They drove in silence for a while and Sam kept glancing at Dean, who didn't exactly look like he was having fun. He was pale and sweating, a tight set to his jaw that indicated he was in pain, and Sam more than once wanted to pull over and give him a shot of morphine just to make sure he didn't sprain something too. But Dean didn't say anything and Sam knew how he was when it came to admitting defeat.

"Where are we ... going?" Dean suddenly asked, his voice a little rusty.

"We're heading toward Dallas," Sam said and glanced at him. "Are you ..."

Dean gave him a dark look that made him shut up instantly. "I'm fine," he ground out, proving that he was anything but fine. But Sam knew better than to argue with him about this right now. "Just keep ... going and step on it."

The worst fear was that Frigg would somehow be able to track them and the further away from her they got, the better. Dean was in no condition to go up against her and Sam wasn't sure he could when it came down to it. "She's gotta be so pissed," he said after a while. The fact was that he was scared senseless, of what Frigg could and probably would do to him, of what she would do to Dean, if she caught them. And the only thing Sam could focus on was getting away from her and to find somewhere safe to hole up. And the only safe place he could imagine was with Bobby. But they were far away from Bobby's and would be pretty much on their own until they got there.

"To hell ... with what she's gonna be. There's no way ... she can follow us," Dean pressed out through clenched teeth.

Sam glanced at him, but abstained from saying anything. Something was trying to convince him that she could follow them and that she would kill or maim anyone who got in her way, but he didn't really think Dean was up to hearing that theory right now. "This is all my fault," he suddenly muttered and returned his attention to the road ahead of them.

"Shut up, Sam," Dean pressed out and groaned when the car hit a pothole.

"If I hadn't ..." Sam stopped himself and glanced at Dean. He had no damned right to feel sorry for himself right now. Dean was the one in agony over this, not him. "We should stop," he added.

"No, keep driving," Dean ground out. "Gotta get ... away from her."

"You're coming apart at the seams, Dean. At least let me give you a shot of morphine," Sam pleaded.

"No! Don't stop. Keep ... going. We'll stop ... in Dallas," Dean persisted, his teeth clenched together, the muscles on his neck jittering with the effort he put into keeping himself upright.

Sam could almost feel how much he hurt. "Dude, that's nearly four hours away from here," Sam said and took a decision. "No way are you gonna sit through that for four hours," he added and pulled over to the side of the road.

He snatched the bag, pulled out one of the vials and examined it briefly, then grabbed a syringe and filled it with ten cc's of the clear liquid. Dean was glaring at him as much as he was able to glare right now, but he said nothing, which was evidence of that he was hurting far more than he let on.

"Stop glaring at me," Sam said just the same. "I'm trying to help you here."

"Get on ... with it," Dean growled.

Sam inserted the tip of the syringe in the shunt and carefully pressed down on the plunger. The thing about morphine was the instant gratification. The tenseness seeped out of Dean almost as quickly as Sam injected the fluid. "You should be in the backseat where you can lie down," Sam suggested.

Dean blinked a little sluggishly, then nodded. "Sure," he muttered.

Sam got out, stepped around the car and cleared off the backseat first and foremost. Then he grabbed both their duffles from the trunk and put them on the floor between the backseat and the front seat, which would rule out any sever accidents if he had to brake hard. Then he opened the passenger side door and helped Dean out, which was hard work because his brother suddenly seemed to consist of nothing but jelly. "Easy," he said and somehow managed to get Dean into the back, before his brother passed out completely. It wasn't exactly an everyday occurrence that Dean was this out of it.

Sam decided that Dallas would be as far as they would get today. Dean needed a decent bed and he needed some downtime on top of it. Sam would have to find a place for them to hole up where he could protect them both against Frigg without having to worry about upsetting the populace of any given motel, which meant out of the way somewhere.

He made sure Dean was as comfortable as he could be, then got back behind the wheel and pulled back into traffic while speed-dialing Bobby's number.

