Disclaimer: I do not own either Sam or Dean. Eric Kripke does. Also, the fine people over at the WB own it.

This story is a responce to PL Wynters challenge about masks.

Checking once more to make sure that Sammy was sleeping, Dean turned the Queen tape that he had been playing up a notch and took the curve in the road going seventy. They were driving to another hunt, and even though it was three in the morning, he knew he couldn't stop. It was important to this whole town that they get there as soon as possible. He shook his head, it always was. All he had was the radio to keep him company and ample time to think.

It was these times that bothered him the most, the times that he had to reflect and admit once more to himself the masks that he wore. This was a tragic fault of being the hero, the big brother. He was forced to wear this mask of confidence, of cockiness, and mostly of bravery. Throughout his life, he had been forced, although mostly willingly, to take care of his baby brother. It had been tough, that one year that they were in high school together. He had never fit in, somehow these kids always knew that he was different, and even though he loved his father, the man had never helped. He had always been branded the ghost-hunter's son, which would make them make fun of him. Apparently, it was only cool to hunt ghosts if you were in high school. So, he pretended that he didn't care, occasionally pointing out what these people's fathers did or making a joke about what he had done to their mothers. Every town they went to, he was a stranger. He'd never been good at change, as his car and his music could give testament to, and so he had always been an outcast. That year, though, watching Sam as he fit in so well, made friends, had killed him. They never knew that John was his father, or fit two and two together that they were brothers. It made him mean to Sammy, out of jealousy, and he was glad when they had moved and their father had told him not to go to school anymore. It made sense; they needed him to be a full-time hunter, and so he'd had his excuse.

There were times that he was scared, scared worse than he could let anyone know. The mask of bravery had been what had made him joke about daytime television, a fabric softener teddy bear, and burial or cremation when he knew he was going to die. If he had allowed himself to be scared, to show that fear, then Sammy would have been scared worse than he already was. This mask was also what kept him level-headed when he would have liked to have fallen apart. The pure amount of fear that he had when he saw the window to Sammy's apartment glowing with the bright orange of fire would have made him stall and lose his brother if he hadn't had the blessed mask.

Sammy had never needed to wear a mask. He fit in at almost every school they'd gone to, and was as well-adjusted as any other kid his age who moved around a lot. As a big brother, he'd made it one of his duties to make sure that Sammy had a normal childhood. Make dinner, make sure Sammy's not watching that channel dad got, sprinkle salt around the house to make sure that no demon got in, and give Sammy a normal childhood. It was a nice chore list...that their father should have had. He wore that mask as well, the one that said that their father knew best and not to question him. There was a lot anger that he kept boiling under the surface, both for himself and for Sammy. If their dad had known that Jess died, where was he? Why didn't he show up then, or when they were in Lawrence? What about when he had a heart attack and they told him that he was going to die? If he had died there, would their dad have made Sammy take care of things on his own, grieve by himself? He had always needed to be the adult, picking up the pieces and making sure that things ran smoothly. When he would come home from school as a child, he would dump out the bottles that his dad had left lying around the house and fill them with juice and water, seeing as his dad was too drunk to taste the difference; and made sure that there were no bullets in the guns either so that Sammy wouldn't pick the blasted gun up and hurt himself. That was during the first year or so, when the man was still a complete mess over the loss of their mother and his wife. Things had changed a little since then, their father had taken care of them to an extent, but he still knew he was in charge of Sammy. It wasn't that the man blamed his youngest for the death of their mother, even though he knew that Sammy thought otherwise in his darkest moments and his nightmares. It was that he still had the glow and the light that had reminded the man so much of his wife.

The last mask was the one that allowed him to be loved by others- the mask of charm. He could be sarcastic and joke through the worst of situations. It had been what helped Sam so many times, and what usually got whatever girl they had to work with to cooperate with them. They all swooned around him, because of his wit and charm. He had been taught, whether the man knew it or not, to do anything to get what he wanted. Sometimes that meant information out of someone who would have been reluctant had he not flirted a little, and sometimes it was just being able to pass off a fake ID. This charm was the reason why he always spoke and Sam always stood in the background. Sure, Sammy could pull off being a reporter, but when they had to pretend that they were Homeland Security he had to do the talking. Standing as close to his brother as he had been, he had felt the tremors of fear running through him, but he had been steady as a rock.

Sam shifted a little in his sleep, and muttered under his breath, dragging Dean from his thoughts. He turned the radio down a little and tuned all of his hearing into his baby brother, waiting for the nightmare he knew was coming. Once more, he put the masks back on.

Hope you enjoyed the story. Please feel free to leave any kind of reviews, whether it be constructive criticism or praise.

Happy hunting!