Dean was in a foul mood. The driving rain he had been battling for over an hour did nothing to improve it.
John had sent him to pick up Jake’s daughter. It was dark by the time he found the turn off. The gravel road was narrow and in danger of being swamped by the rising water from a creek. Dean inched along slowly. Visibility was next to nothing and the last thing he needed was to drive off into a ditch.
Finally, the farmhouse. He pulled up to the porch and turned the Impala off. He had just stepped into the rain when a shot rang out. He crouched beside the car and called out. “Hey! Don’t shoot! Jake sent me! I’m a friend.”
“Who are you?”
“Dean Winchester, John Winchester’s son, Jake couldn’t reach you. I’m supposed to say ‘Steppenwolf’.”
Steppenwolf was her safe word. A tall girl stepped into view, lowering her rifle. “Is he OK?”
“Jake? Yeah, he’s fine, worried. He couldn’t reach you.”
“Power’s out. Phones dead.”
She opened the screen door and held it for him.
He was drenched and dripping.
“Bathroom. Towels,” she said pointing down the hall. “Second door on the left.”
Dean grunted acknowledgement and headed down the hall.
The roar of the wind and the sound of rain on the tin roof reverberated in the dark house.
When he had dried off, the flickering light of a lone candle led him to the kitchen. A battery-operated lantern sat on the table, but it wasn’t on.
“Sweetheart, I appreciate the romantic vibe, but we gotta to get back on the road.”
“Saving the battery, ass. And there’s no way we’re getting outta here, maybe in a boat, but not in that land yacht you’re driving. Not tonight. The water’s up over the road by now, we’ll be lucky if the bridge doesn’t wash out.”
Dean flinched at the insult to his baby but decided to let it slide. “You sure about the road?”
She gave him disdainful glance. “Was it up to the road when you drove in?”
She looked him over. “Then it’s over now, you wouldn’t even be able to see it.”
It was almost midnight, he had eaten since lunch, “yeah” he was hungry.
She pulled a couple of plastic containers from the fridge and handed them to him. She opened a drawer and took out silverware, grabbed a plate, paper towels, the candle and headed for the back door.
“Let’s sit on the porch, it’s cooler.”
Dean put the containers on a footstool and pulled it close. He filled a plate with cold fried chicken and potato salad and dug in. She got two beers from a cooler and handed him one.
The storm raged on.
“Oh my god, did you make this?”
“Yeah.” She pulled her legs up and wrapped her arms around them, taking a sip of beer.
“This is good.”
There was a small pool of light that the candle provided. It was enough for Dean to take in the long legs, short shorts and skinny tee. How come he hadn’t seen this girl before?
He concentrated on the food.
When he slowed down, he said, “Don’t you go stir crazy way out here? I mean there’s nothing for miles.”
“I’m used to it; besides I help Jake... you know, with hunting stuff. Ready for another?”
Dean nodded and watched her lean over to get a beer from the cooler.
“What about friends? Fun? School?”
“I make my own fun, besides we’re on the road a lot. It’s OK.”
Dean nodded thinking about what it had been like before Sam left for college. She handed him another beer. Dean finished his food and leaned back in his chair.
They sat listening to the storm. It was biblical. It was a little unnerving being so close to it, but the porch was deep and screened so only a fine mist of water reached them from time to time. Dean wondered if the bridge really might wash out.
They drank their beers in silence. Dean sat the dead soldier next to the others by his chair. Lexi fished out another beer and handed it to him.
Dean took the beer, sat it down and stood up. “I can think a way to pass the time…” He took her hand and pulled her up to him.
In the darkness it was not possible to see the smile that crossed her face. Her heart was in her throat, Dean. Fucking. Winchester.
Dean’s mouth found hers, wet with beer and tasting of fried chicken. He slipped his tongue between her lips.
Dean’s kiss lingered. He sucked her tongue into his mouth and slowly stroked her thigh, his hand was cool and damp from the beer. He moved from thigh to her breast, cupping it and feeling her hard nipple.
“How bout we make our own fun?”