"Sam?" Bobby picked up almost at once.

"Hey Bobby. Listen, I need a favor and it's a big one. We're in a bit of a fix right now and I need a place to hole up for a few days. Preferably somewhere out of the way and easy to protect," Sam countered.

"Where are you?" Bobby asked.

"Texas, heading toward Dallas," Sam replied. "We're about four hours away from there."

"Coming in from the coast?" Bobby asked, to which Sam agreed. "I'll check into it. Call you back when I find something. What's going on, Sam?"

"It's big. And it's my fault. I shouldn't have ..." He stopped. 'Don't go there', he thought to himself. "Dean's hurt. He needs a few days to get back on his feet, but ... I don't know exactly what we're up against."

"Talk to me, Sam," Bobby insisted.

"We took on this cult in Cameron, Louisiana. They tried to sacrifice us to what I thought was Frigg. But I'm not so sure it is Frigg now. She's kinda vicious," Sam said, not sure how much information Bobby would need.

"Frigg? As in the Nordic goddess Frigg?" Bobby asked. He sounded stunned.

"One and the same, yeah. But I don't think this is a goddess. I think she's a demon," Sam said. "They did this ritual, sacrificed a girl to Frigg to call their goddess into being. They called her the three-faced goddess. And at first that seemed to be what it was. But ... she kinda turned on us."

"Cameron, you say?" Bobby asked, which Sam confirmed. "There was a police report about an hour ago that about thirty cult members were found dead on Rabbit Island and the leader had gone bonkers. Would that be the same cult?"

Sam swallowed hard. Thirty people dead because he had ... Again he trailed off in his head. "Yeah," he agreed and cleared his throat. "Yeah, that's them."

"What in the hell have you boys gotten yourselves into there?" Bobby sounded concerned and angry at the same time. "If that really is a goddess, Sam, you're in over your head. Is she after Dean?"

The lump in his throat just wouldn't go away. Chances were that Bobby knew what this bitch did to stay powerful, if that was what she did, and it embarrassed him more than he could possibly say. "No, me," he said and grimaced. "She hurt Dean to get to me."

Bobby sighed audibly. "Do me a favor, kid. When you get to Dallas and I've found you a place to stay, you two go to ground and you don't come up for air until I give the all clear. If this is even half as bad as I fear, this might go beyond what I can deal with too. Keep the phone handy and keep driving until I call back. You hear me? Don't even stop to take a damned piss. The further away from her you get, the better you'll be off. How bad is Dean?"

"Bad enough. Busted shoulder, broken arm, six broken ribs and probably a light concussion as well," Sam said. He couldn't help the anxiousness that crept up on him at Bobby's words.

"That sounds bad. Has he seen a doctor?" Bobby asked.

"Yeah, I took him to the hospital in Beaumont. They patched him up, but he's in a lot of pain," Sam said.

"Right. You got enough drugs to keep him under?"

"Yeah, I swiped a couple of vials of morphine and some antibiotics too, just in case. We're good for a few days," Sam said.

"Okay. Keep driving, Sam. And stay off the big roads. Keep to the back roads. They're less likely to clog up," Bobby said. "I'll call back as soon as I can. Hang in there. We'll figure this out."

"Okay. Thanks Bobby," Sam replied and hung up again. "Dammit," he muttered and slapped the steering wheel with the flat of his hand.

Moments later he pulled off the 45 and followed the back roads instead.

Dean didn't wake up again until they were close to Fairfield and he wasn't a happy camper when he did wake up. "What the hell?" he muttered.

Sam sent a quick glance back at him just in time to catch that he reached out with his right arm in an attempt to grab the back of the front seat to pull himself up. "Dean, don't!" Sam exploded, but too late.

Dean paled when he put pressure on his splinted arm, let out a muffled grunt and yanked his broken arm back to his chest. "Son of a bitch," he pressed out through clenched teeth. Whatever remains of the morphine had been in his system had obviously been wiped out by the blast of pain this had caused him.

