Angelina woke up around five a.m., pulled out of sleep by a mother's intuition. The first thing she did was check on Sean, but he was sleeping deeply, his back pressed into her.

Then she glanced across to the other bed and realized that Dean was either awake or getting there quickly. His breathing was shallow and fast. But she knew up front that it wasn't Dean who had pulled her out of sleep.

She propped herself up one elbow and squinted across the dark room while listening. Sam was dreaming, and violently too. The bed creaked quietly every time he moved and he moved a lot. And he was muttering under his breath.


Dean's voice was as shallow as his breathing and it was immediately evident to her that he was in pain. "Hang on. I'll get you another shot of morphine," she said and slipped off the bed as quietly as she could to not wake Sean, before switching on the bedside lamp.

"Wake ... Sam," Dean pressed out.

She glanced over at Sam, who wasn't exactly tossing and turning, but was quite obviously caught in a nightmare, and frowned. Dean had to be coming apart at the seams with agony, and yet his only thought was for his brother's well-being. "He can wait. You need a shot of morphine now," she said, grabbed Sam's duffle and found the kit she had seen him use the night before.

Before she could even respond, Dean had pushed himself up on his elbows, every move he made extremely painful, and still his only focus seemed to be his brother. "Sam," he croaked out.

"Are you nuts? You'll injure yourself," Angelina snapped. Her immediate response would have been to push him back down, but she was fully aware that any brute force would only increase his injuries. "Just ... lie back down. I'll wake him up," she added, dropped the kit on the bedside table and stepped over to Sam's bed. "Sam?" She tried the verbal approach first. Jordan, her late husband, had always been fairly violent in his movements if she had found it necessary to wake him up from a bad dream and as such she liked to keep her distance. But Sam Winchester wasn't responding. "Sam," she tried again with the same result. Tentatively, she reached out and touched his shoulder, not sure what to expect.

His eyelids snapped open and he stared at her for a second, then sat bolt upright. "What is it?" he asked.

"You were having a bad dream," she said, relieved to find none of the malice in his eyes that had afflicted him at the compound.

For a moment longer, he looked somewhat befuddled, confused, then he scrubbed a hand over his face and pulled his legs over the edge of the bed. "What time is it?"

"Quarter past five," she replied, let out a light sigh and returned her attention to Dean, who had managed to lie down again.

"Dean?" Sam rose and pushed past her to settle down on the edge of his brother's bed. "You really should be in a hospital," he muttered.

"Too ... risky," Dean insisted. "Gimme ... the damned shot," he added through clenched teeth.

"Dammit Dean," Sam muttered, unpacked the kit and gave him the required injection. A moment later, Dean relaxed and passed out. Sam just sat there and stared at him for a moment, not moving at all.

"Sam?" Angelina wasn't sure what came next, how he would respond. "Sam, I know he says it's too risky, but ..."

"He's right," Sam interrupted her. "Not only because of you two. Texas is not the place he wants to get caught by the authorities. Not in this condition."

Angelina frowned, unsure of what he meant and not really interested in learning the specifics. "I don't know when Sean will be able to ..."

Sam glanced at her over one shoulder, his expression pained. "Would he calm down faster if I wasn't here?" he asked.

Angelina eyed him for a moment, not sure how to respond, then she glanced at Sean, who was still asleep. "I ... I honestly don't know," she admitted. "Sean is pretty sensitive. He needs a fairly stable environment. And these last few days ... they've been anything but stable."

"So he would be better off if I wasn't around. He would be able to heal Dean faster if I left," Sam said. His words were more a statement than a question and Angelina hated having to agree with him on this one.

"I can't ask you to leave, Sam," she said. "He's your brother and ... "

"If I stay, he dies," Sam countered and rose. He glanced at Sean and Angelina felt like kicking herself for the sudden apprehension that rose in her. Then he focused on her. He was pale, quiet, and it struck her instantly that he was scared of what lay ahead. "It's better for all involved," he added quietly, grabbed his duffle and started rooting through it. He brought out a few things, which he dropped on the bed, then he grabbed his clothes and disappeared into the bathroom to get dressed.

Angelina sank down on the edge of her bed and folded her hands in her lap. What was she going to do? It was obvious to her that Dean would be anything but happy to find his brother gone. But Sam was right. Sean would calm down faster if Sam wasn't around and that would mean he would be able to heal Dean sooner. And the sooner he could do that, the better. She sighed lightly. At least she would have to get out of Sam where he was headed so Dean could catch up to him once he was back on his feet.

