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All Necessary Measures

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Sam closes the handcuff around his brother’s wrist, snaps it to the radiator and stands up. “Alright, let’s go.”

Martin blocks his way, stopping the younger Winchester. “And leave him like this? No way! He’ll be out of that cuff five minutes after he comes around, maybe less!” Any half-decent hunter would.

“Well, at least it’ll give us a head start.”

“No way,” Martin repeats, adding more vehemence.

“Why?”

Sighing wearily, Martin pinches the bridge of his nose. His head is starting to pound, and it’s the Winchesters’ fault. They’re so irrational, so unprofessional, that being around them would give anyone a headache. “He breaks free, he calls his vampire boyfriend to warn him, and the bloodsucker either makes a run for it and we never see him again, or he gets a jump on us and kills us both.”

Sidestepping Sam, he walks back to Dean, pulling out a second pair of handcuffs from his pocket.

Sam is right behind him, laying his huge hand on Martin’s shoulder. “What are you doing?”

“Relax, I’m just taking precautions,” Martin answers as calmly as he can. He has to remember that dealing with the Winchesters is like dealing with children - they’re a bit slow on the uptake. “Making sure he won’t get us killed. Won’t get anyone else killed.”

“Alright, fine,” Sam concedes, although he’s still scowling unhappily. “Just… just get on with it, we’re losing time here.”

Right. The vampire might be drinking more people as they speak. Martin quickly cuffs Dean’s other wrist to the radiator and checks that the pipes are solid and won’t break. Next, he finds a mostly clean handkerchief in his pocket, bunches it up and forces it between Dean’s slack lips, securing it in place with a scarf tied around his head.

“The hell are you doing now?” Sam’s grip on Martin’s arm is tight enough to leave bruises, a clear warning. The man is like bipolar or something. One moment he’s looking at his brother like he wants to strangle him, the next he’s acting as if Dean is made of fragile glass.

“He’s gonna yell for help,” Martin explains, arming himself with patience. “Someone finds him, sets him free, he warns Benny… We’ve been over this already.”

For several long, tense seconds, Sam silently glares; tall, chest puffed out, looking pissed. “Fine,” he says finally, after letting out a long breath. His shoulders sag slightly in defeat. “We should probably check him for hidden weapons and picklocks, he’s always got a few on him.”

“Now you’re coming to your senses,” Martin smiles, and starts patting Dean down. He’s thorough in his search, touching every inch of Dean’s body, and it pays off – he finds three picklocks, several knives and blades, a syringe of dead man’s blood, a tiny flask of holy water, two lighters, a box of matches and a packet of salt. It’s unlikely that Dean would manage to get to any of his arsenal tied up like he is, but then again, he might be off his rocker but he’s not a rookie, so Martin thinks caution is very much in order.

That’s why he gives Dean another pat down once he’s done, just to be 100 % sure he didn’t miss anything the first time.

Behind him, Sam clears his throat. “Hey, that’s… That’s enough. Let’s go.”

“Alright,” Martin stands up. He looks around Dean, searching for anything the hunter might use to get free. When he’s satisfied that there’s nothing, he goes to grab his stuff and heads for the door. “Let’s go kill that fang.”

*

Of course, Sam screws it up. Can’t hold his shit together, and Martin can’t exactly blame the kid – word among hunters is he’s been through hell, literally. But the thing is, if you can’t handle the job anymore, you should quit before you get yourself or your hunting partner killed.

“You’re too unstable, you’d only be a burden,” Sam has the audacity to say before he slams the door of the truck – Martin’s truck! – and drives off, leaving Martin standing at the side of the road in the middle of the woods.

“Fuck you too!” Martin calls after him, already planning his next step.

*

Martin hitch-hikes back to town. He’s seriously considering leaving this damn place, he’s always hated Louisiana anyway, but the hunt’s not done yet, and it’s pretty clear that Sam, raving mad, won’t be able to finish it. It’s Martin’s responsibility. It’s his duty.

“Where the hell are you, Benny?” He wonders out loud, and pays no attention to the weird glances passersby are giving him. “Where did you go?”

But there’s no way of telling, really. Martin’s been tailing the vamp for the past two weeks, but all he’s ever done was work, and he’s obviously not at the gumbo shack now. He could be anywhere. Martin needs more info.