"Dean, are you okay?" Sam asked and quickly pulled over to the side of the otherwise deserted road. Once the car was in park, he turned around to face his brother, who looked worse right now than he had when Sam had first found him.

"No, I'm not fucking okay," Dean pressed out, his breath coming in labored little bursts. "Aw man, that hurt."

"Do you need another shot of morphine?" Sam knew the answer to that. His brother didn't do drugs unless he was forced to.

"No, just give me ... a minute," he ground out and shifted a little to get more comfortable. "That's a ... fucking bitch of a girlfriend ... you've got there, you know that?"

Sam squashed any need to get upset about that comment. Dean had every right to be pissed off and the pain he was in wasn't helping his manners any. "I'm sorry, Dean," he muttered.

Dean closed his eyes for a moment, his jaw squared against the pain, then he blinked and focused on Sam. "Not your fault ... that you're ... such a damned sap," he pressed out, then squinted up at the windows. "Where are we?"

"About one and a half hours south of Dallas," Sam said. "I called Bobby. He's going to set us up with a safe house for a few days."

Dean squinted at him. "A safe house?" he rasped. "Just keep ... going until ... we reach his place."

"No, Dean. You're in no condition to go that far," Sam disagreed vehemently. "We need to go into hiding until Bobby can figure out how to fix this mess somehow. Which reminds me," he added and turned back to the steering wheel. "We gotta keep moving," he added and pulled back out on the road.

"Sam ... dammit ... listen to me," Dean demanded breathlessly. His tone didn't hold nearly as much force as Sam was sure he was trying for, but that was beside the point anyway.

"Zip it, Dean," he snapped. "I'm not going to put you through that and that's as far as it goes."

Before Dean could come up with an appropriate comment on that one, Sam's phone rang and he quickly picked it up.

"Bobby?"

"Yeah. There's a safe house outside Gainesville. That's an hour past Dallas. Can you make that?"

"Yeah, sure we can," Sam agreed.

"Good. It's remote, just outside town, and should be fairly easy to protect. On top of that, the house has apparently been protected against demons years ago. How many of the spells still hold I don't know. But there should be enough supplies there to tide you over for at least a week and the owner says there's about a ton of salt in the adjoining barn," Bobby said. "As for your goddess, Sam, I've been looking into that cult and I think you're right. I don't think they've been worshiping Frigg at all."

"Do you know who she is?" Sam asked, hoping against hope that this was a demon and that she could be handled accordingly.

"If I'm right, Sam – and that's a big-assed if – then you're dealing with a hell goddess called Morax. For your sake I hope it's not her, though," Bobby said.

"Why? How much worse than a demon can she be?" Sam asked and sent a precarious glance back at his brother, who was following the to him one-sided conversation closely.

"Sam, if it's Morax you're up against, you're in deep shit. She eats kids like you for breakfast. She thrives on sexual energy, it makes her stronger, harder to kill. Whatever faith you have left, you better start praying, kid, because they don't come much nastier than her." Bobby paused. "I know this isn't exactly the kind of conversation you'd like to have with me, Sam, but I need to know. Have you ... been involved with her? Is that why she's after you?"

Sam swallowed and pressed his lips together into a tight line. "Yeah," he rasped, then cleared his throat. "Twice," he added.

"God dammit, Sam," Bobby groaned.

"The first time wasn't my fault. I was ..." He stopped, very uncomfortable right now. "It wasn't her, the first time. It was ... part of this ritual. They kinda ... forced me."

"Doesn't matter if it was in connection with the resurrection ritual that brought her into this world. Do you know if those morons had a book or something? A black bible maybe?"

"Yeah, they did," Sam agreed. If he'd felt bad before, he felt a hell of a lot worse now.

