Charlie's turned out to be a basement bar with a lot of corners and out-of-the-way places and the majority of the patrons at this time of day were students. At least they looked like students to Dean.

He glanced around, well aware that Sam was staying behind him while he too glanced around. The tenseness in Sam's stance was so strong, Dean could feel it without looking at him. "She here?" he asked quietly.

"Don't see her," Sam countered and cleared his throat.

"Maybe she got pissed and left," Dean theorized.

"And maybe not," Sam muttered and shifted sideways. It took Dean a second to realize that he had changed his position to keep Dean between himself and a woman walking towards them.

She stopped within an arm's length of Dean and eyed him for a moment before shifting her attention to Sam. Dean took that moment to study her. She was tall, not the slimmest of people but not exactly overweight either. She was a redhead, her skin fair, her eyes blue. In and of herself she was pretty in a quiet, subdued way, but there were two things speaking against her being a nice person on top of that. Her stance alone was enough to put Dean off. Her posture literally screamed stuck-up and her eyes ...! Dean rarely shuddered in the presence of a pretty girl unless she was possessed by a demon and this chick had all the vibes without actually displaying the signs. The cold, calculating look in her eyes gave him the willies. First and foremost because that look was aimed at his little brother.

"You're late," she said, her tone completely ruining any chance of redemption.

"We're here. That should be enough," Dean countered even though she hadn't been talking to him.

She shifted sideways, which prompted Sam to immediately shift in the other direction to keep Dean between himself and her and the smirk that slipped over her lips was anything but becoming. Then she shifted her attention back to Dean and her expression turned slightly morose. "So, I take it you're the brother?"

"Yup, that would be me," Dean agreed, trying to remain civil. He had never met someone who had managed to elicit this kind of reaction from Sam and he didn't like it one bit. "So, you wanna talk about this here or should we find somewhere to sit down?"

The word prude came to mind immediately at the way she puckered her lips and gave him the once over. Then she turned and strode back the way she'd come, obviously expecting them to follow her.

Dean glanced back at Sam, who had his teeth clenched so tightly, his jaw muscles were jittering. "You wanna take off?" he asked.

Sam didn't look at him, but shook his head in a tense little jerk. "Don't drink anything she offers," he pressed out.

Dean frowned lightly, then shrugged and followed Kate back to the table in one corner. He slid onto the bench opposite her and made room for Sam. Every move his little brother made at this point was so tight he could almost hear his joints creaking.

"So, I take it you're in charge?" Kate asked, sounding almost exasperated at the idea.

"Nope. We're in this together," Dean countered.

Kate eyed him. "Can I get you anything? A beer, perhaps?" she asked, her tone indicating that she was trying to be friendly but didn't really feel friendly.

"No thanks, we're fine," Dean said. "Let's get to the point. You've got a haunting you want help with?"

She shushed him, sounding like an angry snake, and glanced around the immediate area as if afraid they could be overheard. "Keep your voice down," she snarled. "I'm not interested in this becoming public knowledge."

Dean just stared at her for a moment. "You want us to leave? Because we can, you know. We're under no special obligation to be here," he said, well aware that his own attitude right now was anything but friendly.

She scrunched up her face for a second, then sighed. "No, of course not. I want this ... problem dealt with. And I don't know who else to turn to. I heard about Rebecca Warren's ... ordeal and figured she might know someone who could help. Turns out she does," she said and sent Sam a pointed look. "Imagine my surprise."

Dean sighed. "Look ... Kate," he said, stressing her name to the breaking point. "If you want our help, I suggest you tone down the attitude. If I have to listen to more of that derisive tone of yours ... I'm out of here and so is Sam."

Her expression tensed and he was quite certain she was grinding her teeth. "Fine," she said and actually managed to mellow her tone a little. "Over the last half year, I've had trouble with things falling off the walls, furniture moving on its own and ... things that go bump in the night," she said, obviously appalled by having to admit to it. "Lately this ... ghost or whatever it is, has taken to throwing things at me. And I want it to stop. Quite frankly, it's annoying and very embarrassing when I have guests."

