Okay, so they didn’t see many arrow injuries. Who did? Not a lot of hunting going on around Sacramento lately, so, JD could forgive himself a little for being fascinated. It had actually been a bolt, which was shorter than an arrow, with a hunting tip, not a field or practice point. That made things easier. A blunter point would have caused more damage, but the razor edges of the flared hunting tip had sliced easily under the guy’s lowest rib and clean through his liver to nick his small intestine and get almost out the other side, near his left hip. Gruesome, but pretty cool, medically. He hadn’t lost as much blood as one would expect from being skewered, mainly because the guy who’d been with him had known what to do until he could get them to the nearest hospital. He hadn’t had any ID on him, so after the initial triage and surgery and then assignment to ICU, Dr. Cox had dubbed him William Tell and then assigned him to JD.
Barring any infection, William was going to be fine – he was in such good physical condition and had really lucked out, considering what the thing could have hit. The internal cuts were so clean and precise that they could have been made by a scalpel. Interesting case, and he couldn’t wait to hear the guy’s story, but otherwise it was going to be a pretty easy recovery. Turk had made JD promise to page him when the guy woke up.
The only real problem was the guy who’d brought him in. At first, anyway. There were other problems after that.
The first time JD saw him, he’d made it up to ICU on his own, past two sets of security doors and the nurse’s station without a problem, appearing at William’s bedside and going unnoticed until JD came back to check on how well things were going post-op. The billing paperwork hadn’t made it upstairs yet, so JD still had no idea what anybody’s real name was or what had happened. Instead of chasing the guy out, he decided to take the opportunity to talk.
He was sitting close to the bed, one ankle over the opposite knee, chin braced in hand and looking like he was deep in concentration. A dried swatch of what could only be blood matted the short, dark bronze hair at the temple JD could see, but he didn’t look injured beyond the small cut along his jaw. He was hunched as if waiting for a blow, brow furrowed, gaze unwavering. A beaten leather jacket hung over the back of the chair he sat on. The dark t-shirt and the green and white flannel workshirt he wore open over it both had tears and dark smears of dirt and blood, but not to excess; JD noticed both because he was looking for them. His jeans were similarly smeared and the scuffed boots he was wearing looked like he’d been in the middle of something that had nothing to do with traditional hunting.
“Hey,” JD said, swinging the door open.
The guy by the bed startled, turning dark green eyes to him that were already defensive. “I’m not moving,” he said in a mid-range baritone that was gruff with stress.
“I’m Dr. Dorian,” JD said, holding both hands up, one holding a chart. “Not Moving, is that Native American?”
There was a moment of narrow-eyed confusion on the face in front of him, and then a mix of impatience and appreciation accompanied by a brow-quirk. “Cute.”
“That’s what they tell me,” JD said. He gestured at the dark-haired man on the bed and said, “I’ve got everything I need to know about him on the inside, so, if you could tell me what he’s called on the outside, that would be awesome.”
He got the narrowed eyes again for an instant and he felt himself being appraised. “Jason Shreve,” the guy said, and JD knew he was lying right away. He wasn’t sure how he knew, and it didn’t really make any difference, but he knew. “I’m his brother Nick.”
“Nice to meet you,” JD said. “Already had to tell a hundred people how it happened?”
“Yeah,” Nick said, eyes flat. “Bad enough I had to explain it to the cops four times. Any of you people here ever talk to each other, or is that not allowed?”
JD wasn’t put off by the tone. “Every floor tries to get info right from the source, rather than rely on the grapevine effect,” JD said, moving for Jason to check his IV. “So that by the time somebody gets up here it doesn’t become something about dwarf-tossing in a vat of lime jello.”
JD caught a smirk out of the corner of his eye. Good, somebody who got his sense of humor.
“We were rock hunting,” Nick said, and the edge was gone from his voice. “Some asshole was target practicing, or something. We never saw them.”
“You did a really good job at first aid,” JD said, checking Jason’s pulse. He was careful to keep his tone neutral. He was keenly aware that everything he was doing was being intently watched.