A moment later, Sam emerged from the bathroom, fully dressed. He grabbed his jacket and shrugged into it, then stopped short and eyed his brother for a moment.

"Where will you go?" Angelina asked.

Sam made a face. "To South Dakota. We've got a friend there I can stay with," he said, grabbed his duffle and his backpack and turned for the door.

"Sam," Angelina said and rose. "It's ... I'm sorry, okay? I never meant to ..."

"You haven't come between us, Angelina," Sam said and turned halfway back to face her, a slight smile on his lips. "Dean will understand and he knows where to find me."

"What if ..." She took a hesitant step toward him. "Sam, what about those other hunters? What if they ..."

"They won't. I'll be careful," Sam countered. "Just tell Dean the truth. He'll understand," he said, turned back for the door and left.

The door clicked shut behind him and Angelina could honestly admit that she had never felt more torn in her life. She stared at the door for a moment, then closed her eyes. "Be safe," she whispered, then glanced at Dean. "He'll kill me if anything happens to you," she added and grimaced.


"Hush little baby, don't say a word. Momma's gonna buy you a mocking bird."

The dulcet tones of the lullaby wafted quietly through the air, stirring Dean from a restless sleep that had been plagued by nightmares.

"If that mocking bird don't sing, momma's gonna buy you a diamond ring."

Without moving, he lay awake and listened to the song. Angelina had a pleasant voice, a soothing tone that would lull anyone to sleep, feeling safe and protected, and it stirred something in him, a half forgotten memory of hearing another voice singing that selfsame song.

"If that diamond ring turns brass, momma's gonna buy you a looking glass."

"Mom, not that one," Sean whispered.

Dean couldn't help a smile despite how he felt. It was a baby's lullaby. Sean probably wanted something more modern.

"Which one then, baby?" she whispered back.

He was silent for a moment. "The moon one," he then whispered.

"Okay, but then you go to sleep, okay?" Angelina whispered back.

The darkness in the room was almost complete, giving Dean ample opportunity to listen in without letting either of them know he was. He briefly wondered if Sam was awake and shifted his attention that way. There was no sound from the other bed, no indication that his brother was awake.

"Well, I'd like to visit the moon on a rocket ship high in the air. Yes, I'd like to visit the moon, but I don't think I'd like to live there."

He didn't know that one and knew that under normal circumstances he would have moaned and groaned over having to listen to anything other than good old-fashioned rock, but being in agony and certain of his own impending demise, he didn't mind so much. Mainly because Angelina's voice had a quality he remembered subconsciously from his early childhood.

"Though I'd like to look down at the earth from above, I would miss all the places and people I love. So although I might like it for one afternoon I don't want to live on the moon."

Since he had woken up numb, he didn't think much of the need to move, but when he did he remembered why he had been numbed in the first place. Morphine was great stuff when you were hurting, but damn its effect passed quickly when you didn't watch what you were doing. So moving turned out to be anything but a good idea and he could barely keep the vocalization of the subsequent agony at bay.

It stopped the song and for that he was sorry. The lamp on the bedside table came on and Angelina eyed him for a second. "You're awake," she said needlessly. Sean sat behind her, his eyes wide.

"Nice ... catch," he ground out. He had a tickle in the back of his throat, needed desperately to cough, but knew that if he did, his broken body would make him pay dearly for it. With an effort, he gingerly raised his head a little to squint over at the bed Sam had previously occupied. It stunned him a little that the bed was empty. "Where's ... Sam?"

"Not here," Angelina said, grabbed the kit with the morphine and readied another shot.

When she reached for his arm, he mustered all the strength he could and grabbed her wrist, stopping her. "Where ... is ... Sam?" he insisted.

Angelina looked unhappy. "He ... left. Said he would go to South Dakota. That you have a friend there he could stay with," she said quietly.

Dean blinked. His first response was hurt. He was hurt because Sam had left him, had gone to Bobby's most likely while Dean was on the edge of what he could tolerate. "Why?" he managed.

"Sean," she countered in a near whisper and glanced back at her son. "He's ... afraid of Sam. And as long as Sean's afraid, he can't heal you."