Dean nodded. "Poltergeist," he said and glanced at Sam, who was staring sternly at the tabletop, not moving a muscle. "Sounds like it, anyway," he added and returned his attention to the annoying redhead. "So, you say this has gone on for half a year?"

"Actually ... it may have been longer. I just never ... thought about it before. It seems to have gained in strength and now it's just ... I can't stay at home at night anymore and it puts a cramp in my style. I want that thing gone and I don't care what the cost is," Kate countered. "So, is this something you can deal with or do I need to find someone else?"

Dean eyed her closely for a moment. "This is something we can deal with," he finally said. "But it'll cost you."

Sam jerked, but otherwise didn't move.

"How much?" Kate asked, now very obviously annoyed.

"That depends on how tough this thing is to get rid of. And I need information about what it could be. Poltergeists are usually vengeful spirits. So, the question is, do you have any enemies? Any of which might have died in recent years?" Somehow, that idea wasn't so hard to come by. She didn't strike Dean as being the type everybody loved.

Kate eyed him darkly for a moment, then sighed and glanced away. "I don't know. Maybe," she said.

"So, you're assuming you have enemies? Someone who's pissed off at you enough to haunt you after their death?" Dean continued.

Kate focused on him again, her eyes revealing nothing, but there was still something in her demeanor that made him bristle. Then she glanced at Sam and that nasty little smirk slipped briefly over her lips again. "Why don't you ask your brother?" she asked, then focused on Dean again. "I wouldn't know. I don't count enemies. If people don't like me, they can bite me."

"Obviously," Dean agreed. "Well, we'll need to do a little digging on this one. I'll be in touch as soon as we know more," he said, then nudged Sam with an elbow to get him to get up, which he did without further prompting.

"And when would that be?" Kate demanded, watching him haughtily.

"When we know more," he repeated, shook his head lightly and gave Sam a shove toward the door.

As soon as they were outside again, Sam relaxed a little bit, but not enough to make Dean think this was over.

"Okay, so she is a major bitch. She's downright creepy," he said and glanced at Sam. "But we've been up against chicks like her before and you've never responded like this before."

"Back off, Dean," Sam warned, shoved his hands into his pockets and started back toward the Impala.

Dean sighed, then followed him. "Sam, dammit," he snapped when he caught up with him.

Sam stopped and turned back to face him and the look in his eyes made Dean recoil. He looked like a wounded animal, afraid of the killing blow. "Just leave it be. Please," he begged, then turned back toward the car once more.

"Sam?"

The voice calling his brother's name was distinctly female, but it wasn't Kate's. Dean glanced around, trying to spot whoever had called for Sam's attention, but couldn't immediately make out who it was.

Sam scanned the area too with a frown, then fixed his attention on the one person Dean wouldn't have thought it could be. A girl came striding towards them. She looked about Sam's age, if Dean were to venture a qualified guess, but her attire was not what Dean connected with Sam's circle of friends.

Her hair was dyed black, she had several piercings on her face, a nose ring, two studs in her upper lip and two in her lower, both ears were framed by earrings by the dozens and her makeup was extreme and black, which included the lipstick she wore. She was dressed completely in black, heavy black work boots, torn pitch-black jeans, a t-shirt with an artistic devil figure on it and the mandatory ankle-length black coat. No question about it, this girl was a Goth. She also had a spider web tattooed on the side of her neck and wore several leather strings with various pendants on them around her neck, among others a pentagram, a bat and B something that struck Dean B a necklace similar to the one he himself wore.

"What the hell? I thought you'd left Stanford behind," she said, her attention on Sam.

Dean glanced at Sam, halfway expecting more introversion, but something had definitely changed in Sam's attitude. "Jodie," he said, sounding a bit surprised.

Without hesitation, she literally yanked Sam into a hearty embrace, than smacked a kiss onto his cheek. Fortunately for Sam, her lipstick didn't leave a mark. "Jesus Christ, Sam. It's been forever," she said.

"Yeah, it has," he agreed.

Her expression along with her peculiar grey eyes lent her a bit of a supernatural air and Dean couldn't for the life of him see Sam hanging out with someone like her. It was silly, really, because the clothes sure didn't make this girl. As opposed to posh and snooty Kate, Jodie seemed down to earth and very likable despite her attire.

