Author: Guede Mazaka
He met her in a crowded bar. Their eyes didn’t meet over the tops of other people’s heads, nothing romantic like that. She was dancing with some other guy at the time, and he was squeezing away from the bar with his drink, walking backwards because there wasn’t enough room to turn around. She bumped her shoulder into his spine and he spilled beer over his hand, stuff flashing cold before the heat of the place sizzled it away.
“Oh,” she said.
He turned around, and his chest went ‘oh,’ ribs clenching in a hard and tight circle around his heart. The rest of him iced down into a frozen stare.
“I’m sorry,” she’d smiled, hair gleaming white in the strobes, but outside, in daylight, it’d be gold as a wedding ring. And she was perfect, curls pulled out of her face and dot of shine on her lower lip and her right eyebrow slightly longer than her left.
Sam was floating on the ceiling, staring wildly down as his body shrugged and her apologetic expression lost its urgency, went slowly rueful and then charmingly quizzical. She hadn’t ever stopped moving to the low-centered hip-hop beat and her shoulders were dappled in reds, blues, greens as they swiveled towards and away from him. He dropped back down to earth, stunned.
“Hi,” she said. “Since you’re here, do you wanna dance?”
She even sounded the same. And one dark college bar was like any other, a big room made small with smoke and sweat and the jammed-in hopes of tens of young students. Sex and politics and grades, all shining brighter from their eyes than the strobes flickering through the haze. Closed eyes, Sam thought, and it could be almost six years ago.
Her nails slid smoothly over the back of his neck, curving slightly to catch at the small stiff hairs there. She swayed into him on the next beat, her flat belly rubbing teasingly up against his groin. He uncertainly dropped his hand and it skated over the top of her hipbone to settle in the slight hollow of her hip, stroking the thin silk of her dress. “What’s your name?”
“What do I look like?” she coyly responded.
He wasn’t looking at her now, but over her shoulder, across the room where Dean was still cornering the bouncer, gesturing wildly as he got into the argument. At first the bouncer had been scared but apparently willing, but now he’d gone stonefaced and his arms were uncrossing to hang loose and ready by his side. Any moment now there was going to be an ejection. Sam should get over there.
Someone plucked the glass from his hand and he glanced back at her just as she draped her other arm around his neck. She was teetering on her heels, body stretched and arched so he had to steady her. “You don’t need that.” Her tongue flicked behind her teeth. “You didn’t guess.”
A commotion had started up by the door, sounding a little like an alarm in Sam’s head, but he shrugged it off and stared down at her. The inside of his mouth felt numb, like it’d been coated with a thick layer of cotton. “Jessica?”
She smiled at him, and pivoted so his hand slipped from her hip down to the v-shaped hollow between her thighs. The silk strained beneath the pressure and yielded up a slight dampness.
“I don’t want to dance,” Sam finally said.
“Okay. Let’s go.” Her nails scratched him deeply over his neck, but he barely felt it.
* * *
They never even made it to the sidewalk. An alley ran between the bar and the next closest building, some office complex that was completely shut down at this hour, and that was where they were, leaning against one glassed wall because Sam had had an odd fit, thinking the brick would be too rough. She’d laughed at him, but pulled him towards her anyway. Pulled his wrists down and used his hands to push up her dress, baring white thighs. She covered herself with his right hand before the light from the street-lamps had done more than glint off the hair between her legs, darker but still gold.
He buried his face in her neck, cradled her hip with his left hand and let his right hand wander, guided by her fingers flattening over his back or digging in, by the hitches in her laughing breath. She backed up farther, undulating so her leg teased along the length of his erection, and kissed the side of his mouth when he gasped.
“Don’t worry about anything,” she murmured. “Just—just go ahead.”
She hooked her arm around his neck and pulled herself up. The backs of her thighs were sweaty and skidded along the glass with a low whine, but she covered up the sound with a lower, throatier groan. Her other hand squirmed between them to flick open his fly with quick, practiced motions. She lifted as he stooped, hissing with the effort. He splayed his fingers beneath her, pushing through the damp folds of flesh so his cock could slip into her with minimum effort and maximum sensation.
The glass rattled as he fucked her, starting as a low buzz and working itself up to a full ear-shattering racket. He kept expecting to see the pane crack inwards, fall apart and send her flying back to lie in blood on the floor.
