Disclaimer: I don't own any of these characters, and I'm not making any money from this story.
The Kamorelli Demon
Warning: Non consensual disciplinary spanking of an adult by a sibling.
"So basically Sammy you and I are going to go back to the motel and do that thing that we do where I smack your behind and you tell me that you will never, ever do it again. Sound like a good time?"
Sam looked straight ahead not wanting to look towards his right and encounter his very furious brother. In all honesty he did feel really bad about what had happened. But he had been listening to the lecture now for about ten minutes and he had had no doubt that it was leading exactly to the place Dean has just said. He knew without even looking that Dean's brow would be furrowed with intensity at the lecturing he was giving. Why was it that he didn't have the brother who wanted to play catch or take him to the museum or movies? Why was it that his brother was only interested in being dad Junior? Like one hard ass in the family wasn't enough.
He listened and focused his attention on the bug splatter on the windshield and tried to avoid looking at Dean hoping that soon he would settle down but he just kept on going. "Fine Dean I get it I screwed up now just get your ass in the car."
Now if he hadn't been in so deep he would have laughed at the amazed expression on his brother's face. "What did you just say to me Mister?"
Now Sam did turn to face him "Did you just call me Mister Dean?"
Dean straightened up and nodded as if to himself. "Fine then Sam we can finish this discussion at home."
He saw his brother walk around the front of the car and he knew just from his body language that he was really pissed. Now Sam leaned his head back against the headrest and closed his eyes. He opened them to find Dean driving clearly in furious mode and he wondered briefly how in the hell he got himself into these things. He though again about the events of the last few weeks and wished that at some point he had gotten a clue and altered any of the stupid choices he had made. He really didn't like it when Dean was mad at him and he liked it even less when he was disappointed and he knew that big brother was both. And while "that thing that we do" as Dean put it was never any fun either he almost felt worse about having his brother be so upset with him.
He looked towards his angry brother and sighed. "Okay Dean I'm sorry. I know what I did was stupid and you have a right to be angry with me. But it's my life."
He watched the incredulous look cross Dean's face. "What a crock that is. If you really believe that then you need your ass beat worse than I thought."
Thinking that he might just try another tact he changed his line of reasoning. "Look I know that this really *sounds* bad."
Again he heard his brother snort. "Yeah well the only sound Francis that I want you to think about for the next ten miles it the sound that my hand is gonna make smacking some sense into your butt. And then I want you to think about just how you got yourself into this mess."
Sam leaned his head on the headrest again thinking about how amazing it was that Dean always sounded just like dad and he did just what Dean had told him to do.
A week before:
Sam and Dean had just finished dinner at the diner next to the motel they were currently staying in and while they had eaten many meals like this, this one was an exception. This diner was run and owned by a grandmotherly type named Mildred. And all the food was home cooking and delicious and both Sam and Dean had eaten every meal there for three days. And for some reason she had taken a particular shine to Sam. Dean sat back in the booth. "Damn I think that was the best pot roast that I have ever eaten."
Now Sam nodded in agreement. "Those mashed potatoes were like little fluffy clouds of deliciousness."
Dean just rolled his eyes but he didn't disagree.
Sam felt her hands on his shoulders. "So now how did you young fellas enjoy your dinner?"
"It was delicious Ma'am; I think the best that I've ever eaten."
She graced Sam with a beautiful smile and he actually blushed. "Why thank you sweetheart you are just too kind. Now how about some pie and it's on the house. Let me guess for Dean it'll be a slice of our rich chocolate French silk and for Sam a nice slice of peach cobbler warm with vanilla ice cream."
Both boys smiled at her and said "Yes Ma'am" at the same time. Watching her walk away Dean shook his head. "Dude how does she do that? She always knows just what I want."
Sam smiled as he watched their white haired friend get their desserts. "Don't look a gift horse in the mouth Dean."
"Well one thing is for sure if we don't figure out where all that telekinetic activity is coming from squash it and move on I'm gonna need bigger jeans. I went to zip up yesterday and I had to suck it in. Man pot roast and mashed potatoes and pie every night have been hell on my washboard abs."
Now Sam rolled his eyes. "Stop being such a whiner Dean, it isn't Mildred's fault that you eat like you've never even seen real food before. And washboard abs my ass!"
The argument was interrupted when Mildred brought them their pies which they finished in record time and paid the dinner tab and walked the block back to their motel and the impala so that they could do a little actual work.
It must have been close to midnight when they returned and Dean had just finished the ritual of cleaning the weapons after their latest and totally frustrating goose chase. Sam could see Dean getting more and more uptight as every day passed and they still were no closer to finding and fixing the situation. For one thing his brother never seemed to like to stay in one place too long and this one was no exception. Although both brothers agreed that leaving Mildred and her cooking wouldn't be easy when the time came. Dean was flipping channels with the remote and Sam as usual was on his laptop.
"Ya know Dean, suddenly I'm thinking about pie. Like I really, really need a slice."
He saw Dean turn and give him the frustrated, disapproving look that he often used on his younger brother. "Really cause I was thinking about this hot chick that was on the infomercial but whatever floats your boat bro."
Now Sam thought about it. "Is that weird Dean?"
He wasn't surprised when his brother actually snorted. "No Francis it's weird, not unexpected but weird. And if someday you want me to be the best man when you tie the knot with a hundred year old woman don't be surprised when I'll be out of town that weekend."
Sam got up and shot a hand gesture in the direction of his older brother and his hot chick on the television and pulled his jacket on. "I'll be back later."
Now Dean rolled his eyes again. "If she wants to kiss you Sammy make sure she takes her dentures out first."
Sam left the room and slammed the door jogging the block to the diner suddenly feeling a strong need to be there. Arriving there he looked inside to see that everyone was gone except Mildred, which wasn't surprising considering the time. She already had the closed sign on the door but he tapped on the glass to get her attention.
She walked over and unlocked the door and invited Sam in. "Why dear what are you doing out so very late and where is that handsome brother of yours?"
Sam felt about six years old again and looked down at his feet. "I'm sorry to bother you I just was thinking about pie and thought maybe I could get another slice. The one with dinner was so great."
She motioned for him to sit down on one of the stools and proceeded to cut him a thick slice of apple pie and pour a glass of milk to go with it. "How did you know that I didn't want peach again?"
She smiled down at him and handed him a fork placing her hand on his shoulder. "Because sweetheart I too have the gift. I am also psychic."
