Dean scouts for a parking spot. “Coroner says brown wasps. Nothin special.” Out-of-the-way, someplace he can arm up. “Brought in a bug guy and everything.”
Sammy on speakerphone: “Which, is exactly what I’ve been trying to tell you, Dean; you always… It’s just bugs.”
“Except when it ain’t.” Suburban state park: soccer fields and picnic shelters. Dean rolls on, bets on better cover further in.
“—can’t believe you drove all this way just to blow this off.”
“I said I’d hunt for em, not hang out with em.” Dean spots a narrow turn-in, trees to three sides. “I got no skin in this, ribbon-cutting or whatever.”
“Sure.” He wheels around, angles trunk-first into a corner. “Look, dude. I get it. Y’always did wanna be a Hogwart.”
“Okay, Gryffindor, but—”
“J-j-just! Watch yourself. Watch Mom. And Ketch, man, that guy—”
Tap-tap-tap at Dean’s window.
Worse than the Devil. “I gotta go.” Door creaks and Dean climbs out.
“Fancy a bit of assistance?”
Ketch adjusts fucking cufflinks. Bowtie, ten-thousand-dollar suit if it’s ten bucks. Leather case at his feet.
“Why you tailin me, Artie? I’m gonna call you Artie.”
Jawline twitch. “I heard a rumor about coven activity—”
Sammy give that up?
“—purely coincidence—” Eyes sweep Dean’s face, shoulders, crotch.
“I ain’t got time for this.” Dean opens the arsenal.
“Take me along.”
“Nope.” Sawed-off, salt, cuffs.
Spray paint, That’ll come in handy. “Bye, Artie.”
Holy water. “Yeah, you can stow Q Branch.” Ruby’s knife, just-for-emergencies, slipped in a sheath.
Ketch tracks it, whispering into the leather. “Fine. Your rules, your tools—”
Dean slams the trunk.
“—at your command.” And he fucking bows.
This guy. “You like takin orders, huh, Artie.”
Dean sighs. For a cold-blooded assassin he’s sure got a lotta tells. Dean holsters a shotgun. “You can come.” He crowds Ketch a little. Smirks, “As long as you keep your mouth shut and do exactly as you’re told.”
Ketch sniffs, snooty but right at Dean’s temple. “Yesss, sir.”
Dean nearly sprains something not-rolling his eyes. “Get in.”
Ketch dutifully complies.
“Gonna be a long night lookin at nothin, most like.” Dean turns over the engine. “What us savages call a milk run.”
Last dregs of rush hour, Baby prowls. “Okay. This guy, Chandler—that’s our vic—was bangin his kid’s friend’s mom.”
“Hell hath no fury…”
“Right? The whole thing’s a Dr. Sexy plot. Except, the way he died…”
Ketch tilts morgue photos. Licks lips, “Gruesome.” He pulls a page. “I take it… Wendy here is our merry widow?”
Dry, “And I thought you was just a pretty face.”
Freeway, artery, subdivision, cul-de-sac. Carved right outta the woods: evergreens and creeping climbers mix with bare oaks, fruit trees. Southern winter green-brown, asphalt black.
Ketch’s pocket sings, bell like an old-school desk phone. Precious. Way he squints and hits ignore—
“Can only be work or an ex. Guess both, in your case.”
“Mr. Davies.” He kills the ringer. “I am technically AWOL.”
“Aww, this is the second time you’ve snuck out to see me, Artie.” Truth be told, that vamp hunt was one of Dean’s better dates in near memory.
“—London lads. Frightfully dull, though I must say your brother’s made quite an impression.”
“Too much to hope it’s upside their heads.”
Ketch huffs. “Amusing.”
“Yeah, yeah, Dean’s got jokes. Make sure you get that in your debrief.”
Wendy’s house leaks light around drawn curtains over massive windows. Red brick, split level, Volvo sedan under a carport, minivan behind.
“Now the dull part.” Dean scoots down, spreads his legs.
Ketch eyes him a second. “I’m curious.” Shifts in the seat.
Dean flops his head Ketch’s direction.
“You suspect witchcraft.”
“Yet you armed against demons.”
“Uh-huh. I got two mags of witch-killers too; I’m not an idiot.”
“Check the back of that file, there’s a weather map. Weird lightning in this zip co—”
“Then we are hunting a demon.” Ketch shifts papers, squints.
Dean shrugs. “I figure, fifty-fifty.”
Head-shake. Something he’s still not getting.
Oh. “Demons run covens, sometimes.” Ruby dropped that intel on him. “Ain’t in the general lore; guess it’s pretty rare.”
“Of course,” but he looks sour.
“You never fuck with this part, do ya, Artie?”
“I run surveillance.”
“Nah, I mean…” Hunting. “Figuring out who to hit, where, and how…” Hands fold behind his head. “You let Mick and them do that.”
“Yes, and I miss out on such excitement.” Caustic bastard.
He ain’t wrong though. Cars pass, once in a while. Dog walkers and joggers. Dean pops in a tape, drums on the wheel. Such excitement.
Dean cuts the music, stabs for his Fed phone. “Agent Brown.”
“Evenin, Agent.” Sugary Georgia drawl. “This Dr. Budd, from the M.E.’s office? We met this afternoon.”
“Uh, yeah. Hi, doc. Everything all right?”
“Oh, yes. I hate to bother you after hours, but-ah. You said anythin weird…”
“Weirder the better.” Dean winks at Ketch.
“I got to lookin for Mr. Markham’s personal effects, after you left out? And well, my guys found a coin, says here sewed in his jacket. Ain’t no buffalo nickel, I’ll tell you what.”
