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What if.... Mika died and Dean had the chance to move on?

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Sam Winchester, the younger of the brothers was pulling up outside the bunker that he and Dean had only relatively recently been living in with a passenger in his car. A dark auburn almost brunette headed woman. "So this is where you live now Sam?" she asked him, glancing at him with a raised eyebrow and a smile on her face. "Yeah, Dean is no doubt still in but you probably won't actually see him. He's been moping in his room for weeks now" Sam replied with a sigh, turning the engine off and taking the keys, shoving them in his pocket. If he lost the impala's keys he knew Dean would kill him, whether his brother was grieving or not.

Opening each door, they stepped out, grabbing their bags off the back seat as they did so and after Sam locked the car up, he lead the way inside the bunker with the woman following on behind, finding it highly intriguing as well as admirable that her friend and sometimes partner in hunting actually had somewhere permament to stay. Once inside it didn't fail impress her, as it showed it was so much bigger than it could possibly look on the outside which made her almost smirk to herself and attempt to refrainf rom sniggering, but it was no good as Sam knew her well enough to know exactly what she was thinking. "Lexi, if you say anything about it being like the tardis from Doctor Who I will disown you as a friend" he smirked, Lexi chuckling.

"Sammy you gotta stop knowing me so well" Lexi replied as they descended the slightly spiralled metal staircase, onto the main floor where a large long table with old vintage lamps ontop of them reminding her of old public library lamps. "Ah that will never happen" he retorted back, gently nudging her shoulder with his own. Dropping their bags on the table, he gestured for her to follow him to the kitchen which she did so gladly. Sam figured they both deserved a beer after the drive but before they got stuck with their noses in books to try and get more information about the hunt Lexi had found herself on and required the help of the younger Winchester boy.

"So Dean still struggling with the death of his girlfriend then yeah?" she asked a bit tackfully but quietly just incase Dean showed up out of nowhere. She didn't know Dean personally, but Sam had told her about him before and why he sometimes was hunting with other hunters and not with him. She actually knew what it felt like and although she didn't know the man, she did feel sorry for him. She too once lost someone she loved dearly in a hunt, or more to the point, was taken from her as they were discovered and used against her. Her fiance wasn't a hunter and she did everything she could to keep him safe and away from the hunting life. She kept her life away from her life with her partner, determined to keep living a double life her entire life if it meant he remained safe and alive. Yet it was a fruitless endevour because the shapeshifter she was hunting was also hunting her and found her fiance, killed him and instead of taking on his appearance, it stood above his dead body waiting for her to return where she found it and him in her home. Her fiance's throat apart, gashes all over his body and his eyes open wide in fear but whited out as death took ahold of him. It was a sight she would never forget but was the most satisfying kill of a monster she had ever done.

It was the day after that she had met Sam and with his help, she buried her fiance and gave him a hunter's burial to keep his body and soul free from being ressurected or used against her again, as well as giving him peace so he could move on up to Heaven. "Yeah, I've tried everything but the only time he left his room properly was to kill the demon that killed her, ever since he only leaves if he needs the bathroom or to grab alcohol pretty much. Otherwise I don't see him ever" Sam sighed, handing her a beer bottle after opening it for her which she took gratefully and took a swig. "poor bloke, but I get it" she replied, walking with Sam back to the main room where she sat down at the table casually and Sam went and got the books they needed.

Bringing them over to the table once they were found, he dropped them down with a small thud as most if not all were hardback, letting Lexi grab the top book and bring it toward herself before continuing to open the book and flip through the old pages. Sam put his beer down and glanced toward the bedrooms pondering on whether to check on his brother or not, "sit your ass down Sam, if he shows, he shows" Lexi said to him and it seemed to work as Sam did as he was told, sitting down opposite her and grabbing the next book on the pile, flipping it open and began flicking through the pages.
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Dean sat on the edge of his bed, as he did every afternoon when he finally decided to get up for the day. Not that he did much. He sat around, scrolled through his phone, read newspapers, and sometimes watched tv just to have noise. But for the most part, he stayed in his room. Most of the time, he felt as if he couldn’t even breathe, until he reminded himself that he wasn’t underwater. It was just a wave of grief that he had never processed like this before.

At that moment, he wrapped his arms around his stomach as another painful wave of grief swept over him, and images of Mika’s smiling face flooded his mind. He groaned, wiping a hand down his tired face as images of her death, and her cold body flashed the second he closed his eyes.

“C’mon, Dean. C’mon…”, he whispered desperately to himself, his voice shaky as tears pricked the corners of his eyes, and he fought to control his breathing. Even months later, the pain swept over him every single morning/afternoon, until he was drunk enough to forget what emotions were.

Standing from the bed, he rolled his shoulders and shook himself, strolling over to his desk to grab a bottle of whiskey. He shoved empty bottles out of the way, searching for one that had even just a glass in it. But, every bottle was empty.

“Really? When did we drink all the booze?”, he asked himself, slamming his fist down on the desk. He glanced to the door, and then back down at the table, closing his eyes as he sighed and prepared himself to possibly face his brother. He had avoided contact with Sam, to try and avoid the usual questions about his wellbeing. He didn’t want to be okay. He wanted to mourn, and mourning meant drinking, and being alone.

He groaned again, and stepped toward the door, opening it and slowly stepping out into the hallway. Dean looked down at his clothes and sighed, knowing that Sam would likely have something to say. He was dressed in a plain white t-shirt and a pair of pajama bottoms that he had worn for at least five days straight.

