Title: The Coil Tightens
By: Orithain and Rina
Pairing: Dean/Valac (omc) & Sam/m/f
Rating: AO
Series: 1) Never Boring, 2) Old Habits, 3) The Headless Horseman
Disclaimers: You don’t actually think we believe they’re ours, do you? Except for Val, of course. We’re not delusional. ;) We don’t make any money from this, just have fun.
Summary: Having Val around changes many things.

"Dean." The word was accompanied by the sound of knocking at the door to the master bedroom in the suite in New York City. "Dean."

The door opened, and a sleepy, sated former demon peered out, smiling lazily at his lover’s brother. "Hey, Sam, you’re up early."

"I had a dream," Sam said flatly though he felt slightly guilty over waking Dean and Val this early.

"Was it good—oh, a dream. What—wait, let me wake Dean up; we’ll be out in a minute."

Sam nodded at that. "I’ll start some coffee."

Val ducked back inside the bedroom and walked over to the bed, sitting down beside Dean and shaking his shoulder. "Hey, Dean-o, you need to wake up; Sam had a dream."

"Tell him to call housekeeping for clean sheets," Dean mumbled into the pillow, still mostly asleep.

"I don’t think it was quite that kind of a dream." Val leaned in and kissed his shoulder, grinning faintly at the faint red lines scored on the tanned flesh. "So we’d really better get up and see what’s up—and I suppose I should get rid of the collar; he didn’t notice yet, but if he does, you know he’s going to freak."

"He doesn’t know what he’s missing." Dean smiled sensually and sat up, catching hold of the back of Val’s neck to pull him into a kiss before swinging his feet out of bed.

"I could remind you of the fact that you didn’t either not too long ago," Val laughed, straightening up and unbuckling the black leather from around his neck then swinging it in a circle with one of his fingers in the D ring attached to it.

"I expanded my horizons," Dean chuckled, getting up and reaching for his jeans. "Did Sam give you any details?" he asked, sobering.

"Didn’t look like he wanted to say it twice," Val answered, pulling on a pair of boxer briefs, and, at Dean’s glance, a pair of jeans as well. "He looked pretty freaked though."

Dean nodded. "So let’s find out what’s up. Hopefully it’s not anything that’ll cut our vacation short."

"At least it didn’t happen last night." As he spoke, Val opened the door to their bedroom so they could go out into the main room of the suite where Sam was sitting, staring at a cup of coffee.

"What’s up, Sammy?" Dean asked, moving over to put a hand on his brother’s shoulder.

"I had a dream—uh—premonition." Sam glanced up at them briefly before going back to looking at his coffee. "It was about this man—I think he was a doctor—blowing his brains out in a sporting goods store after shooting the clerk."

Dean frowned. "Are you sure it’s not just a dream?"

"It’s not; a bus drove past the store, and I saw the logo and looked it up online; it’s from Guthrie, Oklahoma." Sam motioned to a rough sketch on a notepad nearby and the information on the laptop, which included a newspaper article about a house fire twenty-two years before that had killed a woman, leaving her young son alive. "His name is Andy Gallagher," he said flatly.

"So let’s go find our friend Andy and have a little chat with him," Dean said, after reading the information, and he looked over at Val. "Ready to roll?"

"Always, you should know that by now. So I guess it’s goodbye bright lights, big city," Val said mournfully.

"Sorry," Dean said with a shrug. "At least we got a good few days." He squeezed Sam’s shoulder. "I guess we need to pack up and hit the road. Oklahoma’s a long drive."

"And I don’t know how long we have, so we need to get moving now," Sam said, staring at the computer screen before looking up at them and sighing. "Sorry to ruin your vacation."

"No biggie," Val assured him, squeezing his shoulder, "this place was getting boring anyway."

"Should I be insulted?" Dean asked, raising his eyebrows as he stared at Val.

"Nah, I meant after what we did last night, anything else is mundane." Val grinned wickedly at that.

"Good recovery," Dean complimented him. "You get to sleep in the bed again tonight."

"If Sam lets us stop," Val chuckled, glancing at the younger Winchester, who was packing his belongings.

"Yeah, he might not. We may end up taking shifts to drive through the night."

"If we have to, we will," Val shrugged, knowing that Sam was still hurting after what had happened with Trina, and Dean nodded.

"I just hope it works out. He needs to catch a break."

"Yeah, it’s too bad he isn’t into casual sex; that hot redhead at the bar was really into him night before last."

"I can hear you, you know," Sam commented.

"We know; you tell us often enough when we’re trying to ignore you," Dean retorted.

"And you never seem to remember the fact."

"Did it ever occur to you that maybe it’s because we don’t want to?"

"C’mon, Sam, we never do anything you don’t want to see in front of you," Val wheedled.

"Yeah, but what you should be doing now is packing."

After another concerned glance at his brother, Dean went back into the bedroom he and Val had been sharing and started packing up their belongings, not that there was all that much.

"That’s really got him spooked," Val murmured as he tossed toiletries into a bag. "Hope we get there in time to save the guy."

"Me too. After losing Ellie, even if it wasn’t to the Horseman, I don’t think any of us could handle losing someone else for a while."

Val nodded. "Yeah, but at least she’s with her Bennie."

"And not thinking I’m him. She was a nice lady and all, but you’re the one I want to be spending my nights with." Dean looked around to make sure he hadn’t forgotten anything and then zipped his bag, slinging it over his shoulder.

"You’re such a romantic," Val grinned, closing his bag as well and picking up the collar, giving it a speculative look. "On or off—or hang it from the rear view mirror?"

Dean laughed. "On, of course. It’ll distract Sam and keep us interested."

"Are you implying that I’m ever disinterested?" Val asked haughtily, offering the collar to Dean with a grin. "Here you go, buckle me back in."

"Wish I had time to do it properly," Dean murmured, his fingertips lightly stroking the nape of Val’s neck before he fastened the collar around his throat and leaned it to press a kiss to the tanned flesh above it.

Val purred and leaned back against him for a moment before stepping away and winking as he turned. "I’ll save that up with interest for when we’ve found Sam’s mystery man and saved him."

"I’ll be looking forward to it." Dean grinned at him and headed for the door.

When they finally arrived in Guthrie almost a day later, Dean kept an eye out as they got off the highway and soon was rewarded by finding a likely motel.

"You wanna do the honors, Val?"

"Off to get us rooms at the Motel Hell," Val nodded, climbing out of the car and strolling inside.

"Great, now I’m going to be looking for Norman Bates," Dean grumbled.

"Motel Hell was the one where they planted the guests in the garden and used them for sausages," Sam replied absently.

"Oh, that’s so much better! Thanks a lot, Sam."

"At least it wasn’t something supernatural."

"Right, I’d much rather be an hors d’oeuvre for cannibals!"

"I really don’t want to know what brought that on," Val commented as he leaned in the open window, glancing from one brother to the other.

"It’s best," Dean agreed. "I don’t really want to think about it anymore. So which is our room?"

"Eight and ten," Val answered, holding up two keys. "And apparently they even have Wi-Fi—the wonders of modern day convenience."

"Be still my heart," Dean said dryly.

"Good," Sam said as he took one of the keys after Val got back into the car, "that’ll make it easier to do the research later—and you two are helping."

"There’s only one laptop, Sammy," Dean pointed out, eyeing Val wistfully.

"Take notes."

"Whatever you say, Sam," Dean sighed.

"I’ll show you my notes later," Val murmured with a wink.

"Is that what we’re calling it now?"

"You doubt me? At one time I inspired paeans of erotic poetry."

"You can recite poetry to me if it would make you happy," Dean replied with the air of someone making a great sacrifice.

"While I enact it?"

"I’m discovering a new appreciation of poetry."

"I’ll see what I can come up with while you help Sam," Val promised, kissing Dean quickly as they pulled up outside their rooms.

"That’ll inspire me to get this hunt taken care of very quickly," Dean assured him.

"Good, now let’s get inside and see what we can find out."

Sam’s research, despite Dean’s distractions, garnered them Andy Gallagher’s employment history, which ended more than a year before. With nothing more recent, they decided to try the diner and hope that someone there knew where he was now. Fortunately, the owner, Tracy, eventually gave them directions to where they could find him.

"Oh, I like this guy," Dean said as they looked at Andy’s van, and he admired the artwork.

"You have to be kidding," Val and Sam said in chorus, both staring at Dean and then at the van with the polar bear-riding barbarian queen on the side.

"Okay, I’m leaving you for Sam," Val announced.

"No, you’re not," both Sam and Dean exclaimed in chorus, though Dean was laughing and Sam was horrified.

"Well, he does have better taste, but you taste better so I guess that wins out," Val chuckled.

"There’s nothing wrong with my taste," Dean defended, making a face at Val, who glanced at the van, then back at him, his eyebrows raised.

"I think it’s cool," Dean insisted. "Hey, there he is," he said suddenly, watching the guy whose picture Sam had found online exit an apartment building, dressed in a silk kimono over boxers and a t-shirt, and stroll down the street. He stopped a passing man and spoke to him briefly, then continued on while drinking the man’s coffee which he now had. He stopped again to talk to a heavyset African-American man, and Sam’s eyes widened.

"That’s him! That’s the guy from my dream," Sam exclaimed.

The two men were already continuing their separate ways, and Dean frowned. "You two follow the victim, and I’ll stick with Gallagher."

"Planning to mug him for his van?" Val teased, winking as he followed Sam, who was already hurrying after the intended victim.

"Ha ha, as if I’d ever leave you, baby," Dean said, stroking the Impala’s dash before following the van when Andy started driving, the Impala’s motor revving slightly without any pressure on the gas pedal. "Yeah, right, you’re not aware after Val’s voodoo," he muttered.

He followed Gallagher for a short time, only to stop abruptly when the van in front of him did and Gallagher suddenly got out and came toward him.

"Why are you following me?" the other man demanded, resting his hands on the car and leaning in.

"I was just admiring your ride, man; it’s sweet."

"I like yours too. ‘67 Impala, right?" At Dean’s nod, the other man continued, "Can I have it?"

"Sure," Dean instantly replied, smiling cheerfully as he got out of the car and watched Andy get in, even going so far as to push the door closed for him. He stood in the street, watching as Gallagher drove away in Dean’s beloved Impala.

"Stay out here and keep an eye on him," Sam ordered as he ducked into the store, leaving Val to lean against the column flanking the entrance, watching the portly doctor get closer and wondering if he was going to have to tackle the guy to keep him outside. Suddenly, the strident blare of the store alarm sounded, and he shook his head, grinning when Sam eased back outside.

"Nice work," he began, though the congratulations died in his throat when the doctor answered his phone, then calmly walked out into the street in the path of an oncoming bus.

"Christ!" Sam stared in horror, only to be distracted by the site of the Impala coming down the street, with Andy Gallagher at the wheel, closing a cell phone after obviously finishing a conversation. "What the fuck?!"

"Dean!" Val’s eyes flashed green, and he turned his head like a predator scenting prey, then visibly relaxed. "He’s all right—well, as all right as he can be, considering that guy has the Impala."

Sam eyed him warily for a moment. "You know, you’re seriously scary sometimes, right?" He pulled out his phone to call Dean, praying his brother would answer.

"Sammy?" Dean sounded a little out of breath.

"What the hell happened?"

"He asked me for the car, and I gave it to him!"

"You gave it to him?" Sam asked, stunned, while Val looked down the street in the direction the Impala had gone, his eyes narrowed slightly.

"So we find it, we find him."

"Damn right we do!" Dean growled, flipping the phone closed as he jogged up to join them. "What happened here?"

"Sam kept him from going in the store, then he walked in front of a bus," Val explained, studying Dean closely.

"After he received a phone call," Sam added. "And right before Andy drove by, just shutting down his cell phone."

"Shit," Dean said feelingly. "Okay, we have to find this guy. Feeling bloodhound-ish, Val?"

"That depends on the type of bone I’m offered to do it," Val smirked before looking down the street again, his eyes going unfocused as he tracked the Impala.

"Exactly the kind you like best, but it’s gonna have to wait till we have privacy before you can have it."

"Tease," Val sighed as he started walking, following the car’s trail.

"Focus!" Sam growled, which made Dean shrug at Val while mouthing, "Later."

"Focusing, Sam," Val growled, starting to jog, forcing the others to run to keep up with him.

"Would you stop trying to piss him off," Dean grumbled at his brother.

"I’m not," Sam growled back. "I’m trying to catch a guy who’s killing people; is that all right with you?"

"Sammy," Dean snapped, "Val and I aren’t the bad guys. Quit barking orders at us."

"I am not barking," Sam snapped, glaring at his brother for a brief second before lengthening his stride to catch up with Val while Dean sighed before chasing after him.

"Can you tell how far we are from the car?" Dean asked Val as he fell in beside him.

"Not too far," Val answered absently, turning down a side street.

"Better than GPS and a hell of a lot hotter."

Sam shook his head at that, following the other two until they found the Impala parked at a curb. Dean immediately pounced on his car, crooning to it. "Careful, or Val’s going to get jealous," he called.

"We’re a happy threesome," Dean retorted, stroking the door before opening it and sliding into the driver’s seat. "At least he left the keys."

"Which is sort of weird," Val commented. "Why take it if you’re just going to leave it there to be stolen? Oh, and don’t forget you promised to fuck me over the Impala’s hood one of these days," he added, making Sam groan.

"Once this case is over," Dean promised him huskily, leaning over to kiss Val once he’d settled himself in the passenger seat, with Sam in the back.

"Which is when he finds out whatever the hell is behind this," Val sighed.

"Andy Gallagher is behind this," Sam bit out, "and we’re going to stop him."

Val looked back at Sam, grinning to try and ease the tension spilling from the younger Winchester. "The three of us versus him? No problem."

"We’ll take him down before dinner," Dean agreed.

"Then we can have-" Val began before Sam groaned, "Don’t say it!"

"A nice, relaxing dinner," Dean finished with spurious innocence.

"Idiots, the both of you," Sam snorted.

"But you love us," Dean replied with a smirk.

Sam growled, and Val chuckled. "That wasn’t bad; I almost believed it."

"Give it up, Sammy," Dean advised. "We’ll figure this out, and then we’ll take a few days to relax. You’re getting tense."

"We just had a few days to relax," Sam reminded him. "I’d rather keep working."

"Sammy, after we’ve dealt with this, we have got to get you laid."

"He just was, and it didn’t help," Val reminded him as they pulled to a stop behind the garish van their quarry drove.

Dean winced at the reminder and mumbled, "Sorry."

"Yeah, yeah you’re thoughtless, we know," Sam said, smiling slightly, though the expression turned to a frown when he saw Andy get out of his van and walk back toward the Impala.

"Oh shit," Dean muttered. "Not again."

"What are you following me for?" Andy demanded, leaning in the open window, Val and Sam both sputtering out stories in answer.

"We hunt demons," Dean said, grimacing as he spoke.

"What?" Andy asked incredulously even as Sam and Val stared at Dean in shock.


"Demons, spirits—things your worst nightmare wouldn’t even touch. Sam here, he’s my brother."

"Dean, shut up!" Sam exclaimed.

"I’m trying to," Dean gritted out, throwing a desperate look at Val before turning back to Andy. "My brother, he’s psychic. Kind of like you. Well, not really like you, but see, he thinks you’re a murderer, and he’s afraid that he’s gonna become one himself, ‘cause you’re all part of something that’s terrible, and I hope to hell that he’s wrong, but I’m starting to get a little scared that he might be right."

"Okay, you know what? Just leave me alone," Andy scowled, storming away from the Impala, Sam starting after him after a quick look at Val, who was staring at Dean.

"What did he do to you?" Val demanded.

"It was horrible," Dean said with a shudder. "I couldn’t do anything but tell the truth, tell him whatever he wanted." He glared out the window at Andy. "That’s fucking evil."

Val’s eyes flashed bright green, and he stared out the window to where Sam was talking to Andy. "It didn’t work on Sam—or me. Do you want him dead?"

Dean reached over and squeezed Val’s hand. "Not till we’re sure. Something about this whole thing is just hinky." He glanced over at Sam and Andy, and he frowned. A moment later he was out of the car and moving rapidly to his brother’s side as Sam dropped to his knees, clutching his head.

"Sam! What is it?"

"A woman, burning herself alive," Sam gasped, and Andy yelped when Val shook him after grabbing his shoulder.

"It isn’t me, I swear it!"

"What else, Sam?" Dean asked, trying to get enough to track the woman down and hopefully prevent the horror his brother had seen.

"A gas station—a woman’s gonna kill herself." Sam panted while Andy stared wide-eyed at him.

"What does he mean, ‘going to’? What is he—"

"Shut up," Val growled, shaking him again.

"She gets triggered by a call on her cell," Sam added, getting to his feet with Dean’s assistance.

"When?" Dean demanded, needing more to go on.

"I don’t know. But as long as we keep our eyes on this son of a bitch, he can’t hurt her."

"I didn’t hurt anybody!" Andy protested.

"Yeah, not yet." Sam scowled, then looked up as a fire truck raced by.

"Go," he said, nodding at Dean and Val, who raced toward the Impala to follow.

Moments later, they were at a gas station only a few blocks away, and Dean had a sick expression on his face. "She burned herself alive," he muttered to Val. "That’s sick."

"And it smells even worse," Val commented, trying not to gag. "That really isn’t the proper way to do a sacrifice."

Dean turned and stared at him for a long moment before shaking his head in disbelief. "You are such a freak!"

Val opened his mouth to shoot back a reply, then sighed, his nose wrinkling at the smell. "Sorry, didn’t mean to remind you what I was."

Eyeing him askance, Dean shrugged. "Do you really think I forget? It’s part of who you are, Valac. I just meant that most people would think about the dead person, not the waste of sacrifice," he explained with the faintest of smiles.

"Frame of reference," Val offered with a slight smile. "So, want to call Sammy and make sure the short guy didn’t manage to overpower him and use his cell to call the crispy critter?"

Dean snorted a laugh even as he pulled out his phone to call Sam. "Hey, it’s me. She’s dead. Burned up, just like you said."

Hearing that as he answered his phone, Sam winced. "It wasn’t Andy; he didn’t call anyone."

"Told you so." Dean dodged Val’s smack for his smug comment. "Look, I’ll dig around here, see what else I can find. You talk to Andy the Magnificent and see if he knows anything. He has to be connected somehow."

"Gotcha." Sam closed his phone and looked at the shorter man. "She’s dead."

"Well, I didn’t do it!"

"Well, who did then?"

"How should I know?!"

Sam glowered at him and scrubbed a hand through his hair. "I don’t know, but we’re going to find out."