Dean let his head drop and winced at the stabbing pain this sent through him. Damn, but he was a mess. He was fully aware that he would have died from the fall if Sean hadn't administered that little bit of healing he had managed, but it still didn't put him in a good place. Sam's rather harsh treatment of him when he'd dragged him into the car at the compound and out again when they had arrived here had aggravated his injuries and he knew for a fact that he was bleeding internally. His legs were numb even without the morphine, which spoke its own distinct language. But none of that mattered, because Sam was gone and Sam was his responsibility and there were hunters out there, looking for him.

"So ... you ... sent him ... away?" he rasped. The tickle in his throat was growing stronger, the cough reflex would not be denied for much longer.

"No, I didn't. He left on his own. I ..." Angelina stopped and eyed him. "You're in agony," she added.

"No shit," he pressed out.

Angelina glanced over at Sean. "Do you think you can ..."

The kid looked intimidated, worried, afraid, and Dean most of all wanted to tell her not to bother him right now, but then Sean slipped off his bed and stepped up to Dean's. He glanced uncertainly at his mother. "Is he coming back?" he whispered.

"No, baby," she countered.

Sean pressed his lips together into a thin line, his hands balled into fists which he had pressed against his chest. Then he nodded a little stiffly, uncurled his hands and laid them on Dean's chest.

He had been in pain before, but the healing upped everything another notch. He could feel bone and tissue mend and could not keep the groaning at bay. Somehow, he managed to keep it at that level, though. There was nothing that would bring the police to their door faster than if he started screaming his head off. He wanted to, but it just wasn't in the books. He just wished that Angelina had given him that damned shot of morphine before the kid had started his healing procedure.


North Platte

Seven hundred and fifty miles from the motel, Sam got out of the pickup that had taken him along for the ride to Nebraska and left him standing on a street corner just within the city limits of North Platte. With a little luck, he'd hit Fort Pierre in South Dakota in another five or six hours. If he could get a ride, of course.

He was dead tired at this point, worried sick about Dean, and feeling more than a little guilty about having scared the crap out of a little kid. He needed to get to Bobby's as fast as possible. On top of feeling tired, worried and guilty, he also felt very exposed out in the open at the moment.

Although he thought it was fairly unlikely that any hunters had tracked him – they'd had plenty of opportunity to grab him when he'd stopped over in Lubbock and Amarillo in Texas and in Liberal and Garden City in Kansas – he still felt like everybody could potentially be dangerous.

Some part of him had hoped to find someone who would go all the way to South Dakota, but he hadn't dared to stand around and wait for the right driver to pick him up. So he'd hitched a ride with a guy outside Kermit to Lubbock, then had spent the next few hours on the backseat between two noisy kids from Lubbock to Amarillo, where he'd hitched a ride with a tanker truck going to Liberal in Kansas and from there with an old geezer who could barely see and was short enough to have to peek through the steering wheel to Garden City.

From Garden City, he'd been lucky enough to hitch a ride all the way to North Platte and the guy, a hectic, stressed-looking man in a suit, had dropped him off with a concerned 'take care' before driving off to whatever business meeting he had to go to.

Sam knew his alertness was way down at this point. A trip that in one go would have taken around thirteen hours had taken close to twenty-two and it was dark again by the time he was dropped off. Maybe the suit had been on his way home rather than to a business meeting? Not that it really mattered.

With a sigh, he glanced around. There was a mall close by, but he had no immediate desire to go shopping. At this point he was so tired he was nauseous, but he needed to cover the rest of the stretch to Fort Pierre somehow. The thought that maybe he should call Bobby and ask him to pick him up had crossed his mind, but that would mean waiting around here for the next five or six hours and he really wasn't in the mood.

He pulled his cell from his pocket and eyed it, briefly considered calling Dean, but then figured his brother was either out of it or asleep and it wasn't likely that Angelina would answer the phone.

There was nothing else for him to do than stick out his thumb and hope some kind soul would pick him up. Before long, another pickup came rumbling down the street toward town, this one a newer version than the first pickup, and he took his chances.

To his surprise, the grey vehicle pulled up right next to him. The driver rolled down the window. "Where are you heading, son?" he asked.

Sam tried a smile. "South Dakota?"

The driver glanced toward the backseat. "Whereabouts in South Dakota? That's a fairly big state, that," he said and he sounded vaguely bemused.

Sam glanced toward the backseat and realized the driver wasn't alone in the car. "Uh ... Fort Pierre," he said and returned his attention to the driver.

