Jess doesn't bother with a hello; they're past pretending these are any kind of normal conversations. "I'm waiting for Sam to get done with work, and I'm tired and cold and hungry, so I'm making him take me out to eat because I don't wanna cook, and the only thing he can make is grilled cheese."
On the other end of the phone line, Nate responds with, "Cut up like butterflies, right?"
She smiles, and her cheeks hurt, too wide a smile after spending all day scowling outside in the cold. She fucking hates being a waitress. One day, she's going to listen to Sam and get a new job. "Yeah, it's adorable. And really sad, too."
"He still burn 'em?"
"The smoke detector went off four times in our first week at the apartment. I've banned him from cooking, but it doesn't stop him. I swear, he's like a giant three-year-old. Just can't wait an hour for me to get home and make something, no, he has to be a big boy and make it all by himself. Just once, I want him to go to McDonald's or order a pizza."
"Yeah, that sounds like Sasquatch. Be glad he's sticking to the grilled cheese; the last time he tried to make spaghetti, he managed to start a grease fire."
"Making spaghetti? How the hell do you do that?"
"He knocked something on the counter over, and it spilled all over the stove. And then the dumb shit decides to throw water on it. I—" He stops, then starts again. "He knew better than that, but he panicked. He got in a shit load of trouble for that. Not to mention that he took out half the kitchen."
Jess tries hard not to think of the scars littering Sam's back or the way he talks himself out of any conversation involving his life before Stanford. And Nathan is... twitching? Fidgeting? Covering his mouth and laughing hysterically? More and more, Jess wishes for a video phone. Or maybe a webcam, but only a one-way one.
"You should make him something before you go to work. It'll keep him from burning your place down while you're gone. Not like a steak or anything, a salad or some shit like that."
"I don't know how big Sam was the last time you saw him, but trust me, Sam is not a salad guy." She hears a snicker that may or may not include the words "tossing the salad," and the "brother" half of the scale in her mind gets another pebble thrown on it.
His snickers die off, but the humor is still heavy in his voice when he starts again, "You anorexic chicks have it all fucked up. Salads are what you eat while you wait for your food to arrive, not in place of the food."
"I'm not anorexic."
"I meant the royal 'you.'"
"Is there a royal 'you'?"
The first time Jess pegs Sam is less than good. There's lots of pain—Sam will prep himself next time or rip her damn fingernails right off before she goes anywhere near his ass again—and Jess manages to somehow throw her back out. No matter what she says, it wasn't Sam's fault; how was he supposed to know it was different with a chick? Anal sex is anal sex. Acquiring the right strap-on was supposed to be the hard part.
Jess's doctor gives her some low-grade pain pills and tells her to lie on a heating pad for a few days. He also tells her that she should try stretching more before she tries such "potentially strenuous activities" again, and Sam is so busy boggling over the fact that she actually told him the truth that he barely remembers to be mortified.
Thanks to the doctor's note, Jess gets a solid week off of classes and work, and Sam spends most of that week waiting on her hand and foot and collecting all her homework for her. She plays the pity card well, almost as good as Dean used to with his stupid damn ability to make himself cry on cue.
Sam has no fucking idea why he was surprised that she wanted to try it again. Well, he wasn't surprised that she wanted to try it again; he was surprised that she wanted to try it again so soon. As in, the day she was allowed to be up and moving again.
"You just got an entire week's vacation. Do you really need another one right now?"
"No, I know what to do now! I've been reading and chatting, and I totally know how I messed up my back. We just have to do it differently."
He can't think of a safe way to respond to that. If he tells her the truth—that it didn't feel good at all and hurt a lot, and he doesn't want to try it again with her for a very long time—then it's going to hurt her feelings. If he lies—well. If he lies, his ass will probably be the bad kind of sore for a while.
Lying has done good for him so far, so Sam figures there's no reason he should give it up now.
He's stalling, relaxing back against the headboard fully dressed while he watches Jess do a rushed, half-assed striptease out of her clothes. She's usually smoother and more outright playful, but he can tell she doesn't have the patience for it now, whether because her back really does hurt or because she's just that damn horny.
She's rummaging through the top drawer now, shaking her ass from side to side as she mumbles to herself. Then it's the drawer below that and grumbling. The curses start flying at the drawer after that, and Sam decides to help her out.
"What? No, it's not."
