Sam groaned as he stretched. His back hurt. It always kind of hurt, like his knees and his hips, because the current stage in human body evolution just isn't meant to be as big as a house- but sitting slumped over his laptop for hours in a hard, too-low chair at a rickety, too-high table wasn't helping anything.

Dean had gone out a couple hours ago, rustling up some cash and hopefully some leads on their vengeful spirit. Sam stayed behind to drink a green smoothie without getting laughed at and to do some research. Unfortunately, it looked like their number one suspect had died about a century ago. His body was probably buried near the house and disturbed by the new developments going up all surrounding his property. That left a lot of ground to cover- assuming it even was his body holding him back, and not something he'd attached to, like a tool left in the gardening shed or a ring dropped between floorboards.

Or somewhere out in the acres and acres of fields he'd owned, now divided up between cookie cutter houses.

Sam hated it when cases got like this, with loads of ground to cover and just the two of them doing it. He always ended up getting strangled, dumped in a grave, or bashed on the head. None of which ever got any less irritating.

Sam groaned again as he reached his arms over his head and heard his upper spine crackle. Grabbing the laptop, he stood up and flopped down on the bed instead, unplugging the lamp on the nightstand so he could stick the laptop cord in instead. There weren't any other lights on in the room but the screen would be enough on its own. He propped the two lumpy pillows under his neck and shoulders, wriggled down until his back felt good, and set the laptop on his belly, scrolling down once again through sixty-odd years of church records.


Dean sang along to Paradise City under his breath as he drove back to the motel. He'd had a productive night- $600 from a gang of a dozen local boys who weren't even all that mad when he cleaned out their pockets, and some rumors about one of the guys running construction up at the development site finding a gold watch in the dirt and taking it home. Even better, he'd passed a 24-hour grocery store just after he left the bar and picked up some late night snacks for he and Sammy. Even better than that, the store'd had a Halloween section right up at the front. Dean snickered.

He parked Baby about two blocks away. He didn't exactly like leaving her so far out of sight, or having to walk back to the motel in the cold with a few heavy grocery bags, but Sam knew that engine's sound like his own heartbeat, and he'd never miss it. Dean crept up to the motel and set his bags down against the wall. He peeked in through the dark window.

Sam lay on his bed, sound asleep and snoring like he always did when he lay on his back, his laptop slid half off his chest and onto the bed. Dean rolled his eyes. Just like when he went to check on Sammy and always found him drooling on a paperback with a flashlight tucked between his chin and his shoulder, only all grown up and technified.

Still, it made his plan easier.

Dean carefully reached into the rustling paper bags and pulled out the black and white cowled mask from Scream. He fitted it over his head, quietly unlocked the door, set the grocery bags on the rickety table, and silently crossed the room after shutting the door as softly as he could. He knelt at the side of Sam's bed, the face of the mask level with Sam's, and very gently shook Sam's leg.

Sam grumbled, smacked his lips, screwed up his eyes, and blinked them open. "Dean?" he muttered blearily. Then he looked over.


Then Dean went flying back with a cut-off "Gah! Sam-" as Sam threw himself off the bed and body-slammed him into the floor, completely crushing Dean's ribcage and knocking all the breath out of him in a rush.

Dean reached up and smacked at Sam's shoulder, but Sam just rolled a little bit and crushed Dean's arm, too. Then he slammed one massive hand down around Dean's throat and clenched hard. "Who are you?! Where's Dean?!"

Dean croaked and sputtered. All of Sam's weight on him felt like being stuck under an elephant.

Sam used his grip on Dean's throat to raise his head and bash it back onto the floor, glaring furiously down at him with crazed eyes, dried drool crusting one side of his mouth, and his bedhead sticking up everywhere. "Who are you?!"

Dean couldn't help it. He cracked up, the sound coming out as a sickly wheeze.

Sam froze. Then he shifted his weight and yanked off the mask. "Dean?"

Sam's movement allowed Dean to take in a good full breath and he burst out in to real laughter, tears streaming down his face as he howled. "You- you should've seen your face, due-"

"Dean!" Sam bellowed. "I could've killed you!"

"I- I know," Dean wheezed through his chortling. "You were gonna- gonna sit on the big scary monster until you suffocated it!"

Sam glowered at him, lips pouting and eyebrows pinched. Then all at once, he flopped all the way down.

"Oof! You're such a cow, Sam, get off me!"

"No," Sam said petulantly, his voice ruffling the hair behind Dean's ear. Sam's chin was hooked over Dean's shoulder and the rest of him was lined up on top of his brother, using Dean like a mattress with his feet sticking off at the end.

"Sam, dude, I can't breathe."

"If you're talking you can breathe."




"That was really mean, Dean."

"Oh, come on. It was funny."

"No, it wasn't." Apparently Sam had been propping up some of his weight on one arm, because he stopped, and ten tons of Sam flattened Dean back into the carpet.

"Oof! Sam!" Dean's voice was back to a strangled croak. "I got you apple chili! Apple chili!"

Sam was off him and stumbling towards the table in a flash, but not before digging his knees and elbows way too close to sensitive parts of Dean for his comfort. "The black bean stuff with the squash and sweet potatoes?"

Dean stayed where he was, gasping. "Yeah," he panted. "And cornbread, and some of those pumpkin roll things."


Dean lay on the floor listening to Sam rifle excitedly through the grocery sacks, grinning.

"Oh, you got pumpkin beers, too!"

"Hey, you leave one of those for me! I'm the one who got smushed!"