What happened was, he'd thought about killing the marid, but she said herself he couldn't. So he didn't. Not that he'd expect anyone to understand that, least of all Dean Winchester, but that's really how it went.
He'd known the second Dean showed up that this was probably going to go south. Which is weird, because that thought hadn't occurred to him when he was killing her. You know, that girl. It really hadn't. And when he realizes that, he realizes he's probably going to have to kill Dean, too. That's how this goes now, right?
He'd always meant to get out of this monster business.
What Dean doesn't know is, Lee's gone way further than Texas to catch bodies for his marid. He's seen things Dean wouldn't believe. It's funny what people will chalk up to chupacabras, or gangs. Desert-variety heatstroke or all that trafficking shit. Dreams are built on blood, sweat, and tears, but most of them don't have to be yours.
It's hard to imagine Dean's spent the last fifteen years circling the drain on missing persons and catching the odd ghost or ghost sickness or whatever the hell he was talking about, but here he is. He makes everything sound funny, classic even, the way every guy Lee's ever known tells hunting stories, or stories about having been drunk off their ass. Because that's how you have to tell them. Otherwise it's some dark shit, and no one wants to hear that.
Lee can hear himself doing it, too, pulling some tale of John Winchester out of the deepest recesses of his mind. The way he tells it is mostly the way he remembers it, hitching a ride in that black fucking car and kind of wondering if they were gonna steal his shit then cut his balls off and throw them into the cholla or something. Dean laughs. They'd had good times, the three of them, and it's exactly the kind of shit you pull out amongst drinks with old friends, the kind of stuff that makes you proud you'd lived long enough to turn it into a story.
But there's part of him that might remember it a little different. Lee remembers pushing thirty, scraping through his life as a dirtbag wanderer, as he calls it now, and honestly wondering if this kid was going to make it. He'd been what, the young side of twenty-something? He'd had kind of an alcohol problem. He'd been working on it, because John had so ordered. Sort of ironic, coming from him; but it wasn't Lee's business, was it.
Lorna brings them yet another "another round," and unsurprisingly, Dean still has an alcohol problem.
"Fuck me," he says.
Lee raises an eyebrow. "Listen," he says. "House rules are, y'all puke outside. I'm not here to buy a new mop every week, and Lorna's got better things to do, right?"
Dean laughs, the way they all do. Mumbles something about drinking less, drowned out by the music and the talk like if Lee don't hear it, and Dean don't, then it's not buried and festering but it also doesn't matter anymore.
"I mean, don't let me be the one to pull you off that wagon, brother," Lee says.
Dean shakes his head and drinks. Special occasion, he says, the way they all do. Birthday, anniversary, night out at the bar. Meeting a stranger again. They're all occasions. Dean drinks like someone who'd never really been on that wagon in the first place.
Lee wonders if he'd have felt guilty. You know, if that hadn't been the case.
He remembers moving the seat back so he could drive that girl's car into the salvage yard. Kept ghost pressing a third pedal that wasn't there, right hand at a loss for things to do. He'd got her hair caught in the fucking trunk latch, the first time he'd laid her in.
Drove all the way with her hair sticking out the back like that.
You will never throw these in the lake, the marid makes him promise of the bodies. For those are sacred waters.
The consequences? Who knows. Retribution, she'd said. The end of wealth. The unfolding of curses he cannot begin to fathom. All stuff she'd trotted out any time he'd thought about just killing her, making a go of it on his own. Leaving it all behind--really, this time. But he'd always believed her, and fuck, after that recession shit and then Obama and then Harvey. Which, screw sacred waters. Seems like there's plenty of fucking water to go around. He's not in touch with his family much, but they're all down there and he'd had a cousin he liked and she'd just had a baby and when their house and shit go under, you don't fucking kill a monster fronting you gold, you know? You don't cross her.
But when Dean shows up, Lee knows he should have chucked that fucking body in the lake.
He'd sat on a trash bag, put one down for his boots. He's smart enough to leave no evidence. Knows he can't wash it down or nothing; it's a shitbox in a salvage yard. It's gotta look like it's been in there a decade. Even so, the careful way he treats the dead girl's shitbox--all the plastic and stuff--reminds him of the job he'd been working moving cars for Cesar's down in the RGV.
It's the job he'd been working when he'd first met John and Dean. They'd come into the shop looking to replace a cracked wheel, saying they'd hit an armadillo doing 90. Lee'd been hunting long enough to know they hadn't hit a fucking armadillo. And he'd been old enough to know Cesar's wasn't what he wanted out of life.
He'd been so fucking sad. That's what Lee remembers about Dean Winchester. Like, mostly Lee remembers those months like a grand fucking adventure, he really does. But he can't deny there was some weird shit going on with that family and sometimes it'd just come out. Dean is a fun guy. Was then, is now. But fuck, man. He's never met anyone that fucking sad before. Doesn't know how to describe it.
Now, Lee pulls him up on stage and Dean sings like a drunk, like that thing Lee's uncle always said about whiskey taking away your key so it reminds your pals to take away your keys. The crowd still goes wild, because they're drunk, too, and Lee's the boss and Dean's his friend, and for about a minute thirty, Lee is drunk on power the way he loves to be. He is proud. Self-made. Unstoppable.
Then Dean's talking lakes and salvage yards and murders and it's fucking sad.
It's just one stupid murder, and Dean can't let it go.
You can't kill me, she'd said. The marid. You've got too much on the line.
And see, he'd thought she'd meant the money.