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Dean fuckin hates dropping to his knees in the great outdoors.

It's not like he can expect a lot at his pay grade. A fuckin' Motel 6 is damn near the holy grail, but he'll happily settle for a car. Too bad this gig's mostly alleys and poorly lit benches in the Boston Common. It's not so bad during the summer months, and despite the questionable smells and high risk of getting busted, it's safer than going to a third location. Doesn't mean he has to like it. And now that the tourist season for the fucking New England foliage has come and gone, it's pretty fucking miserable.

If Dean didn't know better, he'd swear his lips were gonna stick to this john's dick, like a kid licking metal before the first snow.

But this guy isn't a big spender, so here they are. John's crotch smells like cheese and the lowest roll of fat damn near smothers Dean every time Cheese Dick thrusts all the way in. Lucky he's hung like a peanut, because he isn't exactly gentle.

"Ungh, ungh, ungh…." The john's turning red, maybe purple, and Dean wonders if he could suck a man right into heart failure. Funny as that might be, they'd been at this a while and his lips are gonna be all chapped if they don't wrap this up soon. Nobody wants to fuck a mouth that's all cracked and bleeding, and Dean is fresh out of Blistex. Though if they get this show on the road, Cheese Dick might be able to help him solve that.

In the interest of time management, Dean's willing to do what he has to do. Which at the moment means burying his nose in some sweaty pubes and sucking like a Hoover. When all else fails, he pulls out the big guns, palms his soft cock through his jeans and rubs, moaning like a two-dollar whore.

Just like that, the guy pops his cork and drops a twenty for his trouble.

Looks like Dean could afford some lip care. And a pack of gum because. Blech.

Dean gives himself ten minutes in the overbright warmth of the corner store before he gets his ass back out on the pavement. Or, well, brick. Lotta brick in Boston, or at least the part of Boston he's seen. He's been there a couple months and hasn't really ventured far from where the Greyhound brought him in. He's been a lot of places, but he isn't exactly a tourist.

Boston's alright. It's the biggest city he's worked in a while, but it's not as bad as New York. Well…different, anyway. Dean's been a lot of places—cities, towns, north, south, all over the fuckin' compass—but you can get yourself lost just about anywhere. You just have to know where to look. He always stays out of the suburbs, because the lawns make his fucking teeth itch. Reminds him too much of the Ackarts', or…was it the Taylors? Third foster home after the bitch with the cats. They all run together. Rural's doable if you can find the right kind of dive to show your wares…a roadhouse that doesn't look unkindly on a pretty kid who drinks a lot of water and monopolizes the men's room, but urban's still best.

Gotta stick to the classics. But the town doesn't have to be big for that. Last place he set up was Worcester (pronounced Wusstah, he was told. Repeatedly.) and that place had all the charm of Detroit, but pint-sized.

Bottom line is, men enjoy fucking little boys all across this great nation. Dean figures if he's gonna spend the rest of his life with sick fuckers staring at his mouth, he'd better be making some cash.

It's colder than a witch's left tit and Dean's gum has gone rubbery flat and he's wishing he'd invested in some cigarettes when he finally gets his second customer of the night. A dude in a car, this time. Old beater truck, actually, and he'd be shocked if the heater worked, but frankly anything is better than the fucking wind coming off the Charles tonight. His bones feel cold.

But the johns don't find that sexy, so he tries not to shiver as he pushes off the wall and approaches the car, loose-hipped. Truck is old enough that the john has to lean over and crank the window down for the negotiation, but whatever. It's been a slow fucking week.

"How much for the night?" the guy asks…straight off, no foreplay. Dean lets his eyes wander down, makes like he's licking his lips but tries not to get them wet, because seriously, they're cracking.

"For you? Two hundred."

The john's a big guy, rough-looking, and Dean figures if he's gonna take this elsewhere, he should get compensation in case the guy turns out to be a freak. He's got a blade for such occasions, but you can never be too careful.

