Sunrise Acres, in the interest of providing the very best for its residents, had its very own tiny commercial sector—though it was more just a building instead of a sector. The large, sprawling building was designed to complement the houses that surrounded it, with its white-washed walls and large veranda. Inside, it was a combination grocery, hardware, and clothing store. It didn’t have everything, but it aimed to supply the basic necessities. Of course, since this was Sunrise Acres, those necessities apparently included the largest wine selection Sam had ever seen and a fully-stocked gourmet deli. It was the little things in life that mattered.
Sam bypassed the wine and ignored the deli as he stalked toward the back of the store in search of Dean’s rubbing alcohol. Dean was sorely mistaken, though, if he thought that Sam was going to buy him anything else. Sam was getting just the one thing and then he was heading right back to where Dean was probably making eyes at Nick from across the Firebird’s hood and shaking his ass. Just to piss Sam off.
Try as he might, Sam still couldn’t get rid the image of Dean from earlier—Dean laying in the Impala’s front seat in a pair of red lace panties like some kind of wet dream direct from Sam’s private fantasies. The only thing that he’d wanted to do was just drop to his knees and find out how they felt, tasted, and smelled. But ‘just go with it,’ in the light of day, wasn’t enough for Sam to toss aside years of secrets—not to mention the fact that this was his brother. Sam needed more than that. ‘More’ like why had Dean kissed him last night. Where did Sam stand? It was so easy to just fool himself into thinking that this was all just going to be smooth sailing—as if starting an incestuous relationship was ever smooth sailing—but Sam knew better than to be that naive. It was possible that Dean had only kissed him last night as a way of keeping their cover—and it was up to Sam for how far that they were going to take it.
Except Dean didn’t want to talk. Dean never wanted to talk. Dean thought that if he just carried on and ignored everything, then it would just go away. Unlike Sam, Dean thought that if he ignored the elephants that they would disappear. Sam knew better—they’d still be there, waiting.
Just because you wanted something to go away, didn’t mean that it would. Sam had learned that lesson well over the years.
Dean was playing a game with him. Sam knew that much. It was in Dean’s hints and sly smiles and Sam hated guessing. He had no idea where exactly they stood—just that, in the garage, where there were no cameras, Dean had readily gone along with whatever Sam wanted—he’d even seemed to want more. Sam didn’t know what that meant.
The Isopropyl alcohol was located at the back of aisle four and Sam swiped up a few bottles—they would have to be enough—before turning around and heading back up to the front. He wasn’t going to waste any more time then he had to.
“Mr. Mustaine?” Sam kept walking. “Mr. Mustaine?” Oh. Right. That was him. Sam reluctantly turned his head to face the person calling him and sighed as saw Alan Peachtree coming towards him. Alan stopped in front of him, nodding stiffly. “I wanted to check up on you, Mr. Mustaine. Make sure that Sunrise Acres is still to your liking.” Alan lightly cleared his throat. “It was a horrible even what happened this morning and I assure that I am making inquiries and will make sure that it does not happen again.”
Sam ducked his head. “It...”
“Sunrise Acres does not condone vandalism,” Alan continued, his fingers reaching out to graze Sam’s elbow. Sam frowned. His arm hair felt like it was standing on end but he couldn’t decide if that had to do with Alan or just the way that the man was staring intently at Sam, trying to convince him not to immediately pack his bags and leave. “I will get to the bottom of this matter as swiftly as possible.”
“Uh...thanks.” Sam shifted to the left, trying to be subtle as he moved away from Alan’s touch.
“Call me,” Alan said, stepping back into Sam’s personal space, “if there’s anything I can do for you.” He was still staring intently at Sam and Sam wondered if the man ever blinked.
“I, uh, I will.” Alan stared some more. “I promise.”
“It’s been nice talking to you, Mr. Mustaine,” Alan said, nodding his head. He held his hand out expectantly and Sam reluctantly took it.
“Yeah.” Sam winced as Alan pumped his hand firmly before releasing him and heading back into the store. Sam watched the man turn a corner and shook his head. He wasn’t going to worry about it. Alan was just running damage control and Sam really wanted to get back to Dean. Dean who was wearing red lace panties and flirting with Nick Lestrato over Jim Rockford’s Firebird.
Red lace panties, Dean decided, weren’t that great to work in. For one, he was intimately aware of every single move he made, the fabric constricting just so and making sure that he couldn’t forget what he was wearing. Especially when he was kneeling. He shifted uncomfortably as moved a few inches down the car, trying to dislodge the underwear from the crack of his ass without actually shoving his hand down his pants.
It had been worth it, though, for the look on Sam’s face. Dean could have died of embarrassment about Sam finding out about this particular kink but it appeared that they shared it. Dean grinned as he scrubbed off some more of a purple print. Yeah, that hadn’t been bad at all. He wiped his forehead on the back of his arm—with the sun rising high in the sky, Nick’s driveway was starting to reflect the heat and Dean was feeling it. Sweat was starting to bead up along his skin. …And the lace really wasn’t helping with that.
