The Impala sailed smoothly along the lonely highway; her headlights cutting through the January darkness, the only sign of civilisation for miles around.
Both of the car's occupants sat in silence; the sort of silence borne of exhaustion and crushing fatigue; a hard hunt had seen both of them digging through six feet of permafrost to excavate the desiccated remains of an 18th century blacksmith whose mightily pissed spirit had tossed Dean halfway into the next state.
Sam stared vacantly out of the passenger side window, watching countless miles and miles of dark, unlit nothing glide by. He'd been itching to ask the question for some time now, but occasional glances across at Dean's increasingly menacing frown had gradually drained his resolve.
Eventually, however, curiosity overtook him.
"Where the hell are we, dude?"
"I don' know," Dean snapped darkly; "looks like the friggin' moon!".
Sam regarded his brother hunched crookedly over the steering wheel; "we need to find somewhere to rest up Dean, your back's stiffening up all the time."
"M'back's fine, auntie," came the sullen response; "Jus' tweaked a rib or somethin'."
"Yeah, sure looks it," grunted Sam ingraciously, watching as Dean listed further and further to starboard. He knew that feeling altogether too well. The feeling when the body was simply too tired to hold itself up, and deal with the discomfort of even a minor injury. They both needed desperately to rest, to sleep and to heal.
"Well, you find us somewhere to rest up, an' I'll gladly rest up;" Dean murmured around a yawn, "but it may have escaped your attention that the only sign of life we've seen in the last ninety minutes was that raccoon that bounced off the radiator a few miles back."
Sam sighed and settled back into his seat, once again scanning the dark horizon for any signs of civilisation.
Another hypnotically dull fifteen minutes passed before Sam jolted awake; "Dean" he barked, pointing right across Dean's line of vision; "a sign for a hotel – up that side track". Dean jerked into wakefulness, slamming on the brake and the Impala screeched inelegantly into the tight turn following the ramshackle unlit sign for the 'Hotel Nevermore.'
As the Impala pulled up in front of the tall, slightly decrepit building, Dean killed the lights and peered through the darkness at it's dark, faintly gothic architecture.
"Nice" he mumbled; "a regular love nest!"
Sam shrugged; "any port in a storm, dude!"
Sam helped Dean out of the Impala, getting his hand irritably swatted away for his trouble, and strode up to the unlit building, carrying their two duffels.
The house appeared to be in total darkness; around it the ground was littered with rubble, sand, scaffolding poles, and planks of wood. The 'Hotel Nevermore' was clearly not expecting guests.
Sam was beginning to chalk the whole episode up as a lost cause when he was heartened to see a chink of light through the top of window from between a pair of untidily pulled curtains.
Hearing the crunch of faltering footsteps on the gravel, he turned to see Dean standing crookedly behind him scanning the building's crumbling façade, his nose wrinkling comically in disapproval. "This place sucks," he grumbled; "feel like I'm auditioning for the freakin' Rocky Horror Show!"
Profoundly disturbing images of his brother in basque and fishnets flitted briefly through Sam's mind; he had to bite his knuckle and count to ten before he could compose himself enough to knock on the door.
Dean shuffled around beside him, fidgeting impatiently; hands thrust deep into his pockets; "freakin' cold," he grumbled, stamping his numb feet; "tired too," he added with a lavish, uncovered yawn, making Sam idly reflect that he was clearly wrong in thinking Dean had had his tonsils removed years ago.
After a few moments, when no response was forthcoming, Sam tried the door knocker again.
"I'm warnin' you," Dean snorted quietly, "if this door is answered by a nine-foot butler with a bolt through his neck, you're on your own, 'any port in a storm-boy'!"
Sam was about to respond when the door was opened by a very elderly lady who looked as ancient and in a bad state of repair as the house.
"I've got a gun" she whispered nervously, peering round the door at the two strapping figures in front of her.
Dean rolled his eyes, "nice;" he muttered through a puff of vapour.
Sam raised his hands in a conciliatory gesture; "we're not here to rob you Ma'am," he replied in his softest tone, switching on the hi-octane 50,000 megawatt 'mother me' face, special edition, complete with dimples; "my brother and I have been driving for hours; we saw your sign and we want to check in."
"That's 'my brother and I' lady …" came a voice behind him which Sam did his best to ignore.
The tiny old lady looked up at the hulking figures in front of her, seemingly warming up to her unexpected guests.
"Oh, I'm sorry boys; you see the thing is, we're closed for the winter – the house is being renovated." She spoke apologetically, thinking silently for a moment, "you may be able to find a room in Pikes Pass – the town about eighty miles further down the highway."
Sam's face dropped, his voice taking on a hint of desperation. "Please, ma'am; we're exhausted, we've been driving for hours and we've somehow got ourselves lost. My brother has a back injury and needs to rest." Unsure if he was getting through, he cranked up the begging level; "we can pay cash." he blurted, instantly feeling Dean's glare burning a hole in the back of his head. "We'll sleep anywhere, an' we're very tidy and quiet – you won't know we're here."
She looked timidly round the wide-eyed giant on her doorstep to the slightly lop-sided figure standing beside him. Dean forced an ingratiating smile, and waved his index finger between himself and Sam; "brothers" he mouthed.
Sam smiled, manufacturing the biggest dimples he could manage. She finally cracked.
"Well … there is one room on the first floor which is usable; I suppose I could let you …"
"Oh thank you ma'am, you're a life saver;" Sam took her tiny hand in his enormous mitts and shook it warmly. "I can't tell you how grateful we are."
Dean was less than delighted to discover that the inside of the building didn't look a whole lot more encouraging than the outside.
Standing in a dilapidated reception area where cobwebs appeared to form an established part of the soft furnishings, Dean glowered darkly as Sam parted with a fistful of ten dollar notes.
Their venerable landlady smiled. "Straight up the stairs, and turn immediate left. Room number eight."
She handed them an old-style metal key, explaining apologetically that she wasn't geared up to provide breakfast. Dean didn't hear her, he was already halfway up the stairs, dragging his duffel behind him, grunting with each twinge of his protesting back.
Sam flashed a beaming smile of thanks, and followed Dean up the stairs.
Dean stepped back as they reached the door to the room to allow Sam to open up.
The lock gave a hollow clunk as the heavy metal key turned, and Sam pushed the door open, stepping forward to switch on the light.
He stopped in his tracks; "oh crap …" he groaned, slumping against the doorframe.
"What you moaning about?" Dean teetered on tiptoes, craning his neck to peer over Sam's shoulder into the room.
Welcome to Dean Winchester's Hell
My Fall Will Be For You by Jenn1984 T
I hear my name but can’t react, so I just watch as the beast raises...
Dangerous Assumptions by windscryer T
Dean is not having a good day and Sam's whole year is about to get worse...
Aggravation by DizzoJ