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Twenty Five

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He’s alone.  Again.

It’s not like he expected something different, and it’s not anything new - but somehow, for some reason, there’s still that tiny sting.  

He just finished a salt and burn in town, his easiest case of the year so far.  The guy had been cremated but his mom had kept hold of his old sweater.  The one he died in.  There was blood crusted into the  fabric.

It stank.  

Of course she got all weird about him wanting to take the sweater away.  Went on and on about how, after the fire, it was all that was left of her Tony.  Precious little twenty-five year old Tony who was just visiting home when a fire started.  He had helped his mother escape but went back in afterwards.  Fuck knows why.  His mom said he heard something.

Idiot.

Fire died down and Tony was found crushed under the staircase which had collapsed.  Couldn’t take the heat.

So he had to commit a small felony.  Broke into an lonely old widowers home and steal her last remaining momento of her deceased son - deceased now 15 years.

And then he burned it.  Put the spirit to rest.  And so, no more mystery arsons.

No more Tony.

Score one for Dean.

He tightened his grip on the steering wheel, waiting a little longer before turning the car on, just letting the cold seep into him, hoping it could freeze out the smell of old dried blood and burnt linens.

Fucking Tony.

When he can’t feel his fingers, he turns the car on and finds the closest bar.  He heads to the bathroom first.  Scrubs his hands over and his face too, then hands again, but the dirt under his nails is there to stay.  When he looks back up to the mirror, he sees the guy at the urinal watching him.

Like.  Watching him.

He’s got shaggy dark hair and chestnut eyes and a dick in his hands.  And now Dean’s looking right at him.  He swallows and the guy grins at him, like he knows.  So Dean frowns and turns away, heads back out and gets himself a drink.  

On his second whiskey he tries for a girl, she’s at the bar, her friend just gone to the toilet or whatever, and she’s hot.

“Hey,” he grins.  

“Hey,” she eyes him, gives him a tiny small, like she’s waiting for him to work for more.

“Dean.”

“Grace.”

“So,” he licks his lips, “you out celebrating, or looking for something to celebrate?”

She chuckles, “Celebrating.”

“Oh yeah, me too.”  He takes sip, “what are you celebrating?”

“My friend, Emanuella, she just got this internship - super competitive, actually paid, possible job afterwards, and it’s basically working for this guy who’s like, God in her field.  it’s a big deal.”

“Yeah, sounds like it.”

“Yeah, oh my god, she’s been going crazy for like months now.  I haven’t been able to spend like 10 minutes with her since she started her damn campaign, I swear.  It’s been awful.”

“Huh.”

“I mean she even-”

“Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeyyyy gurl,” said friend returned, slumping her arms over Grace’s shoulder, hugging her chest to back, “I’m back - ya miss me?”

Grace grinned over her shoulder, “Mannie!  Oh you have definitely had enough to drink.”

Mannie scoffed, “We gotta get that stick outta ya ass.”  Grace giggled, turning away from Dean.  “Come on, let’s do that stick and balls thing,” she said and dragged her away.

It was a Saturday night.  

And there was definitely a crowd.  Lots of people to talk to.  Lots of people talking to each other.  

Dean finished off his whiskey and left.

It was dark and cold and he tugged at the jacket, wrapping the worn leather around himself before marching over to his car.  It was cold inside, but it was a thousand times better than the car.

“Hey baby, miss me?”  He grinned as his seat squeaked.  “Now now,” he pushed the key into the ignition, “don’t you give me the cold shoulder too.”  He twisted the key and the car roared to life.  “That’s more like it,” he grinned again, and patted the dash.  “Now let’s find me some fuel huh.”

It was late, but he managed to find a drive thru window and ordered himself a champion’s dinner, complete with some cheap-ass wanna be apple turnover.  Next, he found a motel, apologize to baby for leaving her alone, and got himself a room.

He still had half a bottle of wine, leftover from something, and some whiskey too.  So he sat on his cheap rented bed, eating the worst burgers ever with cold fries and a spiked coke.  He watched TV for a bit, and then suddenly it went on the fritz, going all static-crazy and making this awful high pitched noise ‘til he got up and pulled it’s plug.  After that he sat on his bed, drinking wine and not waiting by the phone.  It was about 3am when his eyes finally got droopy. He had a nice buzz going, so he turned the lights off and kicked his feet free from his shoes and settled under the covers.

“Happy birthday…”