Andy stared at him uneasily. "So, uh, you get these premonitions about people about to die?" he asked, frowning when Sam nodded. "That’s impossible."

"You do realize that the same could be said about what you can do," Sam commented wryly. "Oh, and for the record, if you try anything on my brother again, I’d say I’d kill you, but Val won’t leave much for me to do anything with."

"I’d never have picked Dean as gay," Andy mused. "Val, maybe, but not him. What’s the deal with him? He’s not a big guy, but you say that like I should be scared of him. And how come he’s immune too?"

"Val’s... a little different than we are," Sam said hesitantly. "And I wouldn’t go around saying he looks gay--Dean might kill you for that."

"No." Andy shook his head. "He doesn’t look gay. He... he gives off this vibe like he’d do anything that moves. Reminds me of that guy on the new Doctor Who and Torchwood, actually," he added with the faintest of chuckles.

Sam snickered at that and nodded. "That’s Val, but while he may act like that, he’s fixated on Dean, trust me on that."

"Yeah, I got the feeling that he wouldn’t mind seeing my head and body in separate locations," Andy admitted.

"He wasn’t the only one," Sam allowed, making Andy wince.

"It’s not as if I’d have hurt him!"

"People were killing themselves; you were our only suspect!" Sam shot back.

"And do you automatically assume everyone’s a sadistic killer?"

"You can make people do whatever you want with your mind," Sam said by way of explanation.

Andy shrugged. "I’ve got everything I need."

"Yeah, right," Sam snorted, glancing over as Dean and Val drove up, parking near them.

"Victim’s name was Holly Beckett—forty-one, single," Dean announced in lieu of greeting, raising an eyebrow questioningly at Andy.

"Never heard of her," Andy replied with a slight shrug.

"Then I think we need to head over to the Hall of Records for a little research," Dean said. "We need to find out what all these people have in common."

"Got something," Dean announced. "It seems that Holly Beckett gave birth when she was eighteen years old, back in 1983. Same day you were born, Andy," he finished significantly.

"You’re adopted?" Sam asked, and Andy nodded.

"He left out the most interesting part," Val added. "You have a brother."

"What? No, I don’t!" Andy looked shocked. "Are you telling me I have an evil twin?"

Dean snickered, and Sam shook his head as he sighed. "You have a twin who was adopted by another family than you were."

"And yeah, he’s probably evil, since if you aren’t killing these people, someone else with powers like yours is," Val added.

"Okay, this is getting way too Twilight Zone for me," Andy muttered, looking more than a little shell-shocked.

"You ain’t seen nothing’ yet," Val chuckled, making Dean snicker.

"Ignore them," Sam advised. "They’re both nuts."

"Yeah, I got that," Andy nodded, looking at the other two.

"Jealousy’ll get you nowhere, Sammy," Dean told his brother.

"Like I wanna be anywhere near the two of you when you’re fixated," Sam snorted, and Val grinned.

"But we’re the most fun when we’re that way," Val snickered.

"Have they started making Candid Camera again?" Andy wondered.

"Can we get back on track here?" Sam asked.

Looking at Andy’s expression, Dean asked, "Andy, how you doing? Still with us?"

Focusing on the other again, Andy asked slowly, "Um... what was my brother’s name?"

"Ansem Weems," Sam offered, watching while Andy shook his head. "He’s got a local address."

"He lives here?" Andy asked, his eyes widening.

Dean nodded from where he was standing over the fax machine. "Let’s get a look at him. There’s a picture coming over from the DMV right now." He picked up the page as soon it finished transmitting, and his expression showed his surprise as soon as he saw the picture. He looked back at Andy. "Dude, I hate to kick you while you’re freaked, but take a look at that," he said, handing it to Andy, who appeared equally stunned when he looked.

"Shit, that’s Webber."

"Well, fuck," Val muttered, "we’d better go corral him."

Dean had the Impala moving fast as they headed for the diner, and he glanced in the rearview to see Andy’s expression as he and Sam talked. In response to Sam’s question, Andy explained, "Webber shows up one day, about eight months ago, acting like he’s my best friend in the world. Kind of weird, like... trying too hard, you know?"

Concentrating on the conversation—and driving, in Dean’s case—no one noticed as Sam winced in pain.

"He must have known you guys were twins," Dean pointed out. "Why did he change his name? Why not just tell you the truth?"

"No clue," Andy replied just as Sam groaned.

"Sam?" Dean’s eyes shot to his brother in the rearview, and then he pulled over, quickly getting out and opening the rear door to check on Sam.

"What’s going on?" Andy asked, his eyes wide.

"He’s having a vision," Val informed him. "Don’t—" Even as he spoke, Andy reached out and placed a hand on Sam’s shoulder, and his eyes went wide and unfocused.

"Tracey! No!"

"Oh, this doesn’t sound good," Dean muttered to Val. He shut the door and got back into the driver’s seat. "So where to?"

It wasn’t long before they pulled up a little ways up the road from the dam and began unloading the trunk.

"Dean, you stay here," Sam said grimly. "Val, stay with him."

"No argument here," Dean replied, glancing at Val for his agreement. "I’ve had my head screwed with enough for one day."

"I’m coming with you," Andy told Sam in a tone that brooked no argument.

Sam nodded. "I’ll take Ansem; you get Tracy out of here."

"That was never in doubt," Andy replied, already heading down the road toward the car where Ansem held Tracy captive.

"When he’s concentrating on something, he can be smart," Val mused as they watched the other two head down the hill.

"Sam or Andy?" Dean asked wryly.

Val chuckled at that. "I meant Andy, but you do have a point, though I’m sure Sam says the same thing about us."

"Aw, that’s just jealousy," Dean assured him.

"Of course," Val grinned, winking at him before focusing on the parking area below, where Andy and Sam were sneaking up on both sides of the car, Sam on the driver’s side and Andy on the passenger side where he expected Tracy would be.

"Shit," Val hissed a few minutes later when a verbal confrontation with Ansem had left Sam on the ground, knocked out by Tracy. "I think you need to—" A burst of pain ripped through his head before everything went black.

"Come on, Val, he didn’t hit you that hard. Wake up," Dean ordered, sitting on the ground with Val’s head in his lap once it was all over. "If you don’t wake up soon, the paramedics will be here, and they’ll drag off to the emergency room."

"He who?" Val grumbled without opening his eyes. "You’re the one who hit me."

"Well, it was Ansem who made me do it, so technically, he’s the one who hit you."

"Guess I should be glad you hit like a girl," Val groaned, slowly sitting up and gingerly rubbing the back of his head. "So what happened?"

"My girly hit knocked you out; Andy and Tracy beat Ansem; Ansem’s dead; and it’s time to move on."

"Sounds good to me." Val waited until Dean stood then held out a hand to be helped up.

"So let’s say our goodbyes and get out of here so we can try to break a bed," Dean suggested, not letting go of Val’s hand.

"Works for me—hey, where’s Sam?"

Dean nodded toward the Impala, where Sam was standing watching Andy try to talk to Tracy.

"Hope they keep in touch," Val murmured. "I think they both need a friend."

"Sam and Andy? Yeah. I just wish I knew what the deal was with the freaky powers though," Dean said.

"I wish I could tell you the answer to that question," Val murmured.

"Me too, but we’ll figure it out eventually. I just hope it doesn’t bite us in the ass."

"Ava, no," Andy begged desperately, making the brunette hesitate with her hand hovering over the salt line that protected him. "Sam believes in you, thinks of you as a friend. Don’t do this, please. We can work together, get out of here. You know Sam and his brother pull off miracles all the time."

"There are no miracles here, Andy," she replied bleakly. "There’s only kill or be killed."

"It doesn’t have to be, Ava. We can beat the damn demons, together. Give us a chance."

"Beat them?! We are them, Andy, or haven’t you figured that out yet?"

"You don’t have to be, Ava," Sam said quietly, edging into the room with a quick glance at Andy. "Andy’s right; we don’t have to become the demons. We can beat them."

"You don’t know what I’ve done; it’s too late," she whispered, half-turning to look at him.

"It’s never too late. Whatever you’ve done, we can get past it. You can make up for it, and you can start by not killing Andy. He’s a pretty decent guy, you know."

"Really, I am," Andy said fervently.

Ava looked back at the salt line, then toward the window, and her lips compressed into a thin line before she closed her eyes. "So what do we do?"

"What the hell’s going on in here?" a deep voice demanded before Jake came into the cabin.

"We’re working together to get the hell out of here," Sam told him. "Care to join us?"

Jake looked at them, his eyes narrowed, before finally nodding. "And how are we going to do that?"

"We’re going to plan it, figure out the best use for all of our powers, and then get out."

"So let’s do this," Ava said firmly, glancing toward the window again.

Sam pulled Ava into a quick hug. "You’ve made the right choice."

"I know I prefer it," Andy muttered.

Jake frowned at their backs as they walked ahead of him, Ava apologizing to Andy for Jake didn’t know what—but he would find out.

Dean made his way into the town, every sense on alert as he tried to find his brother. Yells up ahead drew his attention, and he started to run, already sure that Sam would be in the middle of whatever was happening.

"Dean, damnit, wait a minute!" Val shouted before he pounded off after the other man. He saw Sam turn at the sound of Dean’s voice, a relieved grin on his face. It was then that a tall African-American dressed in fatigues lunged forward and buried a knife in Sam’s back. Two shorter people—Was one of them Andy Gallagher? he asked himself distractedly—shouted and tried to grab the taller man, but he flung them off, sending them crashing into the side of a building.

Torn between helping Dean with Sam and catching the man who did this, Val spared the younger Winchester brother’s crumpled form a glance before racing into the dark after the stranger.

"Sam!" Dean’s anguished cry was ripped from him as he dropped to his knees to pull Sam into his arms, cradling the still body. "No!"

"He got away," Val panted as he returned minutes later. "Lost him in the—shit!" Dropping to his knees alongside Dean, he raised a hand to Sam’s throat, his features twisting in grief when he didn’t feel a pulse.

"Dean, he’s—"

"Don’t!" Dean refused to hear it, simply holding Sam even more tightly, rocking slightly as he knelt there in the dirt.

"Dean..." Val rested a hand on Dean’s back and one on Sam’s, wincing as he felt warm, sticky blood under his palm. "I’m sorry." There was really nothing more to say and nothing he could do.

Three days had passed when Dean snuck out of the house where he, Val, Andy and Ava were staying along with Bobby and John Winchester, who had arrived as fast as humanly possible after the call letting them know what had happened, and made his way to the nearest crossroads.

"Come on, bitch, I’m going to make your day."

"And how do you plan to do that?" a sultry feminine voice purred out of the darkness before a woman in a sleeveless black dress walked toward him. Her eyes were as dark as her hair and as cold as her smile.

"I’m going to offer to trade my soul," Dean told her. "And all you have to do for it is bring my brother back to life."

"And you think your soul is worth that?"

"Yes. And you know it’s the only chance you’ve got at it."

She looked down at her fashionable heels at that, her expression musing, before nodding. "All right, your soul for your brother’s life."

After some negotiation to make sure that Sam would live past the time Dean’s payment came due—in one year, not ten—Dean nodded sharply. "Done."

"Enjoy your year, Dean," the demon chuckled, leaning forward to pat his cheek. "I know we will what comes after."

"Dean? Dean!" The sound of several voices calling his name echoed through the night, coming closer. He looked that way, and when he turned back, the crossroads demon was gone.

"Over here," he called, knowing Val wasn’t going to be happy, but he hadn’t had a choice. It was Sam.

"What the fuck did you do?" Val demanded, reaching Dean’s side, John hot on his heels. "I felt it! What was here?"

"I did what I had to," Dean said, ignoring his father for the moment as he concentrated on Val. "I made a bargain with the crossroads demon. And we should get back to the house now."

"You what?" John roared, grabbing his eldest son by the shirt front and shaking him. "Of all the idiotic—" His tirade died off as he found himself on his back in the middle of the road, Val standing over him, glowering.

"Back to the house, Dean," he rasped. "I’m sure you’ll want to see Sam."

Dean flinched slightly at Val’s tone. "I have a year to find a way out of it," he offered.

John sucked in a breath at that, and Val turned a flashing green gaze in his direction before turning and starting back to the house where they could already hear the cries as Bobby, Ava, and Andy all tried to deal with a suddenly alive Sam.

"I had to, Val," Dean said softly, watching him walk away. "He’s my brother; I have to take care of him."

"So you sold your soul?" John rasped.

Dean finally turned to look at his father. "You’re the one who told me to look after him."

"By killing yourself?"

"I’m still alive, and now Sam is too."

John studied him through narrowed eyes before nodding sharply. "And I want to keep you both that way."

"Well, now we have a chance to make that happen. I have a year to find a way out. Sam didn’t have any other options."

"Later, we’re going to go over exactly what was said to make this deal, understand?"

"Yes sir," Dean replied before starting to walk back to the house, intent on seeing Sam and catching up with Val. "Later."

"What the hell happened, son?" Bobby exclaimed when Dean entered in the house, looking up from where he, Ava and Andy hovered over Sam, who was looking around groggily.

Dean looked at him briefly before turning back to Sam. "Sam’s alive, that’s what happened." He dropped to a crouch next to his brother. "How’re you feeling?"

"Like I got run over by a truck," Sam rasped. "What happened?"

"Jake stabbed you," Ava replied. "You died, Sam. Three days ago."

"What?!" Sam struggled to sit up, staring around him wildly.

"She’s right, dude," Andy cut in, shooting a quick, nervous glance at Dean.

"Don’t worry about, Sam," Dean said. "Everything’s okay now."

Sam looked around, blinking when he saw their father and Bobby, and collapsed back onto the table. "Something tells me different, but we can talk about it later, okay?"

Dean nodded. "Yeah, it’s just good to have you back." He rested a hand on Sam’s shoulder, well aware that Val was keeping back.

"All right, I think this is what we need," Bobby said gruffly, looking around the room at the mostly unhappy people—in fact, the only one who looked in relatively good spirits was Andy Gallagher—and he wondered how much of that was the weed he could smell on the young man. "Samuel Colt built a huge Devil’s trap. It’s ‘round a hundred miles across, in southern Wyoming. There’s a church at each point, and the sides of the pentacle are made of iron railroad lines. At the center, in an old cowboy cemetery, is a Devil’s Gate—a literal door to Hell. That’s where I think he’s going."

"A door to Hell?" Dean repeated. "That can’t be good."

Ava rolled her eyes. "Is he always such a master of the obvious?" she muttered to Andy.

"So we need to get there ASAP," John stated flatly. "That’s got to be where that son of a bitch is heading."

"So let’s go stop him," Dean said, getting to his feet. "I don’t know about anyone else, but I really don’t want to live in a world with a wide open door into Hell."

"Stop him and kill him," Val said flatly, the first words he’d spoken that day.

Dean looked over warily. "Yeah, that’s the plan." He headed for the Impala, hoping Val would follow.

"Kinda tight for five of us in there," Ava observed. "Maybe we should ride with one of the others?" she suggested to Sam.

"Why don’t the two of you ride with Bobby—or Dad," Sam said after a moment. "I’ll go with them."

"Bobby, definitely Bobby," Andy said after a scared glance at John Winchester. "Come on, Ava, let Sam yell at Dean in private."

Bobby shook his head at that, glowering at John when the elder Winchester said nothing. "You boys deal with whatever’s eating at you, got it? We’re gonna have a hell of a time there without you all spitting at each other like cats all because of someone doing something fer ‘cause he loved his brother."

Dean smiled wryly. "I guess it shows they care," he sighed before looking over at Sam. "You mind driving? I think Val and I need to talk."

"And so do we, but that can wait until this is done," Sam commented, taking the keys Dean handed over while the others gathered up their gear.

"I kinda figured you’d be throwing your two cents in too."


"Great, something to look forward to," Dean muttered, sliding into the back seat and waiting for Val to join him, Sam waiting until everyone else was in either Bobby’s car or John’s truck before taking off, Val remaining silent and staring out the window the whole time.

"Val, please, talk to me."

"And say what? There, I’m talking to you, happy now?"

"Look, I know you’re pissed at me, but it wasn’t that I want to die or leave you; I just had to save Sam. Can’t you understand that?"

"So you sold your soul."

"I didn’t see any other options. And I’m going to do everything I can to get out of it."

"What exactly did you bargain for?"

"For Sam to be alive again, no strings. No dying again when the year is up or at any other time because of the deal, no losing his soul, just alive as if he’d never died."

"I’m not talking about Sam; I’m talking about you, Dean."

"Oh. My soul, after one year."

"That’s it?"

"Yeah. What else would there be?"

"Were there any stipulations?" Val hissed.

Dean winced. "That if I try to get out of it, Sam dies again," he finally admitted.

"What about if someone else tries?"

"Didn’t say a thing about that."

Val fell silent at that, his brow furrowed in thought, and Sam broke into the quiet. "That means we can work on it, all of us."

"I’d kind of appreciate that, actually."

"And we’ve got a year; what’s one crossroads demon, right?"

"She doesn’t have a chance against us," Dean replied.

"Dean? Sam?" Bobby’s voice rang out over the cemetery as a beam of light from his flashlight flickered over the foggy ground. "John?"

"Here, Bobby," Sam called, his voice still weak and rough with the shock of what they had witnessed, Andy and Ava stumbling forward to join them as well as they recovered.

"Me too," Dean managed, propping himself up on an elbow to look around. "Val?" he called, not seeing his lover right away.

A guttural groan sounded from off to the left, and Bobby turned his flashlight in that direction as he hobbled over to the boys, dried blood from his head wound staining his face. "Where’s your father?"

Dean’s face went utterly blank, and he simply stared at Bobby, mute in the face of overwhelming pain.

Sam moved to Dean’s side, gripping his arm for a brief moment. "He’s gone, Bobby. He took that yellow-eyed bastard with him though."

Bobby sucked in a sharp breath, flinching. It was almost inevitable for hunters, but John Winchester had beaten the odds so often that Bobby had subconsciously begun to expect that he always would.

"I always knew he’d bite off more than he could chew one day," a rough, low, voice purred from the darkness.

Dean’s eyes widened, and his head whipped around to focus on Val, while Bobby involuntarily took a step back as the shadowed form stepped into the circle of light, shaking dark hair back from his brow to reveal solid emerald eyes. "And by him I mean Azazel, or ole yellow eyes as you know him."

"Jesus!" Sam gasped, scrambling for the Colt before remembering the bullets were gone.

"Sam, if you try to shoot him, I will hurt you," Dean ground out.

"What the hell?" Bobby gasped.

"Who the hell is more correct," Val chuckled, running his hand through his hair, then holding it out in front of him, examining his fingers.

Dean sat up all the way, forcing himself to unsteady feet, to reach for Val. "Val... Valac?"

