn and I don't want to relinquish my buffer all that quickly. So the posting suffers. Short part. No smut. Hope you like it anyway!! -- Robyn

********

Part 3

********

They had compromised—the car instead of the hotel. It was closer, it had light, and they would reach it before she bled to death. Not that any of his arguments had swayed her. Dean was sure the only reason she’d given in was that they’d have to leave her motorcycle. The fact that precious, life-preserving fluid was steadily draining from her stomach was no concern to her. Of course, it was a big concern to him. His blood he could handle, strange, attractive woman’s, not so much.

He’d had to carry her to the car. Naturally, Liz had voiced otherwise. <I>She was fine. She could walk. She was going to kick his ass.</I> Her cheeks flushed to a deep crimson, her eyes grew narrow and dark, her mouth tightened, lips puckering. Dean had hauled her into his arms before the urge to kiss her silent consumed him. Tend to the injuries first; fuck her brains out later. If she let him, that was.

Stubborn, sexy, and more aggravating than any woman Dean had ever encountered. Every vibe, every head tilt, every word contradicted the next. Mysterious and frustrating, he wasn’t sure which would give him more pleasure: shaking her senseless or pressing so close their breath mingled. He had a sneaking suspicion she wouldn’t mind either.

“So, you gonna do something soon?” Dean braced his arms on the frame of the car, and peered down at Liz. “Or you just gonna bleed all over the leather?”

Liz gasped, closing her eyes. The hand covering her gut wound was slick and crimson. It wasn’t that he was a jerk; it was that he wanted to get her somewhere more fitting, like a hospital or a sanitarium. Small town, surely they could hire a backwoods doctor that wouldn’t report them to the authorities. He wondered how fiercely she’d protest if he slid behind the wheel and high-tailed it to Sylvester.

“Fuck off, Dean.”

So pretty violently. He’d give Liz ten minutes before hijacking her person. She’d thank him later, when the wound ceased to be life threatening and faded to a painful reminder of their first date.

“S’my car.” Dean squatted down, scowling as their eyes clashed. He waved a hand over her abdomen. “So…”

Her gaze dropped first, but not before he noticed the hesitancy in the brown irises. Oh, hell, no. “Not as easy as it looks.”

“And that’s supposed to mean something to me?” His temper broke; she flinched at the heat in his voice. “You need a doctor. You got a needle and thread hidden somewhere? Cuz otherwise, I’m gonna be pretty put out. I mean, how’m I gonna explain a dead girl in my car?” Dean clicked his teeth together. “It’s not like the locals don’t wanna lynch me already. They’re just looking for an excuse to—”

“Keep your pants on.” She sighed, but otherwise ignored him.

“What?” Dean slapped the dashboard, and was rewarded by a brief tip of her chin. “You thought I was gonna take ‘em off?” He grimaced. “I’m not that hard up. I don’t need to prey on weak women. Your virtue is safe from me.”

A grunt. Great, he was consciously trying to get a rise out of her and the only response is a grunt, a disbelieving grunt. So, really, he <I>had</I> been lying; he did want in her pants. Maybe a gratitude fuck or a ‘God, I’m so happy to be alive’ fuck, but not a ‘can’t fend him off, so I’ll just fuck him’ fuck. Dean wasn’t that kind of guy, never pretended to be that kind of guy. He liked his women hot and willing, and the longer they hung out in his car, the less likely that was going to happen. Necrophilia was not his kind of thing.

“Besides.” He growled, aggravated with his inability to take charge of the situation. It was hard to beat Liz, even when she was bleeding to death. “You’re not that attractive. It’s not like I wanna jump your bones or anything.” He surveyed her face, and wrinkled his nose. “With that mouth, you’d probably tear a chunk or two from my hide. Not a big fan of bleeding, not like you seem to be. Kinda like having all my pieces.” A smirk displaced his scowl. “A few more than others, but I’m not willing to sacrifice—”

A tense giggled passed Liz’s lips, followed by a sharp gasp as the action jolted her wound. “Do you ever shut up?”

“Actually, yeah.” Ok, he couldn’t take much more of Liz and her stubborn will. She was stupid, not letting him help. He needed to distract her long enough to club her over the head. “Can’t talk with my tongue—“

“I’m sorry, you must’ve misunderstood.” She silenced him with a sharp, pointed glare. “Shut the fuck up, Dean. You’re making it hard to concentrate.”

Dean’s eyes narrowed, the air catching in his lungs. Couldn’t she make anything easy for him? It was only her life on the line. Not that important. Not that he cared a little more than he should. The bitch.

“Oh, I’m sorry, Liz.” Dean rolled his eyes, and leaned forward. “My mouth is making it harder for you to…”

The glow from earlier, the one he had suspected Liz caused filtered into his vision, casting a green light on everything. Huh, Liz was glowing. There was no longer any doubt, no risk of delusion, she <I>had</I> killed that woman with her hands. And now, now, the hand pressed into her stomach generated the same distinctive light, casting an eerie sheen over their bodies, the interior. What the hell?

Breath heaved from Liz’s mouth, her eyelids twittering from open to close. Dean watched in fascination, awe, worry. Whatever was happening was beyond his scope of knowledge. His father’s book, his research, experience…they indicated nothing of that nature. His first night out and he had stumbled upon something supernatural and unordinary. What were the chances?

Okay, so the chances in his line of work were high. Extremely high. But it was different; Liz was different. It wasn’t a nasty spirit, some vindictive demon, or a ferocious animal. She was warm, alive, and, he was willing to bet, human. Her talent, that weird, glimmering power was something undocumented. Not telekinesis or telepathy. Not any sort of mind discipline he had ever witnessed.

And the questions exploded, ricocheting from every surface of Dean’s brain. They lodged in his throat, choking the air trickling into his lungs. He sputtered and gasped, unable to look away, eager to see the results. It was an element of computer graphics, a careful wiping of frames. The blood faded, grew translucent, baring fresh skin, clean fingers. The wound he couldn’t see, her palm covered the ragged hole, but he knew it was the focus of her concentration, her energy. She was filling it, stopping the blood, mending her flesh. It was a handy little trick, healing muscle and skin. When the light faded, and she lay slack against the seat, her hand fell away.

“…wave your hands and make it all go away.” Dean blinked at her abdomen, his fingers fluttering over the smooth flesh. “How the hell did you do that?”

A tired smile crooked the corner of her mouth. “Long story.”

“Well, Liz.” Dean tugged the hem of Liz’s shirt, sliding it over her exposed stomach. Smooth and soft; he’d needed to cover her flesh before his brain rebooted. Answers then sex. At least he finally had his priorities in order. Mostly. “I’ve got nothing planned for the night.”

Liz’s eyes lit with an inscrutable shine. Anticipation? Happiness? “Probably take longer than that.”

“I’ll free up my schedule.” Dean plucked his cell phone from his pocket, and switched the ringer off. “There. Done.”

“Here?” Liz eyed the car, tilting her head towards the backseat. Her voice became breathy, suggestive. “Or my hotel room?”

Dean had to hand it to her; Liz was great at distraction. The soft feathering of her breath, the husky timber of her words, and blood was redirecting, cutting off rational thought. Get him thinking about sweaty, naked bodies, and deep, mind-blowing sex, and she wouldn’t have to answer anything. She could milk him dry, turn him into a brainless automaton. He was not going to let her.

“Here.” Dean frowned, tamping his arousal down. “I’m not gonna give you the chance to—“

“I’m not gonna run, Dean.” Liz’s forehead furrowed, her lips pursing. A hand curled around his forearm, stroking gently through the leather. “I promise.”

“I don’t trust you.”

He eyed the hand, wishing he were immune to the heat it caused to coil in his body. Liz was dangerous, becoming more so the longer he spent in her company. Maybe it was time he cut his losses and fled.

Dark eyes, glistening and deep; they penetrated him, unlocked something buried deep within his chest. A soothing caress, a promise of more. Dean couldn’t turn away, couldn’t leave Liz without knowing… Without knowing why she caused an uneven pounding of his heart. Scary, that knowledge, that power someone, some woman held over him.

“I know.” Liz bit her lip, and breathed deeply. She nodded, and reached into her jacket. “Here.”

A flat, jagged piece of metal pressed into Dean’s hand. It was the disk, the object she’d killed the other woman for. “What’s this?”

“You know what it is.”

“A guarantee.” Dean sucked in a large gulp of air, released it slowly. His fingers tightened around the disk. “You’re gonna want this back.”

Playful and teasing, Liz licked her lips and stared into Dean’s eyes. “Then I guess I can’t leave just yet.”

“I’m not gonna just turn this back over to you.” He smirked, and shoved the small, metallic plate into his jacket. “You’re gonna have to earn it.”

“I was counting on it.”

*******

TBC

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2x4
Enthusiastic Roswellian
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Postby 2x4 » Wed Mar 22, 2006 8:47 am

Ok, so I had good intentions of replying to the feedback, but I'm running short on time and I apologize. Weather's kind of nasty, so I'm leaving earlier for the airport than I originally planned. Sigh. I hope you like this part, it's much longer than the last. -- Robyn

********

Part 4

********

Dean shook his head, scowling at the motorcycle parked in the lot. Unmistakable. He’d nearly been run over by it, had gotten his ass handed to him for getting too close to it, and had been passed by it only twenty minutes prior. At least it was there. A part of him had known that it wouldn’t be. Despite the disk he held, despite her promises, despite the honesty in her eyes, he’d thought she would keep driving. Get her ass out of Dodge before he got more involved in her life.

His gut clenched, his teeth gritting painfully in his mouth. The smart thing, the thing he should do was drop the disk at her door then turn and walk away. Her life, the mess she was involved in—he knew instinctively it was chaotic and probably more hazardous than his—was none of his business. Still, his feet crossed the lot, his fist banging on the door without hesitation. He was where he needed to be, where he wanted to be.

The hotel room cracked open, dim light spilling from the doorway. Liz leaned into the frame, crossing her arms under her chest. She’d shed clothes, stripped down to a black cotton tank and short set. They hugged her curves, and showed a little more flesh than Dean’s brain could handle. He shoved his hands in his pockets, and shifted his legs; certain parts of his anatomy were responding. Quickly. Proceedings would careen downhill if he didn’t get his reaction under control. It did most of his talking around young, attractive women.

Leering, Dean tilted his head to the side and raked Liz’s body with his eyes. Horny made him such an idiot. And so did that small, black tattoo on her hip. His hand fluttered from his side, traced the inked skin. So much for control. “You beat me.”

“And you’re surprised?” Liz stepped back and let the door drift open. His hand fell away. “You drive like an old lady.”

Black leather spilled over the single chair in the room, boots piled neatly beside it. Otherwise it was pretty standard issue: lamp, small table, nightstand, bed, bathroom in an adjoining room. There was nothing personalized, not that he’d thought there would be; it was just another stop. From the road-weary saddlebags propped by the entrance, she traveled a lot. Something they had in common. He’d couldn’t remember staying anywhere for more than a few months…ever.

“I do not,” Dean stated. He closed the door behind him. “I have a healthy respect for my life.”

Liz’s eyes narrowed. “And I don’t?”

“You tell me.” Dean cocked an eyebrow and frowned. “What were you driving? Ninety? Ninety-five?”

She shrugged. “Didn’t check.”

“Right.” He nodded. “I’d spank you for such blatant disregard for your safety, but my hand hurts.”

“So noble of you.”

Her teeth clicked as she slammed them together. The hard line of her jaw concerned Dean, but not enough to ease off. There was something about Liz, something that made him want to wrap her in cotton and tuck her someplace safe. He knew she wouldn’t appreciate the sentiment, that she would kick and scream and make his life a living hell if he ever attempted something along those lines. Impending doom did not keep his tongue from letting loose his frustration.

“That’s me.” He tapped his chest. “Chivalry out the ass.”

“So that’s why it’s there. It’s not just a pretty thought.” She smacked his rear and turned away. Her voice became serious, tight. “Did you think, maybe, that I ride so fast because I have respect for life?”

Dean’s butt tingled, the sharp swipe of her hand a direct target to his groin. His eyes closed of their own volition, when they opened again, Liz was lying across the bed, her hair spilling around her. The breath froze in his lungs. Very come hither. He shuffled closer and stopped; he was letting his dick lead him around again.

So Dean shoved a hand in his hair, and rolled his eyes. “That makes no sense.”

“And living a dry, mundane life does?” Liz crawled to the head of the bed and pulled her knees to her chest. “You’re telling me that if you could give up hunting you would? You wouldn’t miss the adrenaline rush? The thrill that makes your body tingle and your chest heave?”

“This is my job.” Dean’s hand flailed around his face. He was gesticulating wildly, angrily, but he couldn’t stop. “This is what I do. What you were doing, Liz, is reckless. It will get you killed.”

“Maybe, but until that happens, I’m having the time of my life.” Liz angled her head, her dark hair falling across her cheek. “I know Death, Dean. It’s taken my closest friends, my family.” A light flared in her eyes, a crazy zeal not unlike possession. “And I’m not gonna be scared of it. When I die, it’ll be on my terms, on my mistakes.”

Great. A woman with a mission. The one thing absent from his life.

“That’s healthy, Liz. Just peachy.” He stomped forward, towering over her much smaller frame. “Some people can’t afford that luxury. They have responsibilities, people that care about them. I’ve been trained to help people, to kill, and I can’t risk that on a death wish.”

“Death wish?” She startled as if stricken. Her face fell, a shaky breath easing past her lips. “Is that what you think?”

“Isn’t that the truth?” His feet moved restlessly, pacing across the carpet. “You’re so unhappy with your life, but too much of a wimp to take it yourself.”

“Fuck you, Dean.” Her hands tightened, knuckles bleeding white. “I don’t have a death wish.”

“Then what is it?” Dean threw his arms wide, stared incredulously. “Insanity?”

Static crackled against his skin, and Dean had a fleeting thought that maybe, just maybe, he’d pushed too far. He didn’t know her, didn’t know her reactions, didn’t know exactly what she was capable of doing. Well, other than turning solid objects into dust. <I>That</I> should have been enough to seal his mouth, to keep him from damning himself to an early grave, but it wasn’t. The…thought of Liz dying physically crippled him.

“Freedom, you asshole.” Liz leaped from the mattress, jabbed a finger into his chest. “My life has been scripted since I was sixteen. I was predictable, stable, safe, and I believed I owed—“ Her breath caught, and she clammed up. “You know what? Screw you, I don’t have to tell you anything.”

Fuck that. Dean grabbed Liz’s wrists, yanked her into his body. “You owe me—“

“I don’t owe anybody anything.” Liz sighed, her body relaxing, giving up. “And that’s the problem, Dean. I’m making a life for myself. Fuck everybody else. I’m tired of fairy tales, happy endings, everyone’s lies.” Her eyes bored into him, pleading. “This is me. This is my life. I’m in charge.” Mouth twisting, eyes flashing, she spat the last words at his chest. “Just because you’re too fucking scared of disappointing your dad, don’t take it out on me. You could’ve had a different life; you could’ve gone off to college like your brother. It was you; your choices brought you here.”

The words sounded like a gunshot, and Dean recoiled from them, from Liz, from the tiny grain of truth they held. “You don’t know me well enough to make that kind of judgment.”

“I think I do.”

“How’s that?” His voice trembled; he didn’t want to confront those demons. There were some things that terrified the crap out of him. “You know me for a day, and already you’ve got me figured out? It doesn’t work like that, Liz. You don’t know anything about me.”

“I know a lot about you, Dean.” Liz crept forward and he backed away. The thought of her hands on him made him uncomfortable. It was a sudden change from five minutes ago. “Why you’re here. About your family. Your mom. Sam. What you look like naked.”

Dean’s breath caught, his eyes widening. There was no way. “You’re a fucking liar.”

“Well, I do have a vivid imagination.” Liz lowered her eyelids, dropping her gaze. She stepped forward, fingers twining in his belt loops, pulling him into her. “Don’t worry, Dean, I’m very, very generous.”

Motionless, unresponsive, Dean shivered when Liz’s body collided with his. Pelvis to pelvis. Legs brushing, parting. He looked away, over her shoulder, refusing to submit to the comfort she offered. She had made him angry, pissed, and she wasn’t going to wipe that away with soft skin and gentle caresses.

The leather jacket fell from his shoulders, discarded to the floor. He inhaled, ignoring the cool air, the warm hands on his biceps. They smoothed his flesh, fluttered over his skin. It was a distraction, a battle of his senses. He could smell her, that soft scent of wildflowers, the acrid odor of sweat. His head tipped forward, his nose burying in the silky strands of her hair. Breath warm and damp whispered on his neck and he closed his eyes. It wasn’t supposed to be like that, he shouldn’t give in so easily. She was a girl. Just a girl.

Then why couldn’t he ignore the body heat creeping through his clothes, staining his skin? And he could feel her. The irritation, the sadness, the desire—each battered at his senses. Empathy. Knowledge. She wanted him for who he was, and not for his body or looks. There was a familiarity, like he’d felt her touch before. She was etched into his brain, a foggy memory clearing, rising from the depths of his mind.

Hesitation, fear trickled up Dean’s spine, but he could not pull away. She possessed him—her body, her scent, her mind, her mystery. He was hers if she wanted him. There was no leaving; the attraction was too strong, too powerful. His equal. His obsession. His succubus.

Dean didn’t want to feel like that. Helpless. Involved. Completely addicted. He was losing his concept of reality, spiraling into unknown territory. And he couldn’t bring himself to care.

The edge in his voice softened, a low growl issuing forth. “That’s not what I’m talking about.”

Liz sighed, the action heavy and submissive. Her face dipped forward, her brow leaning into his shoulder. “I know.”

Shaky breaths fled Dean’s lungs. His arms coiled around Liz’s waist, hands resting in the small of her back. “You planning on telling me how you know so much about me?”

She nodded and pulled back, staring up into his eyes. “Later.”

“Later?” He blinked into pools of ebony, fell deeper, farther. He shook his head by rote. It was natural to yell, to argue, even if his heart were no longer in it. “Hell, no. I’ve waited long enough.”

“You need to cool down.” Liz pulled out of his arms, snagging one of his hands. “Go. Sit.”

Dean gritted his teeth. “I don’t need you telling me what to do.”

“Really?” He dropped onto the edge of the bed, more from her impatient tug than willingness. “Cuz I’m not givin’ you a choice.” Liz settled onto the mattress beside him, her fingers curling in what remained of his t-shirt. “We need to take care of your shoulder.”

Frowning, Dean followed Liz’s gaze. Smooth, red flesh glared at him through a gaping hole in his shirt. With the sight, came the pain. His teeth clamped down, his eyes squeezing shut. How the hell had he forgotten about that?

Liz. She’d been injured, that’s why. Her blood had taken precedence over any he might shed. Less than one day and he was willing to give his life for hers. Suffer to watch her back, to keep her safe. He was such a sucker for a pretty face.

“Huh.” He opened his eyes and snorted. “I’ve gotta first aid kit in the trunk. Probably some burn…”

A smile lifted the corners of Liz’s mouth. “Got it covered. Lift your arm.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

There was no pause, no thought of doing otherwise. Dean raised his good arm, helped Liz ease it from the sleeve of his t-shirt. She worked his head through the fabric, worked it over the wounded mess of his shoulder. Her fingers brushed the burn, cool against intense heat.

“Ouch. There goes your tip.”

He sucked in air, shivering at the touch. It hadn’t hurt, not really; quite the opposite. It was the first brush of skin to skin, of her hand on his chest. Intimate. Alive. Sparks flared out from the contact, tumbling through his body, his blood. The sharp intake of Liz’s breath, the trembling of her exhalation…he wasn’t the only one affected.

Silence descended, and Dean was content to pretend for a moment longer. There was something growing between he and Liz, something consuming them, directing them. He felt it…in the air, in each breath she took, in the hesitant way her hand cradled his shoulder. It was an energy, a pulsing against his skin. When they touched, it exploded, points of light too tiny to see. Chemistry. Attraction. Pleasure unbearably hot and sweet.

“I’m sorry.”

The voice whispered to him, soft and husky. Had it been minutes? Hours?

Quiet, somber, Dean gazed at her profile, at the lip trapped between her teeth. “For what?”

“Calling you a coward.” She risked a glance at his face. “You’re not, you know.”

Nodding, Dean’s reached out to Liz, cupped the curve of her jaw. His thumb stroked over her mouth, easing her lip free. She gasped and he traced the swollen flesh, the tip of his thumb rubbing wet velvet. The moment stretched out, her breath beating against his hand. He wanted to hold onto it, roll in it, memorize her heat, her skin. Something inside him shivered, cracked.

“You were right, but you know that already.” Dean smirked, mesmerized by the soft skin beneath his fingertips, by the moist breath panting from Liz’s lips. Her eyes were dark, knowing; his admission would be in words only. She could feel him, was connected to him; she had already read his deepest fears, his carefully buried truths. He had only lied to himself.

“I could’ve left my dad, gone off to college like Sam.”

Dean tore his eyes from Liz, stared at nothing, at everything. He’d never trusted anyone but family, and there he was, baring himself to a stranger.

No. He wasn’t being fair or honest. Liz wasn’t a stranger. As corny and trite as it sounded in Dean’s head, his soul had known her. It wasn’t fairytale love, but it was something. A something he couldn’t dismiss with calculated lies or snarky banter.

“But I wanted to stay.” He tipped his head back, glaring at the water spots on the ceiling. “I couldn’t leave dad; he needed one of us. And Sammy…he was miserable…”

Random, comforting, Dean’s gaze returned to Liz, his hand drifting down her throat, curling around her neck. Her pulse strummed frantically, pounding against his palm. Fine strands of hair slipped between his fingers, smooth, silky. He soothed tiny circles into the base of her skull, grinning at the breathy moan that spilled from her lips.

“So you let him go.”

Dean’s hand slipped from her dark locks, tracing the bend of Liz’s shoulder. His fingers snared the strap of her tank top, dragged it over her shoulder. Bronzed. Smooth. Skin like satin. The fabric sagged, exposing the upper curve of a breast, the barest glimpse of an areola.