“I’m a volunteer fireman,” Nick said.
“Quit the interrogation and tell me when you think he can be out of here,” Nick said, the edge creeping back in.
Oops. So much for subtlety. He turned back to Nick and hooked the chart he was holding on the end of the bed. “Look, Mr. Shreve, he’s gonna be okay, but he’s been through a lot. He’ll be here for a few days.”
“Okay, let me rephrase that,” Nick said. “When can he safely travel?”
JD stared at him. He opened his mouth to say what’s really going on, but the door banged open and startled everybody in the room who was conscious.
“C’mon, squirt, out,” Cox said, gesturing at Nick with a thumb. “Visiting hours don’t exist yet. Get your nosy ass downstairs.”
The green eyes widened at being referred to as ‘squirt’.
JD groaned. He had a feeling that Nick wasn’t going to be one of the people who settled for dirty looks and shocked grumbling as they ducked away under Cox’s bluntness.
“Not happening,” Nick said without budging.
Cox folded his arms and looked down his nose at the man in the chair, then showed his teeth in something meant to be a grin that missed by a mile. “Now, obviously Newbie hasn’t gotten around to making things clear, yet, but your brother’s in serious condition and needs the goddamn rest, and while he’s here you do what I say. Get your pretty ass out until somebody comes down to tell you he’s awake.”
Nick stood, and JD realized that he was equal to Dr. Cox’s height and just as broad. He had his fists clenched and the anger on his face was less intimidating than the flex of shoulder muscles and the way he tilted his head forward, like a bull that was going to charge.
“Take it outside,” JD said, dropping his voice into the tone he usually reserved for crash situations, adding the slightest hint of steel. Neither of them broke the locked glare they were holding on one another, but Cox’s eyebrows shot up. “You wanna grandstand, don’t do it in front of my patient.”
Cox stepped back and swung the door open further, making a sweeping gesture into the hall with the other arm. “Out. Now.”
For whatever reason, Nick glanced straight at JD, and JD felt a thinly veiled threat in it before the gaze dropped to the man on the bed. Then Nick was sliding past Cox and into the corridor with a dark look.
JD finished checking Jason’s vitals and was glad the door had been left open a few inches.
Cox folded his arms across his chest again and glared at the man before him from closer than most people would let him stand – close enough to headbutt him if he was in the mood.
"I’ve had a good look at the x-rays that came back,” Cox said, voice low but carrying easily all the
same. “What do you crazy kids do, run a fight club? Is there a single bone your brother hasn't
broken at some point? And, newsflash, not all the blood on him was human. As a matter of fact, we
can't figure out what the hell it's from, yet, so the only thing we know is that it is blood. What
exactly have you and Toto been up to, Dorothy?"
"None of your business," Nick said. "Just take good care of him so we can get the hell back out of here."
"Not even if you click your heels together reee-he-heally hard and cry for your Auntie Em is he getting out of here anytime soon," Cox said. "Maybe you're both used to bouncing around after getting beaten to a pulp, maybe you do it for fun, but nobody passes go and gets $200 out of ICU without consciousness. You're not gonna keep yours for long if you keep coming up here and getting all drama queen on my residents. Understand, princess? Put your tiara and wand away and flounce back down to the cafeteria to see if there's something that'll trigger your bulemia, since you have that big pageant coming up."
The look on Nick’s face was a warring combination of shock and rage. "Christo," he said.
Cox's eyebrows shot up. "Excuse me?"
"You're this much of an asshole naturally?" Nick said. "This what you 'do for fun', then you bitch at me for wanting to drag my brother out of here? What the hell is wrong with you?"
JD shoved between them, placing his back to Cox. “I’ll come down once an hour and keep you
updated, and I’ll get you as soon as he wakes up. I promise. He’s gonna be fine, okay? Go get some
coffee and hang out. Everything’s okay.”
"Out," Cox growled over JD’s shoulder in genuine anger, "before I call security. I don't need 'em, but it would make my night."