Running his fingers through his hair, he wiped his hands over his sleepy and bloodshot eyes, and strolled slowly down the hall. He tiptoed into the war room, somehow hoping that Sam wouldn’t notice him as he passed, but Sam’s voice wasn’t the only one in the room. There was a female voice that caused Dean to both raise his eyebrows and scowl almost in unison. He tripped on the bottom step and caught himself loudly on one of the old chairs as he came to stand right at the top of the stairs leading to the war room.

“Um…”, he muttered, straightening up with a small wave, “Just coming down for something to drink.”
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Sam heard Dean's bedroom door open faintly from the war room but he decided to focus on the book he was reading instead, out of desperation to not get up and walk to his brother and talk to him in the hallway. He was worried sick about his brother, he knew Dean never took loss of a loved one or family well, neither of them did, but Dean took it so much harder than even he did. The only difference this time was he understood the grief after he had lost Jessica all those years ago. He had of course lost other women he was incredibly fond of but Jessica was the one he wanted to marry at the time. He loved Jessica just like how Dean loved Mika, and now that woman, that love was gone from Dean.

He rested his head against the palm of his hand, his elbow propped up on the table as he read the book, every now and then looking up toward the hallway and to Lexi then back at the book again. He felt his foot start to bounce against the floor as he wondered what state his brother was going to be in when he finally showed his face, anxiety dwelling up inside him, all because he was just worried about his brother's state.

When Dean did show his face, very much dressed in the same outfit he had donned a week ago Sam sighed, only to see Dean trip slightly over his foot when he saw the back of Lexi's head sitting there. At Dean's comment, he paused his reading and nodding, "Something that's not alcohol preferably" he commented. Lexi at this point also paused her reading and lifted her head up from the book and turned her head over her shoulder, her braided auburn hair flipping over her adjacent shoulder and her blue eyes looking at Dean. She took in his current appearance and even if she didn't know he was in a state of mourning, she would be able to guess that was exactly what was happening with him.

He showed all the sure signs of grief and mourning and she really did feel sorry for the guy. If a woman's death was hitting this guy this hard then she had to have been beyond special to him. "Dean, this is Lexi, Lexi..Dean" Sam then introduced the two of them. Lexi gave a simple raise of her hand as a wave to Dean, giving a small smile. "Hi" she simply said politely enough with her wave. She was contemplating in her head whether to give her condolences for his loss or not but she didn't know the guy, so for all she knew that could tip him over the edge, so instead she avoided mentioning his loss all together.

"You ever gonna change your clothes? Sh-" Sam went to continue saying, but the moment he went to say 'she' he instantly stopped himself. He knew how volatile his brother could get at the wrong set of words being said, but he knew Mika wouldn't want him looking scruffy and not taking care of himself. She wouldn't want this for Dean but how could he could possibly tell Dean that without getting a punch in the face as a response?
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Dean sighed, mocking his brother lightly as he walked down the steps slowly. He stopped, just shy of the table and tapped his hand lightly against it, “I have you know that there is water in alcohol, and I happen to remember someone leaving the bunker yesterday, for a run. So, mind your business.”

His eyes landed on Lexi, finally, raising his chin to look down at her. He took in her features, and scanned over her hair, the painful knot in his stomach rearing its head again as he had a stray thought of how pretty she looked. He closed his eyes and shook his head, before opening his eyes with a small forced smile, “Hi Lexi.”

Stepping back from the table, Dean brought a hand to rest over his stomach as the overwhelming panic knot planted itself firmly, and he was reminded of the alcohol he so desperately needed. He started his trek to the kitchen, again, and rolled his eyes at Sam’s comment about his clothes, knowing exactly where his brother was about to go with his sentence, before he broke it off.

“I’m not going anywhere, Sam. Why would I change? I hate doing laundry.”, he called over his shoulder sarcastically. He stepped into the kitchen, and instantly made his way over to the island, where the various bottles of alcohol were neatly stored along the shelves underneath. Spotting yet another bottle of whiskey, he picked it up and cradled it to his chest, before grabbing a coffee mug.

Hanging the coffee mug off one finger, he stepped back toward the war room, strolling across quickly and back up the small flight of stairs to the office area, “What are you guys working on, anyway? I’ve never known you to bring home women. Not that I’m complaining. Have fun while you can, and all that. But is she a hunter?”
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Sam sighed and rolled his eyes at Dean's remark about him going out for a run yesterday morning to try and justify his drinking habits as it had water in it. He kept a watchful eye on Dean as he let himself clap eyes on Lexi, taking in her features and then came the recognisable discreet action that he knew all too well from his brother....the painful knot of sadness that reared its ugly head in the pit of his stomach. He could see the smile was forced but at least he was being polite at least, which was all Sam could ask for in this very moment.

Lexi looked between the brothers as Dean just had to retort sarcastically back to Sam's cocnerning comment. She could tell that Sam was worried, anyone could and hells, she had heard it from him a couple of times but she didn't know how she could be of any help to either of them. She couldn't help but glance at how Dean was gripping the bottle of whiskey when he came back into the war room and spoke to Sam like she wasn't even there. The fact that he was willing to drink the whiskey in his room in a coffee mug like it would hide what he was drinking just made her remember her own grieve when she lost her fiance and it was equally painful to see someone else do the same damn thing.

Sam rubbed his fingertips across his forehead at Dean's words, just assuming that Lexi was there to be screwed and not much else. "I'm helping her find some more information on a hunt, so yes, she's a hunter and no it's not like that with us" he started replying when Lexi stood up from her chair. "Bathroom?" she asked Sam, deciding to use it as an excuse so the two of them could talk alone without her there. "down the hall, third room on the left" Sam explained, gesturing with his hands as he spoke. Nodding her understanding, she walked out of the war room and down the hallway, finding the bathroom and opening the door stepping inside.