She turned her head and eyed Dean for a moment, her arms still around Sam. "And who's this?" she asked.

Sam looked a little uncomfortable and Dean wondered about that briefly. "That's Dean," Sam said.

Jodie arched an eyebrow, released Sam and turned to face Dean properly. "The Dean?" she asked and Sam nodded. "As in big brother Dean?"

"Guilty," Dean countered. "Seems you've got an advantage here. You know who I am. I have no clue who you are."

Jodie smirked and then B to Dean's immediate surprise B pulled him into a hug and kissed him on the cheek as well. "Good to meet you, big bro," she said. "For the first half year I knew Sam, he just couldn't shut up about you. Dean does this, Dean does that, Dean would never do that." She chuckled. "Although the latter didn't pop up that often."

Dean glanced at Sam, who made a face, then he gave her a grin. "Well, hey. It's good to know he talked about me at all," he countered.

Jodie released him again and turned back to Sam. "Sam, I am so sorry about Jess. If I'd been around when it happened ..."

Sam's mood spiraled downward again and he sighed unhappily. "Yeah," he muttered and pressed his lips together into a thin line.

Jodie eyed him for a moment. "How come you're back?" she asked.

"We were just passing through. Thought we'd stop and say hi," Dean said, feeling the necessity of doing the talking since Sam hadn't said much for the past two days.

Sam glanced at Dean and there was something in his eyes now that made his brother frown. "She knows," he said. "What we do, I mean."

"Ooh, you're here on a job?" Jodie asked and looked all excited. "As in ghost busting and stuff like that?"

Sam nodded. "Yeah," he said and chomped down on his lower lip.

Jodie glanced at Dean, then back at Sam. "Why the hell do you look like somebody hanged your cat?" she asked. "I mean ... is this still about Jess?"

Sam shook his head and sighed.

"We just met with Kate Mayor. Looks like she's got a spook-problem that needs handling," Dean explained since Sam didn't seem to want to.

Jodie's expression changed radically. She went from jovial to downright hateful. "Are you nuts?" she asked Sam. "You wanna help her? After what she did?"

Sam flinched and avoided looking at Jodie and Dean clearly understood right there and then that Jodie knew. She had the inside info he needed to figure out why Sam had such a tough time with Kate.

"Sam, dammit. Look at me," she demanded and he did, albeit very reluctantly. "Have you taken leave of your senses? No way are you gonna help that bitch out. She doesn't deserve your help. Do you hear me?"

At present, Dean had considered the option of bailing on this job, of getting the hell out while Sam was still pretty much in one piece, since he'd figured already that Sam wasn't going to spill the beans unless he forced him to. But the fact that Jodie knew what this was about and that she was adamant about Sam not helping Kate piqued Dean's interest to the extreme and he decided right there and then that he was going to have to quiz Jodie on what had happened. Obviously, he would have to do that without Sam hanging around or knowing about it, so Dean briefly considered how to do this, then grabbed Jodie's arm and hauled her out of hearing range.

"Is there any way I can get in touch with you later Today?" he asked quietly.

Jodie eyed him, a frown furrowing her brow, then she nodded. "Yeah, I'll be at the Underground for the rest of the evening. That's where I'm heading now. Why?"

"Because I need to talk to you without Sam hanging around. He's having a tough time with this and I don't want him involved," Dean countered.

Jodie stared into his eyes for a moment, then nodded. "Meet me there later," she said, then strode back over to Sam. "You better look me up again before you blow this popsicle stand, okay? We weren't best buds for four years for you to just ... disappear on me again."

"I'll call you," Sam promised. "You still got the same number?"

"Yup," she agreed, then hugged him again. "Steer clear of that bitch. You hear me? I don't want you to go through the same thing again."

"I can promise you that it won't come to that," he agreed. "It's great to see you again."

"Likewise," Jodie said, then glanced at her watch. "I gotta dash. I'm meeting some of the guys at the Underground in like ten minutes. If you feel like getting smashed, that's where I'll be."