“Dean,” he laughs once it occurs to him. It’s so obvious, why hasn’t he thought of it before?

Filled with new hope and purpose, he jogs to the apartment building, up the stairs, bursts through the door.

The older Winchester is just where Martin left him, tied to the radiator and gagged. He’s conscious now though, must have been for a while, judging by the blood trickling sluggishly down his cuffed wrists and staining his shirtsleeves. At a closer look, the flesh around the cuffs look badly torn, almost as if the hunter was trying to tear his own hand off in order to escape.

“Winchesters. Mad.” Martin shakes his head, ignoring the glare Dean is giving him. “It’s sad, really, what happened to you boys. Your daddy’s lucky he didn’t live long enough to see this.”

At those words, something goes dead in Dean’s eyes, and in the next moment, the hunter is striking like a cobra – a well-aimed kick to Martin’s knee, another one to the kidneys when Martin goes down, hitting the floor with a grunt. Those steel-toed working boots hurt like a sonofabitch, and Martin catches several more nasty kicks before he manages to roll out of Dean’s reach. “You bastard,” he wheezes, lying on the floor, trying to catch his breath.

Dean, also breathing hard, is watching him with murder in his eyes. Martin has no doubt that if he got free right now, he would do it. Kill Martin without a second thought.

“What happened to you?” Martin asks in disbelief, sitting up slowly. “Protecting vampires, attacking hunters… There’s something seriously wrong with you, you know that?”

A snort is all the reaction Dean gives him, and Martin reckons it’s not just the gag preventing him from saying anything. Dean’s simply not in a chatty mood.

Unfortunately for him, Martin has some questions, and he needs answers. People’s lives depend on it, so he won’t hesitate to take all measures necessary to get them.

“I’m looking for Benny,” he says, pulling himself to his feet with a barely contained groan. Dean got him good with that surprise attack. “Me and Sam couldn’t find him.” He doesn’t mention he and the other Winchester split, it wouldn’t look good. It’s better to present a united front. “He wasn’t where he was supposed to be.”

The expression on Dean’s face can’t be described as anything but relief. It’s making Martin sick.

“You know him well, don’t you?” He goes on, starts to pace the room, careful to stay out of reach of Dean’s long legs. He should’ve hogtied him while he was still unconscious, it would be much safer. “Spent a lot of time with him. You know how he thinks, you know where he’d be, where he’d go next. You’re buddies.”

Even with the gag in his mouth, Dean manages to give a smile as he nods. It’s an ugly smile.

“So, you gonna tell me where he is so Sam and I can deal with him?”

A few seconds go by, and then Dean nods his head again, and tries to say something through the gag.

That makes Martin laugh. "You think I'm stupid? I'm not gonna take the gag out and let you scream from the top of your lungs until someone comes here. Oh no. The gag stays. You can tell me about Benny in Morse. Nice and safe."

Holding Martin's gaze, Dean starts tapping one finger against the radiator. F-U-C-K--

Martin's fist connects with his chin before he can finish.

"So that's how it's gonna be, huh? You don't really wanna tell me anything, do you?"

Dean shrugs in a way that clearly says, Duh.

Honestly, Martin wasn’t expecting anything different. Not this early in the game.

“Hey, I get it, you need a little motivation,” he says and takes off his jacket, throws it over the back of the nearest chair. “A little sense beaten into you. Since your daddy ain’t here to do it himself, I’ll be more than glad to do it in his place.”

The mention of John Winchester doesn’t provoke a reaction this time. Dean watches Martin intently, eyes following his every move as Martin goes to lock the door and then proceeds to unbuckle and take off his belt. Martin folds the leather in half, snaps it experimentally against the mattress on the bed.

Dean’s right eyebrow arches; a clear mockery. The wrinkles around his eyes deepen again in another smile that would make Martin seriously worried if Dean wasn’t tied up right now.

“We’ll see who’s smiling when I’m done with you, boy,” Martin promises, walking closer.

Another snort, and Dean’s still acting as if he’s not concerned by this at all, but Martin can see him tensing up, estimating the distance between them, waiting for another chance to strike out.

It’s Martin’s turn to smile. “Won’t fool me twice.” He puts the belt down, takes a coil of rope from his duffel, lays it on the floor. “Now, we gonna do this the easy way or the hard way?”