Now Sam looked down at the counter and avoided her eyes. "I'm not psychic."
She tipped his chin up so that he was looking into her eyes. "Don't try to lie to me young man I know that you are and you know it too."
Sam wished that he was a better liar but years of Dean and dad drilling into him the importance of telling the truth were impossible to ignore. "Yes Ma'am."
She nodded her head and then sat down on the stool next to him and he looked over to her with a questioning expression on his face. "Eat your pie dear and drink all your milk that's important for a growing boy such as yourself."
Sam nodded and did as he was told and hoped like hell that she was wrong because he was already tall enough. He was just finishing his snack when he felt her hand on his arm. "Now I would like to help you come to terms with and develop these abilities Sam. So how about if we tell your brother that you are working some afternoons for me and I will pay you and you can actually do a few things around here. But we will be sure and devote most of our time together to you fine tuning those abilities. Now wouldn't you like to be able to control your gift dear?"
The honest truth was that he would love to be able to control his abilities but as soon as she suggested that he lie to Dean his radar went off. "But why do we have to lie to Dean about it?"
"Well your brother is more of the physical realm Sam, and he believes in what you can do with your mind but he doesn't embrace it now does he Pet? He would not sanction your learning about the abilities that you have and how to use them. This should just remain our little secret for now dear."
Sam knew very well just where keeping secrets from Dad or Dean usually got him but what she said made a lot of sense and he had a very strong sense of yearning about what it was that she offered. This was about the maturation of his abilities and that was not something that either Dad or Dean could help him with. And he was left with the general feeling that unless he could bend spoons or give Dean the numbers to hit the jackpot in Vegas that his abilities were not something that impressed big brother all that much anyway.
As if she knew that he was conflicted about things she leaned in to look at him. "You could be such a bigger part of the team with Dean Honey if you could control and use some of those talents."
And with as much as he didn't want to deceive Dean or dad he knew that what she had just said was the absolute truth and if nothing else that convinced him that he needed to do this for the both of them. "How long would something like that take?"
Now he saw the fine wrinkles around her eyes as she smiled at him. "Oh just a few weeks at best Sam. You and your brother aren't leaving yet are you?"
Sam shook his head and knew that for some reason this hunt had left them empty handed at every turn and they were no closer to the answer now than they were the day they arrived. Sam looked into the sweet face of someone who could be anyone's grandmother and he knew without a doubt that he wanted her to teach him how to use his power and how to embrace it. "You want this for yourself don't you sweetheart?"
Suddenly Sam felt tears behind his eyes. "Yes Ma'am, I do would you help me?"
She stood and folded him into a hug and he hugged back and thought that she smelled of cinnamon and sugar and apples. "Just tell Dean what we talked about and it'll be fine. I will see you tomorrow at noon will that be all right?"
Sam nodded his head and wondered why he felt so emotional suddenly. She took his elbow and walked him to the door standing on tiptoe to plant a small kiss on his cheek. "Now zip up that jacket young man it's getting chilly out there we wouldn't want you to catch a cold now would we?"
Sam did as he was told and slowly walked the distance back to the motel room. He quietly opened the door hoping Dean was asleep but found him still awake and watching television. "So Dude how was the pie? Did she pop the big question and want to take you to bingo and show you off to her blue haired friends?"
Now Sam felt fury overtake his good sense. "Shut the fuck up Dean!"
He saw his brother turn to look at him with a suspicious look on his face and realized that if he was going to be keeping a secret from someone as smart as Dean was he would need to be more careful in the future. "Look I'm sorry I just have a headache."
He started stripping clothes off and boots and climbed into his bed. Dean continued to give him the big brother's eagle eye that he hated so much but he rolled onto his side and mumbled goodnight to the wall and turned out his light. He would tell Dean tomorrow about the bogus job and lie through any questions and while it would be hard the reality was that he was doing this for the both of them. Finally he fell into a troubled sleep which for once was not interrupted by nightmares.
# # #
Sam and Dean sat at their usual table and were finishing home made beef and noodles that Mildred had made just for them. Dean used a freshly baked roll to sop up the gravy on his plate and groaned. "Oh God Sammy I take back everything I said about the old bat go ahead and marry her."
Now Sam shushed his brother and shot him a nasty look. "Come on Dean be nice."
Now Dean looked back at him eyes wide with surprise and leaned into him. "You aren't really gonna ask her are you?"
Sam stood up and grabbed his coat. "I have to go to work now jerk."
Dean shrugged as if to say "what?" and as Sammy walked away said in a low voice. "That's Mister Jerk to you Francis."
Sam walked back to the kitchen where he knew Mildred was waiting for him to begin. He had been working for her now for three days and they had a routine down. Dean hadn't been happy about it but he had at least stopped watching Sam's every move like a hawk. Yesterday they had a breakthrough of sorts and Sam had been able to use his mind to move some small objects on the table. And then he had been able to send Mildred a thought, she was so very pleased with him. He was surprised at how much hard work was involved but he wanted so badly to be able to use this ability and learn the things that Mildred was so graciously trying to teach him.
He and Mildred had just begun when he felt a pat on the back. "Hey so this is where you have been hiding out. How about if I give you a hand today?"
Sam jumped a mile in the air and totally missed the sharpening of Mildred's features at his brother's appearance. "No Dean really I'm fine go back to the motel."
Dean took a good look at what appeared to be going on, and if Sam didn't know better, he would have thought that Dean was checking things out. Sam sent another nasty look in Dean's direction and was relieved to see him go. "Sam darling I just need to check on something for one minute and I will be right back."
Sam watched as Mildred went out into the main dining area and spoke to one of the waitresses and then returned to where he sat. Once again she closed the door to her little office and she and Sam resumed their lesson.
Dean was sitting on the bed in their hotel room wondering what about all of this felt so wrong to him. Both he and Sammy often took temporary day jobs for money and he had seen Sam actually working at the diner several times doing odd jobs. So why were his spidey senses tingling like crazy then? He made a call to a friend of his fathers who he had some questions for and left a message on his voice mail and left his cell phone number. He began to really take the situation apart piece by piece and he heard a knock on the door. Wishing that his thought process hadn't been interrupted he walked to the door and irritably yanked it open. "Yeah?"
Standing there was one of the waitresses from the diner. In all of their travels they always seemed to find diners with beautiful waitresses and Dean always had a favorite and for whatever reason here she stood. "Hey Dean I brought you some of the chocolate chip cookies Mildred made this morning. I was on my way home and I wanted to drop them off."