Too bad the john isn't nibbling. He rolls his eyes, mouth curving up in a smirk that makes his face look a little softer. "Nice try, kid. Hundred, take it or leave it."

Dean can't feel his face anymore and it's the best offer he's likely to get all night, by far. Plus he might end up with a warm place to crash if he doesn't get kicked out once the deed is done, so he pulls the door open and hops inside.

"Good choice," the guy rumbles, and Dean realizes that the john isn't all that hard on the eyes. Mighta even done him for seventy-five.

The motel where they end up is one step above the usual (tv's not chained down) and the guy's settled in already, so Dean figures, out-of-towner, been here a week.

There are newspaper clippings taped to the wall by the door, and Dean looks them over while the john takes off his coat. Stories on a few missing persons.

Dean spins around, smiling like it's a joke. "You're not a serial killer, now, are you? Because that'll cost extra."

The john's eyes crinkle. "Nope, just…a kook. Harmless, mostly." He's settled back in his chair, at ease and at home, and he's big but he doesn't look dangerous. The really dangerous ones never do. "Besides, that's a pretty big knife you got tucked away there, sport. I'm sure you could handle me, even if I was."

It feels like he's being mocked, but the john's eyes are dark and serious. His hand fidgets back to touch the knife like a loadstone, and he wonders how the john knew, if he was mostly harmless.



"Got leftover pizza." The guy nods towards the box. "Help yourself."

Dean's a growing boy, and he sure as hell never turns down food. He squints at the first slice but it looks normal, so he digs in.

He's half a pizza down before he slows, and when he looks up, he's being watched.

"What?" His mouth is full. He wipes at his face, suddenly self-conscious.

The john huffs out a laugh, eyes gone soft again. "How old are you, son?"

Dean's back tenses. "Why? You wish I was older? Or younger."

There's a world of accusation there and he's being stupid. You do what the john wants. He wants to spank you and say you've been a bad bad boy, you bare your ass and smile. So he kicks himself for risking a good thing if the guy gets pissed at his backtalk, but the guy doesn't. Just regards him with level eyes.

"I don't wish anything. Just curious."

Dean uses his next bite to stall for time, chewing as the man looks at him head-on, assessing. Giving an age is a gamble. Some guys'll pay more for pedo, real or imagined, but a few wanna make sure he's actually legal, as if that matters. Either way, he always has the nagging fear that if he tells the truth (or the wrong lie), he'll get tossed back in the system. It's unlikely…his clients aren't exactly Mother Theresa, but

"Old enough to fuck."

That gets a nod. The john doesn't seem disappointed. "'Course."

He swallows. "Thanks for the food, but uh, I'm gonna need my money now."

"Yeah." The john pulls a few bills from his wallet and Dean tucks them away. "Call me John."

Dean barely withholds a snort. "Yeah, ok. John."

"It's my name."

"Sure. Wouldn't think otherwise."

The guy's teeth are even and white. "You're a smartass, for a hooker."

"Come for the tight ass, stay for the sparkling wit."

The john's—John's—face splits into a smile that becomes a rumbling chuckle. "Cute. Your folks let you talk back like that?"

"I dunno, never had any."

"Got a name?"

"Nope. Don't have one of those either."

John grunts.

Dean can't really get a read on this guy, but some parts of his job aren't rocket science. John watches idly as he stands to strip away his leather jacket, then his t-shirt. He's thumbing open the rivet of his jeans when a large, rough hand covers his.

"I have to go out for a little while."

Dean squints at the guy. "What?"

"I have some business. Get some sleep. Take a shower, if you want. I'll wake you when I get back."

Dean is suspicious of customers that aren't suspicious of him. "You're not afraid I'm gonna run off with your money?"

John shrugs, standing. When he does, he's a lot bigger than Dean. "Not hard to find you if you do, right? Besides, you look tired, and there's a warm bed."

It's true, but he doesn't trust it. There's a reason this guy wants him unconscious.

The john steps close, tilts Dean's face away and leans close against one ear. "If I hurt you, it'll be because you ask for it."