"Dean Winchester, nice, very nice."

"Dean?" Sam asked, glancing toward him without letting Val out of his peripheral vision. "What the hell is going on here?"

"I’m not sure," Dean admitted slowly, still staring at Val. He took a step closer, holding out a hand warily, and Valac’s lips curved into a thin smile as he took it.

"Offers up his life to save his brother’s, that’s almost biblical, and I should know; I was there for enough of it."

Dean’s fingers tightened involuntarily, and he stared searchingly into the suddenly unfamiliar eyes. "I’m not giving up on you, Val," he bit out.

"Are you saying he’s a—a demon?" Andy bit out.

"Former and apparently one again," Sam said quietly.

"Too bad your friend there is dead or I’d thank him for opening the door and letting me out," Valac added, glancing toward the crumpled body on the ground near the crypt.

"I thought you didn’t want this," Dean said, desperately seeking some sign of the man he’d fallen in love with in the demon standing before him.

"Who didn’t want this?" Valac asked, the corners of his mouth still curved in a sensual smile. "That wasn’t me, Dean, though I agree with him that you’re probably a prime fuck."

Dean flinched. "Where’s Val? Is he still in there somewhere?"


"Dean..." Sam said quietly, and Dean’s eyes darted to his brother, raw pain visible in the gold-green eyes.

"I have to try, Sammy," Dean whispered.

"Try what?" Bobby hissed, and Valac chuckled.

"I can hear you all, you realize."

"I want Val back."

"What are you willing to do to get him? And really, isn’t it better this way?"

"No! I love Val, not a demon, and I want him back. What am I willing to do? Anything."

"You’re going to die in a year anyway, but... anything..." Valac mused, his eyes flashing dangerously.

"Dean, don’t; this isn’t Val; don’t do it," Sam begged.

Dean hesitated, his eyes meeting Sam’s. "I didn’t give up on you, Sam; I can’t give up on Val either." He took a step toward Valac, who smirked and glanced over at Sam.

"Don’t worry, Sammy; I won’t hurt him—too much."

"Dean—" Bobby roared as Valac pulled Dean to him and kissed him, the Val’s foot scraping in the dirt before he looked up again, and they both vanished.

"Dean!" Sam lunged forward, but Dean and Valac were long gone. He swore and started to kick the ground, only to stop. "Bobby! Look at this."

"Rough trip, Dean?" Valac purred as they appeared somewhere the sun was bright and warm, though it was shaded by curtains hanging over large windows that overlooked a wide body of water.

Dean looked around nervously, taking in the solid furniture that was too well made to be in a hotel room, before his eyes settled on Valac again. "So was it on purpose... or are you just not strong enough to make it easier?"

Valac chuckled and leaned against the carved posts of the bed frame. "I’ve been locked away for a few thousand years; allow me a little time to get used to the freedom again."

Dean eyed him. "So it wasn’t an attempt to make the puny human aware of how powerful you are, o mighty great president of Hell?"

In a blink Dean was naked on the bed, spread out on the smooth white Egyptian cotton sheets with an equally nude Valac looking down at him. "Would I do that?"

"Fuck yeah." Dean forced himself to remain still, his usual smirk on his face. "So now what, I’m supposed to be your sex slave?"

"Is that what you want?" The green eyes flared, and a cool wind ghosted over Dean’s body.

"I want Val back," Dean repeated, shivering. His mind knew this was Valac, but his body was reacting to Val.

"Didn’t they teach you that you don’t always get what you want?" The wind narrowed to trail an icy line up the inside of Dean’s thighs. "Or at least you humans don’t."

Shuddering, Dean fought to remain still, to prevent his automatic reaction to Val. "I got Val once; I’ll get him back."

"What you got was a part of me devoid of almost all the power. Your Val was nothing but a pale imitation of what I am."

"My Val was--is more than you could ever dream of being," Dean retorted. "He knows how to love."

"And why is that important?" The fingers of chill were spreading, roaming over Dean’s body.

"If you don’t know," Dean gasped, "I can’t explain it to you."

Valac twisted to stand half-draped around the bedpost and reached out to trace a finger up Dean’s leg, heat trailing in the path his finger took. "Sex, it’s all based on sex, Dean; surely you’re adult to recognize that now."

Dean actually laughed at him. "I’ve had a lot of sex, and what Val and I had--have is way more than that."

Valac burst into laughter at that, and the heat curled at the center of Dean’s crotch. "And what did you have? Were you in love?"

His eyes turning cold, Dean managed to pull away from Valac’s touch for a moment. "Yes. And I’m not giving that up without a fight."

"You’re in lust with a fantasy, Dean Winchester, your fantasy. Better to accept reality and enjoy it." Familiar fingers circled Dean’s cock, sending heat rushing over him even as the cold wind roamed over his chest.

"Fuck," Dean rasped. "Not a fantasy, damn you, real." He tried to fight his need to move, but he couldn’t, and his hips jerked as a smile curved Valac’s lips.

"Reality, fantasy, is there a difference? Can you tell the difference?"

Dean stared up at him bitterly. "I can tell."

Valac smirked again and leaned in, his mouth ghosting over Dean’s leg, the trail leading to his groin.

"Damn you, just because you can make me react doesn’t mean I don’t know the difference between you and Val."

"Such surety," Valac purred, tracing his tongue up over Dean’s lengthening shaft. "That will change in time."

"Never. Oh Jesus," Dean groaned.

"Hardly," Valac laughed, his breath ghosting over the now taut skin. "Older and more interesting."

"Fuck you!" Dean snarled, unable to keep himself still.

"Is that what you want? Well, then..." Valac straddled Dean’s hips, grasped his cock, and slowly sank down on it. "Wasn’t this how it started? Is it easier to deal with when you’re the one shoving in someone’s ass rather than being the one reamed? If so, I hate to tell you but both are as involved."

"I—oh fuck--know that, you asshole," Dean growled, his hips jerking to push himself deeper inside the familiar heat.

"You do? Good," Valac goaded as he rocked back and forth over him.

"Damn you, Val, I know you’re in there somewhere. Don’t you fucking dare give up!"

The bilious green light in Valac’s eyes dimmed for a split second, then his cruel smile was back in place. "Oh, I’m going to keep you, Dean Winchester."

That bare instant when Dean saw Val looking back at him made him want to moan at. "Val can keep me as long as he wants; you can go straight to Hell!"

"You’ll be there soon enough, so I would suggest that you cultivate whatever help you can." Valac twisted at that, tightening around Dean’s cock while the trails of hot and cold circled around his nipples.

"Val and Sam are the only help I want... or need." Dean moaned at the sensation as Valac rode him and played with him, clearly having access to Val’s memories of Dean’s hot spots.

A dark smile blossomed in answer to that comment. "You may have more help than you ever imagined."

Dean stared up at him. "I could handle the powers," he admitted, "if I had Val."

Valac clenched down on him again. "Who said I was talking about your sweet little Val?"

Dean gasped. "Val’s all I’m interested in talking about."

"Really?" Valac rested his hands on Dean’s chest and began to rise and fall over him, his every move designed to bring Dean the utmost pleasure.

"Damn you," Dean groaned, his hands clenching into fists above his head where Valac’s power held them.

"That’s entirely unoriginal," Valac laughed before leaning in, his lips brushing over Dean’s. Unable to resist, Dean deepened the kiss, a soft whimper escaping him at the familiar taste, as one of Valac’s hands rose to card through his hair.

"See?" he murmured. "Sex. Lust. My favorite things."

"You. My favorite thing," Dean admitted, arching under him.

"Mmm, a very good answer," Valac purred, dipping his head in to bite at Dean’s throat. "Which means that you’re mine."

Dean stared up at him and couldn’t answer because Val or Valac, he was afraid it was true. Valac’s eyes flashed in the silence even as a slim mental probe slipped into Dean’s ass, stroking him inside even as he was surrounded outside. Dean jumped and yelped, finally losing what little control he had left and fucking up into Valac while the phantom object pushed into him.

"Mmm, I can see why he likes you," Valac groaned, rising up on his knees, then shifting back between Dean’s legs to push into his ass, driving forward sharply with each thrust. Dean’s eyes widened in shock, and a cry ripped from him as he spasmed, clenching down on Valac’s cock while his suddenly neglected erection twitched against his belly.

"One hot fuck," Valac praised.

Dean looked up at him, searching the vivid emerald eyes for any sign of Val. "Love you," he whispered.

"Worship me. Be the first in millennia," Valac countered with a rough twist of his hips.

"Fuck that," Dean panted. "You can worship me." He bit back a whimper and clenched around Valac, pleasure zinging along every nerve.

Valac roared with laughter at that. "I can see why he liked you, Dean Winchester, and as for worship, you will learn; after all, could your Val do this?" A flash of emerald and the slender body fucking Dean grew more limber as he bent almost double to suck on Dean’s erection, making Dean yell with shocked pleasure.

It was several moments before Dean could gather his scattered wits for coherent speech, but he eventually managed it even as he continued to squirm under Valac’s attentions. "You, not him. You’re still Val, just with more powers. Oh God!"

There was a bite of pain as teeth dragged over Dean’s cock at the same time his prostate was rammed again and again, and Dean screamed as he came hard and wasn’t allowed to come down, Valac never pausing in his rhythm.

"Sweet," Valac purred, "like candy. I want more." He licked a trail of fire up Dean’s chest, diverting to attack his right nipple, and all the while his hips kept pumping.

"Fuck, fuck, fuck," Dean chanted, his voice high-pitched and desperate, his body writhing in a futile attempt to escape the intense pleasure.

"We are. We will, and you’ll beg for it."

"Fuck you," Dean bit out, forcing his eyes open again and glaring down at the dark head.

"And teach you to be more descriptive in your requests." Valac sat up again and suddenly the invisible bands holding Dean’s wrists were gone. "How do you want to fuck me?"

Dean’s hands shot to Valac’s head, tangling in the short dark hair, and he wrenched Valac’s head up to meet his, taking the demon’s mouth in a hot, dirty kiss that was pure sex. Power roared through him as he ate at Valac’s mouth and Valac pounded into him, Dean’s erection trapped between their bodies. Dean whimpered into the kiss, but he refused to give up, his tongue stroking over Valac’s, trying to force him to remember all the previous kisses and the emotions that went with them.

The strong thrusts stuttered for a moment, and the kiss gentled, the thumb of the hand that cradled Dean’s face stroking over his cheek. Dean moaned softly, unable to prevent it even while knowing that the sound would probably jolt Valac back to himself, and leaned into the hand, his eyes closing to hide his pain and fear of losing Val.

The thumb dragged over his mouth as Valac pulled back, his lips twisted in a cruel smile as his features tightened again. "Come for me, Dean." A roar of sensual power raced through him at the words, stripping away all rational thought.

Dean’s eyes widened to their fullest extent, and a cry was wrenched from him as he came again, pleasure and pain twisted together in this second climax in an impossibly short time, Valac riding the waves of his pleasure before coming as well, his gaze locked on Dean’s half-lidded eyes as his come flooded his ass.

"Very good," he murmured, brushing a hand over Dean’s brow.

Dean could only moan and pant, trying to catch his breath and vaguely wondering if he was going to have a heart attack, the way his heart was pounding in his chest.

"Rest now, Dean." Valac’s touch on his brow grew heavier. "We’ve much to do."

Even knowing he shouldn’t relax around this demon version of Val, Dean couldn’t fight his mental and physical exhaustion, and he slid into sleep, his last thought an incoherent prayer that he would wake up to find this had all been a bad dream.

"Hungry?" Valac murmured, his sultry voice rubbing along Dean’s nerves and pleasure center, making him shudder and try to draw back.

"Yeah," Dean replied sullenly, pride making him want to deny it, but Valac’s constant attentions made it impossible if he wanted to keep his strength up.

"Good answer." Valac leaned in and brushed a kiss over Dean’s mouth. "You’re learning." A tray filled with covered dishes appeared on the table in the corner of the room, and delicious smells wafted their way. Dean kept himself from responding to the kiss, but it was a near thing, and he moved toward the table. He felt uncomfortable with his nudity, but he’d learned it was a waste of time to ask Valac to let him get dressed.

Valac rose and followed him, catching up and running a hand down Dean’s back, his sharp nails catching in the curve of his ass and raising faint trails of blood. Dean stopped in his tracks, a shiver running down his spine, and he bit his lip, his fists clenching at his sides.

"I thought you wanted me to eat?"

"I do; can’t you do that if you’re distracted?" One long finger dipped in to press against Dean’s hole, then slid away as they reached the table.

"No!" Dean’s voice absolutely did not break.

"Then I suppose you’ll go hungry—again." Valac sat down and removed the tray from one of the plates and began to eat, now ignoring Dean though the phantom feeling of nails continued to play over his back and ass.

"Bastard," Dean hissed, sitting down gingerly and trying to ignore the sensation of Valac toying with him. He reached for a plate, mentally ordering his hand not to tremble, and bit back a groan when he found it full of oysters.

"A bit of a cliche, I know, but you didn’t like the more exotic things I tried."

"I hate oysters," Dean said sulkily. "They’re slimy."

"Now, now, that’s not true, and you know it," Valac corrected, a finger twitch causing tight pressure to momentarily form around Dean’s nipples. "I happen to know you said they taste like come, your dear Val’s come, and I know you like that."

Dean gritted his teeth and glared. "If you’re going to make me come like a fucking racehorse every hour on the hour, I need something a little more substantial than oysters."

"There’s more, but you have to eat those first." Valac’s voice was laced with amusement, and the pressure gentled, though it remained.

The look Dean gave him could have set ice on fire, but he’d learned that Valac meant what he said. The demon wouldn’t kill Dean, but he was an expert in giving pain unmixed with pleasure as well, and Dean really didn’t want to go there again before he had to. "Fucker," he growled before picking up a shell and pouring the oyster down his throat without bothering with any condiments.

"Is that a request?" Cold pleasure laced the words, and the solid green eyes glowed as the demon tilted his head back and swallowed down a flute of champagne.

That time the grinding of Dean’s teeth was audible. "Go to Hell. And yes, that is a request," he bit out.

"Eleven months and then we can both be there, though it’s so much more entertaining here."

"Gee, and my goal is so clearly to entertain you," Dean snarled.

Valac smiled at that, and his tongue slid out and over his lips. "I’m glad to hear that—now if only you were serious, though you will be eventually."

Dean glared. "Like hell." He swallowed another oyster, knowing that now that Valac had said he had to eat them first, he wasn’t going to get anything else until they were gone.

Valac only smiled and ate a bite of his omelet.

"Would you like an oyster?" Dean asked, knowing he was playing into the demon’s hands but unable to face eating that entire plate.

"Will you feed me one of them?"

Dean had to put down his glass before his grip shattered it. After a moment, he picked up another oyster and held it toward Valac, who beckoned him closer, his mouth opening and an anticipatory look in his eyes. Gritting his teeth again, Dean leaned over the table, raising his hand to tilt the shell over Valac’s mouth. Valac allowed the oyster to slide down, his throat working as he swallowed, then smiled at Dean, reaching out to take the shell from his fingers and draw them to his mouth, sucking each of them. Dean shuddered, even now seeing Val rather than Valac and remembering previous times when Val had done the same thing.

"You like?" Valac asked before dragging his teeth over the pad of Dean’s finger, then releasing him.

Dean refused to answer, instead swallowing another oyster, Valac watching him intently, smiling warmly when Dean finished the plate’s contents. "Very good, go ahead and take what you like then."

"So is there a steak on one of these plates?"

"There is now."

Dean smiled very slightly. "Thanks."

"Enjoy," Valac answered, eating another bite and refilling his champagne with a thought.

Dean dug into the steak and loaded baked potato, enjoying every bite of the meal, Valac watching each bite, his smile small and self-congratulatory.

"What?" Dean asked warily.

"I’m pleased that you’re enjoying your meal."

"Uh huh." Dean took another bite of steak, deciding to let it go or he might not get the rest of what really was a very good meal.

"You don’t believe me? I’m wounded." Valac sighed melodramatically and drained his champagne.

Dean snorted. "Yeah, right. I wouldn’t have bought that before all of this."

Valac’s glass refilled from one sip and the next, and at his next mouthful, he held the liquid in his mouth, allowing Dean to feel the bubbles rising against his cock.

"Christ!" Dean nearly choked on the food in his mouth and cast a wild-eyed glance at Valac.

"I’d suggest you not call me a liar," Valac said quietly after swallowing, Dean feeling the muscles of his throat working.

"I never called you a liar," Dean got out, holding his voice steady through an act of will. "But you tell selective portions of the truth."

"Many would see that as an asset."

Dean shrugged. "Sometimes yes, sometimes no."

"So what do you consider an asset?" Valac’s gaze grew heavy-lidded.

Dean smiled sadly. "Love."

Valac looked at him, a curious expression on his face. "Love? You do realize more people are damned for that than anything else?"

"Probably," Dean said with another shrug, "but it’s worth it. It’s worth anything."

"Even going to Hell??"

"It saved Sam’s life, so yes."

"You would have done anything to save Sam; your Val would have done anything to save you."

"And I’ll do anything to save him."

"How could you do that?" Valac asked, leaning forward and dipping his finger in a bowl of whipped cream, then licking it off. "You were going to be in Hell, leaving him alone."

Dean’s jaw tightened. "We would have had one more year together."

"And how much longer would he have lasted after that? I could tell you, but it’s more fun to make you guess." Valac rose and walked around the table, sliding his hands over Dean’s shoulders.

"He’d have been fine," Dean growled. "Even if he was pissed at me."

"And you think you know him. It’s better this way, trust me." The hands slid lower, brushing over Dean’s collarbone.

"No, it’s not," Dean retorted. "Nothing’s better without him. I love Val; can’t you get that through your demonic head?"

"The real question is do I care."

"Obviously not."

Valac smiled and kissed the side of Dean’s throat, the move suddenly morphing into a sucking bite. "Exactly."

Shivers ran down Dean’s spine, and he bit his lower lip to hold back a moan. He knew that Valac knew exactly what he was doing to him, but he wasn’t going to stroke the bastard’s ego by admitting it.

"What was that? I didn’t quite hear you," Valac purred into Dean’s ear before nipping at the lobe.

"I said I fucking hate you, you smug bastard!" Dean gasped.

"Ahh." A wave of Valac’s hand had the dishes crashing to the floor and Dean on his back on the now bare surface. He smirked when he saw that Dean was hardening and stood back to see what would happen.

Dean gritted his teeth and stared at the ceiling, refusing to acknowledge Valac in any way.

"Thinking of England won’t do you much good, Dean. Remember, I’ve heard you howl for me."