Sam leans over to his nightstand, where he tossed the vinyl harness after their last mangled attempt at this, and picks it up, twirling it on his finger like an obscene hula hoop. He can feel himself waggling his eyebrows like some fucking idiot, but it's too late to stop, no matter how badly he doesn't want to channel Dean right now.
Jess claps her hands together—awkward with the dildo still clenched in her right hand—and gestures to him to toss the harness to her. He waves her over instead, beckoning her close so that he can help her put it on. It takes some work, trying to maneuver around each other, but eventually they manage to get the silicone cock in the strap-on and up where it belongs.
Sam fastens the right strap, making sure it's not so tight that it digs into her hip, and places a kiss there. Jess's hand caresses his face, brushing his bangs off his forehead. She looks so hot like that, smiling and confident, naked except for the glittering pink and white harness and the lavender cock jutting from it. It's so undeniably Jess, and it should be ridiculous, but it's nowhere near it.
He tries to fight it, but the image in front of him has him so hard that he can't find the willpower to stop himself. Sam slides his other hand along Jess's left hip and pulls her closer to the bed so that he doesn't have to lean forward much at all to swallow her cock. Jess whimpers and tangles her fingers in his hair, which he takes as a sign that she likes it. He dips his head to angle around the curve, and Jess pushes in hard, choking him for a second.
He pulls off with a gag, coughing hard enough to make his eyes water.
"Oh my god, I'm so sorry, was that too fast?"
Sam resists the urge to rub at his neck—that thing's sitting so it's curved upward right now, and his throat curves in the exact opposite direction, not a good combination—and waves her off. "It's fine." Sam stops and clears his throat before starting again. "I should've held tighter. I didn't think girls would thrust like that, too. Guess that flare on the base is pretty nice, huh?"
Jess scoffs and runs her fingers through his hair again. "This is so much hotter than watching you suck some random guy off."
Sam feels his face heat up, though he's not sure whether it's from embarrassment or arousal. He grips the base of the dildo and twists it around until it curves down, then deep throats it as far as he can with that huge bend jabbing him in his soft palate every time he pushes down. Even with the rubbery, condom-like non-taste to it, Sam's still aching in his jeans, moaning around the silicone and enjoying the tight pull of Jess's fingers in his hair.
Sam's close and getting closer with every minute. No matter how much he wants to, he doesn't reach down to touch himself because he wants to wait. He likes that extra overwhelming rush he gets when he comes while being fucked. He must be letting it show, though, because the next thing he knows, Jess is pushing him back and telling him to strip.
"It's not fair that I'm the only cold one here."
The shirts come off, tangling on Sam's wrists and getting caught under his chin until Jess helps, giggling at him and saying something he's glad not to be able to make out. The pants come next—slower than the shirts because zippers aren't something to mess around with—and his briefs after that. Jess crawls over him, kissing her way up his chest and ending with a small kiss to the corner of his mouth.
"Where's the lube?" Jess whispers. Sam stills instead of showing her. He learned from last time.
"No, I'll do it."
Jess sits back on Sam's thighs and pouts at him. "You don't like it when I do it?"
"It's not that," he tells her. "You just, you have long nails, and it really hurts to get scratched in there." Sam arches back to reach over to the nightstand again, too impatient to wait for this talk to be over.
Jess's fingers drift between his legs, brushing against him, and even that's enough to make him clench in response. "Why didn't you say anything? I would've stopped."
"It was almost over with anyway. I have a high tolerance for pain." Sam curses himself as soon as he says that because the look on Jess's face is horrified, and Christ, he didn't mean it like that. One day, he's going to be able to talk without shoving his feet in his mouth.
Jess leans forward again, lays herself down over Sam, and takes his face in her hands. "You have to tell me things like this, Sam. Okay? It's never going to get better if you don't let me know it's bad, and fucking you will be so much more fun if you actually like it. Promise you'll tell me?"
Sam grunts and nods, failing to hide just how uncomfortable this conversation is making him. "Can I get the condom and lube now? Or do you want to talk about your feelings more instead of fucking me?"
"Wait, why a condom?"
His arm is still stretched over his head, straining towards the nightstand and trying to fumble without looking so he doesn't have to turn away from Jess. "Because when you broke yourself last time, I had to get up and clean that thing—"
"Call him by his name."
"No. I had to get up and clean that thing instead of sleeping. So you're gonna put the condom on while I get ready, and that way after we're done, I don't have to go bleach anything in a sink for an hour."
"I promise I'll pull out."
