Lady of the House

A/N: 695 words.

Sam's desertion, the throbbing in his injured arm, the fact of that girl's broken body three towns back - it comes pouring into Dean's head one night on the interstate, and he has to pull over.

He gets out and goes to the trunk, wants to look through the weapons, but there's nothing to fight and he forgot the keys in the ignition anyway. He slides down, his back against the rear fender, puts his head in his hands and just breathes. Because it's raining, his face is wet; there might be salt, but he can't tell for sure.

That's good.

"Get me my own key."

Dean keeps walking into the office of the hotel, waves a hand idly.

Sam leans back and lays a hand on her dashboard. It's nubbly and black as it ever was. Fuck sun; she's invincible.

When she tugged at his heart again, last night when Dean showed up and took him away from school, he wasn't surprised. She's borne them through Hell, through quarrels and cold and getaways. Some people go home to the family house. Sam was always different.

Dean tosses his key through the window. "Come on. You two can catch up tomorrow."

They stand on the bridge, the roar of the engine loud in the dark. "Dean, who's driving your car?"

A no-good, stealing, car-thieving, home-wrecking, pissed-off, pissing-me-off, murdering, lying, cheating, unholy bitch of a dead woman is driving my car, Sam.

Dean holds up his keys, feeling his jaw tighten. Dad got a new pickup truck when Dean was sixteen, and "sold" the Impala to a guy in town. On his seventeenth birthday, Dean opened a tiny little box to find the Impala's keys with a red ribbon around them.

Constance Welch is playing in her insides, and Dean sees red.

"Come on, come on..." Dean coaxes her, holding the panic down. Sam peers worriedly over the steering wheel, even though he can't see anything from in there. "Try it now," Dean instructs, wiping his hands on his shirt.

Sam turns the key and she groans angrily at them.

Dean growls, a doctor at the disease. "Cut it!" The engine quiets as Dean dives back under the hood and immediately burns himself. "Bitch!" he hisses, furious.

The driver's door creaks and then Sam is there, firm hand on his shoulder. "Take a break, Dean."

Dean paces off, glowering at the road.

Dean surveys his new car in the morning outside the motel. Dad's getting his stuff together, be out in a minute. He tries it out in his head, my car, and can't help but smile.

He runs over and jerks open the driver's side door, climbs in -

And Sam smiles calmly at him from the passenger seat, obviously luxuriating in the extra leg room that he needs, even at thirteen. "Shotgun."

"Dad!" Dean hollers across the lot as John throws his bags in the new truck.


"Sam's in my car!"

"I called shotgun, Dad."

"Your brother called shotgun," John tells Dean calmly. "You know the rules." He hoists his camouflage duffel into the passenger seat and climbs up, bangs his door closed behind him. "Make sure you keep an eye on the road, and an eye on me. Don't get too far behind or ahead. And no fighting, I mean that."

Sam smirks at him and pulls a book out of his knapsack. "No Metallica."

Dean glares at him for about a half second before realizing what Sam just said. Then, a beatific smile spreads over his face. "Metallica. What an awesome idea, Sam." He pulls his pack up and lifts out a tape, which he pops into the player.

"Hey," Sam objects as the heavy baseline starts to blast through the car.

"It's my car," Dean grins. "You don't like it, ride with Dad."

Sam stares at him for a second, then turns back to his book, glowering intently at it.

"Pouting's not attractive, Sammy," Dean deadpans, and he slaps a hand behind Sam's headrest, shoulder-checks, and peels out of the parking lot like a bat of hell.

He's gonna have to get that tape too, actually.