Dean stubbornly refused to answer or even look at Valac, and the demon chuckled as he ran his hands up the insides of Dean’s thighs, his thumbnails scoring bloody lines in the now pale skin. Dean shuddered, his cock filling at Valac’s touch, the pain only arousing him more despite his best efforts to remain unmoved.

"And you’ll howl again," Valac promised, leaning in to lick the length of Dean’s thigh, the coppery taste of blood blooming on his tongue.

Dean wanted to deny it, but the past month had proven otherwise. And sometimes, just sometimes, when he gave in, he saw Val looking back at him for a brief instant.

"Pretty, pretty Dean, you’re mine, and eventually you’ll understand that." As Valac spoke, he set himself between Dean’s thighs, his clothes vanishing with a thought.

"I’m Val’s and he’s mine," Dean retorted breathlessly.

That earned him a rough claiming as Valac slammed inside his ass, taking him almost violently, and Dean bit back a yell of pain at the un-lubed entry, his whole body tensing and arching in an attempt to pull away.

"Oh, fuck, that’s good," Valac hissed, resting his hands on the table on either side of Dean’s torso and beginning to move.

"Fucking sadist," Dean snarled, turning his head to the side to avoid looking at him.

"Doesn’t seem as if you mind too much." Valac took advantage of Dean’s position and bit the other side of his neck.

"Wanna bet?"

A hand dropped down to Dean’s cock and squeezed the hardened flesh in answer.

"Fu—Bastard!" Dean squirmed, groaning involuntarily when that dragged the head of Valac’s cock over his prostate.

"Have to have parents to be that." Valac licked the reddened spot before turning Dean’s head so that he could kiss him. Dean could only groan helplessly and meet the kiss, opening to Valac and praying for a glimpse of Val to give him hope.

The surrender made Valac smile into the kiss, and his thrusts came faster, designed to bring them both off. Dean slowly began to respond, his hips rising to meet each stroke, and he stared up into the green eyes, seeing only the coldness there—at least until after they both had come and were gasping for breath as they recovered. In that moment, the chill left Valac’s eyes, and another soul looked out from them.

Dean whimpered softly, not blinking for fear of missing even a single second of that tenuous connection with Val.

"Dean-o." The word was a barely audible whisper before the green eyes closed and Valac shook his head, sending dark hair over them. "Still hate me?" he murmured.

Dean had to shut his eyes to hide his expression. "To my dying breath," he rasped, making Valac chuckle.

"Good, that makes thing more interesting."

Mastering his emotions, Dean opened his eyes again to glare at the demon on top of him. "I’m going to send you back to Hell."

"You do that and I’ll see you sooner rather than later," Valac reminded him. "Besides, you kill this body, you kill your darling Val."

Dean gave him a toothy grin. "I never said I was going to kill Val."

"The Colt’s out of bullets, so what does that leave you? Your bare hands?" Valac raised a hand, the skin around his lips whitening with tension, then slowly lowered it before smiling again. "You’re mine now, Dean. Get used to it."

"Like hell," Dean snarled, promising himself that he would enjoy exorcising this sonofabitch.

"Behave and maybe one day soon I’ll take you out in public."

"I’m not a fucking lapdog!"

"Mmm, but you’d look good in a collar—Oh, you’ve worn one before, have you?"

Dean actually growled, and Valac purred, rocking his hips against him. "Ready for more?"

"Oh my God, I thought you said you weren’t actually an incubus?"

"Can I help it if you get me hot—and I’m really not the type to deny what I want."

"And here I thought you’d be the perfect ascetic."

Valac roared with laughter, dragging a finger through the semen cooling on Dean’s stomach and licking it clean. "You amuse me."

"My life is now complete."

Valac pulled out of him and stretched. "Very glad to hear it."

"So can I get off this table now?" Dean bit out, having tried to sit up and found himself still held in place.

Valac turned and looked at him, his gaze frankly assessing. "You do look good there, but fine, since I don’t want you to try to kill me or anything."

Dean bit back a response, not wanting to get stuck to the table again, and sat up, wincing when his weight landed on his ass.

"Something to remember me by," Valac smirked.

"Does that mean you’re leaving?" Dean shot back.

"If I do, you’ll be trapped here, alone."

"As opposed to being trapped here with you."

"You’d rather be alone? Fine." Valac turned a burning gaze toward Dean, then vanished.

Dean slid off the table and started to sit down, then changed his mind, wincing. "God, Val, I hope I’m doing the right thing. I miss you," he whispered to the empty room, needing to say it aloud.

Ava glanced out the window and sighed. The weather was as grey, overcast and gloomy as the moods of the people in the motel room. If she’d seen this in a movie, she would have rolled her eyes at the melodrama, but reality was unfortunately outdoing Hollywood at the moment. After checking in, she’d joined Sam and Andy in the room they were sharing, all of them wanting the company.

Bobby, who had rejoined them a few days before when they thought they had a lead on Valac and Dean’s location, had been there for a time, but he’d pleaded fatigue and retreated to his own room, leaving the three younger people alone.

Sam seemed dispirited, which though understandable under the circumstances, still had Ava and even Andy worried about him. "I think it’s time to try something different," she said, watching Sam. "It’s been a couple of months, and we’re no closer to finding Dean and Valac than we were the day the Hell gate opened."

"Something like what?" Andy asked, looking at her curiously and frowning slightly. "And don’t say trying to talk to more demons!"

"No." Ava glanced at Sam, knowing he wasn’t going to like this. "But I think we have to face the fact that we can’t find Valac—or Dean—unless he wants to be found. So let’s plan for that. If we can’t find them now, go where we know they will be. Dean has to complete his deal with the crossroads demon, even if Valac plans to intervene, so we figure out what we can do then."

"We know what we have to do," Sam said flatly. "Kill it—kill them both."

Ava chewed her lip. "If we have to, we have to. But maybe there are other options. You were willing to take a chance to save me instead of just shooting me, Sam; maybe we should try the same for the guy your brother loves."

Andy nodded. "We need to get rid of Valac, but Val..." He shrugged helplessly.

"Isn’t in control right now, and I know he’d agree with me in regard to this," Sam said stonily, shaking his hair back out of his eyes as he looked over at the other two. "We do what we have to save Dean."

"Dean’s not going to feel very saved if we kill Val to do it," Ava said softly. "And you know that, Sam. I’m not saying we endanger Dean, but if there’s a chance, I think we need to take it."

"So we just wait?"

"She’s not saying we sit on our asses the whole time," Andy spoke up. "We should use the time and figure out how to save them."

"And the reality is we’ve been trying to find them for a couple of months, and we’re no closer than we were the moment they disappeared," Ava said bluntly. "So should we spend the next few months chasing our tails or planning something that we can do?"

"And what can we do?" Sam growled, causing Andy to shake his head.


"And take Valac by surprise when he’s not expecting us," Ava elaborated.

Sam sighed and looked toward the window and the darkness beyond. "Then we need to practice. We need to be strong enough to take him."

Two days passed before Dean admitted to himself that Valac was going to leave him trapped alone in this cage. Food and drink still appeared at regular intervals, so the demon hadn’t forgotten him and obviously wasn’t planning to starve him to death, but slow death by boredom wasn’t Dean’s idea of fun.

A major drawback of being left on his own was that he had a lot of time to think—too much—and one of the things he couldn’t stop thinking about was his father. With everything that had happened, this was the first time Dean had had a moment to think about anything beyond his current situation and Valac, and it finally sank in that his father was dead.

John Winchester was dead.

"Dad’s dead." Dean repeated the words aloud, and he cringed at the sound of them. His father had died, and he and Sam hadn’t even had a chance to mourn him. Dean had saved his brother, only to lose his father, and that thought wrenched a guttural sound from him as he sank to his knees, arms wrapped around himself.

"Nooooo!" It was a heartfelt cry, torn from the depths of Dean’s soul, but it changed nothing. His father was dead, his lover was possessed, and he... well, to put it mildly, Dean was fucked.

As the days alone turned into weeks, Dean mourned his father, and then his sorrow was replaced by fury, first at John for dying and then at Valac for abandoning him alone in this luxuriously appointed prison. He raged at the absent demon, hoping that Valac might be listening and anger might draw him back, if only to teach Dean a lesson, but apparently he either wasn’t paying attention or didn’t care.

Fury eventually morphed into sullen fear as Dean started to wonder if he would be left here until his year was up and the crossroads demon appeared to collect his soul.

"Miss me?" Valac asked, appearing in the room once again a month later.

Dean took another bite of his cheeseburger, chewing and swallowing before raising his eyes to meet Valac’s gaze. "Was I supposed to?"

"Always entertaining, and I see you’ve been working out. Very nice."

"Have to be ready for Val when I get him back," Dean retorted as Valac walked over to him to run a hand across his shoulders.

"Of course you do."

Dean closed his eyes and allowed himself a moment of pretending it was Val touching him and the last two months had never happened. He leaned into the touch, just for a second, and Valac leaned in, brushing his lips over the curve of his ear.


"-ac." Was whispered into his ear as a hand curved down over his chest, and Dean flinched away.

"No. I know this body; it’s my dream, my Val."

"Keep thinking that if it makes you feel better, Dean. We both know the truth."

"Yeah, we do." Dean regarded him stubbornly, and Valac leaned in to kiss him, his hand holding Dean’s chin so that his mouth opened. Dean tried to resist, but the familiar scent and taste had his body reacting automatically, responding to Valac’s touch.

"Tell me what you want."

"I want Val."

"You have me."

Looking sad, Dean raised a hand to cup Valac’s cheek. "I wish that were true."

Valac’s laugh was low and throaty. "Take what you’re given and enjoy it; I know I am."

"I’ve noticed," Dean admitted.

"And no questions about what I’ve been up to the past month?"

Dean shrugged. "Something demonic, I assume."

"Planning, I was planning."

"That never leads to anything good."

"Oh, but it will," Valac assured him. "For you at least."

Dean laughed almost painfully. "Somehow, I really doubt that."

Valac chuckled and backed away, looking around the room with a critical eye. "You must be bored out of your mind with this place by now; ready to go somewhere else?"

Dean’s eyes shot to Valac’s, but he hesitated. "To go where exactly?" he asked, not about to commit himself until he knew what the demon had in mind.

"Buenos Aires, Amsterdam, Budapest... anywhere. Any requests?" Valac asked challengingly. "And I know you aren’t going to be tedious and say ‘where Sam is’. Been there already, it’s not very exciting."

Dean’s eyes widened slightly. "What did you do to Sam?!"

"Nothing." Valac sounded wounded. "There are plans for him, and besides, he was busy with those two little friends of his."

Dean breathed a sigh of relief at hearing that Sam, Andy and Ava were all right, and he was sure they were looking for him. He started to ask about the plans but then realized he wouldn’t know if Valac was telling the truth or lying, so why bother? "Miami," he said instead.

"Miami, sex on the beach. Works for me," Valac purred, pulling Dean to him and nipping his chin. "You’ll need a new wardrobe." Between one word and the next, the room vanished and they appeared on a darkened beach, the warm breeze and the ocean waves almost drowning out the sound of music coming from across the sand.

Dean looked around, relieved to find that he was wearing jeans and a loose shirt. "Nice," he said reluctantly.

"Glad you approve." Valac’s arm slid around Dean’s waist, slipping under the soft fabric of his open shirt and coming to rest against bare skin. "So, what shall we do? Salsa dancing? Shots? Murder?"

Dean’s eyes shot to Valac’s, and he wished he believed that last was a joke. "I don’t really feel like having a bunch of pissed off Latinos after us for dancing together, so I guess it’s shots."

"You just don’t know the right places to go, but, fine, shots it is." Valac turned them away from the ocean and led Dean across the sand toward the bright lights of the clubs that lined the street bordering the beach.

Dean eyed him sidelong. "You know gay salsa clubs?"

"So innocent."

"Yeah, right. Fine, lead on," Dean said, willing to pretend for a little while that it was Val beside him.

They were ushered in the bar without having to pay a cover fee and led to a semi-circular couch, a bottle of good tequila, limes, and salt appearing on the table even as they were seated. "I love the service here," Valac chuckled, keeping his hold on Dean’s waist.

"I take it you’ve been here before," Dean said dryly, allowing himself to be pulled into Valac’s side.

"Take a closer look around. Notice anything interesting?"

Dean looked around and shrugged. "The only women aren’t?"

Valac chuckled and leaned in to nibble Dean’s earlobe at the same time his hand slid across the taut plains of the other man’s stomach. "Look at that guy over there—at his eyes."

Fighting the urge to flinch away, Dean looked where Valac indicated and froze. His eyes darted around, and he unconsciously moved closer to Valac. "It’s a demon bar?" he hissed.

"It’s been a productive month; after all, there are so many more of us out here now." The words were followed by the swipe of Valac’s tongue in Dean’s ear.

"Fucker," Dean snarled, though he was careful to keep his voice low so as not to attract attention to them.

Valac’s teeth closed on his lobe, and he bit down hard enough to draw a drop of blood. "The best, but then you know that, don’t you? Now come on, let’s have a shot."

Dean glared, but he reached for one of the shot glasses and the bottle, figuring it could only help.

Valac took the salt and a lime, licking his hand, then pouring salt on it, before holding it and the lime out to Dean, waiting for his reaction. Dean looked at the outstretched hand, wondering if he could get away with ignoring it, but one look into the green eyes convinced him that he would regret it. Reluctantly, he dipped his head and licked the salt from Valac’s hand, then tossed back the shot.

A smug smile curved Valac’s lips as he held the lime to Dean’s mouth, letting him suck the juice from it. "My turn," he murmured, dropping the peel and pouring himself a shot, then waiting for Dean.

Dean really didn’t want to imagine how far Valac might go in a demon bar, so after a brief hesitation, he picked up a lime wedge and licked his hand and poured the salt onto it, holding it out for Valac. He shuddered when Valac’s tongue dragged over his hand, lapping up every grain of salt.

"Next time, I won’t bother with the salt," Valac chuckled before tossing back the tequila and reaching for Dean’s hand and sucking on the lime and his fingers, making Dean shiver again.

"I thought you needed the salt to get the full flavor of the tequila," he managed to get out without gasping.

"I’ll get that from your skin." Valac drew Dean’s hand to his mouth and licked the inside of his wrist.

"N-not if you lick it all off."

"I’ll just have to get you sweaty to get some more then, won’t I?"


"You sound so horrified," Valac laughed. "I didn’t mean fuck you over the table though that would be fun..."


"So, so innocent," Valac chuckled, stroking his free hand over Dean’s inner thigh. "It’s what I enjoy about you, Dean."

Dean glared. "I’m not freaking Mary with her little lamb!"

The hand climbed higher, Valac’s thumb brushing against the seam at Dean’s crotch. "Having had sex before doesn’t mean you’re not innocent. You see things in black and white, when in all reality, the world is grey."

Dean’s hips twitched minutely before he forced himself still again. "Sure, there’s grey, but demons ain’t it."

"Now tell me, what horrible things have I done since I’ve been back?"

"Kidnapping for one!"

"Governments do that every day."

"Which is still wrong, but last I checked, you’re not a government," Dean retorted.


"Let me guess, you’re planning to take over the world?" Dean faked a yawn.

"That would be your brother who’s going to do that for us," Valac replied blandly.

"You are so full of crap."

"Why do you think he was chosen? Why do you think Azazel wanted him?" Valac leaned back in the couch and smiled cruelly. "You know he’s different."

"And he can stop demons," Dean retorted, a shadow deep in his eyes. "Sam’s one of the good guys. He’s way better than me; that’s why he had to live."

"Just remember that in the future." Valac twisted his hand, rubbing Dean’s crotch, and leaned in to kiss him.

Despite his best intentions, Dean moaned and arched up into Valac’s touch, the demon continuing to play with him until Dean was panting harshly and writhing against him.

"See?" he murmured, moving his hand to grab Dean’s wrist and bring it to his mouth. "All salty again."

"Bastard," Dean groaned, his hips jerking as he sought the vanished touch.

"If you want more, all you have to do is ask for it."

Dean glared at him and grabbed for another shot of tequila, Valac chuckling at that reaction. "Your loss—for now. Later I won’t worry if you ask or not." Dean would never have admitted that a tiny part of him was glad of that.

"Guess I should have added assault to kidnapping earlier," he snapped.

"And you think that worries me?" Valac’s hand was back, this time only a finger gliding up and down Dean’s zipper.

Dean shivered. "I doubt you give a damn about anything or anyone."

"You." Valac seemed almost surprised by the single word. "Sex. Power."

"Gee, should I be flattered that I came first?" But Dean was searching the emerald eyes for any sign of Val, his hips rocking against Valac’s touch.

"You always come first—unless I don’t let you."

Dean gave him a dirty look, and suddenly his zipper was open and Valac’s finger was rubbing over bare flesh, making Dean gasp and jerk in his seat. "Damnit," he panted, his hands clenching on the edge of the table.

"All you have to do is ask," Valac purred.

"Fuck," Dean groaned.

"Was that a request?"

Dean’s eyes widened. "No! Oh fuck, please, yes, jerk me off," he gasped.

"Anything you want," Valac purred, shifting to curl his hand around Dean’s erection, his voice low and husky in Dean’s ear as he explained in great detail how he felt and what they would be doing later that evening. Dean whimpered and rocked into Valac’s fist, turning his face into the demon’s cheek as the pleasure peaked and he came, Valac catching his cries in his mouth even as he rubbed the semen into Dean’s flesh.

"Fucking gorgeous," he purred after a final nip at Dean’s lower lip.

"I know."

"Mmm, excellent answer. I’m going to reward you later."

Dean’s eyes widened as he realized he’d let himself forget this was Valac, not Val. "I, uh... another shot?" he suggested almost desperately.

"Sure, have as many as you want, and later, I think you’re going to fuck me."

Dean almost spit the tequila he’d just tossed back into Valac’s face, and the demon chuckled. "What? No snappy comeback? Or is this something you want to do—something you haven’t done in a month."

Coughing, his eyes watering, Dean waved a hand helplessly as he tried to catch his breath, and Valac helpfully held out the napkin one of the staff had handed him.

"Better now?" he asked when the coughing fit ended.

"Copasetic," Dean gasped out, wiping his eyes.

"About everything?"

Dean’s fulminating glare was answer enough, and Valac chuckled as he dragged his hand over Dean’s stomach, then brought it above the table for him to lick clean. Watching him, Dean bit his lower lip, and his eyes dilated.

"Do you need something, Dean?" Valac purred, reaching out to trace one saliva-slick finger around Dean’s mouth.