Despite himself, Sam laughs. "Fuck you."
"Been there, done that, your turn now. Come on, Cowboy, give me the condom and spread 'em."
Sam tosses her the box of condoms and finally breaks eye contact to look back and find the lube, which was in the complete opposite direction from his hand. "It's such a good thing you're not a guy. You'd never get laid with a line like that." Jess rolls her eyes at him and bites the corner of the condom wrapper to open it, demonstrating exactly why Sam never lets her open it. "You're gonna bite a hole in that."
"Whatever," she dismisses, rolling the condom over her cock. "It's not like you're going to catch anything from the plastic."
Sam squeezes some of the lube into his hand and coats the strap-on with it in slow strokes. "Silicone."
"And that difference means it'll give you herpes?"
"Can we stop talking about STDs now, please?"
"Oh, fine, you big baby. Like oozing, pussy warts are such a huge turnoff."
"I'm about to shove fingers up my ass. Please don't gross me out any more."
She scoffs at him. "Don't even act like you don't love getting fingered. You forget that I've seen you have sex."
Sam ignores her and squeezes more lube onto his fingers. He doesn't spend much time prepping himself—no teasing or drawing it out, doesn't try to make it look good for her or anything. He just wants to get this over and done with because he's still not sure this isn't going to be just as bad as last time, if not worse.
"Hey, are you okay with this?" Jess asks him, hand resting on the inside of his spread thigh. "We can stop, you know."
Sam nods again. "I'm good, don't worry," he tells her, rolling onto his stomach. "Let's go."
"Wow, Sam. That was so romantic. Sometimes I just don't know how I manage to keep my clothes on around you."
"You know, just because I can't see you doesn't mean I don't know you're rolling your eyes at me."
"They're rolling because you make them so hot."
"I make your eyes hot?"
"Just shut up and get on your knees."
"Now who's romantic?" Sam teases as he climbs up on all fours. He ducks his head and takes a deep breath, forcing himself to relax when he feels Jess settle behind him. He's done this a lot before, so there's really no reason to be freaking out. Even as bad as it was last time, it was still nowhere near as bad as the first time he had sex. There's a reason Dean always told him virgins shouldn't fuck virgins.
Jess rubs his back low by his hip and eases in. It hurts, that slow burn of muscle, and he takes a deep breath and holds it. The pain doesn't lessen, but Sam's body gets used to it, so he nods at Jess and tells her she can move. She pulls out, and Sam can feel it, inch by inch, stretching him wide. He bites his lip and counts to ten.
By the time he hits a hundred and fifty-eight, he's already decided that he doesn't even care if he hurts Jess's feelings—this is just not going to work. "Stop," he croaks out.
She does, freezing mid-push and gripping his hip. "Are you okay? What's wrong? Did I hurt you?"
Sam doesn't say anything, just slides a hand back between their hips and pushes her back, pulling his own hips forward and letting the dildo slip out. Sam flops down and rolls himself onto his back. "Baby, you know I love you," he starts.
"I did it wrong again, didn't I?" she asks, sitting back on her crossed ankles.
Sam's eyes zero in on the cock between her legs, sticking out and— "Why did you turn it?"
He laughs, a breathy, wheezing kind of chuckle. "That's not supposed to be turned like that."
"What? Yes, it is. That's what it looks like on the site."
Sam's smiling now, big and unrestrained. He's holding her by the hips, trying to get her to scoot closer to him instead of sitting way down by his knees. "All our good stuff is up front. That's why your toy—"
"I don't see why you can't use his name. It's a perfectly good name."
"That's why your toy curves up—because when you're face-to-face, that's where it needs to curve. But when we're like that, you have to rotate it so it curves down. Otherwise, it feels really not good."
Jess leans down until her forehead is pressed against his ribcage. "I'm sorry I'm an idiot," she mumbles.
"You're not an idiot," Sam tells her, still laughing. He brushes her hair back so he can almost see her. "Come on, this is good news. Now we know that it isn't us."
"No, just me."
"You turned a fake dick the wrong way because you didn't know any better. It's not like you held me down and took me dry." Sam winces when Jess pinches the flesh on his abdomen. "Hey!"
"That's not funny."
"No, you know what's not funny? We just figured out why the sex wasn't working, and instead of fucking me, you're pouting." A beat. "I'm supposed to be the one pouting while you tell me to fuck you."
Jess says nothing, just shifts.