Nick held out for a moment longer, anger flaring his nostrils, eyes locked on JD’s. Then he glanced at Cox and snarled before turning and walking away with a slightly sulky, bowlegged strut.
Cox planted his hands against JD’s shoulderblades and shoved him forward a step. “Way to go, Newbie.”
“Hey,” JD said, turning out of his stumble to draw himself back to his full height. “When people are scared or worried, common sense says you pretty much don’t want to attack them. And that’s my patient, not yours.”
“Listen, you gullible little snot, you believe anything you want to about the dog and pony show going on with those two,” Cox said, gesturing between the closed door of the room they’d just been in and the last spot he’d seen Nick occupy. “Rock hunting, in the woods, except they both reek of gunpowder and the kid in there looks like he’s had the shit beaten out of him recently even though he’s about 6'5". Did you by any chance get a look at the knuckles on twinkle-toes, back there, while you were alone with him behind a closed door? He’s made a lifetime habit of hitting who knows who or what, and nobody walks around looking over their shoulder that hard unless they’ve got a bullseye on their backs. We’re not dealing with a couple of regular guys, but you’re all about making friends, aren’t you, Darlene?”
JD had leaned back a little during the rant, but then his face lit up. “You were worried about me!”
Cox rolled his eyes. “You keep him out of here, or I will. Don’t make me take this one off your hands.” He walked away.
JD sighed with a half-smile on his face. Dr. Cox had totally been worried about him. That was awesome.
* * *
He kept his promise about updating Nick once an hour. Then around one a.m., Jason awoke.
Dazed blue-green eyes blinked at him for a moment, moving slowly around the room to take everything in. “Dean,” he said. “Where’s Dean?”
JD took his pulse and gestured at the jacket still over the chair near the bed. “Is that his?” he said.
Another moment of dazed blinking later, his patient nodded. “Yeah. He okay?”
“Yeah,” JD said, checking his pulse. “He’s been really worried about you. Worried enough that he said his name is Nick and yours is Jason.”
The eyes sharpened a little with forced awareness. “Um...”
“I can go get him,” JD said. “Wanna tell me off the record who really shot you?”
A shake of the head. “Didn’t see ‘em.”
JD patted his shoulder. “You’re gonna be okay. You just need a lot of rest. Want the details now, or later?”
JD told him exactly what he’d been hit by, where it’d gone, and what he’d need to do to keep it from becoming a problem. “Your brother’s in a hurry to get out of here, and I pretty much don’t care why. You have to stay put for a couple of days or you’ll be back in some other hospital, worse off.”
“He doesn’t want me in danger,” Jason said quickly. “Don’t get the impression that he doesn’t care. We just...we have to take care of something important. I’m...look, I can handle this.”
“You used to jumping out of hospital beds?” JD said.
Jason looked at him for a long moment as if measuring something. “Sort of. We’re like bounty hunters.”
JD felt himself lighting up again even though he didn’t mean to. “Really? Are you after somebody? Oh crap, do they know you’re here?”
Jason smiled a little. “Yeah and yeah, and I don’t know. We’re just better off if we keep moving.”
“So that’s why your brother’s so good at first aid,” JD said.
“Off the record, okay?” Jason said. “He’s probably been driving you crazy, but he’ll get better if you bring him up.”
On the elevator down, JD tried to imagine himself as a bounty hunter. He needed a really cool outfit to pull it off, but nothing flashy so he could still blend in with the civilians. And he needed backup. Turk would be awesome backup. They could have their own reality show. The J-Dizzle Chocolate and Vanizzle Bounty Hour. Only if it was on MTV, though. It could run right after Cribs.
He checked the cafeteria and two separate waiting rooms before he found who he was looking for pacing hard on the first floor. “Dean,” he called.
Yeah, ‘Nick’ looked right up at that, then froze. His shoulders slumped in disappointment for a moment, then he said, “Is he awake?”