Without waiting for an answer, he moves in. Dean’s expecting it, so he draws his legs up and then kicks out again, but Martin’s ready this time. A scuffle follows anyway, but Dean’s at a serious disadvantage here, so in the end Martin manages to sit on Dean’s legs, immobilizing them long enough to reach for the rope. He winds it around Dean’s ankles, tight and secure, then fastens the two ends to the legs of the bed. The bed is heavy, it won’t budge. And now, neither will Dean.

Martin picks up the belt again, noting with pleasure that Dean is watching him differently now. Not with fear, but… caution, maybe. Well, it’s a start. A sign that somewhere inside, there might still be a part of Dean that’s reasonable. “Benny,” he says. “Where is he?”

Dean shakes his head.

Martin raises his arm and strikes. It’s been a while since he’s done this, so his aim is a little off, the belt landing a little higher on Dean’s chest than intended, the end hitting Dean’s neck and even his chin.

It’s not really that much of a surprise that Dean doesn’t make a sound.

Martin strikes again. And again, and again, until he loses count. He lets the belt fall all across Dean’s chest and belly, the tops of his thighs. Likes the way Dean begins to squirm when the belt gets too close to his crotch, thinking they might finally be getting somewhere. Then gets disappointed when Dean just… relaxes, lets go, as if accepting that there’s nothing he can do about the situation.

“You’re a tough bastard, gotta give you that,” Martin admits, because he’s a fair guy, will give credit where it’s due. Besides, Dean’s continued, stubborn silence means he’ll have to up his game, and Martin’s kind of been hoping for that. The Winchesters really pissed him off today, and it’s not healthy to repress your anger, that’s what Martin’s therapist at the hospital used to say.

Setting the belt aside, Martin flicks open his switchblade, and sees Dean tense up again. He grins. “Don’t worry, I’m not gonna kill you. I just need to get under that thick skin of yours.” He laughs at the joke as he starts cutting through the fabric of Dean’s shirt and t-shirt, exposing Dean’s bruised torso. “Metaphorically speaking, of course.” For now, at least.

He watches the rise and fall of Dean’s chest, doesn’t miss the way the Winchester is controlling his breathing, or the sweat gleaming on his skin. It’s discolored already, dark red stripes, but there’s no blood yet, not on the surface.

Martin takes the belt, wraps one end around his hand, the end with the buckle swinging in the air. “You feel like talking now?”

Dean shakes his head.

“You’re not giving me another choice here, man,” Martin says. “I need to know where he is, save innocent people’s lives.”

Dean rolls his eyes. The disrespect is clear, and it makes Martin’s blood boil. Who is this young punk to treat his elders like this? Being in cahoots with a fucking vamp, and he thinks he’s better than Martin? That he’s above him somehow?

“You’re fucking wrong,” Martin snarls and strikes out again.

The blows sound different now that the leather is hitting bare skin; harsher, louder, nastier. The buckle is particularly effective, and it doesn’t take long before there’s blood, more and more of it as Martin goes on. His arm is growing tired but he doesn’t want to stop, not when Dean is finally beginning to show signs of pain and distress, whole body shaking, harsh grunts coming after every new blow, wetness collecting in the corners of his eyes.

Good. Very good. “Now we’re getting somewhere,” Martin says victoriously, relishing the feeling of control and power. He knows exactly what he’s doing, he’s the one in charge here, what happens next depends solely on him, the world is his. He’s missed this.

His temples are pulsing with it, he feels hot and alive, all senses sharp, taking everything in: the coppery tang of blood – Dean’s, the sharp smell of sweat – both Dean's and Martin’s, the heady scent of arousal – Martin’s, it turns out. He’s hard in his jeans, and he hasn’t even noticed until now.

Dean has though, eyeing the bulge in Martin’s pants like it’s an enemy, like it’s dangerous. He immediately looks away when he realizes that Martin’s watching him, but it’s too late.

The belt falls from Martin’s hand, forgotten. Martin smiles. “So that’s how I get to you, huh?”

Dean goes stock-still, face an unreadable mask now, but that alone tells Martin all he needs to know.