"Come on, Jess. I'm going to lose my nerve here soon, and then I'm not going to want to do this anymore. Please?"
Jess uses the bed to push herself up, flipping her hair back off her face and revealing a wide, bright smile. "Okay!"
"You bitch. You played me!"
She pats his cheek, half-condescending. "Oh, you're just so cute when you beg, baby, I couldn't pass up the chance. Come on now, knees up. Before you lose your nerve."
Part of Dean is psyched to go on hunts alone. He's twenty-six now, so it's about time. The other part of him knows what this means. It starts with being given a salt and burn two towns over, then it'll be a chupacabra in the next state, and the next thing Dean knows, he'll be alone in Boston trying to find a kelpie, and he'll realize he hasn't seen his dad or talked to another person in months.
Not that Dean's worried or anything, he just doesn't like the idea of Dad out there alone. It's different than those one and two week trips he used to make when Dean was little and had to stay home or in the car to keep an eye on Sammy.
Back then Dean wouldn't've been able to help much anyway, and besides, he had the most important job back then. He was like the Secret Service but better because they only had to protect some figurehead who everyone knows doesn't have any kind of real power. Dean had to protect Sammy.
But Sammy's not around anymore—Dean didn't know he was supposed to protect him from guidance counselors and college recruiters—and Dean can do more than just point and shoot now. But he knows better than to say any of that out loud; he doesn't want dad to think he's afraid or anything.
So he says his, "Yessir," climbs into his car and cranks Here I Go Again as loud as he can without blowing his girl's speakers. The salt and burn is ridiculously easy. The legwork's already done on it, so Dean gets this feeling in the pit of his stomach that he's just been given busy work to get him out of his dad's hair.
So maybe he's been a little more... antsy than usual. Dad could've just told him to go find a bar for the weekend and let off some steam. Though, okay, that might toe the line on that whole unspoken agreement they have to never, ever, ever acknowledge that either of them might have sex—there are some things no parent or child wants to think too hard about.
The grave is only an hour away, but it takes most of the night to dig it up alone, so the sun is on its way up by the time he makes it back to the motel. He tries to tell himself that Dad's truck not being in the parking lot doesn't actually mean anything.
The note from Dad in the empty room, though, probably means something.
Jim called. Stay put. Back soon.
Sometimes Dean really wishes he had a decoder ring or something. "Stay put" as in, "I'll be back before tomorrow; don't leave the room," or "stay put" as in "I'll be back by the new moon; don't leave the state"? And it's not like calling him would do any good. His dad could be standing in front of you looking at his phone and still not notice it ringing.
Dean decides to err on the side of caution and camp out in the room for a few days to see if he comes back.
It only takes Dean two days to become monumentally bored. He's never been one for sitting around, and he's never really liked TV, either. Movies are different; they're self-contained and quick. They don't require devoting a chunk of time every week to them just to get one to make sense like with TV.
He tried to watch this one show once—there was nothing else on, so it's not like he had heard about it and was waiting or anything. It wasn't that bad, though; two hot chicks being bitchy to each other is always a win in his book. But then the next time he saw it, they were best friends and lovey-dovey in the non-fun, non-lesbian way. Total suckfest, not to mention seriously confusing.
And, of course, only three in every billion motels actually get The Food Network or Animal Planet. Those are the good channels—always something on, and if you only watch once a year, mayo is still nasty and elephants still stampede all over people.
Unfortunately, the Sunset Inn happens to be one of those extra special motels that gets nineteen channels of static and one Spanish station that plays nothing but shitty soaps and Japanese cartoons.
He only calls her as a last resort. He's run out of anything to keep him busy, and he's too wired to sleep, so he needs to talk to someone, and phone sex operators are just really not all they're cracked up to be.
She picks up on the third ring. "Why is Sam so stupid? Did it take a lot of practice? Because I can't imagine that he could've been born this dumb and then still continued to breathe."
"What did he do this time?"
"He blew up the fucking microwave."
Dean cackles because there's no other reaction to that than to laugh like a maniac. "Metal bowl? Spoon in his oatmeal?"
"Nuking a bagel."
"Yeah, that's right. A bagel. He put it in the microwave—because he broke the toaster last week—and hit zero too many times or something. It burst into flames."
"Wow, I think that might be even worse than the spaghetti."
"The spaghetti had grease near it. He managed to light the microwave on fire with bread."