“You ever do this before?” Nick asked. He was working on the trunk of the Firebird, leaning over the back as he wiped carefully at a splotch of yellow. His black hair, falling forward, fluttered in the slight breeze and Dean took a moment to appreciate the handsome planes of Nick’s profile before letting his eyes lazy glance over the rest of Nick’s body. Nick was one of those guys that could really fill out a T-shirt—jeans, too. Dean followed the long lines of Nick’s jeans up to the swell of his ass. Between Nick and Cally, Dean thought, there were a lot of great views in this town. Of course, Cally came with the extra added bonus of Ali of the huge chest and wasn’t that a nice thought to think of the two of them together?
“Once or twice,” Dean answered. There’d been a couple of times that the Impala had been hit—though the time with the paintball, Dean had thought that Dad was going to hit the roof. It had been a prank—some kid thinking that he was going to get back at Dean for stealing his girlfriend (Dean hadn’t stolen her—she’d come all on her own). Must have scared the shit out of the kid to have an ex-Marine come charging out of the darkness behind him and haul him up by the scruff of his neck, growling like a bear. Dean laughed thinking about it though he’d been just as terrified as the kid, convinced that Dad had been going to kill him for messing with the townies again. Hell, he’d probably been even more terrified than the kid because he knew what his father was capable of.
“Don’t think I would have thought about this.” Nick patted his spot dry and moved onto another one, this one closer to Dean. “…Course, I wasn’t really thinking either.”
Dean laughed and shifted again. Damn underwear. “Can’t say as if I blame you,” he said. “If it had been my car, I wouldn’t have been able to keep a cool head either.”
“Means a lot,” Nick said. He was standing close enough to Dean that all Dean would have to do to touch him would be to raise an elbow and it would hit Nick’s thigh. “This car…it’s kind of ridiculous but it’s all I really got right now that means anything to me.”
Dean nodded. “I can understand that.” Next to Sam, the Impala was his best friend—he talked to her more than he did to Bobby for crying out loud.
“Ever since my last relationship ended, you know?”
The cotton ball was a deep violet so Dean switched it out for a fresh one before moving onto a yellow paw print. “Yeah.” Cars were a lot more constant than people. Treat ‘em right and they could be with you forever. Dean barely knew what a stable relationship was—the only ones that he’d ever really had, he’d been related to the people. And the Impala had still stayed with him longer.
Nick bent down, kneeling beside Dean to wipe at the same print that Dean was and Dean glanced over at him in surprise. “Thanks,” Nick said quietly and he was close enough that Dean was starting to get goosebumps, like his skin was trying to join with Nick’s. Dean shivered involuntarily and tried to pull backward, to get some space between himself and the other man because with Nick this close, he couldn’t think. The only thing he could focus on was the fact that Nick’s eyes were really blue and that his low voice was making his dick try to fill out his panties more than what was advisable.
“Y-yeah, no problem,” Dean stuttered, licking his lips. “Anything…anything to help.” And he stayed stock still as Nick kissed him, his body frozen in place on the hard cement of Nick’s driveway with the sun beating down on the both of them. It started as a light press before Nick’s hand came around the back of Dean’s neck and pulled him closer, his thumb tracing along Dean’s jaw, and Dean felt the soft, wet touch to Nick’s tongue against his lips. He tasted like chocolate.
Dean caught Nick’s wrist and pulled it away as he leaned back. “Uh…” His mind tried to shift gears despite how his body was already moving up into overdrive.
“You should work on those mixed signals,” Nick muttered and Dean got the feeling that he was talking more to himself than Dean. He let go of Dean, moving away as he stood up and not meeting Dean’s eyes. “Sorry,” he said. He walked away, his shoes crunching on the little bit of gravel and sand that was in the driveway, brought in on the Firebird’s tires.
Dean searched his mind, trying to think of where exactly he’d fucked up and feeling guilty. “Listen…”
“Good morning, gentlemen.” Dean turned to face Alan Peachtree who was standing at the edge of the driveway, watching them expectantly. Dean forced a flush down—how much had Alan seen?—and stood up.
“Peachtree,” Nick said, his voice sounding like it could frost over Sunrise Acres in the middle of July. “Anything I can help you with?”
“Just checking up on your car, Mr. Lestrato.” Alan walked towards them. “I would hate to think that anything untoward had happened.”
“We’re fixing it,” Nick said flatly and rubbed at another spot. Between the two of them, they’d just about saved the back half of the car as it was. Cally and Ali had promised that they’d show up in a little while, too.
Alan looked disdainfully at the car like he doubted that very much. “There’s also been some complaints of you arriving very late at night. You know how much we try to encourage a sensible curfew and your current employment does not warrant—”
“Am I behind on my mortgage, Peachtree?” Nick asked sharply.
