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Author's Chapter Notes:
My apologies for not updating last night. Please keep Ash in your prayers and hopefully he'll have a speedy recovery! Thank you for the reviews, as always :D and happy weekend!

Rock Salt – Never Leave Home Without It!

Sam and Dean left early next morning. They were packed and ready to go when Sam had knocked at their door and woke him up. Dean was loading their bags into the trunk of the Impala and Brian found his opportunity, excused himself to have a word with the older Winchester. It didn't surprise him at all, he knew it was coming, had the entire night to think about it and decided it was going to be okay. Sam and Dean had lives to save and who was he to stop them from doing just that just because he needed more answers? He also decided that it was time to leave Super 8 and Nashville behind. It was time to go home, to start living again, make that album, do promotions, meet the fans, sing. And he'd do anything he could to control that voice from having the luxury of coming in and out of his head whenever it felt like it because that was how it started wasn't it? First the mind, and if that began to feel like a walk along the beach, with time, it'd be easier to control the rest of him and hell would freeze over before he allowed that to happen.

"So where is this next gig of yours?"

"I think it's best that you not know that."

"No grids trailing you guys right?"

"Something like that."

"Well, I'd say good luck but I don't think luck has anything to do with it."

"Take care of yourself man, if you need help, you know where to find me."

"You too."

By the time he came out of the shower, Brian had already packed his stuff and by 2, they checked out and left for the airport.

They checked in at the Four Seasons by 3am and if he wasn't already falling asleep on his feet, he'd noticed how awkward it was that Brian didn't opt for a straight flight to Atlanta, or that the three of them could get different cabs to drive them straight to their own houses instead of staying at the hotel or that it was suspicious why the front desk had referred to their late night check in as a 'reunion' when it wasn't a secret that they had been having meetings about recording the next album.

It was a suite, large enough for ten people and he interpreted this as Howie wanting them all to room together without feeling like they had stepped into each others' space. He didn't really mind to be honest (of the lack of space if they had checked into a smaller room), a week spent in a motel room wasn't as bad as he had thought it would be but he didn't say this to Howie because the man was doing his best to make everyone comfortable and for once, he didn't feel like teasing his friend. The last thing he heard before entering his room was AJ ordering four plates of steak and fifty packets of salts (I love my steaks really salty).

= =

Brian and Howie had left for a meeting by the time he woke up. AJ couldn't elaborate more than that and he was still suffering from jet lag to bother about it too much. There were two plates of steak left untouched and there were traces of salt by the doors and windows.

"Hey, lets go out and get breakfast," AJ suggested while poking the hard cold steak with a fork.

"You don't want to be around when housekeeping comes in and find the salt mess,” he smirked.

AJ shrugged. "It'd be easier for everyone that way."

"Of course it is."

They left the suite and went straight to the front desk to leave a set of their keycards behind because apparently Brian and Howie failed to take one with them. Jamie, the lady who was attending to them, kept looking at him as if he had a red dot on his forehead and it was beginning to annoy him. Everything seemed to tick him off lately and he wondered if this had anything to do with the visions and/or demon in his head. Maybe making him easily frustrated was the first step to making him evil?

Breakfast was good, although he really wanted Mc Donald's but it was one of those days where the paparazzi couldn't find any other hollywood celebs to hunt down and decided to tag along with them. They ended up going to a posh restaurant, which name he failed to remember because he decided it'd be one of those days where he didn't feel like thinking a lot or plan a lot and just follow the crowd, and crowd right then came in the form of one AJ McLean.

"I think we should go shopping after this," AJ said as he shifted gear and drove out of the parking space. He could see a couple of cars trailing behind them and he wondered what could be interesting for them to actually be bothered enough to follow two Backstreet Boys around.

"Yeah?" he replied short, eyes straight on the road ahead of them. "Maybe you should go rent porn vids and I'll grab a few bottles of JD, that'd make those fuckers happy right?"

AJ smirked. "Actually, I have something better in mind."

"What could possibly top 'Sex maniac and alcoholic asshole'?"

But this was AJ, he sometimes forgot what the guy was capable of doing just to grab headlines. Leopard print hats, painted nails, muticolored hairs...

They came out of K-Mart pushing a cart filled with boxes of salt.