“Yeah.” Dean wet his lips, swallowed. “I let him go, and I don’t regret it. Sometimes I’m jealous as hell, but…”

He coaxed the strap lower, his fingertips dipping beneath black cotton, tracing the line of her shoulder blade. Flesh. Heat. God, she was so hot, her skin scalding to the touch. He couldn’t have enough, couldn’t stop. He wanted to see her naked and trembling, to hear his name ripped from her mouth. Open. Willing. To die in her embrace again and again. To sink into her body, to fuse…

Fire burst through his veins, melting thought, action. Dean threw his head back, sucked deeply at the air. The pleasure was excruciating, coursing through his blood, blinding his sight and mind. There was no thought, only body numbing sensation and white heat. It spilled through him, bowed his spine, hardened his sex. He panted helplessly, falling into the bed, body splayed haphazardly. He tingled, every nerve alive, igniting. His mind crumbled, opened, a wash of emotion filling it, overriding.

Liz… She spilled into him. Faces. Thoughts. Feelings. It was too much… Too much. Salty drops leaked from his eyes, he tasted them on his tongue. Bittersweet. Loss. Betrayal. Pain. She had endured so much, a lifetime. Several lifetimes. He was glimpsing her heart, her fears, the barren emptiness that haunted her every day. Alone. Alone until him…

“There.”

The connection broke, shattered, tendrils of feeling snapping, receding. The haze dissipated, his thoughts becoming his own. Dean blinked dumbly, unfamiliar with the energy humming through his body. He felt giddy, confined, high. He needed to move, to relieve the tension coiled in his muscles. He’d been too close to…

“Feels good.” He stretched his arms above his head, rotated his shoulder. No pain. Full movement. Dean fisted his previously injured hand. Good as new. “Better than good.”

“You’re welcome.” Liz leaned in, her breath feathering across his cheek, and Dean pulled away, jumped to his feet. She fell sideways on the mattress, face smothered in the comforter.

“I wasn’t thanking you.” He bounced on the balls of his feet, touched his toes. Christ, he felt drugged, accelerated, pumped and ready for action. Liz’s…whatever was so much better than coffee. “So you could’ve done this hours ago?”

A pause, a moment where Liz pushed on the bed, sat up, a small line marring her brow. Her teeth clenched, her eyes narrowing, nostrils flaring. Metaphorical steam rose from her ears, tension filling her muscles, making her movements strained, mechanical. Dean cringed when she yanked her tank back into place, covering the skin he’d bared and forgotten. Euphoric healing high aside, he knew she was pissed at him if not exactly why. The mood had shifted, her temper spilling across his skin, tainting the lightheaded glow that filled his body.

Her voice was angry, disgruntled. “Yeah.”

Forehead crinkling, Dean stepped towards the bed, towering over Liz. “You could’ve saved me a lot of pain.”

Rolling her eyes, Liz climbed from the mattress, stalking towards her pile of clothing. “You’d forgotten you were wounded, remember?”

“So?”

He rotated with her, his eyes following each motion, each shallow gasp for oxygen. Muscles rippled in her back as she rifled through pockets, dug through her belongings. Each action was jerky, restrained, each jab of hand tight and controlled. Not that he was really paying attention. The moment she’d bent over, his eyes had locked on the tight, round contours of her butt. Hands mentally smoothed over the curves, cradling her hips, drawing her into the hard line of his thighs.

The groan slipped from his lips unconsciously, the image producing a heady dose of testosterone. Blood rushed through his veins, infusing his cock. He became overly aware of everything—Liz’s scant, black underwear, the starburst tattoo at the small of her back, the way his lungs hitched with each of her movements. His fingers fisted at his sides, and he bit his tongue, dragging ragged breaths through his nose. He wanted to ravish, plunder, and do all those dirty little things her body promised.

“Stop it.”

His body jolted, a sharp ripple of muscles that pulled him from his thoughts. Liz had forgotten her clothing, whatever she’d been searching for. Her eyes were focused on his face, her lips curled in an angry frown.

Dean sniffed, clawing at his hair. Fuck, his hands were trembling. “Stop what?”

“Looking at me like that.”

A smirk erupted on his face, and he swiped his tongue over his lips. He made no effort to hide his arousal, to cover his physical reaction to her. There was no point; she could feel it. Just like he could feel her attraction and desire for him. They would fuck; it was inevitable. She was just being difficult.

Voice soft, rumbling, Dean crept towards Liz. “Why?”

He noted the nervous squirming, the telltale clenching of her thighs. She was hot, the first traces of sweat beading on her skin. Dean wondered how she tasted, how she would respond if he found out. His hands ached to touch her, to slip beneath the edge of her shorts, to delve into her sex. Would she be tight? Would she be wet? Would she mewl his name in surrender?

One could only hope.

“It’s…” She trailed off, placed a hand against his chest to ward him off. “…making me uncomfortable.”

Dean hesitated, distracted by the damp flesh of her palm pressing into naked skin. Her thumb swept back and forth in barely perceptible movements, scraping sensitive flesh. His nipple pebbled, and he breathed deep, eyes fluttering shut. Energy, heat sparked at her touch, and he swore he could smell ozone in the air. It was electric—her, him, the connection that leapt between them. Christ, he would probably burst into flames the moment he sank into her body.

Wavering, intimate, his brain was cloudy, unable to concentrate. “Uncomfortable?”

“Yeah, uncomfortable.” Her fingers clenched, nails biting into his skin. “I don’t want a pity fuck.”

Suppressing his moan required all the will power Dean possessed, and he prayed the abrupt clarity wasn’t due to a mini-stroke. Liz was pulling away, slamming down a barrier. It hurt, the sudden stiffening of her spine, the hard edge of her words. She was lashing out at him, clawing for the surface, trying desperately not to drown in…them. It was wrong. She’d been pushing them, and he’d fallen, given up, too drawn to the fire, to her arms. And now…now, she was stepping back, striking first, trying to drive a wedge between them.

“Excuse me?”

Hands gripped Liz’s hips, and Dean held her secure, tight. He wasn’t leaving; she wasn’t running. He was right there, ready for her, for them and to hell if he was going to let her get away. After all her insinuations, all her riddles and half-truths, they were not going to part with on a witty round of ‘fuck yous.’

“You know, screwing me because I went all Florence Nightingale on you.” Liz’s other hand joined his chest, and she struggled in his arms, pushing fervently to free herself. “It’s a rush, right? And now you’re horny as hell. So much pent up energy, so much—“

“What are you talking about?” Dean cut Liz off, jerking her forward. Her arms were trapped between them, no longer able to struggle. He ground his arousal into her hip. “You want me just as bad.”

She was close, her breath feathering against his neck. All he had to do was dip his head, capture her lips, snake his tongue over every surface in her mouth. She would break, fall apart in his arms, cry for more, beg for him to touch her. It would be so easy, so satisfying, but she would hate him, hate what he could do to her. Liz would melt, surrender, but it wouldn’t be on her terms. That knowledge kept his desire at bay, for the moment. He would fracture soon, other, more primitive emotions seizing control of his body.

“Look. You wanted to know why I didn’t do it earlier?” Liz twitched and spasmed, fine quivers rushing through her muscles. “That was one of the reasons, because…” She paused, steadied her voice. “Because if I had, we would’ve ended up fucking in the middle of a war zone.”

It was an added bit of kink Dean hadn’t considered. Getting it on while people were trying to kill him. Not smart, a definite turn on, but probably a good way to lose his head, in more ways than one. But it was what she wasn’t saying that formed a lump in his throat, made the bile rise. <I>He wanted her because she was a warm body, a victim of proximity.</I>

Dean stared at Liz, his eyes pleading with the top of her head. She wouldn’t look up, wouldn’t see him. Denial, it was such a pure and caustic emotion. It had been her. She had led him, had known him, had actively sought him out. And now she had him, she was throwing him away. Fucking hell. He was in too deep to let her get away with it.

“Wake up, Liz.” Dean’s throat was rough, his words raspy. “I’m not your fucking toy. You can’t just wind me up, and expect me to do nothing.”

“Yeah? And what do you have to say about it?” Their eyes collided, hers hard and defiant. “You can’t make me do anything I don’t want.”

“Oh?” Dean sneered. “So you don’t wanna fuck me?”

Crimson flooded Liz’s cheeks, and she released a harsh breath. “Not like this.” Her voice faltered. “Not when you’re just being grateful. I’ve dreamed about this for too long, and I’m not gonna ‘give it up’ because you’re horny.”

Gape-mouthed, Dean eyed Liz, weighed the truth of her words. “You think that’s what this is?”

“What else could it be?” She fidgeted, curled her hands into balls. “You’re just jonesing for a piece of my ass.” A dark, waspish tone entered her words. She was hardening, perfecting her act. “And, as fun as that sounds, I’m really not in the mood. So say thank you and we’ll call it a night.”

For Christ’s sake, what was wrong with her? Dean’s hands constricted earning a surprised squeak from Liz. It wasn’t a fucking play. It was his life, her life, and she’d done a complete three-sixty in less than five minutes. He knew what he felt from her, what her mind had betrayed when she healed him. She cared about him, more than cared about him. Fuck, he was pretty sure she loved him, and he was pretty sure he was falling for her. One fucking day and his life had complicated a hundred fold.

“No.” Dean shook his head.

“No what? No thank you?” The hairs on Dean’s arms tingled, but he didn’t release Liz. “Fine. Get out or I’ll throw you out.”

“No.” He shook his head again, dared her to look away. “That’s not what this is about.”

“So you don’t want to fuck me?”

The question was a snarl, a thinly disguised threat, but Dean wasn’t backing down. Not then, not to her. She’d had second thoughts, had been spooked by something he’d said or done. Doubt, hesitation, they had crept past her defenses, corroded the grasp she had on her feelings. She had brought him into her hotel room with purpose, determination. Not just a romp in the sack. Despite his anger, the chaotic thoughts, he couldn’t forget his original want, desire. He wanted to have sex with her, maybe make love to her, but now he wanted more. Everything.

“You know I do.” Dean softened, his voice whisper light.

“And I know what you’re feeling right now.” A hand slithered down the plane of his stomach, cradled over the front of his jeans. Liz squeezed his erection, crushed her body into it. “You’re shallow, Dean. I can see right through you.”

“Yeah.” Dean’s eyes closed, he couldn’t help it. She was touching him, and his grasp on reality was slippery at best. “And what do you see, Liz?”

“I see…” Liz leaned into him, her lips grazing the muscles cording in his neck. “…a man whose hiding who he is. A man…” She nipped his jaw. “…who’s looking for a quick fix, a quick fuck to sleep better at night. A man who confuses sex with fucking, who wouldn’t know—“

Liz broke off, words unsaid lingering in the air. Dean’s eyelids clamped shut, his jaw taut and painful. She hadn’t said it, but he’d heard it anyway. It was in the energy surging over him, the tension lining her spine—she’d almost admitted her feelings. Love or something akin to it. So why was she pushing him away?

“Who wouldn’t know what?”

“His asshole from a hole in the ground.”

And the moment shattered, Liz drawing a line in the metaphorical sand. Dean flew across the room, barely keeping to his feet as she shoved. It stole the wind from his lips, staggered his train of thought. He was left breathless and quivering, his body held up only by the wall pressing into his back.

Fine. If she wanted to play that way, Dean would too. If she could avoid confrontation, ignore that hammering in her chest, so could he.

Dean stepped away from his support, happy when his legs did not collapse beneath him. “Now you’re just being nasty.”

She glared at him, eyes burning with fire. “And you’re being a jackass.”

“Maybe.” Dean nodded, gritted his teeth. “This really how you want it to end?” One last try, offering an olive branch. “Because what I’m feeling <I>right now</I> has nothing to do with lust.”

Folding her arms over her chest, Liz frowned and cocked her head to the side. “You don’t know what you feel, Dean.”

“What about you?” Dean rolled his eyes, mimicked her posture. “Why are you doing this?”

Her lips twitched. “Because I have to.”

Nothing but honesty from Liz. Dean wondered how long she could lie to herself, because she wasn’t fooling him.

“Have to?” He grinned.

“Want to,” she amended.

He wasn’t gaining ground; she wasn’t caving. Liz was stubborn, he’d known that, relished in it, but she was trying his patience, wearing his temper.

“And whatever Liz wants, Liz gets. Right?” Dean snarled, stepping closer to her. “You’re a fucking hypocrite. All that talk about living in the moment, taking charge of your life…all lies.”

“Get out.”

She turned, and he snagged her arm, hauling her close to his mouth. “What’s the matter, Liz? Did I hit a nerve?”

“Leave.” The word shimmered, a translucent warning.

“Don’t think so, Sugar.” He hissed into her ear. It was a power struggle, and it was worth the effort. He needed to knock her off-balance, keep her from leaving his life as abruptly as she’d entered it. “You promised me something. I’m not leaving until you give it to me.”

“Yeah, well, you’ve exhausted my generosity.” Crisp, angry, and, from the flush that filled her cheeks, not the right tack. “Liz is closed for the night. Come back during normal operating hours.”

Dean sighed, unhappy with his attempts, with his unwillingness to forget her and whatever had passed between them. “Not gonna happen.”

“What? You think I’m gonna change my mind?” Antagonistic, spiteful, but Liz was cooling down. Dean felt it in her words and her posture. “You’re not getting in my pants.”

“Who said anything about your pants?” Dean grimaced. “You want me to leave? Fine.” He motioned towards the door. “I’ll leave.” She sagged against him, but immediately tensed at his next words. “After you tell me what the hell is going on.”

“For fuck’s sake, Dean. Can’t you just go?” Liz spun around, stumbling when he failed to release her. She turned on him, yelled into his face. “Walk away. Leave me alone. Get out before it gets complicated.”

Fear washed over him, not his. It was hers. Everything became crystal clear—the act, the anger, the threat. He should have figured it out sooner, should have spared himself some heartache. Being with him sacrificed a part of Liz, some of her freedom. Them, together, wasn’t about comfort or sex. It was a meeting of souls, a severing of everything they knew and held dear. It was a new start, a break from the past, and it terrified her.

Understandable. It was uncharted territory. It terrified him. The only difference, Dean wasn’t willing to let that feeling, that connection escape. Not when he’d spent most of his life wondering if he’d live to the next day, see another sunrise. He’d glimpsed what he and Liz could share when she had healed him, and he wasn’t going to let it go. Didn’t want to let it go.

“It’s already complicated, Liz.” His fingers trembled over her biceps, stroking up and down. “Fuck. Can’t you feel it?”

Eyes fluttering, Liz swayed under his touch. “Feel what?”

“All this tension.” Dean let go, patted the air with his hands. She radiated energy, emotion. Anger. Desire. Love. Fear. “I can feel you, Liz.” He took a deep breath, rocked to his heels as the true meaning of his words slammed home. “I…I can feel what you feel. I can hear your thoughts, what I mean to you.”

“Yeah.” Liz shrugged, and looked away. Not quickly enough, not before he saw the wetness glistening in her eyes or heard the catch in her throat. “And that’s supposed to change my mind?”

“Open your eyes, Liz.” He started forward, cradled her jaw in his hands and stared down into dark, troubled irises. “’Cuz I’m not fucking around. This is me living in the moment. This is me taking what I want.”

She didn’t move. She didn’t try to get away. Liz merely blinked up at him, a tear sliding from her eyelashes. “And what do you--?”

Dean’s mouth crashed to Liz’s swallowing her words with frantic swipes of his tongue. Soft. Sweet. He devoured every crevice, every contour, every moan and gasp. She melted into him, just like he wanted, just like he knew she would. It was over—the standoff, the denial, the battle. Her arms circled his shoulders, held tightly to his neck. She was his.

“I want you, Liz.” Dean broke away, panting for breath. “All of you. Your body. Your soul. Your snarky little mouth.” He grinned, planted a sloppy kiss on her slack lips. Especially that snarky little mouth. “I want to tear you open, to climb inside. I want to be consumed by you. I want to feel alive, to hear you breath my name.” His head tilted back, his eyelids fluttering at the fingers caressing the curve of his skull. “Fuck. I want to be with you, know you. Love you.” Their gazes caught, burned. “I want—“

“Dean?”

Her mouth was a puckered bow, a silent invitation. Dean stared at Liz’s lips, drifted into her. “What?”

Liz smirked, and yanked his head to hers. “Shut up.”

There was no argument when their mouths collided, tongues tangling. She stole his breath, his mind, trapping him to her, in her. Wet and hot. Oh, so hot. Teeth clashed. Biting. Nipping. Dean tugged the fullness of her lower lip into his mouth, biting the plump flesh until she moaned. She tasted spicy, like cinnamon. His arousal flared, his mouth, his hands becoming harder, more demanding.

Magnetic. Hypnotic. His body was on fire, his hands restless, moving over slick curves, tracing rigid bone. Each touch, each stroke seared his senses, blinded everything but her taste, her feel. He was swimming in her, lungs filled with her warmth, skin craving her flesh. It wasn’t enough; it would never be enough. She was delectable, addictive, responsive to every flexing tendon, to each of his hard planes. They ground together, bodies pressing, sighing, urging.

Hands slipping, sliding, he enfolded her waist, fingers slithering beneath cotton. Fabric eased up, shifting, rising, his palms gliding over her spine. She shivered at the contact, bowing her back, head tilting. Panting, cursing, their lips parted, his trailing down her jaw, tongue dragging across her neck. Her pulse beat against his teeth, frantic and heady. He laved the flesh, sucking it into his mouth, marring her flawless skin.

Fingernails tore Dean’s scalp, and he whimpered against Liz’s neck, releasing her skin. Her grip eased, fingers raking through his hair, drawing him closer. Salt. Sweat. The savory taste of her flesh. He licked a path to the hollow of her throat, nipped at her collarbone. Her scent, her desire, he breathed her, swallowed her. Sex, it permeated the air, drugged his mind.

One person. One woman. One singular being. He had never craved anyone so much, so helplessly, so painfully. His hands drifted higher, cotton tank gathering around his wrists, lifting. Breasts bared, dusky tips pink and swollen. Hard. Mouth parted, breath shallow, he slowly inhaled, exhaled, his air pebbling her skin. She stiffened, a ragged cry fleeing her throat.

“Dean.”

Tongue darting, flicking, he traced an areola, curled a nipple into his mouth, dragged his teeth across the tight bud. She jerked, her back arching, soft flesh thrusting into his face. Lips open, sucking, kneading. She writhed under his mouth, groaned in frustration. Dean held her close, hand secured to the small of her back, stilling her, helping her. Unwanted barrier, never forgotten scraps of fabric, his fingers hooked thin, black cotton, yanked it up and over outstretched arms.

They stumbled, falling against faded wallpaper, chipped plaster. Skin to skin. Chest to chest. The hard points of her nipples rubbed enticingly against his slippery flesh. He pushed her into the wall, seized her heaving ribcage with both of his hands. His fingers skimmed damp flesh, taut muscles, caressing supple mounds. Thumbs grazed tight buds, teased, pulled, stroked. Dean sighed into her neck, nibbling behind her ear, drawing her lobe into his mouth.

His pelvis ground into her stomach, her hip, thrusting for friction, completion. There wasn’t enough. He growled in frustration, sliding a hand into her panties, cradling the curve of her ass. Her leg twined around his thigh, foot resting against his knee. She spread wider, his body aligning more naturally, more completely. A shudder wracked his muscles, the heat of her sex seeping through his jeans. His fingers slipped lower, the tips grazing the cleft, curling around the swell of her muscles.

Slick wetness. Tight coils of hair. His fingers skimmed her opening, dipped inside. Hot and…oh God, tight. Dean’s jaw clenched and he froze, his body a line of anxious tension. A growl bubbled up from his throat, spilling from his lips. Liz’s fingers dug into his neck, biting, painful, distracting. He breathed heavily, his weight falling into her, crushing her. That first touch, that first contact of her surrounding him was nearly his undoing.

“Liz.” It was harsh, whispered, ragged. “I…I don’t think I can—“

“Stop talking, Dean.” She grabbed his chin, yanked his face to meet hers. “I don’t care.” Her eyes glittered, dark and swirling. “Just fuck me.”

Brain sighing, Dean dragged his fingers over her hip, followed the sweaty juncture of her thigh. His palm molded over her springy patch of curls, middle finger slipping into her moist crevice. Sliding. Feeling. Visualizing. He was touching her, pleasuring her, making…love to her with his hand. Breath shivered in and out of his lungs, his chest pounding erratically in his chest. He was there, in the moment, and he never wanted it to end.

Nails grazed his chest, scraping his nipples, loosing a low growl from deep within. Their teeth clashed, clicked, gnashed together. Powerful, feral. Lips mated, parted, gasped. Tongues predatory, aggressive, demanding. Lucidity became vague, disrupted. There was nothing, nothing but her mouth, her body, her hands. On him, around him, in him. Her eyes, open and heavy, dark with need, fire.

They were burning. Bodies melting, blending. It was unbearable, being so close, not inside. She begged, dared him with black eyes and fluttering lids. Dean was too far gone to refuse, to think about slowing down. They had waited long enough. A lifetime.

Fingers slipped over damp flesh, brushing spots that stopped Liz’s lungs, brought a deep flush to her cheeks. Dean rubbed her hooded bundle of nerves, pinching, twisting, stroking. Her head jerked away, lips breaking from his, mouth open and panting. He guided a finger inside, watched her reaction, nuzzling the lip quickly clamped between her teeth. She whimpered, and he grinned into her jaw, pushing another finger deep, probing.

“Like that?” His lips sketched her jaw, purring into her ear. “You feel so good.”

Dean teased her with slow thrusts, easing in, out, his thumb flicking her clitoris. Her muscles stretched and rippled around him, fluttering, sensitive. His hips rocked into hers, trapping his hand, building the pressure throbbing in his groin. It was torture…to touch her, to know she was wet for him, to have his fingers coated with her juices. To know one layer of faded denim was the only barrier between their bodies.

“God, Liz.” His eyes slammed shut. “I want to be inside you.”