“Can you text me some pictures?”
“And-ahhh, don’t touch it. Like, really seriously handle-with-gloves, okay? Don’t wanna… get tetanus or something.”
Dean forwards the photos to Sam: Just bugs huh bitch? Glances at Ketch, a few times. Guy’s got a nice profile. Patchy streetlight through the trees, kinda night makes everybody prettier.
“This mean anything to you?” Dean hands his phone over.
“Yeah, that’s about what I got. Sam’s on it.”
Porch light comes on and Dean points. “Hey, check it out.”
Wendy’s minivan takes off and Dean waits. Once she’s down the block a ways, he pulls a u-turn off the curb. Wheel spins under his palm. Wendy leads them out of her neighborhood and Dean takes a discreet spot in traffic.
Ketch pokes at his shirt where it’s come untucked, sticking out white under his vest. Dean grins. Cooped up in the car’s a good look on him, kinda unraveled.
“How’d you get in the game in the first place?” Dean asks.
“Family business,” Ketch preens. “Same as you.”
“Sooo not the same.” Pawn shops, bail bondsmen and gun ranges merge into pharmacies and gas stations.
“Oh no?” Arched eyebrow, stuck-up smile. “Clan Campbell? Drove the dragons out of Scotland, so the story goes.”
“No shit.” Bet Sam don’t even know that.
Restaurants, further down, and a slew of strip malls. Fuckin suburbs. Wendy hits a side street. Three, four developments pass and she turns. Dean follows between cloned houses, two-car garages and bay windows.
“So you grew up in the life.”
“Combat, weapons training. Huntin with dear old Dad—”
“And Grandfather, Aunt Millie—”
“You have an Aunt Millie.”
“Great aunt. Mildred, though she’d disembowel me for saying, rest her soul.”
Dean throws him a grin.
Past the second cross street the houses spread out, get to looking a shade more distinctive, a lot more expensive. Wendy parks at a two-story not-quite-McMansion. Dean circles, finds a spying spot and cuts the motor, lights. Coasts into place.
“And you did what… Men of Letters wet work?”
“Wait, lemme guess: ‘Here you go, boy. Load this ammo, aim for the heart!’ Or the head or whatever.”
Ketch drops his voice. “‘Stay sharp, Arthur.’”
“‘Because I said so.’ Used to drive Sam nuts.”
Few minutes later, garage door opens on tail lights, tailgate, Silverado crew cab, midlife crisis red. No sign of passengers. Truck rumbles past with the dome light on, middle-aged mustache wrapped around a shiny blue glass pipe. Pot smoke wafts through Dean’s window.
“You gotta be—” Dean pinches his nose. Barest tremor in the seat. Dean looks over and Ketch, that’s almost a snicker. Dean thumps his chest. “Betcha wish you were ridin with him right now, huh?”
Ketch blinks, three, four times. Shock’s a good look on him too. Dean throws his head back. Random, fuckin—Sam and Mom and Mom out there drinkin with Emperor Palpatine, which leaves him… what… romancing Darth—Nah. Maybe, bitch-made, Hayden Christiansen proto-Vader.
Big Mercedes Benz pulls up next to Wendy’s van. Dean straightens. Three women, one with a very respectable canvas shopping bag, head for the house.
“Well now.” He folds himself over the seat, digs for binoculars. Draft where his shirts ride up and he feels Ketch’s eyes. Once he settles, Dean checks out the house number, vehicle tags. Offers a look.
Ketch arches an eyebrow and hauls his case up from the floorboard. Latches click and hinges flip, all manner of weaponry slides around. He’s got gear, I’ll give him that, but it’s kinda ridiculous, fuckin around with his Russian-doll murder-purse.
One more car parks on the street and a woman goes in.
“—give it a try?” Camera. Ketch thumbs at a control and it switches to night vision. FLIR.
Dean’s mouth smacks. “I’m good.”
Ketch shrugs, points the lens at the house. “Six occupants.”
“Yeah, I got that, Artie. Counted em goin in. You wanna be useful, write down those plate numbers.”
“Hey, Sam.” Dean slips out of the car, strolls up the block like he owns it. “How’s the Red Wedding?”
“Cute. You need backup?”
“Nah, Ketch is here.”
“You didn’t give me up?”
“I… I talked to Mom—”
“And they put him on me.”
“I don’t think so, man. Mick is pissed.”
“Well that’s a win.”
“Dude,” but Sam’s grinning.
“Hey. Can you get to a laptop?”
“I got plates on Wendy’s coven.”
“You’re shitting me, you found—”
“Or a Tupperware party, but if they’re a coven—”
“Run them against lottery winners, wedding announcements…”
“That’s my geekboy magic.”
Sam’s voice hollows out, speakerphone. “What’s your play?”
“Stick to Wendy. Unless you get me something actionable, Sir Samuel.”
“Stop that.” Clacking. “You don’t need backup. Seriously.”
“Nah, you do your homework. Call if you get a hit.”
“You’re a jer—”
Ten or fifteen minutes they watch the FLIR, rough circle of women.
Chick in a Nissan tears up the street. Stops so she’s blocking the driveway, opens the back and lifts out—Dean squints. Some kinda cage?
He’s lost his binoculars, of course…
“Rabbits.” Ketch shows him the night-vision. “Sacrifices?”
Fuck. No. Dean grips the wheel. Friggin… witches… “We gotta stop this. Suggestions?”
“Anti-witch grenade. Mimics a gas leak, clean and efficient.”
“Absolutely n—have you even been listening? Even money says there’s a demon in that house. What’s your anti-witch grenade gonna do?”