Dean can't breathe, but John's already shrugging into his coat and stepping out the door.

"Brush your teeth, clean up. I want you naked when I get back."

And then he's alone.

Dean can't remember the last time he had a hot shower. His muscles go loose and rubbery and he washes his hair with shampoo instead of Dial and the water's gone tepid by the time he pulls himself out. There's a toothbrush still in plastic by the sink and he scrubs till his gums bleed and there's not a trace of the job left in his mouth.

He falls on the bed with a groan, eyes already heavy with exhaustion. He hasn’t felt this good in a long time. He wriggles under the rumpled sheets that smell pleasantly like man, slides his hand under the pillow to finger the hilt of his knife, and he's down for the count.

He wakes up to the violent rattle of a chain and a voice deep with annoyance. "Kid, you better get your ass out of bed and let me into my motel room."

Fuck. Dean jackknifes upright, blade in hand, and then he remembers. The kook. He feels sick like you do when you sleep too heavy, but he scrubs at his face and drags himself to the cracked door. Slides the chain-lock away and steps back, retreating to the bed.

John looks tired and dirty and irritable, and Dean watches carefully as he shrugs out of his coat and relieves himself of half an arsenal. A gun, a couple knives, some bottles and baggies Dean can't identify. He's still trying to figure out this guy's angle. He's not drug trade, Dean's pretty sure, but he's armed to the teeth and Dean's pretty certain by now that 'harmless' was a bit of a mistruth.

When John finally turns to look at him, his eyes settle first on the knife. He holds out a hand, palm up. "Give it here."

"I don't think so."

The guy sighs, heavy. "Look, you can keep it but then I've gotta come to bed with a knife too. And since you're gonna be on your stomach face-down in the mattress, I'm pretty sure the better end of the deal for you is that neither of us be armed."

Dean does a few quick calculations. The guy has a point, and judging by the tat now visible on the john's bicep, he probably knows a few ways to end Dean, weapon or no. That's probably worse news, not better, but either way. Fucking hazard of the job. He hands over the weapon.

John thumbs over the blade before he sets it down, frowning. "You'd be better off with safety scissors. Keep it sharp or don't bother."

"Yes sir."

"No cause to get fresh, now. Just offering some friendly advice."

Dean is a little surprised at the fitness of the body under all those layers. He's thick, but what Dean mistook for the pudge of middle age is mostly muscle. His eyes follow the dark line of hair descending into the man's jeans, yanking them back when he realizes he's been caught staring.

The thread of warmth in his gut flares with embarrassment.

John doesn't comment, even though he looks amused around the eyes. Just nods towards the bed, straightforward as before. "On your stomach."

For the first time in recent memory, Dean is nervous about turning a trick. It's stupid. He's been doing this since he was fourteen, before he even skipped out of the system for good, and Dean figures by now, there isn't much he hasn't seen. Done. Been asked to do. If he's reading him right, this guy is pretty vanilla…just looking for something pretty to warm his bed, get him off after a hard night of playing vigilante, or what-the-fuck-ever.

Problem is, he can't read him well enough to know he's right. He's been gruff but not mean, kind, but not so nice it rings Dean's freak-meter. He's learned the hard way that the too-nice ones usually want more than you should be willing to give.

Which must be why he feels a little sick with uncertainty, turning his head away as the john drops trou and the bed dips and rocks beneath his substantial weight. The palm that settles on his shoulder blade is large, cold from being outside. John murmurs an apology when he flinches but he doesn't pull away, hand sliding smooth towards the small of Dean's back.

He's palming a cheek and spreading Dean open when Dean remembers himself. Arches up and gives a groan of appreciation, makes a few filthy promises. When the hand cracks down on his ass, he yelps.

It's unexpected enough that he scrambles up out of instinct, only to be pressed back down. "Relax, kid. I don't need my ego stroked, okay? Spare me the porn-star bullshit."

Dean stares at the guy for a minute, tense, but John seems even-tempered as ever. He nods and buries his face back in the crook of his arms.