“So…so…” Liz spasmed, her head banging against the wall. “…good. Want you—”

“I need to—“

Frantic, hurried, fingers curled into his waistband, fumbled at his belt. Liz tugged, pulled the leather free. Her hands dipped into his jeans, wrenched the snap open, yanking the zipper down. His stomach muscles fluttered when she slipped beneath the elastic of his boxers, tangling in the coarse curls enveloping his sex. Heat surrounded his cock, squeezed, and Dean stalled. He grunted into Liz’s neck, lost to the new sensation, the thought of her tiny hands circling him, stroking him. Her thumb swept over the head of his penis, spreading moisture into his skin.

“Fuck.”

Christ, he wasn’t a virgin, far from it, but with her, it felt different. Sex <I>was</I> different. It was her. It was them. And it felt so damn good.

“Don’t…” Liz’s head tossed to the side, spilling his forehead into her shoulder. “Don’t stop.”

He breathed heavily, loudly, willed his body to calm. No doing. It wasn’t responding. Blood sped too quickly through his veins, the air heaving too rapidly into his lungs. When he moved again, it was frantic, pounding. His fingers drove into Liz, stretching, twisting, pulling throaty screams from her mouth. And her hands…they jerked hurriedly, gliding over his erection, building tension in his groin.

“Liz.” He needed bury himself insider her.

Wrenching his fingers from Liz, Dean grappled with her underwear, curling his hands in the fabric. The cotton shredded under his fingertips, falling from her skin. He tossed the ruined clothing aside, and crushed their lower bodies together. It wasn’t a sweet meeting of flesh, a satisfying joining of sexes. He was still clothed, jeans and underwear a very distressing hindrance.

Startled by his loud growl, Liz’s hands ceased moving, stopped touching. But she was a quick study, a quivering bundle of muscles against his skin. She shoved at his clothing, pausing long enough to pull his erection free from his boxers before hauling them down his legs. They snagged on his thighs, drawn tight by his wide-legged stance. It wasn’t important. Not at all.

Hands dropped, coiling around tense muscle, lifting, adjusting. She embraced his body with her thighs, trapping his hips, locking her ankles around his ass. She opened, the length of his erection fitting the groove of her sex. He bucked against the juncture, sliding in her moisture, prodding. The head of his erection slipped inside, muscles fluttering around him, drawing him deeper.

“Stop.” Liz stiffened, but did not pull away. She breathed unsteadily into his hair. “Pro…protection.”

A bit of sanity returned. For a moment, no longer than it took to remember he had a condom in his back pocket.

“Liz…” He forced his pelvis back, from her body. “Wallet…”

Scrambling, bending, Liz groped for his jeans, yanking the black leather from his pocket. Her hands were a frenzy of motion, discarding paper, ids, money, jerking the square foil package from it. The wallet fell to the floor, but Dean’s eyes were on Liz, on her teeth, on her fingers tearing, removing protective rubber. She rolled the condom on him, guiding him to her, into her.

Legs wide, welcoming, Dean sank into her body, cock penetrating, sliding deep. He reveled in her heat, the tiny tremors of her sex. Unable to move, to do anything but enjoy the fusion, the sensation, the tide of emotions washing over him. She had invaded him as much as he had her; she was in his blood, scoured into his mind. And, God, she felt so good, so tight, so wet, so…so perfect.

“Dean…”

“Ugh.” Because, really, all words were gone.

Liz panted, tiny spasms rippling her muscles, making her tremble and quake against him. Her fingers clutched at his back, nails burrowing for purchase on his slick skin.

“Move.” She whimpered, wriggled. “Please…”

Her hips slanted into him, canting, forcing him deeper. He groaned, spine bending, erection twitching. His entire body throbbed, every nerve-ending alive with sensation, tingling. Air dragged roughly from his lungs, and his fingers clenched, digging into the flesh of Liz’s ass.

“Dean…”

His gaze jolted to Liz’s. Wild. Frenzied. Her mouth was parted, lips puffed and stained with his kisses. Ravished. Sexy. The rosy flush… The beads of moisture… The lust… The desire… The love…

How had that come to be? How had he found her? How had he—

“Dean.”

Dean blinked, startled by the husky tone. His name… It had been a command, a plea. For him. For movement. To slake the fire smoldering in both their bodies.

Fuck. There was no way he would survive.

Hips tilting, knees bowing, Dean angled his pelvis away, slid until the tip of his arousal teased her opening. Excruciating, the sensation, the loss. He slammed back inside her, buried himself as deep as possible. Liz screamed, wriggling against him, skull crashing into the wall. He had the presence of mind to cradle her head on the next thrust, his fingers diving into sweaty silk. It was his last coherent thought.

Thighs tightened around his hips, heels bearing into his ass. Hands roved his back, restless; they touched his hair, traced his spine, pressed into his tailbone. He growled into Liz’s neck, holding her fiercely, tightly as they collided. Over and over. He plundered the hot cavern of her sex. In. Out. Almost parting. Crashing together. Again and again.

Rocking, swaying, driving. She met each of his thrusts, panting, writhing, pleading. His words were unintelligible, muttered profanities, fierce cries for God, but his lips never stopped moving, never ceased whispering into Liz’s skin. Her pulse thrummed beneath his lips, her heart thumping violently against his chest. They were losing rhythm, sanity. Two bodies thrashing, lurching. He was driven by the pressure coiling in his groin, the white halos fringing his vision.

Sex had never been like that, so surreal, so breathtaking, so uncontrollable. They pounded into each other, lost, trembling bundles of nerves and energy. He wanted it to last longer, to savor the intensity, the exquisiteness of the moment. But she was so tight, so hot, so incredibly responsive…

The orgasm blew apart his mind, fragmented what little thought remained. Light and stars, his vision was a red haze beneath shuttered eyelids. His lungs faltered, his lower body jerking, pumping mechanically as his balls tightened, spilling his seed. He trembled and shook, arms convulsing around Liz, knees sagging. Explosive. Pleasure rode his body hard, arched his spine, wave after wave of sensation rippling through his muscles.

Vibration. Distant voices. He became aware of Liz, of her spasms gripping his erection, of her keening. His eyes popped open, staring with awe at her flared nostrils, her widely parted lips. Entrancing. She jolted, mini earthquakes erupting across her body, tightening her thighs, her fingers.

Her weight slumped in his arms, her head falling to his shoulder. Dean stumbled backwards, body weak and slow. He staggered in what he hoped was the direction of the bed, had nearly reached it before his legs collapsed. They spilled across the mattress, Liz’s body crushed beneath his. He rolled to his side, slipped from her sex, wincing at the loss.

Dean blinked, had a moment of clarity. It was impossible, but undeniable. “God, Liz, I love you…”

A moment later his eyes drifted closed.

********

TBC

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2x4
Enthusiastic Roswellian
Posts: 14
Joined: Sun Jun 09, 2002 11:08 am

Postby 2x4 » Thu Apr 06, 2006 9:11 am

First with the apologies. Sorry it took me so long to post this part. I'm running low on buffer and I haven't had an opportunity for writing. So this is late. I had intended to post last week. Sigh. Funny how time gets away from me. You'd almost think I was turning 78 instead of 28.

Welcome WomanofMystery, aussietrueblue, bluebear01, and behrstars!! Always great to pick up new readers, especially ones who love the Drifter pairing as much as I do.

As always, thank you so much for the feedback--Ellie, roswellian love, orphyfets, Roswell Slayer, and *shiri&jensen4ever*. I'm a whore for your lovely words and the occasional critical analysis. Keeps the story love alive and kicking. That said, there probably won't be another update for a little while. Easter, family, and friends are going to keep me busy for the next couple weeks.

--Robyn

********

Part 5

********

Fingers tickled his sides, explored the gentle curve of his ass, the slope of his spine. Dean swatted at the light touches disrupting his bleary-eyed daze, pulling him from his otherworldly existence. Good God, it had been amazing; Liz had been amazing. Too mind numbing for coherent thought. All he wanted, all his body craved, was to sink into the mattress, to drown in the bright white staining his retinas. It was too early for a repeat; he was exhausted.

“Mmmm, Liz…” Dean mumbled into his pillow. Other movement was impossible. “Fuck off.”

Weight dropped onto his back, warm thighs straddling his hips. Fingernails dug into his shoulders as Liz rubbed her lower body into him, slick wetness seeping into his skin. She bent over, moist breath caressing his ear, tongue teasing the soft flesh of his lobe.

“Dean…” She purred, nuzzling her cheek into the crook of his neck. “Wake up.”

Dean swatted Liz’s thigh, which took a lot more effort than he’d anticipated. His muscles were lax and heavy, unresponsive.

“Leave lone.”

Quiet descended, Liz’s subtle swaying rocking him back towards oblivion. Calm. Peaceful. The soothing fingers working into his scalp… The soft contours of female flesh searing his back… The lips hot and delicate on his nape… The teeth—

“Ow.”

Jerking sideways, Dean slapped a hand to his stinging collarbone. Mischievous eyes stared at him when he managed to slit his eyelids, blinking in the inky light. Her mouth grinned wickedly, perfectly lined teeth a white gleam. She had bitten him.

“God.” Dean frowned, testing for blood. It had really hurt. “Are you always such a bitch?”

The smile flickered at the corners, a treacherous tale of mal-intent. “Are you always such an asshole?”

“Yeah.” His eyes narrowed, wary of dark irises and beguiling lips. “Well, shut up.”

“At a loss for words?” Liz touched her chest, hand slipping to palm a breast, stroke distracting circles. “Am I too much woman for you, Dean?” Hand drifted higher, fingers tracing her clavicle, the hollow of her throat. “Mad you couldn’t keep up?”

He groaned, swallowing desperately to moisten his mouth. “Can’t you just let me enjoy the afterglow?”

“You’ve been enjoying it for an hour.” She tipped forward, dark strands of hair falling across her face. “I’m getting bored.”

“An hour?” He glanced to the red digital display on the nightstand. It’d been a lot more than an hour since they had tumbled into bed. “What the hell?”

“Yeah.” Liz nodded. She stretched across the mattress, drew a line across his chest with a finger. “Probably something we should’ve discussed before I nailed you.”

“Christ.” He shivered, goose bumps rising in the wake of her touch. “Don’t think talking would’ve prepared me. That was…fucking incredible.”

“Yeah.” She sneered, scooting closer to him. “Once you go Liz, you never go back.”

Dean quietly agreed. Sex would never be the same. Not after…after the Liz experience. Wow.

“So…” Dean rolled to his back and pulled her into him, cradling her waist with his hand. He tipped her face with the other, tracing the line of her jaw with his thumb. “This’d be where you insert an explanation.”

“Right.” Eyebrows scrunching together, Liz inhaled, blew out a shaky breath. “Does the fact that I was raised in Roswell, New Mexico mean anything to you?”

Dean wracked his brain, immediately making a connection with the town. Who wouldn’t? Any self-respecting hunter of the supernatural knew the myths surrounding Roswell. He’d been quoting the town’s history since the age of eight.

“Roswell: Alien capitol of the United States.” Liz relaxed into him, and he smiled, happy that he’d paid attention to his dad’s lessons. “Home to all manner of crazies, psychos, and sci-fi junkies. Investigated a shooting there once with my dad, some diner. A waitress was shot, but the bullet, or a wound, was never found. We didn’t find anything—“

Liz’s face soured, her nose crinkling, lips scowling. Awareness struck him like a live wire, painful and electric. Something he’d said had dredged up long buried memories, deep, festering wounds. The emotion was so fleeting, so lost in the constant hum of her presence he had barely noticed it. His embrace tightened, his fingers caressing the smooth skin of her stomach.

“What?”

Sighing, her hand skated over his chest, pressed against his heart. He felt her nodding into his shoulder. “That’s where it started.”

“Cryptic much?”

“That a challenge?”

Dean rolled his eyes, like she needed an excuse. “Nope, it was a plea for the secret decoder ring. Don’t I get one now that I’m banging you?”

She slapped his chest, but the trembling of her body betrayed her amusement. “Cough up the membership dues, recite the super secret credo, and I’ll see if I can pull some strings.”

“And if I can’t swing it?”

Liz shrugged, a grin quirking her lips. “You’ll just have to be my boy toy sidekick.”

Grimacing, Dean mulled over her words. That wouldn’t be so bad. He could definitely live with being her boy toy. “Do I have to wear tights?”

“Tights? Hell, I don’t want you wearing underwear.” Her hand dipped lower, curled around his inner thigh, wrist resting against his sex. “Don’t worry, I don’t enforce rules that I don’t follow myself.”

“Um, yeah.” Dean shifted uncomfortably. How could his dick spring to life with one touch? “So…” His voice cracked. “You were saying? About Roswell?”

“And they say men have one track minds.” Liz settled onto his chest, chin nestled into his shoulder. “I’m trying to distract you with sex and you’re having none of it. What kind of man are you?”

“A tired one.” Fingers cupped his testicles, kneaded. “Ahhh, ahhh.” He pushed her hands away, but his resolve had weakened. “A very tired one. I need a little time to recup.”

Her brow furrowed, a bemused smirk twitching at her lips. “The exact amount of time it takes to tell my story?”

“It’s like you read my mind.” Dean curved a hand around Liz’s thigh, hauled her leg across his body. It was comforting—her weight, her heat, her presence. He wanted to be surrounded by it.

Hesitation. A puff of discontented breath. It was a few moments before Liz began speaking.

“That was me,” she whispered. Her hand spread across his chest, damp, fidgety. “I was that waitress.”

“You were that…” Dean broke off, a perplexed frown marring his features. “Huh?”

“Damn it.” Liz stiffened, her body a coiled mass of energy against his. “Do I have to spell it out for you?”

“Um.” Dean’s eyes narrowed, sparked. “Yes.”

“That shooting you and your dad investigated…” She breathed deep, her exhalation fluttering the hairs of his neck. “That was me. I was the waitress who got shot…bullet in the stomach. It was fatal.”

Dean jolted, his fingers convulsing. She was real, breathing, alive. The best representation of the undead he’d ever seen. But she wasn’t dead. He knew that instinctively and was ashamed at the instantaneous fear that had washed through him. Faith was hard for him, unsettling. It was an excuse, and a feeble one. He knew Liz, even if his brain wasn’t ready to accept it.

His voice was soothing and warm, his hands soft, light. “But you’re here now.”

“Yeah.” She nodded, turning to press her mouth into his throat. “I was healed before I had the chance to die.”

Healed? How was that possible? Dean didn’t believe she meant doctors and medicine, faith and religion. Someone or something had kept her from dying.

“By what?”

“It was Roswell, Genius.” Liz sighed, traced random patterns over his chest. Sarcasm dripped from her tongue. “What do you think?”

“Aliens?” He rolled his eyes, clamping his teeth shut before he started name calling.

“Good boy.” She patted him, and he flinched. Not cool. “An alien. Or, really, Max healed me.”

“Max?” Dean squinted at Liz, judging her veracity. Unbelievable, but he knew she wasn’t lying to him. “Your alien has a name?”

“Mostly when I think about him anymore he’s ‘the bastard.’” An unhappy, self-deprecating grin split her face. “But, yeah, he has a name.”

“Saved your life and he’s a bastard?”

“Not at the time.” She shook her head, frowned. “It took years of putting up with his shit to figure that out.”

Fuck. They had a history. Dean didn’t know this guy, but he knew he wanted to kill him. Liz radiated hurt, disappointment, anger—all for the man who had saved her life. That Max had broken her, changed her, stolen her innocence. He had ripped and torn, shredded Liz’s esteem, her will. It was frightening, what he knew without her saying, from their connection.

“You know…” Her voice lowered, soft and fluttering. “I thought I would be with him forever. Funny how wrong a person can be, what they can ignore. I left my home for him, my family, but it was never enough. Max just kept…” She paused, her breath hitching. “He wanted more, everything. Finally, I had nothing left. I was empty.”

“Liz…”

He tugged on her leg, shifting until she was sprawled across his chest. She was hot, burning, her heat creeping into his skin. His hands settled into the small of her back, held her tightly. He didn’t have words to comfort her, but he had himself.

“S’ok, Dean.” She feathered a hand through his hair, leaning until their lips nearly touched. Who was comforting whom? “I came to terms. This is me well and fully adjusted.”

“Adjusted?” He couldn’t stop the smirk. “You?”

“You’re complaining?” She eased closer, tilted her head to the side. “It led me here.” She brushed his lips. “It let me find you.”

Her mouth was soft, wet. It opened over his, pressed lightly. Sweet and familiar. His tongue tangled with hers. Velvety. Gentle. In that moment, in her arms, it was enough.

********

“Hey, yeah.” The phone was cradled between Liz’s shoulder and neck, her eyes staring across the room. “You guys do delivery?”

Dean nuzzled into her stomach, his arms embracing her hips. He was content to lie there, to listen to the steady purr of her voice. Mattress Olympics. Bending in fresh and exciting ways. Discovering Liz’s body. Learning new, responsive areas on his. Content was an understatement. Truth was, his body ached. It was the good kind of ache, the ‘I’ve been having marathon sex’ kind of ache. Between overused muscle burn and sheer exhaustion, he was incapable of doing much of anything. And she was such a comfy pillow.

“So, what hot food dya have?” Liz threaded her free hand into his tousled hair. “Yeah, ok. We’ll take a large.” She paused. “No, just meat.”

Hunger pangs rumbled in Dean’s stomach. It had been days since he’d eaten. Two maybe three, he couldn’t remember. Time ceased in the hotel room. Nights blended into days, waking into sleeping. It was disorienting if he took a moment to think about it. He had once, not again; it disrupted quiet, naked Liz time.

“Dean.” Liz shook him, and he blinked bleary-eyed up her body. “Need anything?”

His mouth pursed, the slightest trace of a smile curling his lips. “Red Bull?”

Liz chuckled, one word slipping from her mouth. “Idiot.” An irritated voice boomed through the phone. “Sorry, no, not you.” Her fingers soothed tracks over Dean’s scalp. “So you got the soda, the chips, the protein bars?”

Eyelashes fluttering, Dean inhaled, felt himself drifting away. She smelled good, relaxing, like sex, like him. Overpowering. Encompassing. Enthralling. Sleep. Dreams…

“Uh-huh.” She jolted, her torso startling Dean to wakefulness. Rude. “Wait.” Beat. “I’m gonna need condoms.” Her fingernails bit into skin, stung, teased. “Lots of condoms.”

“Size?” She peered at Dean, grinning mischievously. “What dya say, Sweetie? Small? Medium?”

Smirking, he pressed his chin into Liz’s stomach, grinding it into the soft flesh. His hands spanned her waist, fingers cupping her breasts. He pinched a nipple, twisted it. A rosy flush filled her cheeks, a groan escaping her lips. It was a nice lesson in manners.

“Right,” she panted. The grip on the phone slipped, nearly spilling from her hand before she recovered. He mentally patted his back. “Two boxes, extra large.”

Rolling into Liz, Dean wriggled between her thighs, elbows preventing his upper body from crushing her. He breathed against her skin, licking the panel of flesh between her breasts. She shivered, her ankles hooking just under his ass, dragging him closer, tighter. He sucked on the skin, drew it firm and harsh into his mouth. Tired, but not too tired to torment her. Fatigue had a way of receding at the first scent of arousal. What? He was young and virile.

“No, that’s it.” Sharp nails pierced his upper arm, her breath hitched. “Pinetree. Room 6A. Don’t hurry.”

The receiver slammed into the cradle, the loud crack of roughly handled plastic ringing through the room. He released her skin, smiling proudly at the purple bruise darkening between her breasts. Fingers twined in his hair, jerked him away. Dean obeyed, crawling across her skin, going where she directed. Acquiescent to her, to her touch, to the heat scorching his body. He’d never been so complacent, so content in someone else’s arms.

Dark eyes collided with his, locked. Knowing. Expecting. Wanting. He bowed his back, easing his weight into her soft curves. She sighed under him, her heart pounding fiercely against his ribcage. Dean smoothed a hand over Liz’s forehead, winding his fingers into the silk of her hair. Lips swollen, twisting into a wry grin. Entrancing. He dipped his face towards her mouth, his lips slack and dry.

It was sentimental and uncharacteristic, but was there a more perfect place? Naked bodies flushed and sticky. Legs binding him tight—trapping, encouraging, begging. Obsidian pools of water, eyelids narrow and fluttering. At that moment, in her arms, Dean couldn’t imagine heaven any other way. To be with Liz was sublime. To be in her…divine.

His eyes shuttered, a fine tremble quivering up his spine. It was far more than content. Than happy, even. This…whatever it was, was territory he’d never trespassed. It was downright scary how quickly he’d given to sensation, to feeling…to her. Snared. Uncaring. He was where he wanted to be. No running, not that running was something Winchesters did well. They stayed to face what frightened them. And if that meant committing many acts of sexual congress with a beautiful, mysterious woman…so be it.

Thoughts ruptured when a finger pushed against his lips, holding Dean at bay. His eyes opened, staring curiously at the warning flash in Liz’s eyes. Panting, cheeks crimson, she screwed her face, clenched her teeth. He stiffened against her, the body surrounding him suddenly hostile.

“Don’t.”

“Don’t?”

Dean wrinkled his brow, tilting his chin to the side. Refusal. What the hell? He glared at Liz, twisting his hips just…so. She yelped, her arms tightening, nails stripping him to the bone.

“You do know this is a minor miracle, right?” Dean quirked an eyebrow. Still curious, but slowly growing annoyed. She wanted him—so why the resistance? His words came out sharper than he’d intended, crisper. “Me getting it up five times without adequate sleep or provisions?”

“Miracle or not.” She pushed at his face, grimacing. Her legs dropped to the mattress, cradling his thighs. “We’re outta party hats.”

Huh? Oh. Ohhhh. Right. Food not the only provision running low in supply. Not that it mattered. He was versatile.

“I can improvise.” He smirked, nipping her chin. She tensed, a groan slipping from her lips. “You know these hands…this mouth?” His eyes crinkled mischievously. “Not just pretty toys.”

Mouth wandering, he tongued the pulse fluttering in her throat. Sticky. Salty. He sucked on the flesh, grazing his teeth over that one. sensitive. spot. Liz groaned and pulled at his neck, encouraging pressure, release. His body sank into hers, his weight crushing her into the mattress, his thigh pressing against her sex. His hand eased lower, skimming her side, slipping over her waist, smoothing down the crease of her thigh.