Ketch looks like he found half a worm in his apple.
“Demon? Not a big deal.” Dean runs a mental inventory on the trunk. “Trick’s gonna be figuring out who it’s riding, and getting it out without getting her dead.” That… Lucifer egg, that’s promising. “Gimme fifteen.”
Dean sneaks up to a nearby porch and steals the welcome mat. Backyard, down the block, faded real estate sign and tall grass say good cover. Fuck yeah, spray paint. Devil’s trap in highway safety orange…
“So we lay this out, talk the girls out of the house. Any of em’s got a rider, once she checks in, she don’t check out.”
Right. “And you, you blast em with the-uh—”
“Hyperbolic pulse generator.”
Pickup truck, around the corner. Yahtzee. Dean jimmies the lock. Hardhat, safety vest and a work I.D. with no photo.
Dean knocks, overhears,
“Damn, Pagoda’s quick tonight,” and—
“I’m starved,” as the door swings open.
“Uh, not dinner.” Curvy chick in her thirties, average everything. Blonde hair, dark roots, wrist tattoo. Wendy.
Dreadlocked knockout lifts a wine glass bigger than her and says, “Here’s to whichever one of you bitches ordered the stripper.”
Aw, shucks. “That’s very flattering, ma’am.” Dean pours it on, even toes the ground. “Are-um, are you the homeowner?”
“No. That’s me.” Fifties. Salt-and-pepper cropped cut. “Sherry Galloway.”
“Ms. Galloway, I’m real sorry to break up your—”
“Book club,” girl-with-the-wine says brightly.
Roomful of giggles.
“Um, anyway, one of your neighbors called in a gas leak? And I, I need to check you out.” Dean bats eyelashes. “Just for your safety,” and some of them go for their purses. Fuck me runnin it’s gonna work—and, “I just need everybody to clear out a while. Probably nothing and it won’t take long.”
Sherry says, “I should call my husband.”
Dean does a head-count. One girl short—
“Hey, what’s—” Twenty-something brunette rounds a corner. “You!”
Wendy asks, “Drew? You know this guy?”
Annnd a lotta things go to shit real fast.
Drew, blackeyed, mojos him inside and slams the door.
Shrieking, splintering and Dean hopes that was the cabinet and not his ribs.
Sweet. He can move. Sawed-off slips from his vest.
Demon-Drew gets ahold of an athame, sticks it in her guts. “She’ll bleed out before you can send me back.”
“What do you want?” Back cracks as Dean hauls to his feet.
“For your bitch Crowley to fuck off and die.” She smokes out.
Cow-eyed housewives drop to hysterics.
Fuck. “Sherry. It’s, it’s Sherry, right?” Signs of shock but her eyes lock on. “Your friend—”
“She needs your help, okay? Can you, come put your hands on here? On mine?” Demon bitch clipped an organ. Drew’s probably fucked. Sherry’s hands shake, shrink from the pooling blood. “You can do it, just. Push down here, okay? Keep pushing and-ah... One of you call 911.”
“Wendy?” Soft as he can. “Wendy, I need you to come with me.” He shepherds her to the garage.
Dean reaches out to comfort her and ohhh shit, fuckin Leatherface over here. Quick-like, he puts his hands behind him, only that makes his blood-soaked shirt stick out, and-and-and—Awkward, he jams his hands in his armpits.
“Wendy, I need you to listen to me.” Dean hunkers down, makes her look at him. “That ain’t the first time you’ve seen demon smoke.”
Crying pitches up so his ears ring. “That was… She’s a demon?”
Great. “What’d she tell you, she’s some kinda, mother-goddess-nature-spirit?”
Wendy nods, hand cupped over her mouth. She sniffs.
Dean holds his hands up. “There’s ah, a handkerchief…” Points with his chin at his inside pocket.
Wendy starts squalling all over again but she takes the bandana. Blows an impressive snot wad.
“Wendy. I know you hexed your husband. Murdered him.”
“What?” More snot. “No! I mean, I put a curse on him but I didn’t kill him!” Stage whisper, “That spell made him impotent.” Indignant, “He was screwing around on me!”
Dean closes his eyes. “Sooo, it was,” just bugs, “an accident.”
“Yes!” in a screech.
Son of a— “Okay, okay, what do you know about the-uh… the spirit. She give you a name?”
Wendy shakes her head. “Just Drew.”
Fuck. “You-uh… you got the spell you used? To bring her?”
“Yeah, it’s… I can—”
Minute or two and she comes back with a book, ain’t made outta calfskin. Dean holds down a shiver and Wendy shows him a page. Fucking Latin. Okay, ‘summon you,’ obviously. ‘Call upon…’ and—
“I’ll be damned.” Again.
Sirens. “Listen, Wendy, I can fix this. Can I, can I take this book?”
“Yes. God. Please.”
“Just-ah, wrap it up for me, huh?”
Wendy bug-eyes at his bloody hands but takes a breath. Puts the book in a plastic trash bag. “What do we tell the police?”
“As little as possible.”
Wendy nods, lets Dean out the side door.
“I’ll be in touch.”
Ketch has the nerve to be leanin on Baby, shoes shining bright as her chrome. “Didn’t go to plan, I take it.”
“No thanks to you.”
“The demon fled out the chimney before I could reach the door.” Prick holds up a mini tablet thing. “Want me to track it? We have an app for that.”
Dean gives Ketch a look he hopes communicates, To the moon, Alice! and slams the car door. Ketch follows.
“What’s that tellin you?” Dean drives. Swipes at his hands with a rag.
“Overall southern heading, meandering path.”
“Huntin a meatsuit,” Dean figures. Finally his phone unlocks. “Call Sam.”