John fucks the way he does everything else, it seems. With economic consideration. The fingers that slip inside hardly linger when they find him slick and ready. There's a pause for a condom and more lube, and then he's pressing into Dean with one smooth, unhesitating stroke.

Without the distraction of faking his own pleasure, Dean's unsure quite what to do with himself. His attempts to take over the work are rejected by the hand pushing him back to his stomach. It's too quiet. John breathes harshly as he fucks into him at a steady rhythm. It's rough but it doesn't hurt, and the reprieve from the filthy-little-boy talk is more than appreciated.

But the lack of unpleasantness is making him nervous again, so he closes his eyes. In a lot of ways, that's worse. All he's got is the rhythm of John in the breath, the groan of the bed, the slapping of flesh. Someone somewhere is laying on their horn, and he can feel the heat of John's chest along his back even though they're not touching. Their only points of contact are hips, ass, thighs as John presses against Dean, spreading him open.

Under the sex, John smells like sweat and gunpowder, and something acrid and unfamiliar.

It takes Dean a while to realize he's getting hard with a client…something that hasn't really happened in years. But his hips press with little circles against the mattress and he has to work to keep the whine in his throat. He wonders if the john has noticed. It's embarrassing, somehow, and he's shuddering involuntarily by the time stubble rubs rough over his shoulder and neck, teeth nipping distractedly as John's hips slam harsh and erratic into Dean. John lets a choked moan slip when he comes.

He rolls to the side but Dean doesn't move, face safely hidden as he argues with himself. It's no argument, really, he's seventeen and he needs to come, so he reaches under and jacks himself, panting, until he tightens and shudders silently.

John is watching unabashedly when he finally looks up. Dean expects mocking or lewdness, but John just strokes at the nape of Dean's neck wordlessly.

He waits until John has fallen asleep before slipping out of bed. John's a military man, light sleeper, and Dean knows he's being watched as he pulls on his clothes but he doesn't acknowledge it. Can't.

The light of day is watery and gray when he slips out the door.

It's business as usual for a few days. Dean doesn’t see the truck around, so he figures John wrapped up his business and left town. He's mostly stuck with outdoor blowjobs and awkward vehicular fucks, and one particularly desperate night, a guy that wants to pee on him. Dean goes home after that one and takes a cold shower, wishing for the warmth of that motel room when he's freezing his balls off in the drafty shithole he calls home.

All told, it's more than a week later when John's bucket pulls up to the curb and the door pops open from the inside.

"Get in."

And Dean wouldn't say he's happy to see the guy, because he's just a client like all the rest. But he's not complaining.

It's Chinese this time. Hot. The bag is in the front seat on the ride to the motel, and it smells so fucking good his stomach makes itself known. John didn't get his favorite, but it's warm and there's a lot of it, and it's not stale pasta, so.

John watches him wolf it down, smiling. Picking through his own dinner.

"How old are you?" he asks again, and Dean likes the guy, but he's getting annoyed.

"Why do you care?"

John slurps at his egg drop soup and watches him. "I have a kid, about your age. Haven't seen him in a long time."

"Yeah? Swell." Dean feels his stomach roll over but John didn't say it like that. Just…point of interest. Maybe kind of sad. "He seventeen too?"

John nods at the roundabout concession. "Maybe," he says, like he hasn't done the math. But Dean's own folks probably don't care that he's breathing, so it's ok. John seems like a nice guy.

After dinner, Dean blows him. He sticks around after and sleeps for a while.

They get into a rhythm, of sorts. John picks Dean up, most nights, between midnight and one, and it gets to where Dean starts turning down other business at that time of night. They eat whatever John's buying, and they talk. Mostly bullshit. John's nice to him that way, he acts like Dean's got a brain. He actually listens when Dean talks, looks him in the eye instead of just staring at his lips, and Dean's got this idea. This impression that John actually wouldn't be a bad father, if he wasn't. Whatever he was now.