"Yeah, well." Dean leans back on the bed, making himself comfortable. "Sam ever tell you about the time his dad tried to fix a toaster?"
Sam can come just from getting fucked. Jess thinks that is, hands down and no contest, the hottest thing she's ever seen in her life; she's hardly ever even seen it in porn, and she's seen a lot of porn.
It's even hotter than watching Sam jerk off, hotter by miles and miles.
Sam eating her out is hotter, maybe, but she's too out of her mind when he does it for her to be able to judge the level of hotness. Taping it doesn't work because Sam's got this thing where they can't watch their homemade stuff without having sex. It's not like a rule; it's just that Sam can't keep his hands to himself when they do. Well, sometimes he can, but that just leads to sex anyway.
For the record, that time Sam decided to spread her wide on the couch and eat her out was even hotter with video of her fucking him with the big strap-on playing on the TV in surround sound.
Sometimes when Dean's alone and has listened to his tapes so many times in a row that they're actually starting to annoy him, he gets to thinking.
Dean doesn't like being alone with his thoughts at all.
He's a protector; his entire existence is about keeping Sam and Dad safe, so he's always had to think about the worst possible outcome for any given situation. It's especially annoying when he's driving, picturing himself missing a turn and rolling his girl six times or hitting a patch of black ice and fishtailing into a Honda.
Or really bad things like trying to figure out which makes him worse—purposefully fucking guys who remind him of the little brother he used to fuck, or having weird, only sometimes sexual, thoughts about said brother's girlfriend. It breaks him a little inside to think that there are some things worse than sleeping with your brother and that he's managed to do two of them.
Wanting to fuck Jess is one thing; that's okay because it's just sex. It's that other shit, wanting to kiss her sometimes and do stupid things like watch B movies with her. That's the stuff that's just unacceptable. It's his fault, he knows. Couldn't just leave well enough alone, no, had to go and fucking send her mail.
Then, as if that wasn't bad enough, he has to give her a fucking address and open the lines of communication or some other Dr. Phil shit. But he couldn't even stop with that; he had to go and give her a phone number. He was hit with the stupid stick, he's fucking sure of it, because there's just no way in hell that someone can be born that dumb.
Every fucking time he thinks he's hit rock bottom, he manages to dig down through that and outdo himself with a brand new level of low. They talk for absolutely no reason now. At least it started with something innocent; telling her stuff about Sam that he knows Sam would never say. But now he calls her for absolutely no fucking reason—because there's nothing on TV, because he's too tired to try and fiddle with the shower to get some kind of decent water pressure, because it's Tuesday, because last night he got stitches put in the inside of his cheek and couldn't talk after something tried to stab him in the face.
Actually, fuck that. It's all Sam's fault. If that asshole hadn't decided to up and ignore Dean... two years ago? Fuck, two years ago. Anyway, if he hadn't decided to cut Dean out of his life for abso-fucking-lutely no reason at all, then Dean would be calling him and would be able to think about watching Lobster Men From Mars with Sam without having to talk himself out of putting his fist through a wall.
He's tried to call Sam, too, because he's really that pathetic. He hasn't managed to go through with it, though. Can't make himself hit call and listen to it ring through to voicemail again.
On second thought, he's not just pathetic; he's creepy, too. Can't let Sam go, won't accept that Sam will never even speak to him again as long as one of them lives if he has his way. Nope, Dean's gotta go and write his fucking girlfriend in some retarded... thing. Dahmer wishes he were half as creepy as Dean is.
"There are too such things as emergency trips to the porn store!"
"No, there really aren't. Not with the internet and overnight shipping."
"I don't want to wait until tomorrow; I want to fuck my boyfriend tonight!"
"You're going to break the earpiece on my phone. Stop yelling."
Jess sighs and rubs the back of her neck. She knows she's being bitchy, but she's horny, and she hasn't been able to fuck Sam in a week. The internet is failing her because pictures and spec listings mean nothing at all when the way you pick your stuff out is by what fits in your boyfriend's hand best.
Also, the last time she got a sex toy off the 'net, it had all these glowing reviews from customers but was apparently not meant for people their size or strength or something because it was useless.
Well, not completely useless; it's great for blowjobs, but it's useless for fucking. Damn thing kept sliding out, and not in the good way things are supposed to slide when sex is involved. Well, at least not sex when the girl is doing the fucking.