Alan smiled coldly. “If you were, I imagine you’d know.” Dean glanced between the two other men. Alan hadn’t been nearly this reserved and cold dealing with Sam and him—in fact, he could swear that Alan was deliberately baiting Nick which made no sense. Why would a community manager bait one of his residents? They were just one step away from circling each other with bared teeth like two dogs.
“Then how about you get back to whatever it is you do during the day and let me take this paint off my car?”
“As you like. We’ll talk later.” Alan nodded curtly at Nick and more cordially at Dean before heading off.
“Like fuck we will,” Nick muttered, scrubbing hard enough that Dean wondered if he was going to take off more paint than just the acrylic. Considering what had just happened between them, though, he didn’t want to stir up any possible trouble, so he bowed his head and starting working on the car again. They continued together despite the uncomfortable stillness that was hanging between them.
When Sam showed up again, bottles of rubbing alcohol in tow, Dean welcomed the flat glare that Sam level at Nick because it felt friendlier than the awkward quiet. Soon after, too, Cally and Ali put in an appearance, followed quickly by Paul, and between their chattering and joking, it was almost like the last ten minutes he and Nick had spent alone had never happened.
Sam had been thinking that they were going to spend just another quiet night in—or, as quiet as they got that was—but he really should have known better. Dean was an expert at pushing his buttons and now that he’d found one, he was going to mash it for all it was worth.
They’d spent nearly all day saving Nick’s fucking paint job which, Sam had to admit, had been the most productive part of their day. He’d tried talking with the neighbors during and after but all they’d wanted to talk about was the coloring job that had dyed Sunrise Acre’s streets. Frankly, Sam was sick of colors—especially red. It had all he’d been seeing all day and it had nothing to do with being angry and everything to do with Dean. Dean and his usual antics.
When Sam had gotten back from the store, Dean and Nick had, thankfully, been on opposite sides of the Firebird, each apparently focused on the task at hand despite Sam’s earlier suspicions. He’d been so sure that he was, at the very least, going to find them side by side and in each other’s space. Dean probably didn’t think anything of it—just thought that he was playing another angle—while Nick ate it up with a spoon. To find them so far apart had been surprising but it hadn’t stopped Sam from glaring anyway. Dean had grinned at him. “Hey, Sammy,” he’d said, holding out a fresh cotton ball. “What took you so long?”
“Traffic,” Sam had deadpanned and settled in beside him while Dean laughed. Nick had cracked a smile too, easing whatever odd mood had been surrounding them, and that had been that.
Except the part when Sam had happened to glance over and Dean’s shirt had been riding up and his jeans gaping just enough for Sam to see that flash of red. Sam had focused on the car in front of him but there was no escaping that particular color. It was forever seared into his mind now. Funny thing was, though, Dean’s shirt was too long for that little flash to have been anything other than a deliberate tease on his part—it and the six other times Sam happened to catch a glimpse of it. Half the neighborhood had shown up to help strip paint of the car but Dean had still found time in between his flirting with the neighbors to tease the ever-living fuck out of Sam.
Sam had just wanted to curl up somewhere quiet and die peacefully because Dean was going to kill him anyway.
That had been before they’d gone inside and Dean had wrinkled his nose and pronounced them both rank. “Dude. We reek.” He’d steered Sam into the bathroom before Sam had even had a clue what was going on and shucked his clothes faster than Sam could blink—all except those damn panties. Those had come off nice and slow with a sly wink while Sam flushed. Dean had pitched them into the sink. “Gotta hand wash those, bitch,” he’d said and Sam had almost volunteered for the job. Of course, he couldn’t guarantee that Dean wouldn’t get them back dirtier than before.
Sam stood deathly still in the middle of the bathroom, breathing hard as he eyed Dean up and down. In the corner of the room, there was a camera recording everything except for the sound because the rushing water covered normal voices at that distance and Sam was left with a choice again: he could give in to Dean’s game or he could try to insist that they talk again. That wasn’t any choice at all. Screw Nick Lestrato and, for the moment, screw everyone who wasn’t in this bathroom at this exact minute. Sam pulled off his shirt and Dean chuckled. “There you go…”
The water was warm when Sam slipped underneath it but it had nothing on Dean’s heated skin. Using lighter pressure than the water that was pouring down over them, Sam’s fingertips hesitantly grazed Dean’s shoulders, trying to figure out how far to take this before Dean rolled his eyes and hauled Sam in close. “Not this again,” he muttered and kissed Sam.
Sam moaned, his eyes closing as his hands slid down to grip Dean’s waist. He still didn’t know where they stood—how much of this was just playing along and how much was real—but Dean was solid underneath him and Sam just didn’t care anymore. If Dean was playing a game, he wasn’t playing fair but Sam could be just as dirty. Dean had taught him everything he knew, after all.