When JD nodded, Dean fell into step with him. JD got the distinct impression that Dean would have run all the way, if not for the attention it might bring him.
The look on Dean’s face when he leaned over his brother was enough to put JD at ease. No matter what else was going on, they were happy and relieved to see each other and they quit paying attention to anything going on around them. Dean sat down with the chair right up against the bed and leaned in close, and they spoke in low, urgent voices. JD stayed outside and couldn’t catch any of it, but he watched out of the corner of one eye while he updated ‘Jason’s’ chart. He doubted anything they’d said was true, but there was a little grain of truth in there somewhere. If they weren’t really brothers, they at least loved each other enough to be frantic when hurt and separated, and that was good enough. Whatever they’d been up to, Jason’s injuries hadn’t come from Dean.
The hand that landed on the back of his neck felt like it had claws attached to it and dug in really hard before he was thrown off his feet. He landed several feet away with the breath knocked out of him, and wheezed a little as he pushed himself up to look. There was a tall dark-haired woman dressed in jeans and a black jacket near the door to Jason’s cubicle with a finger pressed against her lips, hushing him. He struggled to his feet and didn’t catch on to the fact that she was the one who’d thrown him until someone else grabbed him by the neck from behind with a chill grip he couldn’t shake. “Hey!”
As he reached for his pager with one hand, it was snatched away by cold fingers and whipped down the hall with a clatter. He couldn’t turn, he couldn’t kick; he was lifted off the floor by his neck and began to choke.
Someone had heard him. As the pale girl by Jason’s door kicked it open, JD heard the code alarm sound. Dean had known enough to do that. He closed his eyes against his own struggle for air and heard feet running toward him, heard glass breaking, heard a female voice shriek with rage. His own feet hit the floor again and he was slammed against a wall by the hand at his throat. He opened his eyes as his head was twisted to one side and his neck bent at an uncomfortable angle. He was able to get a little air, though, and see what the hell was going on.
Dean was guarding the door to his brother’s room with the chair he’d been sitting in, holding it out in front of himself as if hoping to tame a lion. There was nothing on his face but determination. The glass from the door and viewing window was scattered in jagged pieces along the corridor’s off-white flooring. The woman who’d thrown JD was feet away, hands out and fingers curled into claws, hissing, hair in her face and a double row of sharp teeth visible to –
Yeah, two rows of scary housecat teeth and crazy yellow eyes. He was actually seeing that.
Whoever was holding him by the neck was laughing; it sounded like a guy and other than that, it didn’t sound good. There were other people standing around in some kind of standoff; he could hear them breathing and see their shoes. Doug. Doug’s shoes. Doug often came running for codes just in case they failed and he could get an early start on preparing the body for the morgue.
“Oh my God,” Doug said in a breathless waver. “Ohmigod, JD, ohmigod!”
“We can take the whole floor out, if you like,” the woman said to Dean. It was a little garbled by all the teeth, but it came through just fine.
“I can hold you fuckers off until dawn, if you like,” Dean said. “C’mon, you crazy bitch. Get new material.”
Another set of feet pounded down the corridor, then paused several yards away. “What the fuck is this?”
Oh, shit. Dr. Cox.
The code alarm shut off and ‘Jason’ was visible behind Dean, looking pale but just as determined.
“Get security up here,” Cox said, and JD assumed the order was for Doug, because he sure as hell wasn’t going anywhere. “You. Let go of him.”
Something way too sharp to be just fingernails bit right into JD’s throat, and he yelped. His head was twisted further and something just as sharp punctured the skin over his ribs. He felt blood begin to trickle from both places and tried not to squirm in panic. “I’m gonna break his neck first,” a low male voice said close to his ear. There was a wet sound, like ribs parting, and he heard several gasps. Someone began chanting the 23rd Psalm and he recognized the voice as one of the night nurses, Maureen. He felt several sharp points press against the skin of his throat and closed his eyes with a grimace, hoping those weren’t teeth, really hoping those weren’t pointy vampire teeth, but then there was a tongue licking him and yeah, those were teeth. Eep. Gross. He was never going to finish that Dr. Acula screenplay, not now, not after this.