"Not so much in a party-mood right now," Sam countered.

"Don't blame you, hotshot. I gotta go. Stay in touch," she said, kissed him again and took off at a run.

Dean watched her go as he trailed back to where Sam was standing. "A Goth, huh?" he asked.

"It's a political statement," Sam countered. "Jodie's pretty adamant about her beliefs."

"Apparently so," Dean agreed. "Let's get back to the motel. We need to go over this haunting-crap," he added and shooed Sam back to the Impala.

***

The Underground was a bit like Charlie's had been, only far darker. The music playing wasn't his type of music, but it was tolerable. It wasn't boy bands, which made up for a lot. That he didn't in particular dig Marilyn Manson didn't really figure into his equations right now. He did feel out of place, though, considering that he was the only one in the entire bar who wasn't dressed entirely in black or had black hair.

A few of the guys and girls hanging around did give him looks, but Dean was an expert at ignoring things like that. He kept browsing the bar for Jodie, hoping somehow to spot her in the crowded place, when someone grabbed his shoulder from behind. In true hunter fashion, he didn't like it when others snug up on him and he swirled around, grabbing the wrist that hand was attached to and twisted the hand backward in the same second as he turned.

"Uncle," Jodie gasped, bending backwards to lessen the strain on her wrist.

Dean instantly released her. "Sorry," he said and tried for an awkward smile. "Got my defenses up."

Jodie gave him a slightly annoyed look, then spread out her arms when two very tall and very dangerous looking guys stepped up on either side of her. "It's okay, bros. He's friendly," she said.

Dean had the distinct impression that these two guys were twins and from the looks in their eyes, he figured he would have been hard pressed to get out of a fight with them without being pulverized. Jodie's word was good enough for them, though, and they backed off and disappeared back into the crowd without a word. "Bodyguards?" he asked.

Jodie grinned while massaging her wrist lightly. "Nah, brothers. As in mine," she said. "It's a family thing," she added when he arched an eyebrow.

"Looks that way," he agreed with a vague smile.

"You want a beer?" she asked and slapped a flat hand onto the bar twice. One of the guys standing behind it B with spiky hair and black-edged eyes B shoved two bottles of beer toward her, which she grabbed and then motioned for the back of the bar. "Got the regular table cleared out all for you," she said and winked at him, then shoved him towards a table at the very back of the bar.

Dean dropped down on a chair, accepted the bottle of beer and took a swig before glancing curiously around the place. "Political statement?" he asked.

Jodie turned her chair around and straddled it, downed half her beer and then slammed the bottle down on the table top. "Yup. We're rebelling against normalcy," she said and smirked.

"Good job," he countered and grinned. "How the hell did you ever hook up with Sam? He's such a stickler for normalcy it's almost painful."

"How'd you manage to ditch him? I've never in my life met anyone who asked more questions than he does," Jodie asked back.

"I told him I was going out for some food," Dean countered. "Not a hard sell. I like to eat," he added and shrugged.

Jodie eyed him appreciatively. "Yeah? You don't look it. Trim, muscular, handsome. I bet the womenfolk are just falling over themselves to get a piece of you," she countered and chuckled.

Dean eyed her and wondered what she looked like without all this gunk on. The makeup was heavy. "You a natural blonde?" he asked.

She smirked. "You wanna check?" she asked back and laughed.

"I'm sorry, but you really don't seem to be Sam's type," he said and eyed her curiously. "So ... you guys were an item?"

Jodie looked a little surprised, then shook her head with a smile. "Nah, I don't swing that way," she said.

Dean stared at her for a moment before he realized what she meant. "Oh," he said and nodded. "So ... you were friends?"

"Yup. First guy in a long time I've met who didn't think it was his sacred duty to swing me back to the 'right' way, if you catch my drift. I'm not exactly standard Stanford material. Didn't fit in from day one. And ... well ... Sammy felt a bit out of place in the beginning, so we hooked up and started talking and there you have it." Jodie grinned and leaned heavily against the back of the chair, squashing her breasts into the rods.

Dean eyed the display for a second, appreciating the view but definitely not in the mood to try anything. "So ... Jodie ... I wanted to talk to you about ... Kate," he said and grew serious again.