"I can't believe we did this," he grinned as they strolled out and made a beeline for the car. Already annoying paparazzi were throwing insulting remarks and snapping pictures as if they were carrying a cart full of heroin. "No wait, I actually can."

"See Nicky, this will solve the whole scaring housekeepers off."

"Yeah well, how do we exactly carry 200 boxes of salt to our room without looking suspicious wonder boy."

"We'll just say you need a salt bath or something."

"Right, throw it on me."

"Better you than me."

He liked Jerry, very much. Jerry was the bellhop who greeted them at the door and immediately volunteered to help carry twenty huge plastic bags filled with boxes of salt. Jerry brought a pushcart and dumped everything in there and followed them back to their suite.

They tipped him generously because they could and because they wanted to and because Jerry was a fine example of a good person. He couldn’t wait to see the looks on Brian’s and Howie’s faces. He decided they should take a group picture together with the cart of salts, call it their fifth member or something. Rock salt, don’t leave home without it!

And then Kevin appeared out of nowhere (not really, he was sitting by the lounge area of the suite but both of them were too busy with boxes of salt to notice) and totally swipe that grin off his face. Kevin was also staring at the pile of boxes and then back and forth at him and AJ.

“Do I even want to know?”

= =

It was so nice to see him there. Kevin always had this charisma in him, he oozed confidence and importance whenever he walked in to a room; whether he’d be in an expensive suit or last night’s shirt, you don’t turn away from Kevin Richardson. It was this confidence, this air that used to make him cling to Kevin whenever they were in a crowd, it made him safe.

People thought he was afraid of Kevin when he first met him at the age of twelve. People thought wrong. He was used to hanging out with old folks, he liked to chat with them and they wouldn’t shoo him away. Not to say that Kevin was an old man, but even back then, Kevin had the patience to sit through one of his blabbering. Kevin liked to be amused by him and he found it to be addictive, to have all that attention to yourself, to see those eyes just looking at you, smiling, while you go on and on about this cat you used to take care of because she always followed you back home from school. AJ would totally tell him to shut the hell up. Brian didn’t run away but Brian didn’t listen either, Brian always entertained him, made up jokes about stuff that he was talking about, always had something to chip in to his stories. He didn’t even bother with Howie and not because he didn’t like Howie, but back then, Howie was at the stage in his life where he wanted to be the big boy doing big boy stuff, that was why he clicked so well with AJ, that was why he didn’t think Howie would have bothered to hear about his cat stories.

Kevin just sits and listens and he asks you questions relating to the story you’re telling him and it made him feel important, like as if the things he had to say meant something to someone even when it didn’t.

So it was nice to see him again.

And he really wanted to tell the man just that, but words failed him once again as the familiar flashing white attacked and things that weren’t there were now there and he pushed the pain aside, forced his eyes to stay wide open, there should be Kevin standing in front of him but he couldn’t see him now, something else had taken his place…

The father and son were back. The father was talking to him, although he knew it wasn’t really him he was talking to. There was a woman next to him but he couldn’t see her, couldn’t seem to turn his head to see her face. He saw his fingers, clasped together in front of him, rested on his lap but he knew it wasn’t his; this body wasn’t his.

“We can start tomorrow at your house, I’ll be there at noon and everything will be solved.”

The father smiled and he felt safe, assured, delighted, but he really shouldn’t, because he knew this father and son, knew that kid was no ordinary kid, knew this father is a demon, knew that this couple was being led to their deaths if no one stop it.

And then it was over, because he could see Kevin now, only he was hovering above him and he had somehow landed on the floor, those caterpillars almost adjoin in the middle. Then everything became fuzzy for a while and Kevin sounded so far and muffled, he thought he could hear his blood rushing to his ears and he wanted so much to stay awake, to hang out with Kevin because how long had it been since they were together? He wanted to tell him about the visions, the new sketches he had drawn, about Sam and Dean and oh joy, the fact that Brian, Howie and AJ were finally convinced that he wasn’t going crazy!

Yet he couldn’t find any strength left to spare, and the last thought that came coursing through his throbbing head before unconsciousness took over was that something had happened, and it was close, and he didn’t sense it before, couldn’t have known, just saw it in visions, now already in the past and he hoped Sam and Dean got there in time because it didn’t seem like the couple had much time left.