Dean’s tongue flicked out to taste the teasing digit before he realized what he was doing and snapped his mouth shut. Looking away, he poured himself another shot and tossed it back, and for once Valac remained quiet, instead pouring himself another shot as well, settling back into the curve of the seating arrangement, his arm on the sofa back behind Dean.

Dean tried to sit rigidly, but he found himself sinking into a comfortable slouch time and time again, and finally he gave up and leaned back, trying to ignore the sensation of Val’s arm against the nape of his neck.

Valac smiled to himself but didn’t react except for shifting his arm just enough that his fingertips brushed Dean’s shoulder, making Dean shiver and dart a glance at him out the corner of his eye.

"Anything you need?" Valac asked, deliberately looking away, his gaze roving over the dance floor.

"No, I’m good." Dean took another shot and relaxed a little more, his head now leaning against Valac’s arm.

"Good, relax and enjoy, though later I’m going to take us to a place that has the best medianoches I’ve ever had."

"Mmm, food would be good."

Valac tilted his head to the side and studied him for a moment before smiling. "We can go now if you’d like."

"Mmm, okay." But Dean grabbed another shot quickly before Valac could move them.

"We can also take the bottle."

"Great idea." Dean grabbed it and gave Valac a slightly sloppy grin, which Valac returned, a sensual light growing in his eyes before he leaned in to kiss Dean, keeping the pressure light for the time being.

"Let’s go find those sandwiches."

Dean stared at him for a moment, looking slightly dazed, and then he licked his lips before nodding. "Yeah, I could eat."

"So, come on, let’s see what we can find." Valac stood, urging Dean up as well.

Dean wobbled very slightly but quickly found his balance, walking beside Valac, who wrapped an arm around his waist, helping to support him when he listed to the side. "Are you warm?" he asked.

"A little," Dean replied with a shrug before reflexively sliding his arm around Valac’s waist, not even realizing what he was doing. "Not overly so."

"Ah. Just checking; if you get too warm, you could always lose the shirt."

Dean snorted. "Yeah, right. Food. I’m hungry."

"Gotcha," Valac laughed, guiding Dean off the main drag and to a small cafe.

"I know," Dean replied almost morosely.

Valac rolled his eyes and led Dean inside, greeting the operator in fluent Spanish and ordering for them both.

"I suppose you’re not going to poison me," Dean observed, seating himself.

"What’s the fun in that?"

Dean snorted a laugh. "And you’re all about the fun, aren’t you."

Valac grinned at that and shrugged.

Dean slouched in his chair, staring at the demon. "Why me? If you don’t have Val’s feelings, why stick with me? You could have anyone you want."

"Because—" Valac faltered for a second before continuing smoothly, "you’ve made quite a name for yourself, so who better to keep?"

Dean smiled crookedly. "Uh huh. Will we get tossed out of here if I pull out the tequila?"

"Will they dare?"

"I’d really rather not have everyone die because I wanted a drink."

"Drink, Dean; they won’t notice anything."

Dean hesitated, regarding the emerald eyes searchingly, and then raised the bottle to his lips and took a swig. Then he offered it to Valac, who took it and tilted his head back, downing several mouthfuls before setting it back down as he wiped his mouth on the back of his arm.

"Thank you."

"Uh huh." Dean looked almost impressed as he looked from Valac to the bottle.

"Uh huh?"

"What, you wanted ‘you’re welcome’? Welcome to twenty-first century America."

Valac chuckled at that and offered the bottle back to Dean. "True, true."

Dean took the bottle and another swig. "So where did you go the last month?" he asked idly.

"Here, there," Valac offered, taking a bite of the pork sandwich the proprietor had brought them.

"Gee, sounds thrilling. Hey, that’s really good," Dean said after taking a bite.

"It had a few moments," Valac grinned. "And shall I say ‘I told you so’?"

"For this, you can," Dean decided after another bite. "Damn, this is good."

"Glad you like it."

"I’m going to have to remember these... and this place."

"We can come back whenever you like—if you ask."

Dean gritted his teeth and took another slug of tequila.

"Obviously not what you meant," Valac observed.

"What do you think?" Dean retorted, annoyed but still eating. It was too good to waste.

"That in time you’ll change your mind."

Dean snorted eloquently, and Valac chuckled, lifting his sandwich and resuming his meal, watching the level in the liquor in the bottle drop lower and lower as Dean interspersed his bites with gulps from it. Finally done, Dean leaned back in his chair. "I really hope you don’t expect me to dance after that," he said, remembering Valac’s earlier comment about salsa dancing.

"Somehow I doubt you’re much for tangoing even while sober," Valac answered, reaching out and rubbing his thumb over Dean’s lower lip, cleaning away a sheen of grease, then licking it from his finger.

His eyes helplessly following Valac’s finger, it took Dean a moment to reply. "You’d be right about that."

"Except of course, horizontally." Valac’s eyes flashed as he spoke, and Dean’s eyes darted to his.

"Maybe we should go for a walk on the beach?" he suggested hurriedly.

"Of course—and don’t forget your bottle."

"I wouldn’t dream of it," Dean assured him.

Valac smirked as they headed out of the cafe and back toward the beach where the white sand and water were illuminated by the nearly full moon. Valac’s arm went around Dean’s waist again, his fingers stroking over the bare flesh under Dean’s shirt.

Dean stiffened for a moment, and then he sighed and relaxed, sliding his own arm around Valac’s waist, choosing to allow himself the fantasy. "Pretty," he murmured.

"It’s a nice night." As they walked, Valac’s fingers glided over Dean’s side.

"Yeah, it’s been a long time since I just took a walk on a beach," Dean admitted, unconsciously leaning into Valac as they strolled along, now bare toes digging into the cool sand.

Valac nodded at that, tilting his head to brush his lips over Dean’s ear, their steps in sync as they continued to walk. Dean shivered and moved a little closer, closing his eyes for a moment and imagining this night with Val beside him.

"Look," Valac murmured, "cabanas up ahead."

Dean looked and then turned his head to meet Valac’s eyes and was greeted with a quizzical gaze.

"Wanna check them out?"

Dean hesitated, well aware of what Valac was really asking, but he also knew that here or somewhere else, the night would end the same way, and at least this was... a change. He nodded slowly, and Valac grinned, his thumb still ghosting over Dean’s side. "Ocean breeze, the moon, you, and I bet we find a comfortable lounger in one of those."

Managing to dredge up a wry smile, Dean said, "Sounds like your perfect night."

"Well, that would include one other thing."

"Like you’re not going to make sure that’s included."

"No, tonight will be because it’s what you want, not what I want."

Dean raised the almost forgotten bottle of tequila to his lips and continued walking, refusing to answer. But he was still at Valac’s side, his arm around the demon’s waist and their hips brushing together with every step they took.

Valac remained quiet, letting Dean dictate their pace and direction though there was an emerald glint in his eyes as he gently fanned Dean’s emotions, waiting to see what the man would do.

"What I want," Dean finally said, staring out over the ocean, "you can’t give me."

"Try me."

"Val. Love."

"Maybe you should be happy with what you have."

"I was happy with what I had!"

"There isn’t much I can do about it," Valac commented easily.

"You mean there’s nothing you want to do about it. We both know damn well Val’s still in there." Dean suddenly turned to him, cupping Valac’s face between his hands and kissed him wildly, Valac’s arms going around him, holding him close, his mouth opening under Dean’s assault as their bodies rubbed together.

"Damn you," Dean rasped before biting at Valac’s throat.

"Too late for that, so enjoy me. You know you want to."

"I hate you," Dean groaned.

"So hate me and use me." Valac rolled his hips against Dean’s as he spoke.

"Bastard." Dean dropped to his knees, mouthing Valac’s cock through his pants, beyond caring if anyone saw him.

Valac groaned, one hand cupping Dean’s head. "So make me pay, Dean," he murmured, rocking his hips against Dean’s mouth, which opened as Dean tore at Valac’s pants. He was only exposed to the cool night for the briefest instant before he was in Dean’s mouth, surrounded by wet, sucking heat.

"Fuck, that’s good," Valac gasped, rocking into Dean’s mouth, cupping his face between his hands but not forcing him to do anything.

Dean hummed quietly, his tongue sliding along the thick shaft, and his cheeks hollowed as he suckled strongly.

"So damn good," Valac purred, stroking Dean’s hair, and Dean let him feel his teeth, making Valac gasp.

"Mmm, that’s why he kept you around."

Dean let Valac’s cock fall from his mouth with a faintly obscene, wet pop. "We stayed together because we love each other."

"Keep telling yourself that."

Dean turned his head and sank his teeth into Valac’s thigh, and the demon groaned, his fingers twining in Dean’s hair, holding him into the abrasion. Dean groaned, tasting a hint of blood, and his body reacted, his erection twitching.

"What do you want, Dean?" Valac purred.

"You, you fucking bastard, I want you."

"Good answer." Valac looked toward the cabana, and the locked doors pushed open.

Dean looked from Valac to the now open doors, and after a moment he got to his feet and started for the small structure, Valac following, a small smile curving his mouth.

"Where do you want me?"

"On your hands and knees," Dean gritted out, already wrenching his jeans open.

Valac complied, stripping off his shirt and pants, then gracefully moving toward the mattress, crawling up on it and baring himself, looking back over his shoulder and smiling at Dean, who shuddered and paused in his frantic rush to strip in order to admire the sight of him.

"Gorgeous," he breathed, finally moving again to remove his remaining garments.

"So use me."

A deep heart-felt groan tore out of Dean, and he practically threw himself on Valac, his tongue swiping over the tight pucker between the demon’s cheeks. Valac groaned and spread his legs, pressing his weight onto his elbows, and Dean grabbed hold of his ass, spreading him open for Dean to feast on.

"Fuck yeah, eat me out," Valac gasped, his voice strained, and Dean did just that, fucking him with his tongue until neither of them could wait any longer. He reared up on his knees and pushed into Valac, groaning harshly at the tight grip on his cock.

"Dean, Dean-o," Valac gasped, rocking against the claiming.

"So fucking good," Dean panted, his hands biting into Valac’s hips as he took him.

"Fuck yes," Valac groaned, arching back against Dean, gasping at the intensity of the moment.

"Perfect," Dean moaned before biting down on the nape of Valac’s neck.

"Of course."

Dean laughed breathlessly. "Such humility."

"Why don’t you fuck it out of me?"

"Good idea," Dean agreed, slamming into him even harder with the next stroke, knowing that he couldn’t hurt Valac no matter what he did, the demon groaning and smiling in contentment as he arched up against Dean. "God, feel so good," Dean rasped.

"Umhmm," Valac purred, rocking back against him and smiling to himself.

"Smug bastard," Dean grumbled, taking a quick, sharp nip at the back of Valac’s neck before slamming into him again.

"You were used to that before I arrived," Valac commented before groaning as Dean slammed into him again.

Realizing he had no chance of winning a war of words, Dean concentrated on driving Valac out of his mind with lust, one hand moving around to jerk the demon in perfect counterpoint to his thrusts into him, Valac groaning and moving with him, his ass clenching around Dean’s cock as he shuddered, then came.

"Mine, you’re mine, exactly what I want," Dean rasped, biting at the back of Valac’s neck again as he gave himself up to his pleasure now, pounding into Valac until he came as well, driving even deeper inside him at the last.

Feeling Dean’s weight slumped over him, Valac smiled against his arm and reached back to stroke the other man’s thigh. "Exactly."

"Too bad what’s inside changed," Dean said, trying to keep his tone level.

Val shrugged a shoulder, squirming forward then flipping over, all without losing contact with Dean. "Not as much as you seem to think," he murmured, reaching up and tracing a finger around Dean’s mouth, which turned down unhappily.

"And a lot more than you’d like me to believe."

"Shh, why don’t you just try to enjoy the evening," Valac murmured.

Dean managed a half smile and sank down on top of Valac, tucking his head under the demon’s chin in the familiar, comfortable position and inhaling the scent that was still the same, Valac stroking his back as they fell silent, listening to the sounds of the wind and the ocean. As time passed, Dean relaxed more, unconsciously taking comfort from having Valac beneath him.

The demon smiled into the darkness and stroked Dean’s back, his hand moving over the bare skin, cooling the heated flesh as he kissed Dean’s temple, the solid green of his eyes momentarily fading away to a normal, human guise.

Dean bit back Val’s name at the touch, knowing the sound of it would only bring Valac back to the fore all the sooner. Instead, he turned his head and pressed a soft kiss to Val’s throat.

"You have to hang on."

The whispered words were almost lost in the nighttime noises, but Dean still heard them, and he moaned softly, his arms tightening around the lean form beneath him.

"Rest of the year... Wait for Sam... Sorry."

"I love you," Dean breathed almost soundlessly, praying Val would hear him before being subsumed in Valac again.

A soft, pained sound was all the answer he got before Valac breathed deeply and sighed, the sound full of contentment, the hand moving over Dean’s back becoming more possessive, and Dean closed his eyes against the pain, biting his lip to hold back an animalistic howl of protest at the loss of Val yet again.

Sam had been growing increasingly more isolated as time passed with no sign of his brother or Valac. The only time he really interacted with Andy and Ava anymore was when they were working together to increase their powers, something that had grown both easier and harder when a demon calling herself Ruby had appeared on their doorstep one day. None of them had been inclined to trust a demon—although Andy had been happy to drool over the admittedly beautiful blond—but she had saved them from another demon, making them willing to give her a chance.

All of them had to admit that their control over their powers, as well as the powers themselves, had grown stronger with Ruby’s assistance—and Sam’s total obsession.

Ruby had vanished on one of her frequent mysterious errands, saying that she wouldn’t be back for at least a week, and Ava decided that this was the best opportunity she was going to get to try to get Sam to open up.

For the moment ignoring Andy, who was stretched out on one of the beds in the motel room—and why would anyone decorate with wallpaper covered in violet, mauve and metallic silver overlapping circles?--Ava moved up behind Sam at the window and placed a hand on his back.


"What?" he asked tiredly.

"Come sit down. It makes my muscles hurt just to look at you. And I give a pretty good massage," she coaxed.

"Ava..." Sam sighed before Andy cut in.

"She does, you know, and you are tense enough to blow—not in a good way either."

"The good way’s not totally out of the question," Ava murmured.

Sam spun at that, his eyes widening. "What?"

"Yeah, what?" Andy chimed in, rolling to his side to look at the other two.

Ava rolled her eyes. "We’re all healthy adults here... and you can’t tell me you haven’t noticed the sexual tension between all of us. Even that first time we met, Sam, when I was engaged, it was there."

Sam’s mouth worked, but nothing emerged as he stared at her, and Ava made a sound of amusement combined with disbelief.

"Or maybe I was giving you too much credit."

"Want me to give you a picture?" Andy asked, only sounding half-kidding. "I mean, it would be good practice..."

Ava turned to regard him with interest, her hand still resting on Sam’s chest where it had landed when Sam whirled to face her. "Can you?"

"I don’t think we need to-" Sam’s denial died off when he found himself seeing an image of the three of them together in bed, naked and tangled together. "Jesus!"

"I had to fill in the blanks for certain things," Andy explained sheepishly.

Ava laughed. "If I was built like that, I wouldn’t be able to walk upright! And I don’t think Sam would be able to walk at all," she added, turning to eye him speculatively.

"You have too much porn on the brain; no wonder Dean likes you so much!"

"That’s avoiding the subject," Andy shot back.

"And I happen to think it’s a pretty interesting subject, personally," Ava said. She gave Sam another glance, but he was still standing as if rooted to the floor, so she shrugged and walked over to the bed where Andy lay and sat down on the edge. She braced a hand on Andy’s shoulder and leaned in to kiss him tentatively.

Apparently Andy had none of Sam’s reservations because he slid a hand into Ava’s hair and deepened the kiss as he pulled her closer, making her moan softly and stretch out on the bed next to him, her arms going around him.

"Yeah, I’ll just..." Sam turned toward the door but found he couldn’t move. "Damnit, Andy!"

"Damnit, Sam," the shorter man mimicked. "Just get over here, will you?"

"You know you want to," Ava said, sitting up to pull her top off. "See, normal," she muttered to Andy, who pouted for a moment before grinning at the now bare flesh.

Sam turned back from the door, then the bed banged against the wall as he launched himself across the room, pulling the other two into a tight hug.

Ava let out a soft sigh of relief at his action and wrapped her arms around both men, holding them closer. "Finally," she whispered.

There was no talking for a long time after that, just soft sighs and groans of pleasure, and when they were finally still, Andy snickered. "So, Sam, just how do you walk upright?" There was a moment of silence before Sam’s laughter filled the room.

Dean looked up as Valac appeared in the room that had been Dean’s prison for the last several months, and he couldn’t prevent a smile at the familiar sight of the tousled dark hair, even when it topped solidly emerald eyes and was much longer than Val had ever allowed it to grow. "Finished wreaking mayhem?"

"Nah," Valac chuckled, stepping forward and hooking a finger in the front belt loop of Dean’s jeans, tugging lightly, "this was minutia."

"And did everyone survive this minutia?" Dean asked wryly, allowing himself to be drawn toward Valac.

Valac snorted at that. "I’m not the murder and mayhem type, though I can partake if necessary. Sex is more fun."

"Should I be worrying about diseases?"

"What do you think?"

"I think that’s a human body you’re in, and it can catch things that I really don’t want to share."

"Did I say I’d been having sex?"

About to reply heatedly, Dean paused and mentally replayed the conversation. "You implied it," he finally said with a frown.

"And does that bother you?"

Dean’s expression darkened, but all he said was, "Like I said, I don’t want to catch anything."

One corner of Valac’s mouth curved upward, and he nodded. "I’m sure you don’t."

Dean scowled at him. "So, do I need to worry?" he repeated.

"You’re cute when you’re jealous."

"J- Wha- I am not!" Dean sputtered.

"Don’t worry, Dean; your health is safe," Valac promised with a chuckle. "I didn’t sleep with anyone."

"Oh. Well, good." Dean turned away, uncomfortable with the way this conversation was going.

"So what did you do today?" Valac asked, walking over to look out of the windows where the leaves of the trees around the lake now burned crimson.

Dean cast him a wry glance. "Gee, let’s see, I woke up in my gilded cage, ate the food left for me, and sat around as my brain cells died and my muscles atrophied from lack of use. How was your day?"

"I really doubt you would have liked going with me," Valac commented to the window.

Knowing he was going to regret it, Dean nonetheless asked, "What did you do?"

"What do you think I did?"

"How the hell should I know? The only things you’ve eliminated are murder and sex; that leaves a fucking lot of possibilities. For all I know, you spent the day pulling wings off flies and torturing cute little animals," Dean snapped.

Valac chuckled at that, reaching behind himself, holding his hand out for Dean. "Nothing so melodramatic," he murmured. "Today was meetings, discussions."