With Lexi gone, and very much knowing why she exited the room, Sam sighed again and looked at Dean. "We're just friends. She's very much single and with no plans on hooking up with me, nor me with her. She's not got involved with anyone since I helped her give her fiance a hunter's funeral after a damn shapeshifter killed him in front of her just over a year ago. As for your other question? Like I said, she needed some help on a hunt to get more information and I said she'll probably find it in one of our many books. She thought it was a ghoul but nothing she did for killing one worked, so we're here to see if anything else matches up." he explained.

He had hoped that information would make Dean back off a bit and drop the insinuating that he was going to get into bed with the woman. It wasn't that she wasn't his type, she was incredibly gorgeous, especially for a hunter but he just didn't see Lexi in that way once since knowing her. He had too much respect for her. His motives were also to show Dean that he wasn't the only who lost someone dear and there were people out there who could understand what he's going through.

Lexi, in the bathroom just hung around, not actually needing it at all, so instead she perched on the edge of the bath and flicked through her phone to make sure she had no more messages of cries for help, alerts of other hunts nearby or anything else. It was then she found an old message from her fiance still on her phone and she had to gulp down that pang of emotion that threatened to bubble up every now and then. Now wasn't the time to fall into the trap that Dean was in, she was stronger now and it was thanks to Sam's friendship. Now she was meeting his brother and despite his ragged demeanor he was highly attractive, just her type.

Shaking her thoughts from her head, she put her phone away and wondered if it would be safe yet to slowly make her way back to the war room.
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Dean raised his chin in a slow nod as Sam explained away why Lexi was there. He pursed his lips, believing his brother, deep down. Sam didn’t connect with people on the same level as Dean, especially the opposite sex. He tended to take them under his wing, sometimes, and if they were pretty enough and Sam was distracted enough, he would bring them home for some fun. But judging by how stressed Sam seemed, and offended at his question, Lexi wasn’t one of those women.

He leaned against one of the long tables of the office area, and crossed one leg over the other, watching his brother closely. As Lexi stood from her chair and randomly asked for the bathroom, Dean couldn't help but feel a slight pang of guilt, on top of his already aching stomach. He watched her closely, as she strolled away from the table and down the winding hallway of the bunker, to find the bathroom.

“I don’t think she likes me.”, Dean muttered softly, glancing down at the coffee mug in his hand. But Sam began speaking again and that pang of guilt in Dean’s stomach deepened at hearing that her situation was very similar to his own. She was just better at dealing with it, after the time she had spent alone. He took a deep breath and stepped away from the table.

“She seems pretty well adjusted for someone who lost their fiance. Or maybe I’m just not…”, he couldn’t finish his words as that knot in his stomach tightened once again, almost pushing all of the breath from his lungs as he stood. He cleared his throat to stifle the tears that almost welled up in his eyes, and pushed completely away from the table.

“Apologize to her for me? And call me for dinner.”, he said simply, strolling back toward the hall as he blinked away a couple of tears. He really felt like a mess. He usually handled grief so well, considering that losing people wasn’t exactly something he hadn’t become accustomed to. But Mika was someone he had made his life work to take care of. He saw her as almost immortal, unbreakable. She was supposed to outlive him, and go on to have a happy and normal life after he died.

Honestly, she wanted the same thing for him, as much as he could manage. Yet, here he was, day drinking and eating when he remembered to, or when Sam actually cooked something for himself. He hadn’t showered in days, and sleep came when it came. Some nights, he was able to go to sleep without nightmares, because he was so black out drunk that his body had no energy to muster dreams. Other nights, he saw her face. He went over her death, and watching her body burn in her funeral. And he would wake with a start, and go through the cycle again: wake up, drink, munch on something, and drink until he passed out.

Dean walked slowly down the hallway, his feet shuffling as he stayed close to the wall. Sometimes that knot in his stomach turned into what Castiel had so bluntly stated as: Panic attacks. They brought him to his knees, and he was half afraid that he would have one right there in the hallway, and Sam would have to come and pick him up, again. Taking a deep breath, he clutched the whiskey bottle tighter, and kept walking.
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Sam sighed when Dean assumed that Lexi didn't like him as she exited the room. "it's not that she doesn't like you Dean, she just doesn't know you yet. She actually really feels sorry for you and your loss. She'll warm up to you soon enough, trust me. When she first met me she sucker punched me in the face for appearing on the same hunt as her." he said smirking fondly at the memory, knowing that was one of the days when he came back with a slightly black eye and small cut on his cheekbone from the punch and never explained why. "as for her seeming to deal with it better? It's bullshit. She still has nights where it's bad, really bad. When I first helped her say goodbye to her fiance I had to stay in my car and keep watch over her place because I knew she'd go out and be reckless. I didn't even really know her back then either." he told Dean.

"it's been about two months passed a year and believe me, on that anniversary I found her at the place we gave him a hunter's funeral even though he wasn't a hunter, or even knew about the hunter life. She was in a worse mess than you are now. But for the most part she just keeps pretending she's okay even when she's not." he added. He could see Dean was desperate to escape but Sam wasn't ready to let him go just yet. At Dean's request to apologise on his behalf, he nodded. "sure, but Dean please don't get blind drunk again. Mika wouldn't want you like this." he attempted to get through to him once more even though he knew it was probably utterly pointless.

Despite his pleas, he let his brother head back to his room, Mika's death now replaying in his own mind. He always tried not to mention her name around Dean but he couldn't keep pretending that that would work. Mika dying for good took him by surprise just as much, she was like an older sister he never had, her death hurt him greatly, yet he never let himself grieve other than at her hunter's funeral. He had to be the one to support his brother, whether Dean wanted it or not.

