Disclaimer: I do not own "Supernatural," it owns me.

Six days and Dean was still brooding.

It didn't used to be this way. There was a time when he was positive his brother just didn't get what they were doing.

He had been positive because Dean's smile had never dimmed; because no matter what they'd dug up or gutted that day Dean could still pick up a couple of blonds for a quick threesome before the next hunt; because Dean could still joke about a celebrity marriage and bitch about the mini-mart only having plain M because Dean could still be annoying and obnoxious and sleezy...

So he'd been positive that Dean just didn't get it. He didn't get that even on a good day, even when everyone got out alive, even when property damage was kept to minimum, even when neither of them sanctified the hunt with their blood-- even then, something was lost. Each person, each family they helped was irreparably changed when they left.

They were leaving behind darkness-- knowledge of it that could never be taken back.

He used to think Dean didn't get that.

He knows better now.

Now he knows that Dean has always gotten it; that Dean has always gotten that and so much more.

And now too, he knows that whatever mechanism allowed Dean to bury it, allowed him to let it roll off him, allowed him to let it go, is cracked, faulty, maybe even broken.

It still works; most of the time it's fine, Dean is fine. They hunt and they save people and they think about the yellow-eyed demon and how to find it and more importantly how to kill it and in between, they manage to scrape together enough real moments to convince themselves that they really are living their lives and not wasting them on an endless, futile, suicide mission...

So yeah-- fine; most of the time.

But there are cases that just get under his skin.

It used to be Sam knew when that was going to happen, knew when his brother wasn't going to just get over it.

If the case involved a child it was usually a safe bet that it would punch a few of Dean's buttons-- if not all. If the case went to hell and they couldn't get everyone to safety, if someone innocent got hurt, Dean would take it hard.

But it never used to be like this. It used to be a haunted look and a quiet attitude for a day or two. Then inevitably we'd run into a blond... or a brunette... or a redhead... Dean wasn't really particular, and he'd be Dean again.

This is different; this is old. Older than Sam can remember; this is Dean pulling all the edges of himself inside and then locking the door. This is Dean seeing and remembering and thinking things that Sam can't fathom. This is Dean thinking he should be dead and bargaining with his soul.

He could see that Dean had been thinking on it, on what that demon had said to him. Blaming himself, wishing away the first decision Dad had made as a Dad in a long time-- after all what parent wouldn't trade their life for their child's?

Wishing away an act that really did save them all... or hell, who knows, maybe it damned them all--

It doesn't really matter; which is really the answer in itself, isn't it?

He blames himself as though there were no on else involved, no one else affected; and those are the good days, those are the days Sam can still coax a smirk or an eye roll from him.

The bad days are the ones when he blames Dad. Those are the days when his eyes alternatively crackle with spitfire or burn with frost. Those are the days Sam wants to offer himself as a punching bag just to see something on his brother's face, to see the mask crack just a little...

Today was one of those days and Sam was afraid that if he did offer himself as a punching bag, he'd end up in the hospital.

Instead of dissipating over the days, the mood had darkened and it was really of no use to bring up the fact that there even was mood, since Dean would blink empty eyes at him in innocence.

He shifted on the bed, pulling his eyes away from where he'd been watching Dean sharpen a knife. His brother was sitting at the table, all his concentration focused on that single task-- it surprised Sam the metal didn't melt.

He glanced at his computer screen again, then took a deep breath and stood up. He carried the laptop over to the table. He set it down carefully and shifted it towards Dean.

"Hey Dean?"


"Take a look at this..."

"... busy."

"You've been doing that for hours-- take a break."

His brother didn't so much as pause as he slid the blade across the whetstone in careful strokes.

"Dean, please."

There were more amounts of pleading in his voice than he meant for there to be. Pleading that had nothing to do with Dean taking a break from sharpening knives.

The pause came now followed by something not as dramatic as a sigh, but close. He looked up, "What?"

Sam shifted the laptop more, so it was facing Dean.


He offered the word quietly, as another plea, as an olive branch and felt a burst of hope when Dean didn't immediately return to the sharpening.

Dean stared at the screen for a long moment and Sam watched him studying the blue and white lettering; studying the pictures and ads.