He tried to stay very still.
He heard tennisshoed feet making a run for it back down the hallway and whoever it was, he didn’t blame them.
“What the hell do you want?”
Dr. Cox never sounded scared, but this once he came close.
JD could see the woman from there, tilted in his bent-neck vision, and she was curling a finger at Dean and grinning with far too many teeth. “It’ll only hurt for a moment. C’mon, baby. You, or the whole place.”
Dean pitched the chair at her and she ducked it with an easy grace before leaping at him, claws digging into his shoulders. “Sammy, run! Go, get out of here!”
JD tried to bring a knee up as hard as he could, hoping vampires at least kept their giblets and that it was still a bad place to be kneed even after someone was undead. All he really did was hurt his knee, though; the guy was pretty solid. He heard a crack in the background and hoped it was another chair or a doorframe and not somebody’s head. He saw stars when his head was slammed into the wall and the fingers at his ribs dug in a lot harder. He yelped again, but before he could get bitten or anything else, the vampire (he could go ahead and admit it in his own head, it really was a vampire) holding him stiffened and stepped away without letting go of him.
JD glanced down to see the shattered handle of a broom stuck through one side of the guy just under his ribs, and right on through the other side. The end was sharp and glistening with blood too dark to belong to anything living.
At the other end of it was Dr. Cox, and JD realized the sound he’d heard had been Cox breaking the handle to get a sharp edge on it.
“Let. Go. Of him. Now!”
Then JD was being whipped around and tossed, and he slid across the counter of the nurse’s station before tumbling behind it in a tangle of limbs and charts and someone’s floral arrangement.
He got up and peered over the counter to find that Dr. Cox had been shoved off his feet and that his vampire was yanking the broom handle out of himself. So much for the wooden stake myth; it hadn’t been in the heart, though.
Dean was on the floor just inside Sam’s room, sitting astride the female vampire’s chest, pinning her wrists to the floor above her head and leaning away from her snapping jaws. Sam stood behind him, leaning against the doorway, his IV pole held at the ready to smack her with. He looked far too pale and like he might collapse at any moment.
“How do we kill these goddamn things?” Cox said, getting back to his feet and backing away.
“You cut their fuckin’ heads off,” Dean said. “Is it too much to hope that you guys have scalpels the size of machetes around here somewhere?”
“They’re on backorder,” JD said, rubbing at his throat, fingers coming away bloody.
The male vampire turned back to JD with intent then and advanced too quickly to be avoided, jaws gaping with teeth and eyes full of yolk-colored murder. JD saw the look of panic and denial on Dr. Cox’s face just before Doug came running from the opposite direction he’d left in, holding a plastic water bottle full of something dark and reddish. He skidded to a stop near Dean with a look of abject terror on his face, but his hands were steady as he leaned over and poured half the bottle into the female vampire’s mouth. She shrieked and spluttered and gagged, then convulsed and fell silent, eyes rolling in her head.
The male vampire twisted away from the counter to look.
Dean leaned back. “How did you –?”
“Everybody knows dead man’s blood makes vampires sick,” Doug said.
Sam slumped to the floor. Dean reached for him; the male vampire rushed Doug; Doug screamed at the top of his lungs and ran for it. JD tried to vault the counter to get to Sam and Dean, but fell over it instead and knocked the breath out of himself. Dr. Cox moved to put himself between Dean and Sam and the vampire, the rest of the nurses scattered, and the male vampire gave up on Doug and swung back toward Dr. Cox. JD made it back to his feet and lobbed a paperweight at it, missing by a foot or so but getting its attention long enough to nail it in the head with one of the slotted metal chart holders from the counter. It came after him again with a roar of rage. Behind it, Dean had scooted Sam along the floor further into the room and closed the door, putting a barrier between his brother and the rest of the craziness happening outside. He had the female vampire by one ankle and had dragged her along the floor, leaving a smear of dead man’s blood. JD closed his eyes and tried to duck out of the way just before huge, angry hands closed around his head.