"You're supposed to be helping me here, not making fun of me." There's no answer. "Kaitlin? Kaitlin? Are you there? Fuck." They weren't disconnected, but Jess isn't patient enough right now to wait for her to come back, so she just hangs up.
She calls Sam next, knowing that he's in class with Bershmier and she's only going to get his voicemail. "Oh my god, Sam, you're never allowed to do anything alone again ever. Ugh. I'm still at the store—alone, of course, like usual—and I can't find one like ours. Our old one. The one you shredded because you're a big freak who can't even work the dishwasher right. Call me when you get this, or I'm grabbing the biggest one I can find, and you're just gonna have to deal with it." She wouldn't actually do it, but is sounds a lot better than, "Call me, or I'm gonna sit and bitch more until Kaitlin actually comes here."
Jess didn't even know you could fucking do that. She hates dishwashers, holy shit.
It was after the first night they used it, too, which just fucking pisses her right the hell off. They finally found the perfect one, and it was the last one at the store. She's horny and frustrated and two minutes away from just asking the next person she sees wandering the aisles.
At this point, it's not so much that Jess is freaking out. It's more that the only dildos they have there are the crappy ones that kept slipping out, were too small, are the size of fists, or just looked plain scary. She doesn't even want to know who would want one shaped like Jesus; that's wrong even for her. She's starting to think that she's never going to get to assfuck her boyfriend again, and that's just not acceptable at all.
Okay, so maybe she's having a meltdown, but only a tiny one.
Luckily, she's been to that store enough times in the past month that the guy who works up front, who really isn't as creepy as he looks, takes little notice and doesn't make her leave after her tantrum on the phone.
Nate, though, may never recover. In her defense, she thought maybe he was Kaitlin or Jesse calling her back, and also, holy fucking shit, she totally didn't mean to tell him she fucks Sam with a dildo. Even she knows that might be an overshare.
Dean's not sure how or when it happened, but the phone calls change.
They go from warnings and tips—"Don't keep a lot of dairy around; he'll chug it if it's there, and then you'll both be miserable all night"—to random, mundane things. He tells her about his day. Not the "holy shit, all I want is one ghost who doesn't want to toss me into a damn wall" parts, but the other ones.
"I think my girl's angry with me. She keeps stalling out."
"Maybe it's the fan belt?"
"That's the only part of the engine you know, isn't it?"
"Pretty much, yeah. I had car accidents the first two times I took my driver's test, so my dad banned me from operating anything more complicated than a bike."
"And you still don't have a car?"
"That's part of the problem with living off your parents. If you ask for twenty thousand dollars, they're probably gonna ask what you want it for."
The thought of being able to ask anyone for twenty thousand dollars—not including a bank teller with either a gun and a note or a really nicely faked platinum card—boggles Dean's mind. He's derailed for a moment, thinking about the prospect of that.
Fan belt, right. "It's not the fan belt," he tells her. "I give her the best gas, check her oil myself every time I fill up, and, okay, yeah, she's got some miles on her. But that can't be it. I change her parts; I keep her young. I just don't know what I did to piss her off."
"You have kind of an unhealthy attachment to that car. Even for a guy."
"She's always been there for me when I needed her, never let me down."
"Maybe it's not a she."
"She's a girl. I know my damn car."
"No, hear me out. Maybe it's a he, and he keeps stalling because he doesn't like being called a girl. I know Sam stops faster than government funding whenever I imply that he's anything but a manly piece of man meat."
"'Manly piece of man meat?'"
"Shut up. I'm not the one whose car is having an identity crisis."
"After thirty-eight years."
"She's a '67. That means that for thirty-eight years, she's been called a girl and never minded before now."
"How old are you?"
Dean laughs. He can't help it; he hasn't been asked his age since he was about twenty-two, not counting that last FBI cover or the professor one before that. "She was my dad's car and my mom's before that. It's our version of a...." He trails off, trying to think of some kind of non-cursed heirloom. "A wedding ring? What kind of stuff gets passed around like that?"
"Genetic diseases, mostly."
"Okay, sure, so it's like our version of cystic fibrosis."
"It's a genetic thing. Sammy's roommate when he broke his spleen had it."
"He broke his spleen? How is that even possible?"
"Ruptured, if you wanna get all anal about it."
"It was...." Dean pauses, trying to remember where and when it happened. It wasn't the cliff in Boston; that was when he broke his ankle the second time. It wasn’t the haunted waterslide in Texas or the Dire Wolf in Blue Earth.... "Oh, right. Devil's Night in Detroit. Shit for brains couldn't wait for two minutes while I took a leak. Fuck head had to wait until my back was turned and then go and pick a fight with these three kids with hockey sticks. I'm telling you, you're dating the dumbest thing on the planet."