Jodie followed suit. The smile faded and she pursed her lips and eyed her bottle for a moment, then downed the rest of it. "Serious, major bitch. Queen bitch, if you ask me. The general idea is that she's a sociopath."

"That's a bit of an accusation," Dean tried.

Jodie snorted. "Yeah, I guess. But it's a rep she's earned," she said.

"How?" Dean wanted to know. "What did she do to Sam? I've never seen him respond to others this way and he's had plenty of people in his life he could be scared of. I wouldn't have thought someone like Kate would get under his skin this way."

Jodie shook her head sadly, then rose. "Hold that thought. I'll just get another beer," she said and strode over to the bar.

Dean watched her closely until she placed two new bottles on the table and sat down again. Then he took another swig of his beer and started picking idly at the label.

"First and foremost, Dean, I made Sam a promise back then. I swore to him I would never tell anyone what happened and I haven't. Greg, his roommate back then, was sworn to secrecy as well and as far as I know he hasn't breathed a word of it either." She eyed him, then brushed her fingers through her hair, pushing it back from her face.

"So ... this happened before Jess?" Dean asked. It was a tad annoying that he had to wiggle the information out of her, but he figured if she had made a promise like that, breaking it would be hard.

"Yeah, he didn't get together with Jess until the year after he started here," Jodie agreed. "But ... this happened early on. Like half a year in or something like that. It was right before the Easter break."

"So ... what? What happened?" Dean asked.

Jodie made a face. "I'm not happy about this. I know you're his brother and all, Dean, but ... I promised him I wouldn't tell. It was very, very important to him that I didn't and I haven't and I don't want to."

Dean forced himself to remain calm. Most of all he wanted to threaten her or shake her or something just to make her tell it all, but he figured he would have the whole bar bearing down on him if he did and it wouldn't really accomplish anything anyway. He drew in a deep breath, held it for a moment, and then leaned forward, propping his elbows on the table while he eyed her seriously. "Look, Jodie, I get that you made him a promise. And I'm all for keeping promises. But ... this is eating him alive and he won't tell me what it is. I get the feeling he's embarrassed ... and scared shitless too. And it's the latter that I can't handle. He's my baby brother and if this Kate did something to him that makes him this afraid, I wanna know what it is so I can do something about it."

Jodie held his gaze for a long moment, then glanced down at her bottle, took a hefty swig of it and made a face. "I don't know," she muttered.

"If you really care this much about Sam, you'll tell me what I need to know, Jodie. So I can help him. And I can't help him if I don't know what's going on. I do not like the idea that there's someone out there who scares him this much without knowing why. In general, I just wanna blow her brains out. She's a royal bitch alright, but I'd rather know what I'm doing it for than just shoot her and find out later that she tripped him in class or something like that," he said. Exaggeration furthered understanding, he figured.

Jodie pursed her lips and pushed the bottle around on the tabletop for a bit, then focused on him again. "What do you know about sociopaths?" she asked.

"They generally get off on hurting others and are not able to relate to their victims," Dean countered. "Something along those lines," he added.

"Yeah. Well, Kate gets off on hurting others and she's done it many times. Her specialty is breaking up couples. And her way of doing it is pretty ... nasty. Not something that would put the fear of God in you, but it's bad enough," Jodie said. "She zeroed in on Sam for some reason and obviously figured we were a couple back then because we hung out like all the time," she added.

Dean frowned. That didn't really sound like something that would make his brother this scared. "So, what's her M.O.?" he asked.

"Generally she drugs the guys, makes out with them and then tells the girlfriend about it the day after," Jodie said.

"Drugs them?" Dean asked, a little stunned. "How?"

"Probably a spiked drink," Jodie countered and made a face. "Of course, some girls don't believe their boyfriends would make out with her, so she always has polaroids."

Dean didn't quite get it yet. "But ... you said that was before Jess. Why would she even consider him if there wasn't anything to break up?" he asked.

"Like I said, she thought he and I were an item. We were together most of the time, after all," Jodie said and sighed.