Giving up any pretense at playing pretend—giving up on putting on a show for the camera and nothing else—Sam moved his hand down to Dean’s ass and squeezed. This was going to mean something whether he wanted it to or not so he might as well enjoy it while he could. His knees shook and he locked them, not about to see this particular childhood fantasy wash itself down the drain just because he couldn’t stand up straight.
Still kissing him, Dean pushed Sam back against the shower wall, the tile slick beneath Sam’s back as Dean moved between Sam’s legs, wet and warm and solid. Dean’s hands slowly ran over Sam’s shoulders and down his chest, pausing for a moment before slipping around to Sam’s back, holding him close. “Yeah, Sammy,” Dean breathed as he broke away from the kiss to mouth at Sam’s neck. Shuddering, Sam tossed his head back and shook the water out of his hair before coming back to nip at Dean’s jaw. He wanted to leave marks. He wanted to mark Dean up—claim him—so that everyone would know just who he belonged to. That no one would dare touch him.
Dean gasped, his hands gripping Sam’s back as Sam sank his teeth down into the sensitive skin of Dean’s throat. “Fuck…” Dean’s hips bucked forward as Dean ground himself against Sam’s thigh and Sam bit down just a little harder, giving Dean that knife-edge of pain to go with his pleasure, but stopping before he managed to draw blood.
When Sam pulled back to look at his handiwork, a bruise was already forming on Dean’s neck and Dean’s eyes were glazed over. Sam shivered and ducked his head to try it again. He liked how the mark looked against Dean’s skin, in amongst the freckles, and he wanted to add more.
Dean caught him and pulled him in for another kiss, his tongue pushing into Sam’s mouth. Sam kissed him back, their tongues winding together as the water sluiced over them.
Dean’s hand wrapped around Sam’s dick, his thumb rubbing along the side, and Sam’s head slammed back against the tile, his knees trembling again. All of his fantasies had just been put to shame by the simple fact that Dean touching him—Dean with his hand on Sam’s dick. And then Dean one-upped them: he licked at Sam’s throat and dropped to his knees. Panting, Sam looked downward, shuddering at the sight of Dean grinning up at him, holding onto Sam’s hips, before he moved his lips over Sam’s dick, rubbing them against the shaft. “Shit,” Sam whispered, his fingers stroking through Dean’s hair. “Dean…”
Water was pouring down on Sam’s body, slicking down his chest, but all Sam could feel was Dean’s hands holding him in place and his soft, warm lips brushing against him. He shook the hair out of his eyes and stared downward, not wanting to miss a moment as Dean slowly swallowed the head of Sam’s cock. Sam gasped, his eyes closing against his will and his head tipping backward. It was too much. He couldn’t take it.
Dean’s fingers formed a tight circle around the base of Sam’s cock, sliding up and down in a steady rhythm that matched the motions of Dean’s mouth, and Sam was desperately grabbing at any part of Dean that he could get a hold of. His hands scrambled over Dean’s shoulders, clasped around the back of his neck, dug into his hair—clutching for anything solid in the hope of keeping his feet on the ground.
It didn’t work.
Sam rolled his hips upward for half a moment, pushing Dean up with them before his entire body tightened and snapped straight. The hard tile dug into Sam’s shoulders as his head banged against it but Sam couldn’t feel the pain through the pleasure surging through his nerves. His world focused and narrowed before shattering into tiny, incoherent fragments and Sam’s knees finally buckled. He slid down the wall to land hard on the shower floor, the water still gushing over both him and Dean, swirling around them to stream down the drain, as he stared straight ahead at Dean’s face.
Dean licked his lips, catching a bit of white that he had missed and Sam was done. His entire body jolted with a painful aftershock and he groaned, rolling his aching head to the side. Dean chuckled. “You okay there, Sam?” he asked.
Responding to the amusement in Dean’s voice, Sam growled. He’d show Dean ‘okay.’ He lashed out and grabbed a hold of Dean’s dick before Dean had a chance to react, his fingers wrapping around the shaft. Dean’s breath stuttered. Keeping his eyes trained on Sam, Dean tentatively placed his hands on Sam’s shoulders, his thumbs rubbing in small circles. As Sam began to stroke, jerking Dean off, Dean gave a half-hearted little moan and closed his eyes, giving himself over to Sam completely. A sense of power filled Sam: it was heady to have Dean so at his mercy—shivering every time Sam ran his thumb over the head of Dean’s dick, his hips rolling in small circles in time with Sam’s strokes, and just so trusting.
Sam liked it.
He felt like he could keep it up for hours, slowly stroking Dean, his eyes watching every minute expression flittering across Dean’s face. Dean, though, didn’t have that kind of stamina. Dean’s breath hitched and his eyelids fluttered as he came, pulsing in Sam’s hand. White strands of come landed on Sam’s stomach only to be washed away by the constant water and Sam watched them go with fascination. He wanted to rub them into his skin, make them permanent.
Dean took a shaky breath and pulled Sam’s hand away. Sam’s fingers brushed against him one last time and Dean jerked to the side. “Fuck, Sam, stop…” he breathed, tugging Sam’s hands outward. “I can’t take that.”
