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Tougher Than the Rest (10/15)

Title: Tougher Than the Rest
Chapter Title: The Angel
Word count: 1,764 this chapter
Rating: T
Characters/Pairings: Sam, Dean, OMC with appearances by Castiel and Crowley (in later chapters)
Warnings: None
Spoilers: It's set in the second half of season 6.
Disclaimer: If you recognize the character, it's not mine
Summary: Sam and Dean are checking out a mysterious death on the Jersey Shore. After a long day of research, all Dean wants to do is put up his feet and relax with the TV. The two men waiting in their motel room put an end to that.
A/N: This is a sequel to my first SPN fic In Spite of All the Danger The setting is the Jersey Shore, where I lived for 9 years (1978-1987). My sister coquillagement still lives there and helped me out in a few spots. The wonderful msninacat heard my plea for a beta and jumped right in. Thanks ever so!

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Dean rolled over and groaned at his cottonmouth and headache. Damn hangover! The next thing he noticed was that Sam was already up or he wouldn’t have been able to stretch out like he had. He rolled off the bed, padded to the bathroom, and relieved himself with a sigh. As he washed his hands, he saw his reflection in the mirror and his eyes were almost as red as a crossroad demon’s. He splashed water on his face and walked back into the main room where he now noticed that Alan was gone as well.

Ryan was just waking up. “What time is it?”

Dean checked his watch. “7:30. They had better be getting breakfast.”

Ryan propped himself up on his elbows. “God, this place is a mess. How much did we drink last night?”

Dean checked the fridge and saw two bottles left. “Two cases.” He headed for the door. “I want to check something in the trunk. I’ll be back in a sec.”

Ryan waved a hand as he shuffled into the bathroom.

Dean opened the door and stopped short. The parking space where his baby should have been was empty. He had better be treating her right on these crappy roads. He turned back inside and dropped onto the bed. Why couldn’t Sam have taken the rental instead of the Impala? He just wanted an excuse to drive it, that’s why. He rubbed his tired eyes and stood with a frustrated groan.

“What’s going on?” Ryan asked as he came out of the bathroom. “Do you know where the others are?”

“They took off in the Impala,” he ground out. “They just took her without asking.” He unwrapped one of the supposedly sanitized cups and filled it with water from the sink. “If they are getting food, they had better not spill one drop of coffee.” He drank the water quickly so he couldn’t taste it.

He then went to Sam’s bag and pulled out the laptop. He’d surf the ‘net and clog his browser history with anime in retaliation. That ought to cheer him up.

Dean was introducing Ryan to the wonders of anime when he heard the tell-tale sound of his car’s engine. He hurried to the door to rip Sam a new one. “Dude, what were you--” His tirade ended when he saw the look on Sam’s face through the windshield. Something was majorly wrong. Then he realized he couldn’t see Alan. He rushed over as Sam got out of the car. He took in the new bruises on his little brother’s face as well as the cuts on his arms. “What the hell happened, Sammy?”

“We were attacked at the diner.” He opened the back door and Dean saw Alan laying on the seat, bleeding gashes on his chest and stomach. “They knew we were here, Dean. They went straight for Alan.”

“Ryan, get out here!”

The other Kelly came running. “What is it?” He then saw his brother. “Holy crap! What the hell happened?”

“Let’s just get him inside and check his wounds first. Sam can tell us everything then.”

Ryan and Dean each put one of Alan’s arms around their shoulders and Sam took his legs as they carried him onto the room. Alan let out one moan as they initially moved him but then fell silent. The look on Ryan’s face was one terribly familiar to Dean. It was a combination of fear and anger with some hope thrown in.

They settled Alan on one of the beds and Ryan began to peel the clothes from his brother’s chest. Dean grabbed the first aid kit as Sam soaked towels in the bathroom. “What was it?”

Sam returned and handed a towel to Ryan. “Vamps. I guess they realized Alan wasn’t a Hunter and wouldn’t be able to fight back.” He used the other towel on himself.

“How did they know where you were?” Ryan asked. He had wiped away the blood showing four stripes cut diagonally into the flesh.

“Has to be Eve. Maybe she can ‘connect’ with her children and saw us with Charles. Must’ve got some to head into town overnight.” Dean poured holy water over Alan’s chest and the man cried out but didn’t regain consciousness.

“And it wasn’t hard to figure out where we’d go for food. Probably staked out a couple of different places waiting for us to show up.”

“Why didn’t they go right for the throat?” Dean was curious. “Why make like Wolverine and slice him up?”

“Maybe the adrenaline makes it taste better,” remarked Ryan.