"Meeko on your left!" Sam called out mid fight as they got overrun by demons in a warehouse. With the three of them together it was looking like it was going to go in their favour but then came the one situation they never in a million years thought would happen. As Mika turned round to face her opponent on the left, a loud gasp escaped her lips as she seemed to freeze after slightly doubling over. Her eyes wide as the demon who was up close to her smirked menacingly and smugly. "MIKA!" Sam shouted as the demon yanked hard at the ancient iron blade to remove it, Mika dropping to the ground like a dead weight, gasping for air. This death felt different, it felt raw, every fibre in her body and soul felt like it was fritzing out of existence.

Her guardian who protected her was dying and she could feel it. She tried to hold on, not wanting to die without seeing her boys faces. The demon twirled the blade that the three hunters were after, to remove it from enemies hands in his grip. "well whaddya know?! Seems word in Hell was right about your little bitch! It does take iron to fully kill her! Better say your goodbyes quick boys, she won't last much longer" he smirked before exiting the room, letting the blade drop to the ground as a momento of what finally killed the phoenix within Mika and Mika herself. Blood seeped through her vest, soaking it rapidly from her heart and outwards. "D-D-Dean...."she sobbed and gasped, trying to get a breath to no avail....


Shaking the memory from his mind, he took a swig of his beer when he saw Lexi finally re-emerge into the war room, after Lexi made her way back and saw Dean entering his room once more, looking worse for wear. "find it alright?" he asked her, "yeah, just took my time to give you some time with Dean. How he holding up?" she replied and asked back. "as well as Dean can I guess. Told me to pass on his apologies and he'll be out for dinner when it's done" he replied. "eh, he don't need to apologise, we all deal with grief in our own way" she said back, not taking Dean's attitude toward her badly in the slightest.

"can I ask how this woman died?" Lexi asked, "demon killed her with a blade to the heart" he simply replied, deciding not to mention everything else for the sake of protecting Mika, even though she was no more. "how about I cook you both dinner tonight? You deserve a break for helping me out" Lexi offered, which Sam got taken by surprise over and went to shake his head at but the more he thought about it, the more appealing it sounded. "if you're fine with it" he said in acceptance. "I am, it's the least I can do" Lexi smiled.
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Dean opened the door to his room and shut it quickly, leaning his head against the cold wood. He fought his face as it twisted into a pitiful scared expression and his breath caught somewhere in between his lungs and his throat in a loud sob. He hadn’t been able to say Mika’s name out loud for weeks. Every time her name slipped off his own lips, an invisible force would punch him in the stomach, and his head would race through memories that he tried to repress with alcohol.

Hearing Sam’s voice utter her name was almost worse, as if the universe wouldn’t let him escape the nightmares. It was almost as if he was meant to suffer. He hyperventilated for a few moments, his face pressed against the door as he cried, trying to get enough of it out of his system to at least move to his bed, and then he wrenched himself from the door and stepped over to sit on his bed.

Sitting the bottle of whiskey on the bedside table, he unscrewed the top, and brought the bottle to his lips with no glass, taking a long drink as if he was dying of thirst. He dried his mouth, using the back of his wrist to dry both eyes and took a deep breath.

“You’re okay. C’mon. Get it together.”, he grumbled to himself.




After a few hours, Dean could vaguely smell food cooking in the kitchen. Typically, Sam brought him sandwiches and the odd beer to sit outside his bedroom door, but he didn’t usually cook anything. Dean furrowed his brow as he stood from his bed, contemplating whether or not Sam was trying to form some sort of weird grief intervention, and had planned to butter him up through his stomach.

He carefully stepped back toward the door with a shuddered sigh, and opened it, stepping out into the hallway. The smell only got stronger as he entered the open space of the hall, and he furrowed his brow even deeper. Walking out into the office, Dean walked down the steps through the War Room, and didn’t look around. He just went straight to the kitchen.

When he stepped into the large kitchen, he raised his eyebrows, seeing Lexi standing there, “You’re um…you’re still here. And you’re…cooking dinner?”

Dean stepped further into the kitchen, and got a better glance at Lexi. He had just enough alcohol in his system to make him feel a little less guilty for taking in her features, and he realized that the reason he had felt guilty, earlier in the evening, was because she really was attractive. She carried herself like someone he would at least give time to, and hang out with…and she was wearing his apron.
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During the few hours that Dean had been in his room grieving all the more due to Sam saying Mika's name, Lexi had spent researching until she couldn't read old small text any longer. It was getting exhausting and so she decided that she would keep to her promise and actually start cooking food for her and mostly the boys. Truth was, she enjoyed doing these kinds of mundane tasks, it made her feel like she wasn't solely a heartless hunter and she was useful in other ways as well. It made her feel like she could do something for someone else again, just like when she had someone special in her life.

At one point it did require asking Sam to go out and get to the shop to ggrt her some supplies that she didn't have due to the kitchen being a typical male dominated room, meaning there was barely any proper food in sight. In those hours she had learned that Dean's favourite food was pie and decided that as an ice breaker and a way of telling him she didn't take offence to his earlier cold greeting, she would make one and so make one she did. Making said pie was the main reason she had to commodere the apron so she didn't get flour all over herself as she was like a lot of hunters, wearing black.

As time went on, the pie was in the oven baking and she was just finishing up the main meal of fresh homemade pasta in a carbanara bacon sauce. She was so wrapped up in what she was doing that she didn't even notice at first Dean walking in the room, until he spoke up somewhat surprised that she was still there and cooking for them all. She smiled softly at him, a smile that was prominent in her eyes as she drained the pasta.