Sam kissed him. Leaning forward, he pressed his lips against Dean’s, his tongue swiping against Dean’s bottom lip in a quick brush before he sucked the lip into his mouth. Dean paused for only half a moment before pushing hungrily back, pinning Sam against the shower wall again, their chests flush together.
They lost track of time, caught up in each other, with the water of the shower forming a cocoon around them. Real, pretend, it didn’t matter. It meant what it meant and they’d both have to deal with that. There was no way that Sam could ever let this go—could ever let Dean go.
Sam had wanted to stay in the shower forever but not even the haze he was lost in could hide wrinkled, pruned skin and it was never smart to sleep under running water. Dean had eventually pushed him away with a growling “Time for bed” that sent a shiver running down Sam’s spine.
Sam had quickly followed Dean out even as he regretted the boxers and jeans that Dean slid on over his naked skin. “I’m just gonna go check on the car,” Dean added, jerking his thumb over his shoulder. Sam rolled his eyes—that explained the jeans. Sam was well aware that Dean wasn’t going to just go check on the car. He was going to check every single door and window in the house. It was a ritual with him.
“I’ll come with you,” Sam said, pulling on his own clothes and Dean didn’t protest as Sam followed him out.
The Impala was still safe and sound in her temporary garage with the door firmly locked. Dean grinned at Sam over her hood and headed back inside, briefly checking each window as they passed it. They made it all the way to the backdoor when Dean stopped. Sam narrowly avoided running into him but kept his mouth shut as he looked over Dean’s shoulder at the dark laundry room that they were standing just outside of. Dean had his head tilted, listening to the dark and then Sam heard it, too—a quiet rustling.
He peered into the blackness of the room, looking around, seeing only the white of the washing machine—but Dean was reaching behind to pull his gun out of his waistband. Sam mimicked him, even getting the safety off before he saw the eyes.
Low to the ground, they were staring back at them like a prism, catching the faint light with a mirror sheen. The rustling stopped. And the eyes bounded away. The creature in the room skittered on the tile, nails scraping against the floor as it darted for the barely open back door. It squeezed through the crack, emerging into the light of the half moon, and Sam caught a glimpse of dark brown fur.
“Son of a bitch,” Dean hissed and then he was chasing after it, darting through the open door into the night. Sam didn’t think twice; he followed Dean.
They pursued the invader around the corner of the house where it quickly outpaced them, running across the yard and into the street. It turned left, running up the road and, in the moonlight, Sam could clearly make out the coyote’s shape.
Dean pounded after it, running up the side yard and turning at the sidewalk. Sam knew that they didn’t have a hope of catching the thing—it was faster than them—but, luckily, they didn’t have to. The coyote turned and ran into the yard of one of the neighbors.
Sam was out of breath by the time he caught up to Dean, who was panting himself, standing in front of 318. Sam gagged and covered his nose. “It…” Dean took a deep breath. “…went inside…” He nodded at Sam, hoping it was enough and Sam nodded back. The door to Joshua Mayberry’s house was wide open. Sam got the message loud and clear.
Mayberry’s house was deathly quiet as they entered, guns drawn. Sam didn’t have a clue what they would say to Mayberry if he found them wandering through his house—extremely dedicated animal control officers?—but that was a problem to worry about if it happened. Right now, he just wanted to know how the animal that they were chasing was able to open doors. He was certain that the backdoor had been shut earlier which meant that either the coyote opened it or something opened it for the creature. Sam tried to breathe shallowly as he crept through the house after Dean.
They quickly searched the bottom of the house before coming back to the stairs in the front. Dean climbed them first, his back to the wall and his gun trying to cover every other angle as Sam came up after him on his flank. Moving quickly to the first, closed door, Dean cracked it open and peeked inside. Finding it empty, he slunk past, creeping over to the next one.
It was already open.
Dean glanced back at Sam and waved at him to come closer. Sam quickly padded up the steps to stand beside him, nodding at Dean to go ahead. Taking point, Dean slipped into the room. “Fuck,” Dean whispered. He crawled forward. “Fuck, fuck, fuck… Found Mayberry.” Sam looked up at Dean who stared grimly back. “And it doesn’t look good.”
Sam moved into the room, crouching beside Dean and saw what he was talking about. There, in the bed, wrapped up in the sheets like maybe it was going to take a nap was the dried husk of what used to be Joshua Mayberry. Sam could still recognize his facial features and his hair. “Fuck,” he said.
“Yeah. Fuck.” Dean looked out the window at the ground below and then walked out of the room to look at the rest of the house. Everything looked pristine, like maybe Mayberry was going to get up any minute now and complain about his lawn again. Speaking of the lawn…
Sam stared out the patio door. Was it…drying up? “Dean.”
“Son of a bitch…” Dean said, standing beside Sam.