Now Dean swallowed hard knowing that if there were two things in this world he could not resist it would be beautiful women and chocolate chip cookies and to make matters worse both of these items appeared to be hot.
"I even brought milk." She smiled as she said it and he knew he was done for.
"Sounds good to me." He held open the door for her to enter and as she walked by he realized that the view from the back was as good as the view from the front. She sat down at the little table and laid out her goods. And they talked for a while.
They started out eating cookies and drinking milk and then somewhere after that he was feeding her and then she was feeding him and it only got worse from there. He licked the chocolate first off of her fingers and then off of her mouth and then found himself lost in a delicious kiss that tasted like chocolate. Taking her hand he walked her to the bed and sat her down and then sat down beside her. He pushed her back onto the bed and taking his time kissed her thoroughly again and again. Threading his fingers through her hair he pulled her closer to him to let her know that he was in charge. His mouth demanded her obedience as he kissed his way down her neck. And soon he took a choppy breath when he felt her hands slide under his shirt and lightly rub his stomach. He pulled them both to sitting again and returned to her mouth and was amazed when she pulled his shirt over his head and began kissing his chest. He tried to stay still and allow her to do so but he longed to return the favor. And he was completely into the moment.
It seemed as if time lost all meaning and they might have stayed that way for five minutes or five hours because Dean was lost. He kept hearing something that he knew was important but didn't acknowledge until finally he realized that it was his cell phone. But for whatever reason he just let it ring. He finally could remain still no longer and pushed her back down on the bed and started expertly unbuttoning the blouse that she had on. Hearing a noise he looked up just in time to see Sam come through the door.
"Oh sorry I didn't know that you had company."
Dean wanted to smack the smirk off of Sam's face. His beautiful waitress jumped up and grabbed her coat and purse. "I'll see you later Dean."
She turned back to face him and smiled and winked and went out of the door. Now Sammy sat down on his bed "So Bro what's up?"
He could barely say it without laughing and Dean wanted to smack him as badly as he ever had. "Nothing much."
Now Sam did laugh. "Oh really cause you seem to be sitting there kinda dazed without your shirt and unless I'm mistaken I think that's a hickey."
Looking down at the spot Sam was pointing at he shrugged. "Nah that's a faded bruise from the last battle dude."
Now Sam smiled from ear to ear. "Yeah okay Dean whatever you say."
Dean reached over and turned his shirt right side out and pulled it on. "Get your mind out of the gutter Francis."
Again Sam chuckled. "I will if you will dude."
The rest of the evening went smoothly and for a change they didn't have their dinner with Mildred and ate at a fast food restaurant that was up the street. "Man that just sucked, it didn't seem like it used to suck that much."
Sam nodded in agreement to Dean's comment. "Mildred has ruined us for life with that cooking."
Now Dean nodded his head "Gotta agree there."
They went again to yet another abandoned shack to try and find the answer to the question about why there was so much energy in this area, and once again came home empty handed. Although Dean had found a raccoon that was now living in the shack, and had scared both the creature and himself pretty badly.
Going back to the room they both got ready for bed and after logging some time on the laptop Dean turned out the lights and they both fell into a pretty deep sleep. Some time later Sam heard a loud voice calling to him and he opened his eyes looking around. Dean was sleeping soundly and then Sam heard it again and he realized that he was hearing it only in his mind. Someone was calling his name and calling for him and for whatever reason he felt compelled to answer. He stood up quietly and carefully as to not wake Dean who was not only still asleep but snoring softly.
Pulling on his jeans and a soft long sleeved shirt he picked up his boots and jacket and quietly let himself out of the hotel room. He had debated taking the car but was afraid that the noise would wake up Dean who had a sixth sense about the Impala so instead he simply jogged the block or so to the diner. Cupping his hands around the window he could see Mildred sitting in a booth all alone and lifting her head up and seeing Sam she beckoned him to come inside with both her hand and her mind.
He walked towards the door and was surprised to see it open and was not sure if she had done it or he had but he cautiously entered the small diner and walked to the booth where she sat he noticed that she was smiling. "I knew you would hear me calling sweetheart and come to me. I knew it."
Sam sat down and noticed that she had something on the table covered with a cloth. "Why am I here? Why did you call to me? Was it some kind of test?"
Now Mildred smiled and covered his hand with her own. "The final one love and you passed it with flying colors. I am so sorry about this."
Suddenly Sam felt as if unseen hands were holding him into place against the back of the booth. "But you see my dear your powers are greater than any I have ever found. I really do like you Sam darling you are such a dear and sweet boy but unfortunately I want and really need all that psychic power that is resting almost dormant in that handsome head of yours."
Now Sam started to struggle in earnest and watched horrified as she lifted the towel on the table up to reveal an absolutely huge knife, a large bowl and oddly enough a spoon. "You see precious the only way this will work is if I open up your skull and eat your brains while they are still warm. And then if all goes well I will possess all the powers that you have."
Sam resumed his struggle but found it got him absolutely no place and while he wasn't processing all that was happening he remained unable to free himself. "I have made sure that you are unable to use your powers for a little while at least until we get this unpleasantness behind us."
"Who are you really?"
Now she smiled the kind grandmotherly smile that he had come to look forward to. "Let me show you dear."
And as she said that her features just sort of melted away until all that was left was a skeletal creature with leathery looking skin and tufts of hair. Red light was emanating from its eye sockets and it made Sam's head hurt to look at it and so he looked away.
"Ah now this is the real me darling don't look away. The other is just a face that I wear to get what I want from creatures like you and your kind. Look into my eyes Sam and don't be afraid- see all the light? Well that's the power of all the people who went before you darling. All of them gave their lives for something greater dear but you Sam you were my favorite of all. And you are going to make such a tasty morsel too."
Sam struggled even harder knowing it wasn't helping. "And you, old woman, are one sick freakin puppy for sure."
He saw it give him a look of disapproval. "Now young man I'll not have you forget your manners and be disrespectful. I'd hate to have to take you to task on the night that I consume your brains. That would just be unpleasant."
Now Sam fought the unseen bonds even harder. "Yeah well why don't you take your demented, sick, brain eating, wrinkled up old ass and go fu
Suddenly Sam found that he had lost the ability to speak. "Shame on you, such a filthy mouth! I am sorry sweetheart but the time has come."