"oh, yeah, I kinda insisted I cooked for you and Sam to give Sam a break. Figured it's the least I could do after he's always helping me out" she explained to Dean, honestly glad to see him out of his room and she didn't even truly know him yet. But she felt like she knew him a little bit from the stories Sam had told her and because of their mutual life status of losing a loved one.

"hope it's okay I did this and it's something you'd like. I know it's not burgers and stuff but figured you both could do with a proper meal. Sam mentioned you've only really eaten sandwiches if you eat at all" she replied to him as she put the sauce into the pasta and mixed it all together in the three bowls she had pulled down from the cupboards, putting them on the table. "I should also apologise if I came across as rude earlier. I don't wanna get in the way" she apologised honestly, looking up at him and truly seeing his green eyes for the first time.

Like him, she still felt pang of guilt for finding someone else attractive and he most certainly was. But he was also in the stages of mourning and for her to flirt was way out of the question in her eyes. Before she met her fiancé she was notorious for flirting and it was that flirting that brought him into her life. Ever since his death she hadn't ever truly looked at another man, and then came Dean. Someone who looked like he needed not only alone time, but someone to remind him it's okay to be the way he is, that he wasn't alone.

Snapping out of her thoughts, she quickly turned to the oven and pulled out the pie that was perfectly cooked, just needing time to sit and cool a bit which was in her eyes the perfect timing as it would take time to eat the main course. "if I've made too much don't worry about it, just..please stay and eat?" she requested.
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Dean raised his eyebrows as Lexi stated that she had decided to cook for the three of them, to give Sam a break. He hadn’t noticed how much Sam had shouldered, while hew as off in his own drunk world, trying to ignore his problems, and cry them into a bottle of whiskey. He made a mental note to make it up to Sam, himself.

He stepped over toward the fridge and pulled a bottle of water as she continued fixing the food, and spoke about his eating habits over the past few months. Dean quietly wondered what else Sam had told her, and how much she actually knew about him, when he knew so little about her, “I think it looks great so far. Pasta sticks to the ribs, and I smell bacon.”

It was then that Dean realized he was taking a drink of plain water. Not beer or whiskey. It was just water. It was a tiny little glimmer of his old habits peeking through, but his body craved the water so much he had to keep himself from downing the bottle in one gulp. He pulled the bottle down as Lexi apologized for their interaction earlier in the day, and he shook his head, his eyes widening, “if anyone was a dick, it was me. I mean, I’m a little drunker now than I should be right before dinner, but I wasn’t exactly nice. I don’t know how long you’ll wanna stay around here, though…”

He paused, and took another drink of water as he trailed his words off. It was a subtle and polite way of running her off, before he had a chance to get used to her being around. His mind wanted to be mean to her, and shoo her away, and then warn Sam with a fist against bringing girls back to the bunker that he could have a conversation with. He didn’t want to have anyone. He just wanted to be left alone to starve and wreck his liver.

As Lexi turned to the oven and pulled the pie out, sitting it on the counter, Dean’s eyebrows rose once again, “Wait. You made me a pie? You’re asking me to eat dinner with you, and you made me a pie? A girl already after my heart.”

He chuckled, the knot of guilt in his stomach knotting a bit tighter, and his smile fell from his face after a few moments. He nodded his head at her, and shrugged, “But yeah. I’ll stay. This was really cool of you.”
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Lexi found herself smiling slightly as he said it looked great so far and didn't seem to complain about her choice for a proper meal. She nodded at his assumption of bacon being involved, "yeah, there's bacon in the sauce" she confirmed, noticing he was drinking water and not more whiskey like he took with him to his room earlier on. At his next comment about staying here long, she found herself losing that smile that she had shown. "I might be here a couple of days, my car is in the garage in the town up the road and I'm currently waiting for it to get fixed up" she told him.

The pie got the reaction she was hoping for. She knew it was all too possible that he would be indifferent to her baking a pie, but she had hoped that even though he was in a stages of grief, he could still find something to smile over, even if it was brief and that knot of guilt got tighter inside him. As he frowned again, she knew exactly what was stopping him from smiling and chuckling as she had gone through it all herself. She was however glad that he agreed to actually stay and eat and not just take everything to his room and eat alone.

"eh, its the least I could do. It's nothing really, to be honest I actually enjoyed being able to do something that's not hunter related again. Reminds me of...well, when things didn't get entirely shit for me" she replied, catching herself to stop saying something that would require mentioning her departed fiancé's name and re-wording what she was going to say.

Mentally shaking her thoughts from her mind, she was about to call for Sam as he still hadn't shown up when he did eventually show his face. "smells good Lexi" he smiled, before seeing Dean had left his room once more. Walking over to the table, Sam sat down opposite his brother and wasted no time in grabbing his fork. "hopefully it tastes as good as it smells" Lexi chuckled softly and slightly sheepishly, not used to being given so many compliments for a while.

She eventually sat down with the two men on the end between the two of them. "well tuck in" she told them, picking up her fork. "Lexi tell you she may be here for a couple of days?" Sam asked Dean, in his own way trying to see if it would be a problem or not having another woman in the bunker, and not knowing she had I fact already explained that she would be and why. He tucked into his bowl and took the first bite gladly, savouring the taste, nodding his approval, waving his fork above the bowl. Swallowing his mouthful, he turned to Lexi, "this is amazing, I never knew you could cook!" he said to her, taking another big bite.

