Impossible to Win

"Kick it over here, Sammy," Dean called out.

The two brothers had been playing soccer behind their house for the entire afternoon while their dad was away investigating their latest case. The sun was beginning to set and mosquitoes menacingly zipped around the dimming air. Sam dribbled the ball skillfully, juggling it back and forth between his feet, encased in worn sneakers.

"It's Sam, and you're going to have to come get it," taunted the ten-year-old.

Dean immediately rushed forward and came to tackle his brother to the ground before grabbing up the soccer ball. Running to the opposite side of the yard, he slammed the ball down triumphantly, screaming, "Touchdown!"

"Wrong game, dufus," protested Sam. "No hands in soccer."

"Yeah, whatever."

"Dean!" their father called from the house.

"Yes sir?"

"Get in here right now."

Dean kicked the ball over to Sam. "I'll be right out."

"Sure you will."

"Come on, Sam. What could he possibly have to say to me? I haven't done anything wrong."

"Oh he'll find something."

"Dean!" their father called again. "Now means now!"

"Yes sir," Dean replied quickly as he rushed into the house.

Sam kicked at the dirt in the patchy lawn before plopping down on top of the now motionless ball. He began pulling up tufts of grass as he indistinctly heard sounds of his father screaming at Dean. He tried to feign indifference, to block out the noise and ignore the building anticipation he felt in the gut of his stomach. He waited for what he knew would soon come as it always did.

SMACK. Followed by a dull thud and the squeak of the table being pushed back unwillingly against the floor. Then silence.

Tears threatened to escape Sam's eyes, but he struggled to keep them back.

Momentarily Dean came outside, walking in an overly cocky manner.

"Told you I'd be right back."

Sam got up from the ball and kicked it away only to chase after it again. He needed an excuse to turn away from his brother. He didn't want Dean to see him crying because then there would be an awkward acknowledgement between the two of what had just occurred. Once he reached the ball, Sam began rolling it with his right foot while keeping his nonchalant attitude.

Dean came up behind him.

"Hey, Sam…" he started softly. "Dad says no more soccer."

Sam quickly turned around to face him.

"What? Why not?"

"He says that it's a waste of time and we should be training instead."

"Training for what?"

"To fight off the bad guys, of course," said Dean with a quick smile.

Sam gave his brother a look of incredulity.

"Why do we even bother? We can never win. No matter how many we kill, there will always be more out there. You realize that, don't you?"

"Sure I know that. But that's even more reason for why we've got to train. So we can follow in dad's footsteps and keep killing baddies, and then our kids will follow us, and theirs will follow them."

"No, Dean. It's not fair, and it's not going to be like that for me, or my kids. I'm ending it here."

"Please, Sam," said Dean, as his eyes searched imploringly into his brother's. "Look, I know you don't like it, but let's just make dad happy for now, okay? He says that from now on, when he goes out like he did today, we ought to spar, run laps, or practice shooting."

"How's he going to know whether we followed this little planned pie chart of his?"

"He's gonna test us."

"And how exactly does that work?"

"We've got to fight him. If we win, he knows we've been training hard enough. And if we lose…"

"He beats our asses again for failing."

"And then we'll just have to keep training harder."

"This is just a bullshit, self-entitled way for dad to abuse us."

"Don't talk like that, Sam."

"We can never win, Dean."
Dean paused and let out an exasperated sigh. "I know, but—let's just go wash up for dinner, huh?"

Sam kicked the ball with all his force and strode off in the direction of the house as the ball rolled away into the brush surrounding their yard.

"We can never win," he repeated under his breath.