“Guess it got what it wanted,” Sam said grimly and Dean nodded.
“And that thing—whatever it is—”
“A coyote,” Sam supplied.
“Yeah, well, it’s gone.”
And, when they came back to examine Joshua Mayberry’s body, it was gone too.
In the background, a perky blonde was informing them about how they, too, could remove stains for only $29.95 plus shipping and handling but neither Sam nor Dean were paying her much attention—they hadn’t been for the past few hours. So much for going to bed.
Sitting on the couch with one leg kicked up on the coffee table, Sam glanced over at Dean before setting the computer on Dean’s lap. Dean, sprawled out over most of the couch, set down his book and pulled the laptop closer. He stared at the headline and read downward a bit before flicking his eyes up to meet Sam’s. Bingo.
It was an article from six months ago, printed in one of the local papers. City Councilman Accused of Accepting Bribes, it read with a picture of Joshua Mayberry underneath.
Phoenix city councilman Joshua Mayberry has been accused of allegedly accepting bribes. Jules Foxtail, a resident of the Sunrise Acres community where Mayberry lives, claims that not only has Mayberry taken cash payments and gifts in exchange for his vote on numerous city matters but also has used his influence to cover up more serious allegations. In a press conference Monday, Mayberry denied the accusations and remarked the Foxtail was “distraught and grieving.”
Foxtail’s significant other, Miguel Foxtail, disappeared two months ago. A search was never conducted despite numerous complaints from Foxtail and Mayberry has gone on record as saying, “We have other matters to focus on to spend all of our time and effort into finding one adult who should be responsible for his own actions.” Jules Foxtail could not be reached for further comment though his lawyer is confident that the case against Mayberry will move forward…
Dean nodded. “I’d say that’s a yes.” Then he handed Sam his book, his finger pointing at a specific page.
His hands sliding over the smooth, worn cover, Sam glanced at the stylized picture with the caption. Coyote, the Native American trickster figure, is a common character in many oral traditions…
“It makes sense,” Sam said, flipping the page. It explained the coyote, the deaths, the disappearances… “It even explains the paint.” He tapped the section that explained Coyote’s love of color and fringe elements. There were still a few things to figure out, like what was it doing here, but, if they were right, they’d dealt with one of these creatures before. Now they just needed to find who in Sunrise Acres had a sweet tooth the size of Mount Everest and shove one of the stakes from the Impala’s trunk through its heart.
…It was going to be next to impossible. If there was one thing that Sam had learned about Trickster demi-gods in the short time that he’d known about them and limited experience, it was that they didn’t go down easily.
“Great,” Dean muttered, sliding the laptop away and pushing himself to his feet. “I’ll go check the stakes.”
Sam smiled tightly and hoped that whoever was watching the cameras just thought that they meant the cuts of meat.
The camera controls were touchy and extra attention was given to make sure that it zoomed in just right on Sam’s face. Far too often, the camera had a habit of shooting straight on past whatever it was you were looking at to focus in with hyper quality on a single blade of grass.
It looked like the boys had figured him out—usual but not unheard of. He had known that the Winchesters were special the moment that they’d entered his area. It was why he’d taken the time to meet them and figure them out. It was why he’d taken the time to help them figure him out. The paint, he thought, had been a nice touch—really livened up the town.
Actually, he rather liked them. They were cute—in a repressed, unhealthily co-dependant sort of way. Both were too attached to their various forms of denial but he liked to think that he’d helped them out on that regard. He certainly hoped that they’d enjoyed the present that he’d sent them—custom-made, too. He had been rather proud of that, how he’d been able to pick the memory out of Dean’s mind.
Kicking his feet up onto the counter, Coyote grinned as he took a bite of out of a Snicker’s bar, letting the chocolate melt against his tongue. Really, his only regret at the moment was that he hadn’t thought of putting cameras in the garage earlier. The boys had caught him when he’d returned to do just that but he’d decided to let them catch a little “break” in their investigation anyway. Killed two birds with one stone—taking care of Mayberry and getting to play with the Winchesters.
Really, life didn’t get much better. It was just such a shame that the game was almost done—the boys wouldn’t get a chance to figure everything out if this all went according to plan. He hoped that their self-esteem wouldn’t suffer but he was too close to wait anymore.
In the morning, Sam woke up alone. He sat up, looking around the room and only seeing the blankness of the walls and the overly fussy curtains that had come with the house. In the corner, his and Dean’s duffle bags were still sitting against the wall, both of them knowing that they weren’t going to be in the house long enough to unpack and figuring that they could get away with doing so for a few days at least. Dean’s pants from yesterday were still lying on the floor, right where he’d left them and Sam stared at them.
It was hard to believe that the last two days had happened at all. Sam’s entire life felt like it been turned on its ear. He’d spent years hiding and denying himself to just give it all up. Sam ran his hands over the soft sheets of the bed, feeling the residual warmth of Dean’s body, and closed his eyes. There was no going back.