Dean still doesn't know what John does on the nights he steps out after dinner, but it seems rough. Probably illegal, since there aren't a whole lot of things you can do in the city with a goddamn rifle that aren't. Though he only took the rifle that one time. Mostly he carries a handgun, less conspicuous. A few knives, and a flask, though Dean's never seen him drink. Dean doesn't ask, John doesn't tell.

When it comes to fucking, John's all business. He doesn't treat Dean special, and Dean's mostly grateful for that. It's better that way. John makes him too comfortable as it is.

All in all, it's a pretty sweet deal. The pay's good, the accommodations are better than he's used to, and he's getting at least one steady meal a day. He's been socking away the cash for after John is gone, though John hasn't made any mention of leaving.

It's quarter to midnight and nobody's biting. Dean's been standing here all night, practically jacking off in the street trying to drum up some walk-up business before John. He doesn't really need the money, strictly speaking, but he still goes out every night. Otherwise he feels too…kept. Domestic. Domestic makes Dean twitchy.

So Dean's eager to get a little action before he sees John, and when a young guy walks up at five of, Dean debates a little. Normally he wouldn't take someone so close to John's time, and this guy's all pale and strung-out. Dean's gonna be sucking latex because Christ only knows what this tweaker's carrying.

There are a lot of reasons to say no, but instead he says yes and leads the way into his favorite alley.

The guy, as it turns out, is a dick, and stronger than he looks. He shoves Dean against the wall so hard his head cracks into the brick, and then he sort of…licks Dean, collar to ear. Christ, what a freak. The trail of saliva is freezing against his skin in the late autumn air, and he can only shove the guy back so far. He's thinking about reaching for his knife but it's wedged between his back and the wall and the john won't let him budge.

That's when the freak's eyes flash silver. It's unsettling, but not as much as the fact that Dean is suddenly staring at a mouthful of teeth that are not standard issue. Guy looks like a fucking piranha and his hand is clamping down hard enough on Dean's windpipe that Dean panics, wheezing. His vision goes spotty and he forgets all about the knife, just struggling blindly.

It ends with a wet thwapping sound. The pressure is suddenly gone and he's gasping so hard he barely registers the dull thud. What does make an impression is the fact that he's splattered with blood…all over his shirt, his arms, and apparently his face. He swallows and gags on the faint coppery taste that wasn't there before. A hand lands on his shoulder and he flails.

It's John.

Dean stares at the ridiculously long blade in his hand, then the headless body of his john.

He vomits on the corpse. At least his mouth doesn't taste like blood anymore.

The hand petting his head and his back is disturbingly kind, and Dean leans into it. "C'mon. Let's get you cleaned up," John murmurs, and Dean goes.

John's clothes are way too big, but they're clean, and Dean finds that after his shower, he wants to cover up as much as possible.

The part where he said he'd seen everything? Yeah, well. This was his first homicide. Except according to John, it wasn't murder, because the john hadn't been human. Hadn't really been a john either, because he wasn't wanting a quick fuck so much as a quick meal.


John nods gravely, watching him for signs of disbelief or hysteria. He pours him another shot's worth of whiskey, which he apparently does keep around. "That's right."

Dean laughs but it's weak. Sounds fake even to him. "That gets funnier every time I hear it."

John doesn't say anything. He has the feeling his friend here doesn't see the humor, but hell.

"So this is what you do then."

John nods.

"Well alright. Ain't that a kick in the nuts."

It's not as big a thing as you'd think, in that they don't talk about it much. There are no dramatic breakdowns or life-changing epiphanies. Yeah it's fucking crazy, but…Dean figures there's nothing to do but roll with it. John doesn't warm to the subject either. He's vague with the details, but Dean hears enough to get that he lost his family to some. Thing. And that the last woman John fucked was his wife. He sticks to men now. Mostly boys in Dean's particular occupation. Easier. Less questions.

Dean thinks John could have ended up the worst kind of john, bitter and angry and violent, but he's not, so. That tells him more about the man than he could ever find out by asking.