“Look, I don’t wanna do this,” he continues the one-sided conversation as he works Dean’s pants open, dragging the denim and washed-out cotton underneath down Dean’s thighs as far as it can go, revealing pale flesh and red welts left by the belt. “But I really need to find that vampire. So, you gonna help me or not?”

To be honest, Martin’s not entirely sure what he would do if Dean decided to speak now. The hunter’s not exactly hard on the eyes and it’s been a while since Martin got laid, but more importantly, Dean really needs to be taught a lesson, one that will stick in that messed up, crazy head of his. And this is kind of like shock therapy, isn’t it? Might do the kid good, even if he doesn’t see it that way right now.

Luckily, Dean doesn’t seem any more inclined to cooperate than he did before, back to watching Martin dispassionately. Only that’s just a façade and Martin is determined to see it break.

He cups Dean’s soft cock in one hand, chuckling when the hunter flinches at the touch. He toys briefly with the idea of forcing the Winchester to enjoy this, but rejects it quickly. That might take time, and Martin’s got a job to finish. A vamp to kill.

“Alright, let’s do this. Unless you changed your mind.”

The look Dean gives him makes it very clear that he didn’t, so Martin gets to work. Getting between Dean’s legs proves to be difficult, what with the way he’s cuffed to the pipes and his legs tied to the bed, kept together by the jeans and underwear bunched around the knees. Eventually, he just cuts the damn clothes off, which gives him a little more space, and it’s going to work, and Martin is so hard, he can’t wait any longer.

He unzips, pulls himself out, and starts pushing right inside Dean. The gag in the hunter’s mouth doesn’t completely muffle the single long, anguished scream that he lets out when he’s breached, but after that, Dean goes silent. Martin doesn’t really care at this point, the need to get deeper is too strong, forcing him to keep going. It’s dry and tight, too tight, so tight it almost hurts, but Martin’s not stopping, and when he finally bottoms out, it’s so, so worth it.

“Man, I needed that,” he breathes out, taking a few moments to regain some composure before he gets down to business.

Dean is watching him intently, white-knuckled fingers gripping onto the radiator pipes, tear-filled eyes wide open and meeting Martin’s gaze unflinchingly. It’s like he’s writing Martin’s face down to his memory so he can find him later and slit his throat.

Martin lowers his eyes. Watching his cock piston in and out of that tight hole is a more pleasing sight anyway. It feels even better once there’s a little blood to slick the way, and Martin speeds up the pace. In, out, in, out, faster, rougher, and soon, almost too soon, Martin is coming with a grunt.

“Wow,” he says, collapsing onto Dean’s chest, forehead touching the raw flesh of the openly bleeding welts. Dean is shaking under him, and Martin thinks he might be crying silently, but when he takes a look at Dean’s face, he can see that it’s rage, not despair. It’s in this moment that Martin comes to realize that for Dean, it’s already too late – he can’t be saved, there’s no going back.

“You’re a monster,” Martin whispers, standing up, taking a step back unwittingly.

Snorting, Dean jerks his chin toward Martin.

“Me? Oh no,” Martin shakes his head, points a finger back at Dean. “I’m not the bad guy here. I was… I was,” he thinks hard, trying to remember. There was a reason for all this, a noble reason. “I was trying to make you talk, get to that murdering friend of yours before he kills again. I’m saving people, you understand?”

Dean snorts again; contempt, still. How dare he? Enraged, Martin kicks him in the groin, watches with grim satisfaction as Dean, white as chalk, fails to hold back his pathetic whimpers and tears finally pour down his cheeks.

“That’ll teach you,” Martin tells him, and goes to pack his things. He’s on a mission after all, he can’t get carried away. “I don’t suppose you’re going to tell me where he is now?”

Sniffing a little, Dean levels a look at him.

“No, I didn’t think so,” Martin says. “You know what? I can find him without your help. I’ll start at the gumbo shack again, ask around, see if anyone—“ Oh. Didn’t Dean mention a great-grandkid? “It’s that brunette waitress, isn’t it? The one who always smiles at him, the one whose night shifts he takes on top of his own?”

Dean’s trying to fake ignorance, but Martin knows he hit the nail on the head there, and a plan is already forming in his head. “I think I’m gonna pay her a visit. She’ll have Benny’s number, right? And if he’s as fond of her as you say he is, if he’s such a cuddly teddy bear, then I’m sure he’d rather offer his own life than risk hers.”