Dean made a face as he took Valac’s hand almost without realizing he was doing it. "I think the torture sounded better. Wait, demons have meetings? Christ, it really is Hell!"

"What?" Valac laughed, pulling him closer. "You think it’s all fun, games, and torture?"

Dean shook his head. "Meetings are torture."

"You just haven’t been to the right meetings."

"I don’t wanna know!"

Valac chuckled again and let go of Dean’s hand to slide his arm around his waist. "Don’t worry; I’m not taking you to any of them."

"I guess I should be grateful for small mercies," Dean replied, unconsciously leaning into the embrace.

"Never say I don’t do anything nice."

"You’re a real prince."

"Well, if you want to be technical..."

"No!" Dean exclaimed hastily, not wanting to hear any further details, and Valac grinned, leaning over to kiss him.

"Then I won’t."

"Good." Dean eyed him. "So what were the meetings about?"

"Do you really want to know?"

Dean’s expression turned wary. "You tell me."

"Turf distribution."

"Wonderful. Why do I feel like we have a starring role in a remake of Revelations?" Dean sighed.

"Nothing so dramatic; this is more to keep the peace for now."

"For now. Great. Living in the end times was never a goal of mine."

"You only have six months left. Don’t worry, we don’t work that fast."

Dean froze. "Great, so I don’t have to worry about surviving."

Valac tilted his head to the side and glanced at him. "Do you want to?"

Dean stared at him. "Would I rather live than die? Duh!"

Rich laughter answered that retort, and Valac pulled Dean in for a kiss. "Duh. I like that. And let’s just say that in six months, there’ll be a surprise at the crossroads."

Dean drew back slightly, frowning. "I thought nothing could break a deal with a crossroads demon?"

"And if there isn’t anything to call in your debt?"

"I thought that if you destroyed one, another just took its place," Dean said slowly, searching the emerald eyes.

"Not if you’re thorough."

"God, how powerful are you?" Dean breathed, shocked.

"There’s no cause to be insulting," Valac huffed, making Dean stare at him blankly before glaring and punching his arm.

"Don’t be an ass."

"Do you really want to know?"

"No, but I’m starting to think I need to."

"You know your buddy, ole yellow eyes?" At Dean’s nod, Valac continued. "Baby stuff."

Dean’s eyes widened. "I really hope you’re exaggerating to make yourself sound better," he said hopefully.

"Try me."

Swallowing hard, Dean shook his head. "I don’t think that’s a very good idea."

Valac tilted his head to the side and studied Dean for a long moment. "Not for those who are against me, it isn’t."

"You’re a demon; those who are against you pretty much includes the entire human race," Dean pointed out.

"Now why do you say that?" Valac said, pouting slightly.

Dean gawked at him. "Because you’re evil and try to destroy our souls?"

"Fine, fine, hold that against us—and have you seen me trying to destroy your soul lately?"

Dean snorted and muttered, "Lead us not into temptation..."

"And you think I’m trying to destroy yours?"

"Yes," Dean replied simply, with a shrug.

"If I was, it would be gone by now," Valac replied calmly.

"Gee, you don’t think too much of yourself, do you?"

"Do you want me to show you?"

Dean tried to back away only to discover that Valac was still holding him. "Don’t put yourself to any trouble," he said, trying to cover his sudden nerves with flippancy.

"That would be a ‘no’ then."

"Despite what you seem to think, I’m not an idiot." Without realizing it, Dean had relaxed again as soon as the latest ‘crisis’ was past, and his hands were back on Valac’s hips.

"I never thought that," Valac said mildly, his thumbs rubbing over Dean’s sides.

"And yet you think I would encourage a demon, a very powerful one if he’s to be believed, to unleash his full powers on me when I’m completely unarmed and unprotected?" Dean snorted. "If that’s not idiotic, I don’t know what is."

"You’re still worried I’m going to hurt you."

"No." Dean suddenly grinned, the expression the one he wore when facing down demons. "I know you will, one way or the other."

Valac’s eyes went flat green, and his hold on Dean’s waist tightened for a split second. "Really."

Dean’s expression turned wry. "Case in point."

"Well then." White teeth flashed. "You have nothing to worry about, do you?"

The light green eyes fell as Dean looked away, knowing that what he did have to worry about was forgetting that despite appearances this wasn’t Val. He looked like Val, felt like Val, smelled like Val, even tasted like Val, and Dean’s heart was having trouble telling the difference. "I guess it doesn’t matter how I lose my soul," he murmured.

Valac’s smile flickered briefly, and he waited until Dean looked at him again before kissing him. Dean held back for a moment before he groaned and pressed closer, his arms sliding around Valac’s waist as he opened his mouth, inviting the demon in.

"Mm, sweet," Valac murmured before closing his mouth over Dean’s, his tongue sliding in and stroking over Dean’s, making Dean whimper very faintly and close his eyes, letting himself concentrate on the taste and feel of the man holding him.

Morning sunlight slanted through the shaded windows and over the two men twined together on the bed centered in the room. There was a slow roll of movement, and Valac sighed as he felt Dean push up over him.

"You really can live by sex alone, can’t you?" Dean said, sounding both amused and exasperated.

"Now why would you say that?" Valac asked, stretching and grinning at him even as an invisible hand stroked down Dean’s chest.

"Because we’ve been in this bed for the last twelve hours, barring brief necessary breaks, and it looks like you’re asking for more," Dean said, his eyes heavy-lidded as he looked down into the emerald eyes.

"Funny, I don’t hear you complaining."

"You’re not going to be able to walk when I’m done with you," Dean growled, seizing Valac’s mouth in a fierce kiss before the demon could reply. Valac laughed against Dean’s lips, winding his arms and legs around his body and pulling Dean on top of him.

Dean rocked against him, inhaling sharply as he felt them both harden, their cocks sliding against each other as Dean’s tongue swept into Valac’s mouth, exploring him as hungrily as if they hadn’t spent hours in this very position.

Warm gel suddenly coated both of them, making their movements smooth and easy, and Valac’s fingers dug into Dean’s back, pulling him closer.

"Convenient," Dean murmured, suddenly shifting so that he settled between Valac’s thighs, his hands moving to cup the demon’s ass and pull him up.

"You always appreciate that," Valac breathed before nipping Dean’s jaw.

"It makes this a lot easier," Dean said, rearing back and pushing into Valac in a single long glide.

Valac nodded, his eyes slipping closed as he arched up under Dean, his body clenching around him, making Dean groan and push into him harder on the next stroke. "This is mine," he rasped against Valac’s ear before biting down on the tender lobe.

"And vice versa," Valac rasped, his whole body shuddering at the sharp pain that vanished as quickly as it had come.

Dean bit his lip but couldn’t deny it, and he knew the line between Val and Valac was blurring dangerously in his own mind. "Not giving up," he breathed almost soundlessly.

"Wouldn’t want you to." Hands reached up and carded through Dean’s hair as they rocked together.

Dean let out a pained laugh at that response but kissed Valac hard before he could question it. He reached between them, curling around a fist around Valac’s erection and beginning to stroke rapidly in time with his thrusts.

Valac rocked against him, groaning as Dean’s strokes sped up, carrying him over, though he reached out with a thread of power to bring Dean over as well. Dean stiffened and cried out, his back arching deeply as he drove himself into Valac to the hilt, shuddering through the spasms of his orgasm.

"Mmm, I think that’s got it out of my system for now," Valac murmured, grinning up at him.

Dean clutched at his chest, widening his eyes comically, and Valac chuckled, amused at his antics. "For now."

"Now being the next thirty seconds?" Dean snorted.

"Well, if you insist..."

"No!" Dean exclaimed laughingly. "What are you, the damned Energizer bunny?"

"May I remind you who initiated this last round?" Valac asked, smirking slightly. "And I am not pink and fuzzy."

"No, but you do keep going and going and going..."

"And you’re crying a river over it."

"I will be if I’m chafed when I get up," Dean replied wryly.

"You saying you want me to powder your ass for you?" Valac chuckled, stroking his hand down Dean’s back and patting the body part in question.

"Keep it up and I’ll bite yours!"

"And here you are saying I’m insatiable!"

Dean burst into laughter, stretching out comfortably on top of Valac. "That’s not what I meant, and you know it."

"Possibly, but I like my interpretation better," Valac chuckled before nibbling his earlobe.

"Rest!" Dean laughed, trying to fend him off.

"Or what?"

"Or I’m going to die of exhaustion and dehydration."

Valac chuckled and pulled Dean closer against him before relaxing back against the pillows. "Rest, right. Gotcha, Dean-o."

"And they say demons can’t be taught," Dean mumbled as he settled himself more comfortably.

"All right, so Ava gets them somewhere quiet; I exorcise the demon; and Andy fixes the woman’s memory," Sam said quietly as the three of them, plus Ruby, watched a little old lady walk toward the alley where they stood.

Ruby nodded, starting to lean back against the wall before giving the brick a look of distaste and straightening up again. "If you want to be adventurous, you can use your other powers as well."

Ava looked at her questioningly before nodding slightly. "Like I make the rest of you invisible so she doesn’t see you till I’ve got her in here, and maybe Andy holds her still for Sam?"

"Whatever’s safest," Sam cautioned, and Andy nodded vigorously.

"Damn right, I don’t want to have that old lady wearing my guts for garters."

"But they’d make such lovely garters," Ruby purred, and Ava glared at her.

"Hands off. And quiet now. I can make you invisible, not inaudible." With a final warning look at Ruby, Ava moved to the end of the alley, crying for help, Sam and Andy following closely behind and keeping their mouths closed.

The old woman looked up, her eyes widening behind her thick glasses. "Is there something wrong, dear?" she asked, her voice wavering.

"I- I was attacked," Ava said in a shaky, near hysterical voice. "He pushed me down, took my purse..."

"But he didn’t hurt you?"

"I think he was going to, but then there were voices, people coming this way... No, he just hit me." She sniffled pathetically.

"Why don’t we see if he dropped your purse, dear; maybe he let it go when he ran away." Something dark flashed behind the lenses of the thick glasses but quickly vanished.

"Oh God, I hope so. My keys, my ID... he’d know where I live." Ava stepped farther back into the alley, looking around helplessly.

The old woman followed her, her eyes going totally black the moment they both were out of sight of the street. "I don’t think you’ll have to worry about that, dear." She started to take a step toward Ava before frowning in confusion when she couldn’t move.

"No, I won’t. And you’re going back to Hell," Ava retorted, allowing the others to become visible again. Ruby smirked at the old lady demon and waved.

"You..." the other demon hissed. "You expect to fight Lilith with these?"

"Oh shut up," Andy sighed as Sam stepped forward, his expression tightening as he extended his hand.

"For someone who doesn’t think much of us, you seem to be losing," Ava pointed out, giving the demon a remarkably toothy smile as it began to gag, vomiting up black smoke as Sam clenched his fist.

Once the smoke had passed into the ground, leaving a circle of sullenly glowing embers in its wake, Andy hurried over to catch the old woman, concentrating on erasing her memories of the time she was possessed and providing a plausible story for why she was here.

Ruby watched critically until the elderly woman was on her way and then looked around at the three of them. "Not bad. You might just survive this after all."

"Gee, thanks for the cheering section," Andy snorted though he was frowning at Sam. "You okay?"

"Yeah, just a little headache this time. It’s getting better." He paused and grinned at the others. "We’re getting better."

"We kick demon ass," Ava said, moving over to join them, Sam looping an arm around both her and Andy’s shoulders as he nodded.

"Yeah, we do, but we’re not going to take any chances."

"No, and we’re not taking the easy route just because it’s easier either," she replied. "We’re going to save everyone."

"Damn right we are—can we go celebrate now?" Andy grinned.

"Excuse me while I go throw up," Ruby muttered.

"You do that," Ava said. "We have much better things to do."

"Ready to go?" Valac pulled on his suit coat, smoothing the sleek black fabric before looking over at Dean, who was still half undressed.

"I don’t think I’m ever going to be ready to go to Hell," Dean muttered, dragging his feet.

"I told you, you aren’t, and once we’re done there, we’re going to have an excellent meal. You’re mine, Dean. I don’t give up what’s mine."

"Suddenly, I feel like a chew toy."

"Well, I do enjoy chewing on you," Valac grinned. "Now come on, get dressed. We don’t want to be late."

"Wanna bet?" But Dean finished dressing and moved to Valac’s side, still not convinced that he was going to survive this night.

"If we’re late, she’ll come looking for us, and I want this meeting where it began." As he spoke, Valac slid his arm around Dean’s waist, then the room vanished to be replaced by the dark and desolate landscape of a dusty crossroads.

"Too bad salting and burning this place wouldn’t help," Dean grumbled, unconsciously shifting closer to Valac.

"It’s not the place; any location works for the purpose." Valac slowly turned to look toward the speaker, a dark-haired woman in a short, form-fitting black dress.

"Any place with a crossroads. You are limited that way," he commented.

Dean smirked at the female demon. "Apparently someone else thinks he has a prior claim on me."

"You want your brother dead? Fine. You’ll still end up in Hell," she scoffed.

"No." Cold menace dripped from Valac’s tone, and he took a step toward the other demon.

"Hey, don’t look at me, sweet cheeks; this is all his idea," Dean replied, pointing at Valac.

"Do I need to remind you that that doesn’t matter?"

"I can’t believe I’m saying this, but do you have any idea who he is?"

She turned her head to study Valac, her eyes narrowing slightly. "One of the group that escaped last year."

"Well, you’re half right," Dean muttered, watching them.

"Just half?" Valac asked, sounding amused.

"Half of you escaped last year," Dean clarified, giving Valac a dirty look before the expression changed into a frown. "I never stopped to think... You’re completely unbound, aren’t you?"

The crossroads demon’s eyebrows rose. "I’m sure this is all fascinating, but unless you’re going to try to convince me that your ‘friend’ here is some lord of Hell, it doesn’t really matter. Your soul is mine."

"Wrong—actually, both of you are," Valac added after a moment. "Unbound and this is more than half of what I was. What you saw before was only a tiny part of me."

"Yadda, yadda, yadda," the female demon interrupted. "Try it on someone who doesn’t know better. It would take one of the most powerful of us all to break my hold, and we’d all know if someone that high up had gotten free."

Dean cocked an eyebrow at Valac, curious to see what his response would be since Dean pretty much agreed with the crossroads demon himself.

Valac’s expression turned amused, and he slowly grinned. "Well then, you shouldn’t have any trouble getting me out of the way, should you." He pulled Dean in for a kiss, then pushed him gently away to turn his attention to the female demon. "You get him once you get through me—if you can."

She rolled her eyes and strode forward, swinging her arm around in a strong backhand that she clearly expected to send him flying, only to find it easily blocked.

"Problem?" Valac asked mildly, the dark green of his eyes glowing in the darkness.

"Dean!" The word seemed to come out of thin air off to the side of the road.

"Sammy?" Dean looked around wildly but saw no sign of his brother, and then he felt a hand grip his arm.

"We’re here. Ava’s learned how to hide us. We can try to take them both out when the time is right."

"All right," the crossroads demon said, ignoring the human byplay, "you’re stronger than I expected, but that’s not going to help you. He’s mine."

"Wrong," Valac repeated, punching her in the face and sending her flying back.

Watching, Dean flinched, and only he knew it was as much from Sam’s words as the battle in front of him. "Hey, bitch, I think I forgot the introductions. Say hi to Valac."

"You lie!" she exclaimed, the first hint of uncertainty coloring her tone before being pushed aside as she called her hellhounds, the massive black beasts rising up from the pavement to stalk toward Valac.

Dean laughed. "Oh, hell, you are too stupid to live," he informed her, watching as the dogs took another step, then stopped and sniffed, their ears tilting forward. A moment later they seemed to flow forward and turned, coming to rest with one on either side of Valac, facing back toward the crossroads demon.

"Still think I’m lying?"

She stared from the hellhounds to him, shocked. "But... that’s not possible," she whispered, her eyes wide. "If one of the great lords had been freed, all of demonkind would be celebrating."

One shoulder rose under the suit jacket as Valac shrugged negligently and started to walk toward her, the hellhounds bracketing him. "Do I look like I care what they’re doing?"

"You mean you really are as powerful as you kept telling me?" Dean asked, surprised and feeling a dawning hope.

"Dean..." Sam hissed as Valac continued walking toward the crossroad demon.

"You can’t destroy him, Sammy. Val’s still in there somewhere. I’ve seen him. Just for a second now and then, but it’s him." There was also the question of whether they could destroy a demon as powerful as Dean was beginning to realize Valac was.

"If it comes down to you or him, it’s no choice," Sam said quietly before he was interrupted by a sharp gasp from Ava as Valac closed on the other demon.

Dean chewed his lip for a moment, praying that it wouldn’t come to that. He didn’t think he could stand losing Sam or Val. He winced when he saw Valac reach for the female demon.

"You tried to take what is mine," Valac said, his voice low and tight. "No one does that."

She cringed. "He is unmarked, Lord," she whined. "I was within my rights... and he is a hunter!"

"Do I look like I care?"

In desperation, she lashed out at him, trying to break free, and Valac lunged in, darkly glowing balls of energy appearing in his hands, balls that exploded against the ground as he threw them, the destruction keeping his opponent in place.

"I yield!" she wailed. "I yield my claim on him to you, Lord Valac. Please!"

"Too late, bitch," Valac snarled, energy filling his hands again, this time, cloaking them as he reached for her, the touch of his hands drawing a scream from her throat.

The sight made Dean swallow hard and take a step back, his eyes riveted on her face as she burned, screaming desperately all the while, Valac’s handsome face twisting in cruel pleasure as he continued to bleed power into her, keeping her corporeal while he cooked her from the inside out. "No offence, but after watching this, sex is not on the table for a while," Dean called, trying for a joking tone. "I don’t look good as a cinder."

Valac didn’t respond; he simply continued what he was doing, the hellhounds shifting restlessly on either side of him. When she was gone, he turned to look at Dean, his eyes glowing in the darkness. "That was a warm up."

No sooner had he spoken than a flash of darkness blacker than the night solidified on the roadway, spilling away to leave a young blond girl in a white dress in its wake. Valac stared at her for a second, then chuckled, the sound low and dirty. "Lilith."

"Valac." The girl looked at him, her eyes far too old and knowing to fit in that pretty, innocent face. "You have the freedom to do whatever you want again, and you waste a year playing with a human?"

"You have the freedom to do whatever you want, and you spend it playing with dolls?" he asked, sounding amused. "I assure you, mine is much more fun."

"Gee thanks," Dean muttered, rolling his eyes, which drew Lilith’s attention back to him.

"Well, I can compare for myself now since I’m going to take your toy for my own now," she told Valac with a very unpleasant smile.