"It's likely that there's a way to get rid of her in that. But that would mean you'd have to head back there and that's not a good idea. If Dean was okay, he could do it. She can't sense him. But she can sense you. You're linked to her. All you can hope for is that the house outside Gainesville will muddle the signal. So, whatever you do, stay in that house. Don't go outside, don't show yourself. And stay in touch. I may have a few spells you can try out that might protect you better," Bobby said and sighed. "Get to Gainesville as fast as you can, Sam. I don't think you have much time."

"Okay," Sam agreed and hung up.

"Was that ... Bobby?" Dean rasped.

Sam glanced back at him. "Yeah," he agreed.

"Well?" Dean asked, his tone strained.

Sam repeated what Bobby had told him while he kept on driving as fast as he dared. Dean was silent after he had finished talking and he chanced a brief glance back at his brother before he pulled back onto the 45 that would take them straight through Dallas.

"That ... sucks," Dean finally muttered.

"That's one way of putting it," Sam agreed.

"So ... where is the ... safe house?" Dean wanted to know.

"In Gainesville. Or rather just outside," Sam said. "The house is protected and far away from everybody."

"Step on it, Sam," Dean said.

***

Two hours later
Gainesville, TX

"You drive like a frigging grandma." Dean somehow managed to extract himself from the car without Sam's help, but once on his feet, he realized what a damned bad idea that had been. "God dammit," he growled, eased back against the car and leaned forward a little with a groan.

Sam stood next to the car, keys in hand, and stared at the old house. It was a brick house. Most of the windows at the front were boarded shut and the front door looked in desperate need of a paint job. The porch had seen better days too. One part of the roof at the far end had collapsed and everything was overgrown with ivy and weeds. He sighed and walked over to the corner to send a look down the side of the building. "We can park the car in the barn," he suggested and turned back to face Dean.

"Whatever," Dean grumbled. He felt like crap. His upper body was alight with pain and all he wanted was to take a shot of the morphine and pass out, but that wasn't going to happen. They needed to barricade themselves in this house and take every precaution necessary to keep Frigg out.

Sam made a face, then dug their duffles out from between the seats and lugged them up on the porch. He searched along the upper side of the doorframe and found the key for the front door, which he unlocked. It creaked open, but the billow of dust Dean had expected didn't come. Sam grabbed the duffles and lugged them inside while Dean realized that having to take that trip on his own was out of the question. He couldn't even muster the strength to push away from the Impala, let alone master the two steps up to the porch. "Sam?" he finally called.

His brother turned up again after a moment. "Looks clean enough," he said and stepped back out on the porch. "It beats some of the motels we've stayed at over the years," he added with a shadow of a smile.

"Great," Dean pressed out.

"You need a hand?" Sam asked.

Dean glared at him and refused to answer that. In his opinion, it was pretty obvious that he needed a hand. He wasn't going to beg for it, though. "I'm ... completely handicapped here," he growled.

"Yeah, I've noticed," Sam countered and eyed him doubtfully before stepping up to his left side. "Let's get you inside. I'll hide the car afterward."

"The sooner ... the better," Dean agreed. Sam slipped an arm around his back and he almost cursed out loud at the flare in the pain. Somehow they managed to get inside without any incidents and Sam left him there to get the Impala out of view.

Dean looked around the room for a moment. There were kerosine lamps sitting on all surfaces and Sam had already lit a few of them. "Cozy," Dean muttered under his breath. A big old armchair stood next to the old fireplace and it looked comfortable enough to accommodate his aching frame. He made his way over there and sank down on it, then leaned back carefully.

Everything he could see was dust-free, which made him wonder a bit. Of course, there was an owner of this place and the guy obviously kept it up to par inside. Maybe the derelict look on the outside was on purpose. To keep his mind off his aching body, he looked around and realized that there were symbols carved into the doorframe. On closer inspection, this went for the window frame as well as the brickwork surrounding the fireplace. Whoever owned this place was serious about protection.

A moment later, Sam turned up again and he was carrying a big sack of something. "I'll just salt the doors and windows," he said, his expression a bit uncertain.