The driver grinned. He was a big guy, burly, dressed in a red and black plaid shirt and black jeans. He looked like a big game hunter. His friend in the back was dressed in a black turtleneck sweater and black cotton slacks. He was wiry and had a look in his eyes Sam didn't really like. But he was just too damned tired to get too worried about it.

"Well, you're in luck, sonny. That's where we're headed too. Got us some deer to hunt around those woods up there. Plenty of them, from what I understand," the driver said. "Hop on in. You look about ready to drop."

Perhaps his warning bells should have gone off at this point, but all he could think of at this point was that he was in luck and that it would make the rest of the trip easier. So he opened the passenger side door and climbed in, then tossed his duffle in the back upon insistence of the guy back there.

"I'm Mike," the driver said, smirked and pulled away from the curb again. "That back there is Carl. We like to go hunting together," he added.

"I'm Sam," Sam countered. Now that he was in the car, his spider sense was beginning to kick in. Something wasn't right about this, but as of yet he wasn't entirely sure what was getting under his skin right now. It might be that these guys were cold-blooded hunters with no respect for life. It might also be because they weren't the kind of hunters they claimed to be.

Neither of them spoke while they drove through North Platte. When they came out the other side and Mike sped up, Sam finally gave in to the concern. But by then it was too late. At this point, Carl had grabbed the back of his jacket and pulled him back against the seat, while the cold steel of the muzzle of a gun was pressed into the back of his neck. "Don't make a wrong move," Carl said quietly. "Don't wanna have to mess up Mike's truck with your muck all over the place, now do we?"


Kermit Inn
Kermit, Texas

When consciousness returned, the first thing that hit him was that Sam was gone. He reared up, then sucked in a lung full of air and froze, expecting excruciating pain. What he felt was oddly numb, like he had been sedated heavily and was only now waking up from it.

The fall from the window suddenly rushed through his mind, making him dizzy. The sensation of air rushing past him, the clouded sky above him, and then the impact which should have hurt like a bitch, but didn't because the meeting with the stone steps leading up to the front door of the brick factory's main building had stunned him to such a degree that he didn't feel it at first.


Angelina rose from where she had been sitting on the other bed, alarm in her eyes.

He blinked, managed to reel himself back over the brink of sanity, and then he exhaled slowly, carefully. He felt worn, like he'd been beaten to hell and was slowly recovering. "Shit," he muttered.

"Are you okay?" Angelina's tone was tight with concern.

He scrubbed both hands over his face, then looked down himself. Not a mark on him. A quick glance to the side brought him eye to eye with Sean, who was sitting on the other bed with a book open in front of him while he stared at Dean with wide eyes. "Yeah, I'm fine," he finally said and sighed. "Thanks to Sean," he added and focused on her. "You said Sam was heading to South Dakota?"

Angelina nodded.

Dean glanced around, found his cellphone on the night stand and grabbed it. Then he glanced at the clock sitting next to it. "What day is it?" he asked and focused on Angelina again.

"Uh ... I haven't got a clue," she admitted reluctantly.

"Where's my watch?" Dean muttered and found it on the night stand as well. Truth be told, he couldn't use the information that it was Tuesday for much. "How long was I out? Since Sam left, I mean?"

"About two days or so. He headed out two nights ago," Angelina said. "Dean ..."

He held up a hand. "Gotta know he's okay," he said, flipped the phone open and dialed Sam's number. It switched to voice mail almost instantly. "Shit," he muttered and closed the phone again, then chewed on his lower lip for a moment before once again turning his attention to Angelina. "Where are we?"

"A place called Kermit," Angelina replied. This caused an instant giggled from Sean.

Dean glanced at him, managed a vague smile, then got off the bed and rooted through the things Sam had left on the table. He found the map, unfolded it, pinpointed their position and did the math. "So, he hitchhikes. That takes more time than if you drive the entire way in one go. Give or take, he should definitely be at Bobby's now," he muttered, flipped the phone open again and dialed Bobby's number.

"Talk to me," came the grumpy reply the second Bobby picked up.

"It's Dean. Is Sam there?" Dean countered.

This caused a moment of silence, which told Dean more than he wanted to know. "Uh ... no. Should he be?" Bobby finally replied.

"Would I call and ask if he's there otherwise?" Dean countered a little sharply, incapable of keeping his growing concern under wraps. "He left here about forty-eight hours ago and should have reached you by now. He's not answering his phone. So, I take it that twit didn't call you and ask to be picked up somewhere in Nowhere, Nebraska?"

