"Very nice," Gwen Stefani purrs, sliding one hand down his chest, nails scraping lightly over over his nipples, and he grunts a little, blinking open his bleary eyes to drink in the sight, but instead of white-blonde hair he sees long dark hair spilling loose and free, Sarah's bright eyes, greenish blue like a satellite image of the earth, shining down at him. She's perched snugly above him, straddling his hips, and there's a pert smile playing on her glossy pink mouth. "Good morning," she says in that same coy, contented voice.
"Morning," he answers, finding clues in his peripheral vision that let him know that he somehow made it back last night to the spare room he's nominally staying in while he's under Daniel Blake's roof; his duffel is in the corner, the sleeve of a flannel shirt spilling out from between the lips of the open zipper. From the richness of the light coming in through the wide windows, he'd guess it's late morning, and from the smell of her - the cappucino-scented bath milk he had seen in her bathroom, the fragrance of green tea wafting down from her hair - he's pretty sure she's been up and awake for hours.
She draws the back of her hand across his chest, her nails cool and smooth, and to hide his shiver he asks, "What are you doing?" as if he's only amused. Her shrug does amazing things for her cleavage, and draws his gaze to the shadow between her breasts and the way they fill out the top of the slinky blue-green scrap of silk she's wearing.
"Do you want me to stop?" she asks playfully, then bends low to press her sticky lips to his chest, leaving perfect Rocky Horror impressions of her mouth scattered along his skin.
"Not especially, no," he says, sitting up and grabbing the back of her neck quickly enough that she doesn't fall, twisting them so she's lying prone beneath him. "But let's just start over," he says, nipping at her neck. His fingers get tangled in the flimsy lace of her panties, and he tugs impatiently; they come away in his hand, split at the seams, and Sarah makes not even a murmur of protest, just waits for him to push his boxers down while she draws her legs up to her chest until her thighs are pressing her breasts flat and she's holding her breath.
She's winding herself up tighter and tighter, and he can feel the tension in her with each of his fingers, stroking and dipping inside, taking his time despite her evident desire to get to the next step. There's no way he's ready to hurt her, though, so he offers her his mouth while he keeps his hands working; she pulls him closer and kisses him ferociously. When he thrusts inside her at last, she calms, releasing a long-held breath and succumbing to the pleasures of the rhythm he's setting. Her heels drag up the backs of his thighs, and her hands knead at his shoulders. She opens her eyes again when he starts to falter, staring at him in a daze of wonder, and he tries to think about what she could be seeing before he falls into that white, peaceful place he'd told her about last night.
That luxurious green bathroom is pretty much shouting his name, and there's no way he can resist. He watches the tub fill up, and goes to her bathroom to find some goop to dump in. She's opted for the shower rather than a soak in the clawfoot tub, and behind the glass doors her can see her lush body, water-pinked skin standing out rosy and firm against the grey and lavender tiles, thick swirls of steam coiling sinuously around her. Her eyes are shut while she massages shampoo into her scalp with strong fingers, and he stops dead in his tracks, just looking at her, how very beautiful she is when she doesn't know she has an audience. He finds a full bottle of the cappucino bath milk on the porcelain shelf and steals back out.
Safe in his own bath, he stays under the warm water while the caffeine invades his skin and the image of her in the shower - iconic, pornographic, and his alone - lingers in his mind.
Sarah already smells like butter when he finally makes his way downstairs, the stubbornly wet ends of his hair licking at his neck despite a game attempt at a Dean-style towel drying, and she hustles him out of the kitchen. "You'll get your breakfast," she promises, just as the grandfather clock in the hall sonorously chimes two. "Just get the fire going again? It was so nice yesterday."
He knows very well that Sarah doesn't really believe in the division of labor she's outlined - she's far too smart and modern for that - but there's genuine pleasure in acting it out sometimes, finding something pure in their mimicry of "the good old days" they both have only read about. So he goes along with it, even swats her lightly on the ass, grinning at her yelp of outrage and promising himself that if she emerges from the kitchen still wearing that apron, it will suffer the same fate as the lacy scrap of her panties, no doubt lying torn on the floor near his duffel bag.
It should be applewood again, he thinks, both for scent and for the colors, and he fetches more logs and arranges them carefully, snapping the smaller twigs into shreds to get the fire started. "Damn!" He sucks at his thumb, peering at the wet flesh to find the splinter that's lodged itself in the meat of his finger, turning it carefully to catch the light from every angle. There's nothing peeking out of his skin, though, and he figures it must already have popped out, that the pain is only from the initial intrusion. The sharp scent of a match being lit fills his nose, and he throws it down on the wood and watches the fire come to life.
"Sam," Sarah calls from the kitchen, already walking toward the living room with a heavy tray in her hands. "Grab the other one, would you?" He grins and squeezes her breast, dodging the kick she aims at his ankle and heading for the kitchen. A silver tray with an array of jams and coffee service for two is set on the cream-colored granite counter. It's even heavier than it looks, and he nearly loses his grip when Sarah sneaks around, her home-court advantage letting her circle shamelessly behind him using a completely different route, and gooses him.