Dean hardly has any memories pre-foster care. They're there but they're fuzzy and Dean doesn't dig too deep. There's no point. His mom is only a vague concept and he thinks he had a little brother and his dad, he just remembers…sad. He remembers some neighbors…friends, whatever, babysitting. His dad would be gone for what felt like forever, and when he got back his eyes were red and Dean just wanted to make it better. He wanted to fix it, so bad, but he never could.

That's about when he decides he's better off not remembering. What kind of guy lets their kid feel like that?

Anyway, somehow or another CPS came and got him, and as far as he knows, his father couldn't be bothered with getting him back. He was cute enough that he was easy to place, at first, but then he guessed people got sick of him. The nightmares and the silence when he refused to talk for days on end and the fact that sometimes he messed his pants.

He didn't exactly get more marketable from there.

Sometimes when he's half-asleep, John touches him. It freaked him out at first, but it's never gotten creepy and whenever he wakes up and tries to service him, John pulls away.

So it's not a sex thing. It's just…touching. Long, firm strokes down his back, or light over his face. Sometimes John will pet through his hair, really soft. Dean just plays possum and goes with it. Usually he falls asleep for real before John stops touching him and sleeps himself.

Dean's pretty sure no one's ever touched him like that in his whole life.

"How long you been doin' this, kid?"

It's almost daybreak and Dean is feigning sleep. John had been letting him, fingers running lightly up and down his back…only now he's asking the kinds of questions they'd successfully avoided for a while now.

"Look, we fucked. You gave me a reach-around, and don't get me wrong, it was appreciated. Above and beyond. It doesn't make this share-time."

Rough fingers twist through too-long hair and pull, wrenching Dean's head around to face John. Dean's heart gives a little bump but he's not really scared. Not of John. "How about we pretend I'm a paying customer?"

Dean doesn't blink. "Sorry. Interrogation doesn't come standard."

John's eyes roam his face until Dean's slide away, head still immobilized by John's fist. "Okay, how about this. We pretend I'm an upstanding citizen who's gonna call Child Services."

Dean's stomach frosts over, a block of ice. He struggles until his scalp aches and John throws a leg over his thighs, pinning him to the bed.

"Hey, hey, relax. Calm down. I won't, I won't call." At the assurance, Dean goes lax, bit by bit, heart still pounding. John's voice is rough in his ear, but honest. "Way I see it, you're a man now. Just a technicality. Right?"

Dean nods, and for some reason his throat burns. His breath still comes ragged.

"We ok?"


"Ok." John eases off but Dean hardly moves. Face pressed to the pillow, eyes squeezed tight. "Let's start over. This time you keep in mind that I'm really fuckin' cool." Dean relaxes, smiling into the cotton despite himself. "Now. How long you been in the business."

His throat feels raw. He looks up. "A while."

John's got a look of thinning patience. "Let's pretend I don't know what that means, and try again. With something off the Roman calendar this time."

Dean turns to look at him fully. "Why do we have to—"

"A year?"

Dean huffs a laugh. Some days it feels like sixteen is middle age for this business.

"Two years," John ventures. He looks a little ill when Dean shakes his head again. His voice drops low. "How long, son."

Dean exhales. "'Bout three. I think."

"Fourteen. You were fourteen." John looks grave and maybe sad, but there's nothing on his face that makes Dean feel bad. No disgust, or pity. He combs Dean's hair back from his face thoughtfully, and Dean lets his eyes drift shut.

Whatever. It must seem pretty crazy to some people, but it's no big deal. Guy's a demon hunter for Christ's sake. Not really a position for judging normal. Dean just sucks cock for a living.

When John speaks again, he's barely audible. "It was that bad?"

Dean doesn't have to ask what he means. He thinks about the last few foster homes he got handed off to. The only places that would have him, with his reputation. Staring down the barrel of four more years, each one shittier than the last. He feels a wave of sick crawling up his throat.

He swallows it back down, but his voice still sounds funny. "Yeah. It really was."