"You think so?"

"I know so. Or do you think you can take me as easily as you destroyed that pitiful wretch?"

Valac chuckled as if enjoying some private joke. "You’ve been out of Hell long enough to forget what I can do. Your mistake."

"You always thought too much of yourself, Valac," Lilith replied, her eyes going black.

"That would be because I knew the truth of what I am, and I have to tell you, this chatting is getting really annoying. I have much better things to be doing." Valac glanced back at Dean at that, his eyes glowing in the darkness.

"Your fondness for humans was always your weakness," Lilith sneered as she loosed a blast of power at him and at the unprotected human.

Darkness flared in the night as a shield erupted in front of them, splashing the attack into the night air. "They taste good," he chuckled, aiming his own attack at the small form.

Another shield appeared, deflecting Valac’s strike, and Dean edged behind Valac as the two demons unleashed their power on each other, filling the night with unholy light.

"Dean, damnit," Sam hissed, trying to get his brother’s attention and get him away from the battle that raged as the two demons focused more and more power on each other, but Dean was intent on Valac and didn’t hear him. If anything, he moved closer to Valac, the demon’s body shielding him from Lilith’s blasts.

"You’re going to lose," Lilith snarled.

"Delusional as always," Valac responded, his voice tight and the strain of the battle showing in his expression as he worked to protect Dean as well as himself. He spied an opening in her shield and speared in an attack, blasting the other demon in the side.

Lilith screamed, her Alice in Wonderland appearance momentarily replaced by a horror beyond human comprehension before she regained control of herself and hurled another blast at Valac. But even Dean could see that the force of this attack was far less than its predecessors.

"Delusional and not long for this plane." The words were harshly panted out as Valac raised a hand, clenching his fingers and shredding Lilith’s shield. She screamed again and tried to blast Valac, but defending herself was taking all her power, and they could all see it wasn’t going to be enough.

Lilith shrieked her hatred and dropped her shields to put all she had into a desperate strike, Valac staggering back as the blast ate at his own eroding power. His shield held, then he let it fall as he gathered his strength and let it fly at the other demon, shredding her corporeal form, leaving a fine red mist in the air.

Seeing it, Dean backed away, trying for once to avoid wearing the remnants of a destroyed demon.

"Andy, now," Sam shouted, and Valac paused in mid-step, rage contorting his face as he tried to break free of the bonds. Dean stood there, his eyes fixed on Valac, torn between the knowledge that this could be the only way to get Val back and the primal urge to protect him, regardless of the fact that it was for his own good.

"Val," he whispered.

"No!" Valac howled, snarling as he tried to gather his remaining power to hurl it at the now visible newcomers.

"Oh God, Val, please," Dean begged, taking a step forward. "I held on; you have to too."

"Stay back, Dean," Sam said, grabbing his brother by the arm to halt him in his tracks. "Hold him," he said, looking back at the other two, his eyes showing the pain of that order before he raised a hand toward Valac, his face contorting as he focused his power on the demon, drawing howls and curses from Valac’s throat.

"Fuck, no, stop," Dean yelled, fighting Andy and Ava, only the younger man’s mental powers managing to hold him in place.

"He can’t!" Ava whispered as Valac turned his gaze on Dean.

"Don’t let them do this—oh fuck, it hurts. Not going to leave. Nonono."

"Val," Dean moaned, animal pain in his voice as he met his lover’s emerald eyes, all the while Sam’s features contorted as his hand clenched, Andy and Ava moving to his side, Ava concentrating to hold Valac in place while Andy did the same with Dean.

"Please, Val, fight," Dean begged. "Don’t give up. You’re human. Stay here."

"Mine!" Valac roared, his eyes glowing a fierce emerald before he dropped to his knees, his head bowed. His entire body went rigid and then spasmed as he vomited up a thick, oily black smoke in a stream that went on and on. The smoke swirled in the air, seemingly trying to force its way back into Val, but Sam’s concentration never wavered, and after long seconds, it sank into the ground, leaving scorched earth and Val, who slowly slumped to the ground.

"Is that it? Is it gone?" Andy asked, his voice holding a tremor, and Sam could only shrug, watching Valac closely.

"Val?" If Dean’s voice shook, no one present would ever mention it.

The dark head slowly rose, and normal-looking eyes blinked blearily before falling closed as he collapsed again.

"Let me go!" Dean snarled, wrenching at the mental holds on him, desperate to reach Val.

"Not until we’re sure," Sam said, shaking his head.

"How can we tell that?" Ava asked quietly.

"Damn it, you saw his eyes," Dean said furiously. "That’s Val, not Valac. Now. Let. Me. Go." His tone promised something worse than Hell if they didn’t.

"Can you get a read on him?" Sam asked Andy.

"Which one of them?" the shorter man muttered, glancing at Dean before focusing on the prostrate form. "He sounds human," he answered after a moment.

"All right, let him go."

Dean was on his knees at Val’s side so fast it seemed as if he’d teleported. "Val? C’mon, gorgeous, open those green eyes and look at me." His hand cupped Val’s cheek tenderly as he crooned.

"Dean-o." The word was whispered as Val slowly opened his eyes. "Sorry."

"Val." The single syllable was a prayer of thanks, and Dean wrapped his arms around the prone man and drew him up until they were pressed together from head to knees, his breath catching as they clung together.

"Sorry, so fucking sorry." Val lowered his head against Dean’s shoulder, unable to even raise his arms to hold him.

"I love you," Dean replied simply, his own arms tightening around Val to compensate.

Val mumbled something unintelligible in response, and the muscles in his jaw and throat worked.

"Guys, we need to get out of here," Sam said quietly.

Dean knew his brother was right, but... "We need a second, Sammy."

"I understand, Dean, but we—right, a second." Sam sighed and scanned the area around them.

"Val, we do need to get out of here before another demon shows up," Dean said softly. "If I help you, can you stand?"

Val gave a nod that was more of a small pressure against Dean’s shoulder, then slowly struggled to his feet with Dean’s help, his head staying lowered.

Keeping his arms around Val, Dean looked at the others. "Where’s the car?"

"Over there." Sam motioned to the right, and there was a shimmer before the Impala became visible.

"Nice work," Andy murmured, grinning at Ava.

"You too," she replied, sliding an arm around his waist. "We make a pretty good team," she added, her glance at Sam including him as well.

"You guys have kept me sane this past year," Sam murmured though he kept his eyes on Dean and Val.

"Need to get going," Val whispered.

Dean nodded and started toward the car, all his attention focused on Val, whom he held as if he would never let go, and together they stumbled to the Impala, the car rocking on its tires when they brushed against it.

"What the hell?" Ava asked, staring at it.

Dean started to laugh helplessly. "My car still loves you best."

Val gave a ghost of a smile and half tumbled through the door Dean had pulled open, collapsing back on the seat, his eyes still closed.

"I’ll take the back with them," Andy said quietly to Sam and Ava. "That way if something happens, I can do something—I hope."

After sliding into the backseat and drawing Val onto his lap, Dean gave Andy a wry glance when he sat down next to them. "All the demons are gone now, nothing to see here."

Sam and Ava climbed into the front seat, Sam glancing back at his brother in the rearview mirror. "It’s good to have you back—both of you," he said quietly.

"It’s good to see you too, Sammy." Dean took one hand off Val long enough to grasp his brother’s shoulder tightly, the grip saying everything that Dean couldn’t put into words before he wrapped his arm back around Val, the other man sighing and pressing his face into the crook of Dean’s neck, his fingers plucking at the smooth cotton of Dean’s shirt.

"You want me to call Bobby and let him know we found him?" Ava asked Sam as they took off, both she and Andy watching Dean and Val carefully.

"Yeah, that’d be great. Not to mention that if we don’t, we’ll be the next things he hunts," Sam replied, trying to lighten the tense atmosphere in the car.

Dean ignored the byplay, his eyes closed as he rested his cheek on top of Val’s head, not quite convinced yet that this wasn’t a dream and he wouldn’t wake up back in that house with Valac.

As Ava dialed Bobby and spoke to him, Andy frowned slightly. "We’d better get them somewhere, man."

"I wasn’t planning to spend the night in the car," Sam pointed out. "But I want to get at least a town away from here."

"Nothing’s coming," Val rasped though he didn’t move. "All gone."

Dean’s arms tightened around Val. "I’d still like to get away from here. Don’t crossroads demons just get replaced with a new one?"

"All gone," Val repeated.

"All of them?" Sam asked, sounding shocked.

Dean’s eyes widened. "You—Valac destroyed all crossroads demons?"

Val nodded, and Ava turned to stare back at them. "All of them?"

"That’s a fuck of a lot of power," Andy gaped.

"Between what it used doing that and defeating Lilith, that’s why we could banish it," Sam said quietly.

Dean bit back a protest at Sam calling Valac "it," not wanting to start an argument over a moot point. "Valac was a fuck of a lot more powerful than we ever realized," he said quietly.

Val gave an almost silent, pained laugh at that, and Dean rubbed his back soothingly.

"We knew he was a higher demon..." Sam started, only to have Dean interrupt.

"Yeah, but the higher demons have been bound in Hell for eons. We’ve never seen what they can do."

"I don’t think I want to see any more than what we did," Andy shuddered.

"We should all be thanking God that the one who did escape was Valac, or we’d be seriously fucked," Dean muttered.

Sam started to say something, then halted himself and nodded grimly.

Dean met his brother’s eyes in the rearview and smiled wryly. "I know you don’t agree, Sammy, but any other demon would have spent the last year bringing about a new Dark Age, not trying to make me forget he wasn’t human."

"Dean..." Sam began but was cut off by Val, who slowly raised his head and shook it.

"What’s wrong?" Dean asked immediately, worried green eyes focusing on Val.

"You think what happened was for the best?"

"Fuck no, but if my choice is a demon wanting me as a boy toy or literal Hell on Earth, you know, I can live with rough sex."

Andy burst out laughing before covering his mouth with both hands and ducking as Ava reached back to smack him.

"Right." Val closed his eyes and slumped back again, making Dean sigh.

"Knowing that you were still in there somewhere kept me going," he said softly. "I wasn’t letting you go."

"Couldn’t let you go either." Val’s voice was quieter as he slumped against Dean, his ragged breathing slowly smoothing out.

"I counted on it."

Silence fell over the car, hanging heavily until Sam pulled off the highway and into a small motel, Ava and Andy getting out and going inside to get two rooms for them.

"I saved your clothes; they’re in the trunk," Sam offered, half turning in the driver’s seat to look back at the other two.

"Thanks, Sam," Dean said, still stroking Val’s back and holding him close. "A shower would be good," he said quietly, waiting to see if Val was ready to move.

Andy and Ava returned, and Val slowly climbed out of the car and straightened up, keeping one hand on the Impala as he stood, seeming to draw strength from the car.

"You guys need something to eat?" Sam asked as Ava handed Dean the key to one of the rooms.

After a quick glance at Val, Dean shook his head. "No, we’re good till morning. I think we need sleep more than anything else."

"If you need anything, we’re right next door," Sam continued, and Val focused on him for the first time, managing a tiny smile.

"Two of them? Good for you, Sammy."

Sam tried to dredge up a glare, but it was half-hearted at best. "Yeah, well, it just goes to show which Winchester’s the best."

Dean snorted. "In your dreams, little bro."

"They’re pretty damn good ones now," Sam said, offering a fleeting smile.

"I’m glad for you," Dean said, seeing the difference in Sam.

"Thanks." Sam smiled fleetingly. "We can talk about it once you two get some rest, okay?"

Dean nodded before gently nudging Val toward the door. "Come on, you’ll be a lot more comfortable inside the room."

Val started to answer, then nodded shallowly, leaning on Dean as they made their way to the room. Once Dean had the door opened, he shuffled forward and dropped into one of the rickety chairs just inside the door, his elbows resting on his knees and his head bowed.

Shutting and locking the door behind him, Dean sank down to squat in front of Val, looking at him worriedly. "Are you going to be okay? Did they drain you too much? What can I do?"

"Don’t-" Val began before taking a deep breath. "Why don’t you go take a shower; I’ll be all right."

"Like that’s going to happen," Dean scoffed. "Why are you trying to push me away?"

Val winced at that and took a ragged breath. "Why aren’t you running? What I did..."

"You didn’t do anything. If ever I had any doubt that you weren’t a different person than the demon you used to be, this last year would have laid it to rest. You’re not Valac, Val. He’s a demon. You’re a man."

"Am I? He took you because of what he got from me. I just wanted to save you so badly..." Val sucked in a deep breath and scrubbed his face with his hands.

"And you did. And let’s face it, if he’d wanted to, he could have killed or tortured me, and nothing could have stopped him. I’m here, you’re here, and we’re going to get past this." Dean braced his hands on Val’s thighs. "I’m not letting you get away from now."

"And if I say that part of me enjoyed it all?" Val whispered.

"I’d have to point that I came every time," Dean replied. "And once we’re settled again, we can try playing with rough sex if we want."

Val’s head came up, and he stared at Dean at that, his eyes open wide. "He fucking raped you, and I enjoyed it! He made you enjoy it; of course you fucking came!"

Dean sighed. "Look, I won’t deny that fucking a demon wouldn’t have been my first choice, but... It wasn’t rape; it didn’t need to be. I knew that somewhere inside him was you, and it was a way to reach you."

Val looked away, the skin around his mouth and eyes tightening as emotion rolled over him.

"Val, I’ve just got you back. Don’t give up on me now," Dean whispered.

"I’m not," Val said quietly. "Not you."

"You’re not allowed to give up on yourself either. You’re mine, and I’m not letting you go."

"Why?" Val asked, his voice quiet and broken. "How?"

"Because I love you, and I know you love me too. No demon lord’s gonna change that."

Val took a shuddering breath and nodded. "Right."

After searching the emerald eyes for a moment longer, Dean leaned forward, balancing himself with his hands on Val’s thighs, and kissed him. "That’s what’s real," he whispered.

Val’s hands fisted at his sides, and he dragged in a shuddering breath before nodding.

Dean bit back a sigh. "I’d really like it if you’d touch me," he hinted.

"I’m not sure I can," Val admitted quietly. "Part of me wants to do it, to grab you and bruise you, mark you as mine. I remember how we were before, and that sure as hell isn’t how it was." He laughed at that. "As sure as Hell, that about sums it up."

Dean hands tightened on Val’s thighs. "Val, it was like that sometimes. We both wore marks some days. Don’t let what happened with Valac take that away from us. Soft and lazy is good, but so is hard and possessive."

"I know that!" Val snapped, his expression tightening. "I also know just what he did to you, and it was a hell of a lot more than just some marks."

"I’m not denying that, and I’m not saying I want that from you. But I’m not made of porcelain, and I just got you back after a year of wondering if either of us would survive it. I need to touch you, to feel you touch me."

Val opened his mouth but remained silent, his jaw working, and he slowly lifted a hand to touch Dean’s face, making Dean let out a soft breath and turn his cheek into Val’s palm as his eyes closed.

"I’m sorry," Val whispered, tracing a shaky path over Dean’s cheek, his thumb rubbing over the stubble on his chin.

"I love you," Dean replied simply.

Val nodded at that and tried to give his normal cocky smile. "So, shower?" he asked.

"Sounds good to me," Dean agreed, pushing to his feet and offering Val a hand up, the other man’s hesitation only barely noticeable before he grasped it and stood as well, letting go outside the small room to begin stripping off his suit. Dean started to reach out, but he’d noticed Val’s hesitation and instead undressed before padding into the bathroom to turn the shower on.

Val followed him inside, both of them stepping inside the small shower, Val reaching for the small soap and shampoo the hotel had provided, bringing them in with him.

Unable to hold back any longer, Dean reached for Val, wrapping his arms around the other man and drawing him close. "God, I’ve missed you."

"Missed you too," Val whispered, a shudder running through his body before he slowly looped his arms around Dean’s waist.

"I’m right here now, we both are," Dean replied, one hand moving up to cup the back of Val’s head, fingers combing gently through the wet, dark hair. Val’s hands tightened against Dean’s slick back, and he leaned his head forward to rest it against Dean’s shoulder.

"So long..."

"But it’s all over now," Dean breathed. "We made it. We won."

"For n—" Val sighed and nodded against Dean’s shoulder. "Right, you’re right."

"And I’m going to keep repeating it until you believe me."

"Feel free; I won’t argue about it tonight."

Dean grinned. "I could get used to an obedient you."

"Obedient?" Val lifted his head at that and frowned. "Pardon me?"

His grin transforming into a smirk, Dean shrugged. "Well, you’re being very agreeable."

Green eyes narrowed, then Val was in motion, pushing Dean up against the wall of the shower while the water beat down on them. "And do you want me like that?"

"Not particularly. I want you."

"How do you want me?" Val hissed, pressing up against him, rubbing their bodies together. "Hard? Hot? In you or around you?"

"In me, God, want you in me," Dean rasped, his fingers clutching Val hard enough to bruise.

Val made a strangled noise at that and slid a hand down to hook one of Dean’s thighs around his hip even as he arched against him. Dean only groaned and pressed even closer, as desperate as Val and hungrier for him than he ever remembered being.

"Need something," Val rasped, his fingers digging into Dean’s ass.

"Conditioner," Dean panted, glad that Val had brought all the tiny bottles into the shower.

Val grunted in response, grabbing for the bottle while somehow managing to keep them balanced. He spilled the cream out onto his hand, then pressed two fingers into Dean’s ass, hurriedly stretching him.

"Yes," Dean groaned, clenching down on Val’s fingers and pushing back to force them deeper, Val groaning and darting his head in to bite at the junction of Dean’s neck and shoulder as he twisted his fingers, making Dean shudder and rock his hips, riding Val’s hand.

"Need you," Val panted, drawing his hand back and spilling conditioner over his cock, shoving Dean back against the wall and lifting him so that he could push into his ass.

"I’m right here," Dean replied on an indrawn breath, his back arching as he took Val deeper.

"Here with me. Me."

"Yes, you, Val, human and mine," Dean gasped out, knowing what Val needed to hear.

Val groaned low and deep in his throat and arched up into Dean, pressing his cock between them.

"God, Val, yes, want you forever," Dean groaned, reaching for and clinging to Val’s hand as they moved together, Val catching his mouth and kissing him. Dean moaned into the kiss, some of the wetness on his face saltier than water.

A spasm tore through Val, and he thrust harder, one hand clutching at Dean’s and the other holding onto to his hip. Dean could only brace himself against the wall and ride out the pleasure, taking everything that Val gave him.

"Dean-o, need to feel you," Val whispered against Dean’s mouth, his thrusts becoming more and more erratic.