Again a moment of silence answered him. "Would I say no to him being here if he had?" Bobby countered just as sharply. "What the hell is going on out there?"

"A lot of crap," Dean said and sneered. "The damned ghost in that brick factory threw me out of a five storey window. Sam was influenced by it in some way and nearly went darkside on me. He scared the crap out of Angelina's kid, who in turn couldn't heal me. So Sammy took off to put him at ease. And now I can't get in touch with him. Which means he's in trouble."

"What kind of trouble?" Bobby asked.

"Other hunters. We ran into some of Gordon Walker's buddies. They're not playing nice. We took care of two of them, but I have the feeling that they didn't come alone. They must have called in reinforcements or something," Dean said and sank down on the edge of one of the chairs. "Is there anyone you can ask?"

"Hmm. Maybe. I'll check around. In the meantime, call Ash and Ellen. They may have heard something. And Ash is good at tracking down information, as you know," Bobby countered. "I'll call you as soon as I know more."

"Gotcha," Dean confirmed, rose again and closed the phone once more, then looked over at Angelina. "Get your stuff together. We're leaving," he said.

She eyed him for a moment.

"That means now," he snapped, well aware that he shouldn't take his anger out on her. When Sam was in trouble, he got scared. And when he got scared, he got angry.

Angelina made a face, but rose and started gathering their things.


Location unknown

Sam assumed he was still in Nebraska somewhere, but wasn't entirely sure at this point. The problem about going up against other hunters was that they were likely to know every trick in the book and these two morons were somewhat older than him, which meant they had more experience. Mike was as tall as him, but twice as broad. And he threw one hell of a punch. Carl was shorter, but his skinny appearance was definitely no indication of his strength. And he was meaner than Mike.

Gingerly, he flexed his jaw, hoping nothing was broken. At this point in time, it was hard to tell. Everything felt swollen and sore. On top of that, he was beyond tired at this point. He hadn't slept since he had left Kermit in Texas and at this point it just felt like he hadn't slept for a full year.

The location was probably a barn or an old warehouse. It had sheet-metal walls, windows high up, and seemed disused. There was no noise from outside, no sounds of cars or people, which had to mean it was remote. There was a lot of dust in the air and a lot of debris on the floor; old wooden planks, wilted leafs, small pieces of concrete and other things he really didn't want to think too much about.

He carefully wrinkled his nose and flinched when that hurt. He'd been hit in the face more than once and could only imagine how he might look right now. In the years he had hunted with Dean and dad, he had learned a lot of tricks, many of which would have made it very easy for him to get out of ropes and even handcuffs, but his present predicament was downright impossible. Not only had these two geeks taken every precaution in the book to keep him tied down, they had gone the extra mile. He was strapped to a wall with chains cris-crossing over him. They had used riser clamps and had bolted his hands and feet to the damned wall, making damned sure he couldn't wiggle his way out of either. Whatever they had planned, they obviously didn't count on moving him in the near future and he had the bad feeling that they didn't intend for him to get away from this one alive either.

And all they kept asking him was where Sean was. He hadn't said anything yet, hadn't bothered responding to their taunts, their threats, their offers for more comfort if he gave up the location, and he had no intention of giving in to any of it. All he needed to know was that his cellphone was on and in the pocket of his jacket, which they hadn't bothered to take off him. It was set to vibrate rather than ring and he had felt it shudder twice now, which gave him hope that Dean, or maybe Bobby, was on the way.

That of course did not alleviate his present discomfort, but Mike and Carl's preoccupation with where Sean was gave him the hope that they didn't know about him, even though the way they had secured him indicated that maybe they did.

Mike had pulled an old steel chair over, turned it around and straddled it. He looked tired and grim. If it had been only him, Sam was convinced that he could have talked some sense into him, but Carl seemed to be in charge and he was most definitely not interested in anything Sam had to say if it didn't concern Sean Banks. And Carl also seemed to be the type who could go without sleep for a week without slowing down. He stood a few steps behind Mike, arms crossed over his skinny chest, while he eyed Sam intently.

"Are we getting some answers and do we have to hurt you some more, kid?" Carl asked.

Sam kept his mouth shut. Talking would bring him nothing. Neither of them would listen to him at this point and it would just be a waste of energy.

Carl huffed angrily. "I thought you said he was a talker," he growled, this obviously turned toward Mike.

"I didn't say that," Mike countered tiredly. "Look, let's just call it a night, okay? He's worn out, we're worn out."