They both ignore the crack and waver. Dean quiets, and they both pretend like he's asleep until he actually is.

At first, Dean worries they've opened a door he can't close again. He wakes up thinking that John will want to be all Sharing and Caring now, that Dean'll have to cut short a pretty sweet arrangement, but John doesn't push for more.

He's never even pressed for Dean's name after the first time, and Dean thinks maybe he's forgotten. It's good. Dean never calls him John, never calls attention to the lack of reciprocity.

They go on pretty much as they had before, and Dean doesn't even notice at first that things are changing. John still pays, up front, and Dean still expects him to. John's nicer than he should be but he doesn't go overboard with it. It's not like he defers to Dean on anything that would affect him, and that buffer of selfishness is reassuring.

It's just business. Everybody has a favorite customer.

When John first started picking Dean up, Dean thought the guy was batshit for wanting conversation that didn't involve body parts entering orifices. After a while, he got used to it. Guy was lonely or whatever, and it was his dime, so…. They talked about Boston. Places to eat, places to avoid, the cold. All that small shit. They talked about crappy tv, old movies, John's time in the Marines. Dean had thought about joining up, somewhere, when he hit eighteen. Marines would be kinda badass.

But a couple weeks into their arrangement, they'd pretty much used up all the small talk they were willing to make. It seems natural when John starts to fill the gaps by talking about the things he hunts. What they are, how you kill 'em. War stories, crazy things he's done and seen. Messes he's gotten himself out of.

It's all news to Dean, and John seems to like sharing. It's a way to pass the hours where Dean isn't taking it up the ass.

Dean starts to wonder how John gets by without a keeper. Most of the time he comes back covered in blood that's not his, but he bleeds pretty regularly, and Dean learns how to patch him up. John never goes to the hospital, which Dean gets. Hospitals are the last resort for guys like them, and even then, maybe it's better to just. Go quietly, you know?

John's body is covered in scars, and there's a story for every one. When he first started out, he was a little too reckless. After his wife, after his youngest son, he was living like he wanted to follow them, as quickly as possible.

"What made you stop?" Dean asks.

"Sometimes your own life isn't the one you're risking," John says. And then he won't say more.

John has been in Boston a month, and every day Dean is scared he won't be coming for him. John moves around even more than he does, and it can't be long now. Damsels to save, dragons to slay. Dean's just a pit stop, he doesn't fool himself.

One night John comes early. Pops the door and says get in like always, but he makes a U-ey and goes the wrong way.

"Where are we going?" Dean's not worried, just curious. John smiles.

"Got a few loose ends. Thought you might like to come along."

The loose ends turn out to be a poltergeist in Back Bay and some possessed chick in Cambridge. Dean learns how to load rocksalt and gets a crash course in Latin.

"You sticking to Boston, or you think you'll move on eventually?"

Dean's gut twists, more certain than ever that tonight has been about goodbye. Not that he cares. He saw it coming. "I never stay long."

"Sounds familiar." The thumb stroking the base of his skull makes Dean shivery.

John sits up and swings his legs out of bed, goes to the coffee table and comes back with a stack of paper. "Alright, you're only gonna get this once, so pay attention."

Dean does, and of all the topics he's expecting, credit card fraud isn't it. John is halfway through explaining how to create a false identity when Dean interrupts him.

"What are we doing here?"

"Giving you an alternative source of income. You could be putting business hours to better use. Now shut up and let me finish."

John goes over the details of three other simple scams before he pulls out a journal, leather-bound. "This is everything I know about everything. Folklore's a good source of information, but you run up against something you've never come across before, check this first. I've got all of it damn near memorized by now. 'Bout time I pass it on to the next generation."

"Wait." Dean pulls back, pieces sliding into place. "What the hell? You expect me to just…. I didn't even know this shit existed a couple months ago. You expect me to just fall into line?"

John's eyes go hard at the tone, the profanity, but his face is impassive. "No," he says simply.

Well now Dean can't be pissed off. He breathes out.