Sam pushed himself out of bed and yanked on a pair of jeans, zipping them up as headed out the bedroom door and down the hall. He tugged a shirt over his head as he made his way to the stairs and head down. There was the unmistakable sizzle of grease frying and Sam took the stairs two at a time.
In the kitchen, Dean was standing by the stove in low-slung jeans and a blue T-shirt, a fork in one hand as he turned strips of bacon. “Morning,” Dean said. He looked completely normal, as if nothing at all unusual had happened just last night. Sam stood in the archway, staring at him. “You hungry?” Dean asked, holding up a plate with a few strips already done.
Just go with it Dean had said. Sam remembered that. Just go with it.
“Yeah,” Sam answered, crossing the space between them. Dean nodded and set the plate down on the counter, obviously expecting Sam to take it but Sam passed it right on by to stand behind Dean instead. Dean turned his head, craning it to the side to look at Sam, as Sam tentatively placed his hands on Dean’s hips. “I am.” He leaned himself up against Dean’s back as Dean smiled and flipped a few more strips.
This, Sam thought, was…nice. It would be entirely too easy to forget where they were, what they were supposed to be doing, because all Sam wanted to do was just pretend that this one moment was going to last forever.
Friday appeared to be the highlight of Sunrise Acres’ social life: there was a suffocating haze hanging in the air outside and it wasn’t just the heat. Dean felt his skin prickle with the intangible hum the moment he stepped out onto the porch. It wrapped around him like a second skin, layering itself with the coat of sweat he was already starting to sport and trickling downward. Many of the neighbors were already out and about, running to and fro though most were still scrubbing paint off their sidewalks. They were like happy little worker bees and, like a lot of things in the community, Dean thought it was just a little bit creepy. He couldn’t quite put his finger on why but the thought was there, irritating him like a mosquito bite.
He waved at Ron next door who scowled back, on his hands and knees in the driveway, bent over and scrubbing at the formerly white cement. Paul was a few feet away, singing as he scrubbed at a fence post. Dean didn’t recognize the tune—something or other about Friday and looking forward to the weekend—but he didn’t want to listen to the nasally voice Paul was singing it in long enough to find out more. Henry, the retiree, was humming quietly to himself too. …Loverboy?
Dean didn’t want to think about how boring life in Sunrise Acres must truly have been that the main entertainment was a block party, preferring instead to hope that Coldwater just threw one hell of a shindig—whether the man of the hour was there or not. Beside him, Sam shifted from one foot to the other. He hadn’t really wanted to come outside—instead half-heartedly trying to talk Dean into staying inside. Dean had been tempted too: Sam had decided to drop his arguments, accepting what it was that he wanted and Dean would be lying if he claimed that he didn’t have any use for that. But, in the end, they still had a job to do. There was still one possibly super-charged demi-god running around in Sunrise Acres taking out such people as corrupt, bribe-taking city councilmen and high-powered lawyers—a demi-god that might be lurking in any of the Mr. Rogers that populated the community, no less. He was already trying to think up neighbors who had a craving for sweets and sugar—Ron came to mind—but, smart money was still on Coldwater or someone close to him. The creature was bound to be somebody who had lots of access to wherever it wanted to go. They just needed to find out who.
A large white truck was parked just down the road with men in white jumpers scrubbing at the colorful mess with large brooms and buckets of paint thinner and working their way up the street. They had a lot of ground to cover if they were going to clean up the entire mess that Coyote—or whatever it was that they were dealing with—had left.
Dean smiled as he caught sight of Cally heading towards her front door, a paper bag balanced on each hip. Leaving Sam for a moment, he jogged up to him, holding his hands out. “Need any help?” he asked, taking one of the bags.
“Oh, I…” Cally shifted the bag that she had left to get herself more in balance. “Thanks!” She tilted her head and smiled at him.
“Just thought I’d help out,” Dean replied. Sam had already caught up to Dean and frowned at him for a moment before grappling the other bag away from Cally.
“I…” Cally looked at the both of them in dismay, her empty hands still pretending that they were holding something. “You know I can actually carry something…” She reached for the bag that Sam was holding but Sam moved out of her way, shrugging.
“I got it,” he said and Dean smirked, some small part of him liking how Sam couldn’t seem to meet either of their eyes.
Cally rolled her eyes. “Men,” she muttered and climbed up the stairs of the porch as Dean and Sam followed her.
“Hey,” Dean asked from the edge of the porch. “You didn’t hear anything last night, did you?”
Cally frowned as she opened the door. “Like another break-in?”
A break-in. A creepy, not!coyote wandering around. One of your neighbors dying horribly… “Yeah.” He smiled. “I thought I heard something last night… You know, heading over to Mayberry’s place?”
“Oh.” Cally shook her head. “No, I didn’t hear anything last night. Did you try asking Joshua?”