Sam's eyes widened in horror when he saw the thing reach over and pick up the largest knife that he had ever seen. She placed it cross ways against his temple and started cutting. Suddenly Sam found that due to the concentration on the demon's part he again had the ability to speak and he yelled as loudly as he could. She stopped what she was doing and Sam could feel a trickle of blood down the side of his face. "Now, now sweetheart no one is going to be able to hear you and this may take a while."
She twined her bony fingers into his long soft hair and held his head still while she resumed what she was doing.
"Oh I don't know I think it'll be kinda quick."
Sam looked up just in time to see Dean pump a round of rock salt directly into the creatures face. As soon as it bent down he sent an arrow through where its heart might have been and it fell to the floor of the diner nothing but bones. "I hope your freakin pot roast was worth it bitch!"
Sam looked to his brother amazement evident on every feature. Dean walked to where he sat no longer held in place by the power of the demons mind. He felt his brother gruffly tip his head up with a knuckle under his chin and taking the towel that had been covering the knife gently place it on the side of Sam's head. "For God's sake dude you are loosing plasma here."
He said it roughly but Sam felt him gently brush his other hand across the side of his face in what was as close to a caress as Dean ever got. Blotting with the towel he was surprised to see the amount of blood when he pulled it away.
"Am I gonna need stitches?"
Now Dean chuckled "Geez I've cut myself worse shaving before ya big baby. Don't worry pretty boy you'll still be beautiful in the morning. And for the record I knew anyone who could make a coconut pie that tasted that good had to be evil. Now help me drag your new friend the Kamorelli demon's carcass outside so we can torch her before the entire town shows up."
He and Dean did exactly that in a clearing not far behind the diner and were glad for the isolation and by the time they were finished the sun was actually coming up. The brothers hadn't talked much since they had started and finally Dean turned to Sam with annoyance evident on his face.
"So when did you start coming to see Grandma Brain Sucker Bro?"
Sam thought for a few minutes before he answered. "Ummm just tonight when she called me."
Now he heard Dean snort and he knew that he wasn't gonna buy it. "Yeah right I'm sure that's exactly how it was. Lying to cover up lying is not so good Sammy Boy."
Sam liked neither the look on Dean's face or the tone of his voice and he knew that he at the very least owed him an honest answer. "Okay so every since I have been working for her sort of
Now he knew that he would have laughed at Dean's expression if he hadn't been on the receiving end of that look. "And so you were doing exactly what for her then?"
Now Sam grimaced "Well kind of like working sort of and then she was helping me get a handle on my psychic abilities."
"Yeah more like trying to figure out how much you had so that she could make it her next dinner. Who the hell are you and how long have you been in our family?"
Now Sam could feel himself getting angry. "That's not funny Dean."
"No it sure as hell isn't. The point Junior is that you of all people should have known better."
Sam looked down at his feet and realized that Dean's frustration with his naiveté was in this case well founded. "I just thought she really liked me is all."
"Yeah that was it I'm sure. The fact that she was a demon who feasts on the brains of people with psychic ability was just a bonus I guess. Who are you Sally Field with the "she liked me; she really liked me" shit?"
Now Sam shot a wounded look in his direction and Dean swore. "It isn't gonna be like that Sammy don't give me the wounded seal eyes. You screwed up royally here and you know it. The old bag that was playing mommy to you was a bona fide Kamorelli demon and you should have seen that. Would have seen it too if you weren't to busy trying to lie to me with every breath you took."
They stood warming their hands by the fire as they were camping instead of demon roasting. Neither one spoke for a while longer. Dean because he was too angry to and Sam because he wasn't sure what to say that would make it any better. "How did you know that I was in trouble? Were you following me all along?"
Dean shook his head and looked at the burning carcass. "No."
Sammy still wanted an answer "Then how?"
He saw his brother actually grimace, and suddenly Sam suddenly wondered what secret Dean was hiding.
"Dean?" he pleaded knowing instinctively that he needed an answer.
"You called to me, I heard you calling in my head."
Now Sam turned to look at him eyes wide with amazement. "Yeah I know nuts isn't it? I guess all this crap about you having abilities seems to be the real deal."
Sam felt his eyes fill with tears at his big brothers acknowledgement of his powers. "But don't think for one damn minute that this gets you off the hook with me Sammy. You could have been killed and we both know it."
Sam squirmed a little hoping that he could change his brother's mind. "But hey it all turned out all right in the end really."
Now Dean snorted "Glad you think so."
They walked to the car and Dean held open the door for Sam and feeling all of about seven Sam climbed in and then Dean leaned in and Sam knew the real lecture was about to begin.
"So basically Sammy you and I are going to go back to the motel and do that thing that we do where I smack your behind and you tell me that you will never, ever do it again. Sound like a good time?"
# # #
Neither one of them had much to say on the way home other than when Dean rummaged in the glove box and tossed Sam some band aids for the cut on the side of his head. Sam was too busy thinking about exactly what Dean had said to him and hoping and praying that his older brother was just trying to scare him. Cause if Sam knew one thing in his life it was that facing Dean when he was this upset wasn't really any different from facing dad. And Sam would have liked to avoid either of those situations at all costs. So he had made a little error in judgment about Mildred. It was an honest mistake. Somehow he just didn't think Dean was gonna see it that way.
The motel was really not far and unfortunately for Sam it seemed as if they were there in a flash. He turned to Dean and using his most sad expression hoped to make some progress. "You know Dean I reallllllllly am sorry."
He saw Dean shoot him a still very pissed off look. "Save it Junior cause I don't really care."
Now Sam sighed and mentally kicked himself for buying into the whole grandma's who bake pies and are really brain eating demons thing. They turned into the motel and drove to where there unit was.
Now Sam groaned as they pulled up to the door and standing there with arms crossed and a very unhappy look on his face was John Winchester. Now Sam turned to his brother suddenly truly mad. "Oh thanks so much Dean for calling in the Terminator."
He saw his brother look at him and shake his head. "Dude I didn't call Dad I was actually looking forward to beating your ass myself."
Dean parked the car and they both got out and walked to the senior Winchester. "Hey Guys, have a fun night did you?"
Now Dean went into soldier mode and gave a full report while Sam rolled his eyes. "Yeah I got that you burned it but did you bury the bones underground? It had to be the one who had the psychic connection too. Was that you Sam?"
Sam just nodded. "And did you bury the bones then?"