“Tempting…” She shivered, responding to the hands feathering across her heat, the fingers tormenting moist flesh. “Oh…God.”

“That’s it, Baby.” He nipped her earlobe, traced the shell with the tip of his tongue. “Scream like you want it.”

Talking was a mistake, it seemed. At the sound of his voice, Liz curdled, soured to his touch. He could work with it, though, work her.

“Damn it, Dean.” Her hand shot out, seizing his wrist, squeezing hard. “No.”

Dean wriggled his fingers, and Liz spasmed. Flight fled her body, quivering muscles succumbing to the demands of lust. Need. Hot, insistent fingers. She looped a leg around the small of his back, dug her heel into his ass.

“Yes…” he hissed.

Heady. Silky and fluid, she was hot, aroused. He had power, over her body, over her release. Two fingers slid into clenching heat, and she nearly lurched from the bed. A loud burst of air exploded from Liz’s lips, her grip slackening. He chuckled into her throat, slowly maneuvering his fingers. Stretching. Gliding. Probing. Driving deep. She shivered around him, breath panting from excited lungs. Her hips lifted off the mattress, rocking in time with his thrusts.

“God, Liz.” Dean grunted, grinding his erection into her thigh. Not enough purchase. “How can we…I…?” He gritted his teeth. “Fuck. I can’t get enough of you.”

Wasn’t that the truth? Dean was dry humping her leg and close to orgasm. Just her touch, her breath, the throaty growling of his name…

“S’good.” Her words were slurred, raspy. “Dean. Want…want…”

“Yeah?”

The tempo accelerated, her pelvis hard and demanding against his hand. He moved faster, bucking into her. Her legs spread wider, he slipped between them, cradled by her thighs. The temptation, the urge, the need to sink into her body. To pound. To fuse. His hand moved, gliding up her stomach, clenching around her hip. His erection pressed into unbelievable heat, scraping along slick flesh, prodding at her opening. Sliding in…

Liz froze, her fingernails steely needles embedded in his scalp. She twisted, her lower body shifting from his. “Stop.”

Dean panted, breathless and confused. Power had migrated brains; his dick was behind the wheel. Fuck if he could steer it.

“Can’t do this.” She guided him onto his side. Liz was sufficiently tousled, hair damp and clinging to her forehead, her cheeks. The need was clear, untainted by her restraint.

“Huh?” He took a deep breath, studied the emotion swirling in her eyes. She wanted him; he wanted her. What was the problem?

“I’m saying we can’t be trusted.”

She directed a casual glance at his erection. It twitched under her gaze, grew harder, if that were possible. His nostrils flared, scenting her arousal. Strong, overpowering. God, he wanted to bury his cock in her, pound Liz into the mattress until she screamed his name—

“That’s what I was trying to tell you.” She smirked, tracing the line of his jaw with her fingers. “We can’t not fuck.”

“Right.”

Nodding, Dean pulled back and raked a hand through his hair. He couldn’t really argue. They did sex well. Really well. Really fan-fucking-tastically well. The other stuff, the ‘niceties,’ was a warm-up to the main event. A prologue if you will. No climax until the sweet sound of slapping flesh filled the air. That chilled him a bit, knocked his arousal down a few pegs.

Fuck. A few days and he knew with certainty completion could only be found in Liz, when she was writhing and falling apart to. his. every. thrust. No less than fucking would do. Everything else was trivial. If he hadn’t already accepted it, that knowledge would have been the final clue. She was so much more than a casual fuck.

“You do realize you told the delivery jerk not to hurry.”

He sighed, squeezing his eyes tightly closed. Time to kill and they couldn’t fill it with sex. Conversation? Not exactly their strong suit. It usually devolved into knockdown, drag out, ‘kick me in the nuts’ fights. Or sex.

“I did?” Liz truly looked distressed, her features sliding into a dark, disbelieving frown. “Shit.”

The moment stretched out. Dean watched Liz, observed the emotions skittering across her face. He stroked a hand over her hip, spreading his fingers wide. She was hot and damp against his palm, flushed. Her eyes sparkled at the contact, narrowing on the infiltrating appendage.

“Okay.” She swatted at his hand, and inched away from him. “You stay there.”

“Where are you--?”

Dean’s eyes narrowed as she crawled away, her naked, heart-shaped ass wiggling just out of his reach. If she was trying to squelch the mighty powerful urge to fornicate, she was going about it the wrong way. A dick couldn’t be tamed when the woman was presenting in such an erotic way.

Her head angled over her shoulder and she motioned to a spot on the far side of the bed with her chin. “Moving down there.”

“Doesn’t make you safe.” He growled, his nostrils flaring. He could <I>smell</I> her. He could <I>see</I> the swollen folds of her sex.

Liz glared, and Dean pouted. He couldn’t win; she was too strong. But he could improvise. He spilled to his back, his erection jutting towards the ceiling as he folded an arm beneath his head. She inhaled sharply and he sneered, letting one hand drift down his side to scratch lazily at his hip. He brushed a single finger over his rigid flesh.

“Stop it or I will beat the shit out of you.”

He risked a glance at Liz. She was curled in a ball, her head propped up by a pillow. Not come hither. Not comfortable. Protective. Shielding. But it was her face that made him stop, made his hand settle forgotten to his stomach. She was tired, conflicted. Burdened. The things she’d left unanswered, the things he had yet to ask… They lay on the bed between them, separating them. Heavy. Pressing. Baggage. Dirty laundry.

When his brain caught up with all that had transpired in the last few days, he would be shell-shocked, numb. Overwhelmed. Bodies had been given, taken, used, but it was time for more. Sharing. Blending. Learning. The past had created them, made them what they were. The present was still leading them, driving them on. And the future…they couldn’t move forward. Not yet. Enigma surrounded Liz. Too much question. Too much anonymity. Dean knew her, but he didn’t. Surreal.

“Fine. I can’t make love to my beautiful, sexy…” He faltered. Tricky. His eyes swept over Liz, the lip chewed thoughtfully between her teeth. They were so far beyond fuck buddies. “…girlfriend. So talk.”

“About?”

Mentally, Dean breathed a sigh of relief. Giving Liz a label hadn’t raised any flags. More importantly, she wasn’t pissed. Seemed almost happy, in fact, if the warm smile curling her lips was any indication. Huh. His girlfriend. And this would be the first sharing/caring portion of the relationship. He’d heard about them, watched portrayals on television, but he’d never been an active participant. A new kind of experience, one he’d couldn’t kill with silver shot or a ring of salt. Horrifying.

Their gazes locked, a giddy twitching of muscles pulling at Dean’s mouth. Happiness or mind-numbing terror? That was the question. “Start with the forest and those people.”

Liz closed her eyes, nestling her head into the pillow. Still naked, still beguiling, but his awareness of her was distancing, fading into the background. “Skins.”

“Alright. Skins.” Dean rolled his eyes, and turned to his side. He frowned, his worries and questions resurfacing. “You knew they would be there.”

“Yeah.” Her head tipped, a half nod. Eyes careened to his, blank, bottomless. “Well, no. But they almost always are when I go to a drop.”

“A drop?” He didn’t like the phrasing, the implication. Liz was dangerous, the world she lived in more than the person, but the beginnings of the story were vague. Dean couldn’t stop the snap judgments, the unwarranted suspicions. “Like drugs?”

“More like information.” She shrugged, and enfolded her knees with her arms. “That disk…you remember it, right? A night and a day of fucking hasn’t damaged your long term memory, has it?”

Dean glared, but accepted the accusation for what it was—levity. Things were getting serious; secrets were being exposed. The atmosphere could get thick fast. Crushing. Stifling. She knew him, knew how he could react. Close up. Get angry. Lash out. Or the other route: Freak out. Scream. Run away. She was preempting the tension, letting him know it was okay to cut up. Comedy being his coping mechanism of choice.

“It’s a piece of something larger.”

His brow furrowed, his lips pursing. The disk she’d given him was information, information that would be dangerous in the wrong person’s hands. The full impact of her trust settled onto Dean’s shoulders. She had given him the disk knowing he would keep it safe for her. Wow. His heart beat a little faster.

Dean’s hand fluttered at his hip. He dropped it to the mattress, stretching ever so slightly towards Liz. Bridging the gap. “What?”

“We don’t know, Dean.” Liz flicked her eyes to the side then to his open palm. Pensive. Wondering. “Don’t have all the pieces. You do know how a puzzle works, right?”

He snorted, contemplated spanking her for her mouth. “I’m not a moron.”

“Just making sure.” A grin. An aw-shucks tilt of the shoulders. Damned woman. The smile eased, her face became more solemn. Jaded. “We think it’s a message.”

Interesting. “From who?”

“More from what.” She sighed, and unfurled her body. “It’s from off-world, Larek, we believe.”

An alien. Not surprising. It also explained her growing irritation. Aliens had mapped her life, charted and routed until she snapped. Everything involving them, her makeshift family was tainted. Scarred and bruised. Why was she still with them?

“I heard that name before.” Dean licked his lips, placed the memory. The forest. The first glimpse of uber-scary Liz. “When you were…questioning that wo…Skin.”

“Larek’s a friend.” She paused, grimacing. Her mouth opened, closed. Again. At a loss, that much Dean could tell. How to begin a story?

Once upon a—

“Christ. You want the short version?” Liz didn’t wait for an answer before rushing forward. “The crash in 1947 was a salvage mission.”

Salvage what? Aircraft?

Liz’s palm hit the mattress, fingers burrowing into the sheets. “Not that kind of salvage. The aliens, the planet they’re from—Antar—is in anarchy. Started with the assassination of the royal family.”

Royal family. This was the secret Liz would die for. Dean was becoming part of something bigger, more dangerous than his run of the mill supernatural encounters. “The king…”

“Yeah, the king.” Her face pinched, her nostrils flaring with anger. “There were four of them in the beginning—Max, Michael, Isabel, and Tess.” She ticked off the names on her fingers. “They were sent to Earth for a second chance.” Liz rolled her eyes. “Four genetically engineered aliens that represented all the hopes of one parent. Recreate the people, bring them back, and destroy the dictatorship. Everything would be shiny, just the way it had been before their deaths.”

He nodded. It was all making sense. Aliens. Interplanetary exchange program. Sexless reproduction. Karma. Liz was-- Huh?

“Wait.” His eyes crinkled. He wasn’t getting it. “What are you telling me?”

“I’m giving you back story, texture, otherwise it’s not gonna make any sense.”

“Oh. It’s gets clearer?”

“Yeah, Dumbass.” Liz resituated, moving to the head of the bed and reclining against the wall. She dragged the sheet over her body, her fingers playing with the edge.

“Recap: Four aliens came to Earth in 1947.” She dropped the sheet, crossed her arms over her chest. “They look human, are, actually, in part, human. Everything started at the Crashdown. Max couldn’t watch me die, and, after he got all ‘glowy,’ it was kinda hard to hide what he was.”

“An alien.”

“A controlling jackass.” She grinned self-deprecatingly. “He let me live and exposed himself. The great and omniscient king. Pfft. It’s not exactly a secret to me how they died in their last lives.”

“And this is the short version?”

The expression on Liz’s face darkened, her forehead pinching. “You try summing up eight years of your life in twenty words or less.”

Dean paused, reflecting before he answered. Easy. “Mom killed. Need answers. Spent last twenty years hunting for them.” He mentally tallied the number then smirked. “Eleven words.”

Frowning, Liz bit down on her lip, closing her eyes. When they opened, they were fiery, full of challenge. “Fine. Got shot. Got involved with aliens. Got exposed. Got hunted. Been running since I was eighteen. Seventeen words.”

“Eighteen?”

He grasped at the number, trying to make some sense of it. Eighteen. She was an adult by official standards, but still a teen. Young. Inexperienced. What did a teenager know about life? And to be thrust into hiding… Home for Dean was transient, had been since his mother’s death. But his experience was different; he had taken his home with him, his family.

“I had my dad and Sam.” His voice faltered, soft and raspy. “But you…”

Liz stared at nothing, a sad smile curling her lips. Wistful in remembrance. “I wasn’t alone.”

Disregarding the feet of space Liz had placed between them, Dean crawled across the mattress. He folded her into his arms, her head falling against his chest. She trembled, her breath feathering in disjointed puffs against his skin. But she didn’t move, she didn’t pull away. He held her, and she let him. Sometimes comfort was that simple, that innocent.

“There were six of us. Always on the move, keeping under radar.” Her voice was a whisper, her body hot and shivering. “You’re a hunter, Dean.” Her hand enfolded his side, gripping tight. “Do you know what it’s like to be on the other end?”

His lips were quiet, no answer needed. He stroked her arm, fought to listen, to not pass judgment. She’d been on the move for years, all for a man. Liz had given up everything to be with Max, to protect him, to love him. Whatever was happening between them, whatever the future might hold, Dean would always know. <I>He</I> wasn’t that man. He would never be Max.

“It’s like being a fucking rabbit.” She grew harder. “Twitchy and nervous all the time. Always looking over your shoulder.” Liz pulled back to look into his eyes. “It was hell the first year, not that it ever got easier. Just more predictable, routine. Move somewhere new, almost get comfortable, leave.”

“Those six people. Those six friends. They were all there were. My world. My social circle.” She sighed, and fell into his chest. “I couldn’t meet anyone new. I wasn’t myself. I was six people. It was so damned confusing, so suffocating, but there was nothing I could do.”

“You could’ve left.” Dean nuzzled his mouth into Liz’s hair.

“Like you could leave your dad or Sam?”

Dean’s teeth clamped together. Liz wasn’t mean. She wasn’t provoking a fight. She was honest and unapologetic. But he got the point. They were her family; she’d never abandon them.

“Sam left.”

The words were out of his mouth before he’d fully processed them. Sam had disappeared, gone off to Stanford, and it still hurt. They were a family; they were supposed to be together. Always.

“Sam isn’t gone, not really.” Liz wriggled against Dean until her head lay against his stomach. “He’s just finding himself.”

A harsh snort blew from Dean’s nose. “And once he’s done that, he’ll be back?” His body stiffened, muscles cording. “Sam made his choice: family or college. Guess dad and I were never that important.”

“What do you know, Dean?” Liz murmured, her eyelashes fluttering against his skin. “You have your place. You know what you’re doing.” She stabbed him in the hip with a pointy finger. “You’ve never doubted yourself or the path your father started you down. It’s part of you.”

He laughed, a short bark of sound incongruent to the intensity of the conversation. “Yeah. I’m a fucking saint.”

“Screw you, Dean.” Liz tried to roll away, but he held tight. “Do you know how rare it is to know what you want? To actually do it? Most people spend their lives stuck or jumping all over the place. They never settle into anything comfortable, anything that makes them happy. They give in; they ride it out. Hoping, always hoping something better will fall on them.”

Dean threw his weight, pinning Liz into the mattress. He glared down at her, outraged that she was digging so deep. “What do you know, Liz? Reading my mind doesn’t make you an expert on my family. Stop trying to—“

“Sam left because he had to.” Liz lay still, dark eyes unblinking as she gazed back at him. “He was suffocating, confused, and if he’d stayed he would’ve learned to hate you, hate your father. Your father’s path suited you, not him. How can you expect him to give up everything? How can you be angry at him for doing what he needed to do?”

His eyes screwed shut, his hands gripping more tightly to her shoulders. Air heaved from his lungs, violent tremors shaking his body. Realization smacked him with blunt force.

“We’re not talking about Sam.” Her eyes glazed, a flash of fear shooting through them. “This is about you.”

“Wrong.” Liz shook her head, a tear leaking from her eye. “We’re talking about both of us: me and Sam.”

Mouth parted, Dean cocked his head to the side. Unsure.

“Sam had the courage to leave.” She laughed shortly, another tear breaking free. “I…stayed.”

She stayed, Dean repeated silently. Sam left. Liz stayed and learned to hate all those she had loved. Her desire to leave, her beaten will…they had eaten away at her, corroding her spirit, her soul. If Sam hadn’t run away to college, the same might have happened to him.

Not might. Liz wasn’t giving possibilities. It would have happened to Sam.

He sucked in a shaky breath, acknowledging just what Liz had wanted him to see. See Sam and not Dean’s own selfish desires. She wanted him to forgive and forget. It wasn’t that easy. Betrayal never was. It was hard to be okay with his brother. He’d…left.

“Woah.” Liz pushed at Dean’s chest and he rolled to his back beside her. “Got a little off track, didn’t we?”

Silence. What the hell was going on? Liz had raked over barely scabbed wounds, left them gaping and bleeding. She had brought to the surface things he didn’t want to remember, revelations he didn’t want to have. Thoughts and fears, hope and anger, they surged within him. He’d been content to forget Sam, to pretend everyday wasn’t a little bit lonelier without his brother in it. But it was all renewed, all clean and unmarred by time. No longer festering, but open and breathing.

He couldn’t be angry with Liz. She intended help, nothing malicious. And maybe, just maybe, she was right to drag everything into focus.

“Last year, we were contacted by Larek. It was brief, near incomprehensible, but it got the point across. He was gonna help us, send us packages.”

Liz’s voice startled Dean, and he blinked at her. She was continuing where she’d left off, telling her tale. He let her talk, let the emotions swirling in his head settle into the background. He’d never been able to read women; she was no different. Still, it was strange. They’d been close to something. Not just with Sam. With her.

And she’d steered them away.

He’d give her a free pass. For the moment. Just because she was sexy—and naked. But they were coming back to it later. Later, when he’d had time to process everything. Time to mull over all she had said and implied. Until then…

“Packages?”

“That damn disk.” She relaxed, the line of her body easing into his. They lay pressed into each other, side-by-side, gazing at the ceiling. “We have eight of them now. Should be one more. It was just luck that we got the first one.” Her tone darkened. “Larek’s message got scrambled in transmission, so we only got bits and pieces. Essentially, we were supposed to ‘follow the lights.’”

“The lights.” It was the same lead he’d had, but, unlike him, she’d known exactly what she was walking into. Peripherally he wondered if his dad had any knowledge about aliens. “So you were in the forest ‘cuz of the strange lights.”

“Yup.” The bed shifted. Liz turned to her side, and looked down on Dean. “Basically, they’re teleportation sites.”

Teleportation sites? Something chosen and avoidable? That knowledge sparked anger, an intense hatred. It wasn’t some beast, some cretin from hell. It was an intelligent being leaving notes. Disrespectful.

“People are dying because of Larek,” Dean growled.

“Yeah. That’s why we try to find them quickly.” Liz’s face crinkled. Melancholy. Tired. She sighed. “The Skins almost always get there first. They have no respect for life, human or otherwise.”

Fierce white balls of energy. Explosions. Decimated trees. Burning ache in his shoulder. Yeah, no respect for life.

Dean nodded. “I noticed.”

“They cleanse the site and wait for us to show up.” Her hand lifted, hovered over his face before cradling his cheek. Her fingers were light, soft. “I’m a scout. Get in, figure out what’s going on, then report to Max.”

It wasn’t a surprise. Not really. But the revelation stung, pierced. She’d said she couldn’t leave her ‘family,’ but he’d thought… Liz was there, with him, so some things had changed in her life. Was it too much to want her to himself? To forget that they were out there, waiting for her to come back?

“So you’re still with Max?” Quiet, barely spoken.

Truth was, he didn’t want an answer. He didn’t know if his heart could take honesty. Liz was too much a part of him.

“I—“

The door rattled, a fist pounding from without. Dean grimaced at the disturbance, and returned his attention to Liz. She was gone, moving across the room to the bathroom.

“Get that.” She disappeared through the doorway.

Dean obeyed silently. There was really nothing else for him to do. His stride, though, was slow, unsteady. He was shaken, terrified. His gaze flicked to the bathroom door, watched it close. If he hadn’t wanted an answer, why was he so disappointed at the interruption? Briefly, his eyes shut, his senses reaching out to Liz. That connection, that awareness; it was wide and gaping. She was conflicted, upset, and he could feel every bit of that anguish. He could read her.

The banging continued, and he opened his eyes. She needed time, and he’d give it to her.

********

TBC

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2x4
Enthusiastic Roswellian
Posts: 14
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Postby 2x4 » Wed Apr 19, 2006 4:07 pm

First, I have an apology to make. I hadn't intended the last part to be as much of a cliffhanger as it seemed to be. It was a snapshot into Dean and Liz's relationship and a knock on the door seemed, to me, to be the best spot for a break. In my mind, it was the delivery guy. It never even entered my head readers would interpret it as Max and Company. I guess I should have screened the part a little better. I'm so very sorry for any angsty turmoil it may have caused. Really.

Second, this is the last of the buffer I have stored up. I know, I know. I should post as I write, but I've tried that and it doesn't really work for me. Honestly, I really don't want to post this part without more buffer, but I'm not going to leave everyone hanging. Besides, I have lots of freetime these days, I should be able to make time for writing.

Third, thank you to everyone that is reading this fic--feedbackers especially!!

<b>roswellian love</b> - Glad you like it. I think Dean and Liz have a lot of potential as a couple complete with love, hot sex, and angst. They're stubborn, though, and careful. Their relationship has taken them both by surprise, and it's gonna have lots of bumps along the way. Doubt will keep eating at Dean, 'tis the nature of the beast.

<b>WomanofMystery</b> - I'm so happy you're getting humor from this fic. It's always there in my stuff, but I'm never certain readers are finding it. I tend to lace it with heavy, mournful emotions, and wondered if it got lost along the way.

It's pretty obvious, we all know Liz has changed in this fic. She's not the softer, more innocent version we loved from canon. LIfe on the road has been hard for her, disappointing, and it shows through here. The trust between Dean and Liz is natural, so natural they barely question it. It feels good, right, and they would give almost anything to hold onto it for just a little while longer.

Believe it or not, the Sam/Liz parallel was unplanned. But it happened, my fingers danced and the tale was spun. After that, I couldn't remove it. It belonged. Dean understanding Sam will help him understand Liz, for the timebeing.

Yep, still married to Max. I suspect you weren't the only one who had forgotten. I forget it to when I reread the previous parts. Then again, I make a conscious attempt to forget Max. Hazard of being a polar freak for so long.

<b>orphyfets</b> - Here it is, a new part. Probably not as soon as you would've liked...