“Hey. I got I.D.’s on the license—”
“Yyeahh, scratch that, the coven’s a bust. You remember the Massachusetts thing?” Dean disappears himself down a winding street.
“With the book club?”
“I mean, eerily.” Cops and E.M.T.’s scream into the neighborhood; Dean tools out. “Anyway, we need a space. Minimum breakables and witnesses, think you can swing it?”
“I’m on it,” Sam says. “I’ll text you.”
Sam hooks them up with a strip mall, empty storefront, bare stockroom. Fully deserted this time of night. Dean lays down sigils while Ketch lays out ingredients. Quiet. Focused. Dean gets the feeling Ketch knows this part just fine.
Strong herbs, toxic plants stink something awful, ground in a brass bowl. “Don’t guess you wanna donate blood.” Dean’s kind of kidding, but Ketch steps right up.
“Of course, sir.” Loaded fuckin look.
Dean draws Ruby’s knife. Ketch offers his palm and Dean cuts, quick and clean. Ketch balls his fist.
Magic. Blood drops sizzle and hiss and smoke clouds. Ketch pulls a handkerchief, blinding white, to wrap his hand. Dean drops a match. Ketch starts the incantation. Wind swirls, candles sputter and lean. Sulfur stench, lightning and thunder. Ketch yells, last few lines.
Pitch black, graveyard quiet.
“—should’ve burned that fucking spell.” Lights come up on a woman, red collared dress and a ponytail. Wing pin with an airline logo.
“Hit it, Artie.”
Ketch bleeds on the trigger; silver-blue light pours from the egg. Smoke builds around the girl and swirls in a howling, unearthly wind. She screams. Dean shields his eyes. Roaring and this weird-ass, 3-D shadow swells up, bursts around her. Bounces around in the devil’s trap—
Aaannnd zooms back into the girl with an unnatural breath.
“What, the fuck,” ask Dean and the demon both. Glares for each other.
“Artie…” Dean steers Ketch into a corner. “Tell me again what this thing does?” He taps on the egg.
“Emits a force which drives the possessing demon from the vessel.”
And from over his shoulder, saccharine: “Take your time, guys. I won’t go anywhere.”
“Shut up.” Dean flails out an arm. “You got an app for that?”
Ketch sticks up his nose. “Men of Letters clergy handle demonic—”
“That’s awesome.” Dean spins on a heel, pulls out his phone. Plan B. “That, hyper-punch-gizmo. Need to, recharge or, reload or whatever?”
Ketch gives a tiny headshake. Dean hits Send.
“Squirrel!” Crowley croons. “Again, so soon.”
“And I got a surprise for you. Give you a hint: Lucifer’s girl, one of Abaddon’s L.T.’s—”
“Dean. There is no way in Hell Chax got free without—”
“Summoned. Couple of Pinterest witches got unlucky. You wanna come get her?”
“Go.” Dean points at Ketch.
He fires again. Bright lights, rushing winds, corkscrewy smoke. Meatsuit crumples and the demon shrieks.
Crowley lifts his hand. “Chax, my darling!” Vicious grin and he makes a fist. Smoke balls up, compresses. “You’ve been on my back burner for far too long.” Lightning crackles. Crowley bows. “Pleasure to see you, Dean.”
“Pleasure’s all yours.”
Sour-mouthed, “Thanks for returning my chew toy.”
“She did say you was a bitch.”
“Hilarious.” Crowley eyes the smoke. “And while I cherish our time together…”
“Yeah, yeah, you two kids have fun.”
Crowley snaps and the demons vanish.
“Was that…?” Ketch looms out from the shadows.
“King of Hell.” No sense to lie.
“In your speed dial.” Narrow eyes.
“What? That ain’t in your files?”
“Oh, it’s there,” Ketch says, “just, widely presumed to be hyperbole.”
“Well, I’m a world of hyperbole, Artie.”
“That you are.” Ketch flashes a Dick Roman smile, and…
Stewardess—er, flight attendant—She’s got a nameplate—April—starts to wake up and Dean gestures. “Get her outside, huh?”
Ketch scoops her up and Dean orders a cab. Out by the car, Ketch sets her on her feet. Conscious now, rubbing her temples. Ketch backs up like she’s dangerous.
Dean grins. “Guess you’re never around for this part either, huh?”
Dean’s washed his hands, changed his shirt, so he only looks marginally like a psycho cannibal. “Um, April? You with me?”
She blinks. Ain’t quite seeing him yet, but, “It’s gone,” she breathes. “Oh, God.” Eyes dart around. “It’s gone. Is it gone?” Pleads up at Dean, clutches his coat. And, “Is that? Blood?”
She shoves and Dean goes. “I’m… I am not crazy.”
“No, no, you’re not. Just havin a real bad night, that’s all.”
“I had—” April looks around, whispers, “a-a demon—”
“Possessing you. I know. Look, it’s gone now.”
April does not believe him.
“We-uh… We trapped it.” Dean holds her eyes. “Sent it back to Hell. Scout’s honor.”
“How do you…”
“S’kinda what I do.”
“You’re… a priest?”
“When I need to be.” Aaaand a little disarming smile, and, “I called a cab to come and get you. Go home, call in sick, get some rest. You’ll be okay. I promise.”
Taxi rolls up. Dean gives April his number. “You get scared, you need to talk, anything.” April thanks him and kisses his cheek. Never get sick of that.
But then, she throws her arms around Ketch. “Thank you.”
Dude out-awkwards Cas. Bug-eyed, arms come up in a C, but he hesitates. “Er. Not at all.” Pats April twice on the back.