"And give him a chance to regain his strength? I don't think so. Gordon was pretty specific about this one. If it wasn't for the fact that he knows where that little freak is hiding out, I would have capped him already," Carl countered and lashed out, swatting the back of Mike's head.

"Hey!" Mike snapped, got up and turned around. "You just watch it, Carl. I'm not saying it again," he said, pointing a threatening finger at his partner in crime. Then he sighed heavily and turned back to face Sam. "Just tell us what we want to know and we'll let you go, Sam," he tried.

Sam met his gaze and felt the distinct urge to plead with this guy, but as long as Carl was around, it wouldn't do any good. Eventually, he looked away and sniffed painfully. His best bet was to keep quiet until they either tired of asking the same questions over and over again or changed their tactics. He now had the confirmation that Gordon Walker was behind this in some manner or fashion and it made him angry. But even anger wouldn't help him in this situation. The only help he could really count on was that Dean would turn up, hopefully healed and ready to kick ass.

"You're just as stubborn as your old man," Mike suddenly said and sighed again.

Sam focused on him again and only barely prevented himself from demanding an explanation.

Mike mistook his angry look for curiosity, though. He smiled halfheartedly. "I had the honor of running into him once. He nearly took my head off, which is quite a feat, considering that he was almost a head shorter than me," he said.

"This ain't a social gathering, you putz," Carl snarled.

"Shut it," Mike snapped, a warning note in his voice. But he didn't go on. Instead he settled back down on the chair and stared morosely ahead of himself.

"I've only heard about your old man, kid, but that doesn't change anything. He might be a good hunter and all, but you're still a freak and you need to be put down. But not before I get the information I want," Carl said, his tone steely, his grey eyes matching his tone.

Sam just met his gaze for a moment, then looked away again. He wasn't impressed that they had heard about his father and it wouldn't make any difference to him if they started trashing dad. He knew Dean would blow a gasket over something like that, but Sam knew it was better to ignore taunts than to respond to them. If his father had taught him anything, then that was it.


On the road

By the time the Impala crossed the border from Kansas into Nebraska, Dean was beginning to realize that an extensive healing like the one Sean had performed on him took longer to take than the healing of that gash on his leg had. He felt sore, tired and worn after ten straight hours behind the wheel.

Angelina sat beside him and she kept glancing at him. Sean was asleep on the backseat. "Dean, you look like Death warmed over. We should stop. You need to rest."

"No," he countered. She'd mentioned that before, but he was not having any of it. He needed to find Sam and fast. Something told him his brother was in dire need of saving and Dean didn't care if it killed him. He was going to save him.

His tone as much as his general attitude shut her up and she huddled into the corner between seat and door, arms folded over her chest, her eyes on the road ahead.

Dean glanced at her and had to admit that he didn't give a damn if she was pissed off at him right now. He knew she meant well, but his brother came first, no matter what. The thought that he might actually be willing to hand over the kid in the back in return for his brother had struck him and it did make him feel bad. Protect the innocent was the first rule of this game he was playing, but in his mind Sam was as much an innocent as Angelina and Sean were. He knew more about what was out there, but he was also Dean's responsibility and that was where the buck stopped.

It took him another half hour and a near miss with a truck overtaking them for him to admit defeat and pull into a pit stop on the way. But no matter how tired and worn he was, he needed to check up on the roller coaster ride he had set in motion to find Sam. Without the laptop, he had no possible way of tracking Sam's phone. So he had called Ash and put him on the case. He also needed to check in with Bobby to find out if he had found any clues.

With a barely retrained sigh, he fished his phone out of one pocket and called Bobby first. "Anything?" he asked the second the older hunter picked up.

"Not yet. I'll call you when I know more. Where are you right now?" Bobby countered.

"Just crossed into Nebraska. I tried Sam's phone a while back again, but he's still not picking up. It rang a few times before it switched to voice mail. That means it's still on," Dean countered and rubbed the back of his neck with one hand. He found he couldn't even focus properly on the steering wheel in front of him, which made him glance at Angelina. He considered asking her to drive, but he wasn't keen on anyone else driving the Impala. He had trouble enough letting Sam get behind the wheel. And as tired as he was, he knew he wouldn't be able to sleep if she was driving.

"You may wanna stay put so you don't have to go too far back if it turns out they're still in Texas," Bobby said, his tone carefully controlled.