"you never asked before" she smirked back at him.
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Dean tilted his head to the side as Lexi spoke briefly about her own trouble, but didn’t elaborate. In his mind, the thoughts of what all could have happened to her rolled over, tumbling around with what little he already knew about her. Dean stared at her face for a few moments as they stood there, just reading her expression and taking in her facial features until Sam stepped into the room and shook him from his thoughts.

He sat at the table carefully, picking up his fork and taking into the pasta, a relieved groan leaving his throat as he chewed with his eyes closed. He nodded his head, and held up a thumb at Lexi. He didn’t know if it was because he had lived off cold cuts and cheap bread for the past few months, or if it was the lack of whiskey in his system making him hungry for anything, but the pasta was amazing. He wanted all of it for himself. He took another bite as Sam spoke up, and as he chewed sloppily, he raised his eyebrows at Sam, “She might have said it was a possibility. We got plenty of space and if she’s bored enough to cook a meal, maybe we could use the extra set of hands to do other things. You know?”

Dean took another large bite, turning his eyes to Lexi as he chewed. He gave her a warm smile, the nicest he had been in those months and swallowed, “Well, if you cook like this, I’ve missed you my whole life, and we should hire you.”

He had to admit that he already felt a bit better. He didn’t like the idea of having a woman running around the bunker, considering how simple the arrangement between he and Sam could be. They stayed to themselves and they came together when they wanted to have a dinner or sometimes catch up on some lore that Sam stumbled across when he was bored. They kinda just did whatever they wanted, and having someone new in the bunker could potentially ruin that dynamic. What if she wanted him to work out? What if she washed the cars in the garage with the wrong soap? What if she vacuumed before 4 pm? There were plenty of reasons to not want her there.

But as he stared at her for a moment, before turning his face back toward his food, his heartstrings tugged for the first time in a while. He couldn’t reasonably make her go get a motel, when she seemed genuinely concerned for Dean, and for Sam’s babysitting abilities. Maybe this was the day Dean would try…to just be nice to another person that wasn’t Sam.

“Also, if you don’t want to shower with the guys, there’s another set of showers further down the corridor. I just happened to pick my room across from the big shower. It’s the best one. Water pressure for the gods.”, Dean teased a bit, shocking himself as the humor rolled off his tongue, as something other than self deprecation or complaining.
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If she had known Dean longer she would have probably elaborated but it had only been a short while since the one year anniversary of her fiancé's death and it was a sore spot still to talk about him. She figured though that over time she would open up a but more, just like she had with Sam as he helped her through her moment of grief. She was minutely aware of him looking at her, but she didn't want to think much about it at this stage, even if it was an effort to not just stare back at him and take in his features as well.

Dean's very satisfied groan from his first mouthful made both Lexi and Sam glance at each other and mirror each other's smiles, whilst Sam's also had that sense of relief his brother was eating a proper meal and not relying on the whiskey bottle to accompany it, whilst Lexi was glad that she had the habit of making far more than she needed to as it meant they had plenty for seconds and enough to be refrigerated for another day's meal. Sam then looked back at Dean as he replied to his question, nodding whilst also partially rolling his eyes at his brother's reply.

Lexi looked back at Dean and smiled back warmly, the smile evident in her eyes as she smiled and a light melodic chuckle escaped her lips at his remark about her cooking skills. "I'm not a maid Dean, but I'll gladly cook as a thank you for letting me crash here for a couple of days." she replied to him. She had no plans to get in the way of the brothers and she certainly didn't want to be some kind of horrible reminder of when Dean's girlfriend was around. She purely just wanted somewhere safe to crash until her car got fixed and mind her own business, whilst only helping out when it was required/wanted of her.

She listened as he explained where the other showers were and why he picked the room he did which made her smirk. His chuckle and smile just seem to completely transform his face, like he wasn't someone in the grips of mourning, but someone who had so much life within him. It lit his face up and made him look so endearing and addictive to look at. His smile was infectious as she was aware her smirk was turning into a warm smile yet again.

"good to know thanks, I promise I won't get in the way whilst here. Its just refreshing to not be in some grubby motel for a change or the car" she replied honestly as she continued to eat herself. Sam looked discreetly between the two of them, many thoughts going through his head such as how it was seeming Lexi bring around was bringing Dean out of himself again a little bit and how Dean was seeming to make Lexi smile in a way he hadn't seen in a little while. Was he accidentally causing some trauma bonding match making to happen in front of his eyes?

"you won't be in the way here Lexi, the place is big enough and I wouldn't have suggested staying here if it would be a problem" Sam replied to her reassuringly making her nod in response. "I have to admit, you guys do have a pretty amazing place here, feels really central for getting to whatever hunt you need to. It's an impressive place" Lexi said back, always appreciating old vintage architecture and this bunker definitely hit all her curious need to explore spots in her mind.
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Dean saw the smile on Lexi’s face, and he couldn’t help looking down at his plate with a smile of his own, seeing that somehow, behind the mourning beard and tired eyes, he had made someone else smile for a change. He shook his head quickly when she mentioned not getting in the way, “Sam’s right. There’s a lot of room here. This place used to hold a whole fraternity of guys. I’m pretty sure we have room for one tiny woman.”

He sighed and took another massive bite of food, groaning as his stomach warmed just at having decent food landing in it. If Lexi was going to be staying around for a couple of days, she was definitely cooking, if she wanted to. Though he would probably miss her cooking, when she did leave. He glanced over at his brother, noticing the way he was watching them, and furrowed his brow.

“This place is smack dab in the center of the country, so yeah, I guess you’re right.”, he responded to Lexi with a shrug, “I don’t get out much anymore, but if you need to get anywhere, it at least splits the drive time under 24 hours to most areas on the coast.”