Dean and Sam exchanged a look and John swore. "Did the two of you genius's do any homework about this type of demon at all?"
Again his question was met with silence. "Okay then well at least that's an answer then. And for your information it can rise from the dead and I'm thinking it's gonna be kinda pissed at the two of you if that happens so here Sammy."
Reaching into his car he pulled out a shovel, a black bag, his car keys and an incantation written on paper. "Put the bones in here take them to the woods, dig a shallow grave, bury them and then say these words."
Sam went to open the door to his dad's vehicle and Dean followed and was stopped by a large hand giving his neck a squeeze. "Oh no son you are staying here with me so that we can do a little de-briefing about all of this."
Now Dean gave him a sickly smile. "I hope you mean that in the military sense?"
John didn't answer just steered him in the direction of their room.
John waited while Dean opened the door to their room and they both went inside. Dean turned to look at his dad trying to gage just how much trouble he was in and found himself being pulled into a hug. "Hey buddy I have really missed you."
And Dean was suddenly fighting tears. His dad always felt so solid and so secure and he forgot from time to time just how much he missed the feeling of being safe and taken care of that he always had when dad was around. "Now sit down and let's talk."
Dean sat on one bed and noticed that Dad sat down on the other one and looked him up and down. "So how have you been Dean?"
His father's casual attitude was making him even more nervous than the remark outside had. "Umm
Now his dad just nodded his head. "You look good son; you look like you've put on a little bit of weight in fact."
Now Dean felt himself becoming defensive. "Well maybe just a little."
He watched as his father put his elbows on his knees and leaned in closely and even though he didn't fear his father it took all he had to not pull away. "I don't suppose that all those delicious meals that have you and your brother so fat and sassy were cooked by the demon were they?"
Dean tried with all that he had to keep from squirming but it wasn't easy.
"Okay then because you haven't answered me I'll just have to assume that means yes. And did you not read in your research that these types of psychic stealing demons often have some great talent and that is how they have access to their prey. They are also usually very charming in their human form too and often travel in pairs. But you undoubtedly know that already right?"
Now Dean knew that he had to say something soon. "Well I didn't read that exactly so I didn't exactly know that exact piece of information."
Now dad continued to keep an eagle's eye on him and that action combined with the fact that Dean had just used the word exact three times in one sentence kicked his pulse up a notch at least. "Okay that means that you did do some research on this type of demon."
Dean remained quiet and didn't even take a breath. "All right then tell me everything that you learned about the Kamorelli demon."
Now Dean tried his level best to remain calm and appear unruffled. "Okay well I know that they eat the brains of people with psychic abilities in order to gain that ability for themselves."
Dean sighed with relief.
Dean put his head into his hands defeated. "And that's about it. Just go ahead and smack me I know that I deserve it."
He looked up amazed to see his father smiling and shaking his head. "Well at least I can't fault you for not being honest with me now can I? When did you realize that was what you were dealing with?"
Dean sighed not really wanting to answer "Just tonight when I woke up and heard Sam's voice in my head. I started going over and over what kind of demon it might be in my head on the way to the diner and I realized that was what it had to be."
John looked to Dean with some surprise. "You heard his voice in your head?"
Dean nodded. "Yeah just as loud and clear as I hear you now. If it hadn't have been for that
He grimaced as he thought about what could have happened to Sam just because he hadn't done the homework. Now he saw his father come and sit on the bed next to him. "Not a one of us is perfect son; you do the best that you can. That's all that anyone could ask."
Dean leaned against his dad grateful that he knew that the love his father had for him was unconditional and constant. "Thanks dude I wasn't looking forward to another one of your talks."
He heard his father chuckle. "I didn't say anything about letting you off of the hook Dean I just said that I realize that you are going to make mistakes from time to time."
Now Dean looked down at his feet. "Shit."
And his dad nodded in agreement. "You said outside that Sam was supposed to be working for this demon? And where you at all suspicious about it?"
Now Dean sighed again not wanting to admit to his father that he had huge feelings of unease and that he had ignored them. "Yeah and this afternoon I actually think I might have figured it out but
John looked to his son and was surprised to see him actually blushing and suddenly knew that somehow there was someone of the female persuasion involved and decided to give him time to spill it on his own. "Joe Tyler tried to return your call all afternoon and I called you three times myself. Why weren't you answering you cell phone Dean?"
Now the slight blush became an out and out red face. "Well because this waitress from the diner came over and she had chocolate chip cookies and milk and
Now Dean again hung his head and spoke softly. "I was too busy to answer the phone."
While John had attempted to go easy with the boy he suddenly found himself fighting anger. "So you let Sam go to work in a place that you perceived as being dangerous and ignored your cell phone for hours so that you could play cookie games with some waitress?"
Dean flinched when he heard how bad that sounded. "Well we really didn't play any games
He felt his fathers hand grasp his upper arm. "Did you want me to swat you Dean because I'm really thinking it sounds like a pretty good idea."
Dean just shook his head. "No sir."
They both sat for a moment longer while Dean tried to just shut up and stay shut and John attempted to give Dean the benefit of the doubt. Suddenly Dean turned and looked at his father. "These Kamorelli demons when they are in a human form what are they like?"
John sighed and tried to remember all that he knew about this particular demon. "Well they are usually talented, sweet, loving and particularly vicious, even in the human form."
Now Dean was simply confused. "Like how?"
"Well for example they often scratch and even bite. There is a mark that they often leave. It's pretty distinct."
"Dean are you all right?" He didn't like the way the boy's face had lost all color and he lifted up his shirt and pointed to something on his chest.
"You mean like this Dad?" John Winchester swore.
"Tell me that the waitress at the diner where I just sent you brother alone didn't leave that mark on you Dean?"
Dean looked sick. "But she did." And both Winchesters were on their feet and gone before another word was spoken.
# # #
The three Winchester men emerged from the cellar door of the diner with a set of bones in a black bag which they were going to take out to the woods and burn and then bury. They all knew that daylight was upon them and they couldn't just do it out back of the diner or someone would see them for sure. Dean was still rattled from the close call that Sam had just had again. He didn't want to think about what would have happened if he and dad had been one or two minutes later. And it really pissed him off that it was daylight and aren't things that go bump in the night supposed to be bumping in the actual night and not in the damn daylight?
He drug his side of the bag to the car and he noticed that Sam kept looking at him and smiling. While his hands were actually shaking from the close call they had just had he wondered what the hell Sam thought was so funny. Rushing into the basement of the diner to find Sam trying to fight off yet another Kamorelli demon had scared the living shit out of him. "What's up with you Francis?"