For the first time, he sees real fear on Dean’s face. And of course it’s not fear for himself, it’s fear for the vampire. “You’re a lost case, aren’t you?” He asks on his way to the door, ignoring the way Dean’s trying to talk through the gag, no doubt to beg for the vampire’s life.

“Hey, don’t be sad,” he says, hand on the doorknob. “I’ll come back to show you his head so you can say goodbye.”

*

As expected, Benny’s great-granddaughter – Elizabeth – gives Martin Benny’s number, even lets him use her phone.

As expected, Benny comes to her rescue. Trying to negotiate with Martin, and isn’t that just absurd? The vampire is acting all reasonable and careful, walking slowly towards Martin with his hands up, until suddenly his nostrils flare and his fangs come out in a snarl.

“Dean?” The vampire growls, and he doesn’t look so reasonable now, the monster inside him coming to the fore. “I can smell his blood all over you, what have you—“

“Done to him? Well, you’re never gonna see him again, that’s for sure. See, your boyfriend, he didn’t wanna give you up,” Martin explains, enjoying the pain his words are causing the vampire. “Wouldn’t tell me where you are, even when I tanned his hide with my belt. You sure must be treating him good if he’s that loyal to you. Although you clearly aren’t fucking him often enough, he was virgin tight when I—“

He never gets to finish the sentence.

 

***

 

Sam’s search for Benny proves to be fruitless, so he decides his best course of action is returning back to Dean. His brother might know where Benny could go, and besides, he’s been chained up in that room for a long time. Longer than he should have.

If he should have been chained up at all. Sam’s seriously starting to doubt it.

He steps on the gas, willing Martin’s truck to go faster.

When he gets back to town, he sees police cars outside the gumbo shack where Benny supposedly works. He pulls over immediately, searching the collection of fake IDs in his pocket until he finds the most recent FBI one. He makes up a story about how he’s been tracking the killer in Carencro for weeks, and the cops let him in.

He’s not really surprised to find Martin’s body, torn to pieces and drained of blood, and he can’t help the feeling of grim satisfaction that he was right about Benny after all, despite Dean’s insistence that the vampire was innocent.

“Innocent, my ass,” he mutters as he walks outside to question the only witness of the massacre.

The dark-haired woman in her early thirties is sitting in the back of an ambulance, wrapped up in a grey blanket, looking shaken but physically unharmed.

“Elizabeth Lafitte?” He asks, approaching Benny's great-granddaughter with a soft, friendly smile. When she nods, he goes on. “My name is Special Agent Sambora,” he flashes his badge quickly, she doesn’t show any interest in it anyway. “I just have a few questions. Could you tell me what happened?”

She nods, takes several calming breaths. “Okay,” she says, nodding again, as if she’s encouraging herself. He offers another smile to help her along. “I was just about to close up when that man came.”

“Which man?”

“The… The dead one,” she jerks her chin towards the diner. “He was asking about Roy, wanted to borrow my phone so he could call him.”

“And then ‘Roy’ came and killed him?” Sam prompts when she falls silent.

“What?” Her head snaps up, confused. “No! The man, he – he attacked me, tied me up,” she shows Sam the rope burns on her wrists. “He told Roy that if he didn’t come here, he’d kill me.” She sniffs, shakes her head. “I don’t know why Roy did it, but he came. He was willing to die for me, but then they started talking about another man, Dean, and about how Martin did something to him, how he hurt him.”

Sam’s heart stops. He’s incapable of saying a single word, and so, unaware of his shock, Elizabeth continues telling her story. “Roy got really angry then, and Martin kept taunting him, and Roy… He… he killed him. With his teeth. Ripped him apart. Then he just… left. Said he had no reason to stay anymore now that Dean is gone.” Her eyes, filled with tears, look at Sam. “What does that mean? How could he even do that, kill a man with his teeth?”

“Drugs,” Sam explains, his mind only halfway here. “Thank you for your time, Miss Lafitte.”

He rushes back to the car, driving to the hotel where they left Dean, cursing himself for his stupidity all the way. He should’ve known Martin would do something crazy, he shouldn’t have trusted him with this case at all, he shouldn’t have given him a second chance. Not everyone deserves it, no matter how hard Sam tries to tell himself the opposite.