Dean bites inside his lips.
Taillights, back of April’s head. Heavy not-quiet, engines and voices, sirens and dogs.
“Hey, uh. You wanna patch that hand up? I got just the thing; it’s a little, savage though.”
“Ah!” Ketch gets all pleased with himself. “Lucky I brought Q Branch.” He sets up on the arsenal lid, presses a rivet and a shallow drawer slides out. Neat-spooled suture kits, gauze and tape, pills and syringes…
“If you tell me that fuckin thing’s bigger on the inside, I swear to God.”
Ketch laughs. Clipped-off, half surprised and he swallows. “Liquid stitches.”
“Krazy Glue.” In a bright green tube.
No shit. “That is exactly what I was gonna offer you.” Dean shakes his head, pulls out his flask. “Betcha got a better disinfectant though.”
Ketch—that, mother—pulls out a flask of his own. “Eighty proof, thirty year…”
“You been holdin out on me, Artie.” Dean glares, don’t really mean it. “That one’s for pain. I prescribe two.”
Ketch nods a toast, breathes in and tips back, swallows long. Dean takes his turn, licks his lips, watches Ketch watch him. Fuck, but it’s smooth.
He’ll put up with some shit for a steady stream of booze this good.
Dean drives back to where Ketch stashed his car. Checks in with Sam, who checks in on Drew, who’s in surgery but in with a shot. He pulls crossways behind the Bentley. Puts a hand on Ketch, mid-thigh.
“You did good tonight, Artie. Delivered just what you promised.”
Chest puffs. “Thank you, sir. I must confess I’ve—”
“Sun Inn,” comes out a little low, a little rough. “Room 12, one hour.” Ketch opens his mouth and Dean puts a finger over it. “Hour and two minutes, I’m going downtown, finding a chick. You understand?” Ten and two on the wheel.
“Yes, sir.” Heavy eyes.
Yeah, that tingles Dean’s dick a little. “See ya round, Artie.”
He’s gone with a creak and a slam.
Ketch shows, like Dean figured, hour-to-the-minute. Peephole: Artie ain’t changed, all put back together, bow-tied, tucked, and smoothed. Dean swings the door wide, jaybird naked. Ketch looks—boom, right at his crotch. Blinks, then. Deliberate eye contact.
“C’mon in, Artie, you’re right on time.” Dean holds his ground, makes Ketch duck around him. Closes, locks, and salts the door, mostly for show. Ketch don’t act like the room’s contagious. Prissy accent, foreign car, Dean forgets this guy wades through blood and shit a lotta days. “Have a seat.” Block-shaped armchair, kneeling room between it and the bed. Dean perches against the fake-oak dresser. Crosses his arms, ankles.
Ketch, all arch and appraising, reclines. Looks Dean over.
“I don’t tie people up for fun,” Dean says, “so if you’re in this, you’re gonna have to show me some discipline. Think you can do that, Artie?”
“Yes, sir.” Half his mouth turns up.
Game on. Dean moves on him. Kicks an ankle with his bare foot. “Spread.” Dean kneels. Palms Ketch’s waist, hips hitch. Dean just better than whispers, “Your Lady Toni got off cuttin on my little brother.” Sideways slide, trace where his vest rides up. “Or… watchin her attack-bitch do it; Sam’s vague on the details.” Knees press Dean’s sides. “I know which one stank from it.” Tremor. “So. I can add two-and-two, but I ask myself. ‘Is it the blade?’” Dean draws. Boot knife, stashed under the chair. Edge glints low.
He thumbs Ketch’s jaw. “Squirm all you want, that’s kind of the point. But you keep your hands on these chair arms, or everything stops. You understand me?”
“Yes, sir.” Mildly approving. Mildly insulting.
Dean point-traces Ketch’s lapel. “This here ain’t much to look at—” gray steel, drop point, weathered handle. Came outta Dad’s old stuff. “But damn, is she sharp.” Dean lifts up, braces a hand on Ketch’s hip, hooks the knife in his bowtie. Ketch breathes. Dean flicks. Knot splits.
“Alexander the Great would approve,” Ketch mumbles. Ruined silk trails down his pecs.
“Stay still.” Dean severs threads. Buttons tumble quiet to the carpet. Probably takes a few hairs, splitting Ketch’s undershirt. Not that he’ll miss them. Guy’s face, barber shop smooth, but below his collar… Dean palms through coarse swirls, belly up to his chest. “This part’s dangerous if you wiggle around.”
Dean traces: bones, lines, curves. “Course, if it’s pain you’re after…” Shaves a patch of hair high off one pec. “I could,” nicks him a little, “fuck you up, man.” There, in the bare patch. “Barely leave a mark.” Won’t even sting til he sweats in it. Under a rib, tiny beads well up. Dean draws like to gut him but Ketch doesn’t budge. “Perfect,” under his breath.
Low throat sound.
“If it’s the blood though…” Slash at his breastbone, short and shallow. Dean swipes with his thumb. Rooster tail. Ketch’s eyes blaze, mouth’s all shiny and Dean… feathers higher. Steel point, dip of his throat, under his chin. Flat shimmer on his bottom lip.
Dean looms. Knee in the seat, braced on the chair back. Slice, under his ear—looks like a razor slip, but Ketch’ll know, every mirror he passes. “You’re doin real good, Artie.”
Ketch groans, dick jumps against Dean’s thigh. Satin lapels gleam. Dean drifts down, sketches knifepoint sigils. Traces his navel. Ketch breathes shallow. Dean leans into his knee, grinds Ketch’s crotch. He sucks air through his teeth. Sweat lights his forehead. Lashes flutter. Thighs shake, but he doesn’t move, doesn’t squirm away.