From the brief time he had been a vamp, Dean remembered the overwhelming need to feed. There was no time to play with food. All the others in the nest literally went straight for the jugular. He recalled how hard it was to fight it off. It could have been because they were all newly converted, he couldn’t be sure. “It’s possible,” he stated as he began sewing Alan’s wounds. “I think we should call Cas just in case, make sure they didn’t leave any nasty presents for us to find later.”

When he didn’t hear any response from Sam, Dean looked up to see a look that would translate to “oh crap” if there were such a dictionary. “Do you think that’s a good idea?”

“Yeah. He can heal him up and we’ll have another hand against the fangs. How did you get away?”

“Dragged Alan outside into the sun. I didn’t think they’d want to come outside after us. Also, I don’t think Eve wanted them to kill us. It could have been more like a warning, you know, that she knows how to find us if she wants to.” He wrapped a bandage around his wounded arm. “Cas has so much on his plate right now, I doubt he’ll come. Besides, it’s not really life-threatening, is it?”

Dean knew Sam and Cas didn’t always get along, and the angel only tolerated him for Dean’s sake. This, however, seemed different and he would get into it later, but right now he was going to call in some angelic assistance to help a friend. “Cas! We have a man down here!”

He heard the familiar flutter of wings and turned to see Cas standing at the foot of the bed. Ryan fell back in surprise. “What do you need, Dean?”

“Uh, man bleeding out here. I figured since you sent him here, the least you can do is fix him up the way he was.”

Cas peered down at Alan as if he were a stranger, an unknown entity. “Vampires,” he stated.

“How do you know?” Ryan asked as he regained his composure.

“They have a very distinctive…scent.”

“Man, we thought this was a simple salt ‘n’ burn that turned out to be anything but. Damn Eve. I don’t get her. At least with Crowley you knew where you stood. I almost miss the bastard.”

As Dean finished his little rant, Alan gasped deeply as he was now able to fully fill his lungs. His eyes bugged out and he seemed to stare at Cas in shock before falling asleep. “He will sleep most of the day,” the angel said.

“Good,” Sam remarked. “He said he didn’t get much sleep last night.”

Cas looked at Sam. “You are injured as well.” He made a step towards the younger Winchester who flinched before resigning himself to the angel’s healing touch. “I must return to my brothers. The war is at a crucial stage.”

“Thanks.” Castiel was already gone. Dean went over to check on Alan who was sleeping peacefully. “He’ll be out for awhile,” he told Ryan. “Best you can do is make him comfortable.” He then looked at Sam. “How’re you doing?”

“Fine.” Sam rubbed his arm where the bandage had been.

“Why’d you flinch when Cas reached out?”

“I didn’t flinch,” he responded defensively.

“Yes, you did. I know you and Cas never really got along but he was trying to help you.” Sam looked down. “You thought he was going to do something to your head,” Dean concluded. “What made you think that?”

“I was talking with Alan on the way to the diner and he brought up some good points regarding this case.”

“And those would be?”

“It was such a simple case so why did Cas send them here? And why did he block their powers when he erased their memories? You’ve got to admit these are good questions.”

“That’s all they are. There’s no proof that Cas has done anything on purpose. I can’t believe you’d take the word of a guy we’ve only met once before over an angel who’s helped us for years.”

“Do you have a better explanation?”

“Maybe he thought that Bruder’s connection to Eve would bring her around and we’d need the extra manpower. As for their powers, maybe be got a little carried away, used too much mojo.” Dean felt that Sam’s mistrust of Cas reflected back as a betrayal on him. “He’s helped us from the beginning, even going against Heaven at the risk of his own life. And now he takes time out from the war with Raphael to heal you.”

Ryan watched the argument like it was a damn tennis match.

“You’ve got to admit that he’s changed since this whole war thing started. He’s colder somehow, more distant – if that’s even possible – than when we first met him. It’s like we’re an afterthought, something he has to take care of so he can get back to business.”

Dean couldn’t believe this. It was like arguing about Dad all over again. Once Sam had something in his head, he refused to let go until he found an answer that satisfied him. “Of course he’s changed! He’s a general in Heaven’s civil war! That could change anybody.”

“Dean--”

“No, Sam, I don’t want to hear anything until you have concrete proof, not just paranoid speculation.” He grabbed the keys from the table where Sam dropped them and strode out the door, slamming it shut behind him. He got into the Impala and drove out of the parking lot and headed south past a number of strip malls and jug handle turns. He didn’t have a destination, but just being behind the wheel made him feel relaxed, made him think clearly. He took a few deep breaths at a red light. He’d keep going until he calmed down and would be able to face Sam without the overwhelming urge to punch him.

Eleven

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