"Even dumber than the girls in horror movie who run upstairs?"
"By light years."
"Wow, that's pretty dumb."
"You have no idea. I love him, but he doesn't even fucking know what common sense is." Oh, for the love of fuck. Dean starts backtracking fast, trying to disclaim that last sentence. "He's like one of those pug puppies. It doesn't matter that he keeps eating his own shit and running into walls because he's got those big eyes and that goofy smile that makes you just want to pet him and wrestle around with him."
Dean can't seem to remove his foot from his mouth. He just keeps shoving it farther and farther in, and if he doesn't do something soon, he's going to be tasting kneecaps. His only chance now is to try and change the subject and hope she either doesn't notice or doesn't comment.
"You know how I said California was the worst state? With the earthquakes—"
"And the mudslides and the forest fires and the agents, yeah."
"Wrong. I was so, so wrong. It's Missouri. Missouri is the pus-filled scab on America's ass."
Dean ignores her and continues. "If elected president, I would flatten the whole fucking state and start over."
"Wait, I thought you were in Louisiana."
"New orders came in, and I had to hightail it up here."
"Well, what's so bad about it?"
In his head, Dean thanks her for letting him get away with that piss-poor attempt at subtlety. "Well, for one, it's July, and there's a foot and a half of snow on the ground. Then there was the freak blizzard that came out of nowhere last night and knocked out the power, leaving me locked in a Walgreens all night with, along with a dozen other colorful characters, the only human being on the planet with a thicker skull than Sam. This chick was actually gonna call the cops if I broke the doors to get out. Though, really, I would have to say that the crowning jewel was the naked teenage girls running through the streets screaming about how they were 'Shiva, Queen of the Ice.'"
Jess laughs at that, a quick burst that sounds like a terrifying cross between a giggle and a cackle. "Like from Final Fantasy!"
"Not my fantasy, man. They're fourteen; that's just fucking sick." There's a pause again, and Dean isn't sure exactly what to make of it.
"You were raised in the same cult that Sam was, weren't you?"
"What? What the fuck is that supposed to mean?"
"Nothing, I've just never met a guy before Sam who didn't know Final Fantasy. It's this video game series. You run around on this quest and fight bad guys and stuff. It's different in every game, but it's the same basic idea."
"And this has what to do with little girls running around with their asses hanging out?"
"Okay, in the games, you can summon these GFs—guardians—in battle to help you, and they're all modeled after different gods. Well, okay, not all of them because I don't think a Toneberry even exists, much less is worshipped by anyone, but there's Bahamut and Quezacotl and Leviathan and Ifrit and—yeah, anyway, they've got all these gods and other figures and stuff, and one of them is Shiva, who's this Hindu... well, she's not really a god because they kinda don't have them, I think, but she's like a principal or something. Not like a school principal, but yeah. I wonder if Zach still has my FF VIII."
"Sorry, anyway, Shiva—in the game—is this naked blue... female-shaped thing who encases the whole battle in ice and then breaks it or something and does a lot of damage to the enemy. If you're strong enough, that is."
It hits him, then, like a frying pan to the back of a cartoon cat's head. Freak blizzards, summoning, and stupid little kids who probably watch The Craft like he watched Star Wars.
"Has anyone ever told you that you have the brain of a really ugly girl?"
"Uh, no. Not in those words, no."
"Well, you do. I've gotta go do something real quick, but I'll call you tomorrow."
"If all goes according to plan, I should be getting laid tonight. Not that you aren't welcome to call and listen if you want, but I figured all that screaming might be rough on your ears."
"How thoughtful of you. You've only been there a day, and according to you, it's hell on Earth. How did you manage to find someone to have sex with you there?"
"That chick from the Walgreens, Cassie."
"You're kidding, right?"
"Hey, a nice ass is a nice ass. It's not like we've gotta talk or anything, just buy her some food and take her back to her place, and I'm good."
"Hey, it's not like she's interested in talking, either."
"I wasn't saying that she was. I was just admiring your ability not to let something like an inability to get along with someone get in the way of sex."
"I'm going to take that as a compliment and get to work."
"Okay, but you have to call me if she stands you up or calls the cops on you."
| Six |