He tackles her as soon as he's set his tray safely down next to hers on the long, low coffee table, pressing her into the plush carpet and holding her there with his hands on her hips and his mouth firmly fastened to hers. She turns his long, hard kiss into several smaller, sweeter ones, sitting up as she goes, and leans against him when she's done; he can feel her smiling against his cheek.
"I want to show you something," she says quietly as he polishes off the final buttery biscuit, glued shut with a generous gob of apricot jam, and then chases it with the last strip of bacon. He pours himself another cup of coffee, fixes it with cream and sugar, and takes a sip while he waits to hear more. Sarah pushes the trays of food to the other end of the table, clearing a space in front of them. She gets up and walks over to the gleaming baby grand piano, shooting him a sidelong glance, and then opens the bench and pulls out a sheaf of papers from underneath a stack of sheet music.
Taking a deep breath, she stops in front of him and drops the stack on the coffee table. "I need your help."
"What? Sarah, what is this?" he asks, pulling the papers close and rifling through them. There are no newspaper clippings or pages of newsprint with notes scrawled in marker; all he sees are pages in Sarah's pretty script and photographs, some color and some black-and-white. He pauses and flips back again, the word "coroner" jumping out at him. "Sarah?"
She lays her hand flat against his cheek and pulls herself closer for a kiss; her mouth is bitter from the orange peel in the marmalade and the coffee she took without any cream. Resting her forehead trustingly against his, she whispers, "My mother."
He sits back, trying to look her in the eye. "I don't understand."
She makes a helpless, frustrated gesture with her hands, a movement completely out of character for her. "It's like, when you came here, when you came the first time, and you were telling me about ghosts and graves and salt ... that was the first time I started to think about what could have happened to her. And I needed to know."
"Know what?" he asks carefully. "You said ... that she had died unexpectedly." She nods eagerly, and he holds up his hand. "I thought you meant like a heart attack or in a car accident or something like that."
"They said it was a heart attack."
"Then why would you go looking for another explanation?" He feels like a brute, saying this, watching her shrink before him. "I know this sounds horrible, but a heart attack is the best cause of death she could have had, especially if it was that quick."
"Because what if it wasn't!" Sarah snaps. "What if it was something supernatural and I could get her back? The coroner's report said -"
He freezes. "What do you mean, get her back?"
"Like the way Dean got you back after you were dead."
His gut is churning and he's about to be sick. He closes his eyes and tries to stay calm. "Sarah, your mother has been gone for years. There is nothing for you ..." his eyes open and take in her protesting face. He tries again. "Dean made a deal with a demon, Sarah. And she would have killed him for it."
"But you stopped it."
"I can't do it again. Not even for Dean," he says truthfully, then watches helplessly as she crumples in front of him, hope bleeding out of her and leaving her agonizingly empty. "I'm so sorry, Sarah."
She straightens her spine and folds her fingers around his hand, still clutching her paperwork. "Just read it, please. Tell me what you think happened."
Sam will not deny her now, so he starts to read. Sarah leaves him in peace, clearing away the remains of their breakfast.
It's not a case file that would be in any way useful to a hunter, but the information is all there, even if it is oddly organized. Sarah has put together a family tree with her mother's name - Alexandra Hamilton - at the bottom and causes of death for each of her progenitors listed below their names. She's done research on the house they lived in, on the charities her mother was on the board of, on every school her mother attended. The only troubling item is the coroner's report, which concludes that Mrs. Blake died of a heart attack but noted that she had been in perfect health until her death; Sam has to admit that being scared to death by a spirit or poltergeist could maybe look a lot like a heart attack. But there's no evidence of anything supernatural ever touching Alexandra Hamilton Blake's life, and the news is full of reports of healthy, hearty people suddenly being betrayed by their own bodies.
He forces himself to get up and find her. The kitchen floor is cold beneath his feet when he steps onto the tile, seeing her sitting very straight in a hard-backed chair, the gentle hum of the dishwasher buzzing in the background. She turns, apparently startled by the sound of his approach, and he holds out an unsteady hand; hers aren't shaking at all when she reaches for it and she meets his gaze squarely.
"No. I'm sorry."
She stays still for a long moment, and then her shoulders slump. "It really was natural?"
"It looks that way."
"So I don't get her back." Sarah tries to nod bravely but ends up biting down on her lip until she draws blood. "Thank you for telling me."
He stays quiet, letting her hold his hand for as long as she wants. When she mumbles something about needing to get some work done, he just gets out of her way.
His phone finally finishes charging, and as soon as he unplugs it, beeps to let him know he's got voicemail. He's got half a dozen messages, all from the same number, starting with a 605 area code. That's got to be Bobby. Dean has probably been bugging him since he set foot in his house to extend the olive branch, but just because Bobby caved doesn't mean Sam has to forgive him.
Sam calls Dean's cell again, but only gets his voicemail. "Listen, Dean, call me back yourself and don't make Bobby do it for you," he says. "I mean it. You're not going to outlast me on this one."
His call waiting beeps as he's finishing his message, and he clicks over. "Sam?" he hears, and registers it as Bobby's voice, rougher than he's ever heard it. "Dean's missing."