Now his brother shrugged. "I dunno maybe it's that you played tonsil hockey with a demon Dean."
Now Dean rolled his eyes and knew he would never hear the end of this. "Look Sam you know I didn't
.how was I supposed to
..she looked like
..awww the hell with it."
He noticed their father trying not to smile and that made him feel ever worse and his face got so red that he could feel it. "Yup Dean she wasn't so hot anymore when all the flesh was gone."
Now he turned to Sam suddenly ready for a fight. "Bite me Sam."
Sam laughed. "She already did Dean."
Now he dropped his side of the bag and advanced on his brother. "I am gonna kick your ass little brother."
John knew his sons well enough to know that this would be a good time to step in. "Samuel you are in enough trouble here and I know that you don't want to make it any worse."
At least Sam had the good sense to look somewhat worried and he and Dean got the bag to the car and loaded it into the trunk.
"Dean you ride with me and Sam you take the Impala and we will take the corpse out into the woods and burn and then bury it. John turned to get into the car and as he did Sam made a kissing motion with his lips that only Dean saw. Before Dean could do anything about it John had turned, advanced on Sam and taking him by the arm landed four swats onto his behind. "Would you like to have a discussion right here and right now young man?"
Sam shook his head and wondered how his father had even seen what he had seen much less moved that fast. "Apologize to your brother."
Sam didn't really want to but he noticed with no small degree of alarm that his father still had his hand wrapped around his bicep. "Sorry Dean."
Now Dean flashed him a look of true annoyance. "Yeah whatever."
"Good now let's get on with this please."
It was mid afternoon before they had finished their gruesome task and were headed back to the motel. John and Dean were once again riding together with Sam driving the Impala in the lead and Dean was anxious knowing that the car arrangements where for a reason. He held his breath waiting for his father to tear into him. He actually leaned his head against the side window of the car and sighed. "Okay so you and I need to have a talk and we both know it."
Now Dean looked at him as if he had lost his mind. "Well this is one place we have never "talked" before but what the hell."
Now John just shook his head and prayed for patience. "Okay let me clarify smart ass I meant a talk as in a dialog with words."
Now he noticed Dean looking at him with surprise. "You mean a real talk?"
John smiled as he pulled the car off of the road and drove down a dirt road and finally pulled over. "Yes Dean a real talk."
"Okay dad whatever pops your cork I guess."
Parking the car and turning it off he turned to his son. "Well at least we found out where the other Kamorelli demon was."
He watched as his son, ever the good soldier, dropped his head clearly embarrassed. "Yeah I actually almost scored a home run with it too."
Now John reached over and squeezed Dean's shoulder. "Since you didn't know what it was and didn't have any real time to research I will tell you that before they reach full maturation and are able to read people's minds they are able to influence people. The way you were feeling combined with the fact that you ignored your cell phone which I have NEVER known you to do was due to the power that it had over you."
Now Dean looked up with the first sign of hope that John had seen. "And Sam too?"
John shook his head. "No the older demon knew exactly what she had in Sammy and she didn't use mind control because she needed Sammy to be in charge of his psychic power because that fit in with her plan."
"So I guess I still screwed up back there all the way around."
Now John looked to Dean and shook his head. "This time it wasn't your fault. You were blameless in all of this son. And I can't believe that I am actually going to say this but I am glad that I found out the whole situation before I had come down on you because you don't actually deserve it."
John could have laughed at Dean's expression. If the senior Winchester didn't know better he would have thought that his older son was speechless something that he had actually never seen before. But it didn't take him long to recover his voice. "So then this sitting here in a secluded spot in the woods is just a talk kind of talk?"
Now he watched as the killer smile that had all the girls swooning across the country emerged. "So I'm not in any actual trouble then?"
John shook his head. "Just promise me to follow your gut feeling next time."
Dean actually laughed "Yes sir I promise."
But the smile disappeared as quickly as it had come. "What about Sammy?"
John shook his head. "Now your brother has made some seriously bad calls in all of this and he I will be having a "talk" and I mean the kind that involves me "talking" with my hand on his butt. There is a big lesson here and he needs to learn it."
John looked as if he were going to say something else and his cell phone rang. "Yeah, oh hell I knew that was going to happen. No I'll leave right away. Yeah you too. Bye."
John leaned his forehead onto the steering wheel filled with regret for a moment and then looked to Dean "I can't stay, things are getting bad and I have to get back."
Now Dean looked ready for battle. "We'll go too dad."
John just shook his head. "It isn't safe for us to be together and you know that son."
It hurt John to the very core of his being when he saw the disappointed look on his son's face. He started the car again and turned it around and headed in the direction he had just come from. "Dean I have another thing that I need you to take care of for me."
He watched as his son nodded grimly. "What would have happened with Sam if I hadn't of shown up?"
Now Dean's face reddened again. "Other than that thing rising from the dead and having Sam for breakfast?"
Now John shook his head. "No I mean between you and your brother, he disobeyed several direct orders from you and I am asking what you had planned to do about it."
Now he watched as Dean sighed and he knew that his son had truly been resigned to handle the situation before John had surprised him with a visit. "I was gonna blister his ass for him and he knew damn good and well that he deserved it too."
Now John sighed wishing that he so often didn't have to hand Sam's problems over to Dean. "I would appreciate it son if you would look after him for me."
Now he saw Dean's hazel eyes narrow "Are you telling me to go ahead and light up his behind dad?"
John turned and looked at his eldest son once more. "Did he or did he not disobey your orders?"
Now he saw the spark again. "Oh yeah you bet he did, and lied through his teeth every chance he got too."
"Then the answer unfortunately is yes."
It took mere moments before they were back at the hotel again and they both got out of the car. Dean noted with grim determination Sam leaning against the hood of the car waiting for them. They both walked to where he stood and dad hugged him. "Sam I have to go. I thought it could wait but it can't, I'm sorry."
Now Sam looked both surprised and hurt and Dean hated that 'how could you leave me' look that little brother always got when dad had to leave.
Next he found himself being pulled into another hug from their dad and he wanted to be just like Sam for a few minutes and give in to the don't goes and the why can't we go with you's. But he remained the good soldier that he always was and simply fought the urge to express his real feelings. It would only make things harder for both dad and Sam. "Thank you Dean for always taking such good care of Sammy and yourself for me."