<b>aussietrueblue</b> - There are lots of revelations for Sam, and more to come. Love for Liz is all-encompassing, but suspicious. I'd love to say it'll all work out in the end, but even I don't know what'll happen.

<b>Christmasnazi</b> - Hehe. Drifter is my new favorite ship too. I'll probably follow Jensen characters for the rest of my life.

<b>Ellie</b> - Ha! No nookie, I'd forgotten that. Oh well, still a naked Dean and the promise of more to come. A week of naked debauchery in a hotel room with Dean, that's more than enough to get the imagination working doubletime.

<b>*shiri&jensen4ever*</b> - So, you're remembering Eat the Gun and the timeline? Makes for lots of squiggly feelings in the stomach. But yeah, Sam's not there. Dean has to leave. Bet you're curious as to why, huh? I'd like to say it was on good terms, but we'd both know I was lying.

Yes, I'm evil.

<b>Roswell Slayer</b> - Thanks! Love that you loved it!!

So, everyone, here's the next part. I know I've probably gotten away from what I'd planned to do--that happened forty pages ago--but I can't seem to stop. I love this pairing. I love the angst. I love defining the relationship between Dean and Liz. Most of all, I love writing Dean--sex, sarcasm, and a wicked smile...

Just bear with me. The next part might be long in coming, but it'll be there.


---Robyn

********

Part 6

********

Dean fast keyed the phone number. He dreaded the conversation, but it was late in coming. Only trouble and recrimination waited him, but he’d missed the scheduled meeting and the five follow up calls. It was very bad of him, and completely and totally irresponsible. His first solo op, and he had forgotten a few of the rules. Well, not so much forgotten as expunged from his mind. There had been more important considerations. His sex life, for one. Liz, for another.

The caller picked up on the second ring, but said nothing. Dean cringed. “Dad.”

“Dean.” A sharp intake of breath sounded through the receiver. Relief. “Problems?”

“Nothing I can’t handle.” Dean raked a hand through his hair, peering through the door and into the main room. He had sequestered himself in the bathroom under the guise of cleaning up. Not that he was ashamed he needed to call his dad; it just seemed…unmanly. “It’s just gonna take a little longer than I thought.”

Hesitation, and the slight creak of plastic; his dad was clenching the phone hard. “Really?”

“Yeah.” He nodded, and turned from the door, staring at himself in the mirror. “Pretty standard.”

“You’re not hurt?” Concern and the faintest trace of worry.

John Winchester wasn’t okay with Dean lone wolfing it, but he’d had no choice in the matter. They were both adults, and he could die just as easily at his father’s side. Really, it hadn’t taken much convincing on Dean’s part. He had suspicions his dad was afraid he would leave just like Sam if he held his elder son back. He preferred to believe his father had recognized his authority and maturity. Given his actions of the last few days, though, there was less a question to motive.

He <I>was</I> immature.

“Nah.” Dean grinned at his image, noting the bruises scattered across his chest and torso. Angry red welts stained his tanned skin, too, but he didn’t consider them an injury. Trophy maybe. “Fit as a fiddle and all that.”

“Good to hear.”

His dad sighed, and the burden of Dean’s guilt weighed on him. So he wasn’t lying, not really. Just keeping a few things quiet. Besides, the case was done. Mystery solved. Same ol’ story: good versus evil, innocent people caught in the crossfire. That time, it involved intergalactic controversy, a previously unknown conflict. How, exactly, did he tell his dad?

<I>Gee, dad, it was aliens, and they’re really, really sorry they killed people. Won’t happen again. Promise.</I>

Yeah, that would work. And monkeys might fly out of his ass. If he told his dad, and that was a big ‘if’, it’d be over hamburgers and beer. <I>See dad, here it is, I fell in love with an alien. Her family is responsible--</I>

Dean paused, his eyes gaping, his chin dropping to a right angle from the line of his mouth. Love? Shit. He hadn’t thought of the implications. Love extended past the boundaries of a bed, intruding in the life he had made for himself.

Outside of an occasional crush, the bonds of family, and the overwhelming joy that filled him when he thought of his car, Dean had never experienced love. Truthfully, he had never considered it, thought it possible. But it was there, sneaking up on him when he’d least expected. Love for Liz. From Liz.

In love. Not lust. There were different requirements for love, family introductions to be made, plans for the future. It was permanent, not passing. Everything he did, every choice he made would affect someone else. It wasn’t just his life anymore.

“Dean? Dean. You still there?”

The revelation must have consumed more time than he’d thought. “Yeah. Here. I’m here.”

“What the hell’s wrong with you, boy?”

Christ. Dean’s hand shook, and he inhaled deeps breaths of air. Things were changing too quickly. He and Liz would have a lot to face when they stepped over the threshold, left the hotel room. Together. Fuck, why was that particular moment the first time he’d thought about it?

“What?” He blinked, forcing his attention back to his dad. “Nothing. I’m fine.”

“You don’t sound fine.”

“I’ve got a lot on my mind.” Understatement. His brain was spinning out of control.

“The case?”

“No.” Dean shook his head. “Told you the case was fine.” He clenched his teeth “And I’m fine. I mean it.”

“I think I should—“

“No, dad.” He leaned forward, bracing his hand against the sink. “Listen, the disturbance wasn’t our kind of problem. I’m just checking out a few things before I leave.”

“Being professional?”

“Something like that.” A cool hand touched his neck, and his eyes darted to the mirror. Liz. She stood behind him, her back leaning into the door. “Listen, dad. I’ve gotta go. I’ll give you a call if things get outta hand.”

Their eyes met in the mirror, and Liz stepped forward, the line of her body melding to his. Her fingers curled around his stomach, her lips pressing into his spine. Soft curves and hot flesh. Her palms skated across his abdomen, pulling him into her warmth.

The phone dropped from Dean’s ear, dangling from his fingertips as he fumbled to end the call. His father’s voice made him pause, disrupting the sudden rush of hormones.

“Dean?”

He yanked the phone back to his ear and grunted into the receiver. “Yeah, dad?”

“She pretty?”

Fingers dipped low, twining with the coarse hairs surrounding his sex. “Gorgeous and—“ The true implication of his dad’s question struck hard. He gasped, gripping the cell tight, the hard plastic edges digging into his palm. “How’d you know?”

Ducking under his arm, Liz circled him, stood between him and the mirror. Her fingers touched his collarbone, his neck, looped around his nape. Eyes sparkling, she leaned into him, resting her chin on his chest, pressing a soft kiss to his pounding heart. He tugged her into him with his free hand, fingers brushing the upper swell of her ass, cradling the small of her back.

“I’m your father, not an idiot.” Teeth clicked, breath harsh and loud in the earpiece. “I trust I don’t have to lecture you on protection.”

“Nope. Got it covered.”

Dean’s neck tilted forward, surrendering to the fingers kneading his head. Soft, soothing, the fleshy pads eased tension away. His life was changing, and, with Liz, it didn’t matter. He didn’t dread whatever would happen; he didn’t fear the future. With her by his side, he could do anything, be anyone. As trite and lyrical as it sounded in his head, he knew their love would make anything possible.

“Be careful.”

He glanced down at the girl, the woman pressed intimately to his body. She smiled, the action smooth and natural, beautiful. Those moments were rare for her, Dean knew, the calm, the contentment, the brief glimpse of her. He wound his fingers in her hair, brushed his thumb over her cheekbone. Younger, relaxed, at peace with herself, with the world, with the broken pieces of her soul. Softer, happy, in love.

“Told you, Dad.” His voice gentled, his mind distancing from the conversation, from his father. Dean’s world had expanded, contracted. Just him. Liz. “I got it—“

“That’s not what I meant.” Quiet, pensive, his father’s breath fluttered against the receiver. Constant. Steady. “Dean…”

Thinking, analyzing, his dad was a perfect combination of his sons. Patient, thoughtful, reflective. Impulsive, reckless, haunted. His personality had split, fracturing between his progeny. Dean was his father’s son, his father a small part of Dean.

Knowledge. Understanding. John Winchester was perceptive, cutting through Dean’s words. “It’s too late, isn’t it?”

There was no hesitation, no doubt in his answer. “Yeah.”

A displeased exhalation washed through the phone. The reaction was expected, but saddened Dean regardless. The only things awaiting a lover were danger and death, he knew that. With Liz, though, it was worth the commitment, worth the risk. He needed her, the tiny ray of light she offered, her love. Without her, it, what was the point?

“You just met her.” The argument was weak, tired.

He sighed, inhaled deeply. Liz filled his senses—her life, her scent, her warmth, her touch. Everything solidified, became concrete, known.

“Not really.” Black and bottomless, Liz’s eyes glistened. Dean’s expression softened, unwilling and unable to look away. “I think I’ve always known her.”

Her touch faltered, her fingers a dissonant drumming against his skull. They tightened, tugged gently at his hair, pulling him down. Red tongue, lips. Wet, shining. He hovered over her mouth. Not touching. Breathing. Melding.

“You’re not a romantic, Dean.” The interruption was harsh, a bolt of anger laced with concern. “It could be a spell or—“

Blinking dazedly, Dean drew back, away from Liz. His eyes hardened, his teeth clenching together. He traced the tips of his fingers over her lips, dipping into the moist hollow of her mouth. It was real, the love beating in his chest, flowing in his veins. Real.

“Trust me, dad.” Dean snapped, angry at his father, at the man’s doubt and suspicion. “I know what I’m doing.”

His heartbeat accelerated, blood rushing to his head. Dean was light, free. In control. His own. For the first time in his life, he felt what his brother must have—defiant, wronged, determined. He was not his father; he had to engineer <I>his</I> life, do what was true to his soul. And Liz…she had already found her place, woven herself into his being. He had accepted it; his father would too.

Steady breathing, a disquieted void of words. The silence stretched, swallowed seconds, minutes. Waiting—for understanding, infinite love, an answer. It would come; his father would not lose another son to misunderstanding and limitation.

“So does the girl have a name?”

Dean released a shaky breath, the line of his spine easing, bowing. His lover’s hands dropped to his hips, circled his waist, and drew him tight. It was over, his father’s recrimination, his hesitation, his anger.

“Liz.”

********

Knocking roused Dean from uncomfortable slumber. He lifted his head, quickly dropping it at the painful pinch in his neck. A kink. Not surprising, he and Liz had fallen asleep in a chair, her tiny body covering him, legs to either side of the seat. She stirred at the continued pounding, her breath damp and warm against his throat.

“Fuck off.”

The thumping continued, drumming against paneled wood, vibrating the door in its frame. A rapid staccato, that knocking, that interruption. It wasn’t going away, not by mere thought. One of them would have to deal with the intruder. One of them would have to move. He volunteered Liz.

“You gonna get that?” Liz mumbled into his neck.

“You’re closer.” His fingers crept over her back, grazing her spine. “You get it.”

She shivered, snuggled into his body. “I’m naked.”

“Me too.” Dean smirked and kissed the matted hair at her temple. “And you’re pinning me down. Can’t move.”

There was no answer, and Dean knew he had won. He had that top-of-the-world kind of feeling, the one where he knew everything would go his way.

Liz pushed against his chest, frowning as she sat upright. Damp, sticky, their skin peeled apart, warmth rapidly dispersing in the chilly room. His hands slipped over her skin, resting in the crease of her thighs, squeezing. Her eyelids fluttered, lashes feathering heat-imbued cheeks. Disheveled. Alluring. Her mouth parted, tongue easing over swollen lips.

Fingers scratched, twisted, crawled. His head fell back, his eyes closing. Slick wetness crushed into his pelvis. Sliding. Rubbing. His body responded, hardened, tension coiling. He ground his heels into the carpet, rocked up. Yes…

Friction. He pulsed in time to the frantic beating on the door. Forgotten. It was lost in the rhythm of bodies writhing, moving, panting. So easy to dismiss. So easy to lose focus. He missed the calculating glint of her eyes, the mischievous dimple in her cheek, would see it only in reflection. They were there, in a moment. Ignorant of life outside their passion, their pull, their sexual haze. He was there. Groping, feeling, moaning. Liz was there. Mewling, nipping, thrashing. Fingers flexing, biting, digging—

Gone.

Dean stiffened, his head jerking forward, eyes flying open. No naked flesh balanced on his lap. No legs tightened around his thighs. No happy jiggling of unfettered breasts. No flushed, sweaty skin. Chair empty save him. Liz gone.

Laughter spilled through the room, filling it, captivating him. He followed the musical trill, captured umber flesh and sinew dancing, darting away. Dark hair streamed behind Liz as she disappeared through the bathroom door, a metallic click sounding as she tugged the door behind her.

He gaped after her. Alone. Confused. Not understanding.

What had happened to the sex? Why did it leave?

“Open up.”

His gaze shot to the door, to the voice straining to be heard without. It clicked—the intruder, her actions, the careful strategy. That little bitch. She had manipulated him. Again.

Snorting, Dean found his feet, stumbling to keep upright. Anger flared. “I’m going to—“

The bathroom door cracked open, Liz’s face peering through. An eye. The corner of her mouth. “Answer the door.”

“Yeah.” The tension slipped from his muscles at the mirth shining in her voice. He grinned in spite of himself. Enraptured. Obedient. All for a girl. He was pathetic. “Answer the door.”

He stalked across the floor, halting before the entrance. His hands flew over the locks, releasing the chain, slipping the bolt, twisting the knob.

“Wait.” Liz startled Dean, her command suspending movement. “Here.”

Barely a moment for thought, his hand snapped out reflexively, snatching at the flying object. Dean snagged it from the air, delicately holding it by his fingertips. A washcloth. He frowned, his brow furrowing. “What’s this for?”

The door banged shut, and Liz snickered through the barrier. “You really want to scare the locals?”

“Huh?”

It wasn’t fair. Why was she always so cryptic? Liz really should know better. Men were single-minded, hell-bent on one particular task. She had gotten him horny, preoccupied with fucking her brain’s out, and then she’d left him high and very, very dry. How did she expect him to--?

Oh. Ooohhhh.

Aborted sex? Check.

Nude body? Check.

Raging hard on? Big fucking double check.

Hell.

Dean eyed the fabric, his erection, the fabric, his erection. Such a small cloth. Certainly not enough material to safely span his hips, to, really, cover much of anything. He’d seen thongs that secreted more area.

Shrugging, Dean arranged the towel as best he could, concealing the naughtiest bits of his anatomy. Modesty was for the weak and ugly.

Luckily, he was neither.

The handle was cool in his hand, turned with little resistance. It opened in a fierce cry of hinges, wounded metal. He stepped to the side, avoiding the swinging wood, and lounged against the doorframe. Nonchalance. Uncaring. One hand folded across his chest, the other securing rough terrycloth. Calm. At ease. He stared at the man standing before him, recognizing his mug—the hotel manager.

“Can I help you?”

The man’s gaze slipped down Dean’s body, pausing at the insufficient shielding of his genitalia before jerking back to his face. He swallowed thickly, squeezed his eyelids together. “I…I’ve had some complaints.”

He narrowed his eyes, studying the man with cool determination, irritation. “I’ve got some of my own.”

Interruption of coitus. Privacy. Talking in the doorway. Man not minding his own business. Man not wilting under his scathing glare.

“Sir.” He paused, his eyes twitching to the side. Nervous. Eager to leave. At least Dean was making progress, eroding steely resolve. “I’ve had a lot of complaints.”

Sighing, Dean raked a hand through his hair. The man wasn’t leaving. Cooperate. Be done. Move on to better, nuder…things. “By complaints you mean…?”

The manager shuffled uncomfortably, and folded his hands over his stomach. “Late nights. Loud noises… Shouting.”

“Huh.” Dean smirked, the crooked grin lighting his entire face. Was that pride twisting his lips? “What can I say?” He paused a beat and wriggled his eyebrows. “We’re newlyweds.”

Head tipping from side to side, the manager glanced out at the parking lot. His mouth pinched, his nose crinkling. “But you arrived in different vehicles.”

Dean lifted his shoulders, receiving more pleasure from the visitor than he was certain Liz had intended. Had she tried to embarrass him? Absolutely, she was ornery like that. He wouldn’t give her satisfaction.

“We were arguing.”

And he’d much rather engage in verbal sparring with Liz than endure more of the man’s questions. Wordplay was foreplay. It always ended in sweaty, naked fun time. Sweaty, naked fun time that had come to a sudden halt by a knock on the door. Oh, yeah, he was sooo holding it against the guy.

“And now?”

“We’re not.” The smile slid from Dean’s face, his lips thinning into a fine line. His patience was slipping, fast. “Did you need something?”

The question snapped the man to attention, and he peered curiously at Dean. Too harsh, too quick, the fine veneer was cracking, frustration leaking into his words. The game was dulling. He wanted the man gone. Gone, so that he would be alone with Liz, wrapped in their hazy cocoon. She’d earned a spanking and his hands itched to give it.

Timid, meek, the words were nearly garbled, indistinct. “Can you keep it down?”

“With her?” Dean scoffed, gesturing impatiently with his hands. “Are you kidding? I get hard just--”

A sharp bark of laughter exploded behind Dean. His eyes flicked to the disturbance, glittering with amusement. Thin, yellow light spilled from the bathroom, a dim shadow barely visible through the crack.

“That’s…that’s not what I meant.”

The man’s eyes darted. To the left, to the right, anywhere but Dean’s person. Manager needed to work on his interpersonal skills if he wanted to run a successful business. The frantic flitting was almost nauseating. Most definitely, though, it was tedious and unwelcome.

Bored, Dean scratched his chest, and willed the manager to burst into flames. No fire, no melting, not even a tiny tendril of smoke. He sighed. Seemed sleeping with a changed human didn’t give him supernatural powers. Maybe they came with time, after a fixed number of orgasms. Ten? Fifteen? Twenty? Surely he was getting close to it. Give him another day and Dean was sure he’d be frying eggs with his mind.

This is your brain.

This is your brain on alien sex.

He turned from the door to go test his theory, and spotted the manager. Gape-mouthed, wide-eyed, the townie appeared to have lost conscious thought. Huh, Dean had forgotten he had company.

Yawning, Dean stretched both arms over his head and slapped the wall, his fingers curling around the trim. “Yes?”

“Umm…” His eyes flicked down, and Dean followed them.

Hmmm. That was interesting. Where had his towel gone?

Dean tilted his head, lifted an eyebrow, but made no move to cover his…girth. “Oh, sorry, man.”

There was an uncomfortable pause—for the man, not Dean. He was quite at home in his skin, with his…assets.

“Dean,” Liz’s voice cut through the silence. He wasn’t going to-- “I told you no threesomes. We’re married now. You gave up your right to co—“

“Right.” His face crinkled, and he clutched at the frame, knuckles whitening at the pressure. “Could you excuse me?” He tipped his head towards the bathroom. “I need to punish my wife. She’s being a very naughty girl.”

“I’ll just—“ He nodded, retreating a step. Moving slowly, even if he wanted to bolt. “Very good, Mr…”

Dean’s eyes flitted away, his attention focused elsewhere. “Kilmister.”

“Mr. Kilmister, if you and your wife could just keep it down a little.” His hands slapped restlessly, patting at his jacket. “The other guests are—“

“Got it.”

Slamming the door, Dean sealed the manager out of his reality, and rubbed his palms together. The conversation was over, forgotten. It was time for sweet, sugary retribution.

Excellent. His fingers drummed together. Alone at last. He strode towards the bathroom, threw the door open, and leered down at Liz’s figure huddled on the floor. She trembled and shook, her breaths panting from tortured lungs. Amusement. He kneeled, pulling her across his lap. She writhed, wriggling to escape, but he slapped a hand to her ass, and held her quivering form to him.

“Liz, honey.” His words were whispered, honey smooth. “Time for your spanking.”

********

TBC
Last edited by 2x4 on Wed Apr 19, 2006 5:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
2x4
Enthusiastic Roswellian
Posts: 14
Joined: Sun Jun 09, 2002 11:08 am

Postby 2x4 » Fri Jun 16, 2006 3:10 pm

Ok. So the following has nothing to do with anything, but I found it today and thought I'd share. It was written a while back for a friend who supplied the titilating word 'Socks'. It's not much, but hopefully it will make you all hate me a little less for the delay I'm having with Flash Powder. I'm hoping to have a postable part for FP soon! I'm not lying, I have the entire first draft done, I just have to find time to refine it. Time, though, seems to be in short supply, so please, please, no breath holding. -- Robyn

********

“What’s this?”

“It’s a sock.”

“I know that, dumbass. What’s it doing here?”

“Maybe the sock gnomes delivered it during the night.”

“Sock gnomes? Are you an idiot?”

“No, really. You know about dryers right? Sock gnomes are drawn to them. Always taking one sock, leaving the other. It’s why you can never find a matching pair.”

“…”

“What? It’s true. Consult the book. Dad has five pages on it somewhere near the middle.”

“I don’t believe you, and, even if I did, that’s not the point.”

“Then, please, share, because I’m dying to know—“

“It’s not my sock.”

“So?”

“It’s not your sock either.”

“Must be Sam’s.”

“It’s a girl’s sock.”

“What? So now you’re an expert on socks? You have to go to school for that?”

“Whose sock is it?”

“How the hell should I know? Maybe Sam got lucky last night.”

“Yeah, like either one of us believe that. He hasn’t had a woman alone in—“

“Who said anything about a woman? Maybe he got lucky with the sock.”

“You’re disgusting.”

“Maybe, but I don’t have to use a sock to get off.”

“Sam is not using a sock for…for…”

“And now you’re an expert on Sam? Exactly when did you find time to do so much graduate work?”

“I’m not an expert on anything.”

“Sure. That’s why you’re mouth is always running. ‘Cuz you don’t know anything about anything.”

“Shut up.”

“Don’t think so. You need to learn that you’re not always right.”

“And you need to learn to keep it in your pants.”

“You weren’t complaining last night.”

“I was drunk. It won’t happen again.”

“That’s getting a little old, Liz. We both know you can’t stop fucking me. I’m just too damn sexy.”

“Keep telling yourself that.”

“I’ll leave it to you. I like the way your mouth puckers around curse words. Makes me all warm inside.”

“You’re an ass.”

“Yeah, just like that, baby.”

