Disclaimer: I don't own Supernatural in any way, shape, or form
Author's Note: Another one shot. After so many stories, I run out of things to say here...hehe. Enjoy the story!
Warnings: Strong language, hence the rating. If you don't like it, I don't suggest reading this story. Spoilers for "Dead Man's Blood"
When an argument flares up, the wise man quenches it with silence - Unknown
"I'll break his neck, I swear."
Dean felt his breath catch in his chest. His grip tightened around the long machete in his hands. The vampire's smile was menacing, and he sneered at Dean with a viciously curling upper lip as he tightened his grip around Sam's neck.
His Dad had warned him about this; warned him that a day like this would probably come. He remembered; he was only about twelve or thirteen, when his father was finally starting to trust him enough to bring him along for some of the more dangerous hunts. They'd been driving down some deserted road in Missouri after getting hopelessly lost because Sam had been reading the map upside down the entire time. He'd fallen into a resentful sleep after John had yelled at him because of all the time that they'd lost. John turned to Dean.
"You know, son," he said, one arm draped over the steering wheel, "someday…"
Dean had been staring out the window, and turned to his Dad. "What?"
He cleared his throat. "I'm not trying to scare you here, kiddo, but…someday, something might take Sammy and use him to its own advantage."
"I mean," John said, struggling to choose the right words. It was like walking a tightrope – even the slightest wrong move and you tumbled, "that one day something we are hunting may take Sam and use him to get you to do something."
Dean nodded, slowly. He was trying to understand what his father was telling him.
"I just want you to know…keep Sammy safe, Dean. You got me?" He looked over at his son, and wondered if he was still on the tightrope of if he'd crashed yet.
Dean nodded slowly. "I've got you."
Over a decade after that conversation…here he was. Sam gasped, trying desperately to breathe. Dean glared as the fucking bastard tightened his grip around Sam's neck, challenging. Slowly he dropped the machete to the ground.
The vampire smiled and before Dean could react he'd grabbed the machete and was holding it to Sam's neck. "Thank you," he said with a cold malicious smile. Sam squeezed his eyes shut and Dean yelled as the vampire shoved the blade into his brother's neck -
"No!" Dean sat up, his breathing coming out in exhausted little pants.
The lights flicked on. "What the hell?"
"Whozere? Whoizzit?" Sam cried as he quickly jumped up from his bed, half asleep, grabbing a pillow as a means of defense to attack the imagined intruder.
John glanced over at Sam. "Son, I don't think that pillow would get you very far if something really was in here," he said, with a laugh mixed with worry. Jeez, did I really teach him anything…? He turned to Dean. "You okay?"
Dean closed his eyes and rubbed his forehead. "I'm fine," he said, shaking his head.
Sam was sheepishly rearranging the pillow on the bed. "I meant to grab the .45," he said, attempting to cover up his stupidity.
"Nice try, Sam," John said, shaking his head as peered at the clock. Two thirty-eight. Jeez. He looked over at Dean, who was still shaking, still white, still rubbing his forehead. He saw Sam studying his brother, trying to catch his eye. Suddenly, he felt as if he'd just walked in on somebody while they were in the bathroom. He made his way over to his bed, reaching for his sweatshirt and pulling it on over his head. "I…think I saw one of those twenty-four hour places down the road, I'm going to get some coffee. You boys want anything?"
Sam shook his head. "Nope," he said. Dean glanced up and shook his head no a little bit, as if it hurt for him to move his head too much. "Maybe some Advil for Dean, though?" Sam offered, trying to catch his brother's eye again. He couldn't; Dean's gaze seemed to be connected with the blue stripes on the thin white sheets of his bed.
John smiled, offering a nod. "I'll be back in a little bit," he said. He took his keys and slipped out of the room quietly. He made his way out, unlocked the car, and slipped into the driver's seat, blowing on his hands a little bit to warm them up. He dug around the pocket of his coat for a few minutes before he came up with his wallet. He reached into the billfold and pulled out a five dollar bill and two faded pictures. One was of Sam and Dean before Mary had died, before everything had happened – an exuberant four year old Dean was grinned widely and holding Sam, whose baby head was much too heavy for his neck to support and was flopping over limply. He chuckled a little and unfolded the second picture, much older, black and white of two boys sitting in a field, arms slung over each others shoulders, smiling. On the back of the photograph in his mother's old-fashioned, spidery script was written – Ben and John, August 1971.
He slipped the photographs back into his wallet and turned the key in the ignition. "Brothers," he mumbled to himself, smiling and shaking his head.
"What happened?" Sam asked as soon as the door closed.
"Nothing, Sam. Were you too preoccupied by that dangerous pillow of yours to hear me say that I am freakin' fine?" Dean shot back, sliding off the bed and into the little bathroom. He splashed some water on his face.
Sam ignored the pillow comment and stormed after his brother. "You aren't telling me something."
Dean pushed past Sam. "Christ, what's your problem?"
"What's my problem? You're the one acting like you're on your period or something. I should call Dad and tell him to pick you up some tampons."
Dean spun around sharply, glaring darkly at his brother. "Shut up," he growled as he flopped down onto the nearest bed, reaching for the clicker to turn on the television. Oh damn it…one of those "Beverly Hillbillies" reruns. He'd been turned off by the show ever since their little run in with Pa Bender. Those dreams had plagued him for weeks afterwards too…now would dreams about that idiot vampire follow him like black cats too? He switched off the show as quickly as he could.
Sam crossed his arms and stared at Dean. "You had another dream, didn't you?" he said.
Dean reached over and flicked off the light. "Good night, Sam," he said, his voice sharp and angry. Sam stormed over and flicked on the lights.