“Asshole, you kill him and your girlfriend is toast!” Dean shouted. “Your only chance is to get the fuck out of here. You hear me? I’ll trade you. Let him go, and you can drag her out of here. We can do this some other time.”
There was a long moment of silence punctuated with panicked breathing and then a distant siren. Whether it was an incoming ambulance or the cops, JD couldn’t tell.
“I’m gonna saw her head off right here,” Dean said.
JD figured Dean had probably managed to grab something off a crash cart.
One of the hands moved to JD’s throat and dragged him along. He choked, trying to keep his feet but making sure he wasn’t helping any. He managed to lock his hands around the wrist holding his throat, and it was icy cold and rigid. He opened his eyes again and looked at the disaster the area had become: blood and glass on the floor and Dean holding a scalpel against the insensible female vampire’s throat. Dr. Cox, with the splintered broom handle, looking furious and scared.
“I can kill you any day,” the vampire hissed.
“You’re doin’ a real fuckin’ good job right now, aren’t you,” Dean said. “Chickenshit. Go check and see how much of your nest is left.”
JD was convinced his neck was broken for a second, when he was jerked away down the corridor by it; everything went by in a blur of movement. Damn, but vampires could move fast. He heard Dr. Cox shout no and Dean shouting something about locking down because if they made it out of there it was all over.
JD didn’t recover enough from the amazement to fight back until it had him in the stairwell. He braced his feet against one wall of the narrow space, and goddamn if it didn’t tumble them both down the first flight of metal stairs, most of which seemed to nail JD right in the ribs. He slammed into the facing wall at the bottom and had second thoughts about being a bounty hunter, because obviously there was a lot of wall slamming involved and it got old very quickly. Also, there were vampires.
Somebody came down the stairs after them and JD tried to roll out of the way of whatever might be coming. He heard the vampire scream, and uncovered his head to find Doug with a squirt bottle, likely from the Janitor’s closet, squirting the vampire in the face with what had to be more dead man’s blood.
“Dean said you gotta cut the head off,” JD said, scooting partway down the next set of stairs.
Doug held up a bone saw in his other hand. “Okay.”
The vampire gurgled and flailed insensibly as Doug fired up the saw.
JD pounded back up the stairs just as Dr. Cox slammed the door open, narrowly missing him with .
“Jesus Christ, JD,” Cox said, grabbing him by the front of his scrubs and hauling him back into the corridor. Then he wrapped an arm around JD’s head, yanking him into a half-hug against his shoulder. JD went willingly even though he was as stunned by that as he was by anything else that had gone on in the previous twenty minutes. He twined one arm around Cox’s waist only to be propelled back down the corridor by the back of his scrubs.
“It didn’t actually bite you, did it?” Cox said.
“No,” JD said. “Thanks for trying to save me, though.”
He felt Cox take a swipe at the back of his head.
“Doug’s cutting its head off,” JD said, unable to keep the awe out of his voice.
“Good,” Cox said. “Listen, the next time I decide to yell at him – “
“I’ll remind you it might be a really bad idea,” JD said.
By the time they got back to the ICU, Dean had finished cutting the female vampire’s head off and had bowled it along the floor until it was stopped by the bottom of the counter at the nurses’ station. He had Sam sitting up but leaning against him, and he looked grateful to see the doctors return. JD went straight for him.
“He didn’t tear his stitches or anything,” Dean said. “Help me get him back into bed so we can clean this up. Unless you wanna try explaining this to the cops.”
JD glanced up at Cox. “Our morgue guy is in the stairwell, chopping the head off the other one,” Cox said, looking down at the bloody, headless form on the floor.