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2x4
Enthusiastic Roswellian
Posts: 14
Joined: Sun Jun 09, 2002 11:08 am

Postby 2x4 » Mon Jun 26, 2006 3:10 pm

bluebear01 - The towel...I just couldn't keep it. No one wants to imagine Dean that way--betoweled. I would've felt sorry for the manager myself, but even I get distracted by my imagery.

roswellian love - Happy you like my Dean and Liz, they're so much fun for me to write. Most of the time anyway. I like getting in their heads, especially Dean's. Then again, who wouldn't?

Jennifer24 - Glad to see you found my little fic. I always aim to amuse and entertain the insomniac. Goodness knows, there are enough of us out there.

*shiri&jensen4ever* - LOL. So very glad you liked that part. It's one of my favorites. I just love writing Dean and Liz interacting, 'cuz I know they'd be ornery together. And John...yeah, he so knows his son. And you're right, Dean'll never recover from Liz.

Ellie - Here's the more, although it's taking me an embarrassingly long time to get it out. Not as much humor this time, but I hope it'll do.

orphyfets - Well, I'm not back soon, but I'm back. Enjoy!

Littlebit - Randi, always a pleasure to hear from you. I promise a real letter to you real soon (remember, in my world soon in relative). Can't wait to see more of your SNXO. I trust it's going well.

Roswell Slayer - Dean and Liz are very, very naughty. Too bad most of it's gonna have to be left to the imagination. Smut is taxing. Yup. Taxing. To write, I mean. Uh-huh.

tiredmuse - You know I'm tickled you like my version of Dean, 'cuz, well, I like him too. LOL.

mrsjbehr - Welcome to the story. Hopefully the next part won't take so long.

Liz2Infinity - Here's some more for your JA fix!

aussietrueblue - More, finally. Happy reading!

WomanofMystery - I can't say I'm a big fan of John Winchester myself. I was okay with him for a while on the show, but the last third of the season showed him in a very dark light. I kept wishing for him to die (which is horrible on my part--bad Robyn). I do, though, like to think of him as a father first and foremost, and that he does have some emotion hiding behind that hard face of his. It'll probably influence how I write him in all my fics to come.

Lillie - Hello. Always happy for new readers!

Luna_Seer - Liz is almost always fiesty in my fics, one way or another. And, yeah, more of the aliens will show up, next part even. Hmmm...now if I can just get that part out of my head and into a Word doc...

********

Author's Note: So you guys have been reading my stuff long enough to know I can't start a new part without an Author's Note. You haven't? Well, sorry, it's becoming tradition, gotta have a note to let you know what's going on in my life. See, it's me pretending I'm important.

Alright, so I won't start off with and apology--I've done enough of those--I'll start with an update on my housework. Come on, you all know you wanna hear it. Anyway, the house is pleasantly green now and about one fourth of the trim is done. My husband and I are hoping to have the paint done within the next two weeks. Well, the exterior paint, anyway. (I've still gotta clean and varnish the inside of the windows and the indoor trim.) Next on the agenda--the deck we destroyed must be rebuilt (*grumbles* this includes lots of digging, lots of sawing, lots of sanding, lots of lifting, lots of bitching--mostly by me, I think). Then the fence, then the yard, then the rocks...

I know, you're all asking what this means and I'll tell you. Owning a house sucks, don't do it.

Just kidding.

It means that my summer is quickly escaping me (although it's...what, a week in?). Writing comes in spurts at best. Flash Powder is a priority, but I've found my mind straying to an Xtremer fic I started years ago (Randi I'm writing on DB again!). I also have a one shot in the works. I still have sequels to this and Penumbra in my head. Sigh. I need another me or two.

Hmmm. Seems this note became more of an Author's Tome. Also seems like I had more to say, but I guess not. You'll be happy--or unhappy--to know, this is the next to last part. Yup, one more to go til the unhappily ever after. So enjoy it while you can!!

--Robyn

PS - Busy Bee by Ugly Kid Joe drives me up the frickin' wall!

********

Part 7

********

“How do I know you?”

It was an innocent question, spoken with adoration, pleasure. No fear, no regret. Dean had accepted Liz, that they had been linked before their meeting. He wasn’t a strict believer in fate, but their paths had crossed for a reason. Sentimental nonsense. Romantic bullshit. Whatever. They were meant to be there, in Sylvester, together.

Fingers stroked the flat of Dean’s abdomen, Liz’s face nuzzling more snugly into his chest. His hands tightened around her back, thumb sweeping across her neck. The moment was almost too precious to spoil with words, but he had done it anyway. Tear it open, yank out the steaming innards, and look at it in all its disgusting radiance. Simple rules he would always follow. Unknown was dangerous, sometimes life threatening…even if it wore a beautiful disguise.

Liz twisted, angling her face towards his. Her eyes were dark and narrow, shining. Not angry. Not irritated. Confused? Inquisitive? Definitely amused. “You think I have an answer?”

Dean sighed, brushing his fingertips along her ribs. Disappointment colored his thoughts, and his lips puckered, heat bruising his cheeks. He’d had no reason to expect forthrightness, but he had. Silly notion. Either Liz really liked her mystique or her thoughts were as jumbled as his. He was banking on the former; she enjoyed making him squirm. Not that he minded; he relished squirming on her, under her, in her…

Eyes rolling, Dean tensed. Might’ve been the place, but it definitely wasn’t the time. “I think you know more than I do.”

“Maybe.”

She smirked, white teeth glinting. Her hand clenched, fingernails biting into the swell of his pectoral. Dean’s breath faltered in his throat. One simple action redirected thought, tripped his pulse. Arousal. He pushed it aside, focusing on safer topics—the questions blighting him. It was easy to center. Mostly.

“This isn’t a science, you know?” Liz blinked, the humor fleeing as a frown curled her lips. “I can’t dissect it to see how everything operates. It doesn’t work that way.”

Honest, but elusive. There was more, though, Liz wasn’t voicing her suspicions, her hypothesis. It was a feeling, an immediate knowledge. Not a lie, but she was evading. Why? She was uncomfortable, unease radiating from her skin. Was she…worried?

No. Couldn’t be. Liz was playing him.

His face crinkled, a scowl screwing his mouth. She was more familiar with the materials, the kooky everyday aspects of her life. Him? Not so much. Strange things happened to Dean on a weekly (sometimes daily) basis, but not…whatever they were. Falling in love with a stranger was a new one for him. Falling in love with a ‘changed human/alien being’ was outside of his expertise…on the macroscopic level.

Brow smoothing, lips relaxing, Dean twined his fingers in Liz’s hair, tugged gently until their eyes caught. “Is it an alien thing?”

Really, it was the only answer. Alien. The unexplained he was unfamiliar with; this unexplained he wasn’t certain he would ever understand. Had Liz imprinted herself on him? Was that why he felt so close to her after so short a time? It had to be.

“No.” Liz grimaced, biting her lower lip. “Yes.” Her chin drooped, pressure weighing down on Dean’s chest. She exhaled heavily, her hand fluttering against his skin. “Maybe.”

“Real definitive there, Liz.” Dean looked away, glaring at the light seeping through the draped window. A wry grin twisted his lips. “Everything’s suddenly crystal clear. I mean, it was sooo obvious. I love you ‘cuz the stars made it so.”

“Don’t know how we’ll ever make it work, Liz. We come from different worlds. You from the sky; me from the earth.” He tapped his mouth, lifting one eyebrow. “We’ll have to live here, of course—work and all—but we’ll keep a summer home on Antar. It’ll be difficult at first, but I’m flexible. We’ll make it.”

No answer. No reaction. Liz had frozen.

“You wanna have children? What do you think they’ll look like?” He spat the words out, ire rising within him. “That’s a conundrum. They’ll probably have my looks, and your eyes. Antennae, of course, and green skin. Probably be best if we didn’t let them leave the house, wouldn’t want to scare our neighbors.”

Liz huffed, her breath warm and moist on his throat. Finally. A response. It was a little late, and Dean quickly disregarded all it signified—the irritation, the comfort, the exasperation.

“Can you imagine it?” His hand flapped at the air, gesturing at the ceiling. “White house. White picket fence. Spaceship parked in the drive. Two point five alien kids. Dog tied to the tree out back. It’ll be perfect…until the children eat Fido and take the rocket for a joy ride. Oh, that’ll earn them a spanking for sure.”

“Dean.” Liz growled, capturing his wandering appendage, trapping it to his chest. “Stop it.”

Once again, Dean had brought reality down upon them. Not everything was perfect. Not everything would work out. He couldn’t stop picking, burrowing, making himself bleed. It was masochistic, leaving himself open, vulnerable. He hated it, hated how Liz made him feel…happy, young, naïve. And that was the problem. Rather than waiting for the axe to fall, he was swinging the blade. Forcing contention, anger, distrust. Preemptive strike. Destroy the relationship before Liz destroyed him. He descended into quiet, his resolve slipping; he didn’t want to fight.

A moment passed in inscrutable silence—Liz ignoring him. Anger throbbed against his skin, confusion, sadness. She wanted to lash out, hurt him as much as he was her, but she held her tongue, fought against the urge to cut and wound. He was grateful for it, inhaling shakily when her temper calmed. He had pushed her to the edge of some great precipice; he wasn’t certain he would survive her fall.

Was that love? Shattering, breaking, writhing in agony time and again? Small, blistering deaths. Sacrifice. Acceptance.

Warm flesh gripped his chin, tilting his face until he was staring into liquid brown eyes. He blinked at Liz, tried to force a smile to his lips, knowing it would not come. She nodded with understanding, sorrow, her mouth mirroring the tight line of his. He had fractured her, him. Honesty was all that lingered. They were open and bleeding. Raw.

When she spoke, her words were whispered, hesitant. “Your brain’s different.”

Eyes wide, Dean gaped at Liz, his mouth unhinged and sputtering. Dark, flat gaze. Lips a thin line of pink. She was serious, speaking truth. His forehead furrowed, analyzing, interpreting. Not the answer he had expected. He failed to compute.

“Sure.” He nodded, eyes glittering with anger. “My brain’s different. That’s why I have all these neat parlor tricks.” Dean paused, waving a hand in front of Liz’s face. “Watch me as I exhibit green lightning, healing, mind-breaking orgasms.” He continued slowly, harshly. “I can turn aliens to dust with the touch of a hand.” She hardened against him, body stiff and unyielding. “No. Wait.” He pointed, tapping Liz in the center of her forehead. “That’s you.”

Her expression was indecipherable, heartbreaking. Blank. Empty. She grabbed his hand, tried to still it. “Dean…”

“Drop it.”

Dean jerked from Liz’s grasp, curling his hand into a fist at his side. His other slipped from Liz’s spine, tumbling to the mattress. He tried to turn away, to separate from her, but she wouldn’t allow it. Her palm pressed into his chest, anchoring his body to the bed as she crawled on top of him, legs straddling his stomach. She trapped his cheeks between her hands, willed him to fight.

Indignant, upset, but too, too tired. Dean’s eyelids drifted, lashes feathering against his cheeks. He exhaled, words nearly lost in the breath. “I’m human.”

A pause, a snort, and Liz’s hands tightened on his face, nails imbedding in his flesh. “And I’m what? Gamera? Krankor? The Creature from the Black Lagoon?”

Something ignited, flared, and Dean’s eyes snapped open. Dark and flinty, the words oozed from his lips. “You said it.”

Smooth cheeks puffed, paled. Mouth tensed, wrinkled at the corners. Nostrils flared. Eyes sparked. Liz was well schooled in avoidance, cruelty, disappointment. The image of emotion was transient, fleeting, but he had seen it, was the cause. He felt the burn of rage ebb, retreat to obscurity. He didn’t want that, to continue wounding her. He couldn’t hurt her.

“And now I’m gonna say this…” Her eyes softened, her touch lighter. She brushed her lips over his brow, stroked his jaw with the tips of her fingers. “My brain’s different. I know that.” She smiled—tiny, faint, somber. “Max did something to me, woke up something in me.” A pause. “But it’s not alien. I’m not alien.” Liz glanced to the side, recaptured his gaze. “I’m a hundred percent human. DNA, blood, cells…all human. Just like you.”

“Just like me?” Dean’s heart rate doubled, pounding in his chest. Adrenaline surged through his veins, his muscles edgy and restless. “Don’t think so.” He gritted his teeth, reining his flight reflex. “You’re Gandalf; I’m Pippin.”

Lips slanted over his, coaxing his mouth apart with a soft tongue. Gentle. Caressing. Tension eased from his neck, his shoulders, spilling into Liz, through her. Fingers twined in his hair, scratching delicately against his scalp. He was lost, relinquishing resistance, relaxing. She parted on a sigh, her exhalation a harsh whisper from her lungs. Reassurance.

“Dean, honey. Shut up.” A smirk. She kissed his nose, his eyes, finally resting her lips against his forehead. “You asked how you knew me.”

He swallowed, squeezing his eyelids together. She was right; he had asked. Now, though, he didn’t want an answer. It was more complicated, more daunting, more…life changing than he had expected.

No, not life changing. Mind altering. She was implying the impossible…that he was…more. That he wasn’t exactly human.

But he had forfeited ignorance. Even if he wasn’t prepared for resolution, there was no return. Liz would not let him.

“I know you because the same thing that makes me different…” Liz sighed, her words lazy and unhurried as she pulled back, delved into his eyes. “…the same thing I sense in my…friends, I sense in you.”

Friends? Her alien friends? His forehead wrinkled, his hands fisting in the sheets at his sides. Blatant refusal, he was unwilling to wrap his mind around it. No. He would hold off reality for as long as he was able. Dean was human. Normal. Ordinary. Every other explanation was a lie. It was Liz. It had to be.

“Could you, I don’t know…” He frowned. “…translate? ‘Cuz I don’t understand psycho babble.”

“Yes, you do.” She sniffed, canting her head to the side. Her hands threaded in Dean’s hair, her touch light, tentative. “You understand. You know what I’m saying.” He shook his head, and Liz let her hands slip away. She nodded, eyes warm. “But you don’t want to admit it.”

Panic. Heart thudding. Pulse erratic. Sudden. Mesmerized. Stripped to the bone. He was weak, exposed, and her thoughts pierced his skull, lodging deep within his brain. It wasn’t intentional, at least he didn’t believe so, but it was there. Forced recognition. His defenses had slipped; it was the only explanation. Walls deteriorated, crumbling, blown apart, leaving an entrance for Liz’s frustration. She poured over him, into him. Intense. Crippling.

Dean slammed his eyelids down, wanting to ignore the colors swimming within Liz’s dark gaze. Eyes shut, he was not free from her caress, her love, the truth. It swelled within her, spilled through her pores, obliterated barricades. The room was suddenly hot, sticky, the atmosphere pressing on his body, constricting his throat. His lungs burned, panting for breath. Overwhelmed. Helpless.

“Dean. Dean!”

Stars sparkled behind closed lids, twinkling against a backdrop of brilliant red. He sucked at the air, desperate to drag it into his lungs. His body revolted, thrashing on the mattress, hands clawing at the sheets, Liz, anything. He was fading, losing control, falling. Accepting…

“Breathe.”

Cool hands drifted over his cheeks, smoothed the lines from his brow. His body stilled, a calm wave washing over him, filtering into his mind, pushing aside the pain. Images, pictures, visions paraded through his thoughts, flashed to life. His mom…dad…Sam…Liz. Loved. Protected. Safe. He grew placid, the air moving into his body on a gentle current. Liz retreated. Peace.

Clarity. Epiphany. Dean stumbled, scrambled after it. Smoke between fingertips. Gone almost as quickly as it had come.

Lashes parted, his mouth grew slack. No words. Nothing. For a moment, in the aftermath, Liz’s statements had rung true, and he had recognized…

He was hesitant, breathless, his doubt evaporating. “I’m not…” Dean shook his head, but could not displace the bewilderment marring his features. “I’m not like you.”

“Yes. You are.” She sighed, a soft puff of air across his lips. “The only difference…everything about me is artificial, aberrant.” Her chin bowed, her forehead settling against his. “You’re a natural. My…gifts were given…you were born with yours.”

“Fuck, no.” He rocked his head to the side, grinding his teeth together. “I—“

“You what?” Liz’s eyes narrowed, the irises glittering darkly. Sweat, warm flesh, her hands curled around his cheeks. “You’ve never just known something? Never had a premonition? Never followed your gut?”

“Of course I have.” The breath exploded from Dean’s mouth, and his teeth clashed. “It’s just mathematics. Eventually everyone’s gonna get something right.”

“Yeah.” Her eyebrows lifted, her teeth chewing the corner of her lip. “And tell me…how many times have you been right? How many times has the math worked in your favor?”

Dean’s mouth opened, closed. There had been some misses, but the odds were definitely in his favor. He’d had many more successes than errors. His jaw clenched. “I’m very good at what I do.”

“No doubt, Dean.” Liz smirked, teeth flashing between slivers of deep scarlet. “Because in your business, you gotta be.” Her eyes narrowed, studying him. “Otherwise you’d be dead.”

Bitch. So what if he had better than average results? She had no right telling him his instincts were preternatural. Training and dedication, that was all. Anyone could do what he did, could do it well if they made an effort.

“What do you want me to say, Liz? That sometimes I have a feeling?” He gripped her forearms, squeezing. “Hell, yes. It’s called experience, knowing the situation. Fuck. I know I’m lucky. But it has nothing to do with my brain.”

Liz didn’t reply, and Dean was slow to take it for the warning it was. “Maybe I just keep a shit load of horseshoes in my trunk. Ever think of that?”

“Ever think maybe you’re protesting too much?” She was seething, her anger spiking the temper flaring within him. “You know there’s something different about you. Why are you being such a jackass?”

“I’m being a jackass?” He tugged at her arms, trying to dislodge her hands from his face. “That’s rich coming from you.”

“Why is it so hard to believe?” Her thighs tightened around his waist, and she sat back, folding her arms over her chest. “It’s rare, but not unnatural. Evolution, Dean. It’s what’s made you this way. Opened your mind.”

“Natural? There’s nothing natural about this. If there’s something wrong with me, it’s because of you. Did you infect me, Liz? Is that it?”

The moment the words left his mouth, Dean knew he had gone too far. Liz’s face crumpled, her muscles sagging. He acted on impulse, his hands darting up to capture her shoulders, to hold her in place. She batted him away.

Hard and steely, her voice sliced through him. “Don’t touch me.”

A tear slipped from Liz’s eye, trailing a path down her cheek, dripping off her chin. The drop seared his abdomen, stoppered the air flowing into his lungs. Hot as lava and just as destructive.

“Liz.” He breathed deep, the oxygen burning as it filled his throat. “I’m sorry. I didn’t—“

“Mean it?” Liz snorted at his nod, and crawled off his body. “Yeah, you did, Dean. You meant every word.”

Feet hit the floor, the sound so final, so agonizing. Dean’s eyelids fused together; he was unable to watch, to render the tattered threads tying he and Liz together. She was leaving; he had known she would. It was inevitable; they could never work. For a moment, though, he’d hoped…

Fantasies. Daydreams. That was all. He’d decimated a chance at true happiness. Torn and stomped on it until Liz had no choice. She had to run, to save herself. He couldn’t blame her for it. Self-preservation, it was what humans did best.

Fuck. Dean’s teeth squeezed together almost painfully. His eyes tightened until tiny, white pinpricks stained his vision. Human. Why had he been such a bastard? Liz was human, as much as anyone else he had ever met. She felt, she bled, she struggled. Just like him, just like everyone he had ever known. Her faults didn’t need forgiveness. Her powers made her no less desirable, beautiful, passionate. She was Liz, and he loved her regardless.

Why was revelation always too late in coming? He was an ass, a dense, stupid ass. If his brain was like hers, what did it matter? It didn’t change who he was, didn’t make him any less a man. He needed to accept it and move on. He was more. The information wasn’t new; it didn’t change what he had already known. Hunters were unique in their own rights; he’d already been a freak. What was a little supernatural intuition? Icing on the cake.

God. He was such a moron. Liz was gone, and he’d been the one to drive the final wedge. Way to go, Winchester.

“Dean?”

His eyes snapped open, zeroing in on the small figure standing to the side of the bed. “You’re still here?”

Kneeling beside him, Liz brushed her fingers over his shoulder, twined them with his. Her irises were dark and moist, her words breathy. “I’m not going anywhere.”

“But I—“

Liz grimaced, cutting him off. She shrugged. “You weren’t ready, and I pushed.”

“No.” He shook his head. She was letting him off, forgiving him for the harshness of his tongue. He didn’t deserve her grace. “I was out of line. I had no right—“

“Dean, shut up.” Lips pressed into his, and he savored the contact, the velvety warmth. “I love you.”

She pulled back, her mouth hovering over his. Dean was confused; he had made a mistake, a big one, and she was willing to move past it. For him. For them.

His eyes widened, his features softening. Awe. “It’s that simple?”

“It’s that simple.” Liz smiled and pressed a hand to his chest. “We’ll talk about this later.”

Still wary. Still ill at ease. Things only played out like this in the movies. “So you’re staying?”

Smiling, she tilted her head to the side. “Where else would I go?”

Dean scooted across the bed, and Liz climbed in beside him. He kissed the top of her head, burying himself in her scent, in the smoothness of her hair. He had so much to learn about women.

“I love you, too.”

“I know.”

********

Steam billowed through the open doorway. The damp, moist heat a hot caress on cool skin. Dean breathed it into his lungs, savoring the faint aroma of perfume, of Liz. It was calming, grounding, settled the turmoil stirring within in his breast. So much had happened, was happening, would happen, but right then, nothing mattered other than the moment, her. For a little while longer, he could coast without interruption, without worry, without guilt. Their today was lasting a lifetime, tomorrow was a distant, terrifying thought.

Shades of flesh slithered and writhed before him, browns and pinks, a dark cascade of black. She was beautiful in profile, ravishing. Hidden by the thinnest of barriers, sheer fabric illuminating each fluid movement, the silky lines of muscle and sinew. Hands slid over flesh, her spine bowing under the spray, a mystery of soft contours silhouetted by filmy plastic. Torture to watch, to dream…to remember.