Finishing his pasta, Dean sat for a moment, leaned back in his chair. He stroked his chin for a moment, before glancing between the two of them, “Sam, don’t have a heart attack, but…I think I’m gonna go take a shower, and shave. I have a full on beard going on, here. Then! I’m gonna have some pie.”

Dean stood from his chair quickly, and walked around the table to head for the door way of the kitchen, patting Lexi on the shoulder as he walked by, “Thanks for dinner. The pasta was perfect.”

He left the kitchen, and walked through the war room quickly to stroll down to the showers. After several moments, he stepped out of the shower room and into his bedroom. And after another several minutes of recovering from his shower thoughts and tears, Dean left his bedroom fully dressed. For a change, he wasn’t dressed in the same pair of pajama pants and a t-shirt. He was wearing jeans, a t-shirt, and a flannel, though he was still barefoot. His hair had been brushed and the mourning beard was gone. His face barely held a five o’clock shadow. He walked carefully into the war room, and then into the kitchen where he walked straight over to the pie on the counter, staring at it as if trying to decide how big of a piece to cut.

He had to admit he didn’t feel much better. The feeling in the pit of his stomach was still there, but something about having Lexi in their home made him at least want to stay sober, and somewhat clean, a big change from his normal routine.
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Lexi accepted both the brother's comments about there being lots of room in the bunker and that she wouldn't be in the way. Dean's particular comment about being able to hold 'a tiny woman' made her scoff and smirk, it not being the first time someone had made some kind of remark on her height, but with that lack of height came agility which always proved useful on hunts.

As they all ate it was rapidly clear from Dean's constant groans as the food went down that he really was appreciating the cooked meal, as well as clearly they hadn't eaten proper home cooked meal for a long while. She knew they ate takeout a lot just from what Sam had previously said on various phone calls or them bumping into each other and take out bags were evidently in his grip. It made her begin to think that when she leaves, maybe she should make a batch of food that would do them for a while if put in the freezer, just to keep them going for a short while at least.

She listened to him as he confirmed that the bunker was in a good location and the idea of living here with most locations being less than 24 hours away did seem like a dream. She continued to eat what as left of her bowl of food as she too noticed out the corner of her eye that Sam was looking between her and Dean a few times, but she didn't think much of it, deciding to just ignore it instead.

When Dean spoke to Sam, he rose an eyebrow in shock that his brother was actually deciding to take a shower and clean up for a change. His shock turned into a slight snigger as he mentioned the pie. "about time!" he joked, but he was actually relieved that after days of nagging for him to look after himself, he was actually choosing to do so. 'maybe I should have brought Lexi here days ago' he thought to himself, unable to not think that having her here quite possibly was a factor for Dean's change of behaviour.

Lexi looked up at Dean surprised that he would pat her on the shoulder, "its no problem, glad you liked it" she replied as he went by, then looked at Sam and gave him the look that perfectly said 'I wasn't expecting that'. With Dean gone and out of earshot, Lexi and Sam spoke to each other about all kinds of random things as well as Sam joking about having brought Lexi to the bunker before now if it meant Dean would actually take a shower more often.

When Dean came in and went straight to the pie Sam smirked, glad to see a glimmer of the old Dean back in the room, not just because he was looking at the pie like it was gift from the gods, but also physically looked like his old self in his clean clothes and shaven face. "you can have however much you want" Lexi commented to Dean, knowing she was now too full to eat another thing. "that don't mean the whole thing though" Sam teased, which got him a jab in the arm by Lexi. "ow" Sam laughed, rubbing his arm, "don't be mean to your brother" she jokingly scolded him.
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Dean raised his eyes from the pie, and looked at Lexi when she told him to have as much pie as he wanted. After months of barely eating any food at all, the idea of living off pie didn’t sound like such a bad thing. Even as full as his stomach already was, he had saved plenty of room. He rolled his eyes at Sam, while cutting himself a large piece of pie, smirking at Lexi defending him.

“Listen to the lady. I’m a growing boy. I need my food.”, Dean scoffed, carefully putting the piece of pie on a plate as if it was a delicate flower. He picked a spare fork from the counter and made his way back over to the table, “I took a shower, and I smell good. I deserve a reward. That’s the most effort I’ve made in months.”

He dug into the pie almost instantly, turning to look at Lexi with a mouth full, “This is perfect. You’re an angel. And to answer the question in the room…no. I still feel like crap, but it’s only polite to not smell up the place when we have guests.”

Dean shrugged his shoulders and tucked back into his pie, taking another massive bite. He turned his eyes to Sam and nodded his head. He wanted his brother to know that letting Lexi stay was a good idea. Hell, having Jodi over would have been enough to make Dean at least open his door and take a shower, not that Jodi would have let him keep drinking himself to death anyway. She would have removed his door, if that’s what it took to keep him from sulking.

“So, what’s this hunt you guys are working on? I haven’t exactly been in the loop lately, and I don’t even know that I want to get back in the loop, everything considered…but it seems important, for you to ask for help.”, he asked Sam carefully, taking another bite.
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Sam smirked as he rolled his own eyes at Dean's growing boy comment. It wasn't the first time he heard that and he knew in that moment it wouldn't be the last time either. But honestly, he was glad in this moment he did hear it because it mesnt somewhere deep in the grief and mourning, Dean was still able to show his true self and he wasn't completely lost to the world.

His and Lexi's eyes both followed Dean back to the table casually and let him say what he wanted to, Sam knowing it was true what he was saying. He had a lot to thank bringing Lexi over for as this was an added bonus he never counted for, but glad it happened. The idea that because of Lexi being around meant Dean would get out of his self destructive pattern, just for a moment was of great relief to him, and he hoped this was the start of him moving forward.