"You will," Dean managed with a breathless laugh an instant before he tensed and his inner muscles rippled around Val as he came, Val crying out and following him over a moment later, leaving them both panting and slumped against the wall.

"Welcome back," Dean murmured when he’d caught his breath.

"Love you."

"Love you too," Dean replied, turning his head to kiss Val, who sighed and shifted back so that Dean’s feet could rest on the floor again.

"So, clean up and bed?" he asked, trying for a cocky tone.

"That sounds perfect to me, almost as good as waking up together."

"Well, we could listen in and see what Sam’s up to."

"I do not need to listen to my brother getting down with Ava and Andy!"

Val sighed, trying to sound put upon, and he bent to grab the soap, his grin slipping slightly as he did so though it was in place when he straightened up again, not that Dean was fooled by the act. He didn’t call Val on it, however, instead letting him deal with this as he thought best.

"Guess we need to get clean again now," he said.

"Yeah, hope we don’t run out of hot water."

"Maybe we should hurry up," Dean said, not wanting to end up in a cold shower.

"Here’s the soap," Val said, offering up the small bar and reaching for the shampoo.

"Thanks." Dean lathered up his hands, then ran them over Val’s chest, a faint smile teasing at his lips as he washed Val, who sighed at the touch even as he returned the favor with Dean’s hair.

"Feels good," Dean nearly purred, his eyes heavy-lidded as he enjoyed Val’s touch.

"Always," Val murmured, turning them to let the water rinse the suds from Dean’s hair.

"Good thing, since that’s about how long I’m going to want you around."

"I’ll do my best."

"I’m going to hold you to that," Dean warned him.

"I thought you might say that."

"Are you telling me I’m predictable?"


Dean stuck his tongue out at Val. "Smart ass."

"Back to normal."

Dean knew better, but he let it go, knowing that both of them needed the pretence of normalcy. And eventually it would become real. "Sam will be devastated," he said instead. "I’m sure he hoped we’d grow up."

"Never happen," Val murmured as he pulled Dean back under the water to rinse off.

"Damn right. We’re perfect just the way we are." Dean closed his eyes, relaxing under the hot water, the two of them staying there until it started to grow cool.

"I think that means bed time," Val offered, and Dean nodded.

"Yeah, and this is going to be the best night’s sleep I’ve had in a year," he admitted after turning the water off and reaching for a towel, and Val nodded again, reaching for his own.

"I can imagine; it had to be... well, hell."

Dean’s tousled head appeared over the towel he’d been using to dry his hair, and the green eyes focused on Val. "A lot of the time, yeah. But, I just reminded myself that you were in there somewhere, and I wasn’t letting any demon keep us apart."

Val paused as he dried his chest, and he laughed, the noise sounding more real than his earlier ones had. "Only you, Dean-o, only you."

"That’s why you love me." Dean gave him a smug smirk.

"Part of the reason." Tossing his towel back on the rack, Val walked back into the outer room, sitting on the edge of the bed and shaking his hair back out of his face. Dean followed him and sat down beside him, sliding an arm around Val’s shoulders and leaning into him.

"This is good."

"Well, the mattress is sort of lumpy," Val began before nodding. "Yeah, it’s good."

"Best bed I’ve been in, in a year," Dean murmured, urging Val down flat and stretching out beside him, letting out a slow breath of contentment as he pressed close, Val slowly forcing himself to relax, one arm curving around Dean’s shoulders. Dean smiled slightly and turned his head to kiss Val’s shoulder. "We’re going to get past this," he breathed almost inaudibly.

Val nodded, pressing his face against the top of Dean’s head, listening to him breathing until they both drifted to sleep.

Andy stood at the connecting door mid-morning the next day and hesitated, looking back at Sam and Ava. "Should we wake them up? Or should we just let them rest a while longer?"

"Can you tell if they’re awake?" Ava asked as she brushed her hair, then pulled it back into a ponytail.

Andy shrugged and pressed his ear to the door, clearly listening, and Sam had to smile slightly. "I think she meant with your mind."

"What fun is that? Besides, even now, I’m pretty sure Val could swat me if I tried that."

"So, do you hear anything with your amazing ears?" Ava grinned.

Andy listened for a moment more before straightening away from the door. "No, all’s silent in there. So should we knock?"

The door was yanked open at that, and Val peered at them, a sly grin curving his lips. "I don’t know, you all doing anything interesting in here?"

Three pairs of startled eyes stared at him before Andy started to laugh. "Things are going to be a lot more interesting around here now, I can see."

"What? The three of you are that boring?" Val sniffed before looking back over his shoulder. "And shh, Dean’s still asleep."

Ava frowned slightly, her eyes intent on him. "And yet you’re not?" she said, her tone questioning.

One shoulder raised in a half-shrug. "Couldn’t. You have any coffee?"

As he asked the question, Sam poured a cup and handed it to him. "Here you go."


Her frown deepening, Ava moved closer to Val, her eyes searching his. "Are you okay?"

"Of course, why wouldn’t I be?" Val commented after taking a sip of the coffee and glancing back through the open door to where Dean slept.

Even Andy looked at him askance at that, and Ava rolled her eyes. "If you want to talk about it," she said softly, "I know it’s not the same, but I do know a bit about what you went through." She couldn’t meet Sam or Andy’s eyes as she remembered what she’d done in Cold Oak.

Val flinched visibly at that but managed to maintain a smile. "What’s to talk about? I’m good; he’s okay; it looks like the three of you are good." He gave Sam a leer at that. "And by the way, Sammy, I never would have figured you for the threesome type—go you."

Ava hesitated but let it go, deciding that the wounds were still too fresh for Val to be able to talk about it. "Get your mind out of the gutter," she ordered, putting a laugh in her voice to break the tension she’d helped create. "You only get to think about Dean that way."

"And he does a damn fine job of it," Dean said for himself, appearing in the doorway wearing nothing but a half-zipped pair of jeans.

"And we don’t need to hear any of it," Sam said firmly, though he looked concerned as he studied Dean.

"I might like to," Andy chimed in, trying to look innocent and failing miserably.

Dean snorted. "Yeah, I heard about what you were putting in people’s heads." He walked over to Val, looking searchingly into the green eyes before hugging him. "Morning."

"Hey there," Val grinned, keeping an arm around his waist when the hug broke. "You looked beat, so I figured you needed to rest."

Dean shrugged. "It’s going to take us both a while to rest up, I guess. Besides, I like the bed better when you’re in it too."

"You like what happens when I’m in the bed too," Val said superiorly, and Dean grinned and shrugged.

"Never denied it."

"Now there’s news," Sam sighed.

"Can I take notes?" Andy asked, grinning, and Ava smacked him on the back of the head.

Dean laughed. "I see you’ve figured out the best way to deal with him."

"Hey!" Andy protested, and Val snickered.

"Four of them," Ava groaned.

"Excuse me?" Sam asked, his eyes widening. "I’m nowhere near as bad as they are!"

"You’re male," Ava replied with finality. "And don’t think I don’t know what you and your brother are like when you get started!"

Dean was laughing so hard he had to lean on Val for support, the former demon snickering as well. "She does have a point, Sam," he got out.

"Of course I do," Ava retorted before laughing as well. "But you’re right, Sam, that you’re the sanest one of the bunch."

"Oh please!" Andy snorted.

"Don’t even go there," Dean told him. "I saw that van. Which was cool, but it puts you squarely in the wrong camp here."

Both Val and Sam made faces at the mention of Andy’s old van, and Ava wrinkled her nose. "Don’t even think about suggesting we get one like it."

"I could think of some uses for fur," Dean murmured to Val.

"Cool, you get a van, and I’ll drive the Impala," Andy said.

"Do you want me to shoot you?"

"He helped save your butt, no shooting him," Ava ordered, causing Sam to grin and shrug.

Dean and Sam walked along side by side, in no rush to get anywhere since for once they weren’t chasing a demon, weren’t trying to save anyone from anything that went bump in the night. Their only concern for now was giving themselves time to heal. The Impala was back at the hotel as they’d both chosen to get some exercise. Dean in particular was glad of the chance to be outdoors, breathing in the cool spring air and taking in the pale greens of the budding trees and bushes everywhere he looked.

He veered into a large park, knowing that Sam would follow him. At this time of day, they had it almost to themselves: too late for office workers escaping outdoors for lunch, too early for kids to be out of school yet. They wandered aimlessly for a time, following first this path, then that, and suddenly Dean started to talk.

"I thought I was going to go crazy, you know, trapped inside all that time, never able to go out unless he took me, which he only did once..." Dean tilted his head back and closed his eyes, drinking in the sensation of the sun on his face.

Sam stopped walking when Dean did and ran a hand through his hair. "Dean, I’m sorry, man. We did everything we could to try and find you."

Dean turned to face him with the faintest of pained smiles on his lips. "You think I don’t know that, Sammy? I knew you would, and I also know that you didn’t have a chance, not against Valac." He seemed to flinch from the name. "You pulled off a miracle, Sam." The green eyes met Sam’s unwaveringly. "And thank you for saving Val."

"I was more worried about you than him," Sam said bluntly. "You were only there because of me."

Dean gaped at him. "How the hell do you come up with that?" Not giving Sam a chance to answer, he continued, "I can see being freaked about the deal with the crossroads demon, ‘cause yeah, that was for you even if it was. Entirely. My. Choice." Each word was distinct. "But the thing with Valac? Nothing to do with you, Sammy. That was all me, Val, Valac, and the freakazoid who opened the Hell gate."

"Bullshit! We’re both tied up in this, and maybe it wouldn’t have happened at all if we hadn’t been delayed three days because I was dead!"

Dean stared at him again. "So it was your fault because you were murdered?" He started to laugh helplessly. "Dude, even for you, that’s nuts. Ava’s hand must get sore from whacking you upside the head."

Sam looked as if he was going to answer angrily before pausing and shaking his head ruefully. "Yeah, but I think her arm will be tired from you now, so I’ll be safe."

"Naw, Val-" Dean stopped abruptly, his eyes suddenly shying away from Sam’s. In an obvious change of subject, he asked, "What did you end up doing for Dad?"

"Salted and burned him," Sam answered quietly, his flash of humor fading as quickly as Dean’s. "We- We had to be sure."

Dean winced. "That’s so fucked up."

"Yeah, it is, but maybe one day it won’t be that way." Sam stopped and grabbed Dean into a tight hug. "I’m glad you’re back."

Returning the embrace with equal strength, Dean whispered, "Me too, Sammy. Me too."

Knowing that Dean was out with Sam, Val left the motel they were all staying in and started walking, not knowing where he was going, only that he had to get away. The town’s main street was the picture of normalcy, but that did nothing to lift Val’s mood which was rapidly spiraling into a self-destructive depression. He wasn’t sure who or what Dean wanted any longer, or if he was or could be that person. Everything had changed, and he was tired of pretending it hadn’t.

An errant gust of wind blew his hair into his face, and he angrily shoved it out of the way, then made a snap decision and turned and pulled open the door to a small shop, the jangling bell attached to it announcing his entrance.

Some time later, he exited, still feeling unsettled but somewhat better than when he had gone in.

It was a little while before he got back to the motel, and by the time he did, Dean was pacing their room like a caged animal. He’d wanted to go out after Val when he and Sam had gotten back, but the town was big enough that he wasn’t likely to stumble across Val without any idea where to look, and much as Dean hated to admit it, right now, he had no idea where Val was likely to go or what he was likely to do.

When he heard the key in the door, Dean leaped to his feet, taking a single step forward only to stop abruptly, his eyes widening. "What the fuck happened?" he exclaimed, staring in horror at the buzz cut that had replaced Val’s nearly shoulder-length dark hair.

The skin around Val’s eyes tightened, and a muscle in his jaw ticked. "I got a haircut," he said flatly.

"You got fucking scalped!" Dean moved closer, hoping it would improve, but it only looked worse, the better he saw it.

"You want it back the other way?"

"Really long?" Dean shrugged. "It was better than this!" He gestured vaguely toward Val’s head only to have the other man snap his whole body back out of the way, looking as if he had been nearly hit.

"I should have guessed."

"What, that I prefer you not bald? I think that’s pretty obvious if you consider why you look the way you do!" Dean snapped.

"And that’s all that matters, isn’t it?"

"What the fuck are you talking about?"

"You and what you want, or should I say who you want," Val hissed.

Dean jerked back, his eyes widening before his expression went blank. "I thought we both wanted the same thing."

"I know what I want; I wonder about you."

Dean frowned slightly despite his efforts to remain expressionless. "I’d thought we both wanted us, but it’s starting to sound like I was wrong." His voice was rising as he spoke.

"Which explains you wanting the long hair; I’m sure there’s a ritual you can perform to get him back," Val snarled, dropping down into one of the chairs beside the wobbly table.

"Hi—" Dean stopped abruptly, his face turning to a mask of fury. "Did you just say that I want Valac back?" he bit out.

"Why not?" Val spat. "You seem to like the way he fucked you since that’s what you want from me now, and you want me to look like him. Of course, there is that pesky out to control the world thing, but maybe Sam and his harem can bring him to heel."

"You son of a bitch!" Furious, Dean hauled back and took a swing at Val, knocking him back and shattering the chair beneath him. "I let a fucking demon keep me as a fucking pet to save you, you stupid bastard!"

Val looked up at him from the remains of the shattered chair, turned his head and spat out a mouthful of blood onto the threadbare carpet. "And half the time I think that’s where you want to be again."

Almost too angry to speak, Dean opened and closed his mouth several times before he managed to get anything out. "You’re starting to give new meaning to too stupid to live, you asshole!"

"So maybe instead of getting them to take a razor to the hair, I should have borrowed it and taken it to my throat!"

"Don’t you fucking say that!" Dean yelled, grabbing a fistful of Val’s shirt to haul him to his feet and shake him. "I love you, you fucking idiot!"

Val stood rigidly, then slumped in Dean’s grasp, his head bowed, the gesture feeling odd without the fall of hair over his face. "I can’t live like that again, I won’t."

"No one’s asking you to!" Dean groaned, pulling Val into a fierce embrace. "If Valac got free again, I might have to kill you. I don’t want to face that."

"I don’t know how to be me any more," Val whispered into his shoulder. "I don’t even know what ‘me’ is any longer—or you." The last was added in a whisper, and Dean stiffened again.

"What’s that supposed to mean? I haven’t changed."

Val barked out a sharp laugh at that as he straightened up. "To quote you, you ‘let a fucking demon keep you as a fucking pet’ for a year, and by the end you enjoyed everything he did to you. Don’t fucking deny it, Dean," he added as Dean opened his mouth. "I was there, I know, and I know what it’s been like the past month."

Dean shut his mouth on the hot denial he’d been about to make and actually thought about it for a moment before nodding sharply. "Okay, fine, I liked some of the rough stuff, but it was because it was still you in some way. And don’t tell me it wasn’t," he said sharply. "I could see you, know when you were there for a few seconds."

"It didn’t help; I couldn’t do anything."

"You were there. I knew you were still there, and I was going to get you back."

"He might have killed you, and it would have been my hands that did it," Val whispered.

Dean smiled crookedly. "He’d rather fuck me. And there was too much of you in him to let him kill me. I’m willing to bet that the old Valac wouldn’t have kept me around for a year."

"No, he was much more the use them once then cast them down into the fires kind."

"So see, you did do something."

Val looked up, the flesh under his eye already darkening. "Being in me fixated him on you."

"And if he hadn’t been, he’d have killed me and Sam when he got free," Dean replied.

Val nodded, still not happy with the fact that his own obsession with Dean had led to one in his former demonic self.

"And now we’re both free of him," Dean whispered, tightening his arms around Val again.

"For now," Val whispered, shuddering slightly.

"Forever," Dean corrected. "It’s just us, the way it should be."

"Dean..." Val slumped again, resting his forehead on Dean’s shoulder again. "I don’t even know if I am me anymore."

"You are," Dean said fiercely. "If you can’t trust yourself yet, trust me."

"I do," Val whispered. "It’s all that keeps me sane at times."

Dean held him tightly. "I’m not going anywhere," he promised.

"Don’t," Val said almost silently, "Because if you go, I’m gone too."

Dean’s arms tightened even more, almost squeezing the breath out of Val. "Don’t you dare. I’ll always find my way back to you, and I’m going to be really pissed if you’re not waiting for me where I left you."

"I’m not a dog," Val grumbled.

"So you don’t want a bone?"

Dean grinned and drew Val into a kiss that made them both forget their argument and its causes, at least for a little while. "So, about that bone," Dean breathed against Val’s lips before kissing him again, his tongue softly stroking over Val’s lips as if tasting him for the first time.

"You want it on the bed or against the wall?" Val asked, pulling back slightly to ask the question.

"Bed," Dean whispered against his ear. "We have all the time in the world."

Val nodded jerkily, his breath hitching as they moved toward the bed, collapsing onto it as he tugged at Dean’s shirt. Dean followed him down, his own hands reaching for the buttons on Val’s shirt, eager to get at the warm, bare skin underneath.

"I love you," he rasped before taking Val’s mouth in a kiss that tried to convince the other man of the truth of his words.

"Show me," Val whispered when he could breathe again.

"Every day," Dean promised, placing his hand over Val’s heart and simply letting it rest there, his fingers spread as he felt the heat and heartbeat against his palm.

Dark green eyes slipped closed, and Val swallowed convulsively before raising one hand to cover Dean’s, pressing his palm closer.

"I love you," Dean repeated against Val’s lips, "only you, forever. You’re what I want, who I need, and I’m not letting you go."

"Keep telling me that," Val rasped.

"Until you’re sick of hearing it," Dean promised, stroking him, Val slowly relaxing beneath him until only they existed. "Whatever you want, whenever you need it. I’m here for you, Val."

"You. Just you," the other man whispered, shuddering, his fingers clenching against Dean’s shoulders.

"I’m yours, Val. And you’re mine, so quit beating yourself up," Dean said, trying to raise his spirits. "No one gets to do that."

"Except you and Sam."

"Not even Sam," Dean told him.

"So just you?"

"Yup, and only when you need it. I can think of a lot more fun things to do with you than beat you up."

"Glad to hear it."

"And I’ll be happy to demonstrate whenever you want," Dean promised him.

"Why does that not surprise me?"

"Because you know me well." Dean kissed him lightly, smiling.

"Something which should frighten me," Val mused, slowly regaining some of his good humor.

"But it doesn’t, which just proves that a person has to be crazy to love me, but you’re stuck with me now," Dean told him. "We work."

"Yeah," Val murmured, "we do."

"Just remember that and we can get past anything."


Other pairing: Sam/Andy Gallagher/Ava Wilson

Next story in series - Two Men and a ‘67 Chevy.