Dean frowned, then grimaced. "Okay, I get that that's not ... the best case scenario, but Sam's stronger than that. He wouldn't ... " He paused and scratched the back of his head. "Sam wouldn't respond that way to this sort of thing. Especially if there was nothing to break up. I mean, he'd be pissed, granted, but ..." He shook his head lightly. "He's coming apart at the seams right now and this was ... what? ... four, five years ago? This doesn't make any sense."

Jodie sneered and took another swig of her bottle. "No, that's because there's more," she said. "I don't know why she went over the top with Sam, but ... it was probably because she figured out that there was nothing to break up, that her twisted little plan had failed. I don't know. I wasn't here when it happened. What led up to it ... well, Greg, Sam's roommate, told me about that and ..." She sighed heavily.

"And what? What the hell did she do?" Dean demanded, getting a little pissed off now.

Jodie frowned. "The night it happened ... the night she ... drugged him, was the night I took off to go home. The guys and I went out for a beer, I took off, she got her clammy hands on Sam and he didn't remember squat the day after. According to Greg, he was pretty wasted the following day, had no living clue what he'd done the night before, and then Kate comes up to them B they were at Charlie's at the time B and asked him where his girlfriend was. Sam had no idea what she was talking about and she threw a Polaroid on the table in front of him and said she would tell me everything once I turned up. Apparently ... according to Greg ... Sam laughed at her. He just burst out laughing, said he had no recollection of this event even though there were pictures and that he wasn't going steady with anyone. Greg said that Kate stormed out of there, pretty angry."

"See, that's the way I would think he would react to that," Dean agreed. "So ... what? She made it public?"

Jodie laughed. "No, Kate never makes it a public thing. If she did, she'd get kicked out of Stanford faster than you can say boo. But most guys don't want to report something like this. She uses date rape drugs, which have the nasty little side effect of making the person abused suffer from amnesia, which was basically what happened to Sam. And ... according to Greg ... he didn't remember and he didn't care. Which I personally think is what set her off."

"To do what?" Dean pressed. "What did she do?"

Again Jodie sighed. "When I got back a week later, two days before the term started, I went up to say hi to Sam and Greg. But Sam wasn't there and Greg said that Sam hadn't been there all week. He assumed that he had either shagged up with a girl somewhere, which was so not like him, or he had gone home after all for Easter. Since Sam had told me prior to me leaving that he wasn't going home and I knew he wouldn't hook up with a girl at such short notice ... well ... I checked his closet. Everything was there. He hadn't gone off anywhere."

Dean just stared at her. "What are you telling me?"

"That he'd been gone for a week at that point. AWOL. Which got me worried. So I trailed around the area, looking for him, asking others if they'd seen him, and someone said they'd seen him in the park. So I went over and there he was, wearing the same clothes he had worn the night I left. And he was totally out of it. He just sat there and stared ahead of himself, completely ... gone," Jodie said.

"What happened?" Dean asked. He had a tingling feeling in the pit of his stomach that did not promise a decent outcome. In essence he wasn't entirely sure he wanted to know more B the morbid part of his imagination was already beginning to spit up all kinds of nasty scenarios B but he needed to know to help Sam.

"Well, obviously Kate happened," Jodie said and she looked almost queasy. "At first I didn't get why he was so out of it and he wouldn't talk to me. He was aware ... I mean, he was conscious and present, but ... he was completely wasted. So ... I got him back to his dorm room and we just sat down and I talked and he listened and didn't say anything. And Greg tried to talk to him, but he still didn't respond. And he was ... grungy. A mess. So I figured we'd try and get him cleaned up a little and I got him out of his jacket and shirt and at this point I realized he had needle marks on his neck."

"Needle marks?" Dean stared at her. "From injections?"

Jodie nodded. "Yeah. I asked him about it and he ... didn't say anything." She sighed deeply. "It took me a while to get through to him. Greg had left at that point to get something to eat and I don't think Sam wanted to talk while he was around."

Dean leaned forward a bit and eyed her darkly. "Jodie," he said, fully attracting her attention, "I don't mean to be rude or anything, but would you please get to the point? What the hell did Kate do to my brother? By now I've figured out that it's not something she did to someone he cared about. So, what did she do? Where was he that week? And why was he so out of it? Drugs? What?"