"Something ... wrong?" Dean asked and cursed silently over the fact that he couldn't even speak properly.

"I just don't know how much good it will do," Sam confessed. "I mean ... if she's not a demon ..." He shrugged and went to work.

Dean just sat there for a while and just listened to the sounds his brother made upstairs while he contemplated this house and this situation and he couldn't for the life of him figure out how they were going to beat this thing. He needed to talk to Bobby, but he couldn't hold the phone up to his ear and he didn't even know where his damned phone was.

When Sam finally returned, Dean's frustration over his own condition had reached a peak. He kept his mouth shut, though, because he knew he was going to take it out on Sam if he did talk. Sam hadn't been responsible for the start of this whole mess, but that part of Dean that had no patience right now wanted to blame him for not being stronger.

He closed his eyes and waited for Sam to finish. "There. That should ... well, I don't know if it'll hold," Sam finally said. "What else is there? Bobby said something about some spells. I hope he finds them soon."

Dean blinked and focused on Sam. "Is there any food in this dump?" he asked, well aware that anything stored in this place would probably be canned. And he hated canned food. It would do in a pinch, but it reminded him too much of too many cooped-up days and nights while dad was out hunting and he wasn't supposed to leave the motel room or apartment or cabin they had stayed at back then.

"Canned goods. There's a gas stove in the kitchen. It works too," Sam replied.

"What about beer?" Dean asked and managed a halfhearted smile.

"Yeah, like I'll let you drink when you're in this shape," Sam grumbled. "Look, I'll see what's on the menu. Just ... stay here."

"Like I have a choice," Dean muttered under his breath. "Damned bitch," he added vehemently and groaned when the force he put into the words hurt his damned chest. "Shit," he gasped.

"Dean?" Obviously, Sam was more attentive right now than he had thought. "You okay?" he asked and stopped in front of him, a worried look in his eyes.

"Yeah, fine. Although ... I won't be ... if I don't eat ... soon," he pressed out through clenched teeth.

"Okay." Sam took off again and Dean realized that not only had the kid salted every damned opening to the outside, he had also salted the doorway into this room, which meant he had probably done the same to every doorway in the house.

It wouldn't do them any good in the long run, though. Something about this whole deal had already convinced Dean of that. Maybe it was the ease with which Frigg had controlled both Sam and himself. Maybe it was something he couldn't put a finger on. But the fact remained that he felt like there was something off about this whole deal and hell goddesses notwithstanding, Frigg or Morax or whatever the hell her name was, was different.

With an effort almost beyond him, he got up and made his way over to the doorway, where he stopped and eyed the rather hefty salt line for a moment. Then he stepped over it and made his way down the corridor toward the kitchen. He stopped short just outside the open door and eyed the scene for a second. Sam was obviously unaware of his presence right now, which gave him the rare opportunity of studying his brother without having to explain why. And Sam wasn't happy. He was sitting on a chair across from the stove, elbows on knees, head down, while he picked idly at his left arm.

Dean wasn't entirely sure what alerted Sam to his presence, but Sam suddenly raised his head and stared at him for a moment. "Dude, you shouldn't be up," he said, his voice a little thick.

"Zip it, Sam," Dean advised him and stepped over the salt line into the kitchen where he leaned back against the wall just inside the door. "Have you ... heard from Bobby?" he asked, still a little out of breath.

Sam rose, his body language betraying that he wanted to reach out and steady Dean, but he restrained himself. "No, not yet," he said and grimaced. "I'll call him after we eat. Unless he calls first."

"Fine," Dean countered while his gaze was locked on the chair Sam had abandoned. That bitch might not have broken his legs, but he didn't feel like he could stand up for much longer.

Fortunately, Sam was good at reading him and without a word he grabbed the chair and set it down again next to Dean, who eased down on it. Sam returned his attention to the pot on the stove. "Is there any other way we can protect this place?" he asked after a moment of aimlessly stirring whatever he had found in those cans.