“Yeah,” she took his hand and led him upstairs.
Sometime overnight the rain stopped.
It was starting to get light when Dean got up and went to the bathroom. Lexi’s room was on the second floor with three other rooms. As he peed he woke up enough for something to register. He walked back down the hall and pushed a door open wide. Twin bed, laptop, a big stuffed bear, clothes all over the floor. He walked in looking at everything, he took a picture from the desk over to the window. Shit.
Dean went back to the room where they had spent the night. He looked at the sleeping girl in the morning light. Shit. Shit. Shit.
He got dressed and went down to the kitchen, he needed whiskey or coffee, or whisky and coffee, something.
A little later Lexi peeked into the kitchen.
Dean saw her, “Hey Lex.”
She smiled and went in, “Hey Dean.”
He smiled back and said, “Look what I found.”
He held up the picture of her and her Dad with a birthday cake with the candle numbers 1 and 5 on it. Behind them a wall calendar was clearly visible, this year’s calendar. “15 Lex, 15! Jesus Christ. You’re a fucking kid!”
She went white, “That’s old.”
“There’s the calendar,” he said pointing to the kitchen wall where the calendar in the picture hung.
Lexi stood frozen. Fuck, he was really mad.
Dean watched her; he could almost feel her panic.
She looked around the room. Dean had got the coffee out but hadn’t made it, she walked over and got it started.
With her back to him she said, “I don’t feel like a kid, I haven’t been a kid since my mom left.”
Dean nodded; he knew the story. Her mom had ditched her and Jake and never been heard from since. “How old were you?”
“That sucks. But still….” his voice trailed off. “OK, listen this is my fault, not yours. I’ll tell Jake.”
“You can’t tell Jake.”
“You going too?”
“No!? He doesn’t need to know; he’ll never find out if we don’t tell him.” Lexi sat in the chair next to him. “Dean, listen. you. cannot. tell. him. You can’t. He’d kill me, not you.”
Dean looked at her. All she had on was a tee shirt, “Do me a favor, get dressed.” He shook his head as she slipped out, he had to think.
He wondered again if there was any whiskey. Jake. Jake should kill him. He hadn’t been thinking about that. Shit, his Dad would kill him for sure. Either way he was dead.
Dean was still sitting at the table when Lexi came back down, but now he had coffee.
Lexi stopped a few feet from him. She sucked in her breath then started in, “Dean listen, I’m almost 16, next summer I will be. SO, it’s no big deal, besides I wanted to, I wanted to have sex with you.” He could see she was upset and scared and shaking a little bit.
“It doesn’t matter.”
Lexi softly, “I’ve been thinking about it, you, for a while.”
Dean looked at her with a WTF expression.
“You don’t remember. Your Dad, you, and your brother came here a while back. You didn’t notice me, but..” She was blushing.. “I saw you and thought, you know...”
“Lex...Jesus. That’s a crush, that’s kid’s stuff, but last night, ....”
“I’m not so little, you thought I was older. Everyone does. Anyway, I’m not sorry. I liked it.”
That registered with Dean and he sort of smirked, but then caught himself. “Ah, well, good, I guess. But that doesn’t make it not wrong.”
“We can just pretend it didn’t happen. No one will know and neither of us will get killed.”
Dean looked at her a good long while, it would be easiest, but would it really work? Things had a way of coming back to bite you on the ass. “Maybe.”
“OK, so you got here late, the road was out, you ate, slept in Nana’s bed, I slept in my bed, we had breakfast and left when the water was down. Jake will believe it. Just don’t make a big deal about it.”
“My grandma, grandmother.”
“This just keeps getting better. Is there any whiskey?”
The lights, fridge, stereo all screamed to life. They both jumped and then laughed, the tension broken.
“Let’s get outta here. We can figure it out on the road.” Dean wanted to get the hell outta Dodge.
“I should try Jake.” Lexi got a tone on the house line and dialed Jake’s cell.
Hearing the cheery conversation that followed made Dean’s stomach drop. It just made everything surreal, sickening.
Lexi chatted happily with her father then handed the phone to Dean. “He wants to talk to you.”