"Tell me the thing about the Devil's traps again."

John nods and flips ahead a few pages.

John talks past daybreak. Eventually they pull themselves away for a bite, too late for breakfast, too early for lunch. The waitress knows Dean, winks after taking in John.

Lessons continue for the better part of the day, till Dean's head is swimming with ritual and lore, and explanations of where mythology parts from fact.

"What's the point," Dean finally says, tired and frustrated. "You save people who probably think you're full of shit, and you don't even get anything out of it. I don't get why I should put myself out for a bunch of pansies who already have it a hell of a lot better than you and me."

John's look is so full of disapproval that Dean feels himself shrink. It sort of pisses him off.

"Those people have something to lose," John says. "You and me? We don't."

They haven't slept in 24 hours, so it's not that surprising when late afternoon finds them unconscious, sprawled across the part of the bed not occupied with weapons and books. It's well past dark when Dean stirs to find John already awake and looming.

It's instinct to dodge the first time John leans close enough to kiss. It's self-preservation the second. When John gets tired of playing and grabs him by the hair to ensure third time's the charm, it's pure stubbornness that has Dean fighting back.

His heart is hammering and he's not sure if it's good or bad. Either way it's futile, because it doesn't take John much time or effort to get him pinned full-body, wrists in one hand, head anchored in the other.

It's a little anti-climactic how gentle his mouth is. At first it's just a brush of skin and even when it's more, the only harsh thing is John's beard.

Their eyes are open. He's not sure of John's reasons but for Dean, it's just novelty.

Close up, John's eyes aren't as dark as Dean always thought.

"Have you ever fucked someone just because you wanted to?" John asks, and Dean has to think for a minute.

"No. Not really."

In the next moment his limbs are free, and John is moving away. He goes down on Dean and it's a first. Dean's shaking, grinding his teeth against the sound when he comes.

Later Dean rides him hard and fast, and John's looking right at him when he bucks to completion.

"You could come with me, you know. Learn as you go. For a little while, anyway."

The last is tacked on like placation, and Dean thinks that if he looked, he'd see a new expression on John's face. So he doesn't.

"Or not."

John draws his own conclusion with a little hurt and a little humor, and Dean feels something sweet hurting around his heart. "Sorry."

John sits up and turns away, towards the room. "You got nothin' to apologize for, sweetheart. But I gotta get going."


Dean stays in bed while John packs. They don't look at each other, and they don't talk. Dean stares at the ceiling and listens to John moving around the room.

A few things pile up on the bed, intended for Dean. The journal. An extra rifle, a blade sharpener. Holy water, a few rosaries, and the dregs of a package of salt. Dean looks up when a few credit cards get thrown on the pile.

"Get you started," John says.

Everything gets stuffed into a bag except the rifle, but it's 3am so Dean doesn't figure on too much of a problem getting that home. He follows John downstairs and out into the street, helps him throw everything that's going with him into the bed of the truck.

And then they're standing there staring at one another. It's as awkward as you'd expect.

"What your name, kid?" John asks abruptly. "For posterity."

Everything they've shared, Dean's not sure why he lies. There's a name he always uses, when he can't avoid the question, so maybe it's just habit.


John doesn't flinch, exactly, but his face freezes strangely. "Right. Nice to meet you, Sam."

Dean takes a casual step backward, preempting any hug that may be coming, and John gives him a tight smile before he swings into the cab of the pickup. A wave out the window and Dean's watching tail lights.

He hitches the bag up on his shoulder and smiles at the homeless guy staring at his gun. "My dad. Likes to take me hunting," he jokes. No response. Not that he expected one.

Maybe it's about time he moved on. Go south for the winter. Maybe North Carolina. Business was good in Charlotte. Plenty of repressed yuppie family-types looking for a little something on the way home to the wife and kids. He remembers them being a hell of a lot cleaner than what he gets around here.

For now, he'd rather ignore the weight of the supplies on his back and John's voice in his head, going on about duty. Time enough for that later.

It's beginning to snow.