"This place is pretty much ... locked down where demons ... are concerned," Dean said. "Symbols around every ... doorway."

Sam glanced up at the doorframe and frowned. He obviously hadn't noticed that before. "A supernatural safe house," he muttered, shook his head and returned his attention to the food. "This stuff smells ... bland."

"What is it?" Dean asked. He couldn't identify it by smell alone.

"Spaghettios," Sam said and gave him an almost pained glance. "I guess it'll do in a pinch, but if we have to eat that for the next week, I'm going on a hunger strike."

Dean smirked. "Be thankful ... there's food, man," he countered, then gritted his teeth and briefly closed his eyes for a moment before focusing on his brother again. "Man, I'm fed up ... with this."

"Don't blame you," Sam muttered and sent him a glance that Dean could only interpret as guilt-ridden. "I'm sorry, Dean. I know this is my fault."

"Shut up, Sam," Dean warned. "Not ... your fault. It's those ... idiots worshiping that ... bitch."

"Yeah, and they're all dead," Sam said, turned the flame off and moved the pot over to one side.

"What do you mean?" Dean asked, a little disconcerted already.

"Bobby told me the cops found all the cult members dead and the leader had gone nuts or something," Sam said while digging through the cupboards for some plates. "She didn't knock them out, Dean. She killed them. And she drove the leader mad," he finished and put two plates on the rickety-looking kitchen table before facing Dean. He looked miserable.

"Yeah, well, we know already ... that she's a bitch, Sam," Dean countered and shifted a little uncomfortably on the chair.

"Which is why we have to remain one step ahead of her. She may not want to kill me, but I don't think she has any qualms about killing you," Sam said, his tone tense.

Dean registered at this point that he looked beat. Actually, Sam looked like he'd been clobbered over the head with a baseball bat and was barely keeping it together. "She won't ... find us here," he said. "Now, give me something to eat ... before I get cranky," he added, hoping to somehow take Sam's mind of things for at least a little while.

They ate in silence and Dean made a big effort of not asking for help just yet. Every move he made with either arm was pure agony, but he sucked it up and took it just to make sure that Sam didn't add more weight to his already overwhelming guilt trip. The food was crappy, but would suffice for now and despite the blandness and crappiness of the meal, Dean did feel a little better afterward.

"Go sleep, Sam. You look worse ... than I feel," he finally said.

"And what are you gonna do if she turns up? Pelt her with harsh language?" Sam shot back. "No way. You need rest more than I do."

"Stop bitching ... and go to bed, Sam," Dean growled. "I've slept already. I'll be fine."

Sam stared at him for a moment, then made a face. "Okay, but wake me in an hour," he relented, which could mean only one thing. He was more tired than he looked, which in Dean's book meant nothing good.

"Go," Dean insisted.

Reluctant to do so, Sam lingered for a moment, but finally decided to listen to reason. Dean remained in the kitchen for a few more moments before he worked his way off the chair and over to the doorway, every step he took sending bolts of agony through him. By the time he reached the doorway to the room next to the den, he was breathing hard. Sam had dropped down on the bed in there and was out cold, which didn't surprise Dean one bit. "Sweet dreams, little brother," he muttered under his breath, then pushed on to the den where he sank back down on that high-backed armchair.

Truth be told he was wasted, but he knew he would have no issues staying awake for a bit longer. Sam needed some rest or he wouldn't do anybody any good and Dean had slept prior to this, even though it had been drug-induced.

He carefully rolled his head from side to side, cracking his neck in the process, and then focused on relaxing his rock-hard shoulders. Slowly, the tension seeped out of him, leaving him more focused and less in pain. That would afford him another hour or so of vigilance before he too needed to lie down. Something told him, though, that peace wasn't for them right now. It would shatter soon enough. "Man, I need a vacation," he muttered under his breath and leaned his head back against the chair's back.

***