Dean meets his eyes; Ketch licks his lips. Head tipped back, exposed throat.
Skin deep, flashy bleeder where his belly’s soft.
Dean reds out.
You can go much deeper with this one.
Rush in his ears twists to screams, and he smells Ketch’s blood. Weight shifts and the carpet squelches with it.
Dean reels to the bed. Knife clatters, spins on the nightstand. “Get on your knees and suck my cock.”
Motel. Mold smell.
Ketch crawls to him. Eyes down.
Dean lays Ketch’s palms on his thighs. Spreads wide. Tips Ketch’s chin up. “Don’t move em.”
“Yes, sir,” Ketch breathes and the hiss cools Dean’s head.
Neighbor’s toilet flushes.
Dean rocks, shines Ketch’s lips with precome. Nostrils flare. Dean nods, leans back. Lets the warm, wet ground him. Ain’t the most expert head he ever got, but Ketch works for it. Tongues underneath and mostly keeps his teeth off.
Dean studies him. Fingers lazy in his hair. Dean bucks, chokes him a little. Soft grunt, spit runs down his chin. Ketch tries for more; jaws stretch and his throat flexes. Swallow gets Dean partway down. Red face, clumpy lashes. Dean pulls him off. Dick-slaps him.
Dean dick-slaps him again. “Think I like you better with your mouth stuffed full.”
Eyes glint. Ketch takes, maybe half. Tongue swirls Dean’s head, flicks at the ridge.
Dean hums. “Feels good, man.” Rocks into him, idle. Runs his mouth: “Fuckin hot like this, on your knees for me.”
Fingers dig in Dean’s thighs.
“Y’like bein a good boy, huh?”
Likes takin orders.
Dean rests a palm on his head. “You wanna use a hand, Artie?”
Raspy, “Yes, sir. That would be helpful.”
Dean nods. He can work with this.
Ketch slicks his tattooed fist all up and down while he licks. Tugs Dean’s balls and swirls his tongue. Eyes him. Still trying to size him up. Dean pulls his hair and Ketch gasps.
“I said suck my cock, not slobber on it.”
Ketch opens up.
Dean slacks his grip but holds on. Guides him, ridged roof of his mouth, soft palate. Ketch curls fingers around the rest and lets Dean move him. Slow strokes, “Fuck yeah, Artie, use your tongue,” right to the point of pushback, “take my cock, just like that.”
Ketch moans, low and buzzy. Dean’s dick saws between his lips. Ketch sucks, gets his back in it. Tuxedo, on his knees. Rags of silk and cotton frame his bare chest. Dark hair spikes between Dean’s fingers. Eyes roll back.
Dean pulls. “Get up, Artie.”
Ketch stands, stumbles.
“Strip. I wanna see the goods.”
Slow, suppressed smile creeps across his face. Ketch takes off his jacket, hangs it. Ruined shirt and tie hit the floor. Vest drops on the bed. Slow with his fly. Shimmery silk black boxers, naturally. Ketch steps out of his shoes and pantlegs. Serious tent in his shorts.
“Those too,” Dean points, “and turn around. Time I figure out which end of you I want to use.”
Eyebrow. “Yes, sir.” Hairy ass cheeks. Dean smirks. Balls peek out and Dean says,
Bent knee puts it all on display.
Dean’s mouth goes dry. “Come over here. Hands on your head.” And, “Spread your legs.”
Dean cradles Ketch’s balls in his palm. “You know the drill,” not a question.
“Do not remove my hands.” Pitched low.
“And don’t come.” Dean pulls down. “You understand?”
“Yes, sir,” Ketch breathes.
Dean starts fondling, teasing. Thumbing across Ketch’s sack and drinking in hot little noises. “You got a nice prick, Artie.” Thick in the middle with a fat, pointy head. Free hand braces Ketch’s hip. “Hold still, now, and be good for me.” Twist on his balls. Ketch groans. “Think you can do that?” Dean squeezes.
“Yes, sir.” Through his teeth.
Skin pulls taut and Dean massages. Strokes his cock and rubs his nipples. Pinches. Drums and slaps his balls. Ketch grunts; breath comes shallow.
Ketch’s dick jerks, belly ripples.
“Y’know…” Dean backs off. Sweet, soothing touches. “I invited you over here tonight figuring I’d bend you over that sink and make you watch yourself get railed.” Fingernails, light in his chest hair.
“And now?” Rigid. Guy was more relaxed with a knife to his throat.
Dean nods. Been awhile but, “Eat my ass, Artie.”
Clipped sound and his jaw drops; eyes fall closed.
“Get me loose so I can come on that fat dick.” Dean flips to his knees. Stuffs pillows under himself, gets comfy.
Mattress sags. Ketch gets behind him. “May I, touch you, sir?”
Nice. “Yeah.” Dean shoves his ass back. “You’re a good boy, Artie; touch wherever you want.”
Hesitant, palm at his hip. Dean hums, little positive reinforcement. Ketch rubs Dean’s cheeks, slips thumbs in his crack. Bedsprings creak. Wash of warm breath.
“Hey, listen. You don’t wanna fuck me, we can do the sink thing.”
Ketch stammers out a, “No, sir,” and Dean reaches back—fuck he should be ashamed of himself—and spreads his ass. Ketch makes this punched sound.