Dean felt the tears coming uninvited and felt dad plant a kiss on his forehead, which was something that he had been doing since Dean was little. He stood shoulder to shoulder with his brother and watched their father drive out of their lives again knowing that they both were hoping that it wouldn't be for long.
Dean squared his shoulders and turned to Sam who was still watching the road that their father had just traveled. "So I guess that means it's just you and me again Bro."
Sam just nodded too distracted by the pain of dad leaving again to realize what Dean was talking about. "Seems to me that I made you a promise didn't I?"
Now Sam turned to look at him with his eyes narrowed in thought. "A promise Dean?"
He crossed his arms over his chest and shook his head. "Yeah seems to me that I told you we were gonna come home and I was gonna blister your ass."
Suddenly Sammy looked panicked. "But dad
"Yeah but dad is gone now Sam, and I am the one that you lied to and disobeyed and so I am the one who is gonna hand out the punishment. Won't be the first time and
with the way you run off and do shit first and think later, I'm damn sure it won't be the last time either."
Now he could see panic on his brother's face. "C'mon Dean I didn't mean to."
Dean shook his head and gave Sam's shoulder a little push to get him moving. "Not up for debate Junior I said it was gonna happen and it is. Period- now go."
Dean was glad to see that Sam did as was asked of him and he followed his brother in.
Dean walked into the motel room behind Sammy determined to see this thing through. And not simply because his father had asked him to but more because it was the right thing to do. If there was one thing that he and Sam needed to have it was trust. And Sam had out and out lied to him and more than a few times. He needed to impress upon little brother that lying was not going to ever be something he would accept. It would be the one thing that could separate them and potentially get one or both killed. And not following orders was another thing that there was no room for. Dean knew that Sammy hated his always being in charge but it was something that just was and his brother had to accept it and obey or one or both of them was gonna end up dead for sure.
He looked to Sammy who was standing in the center of the room looking nervously over Dean's shoulder and Dean turned to see what he was looking at and found himself staring at the rest of the cookies still on the table that the second demon had brought. And Dean looked back to Sam and raised an eyebrow. "I really am sorry about busting your chops about that before."
Now Dean snorted. "Yeah I'll bet."
And then he pointed to the other bed and Sam sat down. Dean took a seat facing Sam and put his elbows on his knees and leaned forward. He saw Sam swallow hard and it occurred to Dean that just a few hours ago he and his dad had been in this exact same position and he realized how much he preferred to be on this side of the equation.
"So you heard the lecture before dad got here and then left and I think with you being a really smart guy you probably know what's gonna happen now so anything you'd like to say in your defense before I commence with the smacking on you?"
He could see the panic in Sam's face but for once was actually glad. He had no intention of letting his brother off easily this time. This one had been the real deal, and all the wide eyes and the begging in the world wasn't gonna change what was about to happen and he had a pretty good idea that Sammy already knew that.
"Look Dean this might have been a bad idea but I needed to explore this psychic thing and even you can't fault me for that."
Dean felt fury run through his veins. "Oh no well I think I can and I think I will and how about we forget about the psychic thing and if I just give you a swat then for every single time you have looked me in the face in the last two weeks and outright lied."
Sam knowing full good and well that would have been a considerable number paled. "Oh so I see now finally you're starting to get the picture Sam and isn't it funny how you didn't even need to use your abilities for that."
Now Dean took a moment and tried to calm down. "Look I understand that it is important for you to figure all of this out with the psychic thing and I will help you find someone who can do that for you. Dad and I even talked a little bit about it. But this demon set a trap and you walked right into it willingly and if you weren't really psychic you would be really dead right now."
He could see that having Dean help him wasn't something that he had thought about. Dean stood up and walking to where his brother sat tipped his chin in his hand and looked into the tear filled eyes.
"Have I ever denied you any thing that you wanted or needed Sammy? Even if it was something as stupid as the last bowl of cereal in the box. I would have helped you and I will help you but we will do it together, just like every other thing that we have ever faced in our life and I'm thinking that you should have known that." Dean felt a little tug at his heart as he saw two fat tears streak down Sammy's face but he held his resolve strong to teach his brother a very necessary lesson. Taking two steps away from Sam he reached down and unbuckled the leather belt that he was wearing and took it off.
Sam looked at him positively wide eyed. "Dean what are you doing?"
Dean returned his gaze "Changing into my tuxedo for the evening Sam what in the hell do you think that I'm doing?"
Now Sam was grimacing. "Please Dean I'm sorry. You have to know that I'm really sorry."
Now Dean just nodded and sat back down on his bed "Well if you aren't now I'm thinking sorry is definitely on its way. Come here."
Sam shook his head no and continued to look at his brother with a horrified expression. "No Dean."
Now the soldier in Dean kicked into overdrive, the one who would see the job done at any cost and he knew these issues with Sam were no different. "This would be a bad time Sam for you to make another mistake because if I have to physically *put* you over my knee I will, but then I'll also make damn sure then that today stands out in your memory for a really long time. So little brother what's it gonna be?"
Dean hoped that Sam made the right choice but he was prepared to do this either way. Just when he had become convinced that it was gonna be the hard way, Sam stood up and walked to where he sat. But of course he didn't make it easy for Dean because he already had tears on his face and the sad expression normally would have made Dean think twice about what he was about to do. But not today.
Dean reached up and tugged on Sam's jean pocket. "Take 'em down Bro."
Now if possible Sam sent him an even more pathetic look. "Dean please?"
Dean though for a moment about how it had felt for him to come in and find Mildred trying to open Sammy's head with a machete. "No you heard what I said now do it."
He was surprised at how gruff his voice sounded and even Sam flinched. But what if he had been just a few minutes later or what if he and dad hadn't figured out about the second demon. He had to stay strong because no matter how much he didn't want this to happen Junior had really earned it.
He watched as Sam fumbled with the button on his jeans and then unzipping pushed them down his long legs. The physical movement looked like an adult but the facial expression was pure four year old. If it didn't make him so heartsick he would have laughed at the look on little brother's face. He knew damn good and well just how wrong he had been. And if nothing else good happened from being punished he knew that it would ease the guilt that he was feeling although he would be "feeling" some other things after Dean finished. Before he let those wounded seal eyes change his mind he grabbed the kid's upper arm and yanked him across his lap and immediately started swatting.
