Disclaimer: The show Supernatural and its characters belong to someone else. This is just for fun.


Dean Winchester couldn't remember being more pissed in his life. And it wasn't just one thing that was pissing him off; it was the whole fucking shebang that was making his heart pound loud enough he could hear the blood rushing through his ears. His chest was tight, his biceps and fingers stiff from the death grip he had on the steering wheel. The muscles in his neck and shoulders were so tense he could barely move his head without moving his whole upper body. And the look in his eyes was murderous.

He was in a strange town – but when weren't they in a strange town – following the directions he'd gotten over the phone. For such a relatively small place, Halvorston, Indiana, sure took a long and winding time getting from one end to the other. Haven't these hicks ever heard of a fucking grid? he wondered, drumming the fingers of his right hand as the light finally slipped from red to green. His tires squealed as he sped through the six-way intersection.

He'd been at the motel finishing unloading their stuff when his cell phone rang. He only half expected it to be Sam, because who else would it be? They hadn't been getting many calls for help lately, and he knew better than to hope it was their father. They'd not received one of John Winchester's cryptic messages in a couple weeks. As per usual lately, they'd had to search out their latest gig, as opposed to it finding them. According to the online version of the Halvorston Truth, something wicked was amiss in the cornfields of central Indiana. Something with sharp claws like scalpels was shredding livestock in the night. The town had never seen anything like it, and the police were baffled. The Truth reporter speculated whether a human victim could be next.

It sounded more interesting than twiddling their thumbs, so they'd been driving all night and into the afternoon. Well, Dean had been driving all night and into the afternoon. Sam had been fitfully drifting in and out of sleep in the passenger's seat. At one point, his eyes had snapped open, but he didn't move. He just stared at the dashboard with his head leaning against his elbow, which he'd propped up against the door where it met the window, like a make-shift pillow.

Dean watched his brother out of the corner of his eye. Ozzy was in the tape deck, drowning out the monotone whir of the tires against the highway. He was waiting for Sam to move – to breathe – but his brother remained still until the last chord of Crazy Train faded out. Dean saw him swallow, like his throat was incredibly dry.

"Are you –" Dean started quietly, trying to sound nonchalant.

"Fine," Sam cut him off. The tone was so sharp that if Dean wasn't Dean, his feelings might have been hurt.

Mr. Crowley was the next song on the tape, and Dean let it play. They both knew nothing Sam did or saw or felt was insignificant anymore. Dean hadn't figured out yet what criteria Sam used in determining whether or not to divulge the details of his nightmares. All Dean knew was that despite his best effort to stay awake as long as humanly possible, Sam still managed to dream quite a bit. And as more and more of his dreams came to frightening fruition, the stress and the strain were taking their toll on both brothers.

"This is it," Dean said, as if the grain silo and run-down barn they'd just passed were some kind of landmark. "Keep an eye out for someplace to stop."

Sam nodded, shifting his troubled gaze out the window.

Dean pursed his lips together and frowned, cocking his head lazily to the side. He could play this game till the cows came home, but it still annoyed the living shit out of him.

"Do you want to crash, or are you up for finding some grub first?"

"Can you drop me off at the library?" Sam finally looked at him with an everything's-normal-don't-press-me kind of look in his eyes. It was complete bull shit, and Dean felt his blood pressure climbing higher.

"Why?"

"What do you mean why?"

Dean rolled his eyes. "What do you mean what do I mean? Why do we have to go to the library right now? Can't we check into a motel first? Eat something? I could probably sleep for a while. I have been driving your ass around for the past 15 hours."

Sam sat up straighter in his seat. "I didn't say we. You can drop me off, and I'll get a little research done. Find us a motel and then come get me after you've slept. You're obviously falling behind on your beauty rest." The last sentence thrown in there for effect.

"Wow, that's funny."

Sam looked out the passenger window again. There was clearly something going on that he didn't want to talk about. Dean grimaced. All the secrets were getting extremely irritating, but he didn't know how to make Sam spill.

So, like the wonderful brother he was, he'd found the library and dropped Sam off. Then he'd stopped for fast food, asking the cute brunette in the drive-thru to recommend a decent cheap motel. Opening the door to their room, the "cheap" part was immediately evident, although Dean thought "decent" was a stretch.

He'd flopped down on the bed closest to the door, flipped on the TV and ate his dinner/breakfast/lunch/early afternoon snack. He was starving; that was the last time they drove anywhere straight through without stopping for meals. He leaned back against the pillows and tossed his crumpled paper bag into the trash can next to the door. He didn't even take his shoes off.

When Dean woke up, it was still light out, but the shadows through the large picture window were growing long. He'd slept for three hours, and he imagined Sam was still contentedly tangled in microfiche, newspapers, and obscure books, trying to find a clue as to what they were dealing with. Dean was happy to let his brother bear the brunt of the research burden. Hell, Sam actually seemed to enjoy it. Dean supposed it probably felt a little like being back in school.

He sat on the edge of the bed and stretched. There was nothing like having your ass permanently fused to the bench seat of a car for 15 hours across the scenic Midwest to give you a few kinks and knots.

Standing, he decided he had time to unload their stuff from the car before he headed back to the library to collect Sam. He'd made it to the back seat and back with a bag in either hand when his cell phone rang. He dropped the bags onto the empty bed and flipped open the phone without even checking the caller ID.

"Dude, cool your jets. I'm on my way to get you right now," he said, pulling the door closed behind him. "So what'd you find out?"

There was a pregnant pause, and then a single word.

"Dean."

He stopped dead in his tracks, and nervous butterflies erupted in his stomach. It was Sam, all right, but something was wrong. Dean didn't need psychic abilities to figure that out.

"Sam? What's going on?"

There was a moment of silence before Sam answered. When he did, his voice was heavy, the words slow, as if he'd just woken up or was about to fall asleep, Dean couldn't decide which. "They're only allowing me one phone call."

What the hell? Where was he, in jail? What kind of trouble could Sam possibly get into at a library that would land him in jail? The jail part Dean could picture. But he was at a freaking library, for Christ's sake!

"What did you do, hold up the librarian and ransack the book drop?" It was a nervous, humorless question.

Dean was in the car now, and when he turned the ignition, Alice in Chains blared out from the speakers. He fumbled with the knob to turn it down, then switched the phone to his left hand so he could shift and then steer with his right. He pulled up to the street before realizing he didn't know where he was going.

"Sam, where are you?"

"I'm…" His brother sounded confused and…something else. He sounded distressed. And frustrated. "I'm in some kind of…mental health facility."

"You're what?" Dean was sure he'd heard him correctly, but it didn't make any sense.

"They want to talk to you." Sam's voice was flat.

"Who?" Dean demanded. "What the fuck is going on? Sam?"

A man got on the phone then and spoke in a calm, patronizing tone of voice. He was Dr. Vincent Anderson from the Pluta Behavioral Health Center. He wanted to know who Dean was and what his relationship was to Sam Winchester. Dean told him he was Sam's brother, not that it was any of his fucking business.

Dean wanted to know who these people were, what the hell had happened, and where they got off holding his brother. But instead, he just demanded directions and warned them to keep their hands off his brother. Then he tore out of the motel parking lot. He couldn't remember being more pissed in his life.