“Get on it, then.” Dean grumbles. “Lick my nuts, if you want. Work up to it.” Ketch pets down a thigh, gives Dean’s balls a roll. Dean moans for real when Ketch tongues his sack, all up his taint. “Yeah, that’s good; don’t stop.” Ketch mouths and licks. Lips tug loose skin. Nose bumps and hair tickles and Dean grinds on him. “Got a real sweet mouth, man.” Wet, tentative around his hole. Dean pulls himself wider and Ketch exhales, makes Dean shiver. “Come on, Artie, put your tongue in me. Make me feel good.”
Ketch groans, brushes Dean’s hands away. Thumb pets Dean’s rim; then he’s scalding. Licking and working. Dean makes noise, rides Ketch’s face. Sloppy. Ketch pushes in.
“Fuuuck, yeah,” Dean rattles.
Ketch tongue-fucks, swirls in him and makes him shake. Eases in a finger. Burns, nothing but spit.
Dean hisses. “I like your initiative.” Ketch moves, groans when Dean shudders. “Lube’s on the dresser. Come on.”
Good stuff. Goes on cool and thick. Ketch sinks in, smooth. “More, sir?”
“Yeah, keep goin.” Stretch shoots goosebumps up Dean’s back.
Ketch twists, shoves til his knuckles hit. Dean rolls; Ketch sparks off his prostate. Dean roars, shakes on his knees and when he comes down, Ketch is rubbing, petting his side. Dean breathes, steady, and Ketch goes one more. Dean chews on his lip, bears down and opens. Ketch slips underneath him, strokes him hard on flexing fingers.
Dean groans, forces himself up. Ketch slides out, dried spit on his face and his hair’s a wreck. Dean clenches, loose and hollowed-out. “Ask me for what you want, Artie.”
Adam’s apple yo-yos. “May I. Fuck you, sir?”
Dean eyebrows him.
“Please.” Eyes drift shut.
“Ask me again.”
“May I, offer you my cock for your climax.” Whispered, “Sir.”
Dean’s guts clench up. “Get on your back, Artie.”
Quick about it.
Ketch’s shoulders curl. Dick leaks, fury-red. Dean straddles, blankets him. Grinds on him, gets them both groaning.
“Here’s the rules.” Dean snags a rubber he stashed under the mattress. “You been real good, Artie, so I’m gonna let you touch.” Wraps Ketch’s dick. “And you can talk.” Strokes him, gets him wet. “You been real quiet, respectful, and I like that.” He tips forward. Almost nose-to-nose. “But I also like hearing how sweet my hole is. How bad you wanna come.”
Ketch clicks, low in his throat.
Dean smirks. “If you can speak.” He lines up. “Hold your dick.” Heartbeats. Head catches on his rim. Dean presses. Gritted teeth and knotted thighs. “But you’re not gonna come, right Artie?”
Gravel. “N-no, sir.”
“Good boy.” Dean slides. Growls with it.
Ketch splits and fills him. Huffs these soft, ripped sounds. “Sir, if I may—”
Dean squeezes on him.
Ketch seizes. Pants, “You are deliciously tight.”
Fuck, and Dean goes home for that. Seats Ketch in him. Rolls. “You wanna come already, huh?”
Hips kick, drive him deeper. “Yes, sir.”
Dean breathes through. “Better take care of me, then.”
Ketch thrusts. Dean rocks on his chest. Sweat-temples and hammer-pulse. Ketch thumbs Dean’s hip ridges. Dean lifts, fucks him shallow.
“Sir, please, I’m… quite close. I—”
“Don’t you do it, Artie; don’t…” Dean sits. Beats off with Ketch buried in him. Gives him a break. “Ask me to come on you.”
“Sir?” Ketch blinks.
“Ask me, real nice, and I’ll blow right here.” Dean skims fingers up Ketch’s chest. Ticklish. “Then, you get to come.” Ketch tilts into him. Dean shakes. “Yeah, that’s good, right there.” Strokes, loose and lazy. “Beg me, Artie, and don’t you come.”
Ketch hesitates. Dean drops to a nipple and Ketch goes board stiff. Dean works him; tongue flicks, shiver of teeth.
“Please,” he mumbles.
“Please, sir, take your pleasure on me, let me see.”
Dean pins Ketch’s wrists next to his ears. Ketch doesn’t move. Dean squirms, gets him right where he wants him. Breathes, “Now fuck me, Artie. Nice and slow.”
Ketch plants his feet and starts to rock.
“You fuckin love this.” Dean jacks off. “Human fucktoy. Gonna look so pretty painted up.”
Ketch bucks harder. Face screwed up. Sweat-soaked.
“Fuck my ass, man. Come on. Scream for me; is that all you got?” Fuck, and Dean’s right there already. “Talk to me, Artie.”
“I can’t—” Moaning. “Please sir, please come, please cover me.” Flushed red, eyes screwed shut and muscle spasms. Jaws and abs and fingers.
Dean blows. Ketch yells, drops to muttering—sir, sir, sir—and that fucks Dean up. Streaks and puddles drip white under him. Dean curls up, clamps down. Wrings himself out on Ketch’s dick. Panting. Watery legs. Dean tumbles to one side.
Ketch—gotta hand it to him—slides out hard. Shaky and wet. “Thank you, sir.”
“You’re a good boy, Artie.”
Dean takes off the condom. “You wanna come?”
He nods, messy and kinda dazed.
“Hands on the headboard.” Dean spreads Ketch’s legs. Lifts his balls. “Show me how good you can be.” Dean grips, crushes. Ketch curls fingers against the headboard but his palms stay put. Heavy, must be sore. Dean rolls and bounces. Watches Ketch writhe, leak on himself. Pours praise on him. “Hot like this, Artie, all fucked up, body’s beggin me.”
“Yes, sir,” Ketch chants, “please, sir.”