The glass did other odd things as well, distorting the light and bringing out the reflections till Sam wasn’t sure which side of the glass he was on. If he was maybe having a vision in the middle of this, in the middle of being so deep into a girl he could feel her gasps in his throat, or if he was having another nightmare. The world seemed to split into double vision where he was there and he was six years behind, and the girl should be the same, should’ve never left—she was the same—
He came and it felt like he was bleeding instead, ripping right down the middle as he staggered, watching it all crash back into one him, one her, one place and time.
The glass was all fogged up from their heat, but slowly cleared as he watched. He looked pale, sick, sorry. She laughed into the side of his neck and he felt her hand rise against his side, saw a flash as the streetlamp light reflected off something held below the level of their hips. His eyes closed.
* * *
She gurgled, head dropping back to stare wide-eyed and shocked at him while her knife clattered to the ground. Sam stepped away and let her fall. Her blood was black, and as she died her skin peeled up and flaked away to reveal something wizened, shapeless and faceless. All that gold hair fell off her scalp and curled up, going brittle and lusterless.
By the time Dean showed up, Sam had tidied his appearance a little. Her blood dried up as fast as the rest of her, easily brushed off. She didn’t look anything like Jessica now.
“Jesus,” Dean said.
Sam kicked her knife down the alley and shoved his own back into the sheath at the small of his back. He nearly cut a slice of his own flesh doing that and muffled a curse. “It’s supposed to rain later. That’ll probably wash away most of her.”
Dean looked more sharply at him. “How’d you know which one it was? It’s been showing up as the most harmless person all the men knew—”
“Yeah.” It still smelled like sex: stale, sickly-sweet, mockingly free of lighter elements like hope. “She tried too hard.”
When he stepped back, Dean knocked into something that rattled against the pavement, making Sam shiver. “How—how far did you go? Sam? What the hell did you—”
“What I had to,” Sam said, spinning around. He thought he did a commendable imitation of Dean’s self-righteous tone. “That skinwalker’s killed at least eight men that we know of. Now it’s dead. So can we go now? I reek and I want a shower.”
That last part was too jittery. He could see that in Dean’s eyes, the way they opened up painfully, then shuttered hard, oblique like Dean wasn’t really supposed to be able to do. Dean glanced sideways, pressing his lips together, looking at the wads of hair by Sam’s feet. It was still recognizable, with a little imagination and some background knowledge.
“Okay,” Dean finally replied, tight and taut. He meant, ‘We’ll do this later.’
The sound of other people neared, stumbling feet and drunken laughter, and Sam and Dean looked at each other. Then they were walking away, weaving and ducking to get through to the busy end of the alley where they could blend in without being remarked upon. Getting alibis. Cutting all knowledge of her and them out of society.
* * *
“You ever dream about her?” Surprisingly enough, Dean had managed to put off his curiosity till they were fifty miles away, stuck together in the car on some highway stretch so lonely it had cracks with grass growing up from them.
“Yeah.” So much that sometimes Sam resented her now, nearly hated her for staying and haunting his sleep, making him turn around suddenly in the street at some blonde head that was close but not quite. Sometimes he wished he could kill the nightmare—people had used to think those were real monsters, hadn’t they? It’d be so easy if it were that simple.
Dean drummed awkwardly on the wheel, trying to seem casual. “Dude. It’s been—”
“I know how long it’s been,” Sam snapped. He put up his arm on the windowsill and stared out at the passing countryside. He hadn’t slept well last night, after his shower that hadn’t done anything past the most superficial layers. “I’m fine, Dean. It’s just…once in a while. I don’t think you can help once in a while.”
They drove on for about five miles. “I don’t want to have to help with once in a while. Just as long as you know—” Dean started, then stopped just as sharply.
Sam thought about the first time she’d smiled at him. She’d had…he closed his eyes and thought hard, pushing down the edge that rose and was cutting away at his certainty…she’d had three dimples on the side of her mouth. “I do know.”
Same skin, different people. It wasn’t that hard to keep in mind, he thought.
“Okay. Just…you just have to keep going, you know.” Dean sounded uncomfortable, and the more uncomfortable he got, the louder he talked. “Move on. Let it go, Sam.”
Three dimples. The skinwalker had had two. And for a moment, he’d wished…but three, not two. Three. Different skin too, come to think of it, and that one, if it was still around after that torrential rain, was split and fragmented and hollow. Trash. “Yeah, Dean,” Sam automatically replied. “It’s left.”
If he told himself enough times, maybe it would come true.