Dean almost groaned. Something told him, though, that his brother wasn't in Texas any more. He was convinced that Sam had made it far before the hunters on his trail had caught up to him. "Call me weird, but for some reason I think he's in Nebraska somewhere," he said and made a face.

"You're weird," Bobby countered. "If Ash has any news, you be sure to let me know. Don't go up against these goons on your own, Dean. You sound like you're ready to drop."

"I'll call you if Ash has any news, but I'm not staying put if he knows where Sam is," Dean said. "Thanks Bobby." With that, he hung up again, dialed the number for the Roadhouse and glanced at Angelina, who was watching him quietly.

"Harvel's Roadhouse."

"Hi, Ellen. Is Ash around?" Dean countered.

"One second," Ellen replied and he heard her yelling for Ash.

"Keep your pantyhose on. I'm comin'," he heard Ash reply somewhere in the background. "Talk to me."

"It's Dean. What have you got?" Dean asked.

"Well, I was just gonna call you. I tracked him down. Or rather his phone. Doesn't mean Sam's there, of course," Ash replied.

"Quit yakking and tell me where he is," Dean pressed.

"Chill, dude. I'm getting to it," Ash said. "The signal has been steady for at least an hour. His phone at least is in Nebraska out in the middle of nowhere north of Broken Bow. Go through Broken Bow, take Gates Country Road. There's a turn-off onto what looks like a dirt road on the left past the Municipal Airport. Not the first one, but the second one. About 2.3 miles up that dirt road, there must be another one. It's not on the map. Must be a private road or something. I guess you'll find some kind of building there about 2 miles in." Ash paused. "Are you getting this?"

"Yeah, I got it," Dean replied. He had dug out the map and was tracing the route Ash was describing with one finger. He marked the approximate spot with an X. "Thanks Ash. Call Bobby and let him know. I'm on my way there now," he added.

"Hey, dude, chill out. Don't go there alone, man," Ash said, sounding a tad concerned now.

"If you call Bobby and tell him where it is, he can meet me there. I'll be there in about ... three hours," Dean countered. "Thanks Ash," he added and hung up.

Before he had completely packed up the map again, his phone rang. Dean made a face and picked up, well aware that Bobby was going to give him an earful for his recklessness.

"Are you out of your damned mind? I told you not to go there on your own." Bobby sounded damned angry and Dean couldn't help flinching at the tone. It was rare that Bobby turned on the commando voice, but when he did, his tone sparked much the same reaction in Dean as dad's would have.

"Bobby, I'm not going to leave Sam with these bastards for any longer than I have to," he countered, trying to defend his need to go now.

"For all you know, Sam's not even there. And if these goons are, you're in over your head. I know you think you're made of awesome, but you can be a real idiot when you don't stop to think, Dean! Stay put for one hour, then go. I'll meet you there. I'm going to call you in half an hour. If you're on the road, I'm going to tan your hide when I see you. Do I make myself clear?"

"Yes sir," Dean replied, unable to suppress that ingrown response to that tone.

Bobby paused a moment and Dean heard him draw in a deep breath before he said anything more. "If you go rushing in there half-cocked and dead on your feet, you're going to get both of you killed, Dean. Don't be as reckless as your daddy," he said a little more calmly. "Get some rest. I'll see you out there in four hours. If Sam's there, we'll bust him out. If not and we find these goons, we'll beat the crap out of them. But you're not taking them on alone. You don't know how many there are and these are hunters. They know every trick you know and they're probably rested."

"I don't need a sermon, Bobby. I get the point," Dean grumbled, partly annoyed and partly embarrassed. He glanced at his watch. "I'll see you there at eight p.m. Don't be late," he added.

"I won't be. Don't drive into a ditch, you stubborn mule," Bobby countered and hung up.

Dean couldn't help a brief smirk, then glanced at Angelina, who had been watching him intently the whole time. He guessed she had heard Bobby yelling at him.

"Are you going to take his advice and sleep a little?" she asked.

"Yeah, but only if you drive," he countered. Despite his dislike for anyone else driving the Impala, he wanted to be on the move at least. "Just stay within the speed limits. That should get us there around the same time as Bobby."

"Bobby?" she asked.

"The friend in North Dakota Sam was heading to," Dean explained and sighed.

Angelina nodded, opened the door and climbed out. She stretched, arched her back, then traded places with Dean. He was still convinced that he wouldn't sleep a wink with her behind the wheel, but moments later the overwhelming need to close his eyes overtook him and moments after that, he was out like a light.