Responsive. One touch, one word unraveling her world, her body, her control. So precious that, the trust she bestowed on him, instilled in him. He craved it, her warmth, her surrender, the sound of his name drawn from swollen lips. Addictive. He wanted her, to take her with him, to keep her, to feel her shift and writhe beneath him. For only him. For always.

Impossible. Liz wasn’t a possession, wasn’t someone he could hide away and protect. She was independent, fiercely so. Control was a large part of her past, had subdued her for many of her adult years. He would never ask for her obedience, her subordination; he would never ask for more than she could give him. To subjugate Liz would obliterate her. She needed to be with him because she wanted it.

Bound together by love and craving, not by circumstance and escape. Liz had a history, a family, a life…a husband. She wasn’t happy with any of it, wanted a chance to be somewhere else, someone else. To live a life without interference, answering to herself and whatever deity might be watching. Dean could promise her a better life, lead her away from the world that nearly destroyed her, but it wasn’t his decision to make. She was strong, but he didn’t know if it were enough.

In his mind, it was easy. Choose him. Them. Leave the past behind. It could only cut and bleed, drain and grate until there was nothing left. Empty. Desolate. Cold. Alone.

But then, Dean knew exactly what he wanted, had known since stepping into the hotel room. He wanted it, her, and everything that implied. Together. It was all that mattered—him with her for as long as she allowed. Life was a lot more livable, a lot more enjoyable, not as lonely sharing it with her. One week and he had found the one thing every person ached for, sought, craved. Not just company or sex, but someone to share joy and pain, loss and sorrow. She was his match in every way. Together, he was at peace, happy. Whole.

Dean’s eyes fell to his lap, to the object he held loosely in his hands. For her. To show… His fingers slipped over the cool metal, his thumb tracing hastily carved grooves. The gun was heavy in his hands, weighted with thought, emotion…intent. Cold until fired. Warmed with explosion. Useless without ammunition to feed it. It wasn’t a ring. It didn’t represent a promise. It was a gift, something he loved. It was for Liz. A reminder. A token.

No one said guns weren’t romantic.

The hypnotic roar of water through pipes faded, stopped. Dean’s gaze drifted to the shower, to the slender arm pushing the curtain aside. Droplets of water glistened in the meager lighting, rivulets winding across smooth skin. A shoulder emerged, a leg, Liz materialized from the bathtub, flesh rosy from the heat. Her eyes glittered across the distance, dark with indefinable knowledge. He blinked, entranced by the rise and fall of her breast, by the slight part of her lips.

He could never stop looking, watching, knowing…

“Dean…”

His name rumbled from her chest, coaxing a breathy response from his mouth. She sauntered towards him, hips swaying, all wet skin and woman. He set the gun to his side, and held his hands towards her. Drops splattered on his feet when she maneuvered closer, twining their fingers together. Flesh brushed against his knees, and he parted his legs, allowing her to slide between them. She was sticky, heat radiating from her skin into his. Searing.

“You’re trying to kill me, right?” His face angled upwards, capturing hooded irises and black lashes. “God, you’re hot.”

Dean tugged her close, the line of his torso pressing into her thighs, stomach, his cheek into her breasts. Hands spanned his back, fingertips idly tracing his spine. He breathed deep, twining his arms around her waist, pulling her further into his embrace. Willing, pliant, Liz melted into him, lips kissing the crown of his head, holding him tight.

“Not so bad yourself.”

The murmur vibrated against Dean’s hair, prickling his senses. He grinned into Liz’s skin, rubbing the rough stubble of his cheek into her flesh. Pulling back, his tongue darted out, snaking across salt and damp, dipping into the hollow between her breasts. She trembled, a fine quake disrupting the line of her body. Hands tilted his chin, dark eyes seeking his.

Open. Honest. Liz stole his gasp with her lips, her mouth crashing to his. Dean dissolved with the kiss, thought an abrupt tangle of synapses. There were only soft, wet lips and rough tongue. Twining, tasting, taking. Greedy. She plundered and bit, tongue grazing every surface of his mouth. Teeth crashed, ground. Sting of a bite held too long, of a lip torn and bleeding. Ache of fingers pressed too roughly into his cheek, of nails too sharp and penetrating. He didn’t care, reveled in every sensation, every hurt, every careful soothing of abused flesh. It was Liz, all of her. No restraint, no remorse, no act calculated or curbed. Liz.

They parted, ragged breathing discordant in the stillness of the room. Shallow gasps mingling, air hot and moist, asphyxiating on each other. Liz tossed her head, devouring oxygen, calming the frantic palpitations in her chest. Dean sighed, inhalation a memory reflex, necessary and unimportant. His only concern was the flesh and bone beneath his lips, the heat radiating from Liz’s chin. Consumed by the contact, blind to all but the pleasure of touch.

Sucking, biting, he dragged his teeth across the line of her jaw, dipping into the indention behind her ear. She groaned, sagging into his body, the weight of her head falling onto his shoulder.

“Dean…”

Hands slipped over flesh, smoothing the roundness of her hips. Dean’s fingers curved around her thigh, tugging it up, dropping it to the mattress astride his leg. Slick warmth seared his quadriceps, grinding into the tightly corded muscle. He faltered, fingers shivering against Liz’s side, his mouth lax and gaping. Her knee impressed upon his groin, pressure and heat stroking, hardening. His hips rocked off the mattress, into Liz, seeking more, friction.

Disappointment. Frustration. It wasn’t enough, the barest contact of her flesh. He needed more. As always, he wasn’t complete without the joining of their bodies, without her muscles rippling around him, driving him to climax.

“Liz…” He panted, fingers clenching on her hips. “Need to…fuck…you. Now.”

Liz nodded, hot mouth wetting the side of his neck, breath bathing his skin. Dean tumbled backwards, prostrate on the mattress, dark-haired lover splayed across his chest. Hands slipped across his skin, fingers digging into muscle, nails scrambling for purchase. Hot flesh embraced his thighs, moist heat flush against his erection. He thrust against Liz, gliding in her silky wetness, earning a sharp growl when the head of his penis rubbed the nub of her clitoris.

“Ow.”

Wait. No. The sound registered, barely, but it was loud enough, shrill enough, that it broke through Dean’s haze. Not a grunt for more, not even a scream of pleasure; it was pain, pure and simple. His forehead crinkled, not comprehending. He opened his eyes, peering at his girlfriend and the grimace marring her features. She shifted from his body, lifting her pelvis up and toppling to the side. Detaching. Distancing.

“Liz?” Dean smothered the hurt, touching a tentative hand to her head. “You’re gonna start complaining about my size? Now? Little late for that.” He forced a grin to his lips. “Or should I say massively late for that?”

It was ridiculous, the pain that sliced through his heart with one action. Security was fleeting with Liz, untrustworthy. Dean expected something to go wrong, something to explode and divide them forever. They were too perfect together, too well matched; it couldn’t be real, wouldn’t last. Each action of hers, each thought, each emotion was a potential wall, a knife that would sever their relationship forever.

“Get over it, Dean.” Liz’s voice cut through his thoughts, rousing him. “I’m not leaving. Accept it.”

“I—“

Warm eyes turned towards Dean, a smile quirking Liz’s lips. She held out her hand, exposing the large metallic object clasped in it. The gun. He’d forgotten. He frowned, tracing his fingers along the barrel, feeling the cold steel drink the heat from his skin. His eyes squeezed shut, his teeth gritting angrily. She’d found his gift, kneeled on it most probably. It was why she had backed away, why she had called out in pain. Not because of him, not directly.

Damn it. Dean needed to rewire his impulse reaction, give Liz the benefit of his trust. She loved him, had told him many times. She wasn’t going anywhere. Time to grow up. Time to stop worrying. Time to take a deep breath and live.

Time to be a man. Why, exactly, was he having so many problems with that lately? And why, oh why, was he behaving like such a pussy?

His voice was soft, rough, ashamed. “I’m sorry.”

Tossing her head, Liz wriggled until the front of her body lined with Dean’s side. She whispered against his cheek, a cheerful lilt of heat and air. “And I thought I was the one with trust issues.”

Their eyes collided, matching smirks spreading across their lips. Dean nodded, pressing a chaste kiss to Liz’s mouth. Sure, they both had issues—mountains of them—but they were working through them. The sex was helping—a man was at his weakest post-coital—but that wasn’t it, not completely. It was Liz; no one else could make him feel or act that way.

Heady. Frightening. He kissed her forehead and wrapped his arms around her torso. “You’re female.”

A giggle slipped from Liz’s throat, feathering across his neck. “Meaning?”

“I have a hot car, a sexy smile, and a nice ass.” His hand smoothed up Liz’s side, brushing the underside of her breast. He palmed the fleshy mound, tugging her nipple between his fingertips. “Trust me or not, you’re not going anywhere.”

Liz squealed, dropping the gun to swat at his hand. The butt end rammed his sternum and he released her, quickly grabbing the weapon and holding it aloft.

“Careful.” He rubbed at the tender tissue, glaring at Liz. “That hurt.”

“Baby.” Liz stuck her tongue out at him, reaching for the pistol. “It’s not like it was loaded.”

“You sure?” Dean lifted an eyebrow at her, moving the gun farther away. “’Cuz you really don’t seem to have any regard for my…um…goods.”

“Wouldn’t want to damage anything I want to use later.” Liz pushed away from Dean, and rolled to her ass, stretching across his body. “’Sides, I would’ve fixed you.”

“That supposed to inspire confidence? Neutering me like some dog?”

An alarming image swept through Dean’s mind—his balls, scissors, buckets and buckets of blood—and his hand dropped. Stupid. Liz used his distraction to swipe the gun from his grip and cradle it to her chest. He moved to reclaim it, to win the game they had started, but stopped short, staring at the hands stroking the length of the pistol. Bronze against dull black, sweat and skin against hard metal.

Good God, it was sexy. Dean licked his lips, felt a tremor of desire surge through his body. His hands quivered and he balled them into fists, wanting to touch her but unwilling to disrupt the eroticism of Liz’s movements, her study. She turned it over and over, fingertips inspecting every service, smoothing across every line. Testing the trigger, popping the magazine, jacking the slide… Fuck. It was a wet dream come to life.

Her lips puckered, sounding out the words etched into the pistol grip, and memory washed over him. The reason he’d kept the gun from Liz, the reason he’d tucked it to his side, he wasn’t certain she was ready for the commitment it implied. Indecision wracked him, tremors quivering his flesh. What would she do?

Fuck. Who cared? He was a man. He was in love. Hell if he was going to let a little fear of rejection get in the way. So what? Liz loved him, too.

“Thank you.”

Liz’s eyes clouded, a small smile curling her lips. She clutched the pistol tighter, pressing it into her breast. Her free arm circled Dean’s neck and dragged him into her, the steel trapped between their bodies.

“I love it,” she whispered into his ear. Her breath was warm, calming and he melted into its caress, melting into her embrace. He didn’t need sex, only that, her.

It was seconds, hours before Liz pulled back, lowering the gun to her lap. Her eyes were bright, shining, and he was responsible. His heart fluttered, his lips tugging upwards to mirror the gentle smile playing at her mouth. He was sucker for those looks, for the feeling they caused to swell in his chest. It was a little on the girly side, but he couldn’t bring himself to care.

“Come on.”

Climbing to her feet, Liz snared Dean’s hand and drew him up beside her. A brief contact of lips, the brush of scorching flesh, and he was lost to whatever she wanted of him. His legs moved automatically, his gaze following the sway of her hips, the light dance of her feet. He’d follow her into hell if it meant being with her always.

She stopped moving and it was then he noticed the cool tile beneath his feet. The bathroom. His eyes flicked up, capturing his reflection in the silvered glass. Rested, flushed, healthy. It was the best he’d looked in a long time. No dark rings around his eyes. No unseen weight bowing his shoulders. No wrinkles obscuring the planes of his face. Carefree. Guilt free. Happy.

Fingers tickled the side of Dean’s neck, settling just beneath his ear. He stared at Liz, trapping her gaze, questioning. Her expression was contented, relaxed, confident, but there were no words offered. Really, nothing else was needed.

A soft glow blossomed in her hand, rising from his skin. Warmth enveloped him, staggered him, and he leaned forward to grip the edge of the sink. It brightened and diminished without pain, without explanation, but he was filled with love, her love for him. When her hand withdrew, the flesh was marred, marked. A tattoo without needles. A sign. A token. A circle of reds and oranges, lines of gold and black. A serpent. Eternity.

“My gift.” Her arms curled around his stomach, holding him tight. She murmured into his back, lips moist on his skin. “Don’t leave me.”

He didn’t hesitate, enfolding her arms, squeezing. “Never.”

********

TBC

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2x4
Enthusiastic Roswellian
Posts: 14
Joined: Sun Jun 09, 2002 11:08 am

Postby 2x4 » Thu Jul 13, 2006 12:34 pm

Thanks for the feedback, ladies and gents. Every word is revered and appreciated.

*shiri&jensenforever* - Yup, the Xtremer fic has been in the work for years. I'm hoping to do some serious work on it this summer, but don't look for me to post it soon. There are a few too many drifter fics in my head for my comfort, so I'm gonna tackle them first. The Penumbra sequel is in there, but it might not be the next I write--I do plan to get to it soon, though. My Eat the Gun series has haunted me a lot lately, so that's where I'm gonna concentrate for now. I figure take the muse where it leads. :D

Littlebit - You know how happy I am I throw you with my stuff. Poor Dean, unable to grasp what he is or could be. He's a little too rapped up in fighting the unordinary, just can't accept that HE is unordinary. Of course, we all knew that, right? Mmm...Dean, Alec, Jensen, whatever...

Roswell Slayer - I like the gun and tattoo too. (I know I'm biased.) To me, it's dedication in the only way Dean and Liz can give it--the gifts are a big part of themselves, the dangerous parts.

********

Author's Note: This is it. This is the end of Flash Powder. I hope it answers all your questions (really, I don't, I wanna keep some things secret). So love me, hate me, here is the demise of Dean and Liz's relationship.

********

On Dean’s list of ‘My Most Favorite Things to Wake Up To,’ the one rousing him from slumber on that particular morning—or was it afternoon?—topped the list. Tight. Wet. Rough. Sweet. Suction. Good God. It didn’t take long for his eyes to fly open, for his hands to fist in her hair, for her name to be dragged from parched lips.

“Liz!”

His hips bucked from the mattress, his cock slamming into her throat. For Liz’s part, she continued undeterred, not that Dean’s sensory overload allowed him to witness such a feat. Too lost. Too aroused. Too… Too…

“Fuck.”

Dean flung his head back, smacking it on the headboard. Pain radiated from the crown of his skull, bringing clarity, reason, sanity. He breathed deep, muscles contracting, wheezing, dragging air into oxygen starved lungs. A blink. Two. His eyes slit, staring down the length of his body, into pupils black from dilation. Fine, silky strands between his fingers, feathery tips grazing the swell of his quadriceps, trickling over his hips. He tried to ease up, tried to smooth his trembling palms over the curve of her hair—honestly, he did—but she pulled a little tighter with her mouth, licked a little harder in all the right places, and nibbled. Just. There.

The muscles in his fingers constricted, pulling, knotting indelicately in Liz’s hair. He grunted and rocked upwards, hips fully removed from the bed. A hand curled around his hip, thumb sweeping pressure across the crease of his thigh. Ticklish area normally, not then. The movement was electric, causing pinpricks of sensation to erupt through his body. Every muscle stiffened, coiled, quivered and shook. His breath shuddered, hitched, stopped entirely.

“Liz.”

A garbled, strangled scream, plea, whatever. Tiny starbursts of light exploded across his vision. Dazzling. Glitter sparkled in Liz’s hair, on her rosy cheeks, on the dark scarlet of her lips. The glint in her irises, though, the twinkle of mischief was entirely her, not a consequence of tortured lungs and deprivation of oxygen to the brain. No. Liz was being her ornery, sexy, indulgent self. Giving and giving and giving.

Teeth scraped the underside of Dean’s dick, and he whimpered, his entire body trembling and weak. Her lips slid up, up, up, nearly releasing… Tongue pointed, flattening, curling, dragging. Down, down, down. Pressure…tighter, more…just more. She took him in, every inch of his cock receding into the cavern of her mouth. It was unbearable—the heat, the friction, the tension…

Fingers tickled his sac, gently cupping the tight balls of his manhood. Stroking. Teasing. Dean dug his heels into the mattress, his body straight and hard as…as…his fucking dick. He bit his lip, his neck twisting, his head burrowing into the pillow. His hands flew from Liz’s head, away, too tempted to grip and pull, pull, pull. He wrapped his fingers around the headboard, clenching his fists until wood splintered beneath his fingertips.

For fuck’s sake—

Coherency evaporated. Thought didn’t so much fade as escape in a colorful train of words and jerks. She hummed, fucking hummed, as she slipped over his flesh, tongue laving, teeth nipping, grazing, tracing the vein throbbing in erratic time with the pulsing of his heart. Every muscle, every nerve, every…everything was alive, kindling, snapping at his senses. Then she looked at him, in him, caressed some invisible thread binding them together and he was gone, thrusting into her mouth. Reckless. Careless. Driving, just driving. There was nothing else—

Several things happened at once: One, he climaxed in that ‘Oh My Fucking God’ kinda way. Eyelids sealed; hands raw and bruised; body glistening with salt—and maybe a few tears—mouth open, dry; lips lax, inarticulate. Numb, flying, full of orgasmic bliss and riding a very strong wave through ‘My Beating Heart Could Be Ripped from My Chest at This Exact Moment and I Would Not Give a Flying Fuck.’ In a word, Fan-fucking-tastic.

Two, Liz swallowed in that sexy, ‘I’m Your Woman and Your Cum Is the Only Food I’ll Ever Need’ kinda way. Yeah. It was almost surprising he managed to think past one and two to register three, but some things a person’s body never forgets, not even in the most precarious and vulnerable of positions. Some things are genuine reflex.

Three, the door burst open, spilling forth angry eyes and hard, masculine bodies.

Dean was slow, but he pulled the pistol from under the pillow without thought or incident. Semi-automatic, he didn’t have to load the chamber. It saved him those precious seconds he lost in reaction time. Not that reaction time would have mattered…in the end. Less than five seconds to aim and lock his finger on the trigger, less than two for the gun to be ripped and thrown across the room by a raised hand and a flick of the wrist.

Shit.

Two men: one dark-headed, one a dirty blonde. The former stood in the doorway, mostly obscured by the latter. Taller, leaner, the blonde was the one who had dispensed of Dean’s weapon. His face was hard, stern, but not angry. Distant. Detached. The second, though, his face was livid, nearly purple, his features skewed and distorted.

Stilling, Dean eased his hands to his sides, grazing the soft flesh of Liz’s forearm. His eyes veered from the intruders, locking on the flat, brown irises imbedded in her face. Knowledge. Rage. Ice. She stiffened against him, her mouth slipping from his penis. Sperm trickled from the corner of her lips, dribbling down her chin. She made no move to wipe it away, no move to cover herself, instead, she snuggled her shoulder in between his knees, cuddling her cheek into his groin.

Her smile was more of a leer, unsettling and malicious. “You missed the show, Max.”

Fuck. Every muscle in Dean’s body corded, burned. Post-coitus was probably not the best way to meet your lover’s husband. Was there a good way?

He was going to hurt. A lot.

The dark-haired man stepped around the blonde, pushing the latter aside when he held out an arm to stop him. “Maxwell, don’t.”

His speech was animalistic, feral, more a growl than any word known to mankind. “Michael…”

“Yeah, Michael, wouldn’t want Max to rupture something.” Liz curled her hand against Dean’s inner thigh. “He looks upset.”

The blonde opened his mouth, but was interrupted before he could speak. “And how am I supposed to react, Liz? My wife’s fucking another man.”

“Not yet, but if you come back in about five minutes…”

Liz left the words hanging, trailing, insinuating every dirty sexual act a man could imagine. Her face rolled into Dean’s groin, her mouth open, dragging wet lips up, tongue sliding out, licking the salt from the crease of his thigh. He stiffened, his body definitely not stimulated by the friction, by the act. Dean’s mind had bolted past safety in Liz’s touch straight toward the knowledge if she kept tormenting Max through him, he would die. Slowly. Painfully. Screaming. Writhing.

Dead.

“Liz…”

A name snarled by three different men: Michael, to ward off as much damage as possible; Max, to prevent further adultery; him, to keep from escalating the situation before someone killed him.

But no one told Liz what she could or could not do. Not anymore. She’d found strength in Dean, the strength required to sever Max’s hold on her, the obligation she felt towards him and her friends.

“What’s the matter, Max?” Liz crawled up Dean’s body, her teeth scraping a reddish trail across his stomach, his chest. He flinched, but she chose not to notice. Instead, she curled her palm around his penis and squeezed. “Cock envy.”

He didn’t want to react, didn’t want the blood rushing through his veins to redirect. But he did, it did. Quickly. Violently. The flesh of his manhood swelled, jutting from his groin. It was a betrayal—by his body, by Liz. He needed more control, not less, and neither would allow him the luxury. No, not a luxury—a necessity. They needed restraint, or blood would be spilled. His blood.

Michael spoke Dean’s thoughts. “Liz, don’t do this.”

Dean’s eyes darted to Michael’s, found distress, disappointment, acceptance written in them. It wasn’t what he wanted, being there, but Michael had no choice that was clear. Fuck, he was just as much a slave to Max as Liz had been, but Michael was much more dangerous. The insight was frightening, the knowledge Michael would do whatever he was told…even if he didn’t agree. So like Dean, in so many ways.

“No, Michael.” Max grinned, the widening of lips not reaching his eyes. “Don’t stop her. Let’s hear what the whore has to say.”

Every muscle in Dean’s body tensed, and he jolted upright, spilling Liz to the mattress beside him. She struggled, but he pushed her down, wriggling until his larger frame obscured her from view to the other men. He couldn’t offer much, not against the aliens’ arsenal, but he had his mouth.

Vitriol dripped from his tongue, when Dean found his voice. “Don’t call her that.”

“A whore?” Max laughed, stepping closer to the bed. He folded his arms over his chest, his biceps bulging against the sleeves of his shirt. “Do you know how many hotels I’ve dragged her from? How many men she’s fucked?”

