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Dean was pacing like a caged lion, his mind racing.  It’s gonna turn him.  Fucking vamp's gonna turn him.  “Where is he?”

“Bobby’s callin’ in some favors, getting a big group of hunters together--”

Dean slammed his father up against the wall.  “Where. Is. Sam?”

John blinked.  “Albuquerque.”

Dean shoved away from his stunned father and went straight for the door.  “I’ll meet you there.”

“Dean --” Caroline called, but he was already gone.

She turned to John.  "Has he --?"

John shook his head.  "No.  I've never seen him like that before."

Caroline turned to the door, hand over her mouth as she watched the Impala disappear around a corner.  "It's his idea of a perfect death."

John closed his eyes, walling off his tears.

 


 

 

“Bobby.”

“Dean? You okay, son?  You don’t sound like yourself.”

“That vamp texted you on Sammy’s phone, right?”

“Yeah.”

“Well, text it back.  Tell it I’m on my way.  I  need a place to meet.”

“Dean, you can’t --”

“The hell I can’t, Bobby.  Just fucking do it, or I’ll find a more public way to get the son of a bitch’s attention.”

 


 

“I got an address.”

“Alright.  Tell it I’m offering an even trade: me for Sam.  I get out of my car, Sam drives off, I go without a fight.”

“Dean --”

“Text me the address.”  He ended the call.

 


 

 

He pushed the classic muscle car, her determined growl perfectly matching his own.  It was normally a ten hour drive, and even cutting that down to eight gave Dean time to think.  To plan.

He stopped and bought a few things.  Made some adjustments to his personal arsenal.

He’ll give my brother back or die bloody.

 


 

The sleek black vehicle rumbled to a stop outside a deserted gas station on the edge of town.

Dean stepped out, vibrating with tension, every sense on high alert.

“I know you heard the car, asshole.  C’mon out!”

A dark shadow moved, and the enormous vampire stepped into the light, tall enough that the younger Winchester looked like a child beside it.

“Sam!”  Dean took a step forward, then forced himself to stand still.  “Are you alright?”

Muffled sounds came from beneath the hood on his head, and Dean realized that not only did Sam have his face covered, he was also gagged.

The vampire removed the hood, and Sam looked up, eyes luminous in the still night.

His arms were behind his back, and though his face looked pale, there were no marks that Dean could see.

Dean stepped further away from the car.  “Let him come to me.  I’ll give him the keys, he drives away, you get me.”

Sam started  shaking his head, clearly protesting despite his inability to form words.

“You have given me no reason to trust you, Dean Winchester.  Come closer.  When I have my hands on you, he can go.”

Dean took another step, pulling a beer can from his pocket.  “Remember this, asshole?”  He shook the can, and a metallic rattling could be heard.  “My daddy’s special invention.  I set this off, it’ll hurt Sam, but it won’t kill him.  The deadman’s blood it drives into your sorry ass will put you down enough for me to behead you, though.”  He pulled a machete from the sheath beneath his arm, and his tone turned deadly.  “Let him go.”

“And how do I know that you won’t just use that as soon as he is no longer acting as a shield for me?”

“You don’t.  But I’ll tell you this: you keep him, you die.  You kill  him, you die.  You try to turn him?  You die.”   The young hunter's lips split in a feral smile, and his teeth glistened in the moonlight.  “This is the only chance you’ve got to get back at the man that killed your family.”  He took another step forward.

“When your brother gets to you, you will give him your weapons, your jacket, and your over-shirt.  I need to know that you come to me unarmed.”

“Deal.  Now let. Him. Go.”

The vampire shoved the young man forward, ignoring his protests.  Sam staggered, caught himself, then started walking.  He knew enough to move to the side, staying out of Dean’s line of fire.

He stopped when he reached his brother.  Dean used the machete to cut Sam’s hands free, keeping his eyes on the vampire the entire time.  Sam pulled the cloth out of his mouth as Dean shrugged out of his coat.  “Dean, you can’t --”

“Shut up and take this.”  He handed over his beer can, then sheathed his machete before handing that over as well.  He unbuttoned his shirt, tugging the flannel off.  “Happy birthday.”  He smiled wolfishly as he delivered the still warm, not exactly minty fresh garment to his baby brother.  “You thought I forgot, didn’t you?”

“Dean --”

He pulled Sam into a brief embrace.  “It’s gonna be okay, Sam.”  He released him.  “You got a graduation to go to and college to attend.”  He pushed the boy’s shoulder.  “Now git.”

“Dean!”

Eyes on the vampire, the determined older brother strode away.

 

He didn’t look back.



 

 

Dean melted into the shadow occupied by the vampire and disappeared from sight.

Sam spun out of the lot, tires skidding before gripping the pavement, and sped down the highway.  

A cell phone lay on the passenger seat, and he knew that Dean had left it for him.

He hit ‘1’ on the speed dial.

“Dad?  It took the trade.  I’m free, but it has Dean.”

 



Dean had offered both wrists as soon as he was in touching distance of the vamp, and did not protest the ziptie that was fastened down until it bit into his skin.  He submitted to the pat down, muttering, “Watch it,” only once: when the vampire ran a palm over his groin.

He listened for the sound of his Baby, smiling to himself as he heard the distinctive rumble fade quickly in the distance.  Sammy’s safe.  The rest don’t matter.

But he asked anyway.  “So, what’s next?  You gonna try to convert me to your fandom like Antonio did?  Use me as a pawn to get hunters to leave you alone?  Try to turn me again?  ‘Cause that worked so well for you last time.”  Dean sneered, praying that his attempt at bravado was enough to cover the scent of his fear.

“You took my family from me.  Now you’ll help me start a new one.”  

A hood came down over Dean’s face, and he had just enough time to register how much it smelled like Sam when something struck the back of his head and the world went away.