Some monsters will always be monsters.

Jumping the lights and breaking the speed limit, Sam makes it to the hotel in less than four minutes. Not even bothering to take the keys out, he runs inside, rushes up the stairs and through the dark corridor until he reaches Martin’s room and barges through the door.

He spots Dean by the radiator, sees his head snapping up and towards the door to see who’s coming, and for one brief moment, Sam’s heart is flooded with relief that Dean is alive.

The next moment, his heart drops to his stomach when he realizes what he’s seeing. “Oh God,” he chokes out, cold horror settling in his bones as he takes it all in. The lack of clothes, the welts, the blood, the finger-shaped bruises on the inside of Dean’s thighs. There’s no mistaking the signs for what they mean.

And it is all Sam’s fault.

He wants to cry. He wants to throw up. He wants to run away and never stop.

He does neither, because this isn’t about him. He can wallow in guilt later, right now he has to help Dean.

“Hold on, I’m gonna get you out,” he babbles as he rushes to his brother, concentrating on getting him free, trying to give Dean some semblance of privacy – all the while stealthily trying to see how badly he’s hurt, take stock of the damage, because he can’t not. Keeping up a running commentary of things like Hang on and It’s okay now, he removes Dean’s gag, cuts through the ropes around Dean’s ankles and picks the cuffs around Dean’s wrists.

The moment he’s free, Dean tries to stand up, but his balance is off, numb legs not working properly, and he’s swaying on his feet, stumbling, crumbling.

Sam is there to catch him and help him take the few steps to the bed. He lowers Dean onto it as gently as he can. The moment Dean’s lying down, he quickly takes off his jacket and throws it over Dean’s crotch, but he leaves his upper body uncovered, mindful of all the ugly welts.

All through this, Dean doesn’t say a single world, barely even acknowledging Sam’s presence. He takes to staring at the ceiling, silent as the grave.

“I’m sorry.”

Now, Dean turns his head to regard Sam coldly. “Why?” He says, his voice hoarse, tone curt. “You hated him, you wanted him dead. You should be happy that you finally got rid of him.”

“What?”

“Benny,” Dean says, back to staring at the ceiling. “You guys took him out together, right? Did you celebrate with a victory dance later?”

“What?” Sam repeats, not comprehending. “Dean, Benny’s alive. It’s Martin who’s dead.”

“Benny’s alive?” The expression that settles over Dean’s face is one that Sam is very familiar with, one that he’s been seeing all his life. It’s the one that says It doesn’t matter how bad I got hurt, not as long as Sammy’s okay. Only this time, it has nothing to do with Sam at all.

That hurts, it hurts a whole fucking lot, but Sam swallows it down and gives Dean the answer he needs to hear. “Yeah. Apparently Martin threatened to kill Elizabeth if Benny didn’t turn himself in, and Benny was going to do just that when Martin started bragging about what he did to you.”

“And Benny killed him,” Dean finishes, now looking sad again, almost remorseful. “Shit. I didn’t want him to have to kill anyone. That wasn’t supposed to happen.”

That’s not all that wasn’t supposed to happen, Sam thinks bitterly, and some of that darkness must show on his face because Dean eyes him suspiciously, misinterpreting Sam’s expression. “You gonna go after him?”

A part of Sam wants to. Even if Benny was telling the truth the whole time and there really was another vampire at play here, he’s still dangerous. He just killed a man. On the other hand, that man wasn’t a man anymore, not after what he’d done to Dean. And most importantly, Sam needs to look after his brother.

“No,” he says finally. “No, I’m not gonna go after Benny.”

“Good,” Dean says, sitting up with a wince, planting his unsteady feet on the floor and slowly standing up. He wraps Sam’s jacket around himself self-consciously, then drags the comforter off the bed and puts it around himself like a cloak. “But I am.”

“What?”

“I need to see him, check that he’s okay,” Dean growls, batting Sam’s hands away agitatedly as he limps towards the small bathroom. “He’s out there somewhere, thinking I’m dead, thinking he’s all alone. I need to see him.”

“Dean, you’re hurt!”

“Yeah, I noticed.”