Lexi looked at Dean back and smiled when he said the pie was perfect, giving him a nod of thanks in return as he continued to say that he's far from okay still. It was to be expected, no food or guest in the world would just act like a magic wand and whisk everything away, she knew that more than anyone, but if it helped just a little bit to make facing people easier, then it was a win in her eyes.

At the nod toward Sam, he knew what his brother was trying to convey and gave him a nod back. That perfect unspoken ability they both had always coming in handy at times like this. He snapped out of his thoughts when Dean asked about the hunt they were working on and it brought Sam back to remembering that this was another reason why he offered to bring Lexi back here as he knew they had plenty of books to get information. "oh right, yeah, the hunt." he started to reply, "its a confusing one. Some of the victims we've come across or clues lead to vampire, but others lead to an animal based creature but both lead to every single victim" he explained.

"but all have been drained of their blood." Lexi continued, "so we thought vampires initially, but the real kicker is one of the victims managed to call the cops before they died, the call stated one of the previous, very much dead victims was in their house. But there's no evidence of it being zombies. So yeah, it's confusing. Hoping the books here will give us an answer" she finished saying.

"don't worry about it. I get it, I got Lexi to help anyway. We were practically on the same hunt before we teamed up anyway" Sam told his brother.
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Dean tilted his head to the side as Sam explained the situation with the supposed vampire victims, furrowing his brow. Although he wasn’t ready to get back into hunting full time, he was intrigued by the case, to say the least, “Well did the victims have their throats ripped out or were they just torn to shreds beforehand? I mean, if they’re getting up and walking off, that sounds like something straight out of a Bram Stoker book.”

He waved off his brother’s last words, turning his gaze to Lexi, “If you guys are going out tonight, you can come by the armory and grab some stuff. It’s probably better for you to prepare for everything, and hope it’s nothing, you know?”

It was almost as if he was politely asking Lexi to please take the entire armory with her, so that she would come back in one piece. He knew Sam’s hunting style, and that Sam would be fine, even if he came back a little beat up and tired.

“There’s also plenty of stuff in the trunk, that I’m not using. Feel free to take any of it.”, he muttered, taking a last bite of his pie, before he stood up from the table and walked his plate over to the sink, rubbing his stomach. He stared over at a bottle of whiskey for a moment, thinking about taking it. He shook the thought out of his head, and turned back to the table, “Now I just gotta decide if I want to go back to my room and take a nap to sleep off some of this food, or if there’s anything I can do around the bunker. Being off grid and drunk for a while has created a bit of a time loop. I figure you’re both pretty sick of my mopey ass being around…”
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Sam and Lexi listened to Dean remark on Sam's initial comments, both capable of he's ring his intrigue to the situation at hand, even though he wasn't ready to get back out on the field so to speak. "that's the thing, not every victim is coming back and roaming around, only a couple have been spotted doing it." Sam replied before he saw Dean's attention turn to Lexi and offering up their armoury to her.

"thanks, I'm well equipped but I'll gladly take a look at what you got in there to see if anything might come in handy" Lexi replied back to him with her signature smile. She too knew Sam's hunting style as she had hunted with him once before at least whilst Dean had been in his mourning stage more so than he was currently was, but she wasn't going to say anything TO Dean. The fact that he was even offering up his kit in the trunk so she wouldn't be caught off guard made her think he was determined to not know of another hunt die on a hunt. Something she could very much appreciate and understand.

At his next lot of words, Sam and Lexi couldn't help but give a mirroring glance at each other before looking back at Dean. "I've had and been worse company than your 'mopey ass'" Lexi jested, making sir quotes around the last two words with her fingers. The light coloured mark of where her engagement ring used to reside suddenly noticable in the kitchen light on her left ring finger. Something she barely took notice of nowadays for her own sanity, even though she had her ring on a leather throng in her jacket inside pocket always.

Like Dean, she couldn't fully let go just yet, even though she had moved forward a great deal, there was that one link to her past glimmer of normal life she couldn't let go of. She also used it as a sign of its okay to be happy when she was ready to be so. "I'm sure there's something you can do round the bunker that's not watching anime on your TV or laptop in your room" Sam added with a smirk.

"guess we should check the books once more before we head out, so why don't you do that Sam and I head to the armoury?" Lexi suggested, "if Dean wouldn't mind showing me the way that is" she added.
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Dean furrowed his brow, attempting to hide the way his heart sped up when Lexi smiled at him. He turned his eyes to the floor and smirked with a small nod, “You’re welcome.”

His nod turned into a head shake, as she threw his joke back on him with a small compliment to his being decent company. He glanced back up, seeing her fingers moving around, and his eyes briefly caught the tan line from her wedding ring. His stomach clinched painfully, remembering for that brief moment that she was mourning too.

The reminder of his mourning washed over him and for a moment, he felt as if he was punched in the stomach, but he took a deep breath and shook his head to shake himself out of his painful daydream. He raised his eyebrows at his brother’s kidding about his choice of entertainment while feeling sorry for himself and lonely.

Dean mocked him, snarling his nose childishly, but when Lexi suggested that Sam retrieve more books while…HE showed her the armory, Dean swallowed heavily, bringing his hand to the back of his head nervously. He shot a glance to Sam, as if pleading with him for help, and then turned his eyes back to Lexi.

“Um. Y-yeah! It’s not that hard to find, but I’m a pretty good guide.”, he muttered back to her, his lips curling up into a smile that ended up a bit more mischievous than he intended.
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