His eyes widened the smallest of fractions, but it was enough, Max noticed and a satisfied smirk settled on his lips. “She tell you how many women she’s fucked?”

Pulse thrumming, Dean coaxed his hand over Liz’s hip, soothing her as best he could for the moment. She was uneasy, her anxiety a trembling wave of energy against his skin. Worried about him, them, what Dean would think of her. It was a game. Max was trying to anger him, and he had succeeded, but not in the manner he had intended. He expected division, insecurity, but the alien had underestimated Dean’s devotion to Liz, how much he loved her.

Dean licked his lips, forcing the muscles in his face to relax. His shrug was more casual than he felt. “I don’t care.”

Max eyed Dean, his gaze lingering on his face, sliding down the arm to the hand curled around Liz’s thigh. A flash of something lit the other man’s eyes, but it was gone in a moment, lost to inner rage. Strange. For a second, Dean had thought it was understanding, acceptance. He’d been mistaken, taken in by a false sense of hope. There would be no escaping unscathed, no hasty retreat. It was a showdown; they would fight until the bloody end.

“Neither do I.” Max relaxed his shoulders, wiped his hands down the sides of his jeans. “You’re just another piece of ass to her. She always comes back to me.”

He spoke simply, matter-of-factly, hiding his menace well. Not well enough. Dean tasted the lie, felt it fluttering against his skin. Liz never returned willingly. She was drawn to Max, he to her. She couldn’t run away, he always found her, always brought her home. Max was wary, worried he would lose Liz to Dean.

Dean gritted his teeth, narrowing his eyes. Max should be worried; Liz wasn’t going anywhere. “Not this time.”

The first brush of Max’s power washed over him, icy cold to the heat at his back. He froze, immobile by the rush of energy, body incapacitated. Breath hot and moist, Liz burrowed into his spine, her warmth surging through his veins, countering the numbness seeping into his muscles. Dean was mobile, but tense, not knowing what to do. So he pretended, feigning immobilization, submission. Max wanted the upper hand, so he’d let him have it…for the time being.

“Michael.” Max stepped into the bed, his knees brushing the mattress. “Close the door.”

“Don’t do this, Max.” Michael’s mouth clenched, the tendons in his jaw flexing. His irises flashed, glistening in the dim light. “Let her go.”

Angry eyes veered to Michael, scathing in their intensity. His lips sealed tight, the humanity leaking from his features. Dead, emotionless, blank sight. Hard lines and smooth planes. He flicked the entrance shut with his hand, never removing his gaze from Max. Hate washed through the room, buffeting Dean’s senses. Was anyone with Max because they loved him?

“Liz.” Max reached for her foot and she jerked it away. Displeasure passed over his face, wrinkling the corners of his eyes. “Get dressed.”

She would have answered, Dean knew, but he stopped her with the light pressure of his hand. “Liz isn’t going with you.”

“Oh. How sweet.” Max tilted his head, pity curling his mouth. “You really believe she loves you.”

Dean plastered his best infuriating smirk across his mouth, leering at Max. “I know.”

“Know what?”

“She loves me.”

Pressure tightened Dean’s chest, Max’s power contracting around his body. His breaths slowed, became shallower, but he gave no outward sign of his discomfort. He would not give Max the satisfaction of seeing his pain, his fear. Because there was fear, terror, barely contained hysteria. Dean had assaulted Max’s insecurities, had grazed nerves raw and open. Men were dangerous when faced with truths, truths they were unwilling or unable to accept. Unpredictable. No one had been hurt, yet, but that would change, Max was lashing out with more than words.

The brunette’s eyes sparked, his lips thinning. “You know a lie.”

“And you want what you can’t have.” Raspy words, choked and scarcely decipherable, the effect of inadequate inhalation.

Stars danced and twinkled in Dean’s line of sight. The air thickened, the grip of energy intensifying around his torso, reducing his breaths to sputtering gulps. It was harder to think, to concentrate. A veil of sheer black obscured his vision and he blinked to clear it. Everything was muddled, fuzzy around the edges.

A voice drifted to him through a fog. “What’s that?”

“Adoration. Blind obedience. Love.” Stay talking, fight, hold his concentration. It was the only thing keeping him conscious—sheer will and his love for Liz. “Only Liz won’t give them to you, will she?”

The air condensed, clutching tight. Bones cracked. Lungs strained, pulling for breath. Stars blanketed his sight, a red film obscuring faces, surroundings. Dean choked, tasting bile, something with a suspicious hint of iron. He was losing.

“You’re wrong.” The Max figure trembled, his head waving from side-to-side. “Liz loves me.”

Dean summoned his last breath, reached deep within himself for the courage to back his words. He couldn’t die. He couldn’t let Max win. He couldn’t let Liz be taken back. It would destroy her. He could hang on for them…for her…

“You killed the Liz who loved you.”

Tight. So tight. The groan fled his lips on reflex. Pain, so much pain. A spike rammed his skull, penetrating, driving deep. His back bowed, his head thrown back, his mouth wide and gaping. He struggled with the air, with the ache, yelling and cursing. Not pleading. Never pleading. His insides ripped apart, imploded, every part of his body a quivering mass of damaged tissue. Blood, it eased warm and slick into his mouth, no longer ignored, no longer hinted. Bleeding, he was bleeding.

Impact of hate, of energy, signified by one word, one denial. “No.”

“Yes.” Dean spat the word, filling it with all his rage and frustration. He wanted it to hurt, to cut, to tear through Max’s defenses. He wanted it to burn and blister, to bleed. To break the man’s icy rage, to force him into truth, reality. For relief. For survival.

Fire. Flame. Dean’s flesh boiled, rippled. Hundreds of needles, razor blades pierced his skin. Too much sensation, too much pain… His body began to shut down, block everything. Safety feature. Protect the mind. It could only take so much. He’d reached his limit. The cries parting his lips were rabid, harsh. He didn’t care, not anymore. He was dying.

The faintest brush of warm energy, of naked skin. The pressure lessened, stopped. Dean could breathe again, his muscles released, mobile. His vision shimmered and cleared, finding sharp edges and rounded corners. Max…Max had slumped against Michael, the taller man holding him from the back, hands wedged under his arms. A deep gash decorated Max’s face, a strip of jagged, loose flesh from brow to lip, marring the entire right side.

Michael’s eyes were narrow, suspicious. “What did you do?”

He wasn’t looking at Liz; he was looking at Dean. Accusing. Angry. Impressed? Couldn’t be. He hadn’t done anything, unless wishful thinking counted. In a game of life and death, Dean pretty much doubted it.

“You cut him.” Matter-of-fact. Definitely impressed. “How’d you do that?”

“Dean.” Liz’s hands found his face, flying over his chest. “Look at me.”

“What?”

Dean was dazed and confused, not in that good drug and/or alcohol induced kind of way. He blinked, frowning at Liz, at the blood smeared across her palms. What was she doing? What about Max?

“Look at me.” Hard, demanding, she was difficult to ignore, so he didn’t. “You’re hurt.”

“Hurt?”

“Liz.” Michael. Tense. Hurried. “Speed it up. You guys gotta get outta here before Max wakes up.”

Wakes up? He turned weary eyes towards Michael, to the man held within his arms. Yes, Max was unconscious, limp and straining in Michael’s grasp.

“What…” His eyes slid shut; it was hard to keep them open. Hard to breathe. “…happened?”

“Dean.” Hands curled around his shoulders and Dean whimpered. Everything hurt. “I’m sorry. So sorry. I didn’t think he’d—“

“Liz.” Michael again. Terse. Warning. “Get on with it.”

“Dean. Focus.” She pleaded with him, her exhalations feathering across his face. “I need you to look at me.”

“For fuck’s sake, Man,” Michael stated. “Open your damn eyes. She could’ve killed herself saving your ass.”

Saved his ass? Dean wished his thoughts would coalesce, tell him what the fuck was going on. Max…Max had been killing him and then he wasn’t. Bleeding. Unconscious. His eyes snapped open, noting Liz crouched in his line of sight. She’d been behind him, now she wasn’t. What had she done?

Fingertips, gentle, swiping Dean’s lip. “Your mouth is bleeding.”

Bleeding, he was bleeding. That he remembered, and the pain. Something was broken in his body.

“No…not my mouth.” He tapped his chest, wincing at the motion. “Inside.”

Hands cradled either side of Dean’s face, thumbs holding his eyelids open. He stared into dark eyes, drowning in the worry he saw reflected in them. A tear slipped free, sliding down the curve of Liz’s cheek. He touched the shimmering drop with the tips of his fingers.

Dean licked his lips. “It’ll be okay. I have you, Liz. I have—“

A cough rose in his chest, vicious, wracking. Dean’s body spasmed, lost control, he fell back on the bed. Something thick and wet slid up his esophagus, spilling from his lips.

“Fuck.”

Liz helped Dean settled into the mattress, her eyes never straying from his. “I’m gonna kill him.”

Kill who?

“Liz, fix your fuck buddy first.”

Right. Kill Max.

“Come on, Dean.” She plied at his eyelids with her fingertips; he hadn’t realized he’d shut them. “You’ve done this once.”

Done what? Everything was oily, hard to grasp. Dean knew he shouldn’t be having that much trouble thinking. It was fading, everything was fading—Liz, her touch, her voice.

“Damn it, Dean. Open your eyes.”

Easy enough, but he was so sleepy. A nap, he wanted a nap. He drifted, fog filling his thoughts.

“I’m sorry.”

A terrible pain radiated from his chest, to the tips of his fingers. Dean’s eyes flew open, notions of slumber quickly chased away. Liz was inside him in a flicker of time, her energy rushing through his skin, filling him up. Pressure again, but gentle, probing. Not invasive. Inquisitive. Searching. Calming. The hurt eased, the ache flowing from every muscle, every tendon. She washed everything away, penetrating—

Sensation then nothing. Absence. Liz was gone. Taken abruptly. Dean sought her out, observed her body flailing in the air, hovering. She screamed and sailed across the room, colliding with the wall before sliding into a crumpled ball on the floor. He moved automatically, rolling to his feet and running towards his lover. Two steps were all he was allowed. A force stopped him, tossing his body back onto the mattress. Air escaped his lungs in a loud groan, pain encroaching every nerve ending. He was still injured, bleeding, broken; Liz hadn’t finished.

“He won’t hurt her.”

Said slowly, softly, to himself. Dean studied Michael’s face—the crinkled eyes, the tension lining his jaw, the pale lips. There wasn’t an overabundance of confidence in the alien’s expression. Worry? Yes. Surprise? Yes. Conviction? Hell no.

Dean attempted to move his arms, his legs, his neck, anything, but couldn’t. Michael held him as firmly as Max had prior. Body prone, appendages trapped to his sides, immobile. There was no death grip vise, though, no mal-intent, or not to the best of Dean’s knowledge. A prisoner tucked out of the way, forced into a bystander.

“He just threw her off the fucking bed.”

His eyes flicked to Liz and the man crouched over her. Max’s hands reached out, touching, and she scrambled from them. There was nowhere for her to go, he’d backed her into a corner. He pressed closer, fingers slithering through her hair.

Michael’s attention snapped to Dean, his eyes flashing. “Shut up. You’re the one that got us in this mess.”

“I’m the one?” Dean spat, working the only muscles left free to him. His mouth. “Fuck you.”

Lots of heavy breathing and frantic straining, but there was no escaping Michael’s hold. Anger gripped him, the blind, numbing kind. Dean felt his features smooth, and ground his teeth together. Liz whimpered, and he fought harder. Max was fucking touching her. He was going to kill him.

“Do you know anything about Liz at all?”

“Don’t talk to me about her.” Michael looked away, turning eyes slow and unblinking on his friends. “I’ve been there every—“

“Yeah. You’ve been there watching.” Dean’s jaw cracked, an entirely painful experience, but he was gaining. Michael was loosening, his alien energy dwindling, retreating. “WATCHING. Max is destroying her and you’re not doing anything to stop it.”

Gaze falling, eyes closing, Michael inhaled sharply. “He loves her.”

“What the fuck does that matter?” Liz’s pleas turned to quiet sobs. She thrashed out at Max, but he forced her arms back to her sides. “Jesus. Can’t you see what he’s doing to her? That’s not love, that’s possession. He’s going to kill her.”

“I know Max.” Michael faltered, his words breathless and uncertain. “He loves her.”

Fall back response. Like it answered anything. Love was an excuse, a means to an end, manipulation in its most distorted form. Couldn’t Michael feel how much had changed between Liz and Max? Dean could. Her fear and loathing burned his skin.

“She hates him.”

That got Michael’s attention, returned his full concentration to Dean. And Dean saw it buried deep in the other man’s eyes, saw the effect of his words, the truth in which he had hidden. The alien was terrified. Unfathomable. Michael was a tale everyone feared, something from a horror movie. But he wasn’t ignorant. No, he was something more perilous—loyal, unquestioning. He knew exactly what Max was doing to Liz, had been doing to Liz, would do to Liz, and it shook the very foundation of his soul.

Michael loved Liz. Michael loved Max. But he was scared, afraid of what the other man would do.

His chin dipped, his outstretched arm sagging. “She loves you?”

“You know she does.” Dean searched Michael’s eyes, begging him to help. “Let me go.”

Liz’s struggles increased, her cries louder, harsher. Dean kept his gaze trained on Michael, made himself not look at her.

The alien flinched, his face pinching. It was hard to be oblivious when Liz was screaming. “What are you gonna do?”

No hesitation. Dean knew exactly what he would do. “Take her away. With me.”

Nodding, an acknowledgement. “Get her as far from here as you can.” Michael flared his nostrils and the pressure ceased. “Don’t look back, just keep driving. I’ll do what I can.”

A blood-curdling shriek split the air. It jarred Dean into motion, sent Michael bolting across the room. The alien grabbed Max’s shoulder and yanked, hard. They both went flying, tumbling to the floor in a mess of limbs. Dean ignored them, intent only on Liz, on calming the shouts loosing from her mouth. Michael could handle Max, had handled him most of his life. If he failed…there was no point in finishing the thought.

“Liz…”

Dean kneeled before her, wary to close the distance and contact her skin. Dark patches mottled her arms, her legs, staining her flesh with fingerprints. Her eyes were closed tight, her lips wide and fluttering. She breathed too rapidly, her pulse pounding loudly enough for him to hear. His lungs hitched, it was his fault, his mistake. He should have been quicker, smarter, stronger. She wouldn’t have gotten hurt…

“Liz.” Dean touched her knee. It was the barest brush of fingertips, but she jerked away as if burned. He pretended her reaction hadn’t lacerated his heart. “It’s me. It’s Dean.”

“Stay away.”

Liz lashed out with her hand, swiping across his face. Sharp nails stung his skin, ripped the flesh. He touched the wound, hissed at the fresh blood oozing from the cuts.

“Liz.” He choked on her name, had to repeat it. “Liz. Max is gone. Let me help you.”

Hovering, not quite touching, Dean swallowed his fear, squashed the anxiety feathering against his flesh. Liz was scared, terrified, her energy was pushing him away.

“No.” She rolled to her side, curling into a ball. “You did this. This is your fault.”

He blanched, drawing into himself. “No…”

“You were supposed to protect me, instead you hurt me.” Her body quivered, tears leaking from her eyes. “I don’t want it anymore. Go away. Leave me alone.”

Fuck, no. A tear rolled from Dean’s eye, sliding into his mouth. She was rejecting him? She couldn’t do that; Liz loved him.

“Stop it.”

His chest heaved, breathing difficult. He didn’t understand. What was wrong? It wasn’t his Liz; it wasn’t the woman he’d gotten to know over their time together. That girl, she had needed his help, wanted his help. Her only thought, for so long, had been escape. Dean could provide it, was providing it. Why was she cutting him?

Acid and tears. Pain. It radiated from her. “You had your chance.”

Wetness coated his cheeks, drops blurring his vision. Blood and tears. Iron and salt. The taste of disappointment, failure, his heart shattering. He’d risked so much of himself for her. She’d asked and he’d given. Maybe not willingly at first, but over time…

Damn it. Dean loved her. She loved him. It had been so simple. Their plan. Run away together, nothing else mattered as long as they had each other. Everything had changed once Max burst through the door. Everything—

Max. Was that it? Was she trying to save Dean? Sacrificing her happiness to save his life? Dean was a big boy, strong, determined, indestructible. They could make it through together, but she wasn’t letting him in. Max didn’t deserve her. Liz didn’t deserve the life she’d been forced into. Dean wouldn’t allow it to continue.

“No, Liz.” He grabbed her hand, forcing it from her eyes. “I won’t let you do this.”

“You had so many chances.” She fought, struggled, eventually tugging away. Her hand slid through his fingers. “I’m through. We can’t make this work.”

Dean’s eyes slammed shut, each of her words a spear of pain. No one could wound like the ones he loved. His dad. Sam. Liz…

“Damn it. Yes, we can.” Dean shuffled closer. Not touching, but there, in her space, making her see him, feel him. “I’m going to take you where he won’t hurt you. Take you with me. Just like I promised.”

“Don’t you get it?” Liz unwound her body, sat up, but forced herself into the wall. Back flat, knees to her chest, eyes dark as coal and glistening. “I don’t want you. I don’t think I ever wanted you.”

Face crumpling, Dean angled away, staring at nothing. The expression in her mahogany irises, the wealth of hatred resting there… It was all for him. For him.

His voice dropped to a whisper, barely able to sustain sound. “I love you.”

There it was. Everything. Exposed. Naked. His soul lay bare.

“And that’s supposed to answer everything?” She snarled, a raspy hiss leaving her throat. “I don’t love you.”

Her words were a knife to his abdomen, slicing, tearing, devouring. Agony. Dean doubled over, choking on the pulse in his throat. Panicked. Miserable. He was nauseous, numb. The air grew heavy, confining; he panted to drag oxygen into his lungs. She was killing him.

“Yes, you do.” He inhaled a deep, shuddering breath. “I’ve seen it. I know it.”

“You know a lie.” Their eyes caught, hers smoldering and defiant. “I could never love you.”

“But—“

Liz grabbed Dean’s neck, and jerked him to her. Her soft exhalation was hot and damp as she growled in his ear. “Never.”

So close. Touching. His arms wound around her back, held her to him. She stiffened, but didn’t try to free herself. The hairs on his arm lifted, static charging the air; he should’ve seen it for the warning it was.

“Get the fuck away from me.”

The energy snaked through his body like a bolt of lightning, throwing him back, away. Dean sprawled across the floor, spine a column of fire, head and elbows throbbing. Green sparks burned his sight, Liz’s arms ablaze with the vivid color. He turned from her, scuttling backwards on his hands and feet. He’d been right all along. Don’t trust it. Don’t trust her. Dean had released his heart, left it open and vulnerable. He’d fallen for Liz, fallen so hard, so fast, and she was destroying him. He’d known she would. He’d known, and let her.

“You heard her.” A sharp laugh. Mocking. “Back off.”

A hand clasped to Dean’s shoulder and he jerked from the contact. Quick perusal showed Max too close, too amused, too conscious. Michael kneeled behind him, head bowed, arms limp, chest heaving. Giving up. Fight finished. Michael had lost. Dean had lost. Max had beaten everyone.

Dean launched himself at Max, slamming him against the wall. Meaty connection. A groan of displeasure. The alien’s feet stumbled and Dean shook him by his collar, keeping him upright, banging his skull into the plaster. His fault, it was Max’s fault everything had gone so wrong.

Scathing. Corrosive. “What did you do?”

Max’s eyes twinkled, his breathing regular and unconcerned. “Guess she finally figured out what she wanted.” He paused, smirked. “Me.”

Hands circled Dean’s neck, forceful, strong. They squeezed, restricting air, bruising his windpipe. He released Max, his fingers scrambling over the alien’s wrists, tugging at them. No slack. No escape. Just pressure. His mouth gaped, sucking at the air, and Max poured his power down Dean’s throat. Burning. Blistering. Gasoline igniting and rushing into his body.

“If I ever see you again, I will kill you.” Max flexed his hands, his energy. “Hear me?”

Dean fell to the ground coughing, spitting, gasping. Blood splattered on the carpet, on his hands, on Max’s feet. Only a warning, but it had been enough. He knew Max would carry through with his threat, knew he had to go. But Liz…

His eyes flew to Michael’s, to the disheartened grimace staining his lips. “Just go, Dean.”

Argument was on the tip of Dean’s tongue, but he couldn’t speak. Raw. Swollen. He had no voice, his final weapon stolen. His gaze flicked to Liz, back to Michael, his eyes darting and anxious.

Michael’s face darkened, his eyes creased and narrow. He tapped his chest, focused on Liz. <I>Mine. I’ll take care of her. </I>

“Leave.”

A command barked. A warning. Max need not have bothered. They’d broken him; Dean was leaving.

Liz… He couldn’t feel her anymore. She was gone, blocked off. It could only mean one thing…

Dean climbed to his feet, moving around the room gathering his clothing, his gear. Numb. He didn’t register touch, sight, sound. It was mechanical; he was an automaton, shutting down. Dying. Or was that dead? Without Liz, without her energy, everything was bland, empty. Motion without feeling. Breathing but not living.

Legs, jeans, zipper. Feet, boots, no laces. Everything else Dean piled into his arms, his hands, his pockets. Evacuating. It seemed so cowardly, so not him, but Liz didn’t want him. He didn’t belong.

A smear of black invaded his line of sight, and Dean strode towards it. Rage poured through him, filling him, easing life back into his veins. The gun. He palmed it, flipping it over in his hands. Hesitation. Awareness. Raw, aching humiliation. The symbol of his weakness, his failure. He shoved the pistol in his waistband, cold steel against the small of his back. His.

Strong, determined, betraying nothing of the rage boiling within him, Dean stalked to the entrance, threw the door open. He did not look back as he crossed the threshold. There was nothing left for him to see.

“Dean?”

Liz’s soft voice. Pleading. Questioning. Frantic.

The door slammed and he stopped listening. Stopped seeing. Stopped thinking. Stopped feeling. He shut himself off, isolated his emotions and shoved them deep inside. Forgetting. Separating.

He was the only one left. The only person who mattered.

********

The End


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