He was trying with all that he had to not let the fact that Sam had almost gotten himself killed while lying to him affect the way he was punishing but his hand seemed to have a different opinion. He had barely started when Sam started squirming and even threw his hand back trying to cover the area that Dean was concentrating on. "Oww Dean that's too hard." Now Sammy was even trying to get off of his lap.
"No actually I think this is about right." He hooked an arm around his waist to hold him still and started swatting each area three times before moving on.
That was a little something that he had learned from their dad on the one occasion where he had cut school for the day and gone to the video arcade with a friend of his. John Winchester was an impossible man to track down and somehow the school had found him and filled him in on Dean's activities and he had been waiting when Dean sauntered in pretending that he had had a hard day at school. Unfortunately he hadn't come clean about where he had been and he had ended up in the position Sam was in now. And he couldn't believe how much that technique hurt which he was sure what his dad had been going for and it certainly corrected his false idea that cutting school was fun. He continued to spank Sam both fast and hard and already he was sobbing.
Usually he would feel really bad for Sam and maybe think about easing the swats up but not this time. He continued and heard Sam start to beg him to stop and promise that he had learned his lesson. And whether or not he had really wasn't the point right now because this was about playing dangerous games with your life and it was a lesson that Sam had been taught practically from the cradle and should have known. His hand was starting to ache and he just ignored both that and his brother's obvious distress.
Finally he saw Sam just hang his head and sob quietly and he knew that it almost over. He stopped for a moment and Sam tried to push off of his lap and stand up and he forced him back down with a hand in the center of his back. "Not yet little brother. We still have to handle lying to me every damn time you opened your mouth for the last week at least."
Feeling kind of sick to his stomach Dean picked up the belt and tightened his hold on Sam's waist. "I am the one person in this entire world that you could trust with anything in your life. I have been there for you every moment since the day that you were born and I didn't deserve for you to lie to me like you have. You owed me the truth at the very least Sam."
Not wanting to prolong it any more than necessary he brought the belt down ten times both hard and fast and then threw it onto the bed. "Fuck."
He rubbed circles on Sam's back for a good long while until he stopped the hard crying and helped him to stand up. "Why don't you go into the bathroom and wash your face."
Sam grabbed his jeans off of the floor and did as he was told and Dean just stood there feeling awful. He had no doubt that what had just happened was necessary but he had just hated the hell out of it. Within a few minutes a more composed Sam came out of the bathroom and while Dean wanted to avoid a big emotional scene one look at Sammy and he knew that was the one thing that would put his brother back together again. And Dean could never ignore Sam's needs and so he simply opened up his arms and was all but knocked off of his feet by Sammy's embrace.
"Hey dude c'mon its okay."
He saw Sam struggle to stop crying. "I'm sorry Dean, really I am."
Now Dean hugged him harder. "Hey I know that you are and I forgive you and it isn't gonna happen again right?"
Now Sam shook his head and looked at Dean as if he were crazy. "No Dean I promise."
Now he relaxed for maybe the first time since all this had started. "Good then cause watching you almost get your skull opened twice in one day was enough to give me a freakin ulcer. And what just happened over there wasn't nearly as much fun as I had hoped it was gonna be."
Now he saw Sam's face crumble again. "Oh shit what now??"
"It really hurt and I know that I shouldn't have lied to you."
Dean gave his brother another hug. "It was supposed to hurt otherwise what would be the punishment part? And ya know I learned over the knee of the master. If Dad wasn't a demon hunter he could be like I don't know a professional spanker or something."
Dean wasn't surprised to see Sammy smile. "Look its over and done with okay, why don't you go stretch out on the bed and close your eyes for a few minutes Sam, I know all that almost getting killed and then the whole Sammy was a bad boy shit has you worn out."
Now Sam dropped his head and mumbled. "I'm okay."
Dean bristled again surprised that after the spanking he had just given Sam that he would be anything but co-operative. "Not asking Junior, telling."
He was relieved to see Sam crawl onto his bed on his stomach and close his eyes. He was almost instantly asleep.
Dean sat down and ran a hand across his hair. He knew that they needed to pack up and check out and dad had already given him the next job details. He turned to look at Sammy sleeping and felt a stab of guilt that he had been so harsh with him. But damn it he knew better and Dean refused to stand by and watch Sammy get himself killed for any reason. But he knew that the abilities that his brother had would soon have to be addressed and their father had given him some names and some ideas and he knew that soon they would need to start trying to figure it out.
It was two hours later when Dean had them all packed and ready to go and he went to wake Sam but before he got to the bed he rolled over onto his back and woke up. "Aww crap that hurts still."
And Dean gave him a beautiful smile. "Good morning sunshine are you feeling better?"
Now Sam gave him a sullen look. "No everything feels miserable and isn't that what you had in mind Big Brother?"
Now Dean smiled again. "Well a job worth doing I always say."
Again he got a nasty look from Sam. "Bite me Dean."
This made Dean chuckle. "Oh now attitude, attitude Junior. Hey go over there and look up this info that Dad gave me cause that's where we're headed now. We should check out of here and be on our way soon too cause things are gonna get freaky here today with both Mildred and the hot waitress gone."
Now he noticed Sam looking at him with an amazed look on his face. "You didn't even know her name Dean?"
Now he just shrugged "Well hot waitress could have been her name."
Sam stood up and stretched and reached behind him rubbing and grimacing. "Or it could have been demon waitress."
Dean leveled him with a stern look. "For once in your young life just do what I told you okay?"
Now Dean picked up what was left of their bags and headed for the door. Sam put the laptop on the dresser and started looking for the information Dean had handed him. Finally Dean had the car packed. "Well have you nailed it down?"
And he saw Sam nod. "Good then let's go."
Dean watched as Sam hesitated. "What's wrong now Francis?"
And then Dean knew and he smiled. "Wait I think I'm psychic too I bet the reason you don't want to go is that it will involve you sitting in the car for the next twelve hours. And for some reason that just doesn't appeal to you at all."
Sam closed his laptop and stowed it in his shoulder bag frowning. "That's not it at all Dean."
"Okay then whatever." Dean smiled and whistling a happy tune he headed for the car with Sam following. Dean got into the drivers seat and Sam stood there by the passenger side of the car for a long while until finally Dean spoke to him. "Ready princess?"
Now Sam just hung his head realizing just how miserable the next twelve hours were likely to be. "Shit." And he climbed into the Impala and shifted already trying to find a comfortable position as they drove to their next job.
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