Dean is still pressed warmly against him when Bobby makes a right turn onto Marshall Road. They yawn in unison when the truck swings left into the narrow driveway, where Caleb’s Mustang still sits, its brown paint flaking off before their eyes. Sam can see the disappointment at the car’s condition written clear across Bobby’s and Dean’s faces and he tries and fails to muster up some concern of his own. All that matters is that Dean gets a chance to recuperate, get his strength back, and live the life he evidently loves.
Bobby shuts off the engine and rubs his hands on his jeans to work the kinks out of them, and too late Sam realizes he should have offered to share the driving. Dean’s fingers tighten briefly on his lap, and Sam sees the reflex and opens his door. The air is chilly and the ground is wet and soft; before he’s ready, before he can really brace himself in the mud, Dean’s inching across the seat and pitching awkwardly into his arms, doubly hampered by bone-deep weakness and cramps from sitting mostly upright for so many hours on end. He staggers a bit but catches his brother as best he can, and Bobby ambles over like there’s no rush, and his calmness is contagious. Dean is almost smiling, and trying to take more of his weight back onto himself, away from Sam’s arm, and his face is tilted up, raised to the sun. Sam looks down at his brother, pale and trembling like an acolyte, and remembers how nearly he lost Dean.
The sharp sound of a door slamming pulls his attention away from his brother. There’s a girl standing on Caleb’s front porch, a shotgun primed and ready in her hands. She’s barefoot and slender, dressed only in a tank top and shorts, despite the weather, and her eyes are narrowed like she means business. He looks her over, trying to gauge how much of a threat she is – not that he has a great track record at this sort of thing, he knows, as Meg’s face swims up from the depths of his brain to greet him once more. He glances swiftly over at Bobby, who’s frowning as he evaluates the girl in his own way, but then cuts his eyes back to her; his policy, learned at Dad’s knee, is not to let his attention wander from anyone who’s armed.
But Dean swivels in his arms just then, and Sam risks another glance away from the girl to look at his brother, who hasn’t even bothered to look her way. Dean’s attention is all on Bobby, watching him as he makes up his mind about the girl on the porch, trusting Bobby completely. When Bobby nods once, to himself, Dean just turns back to Sam and tries once more to extricate himself from Sam’s protective grasp.
“Bobby Singer. Dean Winchester. Sam Winchester.” Bobby makes the introductions, not bothering to point at each of them in turn; any movement could spook the girl, though Sam’s getting the feeling that she doesn’t quite know what to do with her weapon.
The girl doesn’t lower the gun. Dean moves forward a step, and even though all the advantage is on her side – armed and on higher ground – she takes one step back to preserve the distance between them. “What’s your name?” Sam calls, voice kept low enough not to rouse the neighbors – no one wants this showdown at dawn to prompt a phone call to the police.
Her reply is too soft to hear but he makes out the answer from the nervous movements of her mouth, little and pink and chapped-looking. “Eve what?” he asks, and this time he sees her throat work as she swallows.
She brings the gun down off her shoulder. “El – Ellison,” she says, and retreats back into the house. It takes him a moment to realize that was an invitation, and he gets his legs moving, one arm slung around Dean; he hears Bobby moving behind him to get the boxes out of the truck.
She’s waiting just inside, and her body is still tense even though she’s relinquished the gun, propped up against the wall. She closes the door behind Bobby and squeezes by all of them to lead the way into the kitchen. As she presses against him, Sam can smell peach-scented lotion on her skin. She hastily pulls an oversized sweatshirt hanging off the back of one of the kitchen chairs over her head, making a mess of her pale blonde cap of hair, and stares at the three of them.
Bobby sets the boxes down on the counter that Dean’s leaning against and she narrows her eyes a bit at the intrusion. Dean’s voice is still a little hoarse when he says, “Looks like Caleb’s sweatshirt.” Her cheeks are instantly pink, and Sam finds himself wondering just how old she is, aside from being too damn young for Caleb.
“He – he said I could wear it,” she says, anger evident in her tone if not the volume of her voice. “He said I could keep it.” She goes on the offensive. “I’ve never heard of you, Sam Winchester. I’ve heard of John Winchester and Dean, but not you.”
Sam steps forward, startling her out of her furious confrontation with Dean. “I’m Sam,” he says. “This is my brother, Dean.”
She softens a bit when she looks up at him, chewing uncertainly on her upper lip. The pink in her cheeks surges again. “I keep house for Caleb.”
Sam hears the present tense in her statement but it is Bobby who tells her in careful words that Caleb has fallen. She sinks into the chair she pulled the sweatshirt from, shaking like a leaf. He wants to go to her, comfort her somehow, but Bobby catches his eye and indicates that he needs to talk to him privately. He puts his hand on Dean’s arm, asking him silently to stay and rest, and follows Bobby out the door.
Still gen, still R-ish.
Word count (today): 1010
Word count (total): 16,062 (53.54%)