“Yeah.” Dean listened in silence and then said, “OK.”
He did not look happy. “Change of plans. You’re going to your grandmother’s.”
“No way! Why!”
It was just like Jake to let someone else take the hurt of pissing Lexi off.
“He just said things had taken a turn, he and my dad are chasing down a lead. He thinks it’s too dangerous for you to be there.”
“Fuck, shit, god damn it, cocksucker, son of bitch!” When she saw Dean smiling, Lexi screamed, “SHUT UP!”
She stomped up the stairs. Dean hoped she was going to get her things.
He sat down and finished his coffee. After about 20 minutes he wandered upstairs. There was a duffle on her bed and she was throwing stuff into it. Dean left her alone and went back to the room they had shared. He pulled the sheets, they were a mess. He’d like to wash them but didn’t want to take the time. He wondered if they could take them to her grandmother’s. Kids take laundry home all the time, right? He’d ask.
He found a linen closet with fresh sheets and put those on. He was still processing. He was happy enough to shut up about last night but what about Lexi? She was a kid, he needed to take responsibility. He carried the soiled sheets down the hall. She was sitting on her bed. Pouting, he figured.
“Lex? What else do we need to do before we go?”
She sighed epically. “Lock the windows and doors, turn crap off, check the generator and answering machine. Turn on the alarm. Lock the gate across the drive on the way out.” She turned to look at him and eyed the sheets. “What are you going to do with those?”
“Can’t wash them, can’t leave them, so I guess I’ll take them.”
That got an eye roll. Then she stomped down stairs.
Dean looked after her, he thought she was acting a lot younger than 15. Shit, that made his skin crawl. He checked all the windows on that floor and went downstairs. Lexi was sulking, but getting the house in order.
She stood in the middle of the room, looking around. Dean could see that her hunter’s kid training had kicked in.
Once she had finished going over her mental checklist, she grabbed her duffle and stormed out.
Dean followed her. She saw him still holding the sheets.
“I am NOT taking those to my Nana’s.”
She locked up, set the alarm, and walked to the car. He opened the passenger side door for her, took her duffle and put it in the back seat. Then he opened the trunk and threw the sheets in. He drove through the gate and Lexi jumped out and locked it behind them.
It was going to be a long morning if she didn’t lighten up. Dean had to go the long way round, Jake told him the usual roads were sure to be under water. So Dean figured it was going to be an hour drive to her grandmother’s. Dean put in a Metallica tape, it calmed him down and he needed to think.
His thoughts were circular and unproductive. He wanted to figure out the path of least harm to Lexi, and if possible, one that would not result in him getting his ass chewed, or worse. He didn’t want to be a spineless shit, but he just kept thinking that maybe she was right.
“So…. what ya thinkin?”
Lexi looked at him, she didn’t seem mad or pouty, just thoughtful. “I just want a good memory.”
“You think that’s possible?”
“If we shut up about it.”
Now it was Dean’s turn to sigh, “OK, we’ll try it your way.”
She smiled, happy to get her way. Dean thought she was really very pretty. He smiled back.
Lexi had called her Nana. So when Dean pulled the Impala up to the house he wasn’t surprised that she came right out.
Lexi ran up and hugged her. Good, Dean thought, a good place. Nana, Susan, as she introduced herself to Dean, thanked him for taking care of her girl.
“Yes ma’am.” But that made him feel miserable.
Susan looked him over and looked at Lexi then back to Dean. She seemed to be deciding something. “Dean do you want to come in? I’ve got fresh coffee.”
“Thank you ma’am, but I should get going.”
Susan nodded. “Well, nice to meet you and thanks again for bringing Lexi.” She turned to Lexi, “Say goodbye dear then come in and help me get your room ready.” She took Lexi’s duffle, waved and went into the house.
Dean turned to go, Lexi quickly leaned in and kissed him. It was a good one right on the lips, firm and a little moist. Dean started to respond then caught himself.
“See you in my dreams, Dean,” she whispered with a smile as she turned and ran toward the house.