"I know it might taste bad Dean, but swallow your fucking pride and talk to me."
Dean rolled over and glared at his brother before yelling. "I said good night, Sam!"
"Then get out of my bed, you moron!" Sam shouted back. It was only then that Dean realized he had flopped down in Sam's bed. He offered his best, "don't say a word" glare before storming across the room into his own bed.
"Go kill something with your pillow," he shot before turning off the lights and rolling over. But he didn't fall asleep – he couldn't.
John knew the second that he walked back into the room that everything was still in tangles. It was like an unraveling sweater – if someone pulled and pulled at the loose thread, eventually you just end up with a big pile of yarn. Right now this big pile of yarn was still demanding one (or both) of the boys to pick up the knitting needles and get mending.
He left the box of Advil on the table and slipped out again, not wanting to interfere with the mending. He checked his watch – 2:50. He went back to get more coffee, because he had a feeling it was going to be a long night.
Sam was damn stubborn, but Dean was stubborner…if that was even a word. He wondered if stubborner was a word. He considered getting up to look for it in the dictionary, but he didn't want to be the one to move first. He didn't want to be the one to talk first. He wondered how long it would be until Sam would break down. Would they have to lay here until they were old men with Rip Van Winkle beards just because they were stubborn?
The answer came to him quickly – yes.
It was nearly 3:30. He'd heard his Dad come in; he'd heard his Dad go out. He was positive that Sam had heard too.
His eyelids were heavy, begging for precious sleep, but he couldn't. His insides seemed to be weighed down.
He was the older one – did that mean he was required to be the big person, required to step up to the plate? He didn't want to but...
Sam watched as the minutes ticked by on the clock. Uh-uh. He wasn't going to be the first one up. Why couldn't Dean just talk to him about whatever was on his mind? Sam knew that he was a stubborn person, but Dean was the stubbornest. Wait, was stubbornest even a word? He knew that there was a dictionary in here, and it was killing him slowly as he tried to remember if stubbornest was a word. He wouldn't get up, wouldn't be the first one to make a move.
Stubborner – I am stubborner than you are. It seemed right in each sentence Dean wrote in his head, but still…
Getting up to look in a dictionary didn't mean that he lost, right?
Had he ever heard anyone say 'stubbornest' before? That stupid dictionary was mere feet away, mocking him wordlessly.
He was looking in a dictionary; he didn't even have to say a word to Dean. It didn't mean that he was giving in first.
3:46 – the minute of reckoning.
At the same time, Sam and Dean sat up in bed. They only offered glares to each other. They both moved across the dark room over toward the bookshelf, and grabbed for the dictionary.
"What do you want a dictionary for?" Sam said.
"Why do you want it, Sam? To look up the word 'moron' and gaze intently on the wonderful picture of yourself there?"
Sam scoffed. "Nice, Dean."
Dean pulled the dictionary away from his brother and sat on the bed, reaching to turn on the light. He flipped through the pages. Sam sat down on the bed across from him.
"What are you even looking up?"
Dean glanced up. "A word, Sam. It's what you traditionally do with a dictionary."
Sam rolled his eyes. "What word? Did you forget how to spell 'it' again?"
Dean kept looking through the dictionary. "I want to see if a word exists."
"Stubborner?" Sam said.
"Yes, stubborner, as in, 'Sam is stubborner than the stupidest mule on the planet.' Your turn – what do you want it for?"
Sam glared. "To see if a word exists."
Dean choked down a laugh. "What word?"
Dean stared to laugh so hard that the heavy dictionary fell off his lap and onto his foot, but he seemed to barely notice as he chest heaved from laughter.
"What happened, you caught a glance of your face?" Sam asked.
Dean couldn't stop laughing. He laughed until he choked. He laughed until the clock read 3:51.
Sam picked up the dictionary and flipped through the pages, shaking his head as he listened to Dean's laughter. His brother was beyond weird.
"Well," he said finally, "there's no stubborner and no stubbornest. Apparently you're supposed to say 'more stubborn', as in, 'Dean Winchester is more stubborn than anyone I have ever met and he should tell me what's bothering him so it can stop bothering me.'"
Dean stopped laughing and started to finger the sheets again.
Sam caught his brother's eye. "After the first twenty minutes of staring, Dean, I think those sheets might get a little bit boring."
Dean sighed. "I just…had this weird dream. About…you, and that vampire son of a bitch…"
Sam threw his hands up in the air; exasperated. "Then why couldn't you have just told me that in the first place, Dean?"
He shook his head. "Because…I can't. I didn't want to. I didn't want to freak you out; I didn't want to make a big deal about it. That's all."
Sam stared at Dean. "You sure that's it?"
Dean sighed. "I guess…I was just thinking…when that bastard grabbed you and told me to put down the machete, even after I put it down – he didn't look like he had any intentions of letting go of you, Sam. And if Dad hadn't been there to shoot him, I was thinking that maybe he would have…"
Sam stared at his brother. "Dean…"
"When I was twelve or so, Dad warned me that someday, something like that might happen – something might take you, use you against me," Dean said, "and I…I just don't want that to…I wouldn't be able to stand it if…" Dean's vocal chords seemed to suddenly stopped, and his attention returned to his sheets.
Sam took a deep breath and sighed. So it had been him who'd been weighing on his brother's very being. "Dean, I plan on sticking around for a while. There's no one stubborner than me when it comes to living," he said.
Dean looked over at his brother. "Well I just might be the stubbornest when it comes to keeping you alive," he said with a smile.
Sam smiled, flicking off the lights. "Glad to hear it."
John came in at 4:30, coffee wearing off, and was happy to see the boys sleeping peacefully, and that the sweater was finally fixed.