Six days.

Six days of getting three hours of sleep, of barely touched food, of Sam picking the music, of not looking for a job, of not arguing, of no teasing...

Sam swallowed hard, this had to work, this had to get him Dean back, because there were only so many times he could watch his brother falter without faltering himself and they were nearing the limit.

"So why the fuck would a hot chick like that wanna hang out here?"

Dean asked gruffly and Sam blinked, realizing that he'd faded out.

He found Dean looking at him not at the screen and there was an expression Sam couldn't hope to decipher on his face. It didn't matter though-- it was an expression.

He pulled up a smile from somewhere, it wasn't quite real, but it would do for now, "It's a place to keep in touch with friends and to make new friends. You post blogs and stuff."

Dean blinked at him, one end of his mouth twitching a little, "Let me see yours."

A real smile tugged at Sam's lips, "What makes you think I have one?"

"Oh please, this is like geek-nirvana."

Sam shook his head, "Dude... give it a chance," he nudged the computer towards Dean.

"There are fuckin bubble letters, Sam."

"So go check out that girls' page."

Dean stared at the computer warily and Sam's smile widened, "Do you want me to show you how?" He asked, amusement creeping into his tone, relief seeping into his soul.

Dean was taking the olive branch; he was it letting go-- for now at least. It would crop up again, of that Sam was sure, but human beings were easy creatures-- we'd take the now over the later nine times out of ten.

He just needed Dean to be back for now.

He'd worry about later, later.

Dean rolled his eyes, "I can handle a website... if you know, I wanted to-- which I don't-- I've got... work to do..."

Sam grinned, "Right. Of course. But you know... if you changed your mind or maybe after you're finished with uh, work-- this is how you find things or people..."

Sam worked hard to keep the grin off his face when Dean surreptitiously slid forward a little when Carly's page popped up. He worked to keep the grin off his face when Dean leaned in a little to take a closer look at the pictures of her friends. He worked to keep the grin off his face when Dean put an elbow on the table and practically put his nose to the screen when he realized that those friends led to more pictures of friends.

He could practically feel the light-bulb go off over Dean's head-- hundreds of girls...

But when Dean put his other elbow on the table and shifted his whole body towards the computer so he could watch Sam navigate a classic Chevy Impala forum, Sam couldn't stop his grin; it spread slowly and it was wide because it was over.

For now, it was finally behind them.

"Well?" he asked, dropping his hands from the computer and shifting to look at Dean.

It was the first time he'd actually looked at Dean since he'd started showing him the site and he almost laughed at the way his brother abruptly straightened and tried to seem as completely uninterested as possible.

Dean cleared his throat, "... like I said, geek-nirvana." He dismissed.

Sam didn't even try to hide his knowing grin; "Right..." he drawled and stood, stretching casually, "... I'm starving; m'gonna get somethin to eat, what ya want?" he asked, as he pulled his jacket off the back of the chair.

Dean was watching him, a vaguely amused and perhaps even grateful look in his eyes, "Cheeseburger, fries." He stated.

Sam nodded and met his brother's gaze; it had worked because Dean had let it work and Dean had let it work because Sam had needed it to.

Not that they would ever say that-- not that they needed to.

"Be back in a few." He offered instead and Dean nodded, turning away from the laptop and picking up his knife and whetstone.

Sam locked the door behind him as he left.

Twenty-five minutes later when he walked back into the room with bags of food and drinks, the laptop was still on the table, but shut and Dean was leaning back against the bed headrest, arms crossed in front of him.

Dean's gaze followed him as he set the food and sodas down. The room was silent and Sam turned to face his brother on the bed. Their gazes met and Dean offered him that patented smirk that Sam had missed in the past few days.

"... so it's geek-nirvana where you only need the downstairs brain ..." Dean drawled.

And Sam rolled his eyes.

Author's Note: I swear upwards, downwards, and sideways I meant this to be lighthearted! I really liked "Crossroad Blues" and my thought process was something like-- jee, that myspace line was cute, I want to play with that line a little bit, that'll be fun! And then this happened, not precisely fun. :-/

I did try to bring in a lighthearted mood towards the end, I hope it worked. :)

Thank you for reading!