“You’re in no condition to—“

“Don’t you start with that,” Dean cuts him off, anger in his voice again. “You have no fucking idea what kinds of crap I had to just walk off in Monsterland. This?” He indicates the comforter wrapped around him, already dark with blood where it’s pressed against the wounds on his chest. “Nothing serious. I can handle it.”

“And the… other thing?”

Dean’s face hardens. “I can handle that too. I just need a shower, that’s all. A long shower.”

It’s obvious that Dean doesn’t want to talk about it, which Sam understands perfectly, but he can’t just let it slide. Not yet. “At least tell me…”

“What?” Dean snaps.

Sam looks down, unable to ask while meeting Dean’s eyes. “Did he… did he use a condom?”

“None of your damn business,” Dean growls, makes a surprisingly quick grab for the duffel with his spare clothes, and disappears in the bathroom, slamming the door shut right in Sam’s face. A moment later, Sam can hear the lock click in place.

It’s as clear a message as a big FUCK OFF sign in bold letters, but Sam’s not going to move from his spot, no way in hell. He’ll stay here, guarding, waiting, ear pressed to the wood, listening, ready to smash down the door and storm in at first sign of Dean having any trouble.

But Dean doesn’t call out for help, doesn’t even make a sound, as far as Sam can tell. Then the shower starts, effectively drowning out anything Dean might not want Sam to hear.

Sam still listens, concentrates all his attention on the simple task, because he’s not ready to start thinking too hard about what happened in this very room only a few hours ago. That breakdown will come later, once Sam’s made sure that Dean is safe and alright.

Dean walks out thirty minutes later, dressed in a new pair of jeans and nothing else. He’s moving stiffly, clearly in pain despite trying to hide it. Sam knows what signs to look for far too well.

“Here, drink this.” He offers Dean a glass of water and a bunch of painkillers, which Dean accepts with a gruff thank you.

“I should bandage those,” Sam says, indicating Dean’s torn wrists. “Your chest, too.”

“Yeah,” Dean nods in agreement, which surprises Sam. He was expecting at least a ten-minute argument before Dean would capitulate. “Yeah, alright.” He goes to sit on the bed, flinching as he does so. “Should probably stitch this up too,” he points at the cut on his forehead where Martin hit him with the handle of his knife.

“Right.” Sam prepares all the supplies he needs and gets to work. Dean holds still, lets him do his thing with more patience than he usually shows in these situations. The cooperativeness is a little disconcerting, especially since he seemed so keen on leaving just a little while ago. He must be hurt worse than he lets on.

Needle going through the torn skin on Dean’s forehead, Sam tries to come up with the best way to inquire about Dean’s other injuries without pissing his brother off. He can't think of anything, but he’ll have to ask again anyway. Though it will probably be for the best if Sam does it after he finishes patching Dean up; it wouldn’t do them any good if Dean just stormed off before Sam took care of him.

Minutes pass in tense silence as Sam clumsily formulates the words in his head, while Dean just sits there, still as a statue.

“Alright, that’s it,” Sam informs Dean when he’s done everything he could, everything Dean let him do. “I still think I should take you to the ER, have them check—“

“No.” And there’s the stubborn adamancy Sam’s been secretly expecting all this time. Dean stands up, grabbing a clean shirt. “I’m telling you, I’m fine.”

“No, you’re not.”

“I’m fine enough,” Dean counters. “I’m gonna head out now.”

“Head out where?”

The look Dean gives him is the one he reserves for moments when Sam is especially dense. “To see Benny.”

Oh. So he didn’t change his mind about that after all.

“Really? Is that a smart idea?” Sam tries to argue, for Dean’s sake, because Dean clearly can’t see what’s good for him.

“Yeah, Sam, it is.” Dean puts on the t-shirt, then his shirt, his posture straightening and gaining strength and confidence with each new layer of clothing. By the time he shrugs into his green canvas jacket and grabs the Impala’s keys, he looks as if he’s perfectly fine.

Not letting himself be fooled, Sam steps in Dean’s way. “Look, even putting aside the fact that you’re… incapacitated, is it safe to hang around a vampire when you’re basically smelling like a walking buffet?”

“Benny?” Now Dean laughs, like Sam’s question amuses him. “Of course I’m safe around Benny. Benny’s always got my back. I told you, I trust him.”

He walks away, leaving Sam alone in the empty room.