They helped Sam back into bed, and JD checked his vitals and was fairly sure there was no internal bleeding. Doug came running through in the meantime with a body bag, jammed the female vampire into it, tucked her head in on top, and ran off dragging her along the floor. He was mumbling something about having already bagged the other one. Dean vanished. JD changed his bloodied scrub top for a clean one and stood patiently still while Cox took a look at the gouges in his neck and along his ribs, declared them superficial, then cleaned and bandaged them. Cox went and found a mop and cleaned up the blood on the floor, then leaned against the counter when security finally showed up, followed by the cops.
The story they told was that a couple wearing costume fangs had come in looking for drugs, had roughed everybody up a little, then taken off. It had probably been a gang initiation of some sort. No patients had been harmed, nothing had been stolen.
By the time the whole thing was over, dawn was breaking. There wasn’t enough coffee in the world to keep JD from wanting to sleep, anywhere, even standing up. He found Dean back in Sam’s room (they’d changed him to a room with a door and window that was intact), shoeless feet propped on his brother’s bed, dozing as if nothing had happened. Sam had a hand resting on one of Dean’s ankles and looked like he had a little more color. JD was going to have to ask them what kind of bounty hunting they were really doing.
Doug never said exactly what he’d done with the bodies. JD didn’t want to know.
The day shift came on and was curious about the rumors they were hearing about dwarf vampires in lime jello. JD ignored them. He pulled up an extra chair in Sam’s room on the opposite side of the bed from Dean, and dozed.
Cox stopped by as he was going off shift. Dean cracked an eye open to look at him.
“Visiting hours starting yet, chief?”
Cox smirked. “Any more of those things gonna be wandering my hospital again tonight?”
Dean shrugged. “Depends. Those were just fledglings, not the actual vamps. The real badasses don’t wander into well-lit hospitals and take us on. Tthey corner us in a motel somewhere or on a backroad and dismember us far and wide.”
Cox stared at him for a long moment. Then he whistled, and JD startled. “Newbie. Go home or get to work. These aren’t your new best friends.” He glanced at Dean again with a hint of threat, then stalked off. It could have been a touch of possessiveness or a warning to keep an eye on the younger doctor; Cox probably didn’t know which it was any more than Dean did.
Dean waited a moment, then looked at JD. “He always that much of an asshole? Seriously.”
JD pursed his lips fractionally, eyes sliding up and to the right as if postulating what to say.
“He’s not here,” Dean said.
“He’s got hearing like a bat,” JD said. “And...okay, he can be kind of grouchy, but he means well.”
“Sounds like somebody else I know,” Sam said without opening his eyes.
“Shaddup, Francis,” Dean said.
JD perked up visibly. “You call him girl’s names?”
“Francis is a unisex name,” Sam said with a small note of defensiveness in his voice.
“So you guys hunt a lot of vampires?” JD said, settling back in his chair again.
“No,” Dean said. “Mostly poltergeists and demons and vengeful spirits.”
JD stared at him, waiting for him to smirk or for Sam to say gotcha. Neither happened. “Like the Ghostbusters.”
“Better,” Dean said. “No containment unit. Bill Murray’s awesome, though.”
“Dan Aykroyd,” Sam said drowsily. “Dan Aykroyd is funnier.”
“Harold Ramis is funnier than both of them put together,” JD said.
“Shut up, Newbie,” Dean said. “Why’s he call you Newbie?”
“Because I’ve only been here for years,” JD said with a yawn.
“What’s your real name?” Sam said.
JD stretched as much as he could in the chair. “Tell you mine if you tell me yours.”
“Dean,” Dean said.
“Sam,” Sam said.
“John,” JD said.
“Our dad’s name was John,” Dean said.
JD eyed him for a moment, picking up on the past tense. “I’m sorry. My dad is gone, too.” He perked up a little again. “Do you guys need help while you’re in town? I could –“
“Thanks for the offer,” Dean said. “You did okay earlier, but you’ve seen too much. We need you as strictly medical backup from here on out.”
“We might call you in the middle of the night from somewhere in New Mexico and beg you to come out,” Sam said.
“We’re not kidding,” Dean said.
JD kept grinning anyway, even as he closed his eyes again and dozed off.
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