“That’s just it,” Dean replied. “He’s not at his house—” He cut himself off short as he ran smack-dab into Ali who looked like she was considering putting him six feet under and planting flowers on top of him. “Uh, hi.”
Cally took her bag back from Dean and pushed past Ali into the house. “Sam and Dean were just helping me carry the groceries,” she said over her shoulder and Dean hastily stepped aside to clearly display Sam.
“Just being neighborly,” Dean said. Ali didn’t look convinced as she took the other bag from Sam and a few seconds later, Dean and Sam found themselves alone on the veranda. Dean rubbed at his nose, having almost just lost it when Ali closed the door on him. “There’s someone we should check out more.”
Sam rolled his eyes. “Or maybe you should stop flirting with her girlfriend.”
“Don’t be jealous, Sammy,” Dean said with a smirk. “I’d flirt with you too but you’re no fun.” Mentally calculating the point as Sam just grit his teeth—it was rare enough for Sam not to have a comeback that Dean liked to keep track—Dean headed back across the street, toward where he saw Nick standing next to the Firebird.
“No, hey, I got it!” Nick snarled, coming around the back end of the car to stand on the other side. Alan, once again dressed to the nines despite the heat was following him.
“I really don’t think you—”
“Look, I already told you, I was a little drunk and I got lost, alright? I didn’t know that it would be a big fucking deal.” Nick yanked open the driver’s side door and pulled the seat forward, rummaging behind it.
“Rules are rules, Mr. Lestrato—”
When Nick backed out of the car, he almost slammed into Alan who was standing directly behind him. “Jesus, there, see? Here’s the receipt. I was in town then—I wasn’t ‘prowling around’ or any of your little euphemisms. I bought some fucking candy and a beer. Happy?” He thrust the scrap of paper at Alan who took it reluctantly, holding it between two fingers.
“Mr. Lestrato… This doesn’t prove anything.”
Nick snatched the receipt back and then shoved it into Alan’s face. “Yes, it does. You see that time stamp? 9:34. I was at the store at 9:34 so there’s no way that I could have been skulking around Mayberry’s place and I don’t care what he said.”
“Couldn’t have been up at the mansion now, either, could I? I was down talking with Billy. Maybe doing a little something else, too, so why don’t you go ask him?”
Alan pinched his lips together. “Yes, I understand that you and Mr. Hainsworth occasionally have…relations. That’s hardly the point.”
“Then what is the point here? Because I’m a little lost. All these accusations, they’re starting to get me all confused because I don’t know why anyone would make them and I don’t understand why you’d believe them. I was with Billy last night—”
“We’ll just let the subject drop, yes?” Alan interrupted, cutting off Nick before Nick had a chance to elaborate just exactly what he’d been doing. “I’ve certainly done my duty and it is just something for you to keep in mind, Mr. Lestrato.”
“Oh, certainly,” Nick snapped. “I’ll just make sure not to wander by Joshua Mayberry’s yard anymore because I know how much it distresses him.”
Nick looked ready to start breathing fire but Alan wasn’t melting. He turned, icily perfect, and calmly walked down the driveway. “Have a good day,” he called over his shoulder. He nodded politely at Sam and Dean before crisply making his way down the street to where the cleaners were hard at work.
Dean watched him go for a minute before turning to face Nick, his eyebrows raised. “Whoa.”
Nick sighed, shaking his head. “It’s ridiculous. No fucking right.”
As Dean moved away, he felt Sam grab at his hand but he deftly avoided the attempt. He didn’t need Sam clinging to him like a limpet just because he felt threatened or something. Dean still thought it was odd that a community manager would ever have that kind of reaction to a resident. “He’s kind of a douchebag, isn’t he?” Dean asked. He leaned against the car as Nick just shook his head. “Hey, man, it’s fine—”
Nick shook his head harder. “It’s not worth talking about.”
“Sure,” Dean said, nodding. He knew that he was hitting a brick wall on the issue and it wasn’t worth pursuing if it was just going to shut Nick down. “So how’s the car?” he asked, turning to look at it. “Came out looking pretty good, right?”
“Listen, Dean…” Nick frowned. “I really don’t have time right now.” He scratched his head and tried to force a smile, ending up only halfway there. “Sorry.”
Dean raised his hands and backed up. “Fair enough,” he said and Nick took the words as his cue to leave, heading into his house.
“You were saying something about people to investigate?” Sam asked and Dean turned on him.
“It’s not Nick,” Dean replied, not even bothering to think about it. “Nick moved in after everything started going down, remember?”
“Doesn’t mean that he still couldn’t be involved,” Sam said but Dean shrugged.
“Maybe he just doesn’t want to talk.” Or, more to the point, maybe Nick just didn’t want to talk to Dean. Dean frowned, remembering the kiss from yesterday. It made sense that a guy coming off a fight like Nick and Alan’s wouldn’t want to talk to the person who had rejected him just the day before.
So why were Dean’s instincts wanting to believe Sam’s opinion about there being something off about Nick?