“Yeah, okay, Artie.” Dean strokes him. Jerks him for all the money. “Come now.”
Ketch shouts. Shoots and thrashes. Tendons stretch and his neck strains. Hands stay put. Dean pets, thumbs up the vein and drags wave after wave out. Tears slip, corner of each eye. Begging again, just, “please, please, please,” and Dean gives him a sharp tug.
“Please what, Artie.” Dean strokes, twists his cock.
Blinking, coming back to ground. “Please stop.” Coughing. “Please, sir, it’s enough.”
Which, against all odds, drags one more twitch out of him. Dean smears come on his belly. Gives Ketch fingers to suck. Tongue slicks around and in between and Dean feels tension bleed off him. Ketch traces the creases, digs in. Swallows clear to Dean’s knuckles. Bobs and sucks and hums.
“Come on, man,” Dean says, “let’s clean up. You good to shower, or you need a minute?”
Ketch lets Dean haul him up.
“You want a hand?” First time in his life, Dean witnesses a stiff upper lip.
“I don’t mind—”
“No,” deep breath, “no, sir. I’ll manage.”
He’s a little shaky, crossing the carpet. Hell. Dean’s a little shaky pulling boxers on. Trail mix, water bottle on the dresser. Tee-shirt, faded soft and gray.
Ketch wears a towel around his waist. Wet hair spikes up.
Dean throws his fancy shorts at him. “Eat something. Drink all this. I’ll doctor those cuts when I get out.”
He turns on the water just a shade hotter than comfortable. Lets it run down in his crack, lets out a hiss. Fuuuck Ketch. Butter won’t melt in his mouth, but tell him he’s a good boy…
Dean soaps up and rinses fast. Putting his dirty clothes back on anyway. Ketch is in his boxers, in his chair. Hair’s almost dry, put in order but soft. Dean grabs a rag and his whiskey.
“I don’t think but a couple of those are gonna need this.” He turns a light on, tilts the shade. “I got butterflies in the trunk—”
“I doubt that will be necessary.”
“Probably not.” So much for carving Sam’s piece out of him.
Dean pours booze on the places he broke skin. Ketch grunts, squirms and hisses, but—damn him—keeps his hands locked on the arms.
“Hey,” Dean nudges Ketch’s wrist. “You don’t have to…” Gestures around. “Show’s over.”
Ketch almost chuckles. “It’s, just as well. Your… bedside manner has considerable bite.”
Dean gets up, throws him the tee-shirt. “Keep that, if you want to, Artie.” Smirks. “Memento.”
Ketch curls his lip. “I believe I shall have it incinerated.”
Touché. “You good to drive? I mean. You can hang around here; checkout’s at noon, but I’m gonna hit the digs your bosses sprung for.”
Ketch pops his head through the collar. Hair goes everywhere. “Yes, I suppose I should also return. Forms to file. Follow-up…” Shadow flickers in his face.
Dean’s hackles go up. “Now I know you’re not talkin about takin out those women.”
“Victims.” Great. He’s defending them. “You don’t shoot the guy paying into the Ponzi scheme, man, come on.”
“My dad was like you. Shoot first, ask questions never. All his buddies…” Dean rubs his mouth. “Hell, I hunted like that. It’s efficient, man, but it ain’t clean.” Took Dean forever to figure that shit out. “I got two jobs: gank the monsters, save the people.” Question is, which one are you, Artie?
“Even the dumb shits.” Dean hands Ketch his suit pants.
“You’ll seriously just, let them go.”
Dean shrugs. “Me and Sam’ll keep tabs, but as long as those chicks stick to Oprah from now on? No beef.”
“How will I explain this to my superiors?” Jacket goes on over Dean’s shirt. Faded cotton and pristine wool.
“We greased a demon before it could drag a bunch of hockey moms to Hell. Big win.”
Ketch squints but nods.
Cars, right outside the door. “I’ll see you around the hotel pool, huh?”
“Unlikely.” Ketch nearly grins.
Ketch roars off in his Bentley. Dean climbs in his baby, throws on a slow jam. Cracks his neck and leans back in the seat. Gives Ketch a ten, fifteen-minute head start.
Fancy-ass hotel’s got a nice breakfast spread laid out by the time Dean gets back. He collects coffee, couple of boiled eggs, a bear claw.
Sam surprises him. “You’re up early.” Dressed for his fucking run. He takes in Dean’s yesterday-clothes and his face prunes up. “Or late.”
“Jealousy’ll give you wrinkles, Sammy. Anyway, where’d you sleep last night?”
In his own bed, with company, judging by that face.
“That chick, with the hair and like, four PhD’s?” Dean takes a seat. “She digs you.”
Sam whole-body huffs. Grabs a banana and a granola bar. One of those teeny waters. “So… I guess we should get that coin back from the morgue.”
“You check in on—what was it—Drew?”
“It’s like six a.m.! Also, you’re her fake-doctor, you check in.”
“She’s your case!”
Fair. “Well… I gotta stay on em all for the foreseeable.”
“Why? You think they’re gonna go back to—”
“Nah. But I think Ketch might come for them.”
“Why?” Sam hikes a shoulder. “They’re victims.”
“Iiiii understand that. But, I got a solid leave-no-witnesses vibe offa that guy. You should ask your pal Mick, about Artie’s orders.”
“I ain’t callin him Mr. Ketch.”
Sam smirks. “You know,” mouthful of banana, “I think he’s got a thing for Mom too.”
“You shut your bitch mouth, Sam Winchester; I can turn this spork into a shank so fast—”
Sam kicks him. “Eat your breakfast.” Strolls for the door. “We’ve got work to do.”