"Drugs," Jodie agreed with a halting nod. "He never told me exactly what happened, but judging by ... how out of it and disgusted he was ... I can only assume that what she did to him was an extension in some way of what she did to these other guys."

"So ... what? She drugged him for a week and made out with him?" Dean tried to fit that into the way Sam was behaving right now and couldn't make it stick.

"I think it went further than that. He ... had bruises around his wrists and ankles," Jodie said. "And ... his clothes weren't ... grungy."

Dean stared at her for a moment. "I may be dense here, but ... what does that have to do with anything?"

Jodie grimaced. "I'm not sure. He didn't confirm it. But my opinion ... it was the same stuff he wore the week before. If he was ... incapacitated for a week and hence got grungy ... his clothes should have been grungy too. So ... I don't think he wore them."

Dean blinked. His logic told him clearly what this meant while the rest of his consciousness didn't want to touch that idea with a ten foot pole. "Uh ..." he tried, but didn't know how to put into words what was going through his head right now. Generally, he was aiming at that Jodie would tell him something else than what he was thinking. And then the reality of her words ... or her assumption rather ... began to sink in. "Oh god," he muttered and cupped a hand over his mouth.

"Yeah," Jodie agreed. "This is all I know ... about what actually happened. But what came after was almost as bad."

Dean stared at her, not sure he could take much more of this without blowing a fuse. "What?" he asked and dropped his hand again.

"He had the shakes," she said. "I had a friend who worked in the lab at the local hospital and I asked her to run a check of his blood, because I really wanted to know what that bitch had given him," she added. "He had crystal meth in his system."

"Crystal meth?" Dean asked, finding it almost impossible to digest what she was telling him. The more he learned, the more he began to agree with his father's assessment back then that it had been a bad idea to let Sam leave. "Are you telling me that Kate ... turned my brother into a drug addict?"

Jodie nodded. "Yeah, that's what I'm telling you. Greg and I kept it under wraps, helped Sam get through it as quickly as we could. If anyone had caught on and reported it, he would have been kicked out of Stanford. A drug addiction is not welcome here. No matter how you came about it."

Dean rubbed a hand over his brow. "Oh man," he muttered. "I gotta get back to the motel. I need to talk to Sam about this."

"He's not gonna talk about it, Dean," Jodie countered.

Dean gave her a dark look and rose. "I know how to get him to talk. I should have done it sooner, but I didn't know it was this bad," he said. "Thanks, Jodie. Thanks for telling me."

"What are you gonna do?" Jodie asked and rose too.

"I'm gonna find out what exactly happened and then I'm gonna take it out of Kate's hide. She'll burn in hell for this," he growled. The anger was slowly devouring the disbelief, rising in him like a dark tidal wave of mayhem and destruction.

Jodie could obviously tell, because she eyed him with some apprehension. "Just don't kill her, Dean. She's not worth going to jail for and Sam needs you right now," she said quietly and grabbed his arm before he could turn away and leave. "Dean, are you listening to me?" she demanded.

He had trouble keeping a snarl at bay, then nodded. "Yeah, I hear you. Don't worry. I'm not gonna kill her. But I'm gonna make her wish I had. Nobody does that to my brother and gets away with it," he said.

Jodie let go of his arm again. "Call me if you need any help," she said, reached into her pocket and withdrew a business card of all things.

Dean almost felt like laughing, the situation was that bizarre. But he nodded instead. "Thanks. And thanks for being there for him when this happened," he said and shoved the card into his wallet.

"No sweat," Jodie said. "Go easy on him. This is tough enough as it is."

Dean nodded once, then left the bar and stalked back to the Impala. He stopped short next to the driver side door and just stared over the top of the car for a moment. The more he thought about it, the more angry he got. It was fairly unlikely that he was going to go easy on Sam if he didn't want to talk, but Dean had methods of making him talk and the way Sam felt right now, he would actually be surprised if his little brother hadn't raided the mini bar and emptied it by the time Dean got back there.

***